How Bad Is America? You'd Destroy the Military By Drafting the Kids These Days…


I know a lot of libertarian folks who dig Thomas Sowell, but his descent (ascent?) into cranky old mandom proceeds apace with this dyspeptic column about the general lack of military experience in the Home of the Brave.

The fact that we could use a larger army…does not mean that we can get it by adding warm bodies fresh from our politically correct schools and colleges, where standards and self-discipline are greatly lacking.

Just getting such people used to the idea of duty and discipline could be a major drain on the military, not to mention a plague of lawsuits from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union if the little darlings were not handled with kid gloves.

More than that, so many American institutions, from the Congress to the courts, have degenerated into irresponsible self-indulgence that the military is one of the very few institutions left with a sense of purpose for which it is prepared to make sacrifices.

The problem, for Sowell, is that nobody really has to sacrifice anything to wage this war, you see. Worse still, weeps Sowell, "Our colleges are blocking such people from taking R.O.T.C. by not allowing R.O.T.C. programs or military recruiters on campus in the first place."

I'm curious as to the number of colleges that actually block ROTC from campus; no student is forced to stay at a non-ROTC campus in any case, so if it's that important to them, they could transfer. But the oddest (and yet most predictable) thing about Sowell's column is that it starts off with a line that could be directed at George Bush and Dick Cheney and then devolves into a standard issue declamation against all the left-wing loonies who are dragging America down with their commie-symp Dr. Spock theories about letting it all hang out, baby:

There was a time when most members of Congress had served in the military, as had many people in the media. Today that is no longer true—and it shows in many ways.

Ignorance should at least create caution but it seems to do just the opposite. People with little knowledge about the military, and no personal experience, often have the most sweeping and unrealistic expectations, and even demands, to make on people whose lives are at risk in battle.

I dunno, but it seems like most (though certainly not all) the war heroes in Congress–John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, John Murtha, etc.–lean toward caution in Iraq in a way that the non-military types don't.

Whole column here.