Sunday, April 11, 2004

Guest Post

Those of you who have read this site for any amount of time (or have perused the archives) probably realize that my views on the Iraq war have changed drastically over time. Initially, I supported the war and even took cheap shots at those who opposed it. While no big fan of Bush, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I never believed that Iraq qas involved with 9-11, but I was willing to believe that Saddam possessed WMD. After all, why would the President lie to the American people. Or, alienate the vast majority of the world for an illusory premise of war.
With hindsight, comes great awareness. An awareness that this administration will lie to the country when it suits their interests. And that they will use every means at their disposal to thwart all attempts to uncover the truth.
With that lenghty introduction, I bring to you a guest post (actually it is two combined into one) from a fellow student whose husband is one of the Marine Reservists currently in Iraq. These were initially generated as a response to a debate on our listserv and have been slightly edited.

In your post you stated that, "we're not afraid to use our well-trained, powerful military to defend America against these threats. Who exactly is the "we?" I am not aware of any inquiry made by our government to
determine a level of popular agreement before sending our loved ones into a war zone.

Exactly where did you get the information that led you to believe that those who have been sent into this combat are "well-trained?" The last most recent deployment of roughly 100,000 Marines were reservists. Do
you have any direct knowledge of what constitutes "well trained" and whether or not those that were sent meet the definition? I am sorry but I must disagree with your clearly uneducated assertion. My husband was
sent to Fallujah (the most dangerous city in Iraq, the "cemetery of Americans") more than 3 years after his basic training was completed having had only one weekend a month and one week a year of training during his tenure as a Marine reservist.

And how dare you attempt to voice bravery ("we're not afraid") when you yourself are in absolutely no danger regardless of what occurs in Iraq. If you had to contend with constant mortar attacks and the daily
possibility of not only being killed, tortured or injured but of never seeing your children grow into adults and never seeing your family again, I believe that fear would exist in you as well.

Before you begin to explain to me that my husband and the other reservists made the choice to enlist, do some research on the motivations of those that enlist in the military, as well as the military's target of minorities, individuals from low income families and 1st and 2nd generation immigrants.

If you want an accurate depiction of bravery take a look at the website for the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas.

You ask if we have "forgotten that Pres. Bush was the only President ever to fly into a foreign war zone, and he did that just to visit the troops on Thanksgiving Day to say how proud and thankful he was of their
service. I think thats a more relevant "symbolic message" than Pres. Bush's work location."

I dare not forget a media stunt like that in which our president uttered those careless words "bring it on" (putting more of our soldiers' lives in harm's way). And they did! More than 600 American soldiers have been
killed in Iraq since the president announced the end of major combat.

In closing, I will leave you with these wise words so that perhaps in the future you will not so eagerly place your foot in your mouth; "no investigation, no right to speak."

Part II

I take serious offense at your suggestion that I characterized my husband or the other enlistees as either victims or stupid. The comments I made about the initiatives of the military in targeting specific groups come not from my relationship with enlistees but from my position as an intern in the advertising and marketing division with the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) with the Dept. of Defense.

The propensity for young Americans to enlist in the military is measured through in-depth surveys of youth who take the ASVAB. The resulting marketing strategy is to target those who don't experience an adolescent developmental stage called a psychosocial moratorium. This describes the period in adolescence where youths are interested in and engage in determining inter alia their career paths.

American parents of moderate to high wealth are in the enviable position of being able to offer their children access to the experiences necessary to make these decisions while supplying them with the security that they will have a home, food, health care and the myriad of basic comforts their less fortunate counterparts can not take for granted. The military is not only aware of the disparity in the lack of resources among minorities, the poor and immigrants they prey on it.


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