June 09, 2006
Over the weekend, we caught Markos Zuniga on Tim Russert
. Overall I thought he did a good job of presenting his side without making me want to smash the TV, but there was one thing he said that really didn't sit right with me. Russert asked Kos about his military service, and he had this to say (clip here
I think one of the tragedies of the war right now is that so many people like me, people who came from lower socioeconomic status, from the barrios or the ghettos or the trailer parks or low income areas use the military, which is a very colorblind society, very meritocratic, use the military as a way to build their self esteem, to grow as a human being, and to learn very valuable life skills, and come out of it with money for college. And this is what I did, and it was very effective in helping me get to where I am today. I would not be the person I am today without my military service -- I'm extremely proud of it -- and it just pains me to see how many lower income people now do not view the military as an option because, clearly, join the military, get shipped to Iraq: it's not a very attractive proposition.
Our nation has a military in order to defend the US and fight her wars. That's the whole point of a military. I hate when people act like the military should be a place where they can get free college or some extra cash for one weekend a month and not have to do any of the hard work. The military is not a summer camp where you get to know yourself and then get free college. Kos should've known that back when he joined right before the first Gulf War. The military is serious business, and anyone who joins thinking he can reap all the benefits without any of the risks is a jerk. The US doesn't front millions of dollars so some kid from the barrio can find himself. He has to fight when called to, so if he doesn't want to fight, he needs to find someone else to finance his maturation process. Period. It irks me that Kos acts like the US is oppressing low income kids because they can't have their college and eat it too. If you're not prepared to fight, the military is not for you ever, even in peacetime.
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I don't think Zuniga thinks the US military is opressing minorities. As he said, it is the essentially one of the few systems that exist in the country today that is truly egalitarian in most respects. I think what he's attacking (and I don't agree with him) is the reason why the military isn't being utilized by more minorities as it was in the past. That is, a war he believes to be more for profit and not for national defense. You may disagree with this point, but I think both you and Zuniga agree that the military is a good thing.
"The US doesn't front millions of dollars so some kid from the barrio can find himself." Well, the fact is, the US does that. It's called affirmative action (and the military is the biggest proponent of affirmative action), and the US does encourage little kids from the ghetto to discover themselves in the military because a lot of times when they do discover themselves, what you get are the Colin Powell types. The military does in fact benefit a lot from little colored kids discovering themselves.
In the end though, The military is all about national defense, yes, but I think it's a little naive to say that it isn't all about the college money, especially when they advertise themselves as such. In the end, as important as it is (and as proud as I am), it's just a job, and in the end of the day, you want it to pay you.
Posted by: John at June 09, 2006 08:20 AM (PDyPy)
Was Kos's point that people aren't joining the military because they don't want to fight? Or was it that they don't want to fight in this particular war? Set aside your views about Iraq for a moment. You have to be able to acknowledge in the abstract that it would be possible for the country to get into a war that it shouldn't have, a war that you didn't believe was going to accomplish anything worth the price we were paying and a war that we might lose. Wouldn't it be harder for you to commit to join the military if you knew that you were going to have to fight, and possibly die, in a war like this? Well, while you may disagree, a growing majority of Americans do think about Iraq in this way. Of course that affects recruitment.
Posted by: Pericles at June 11, 2006 02:10 AM (eKf5G)
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