The Moose argues that the military should not have to suffer because of the mistakes of its civilian leaders.
The left still suffers from the actions of some during the '60s whose opposition to the war veered into anti-military and even anti-American territory. For the most part, today's anti-war left has avoided those errors and made efforts to show that they support the troops.
There are patriots on both sides of the dispute over the wisdom to go to war in Iraq. Clearly, some right wing crazies will attempt to characterize opponents of the war as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And some lefties too easily hurl the epithet "chicken hawk" at those who believe the war is in our national security interest. Both the left and right slander mongers should be rejected.
There is now a movement underway to oppose military recruiters. While some will argue that recruiters are deceitful or that Iraq is an illegitimate war, it should be a given that we must have adequate troop levels to defend the country. Military recruitment is a key component of our national security. Rather than limit recruitment, upper and middle class kids also should be exposed to calls to service as well as lower-income youth.
Whatever one's position on the wisdom of the war in Iraq, there should be a consensus that we are engaged in an overall war against terror and that the nation has enemies. The burden that is imposed on the current forces, including the Guard and Reserve, is intolerable and will only worsen if the military has obstacles to recruitment placed in its way. And, veterans and those currently in uniform can only view it as disparaging their service when recruitment is opposed.
ROTC is still banned from many of our elite universities. Again, while one can oppose the military's policy on gays, it seems short-sighted to make it more difficult for the military to recruit officers from the nation's best universities. The Moose is reminded of one of his heroes, Robert Kennedy, who urged university students to give up their deferments at the height of the Vietnam war. There is a growing divide between the military and the nation's elites, and the policy of banning recruiters only exacerbates this trend.
One of the travesties of this war is that President Bush has shunned any notion of shared sacrifice. As a retired military officer explained, in the military, officers are supposed to eat last in the chow line. With this Bush crowd, the upper crust eats first and most.
The military needs to know that the donkey is on their side. Perhaps, Chairman Dean should denounce anti-recruitment campaigns and support the return of ROTC to the campuses where it has been banned. It would help his and the party's image with the military and would be the right thing to do. --