Skin in the Game: another opinion-maker who thinks GIs lack the brain power to understand the adjectives 'military' and 'martial.' This time it's LA Times columnist Steve Lopez and the person whose intellect he's denigrating happens to be his own nephew--who, at present is in Marine boot camp.
Lopez reports of a devastating family argument during which the entire family tried to talk the young man out of the enlistment decision. The young man stood fast, however, and wrote a letter to the family containing these familiar sentiments:
"What I want for my life is to stand above the majority," he wrote. "I believe in honor, discipline and courage…. I wish to be bigger than myself, to be a part of something more — something important and significant…. I hope that you will understand my reasons for this decision and will continue to support me."Lopez reproduces these word without irony and, wisely, does not try to decipher them. But, later in the piece, he shows his colors:
Some have argued that without a draft, enlisting in this war is a matter of choice, so what happens, happens.(Emphasis mine.)
But that's not necessarily true in the case of National Guard troops who have been called up. And as for soldiers as young as my nephew, I don't see enlistment as a well-informed choice but as a product of manipulation.
What is there to be informed about with regard to a martial organization--an armed force--that's been killing people and breaking things since Thomas Jefferson stopped kowtowing to the Barbary Pirates? What is there to be informed about joining that same organization today--the same one that's leading the charge against the progeny of those old, dead nineteenth-century terrorists?
His nephew believes that some things--and not merely one's own person or personal possessions--are worth defending with life and limb. However, at this late stage in his life, Lopez will probably never understand the unselfish, noble concepts that his nephew already does. So Lopez chalks that fundamental disconnect up to "not being well-informed" or to being prone to "manipulation," which is a "nice" way of calling his nephew stupid. (The interesting thing about the charge of "manipulation" is that, somehow, the young man was unable to be manipulated by his own family.)
And before someone points out that Lopez may believe that his nephew is ill-informed due to the latter's youth, take note of the fact that Lopez thinks that 13- and 14-year old girls are well-informed enough to be able to obtain abortions without parental notification (scroll down to the postscript).
Aside: I wonder whether he's ever argued that these same-aged girls are old enough to be having sex in the first place.
Certainly, Lopez cares about his nephew and doesn't want him in harm's way. But Lopez's obligatory BDS noises in the op-ed reveal that he's another one who doesn't understand the nature of the enemy. I talk to people like him all the time--people who can't quite wrap their minds around the fact that the West's present-day enemies want to tear down every physical and philosophical edifice that wasn't erected by Islam. Therefore, when they see someone like Lopez's nephew, someone who volunteers to go and actually meet (in the battle sense) that enemy, they let out some variation of the exclamation "what the f**k."
Ah, well. The best thing I can say is this: Godspeed, Marine!
Other pertinent commentary:
UPDATE: Oh yeah, there's this:
It's not something the president has to worry about. I don't know what his daughters are up to, but neither has signed up for the sacrifice he has asked so many others to make.So I suppose that Lopez thinks that the Bush girls should be kidnapped and forced to join up; you know, a special draft just for those two persons.
Lopez: "I'd never join the military, and you're stupid if you do it. But don't support anyone in the military or support their mission unless you or your kid have served."