I was published in our local paper. It was the letter I addressed here.
Of course, you have your usual suspects posting comments though several people did try to educate them with reports and graphs (visuals are everything in presentation), but they refused to read.
I answered several comments back, but typepad seemed to be acting up, so I don't know if it will be posted. So, I post the comment here (because I am educated enough to know to "save"):
As the author of this letter, let me clear up a few things:
1)The point of my comment is that you all seem to think there are two militaries - one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq
Apparently, either the soldiers in Afghanistan are all well educated specimens of the middle class or you think it's okay that they are stupid and poor dying in Afghanistan because you believe that war to be justified.
So, it's okay for them to be young, poor, stupid and dying in Afghanistan because they serve they national interest. You just object to them being allegedly young, poor, stupid and dying in Iraq.
They are the same troops. Many units that have served in both theaters. So, my question remains:
Are you fine with the stupid and poor dying for you in Afghanistan?
Either the answer is yes, or you are being hypocritical in casting your aspersions because of your opinions on the war in Iraq.
How much more succinct can I make that?
2) I doubt that anyone that writes such things about the "poor and uneducated" actually knows anyone in the military or knows much about the modern military at all. It's obvious that you refuse to read the reports that were sited to you above either because you are afraid it will undermind your prejudices or you think that it's from the government and thus cannot be trusted.
If you knew people in the military, had any interaction with the military and read the report, you would be disabused of such notions.
The person that talked about the NCOs is correct. In our modern military there are limited slots for NCOs (that would be corporals, sergeants and above Non-Commissioned Officers). You don't just get promoted because you are the next senior guy and have X many years in the military. Not even in our current push to increase the military.
NCOs are expected to have at least an Associates degree or have additional technical training that would serve in the outside world as CEUs (that's continuing education units for those who are "uneducated"). They are being trusted to lead men, make complex plans and operate complex, expensive equipment. It's the best man for the job, not the next idiot in line.
Furthermore, check your local universities because most of them accept time served in the military in certain jobs or capacities (I don't mean just officers, accountants and lawyers) as "real life" credits towards completing a degree.
If you think this is dumbing down the universities, then you would have to accept that all other students in the university are equally "dumbed down" and thus are equally "uneducated" (you know, they accept "real life" experience from civilians towards credits as well). Making the military on-par with the general population.
3) This is no naive patriotism or "uber" militarism that I speak from. It is because I have family and friends, both active duty and national guard, who serve. Through them and through many other organizations that put me in contact with the military, I have met what I would call a "cross section" of the military and these men and women do not support your theories on the common "poor" and "uneducated" myth. They are, as I said in the letter, policemen, accountants, the manager of your local grocery store, the mechanic, the nurse, the doctor and yes, even the guy that asks you if he can take your order.
Certainly, I am not going to tell you that EVERY member of the military is a brilliant, socio-economic specimen of our nation. If I did, then I would be equally as uneducated as you and ignoring all statistics to the contrary.
Of course, don't let my personal experiences sway you. I am a heretic. Just like once upon a time it was a commonly held belief that the sun orbited the earth and all those who opposed such beliefs were called heretics and persecuted until the "educated" leaders of the church agreed otherwise (that would be Galileo for the uneducated), so shall I remain a heretic and you will not change your beliefs until the "clergy" that feed you your beliefs tell you otherwise, all evidence to the contrary.
4) And finally, I do not believe we need "required" national service, draft or otherwise, and neither do I find such arguments of "if you believe 'this' then you should sign up for the military" to be particularly intelligent arguments regarding this debate. It is simply hyperbole meant to shut down the discussion because you cannot make your point with any facts, but rather silly assumptions we are supposed to swallow without a murmur.
But, if we must go there, let me turn the question back to you and ask, what does it say about the importance you give national defense if you believe and are willing to have serve the "poor and uneducated" while you, do what exactly besides make "uneducated" comments?
Oh, I know, you want "higher standards". Then who among you will fill the ranks of this "higher standard" military?
Disregard that question because asking it, as well as demanding others serve, makes the assumption that those reading here or posting comments would be of the appropriate age, economic and educational background required in this new, upgraded military.
As I've said previously, assumptions are poor substitutes for actual knowledge.