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August 21, 2005

Our "Children" In Iraq

I don't have a military background and don't even know anyone who currently serves. But based on my reading and on interviews and clips from TV, I can't help but be impressed by the overall professionalism of our military. Of course there are still screw-ups and bad apples among both the enlisted and officers, but I'd bet big money that that percentage is at historic lows.

So when Mark Steyn writes (via Powerline) about how the antiwar Left characterizes our soldiers as "children", he sets off in high relief chronic intellectual dishonesty of the Left:

They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as "children." If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing. [...]
The infantilization of the military promoted by the left is deeply insulting to America's warriors but it suits the anti-war crowd's purposes. It enables them to drone ceaselessly that "of course" they "support our troops," because they want to stop these poor confused moppets from being exploited by the Bush war machine.

Steyn reports that he receives many emails from soldiers in Iraq, and "they sound a lot more grown-up than most Ivy League professors and certainly than Maureen Dowd...". After hearing these men and women on TV and reading their blogs, it's clear that Steyn is right. As usual.

Posted on August 21, 2005 11:05 AM

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Tracked on August 22, 2005 10:54 AM


But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.

The infantilizing rhetoric argument is interesting - Steyn should've stuck with the textual method, rather than trying a logical argument (logic not being his strong suit, apparently)

Re: the soldier's choice: did the soldier choose to be in Iraq? Many did, probably, but many more didn't. Soldiers don't get to pick and choose their assignments, so the argument from choice is very weak. Because they don't choose their assignment, the argument would go, those that do choose assignments (Iraq, for instance), have a fiduciary-like duty to pick that assignment carefully and intelligently.

Posted by: jpe at August 22, 2005 12:19 PM

The "employer/employee" characteristics of a military life should be pretty common knowledge by now. A kid shouldn't joing the Marines hoping to get permanently posted to San Diego so he can surf.

At any rate, the focus here is not on the soldiers' actions; it's about the Left's inconsistency regarding personal responsibility.

Posted by: Jeff at August 23, 2005 09:08 AM

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