Not long ago I submitted a blog titled “Bring Back the Draft” [Posted October 23rd under “All News.”] The premise of the piece was that things are bad and getting worse in Iraq, and that if the U.S. is to continue the war with the anticipation of winning, more troops will have to be mobilized. Since we have already over-mobilized the National Guard and Reserves, and recruitment efforts are pitiful (more on that later), resurrecting the draft might have to be considered. In fact it has, with two U.S. senators and a representative introducing a bill to reinstate the draft with no college deferments.

Fast forward now to Senator John Kerry’s recent remarks which implied that our troops have ended up in Iraq because they were stupid or poorly educated. Kerry tried to explain that his comments were a joke meant to imply that even with a college degree, President Bush has blundered us into the quicksand of another Middle East conflict.

Round up the usual blowhards and you will hear them yowling that Kerry insulted American troops and he needs to apologize and take full responsibility for every Democrat loss on election day. But wait a minute! ABC News has just captured on hidden video cameras Army recruiters telling students in low income neighborhoods that the war in Iraq is over, so enlisting in the military poses no threat. Those same recruiters also claimed that troops were coming back, not going over there and, besides, if you didn’t like the Army, resign and you will be discharged with no record of anything ever having happened.

To unload a line of crap like this on a highschool student in an impoverished neighborhood just screams that you think he/she is as dumb as a fence post. When a college graduate enlists in the military – such as Doris Kearns Goodwin’s son, who was attending Harvard, it’s front page news. Ms. Goodwin is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and NBC-TV news consultant. When Rusty Tillman, a pro football hero who enlisted in the Army, dies in combat, it’s the lead story on the TV networks. In other words, when a privileged or famous individual heeds the call to serve his/her country voluntarily, it’s so out of the ordinary that we are compelled to pause in our daily routines and reflect upon it.

It’s no accident that recruiters regularly set up shop in less than affluent neighborhoods. It’s not likely that you will find their booths in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Great Falls, Virginia, or Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania (where household income is twice the national average). Young adults in these areas most likely have their sights set on medical school, law school, or the one of the MBA mills. Lesser communities are the likely places to find disenchanted youth stocking up supermarket shelves or unloading lumber from a boxcar. For them, a military calling could mean something very positive: transferable technical training or a lifelong career in the service.

So the critics of John Kerry and his recent poorly stated and widely misunderstood joke persist in stirring the honey pot as election day draws ever closer. The fact remains that the Pentagon continues to recruit from the bottom half of this country’s households in terms of income and education. This in no way reflects upon the intelligence or talent of the people who live under these conditions – only upon the military recruiters opportunism. John Kerry has three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star among his medals from the Vietnam War. Rush Limbaugh, who quintessentially typifies Kerry’s caterwauling critics, has a scar on his ass where the anal cyst that got him a draft deferment used to be. Ain’t life grand?

– Chase.Hamil

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