Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sometimes I Really Miss Usenet

Usenet is cool in that discussion are threaded, and it's visually very easy to follow who's replying to what and in what time. Somehow my previous story hour post was viewed as a misdirected commentary on something having to do with the draft; it's all confusing and hard to make sense of, particularly since the word "draft" appears nowhere in my post, nor do I offer any commentary on such a thing. But fuck it, somebody somewhere asked for it so now I'm going to talk about the draft.

I don't support a draft, and neither do any remaining acquaintances of mine who are still on active duty (really, there's no evidence like anecdotal evidence, is there?). The basic reasoning we share in this is that no highly motivated, hard charging stud wants to be stuck in a fighting position with someone who doesn't want to be there and is lacking motivation. We're hearing a fair amount of bitching from the troops right now, and that's from volunteers, imagine the wailing from draftees.*

I also have some problems with the way issues of fairness are being discussed. Does the military offer incentives which primarily appeal to the poorer classes? Undoubtedly. However, framing a discussion in terms of recruitment tactics targeted on the poor or undereducated does a vast disservice to the large number who do not share those backgrounds, and a good number who do.

Here's an example. The major wars in this century have seen a hugely disproportionate representation among certain minority groups; the largest variance between percentage of total population and percent composition of military members has been seen in Indians (surprise!). Indians have also historically been the poorest and least educated minority, and have seen greater representation in violent conflicts. However, the disproportionate military representation has had little to do with poverty or education, and a great deal to do with the importance of warrior societies and fighting for one's home (symbolically at least, please avoid nitpicking).

I enlisted at the beginning of 1991; I disagreed very strongly with the first Gulf War and our "need" to fight it before other options had been exhausted, but I volunteered to go fight in the thing. I had the test scores to pick and choose my assignment, but I chose the Infantry. I did take the college money, after all momma din't raise no dummy, but that's not why I enlisted. I enlisted because it's just what we do. And now, even though I think powwow's are pan- and all, when I do go to one I am allowed to participate in the gourd dance, which really means a lot more than college degrees.

Anyway, I think it's funny to read analysis of the state of military recruitment, which can usually be read backwards as middle- to upper-class well educated people pointing out that their particular demographic is severely under represented, and how that's just not fair to those who did show up. Solution: go fucking enlist.

My $.02, worth exactly what you paid for it.

*this post should in no way be read as a criticism of the legions of draftees who have come through in fine fashion on behalf of this country