Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More on Moulitsas 

This is a follow up to the post below on Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos.

I do not suggest that anyone (including me) has completely pure motives for joining the military. After all, I am unaware of any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is so selfless as to refuse his/her paycheck (actually, direct deposit) at the end of the month.

Moulitsas wants us to believe that his military service was based on the "quaint" notion that every military hawk ought put his money where his mouth is and enlist. It is hypocritical, the theory goes, to support war when you are unwilling to risk your own life.

I am envisioning an introductory barracks discussion like the one they had in the movie Stripes:

"Smith, why did you join?"

"To get money for college."

"Moulitsas, why did you join?"

"Because hawks have an obligation to put themselves at risk if they are going to advocate sending other people to war. Furthermore...."

In some ways, Kos' stated reason is no more altruistic than the person who wants money for college. One person wants to avoid the charge of hypocrisy. The other person wants to avoid the charge for college tuition.

There is a part of me, however, that is skeptical of the hawks-have-a-duty-to-enlist rationale. It seems to be a very convenient rejoinder to his political opposition, many of whom have never served in the military. Read the following excerpt from a C-SPAN interview to see if there could be an alternate explanation for Kos' enlistment.
LAMB: Why did you go into the service? And what year was it again?

MOULITSAS: It was �89 to �92. And the reason I joined is, I was � this is kind of a quaint reason to join. And I wish more people did this.

But I was a military hawk when I was in high school. I was all for bombing Libya and invading Grenada. And I thought those things were great, right, because we need to assert ourselves as a country.

But I also thought, if I�m going to be walking around advocating the use of military force, I�d better be in a position to have � I�d better be � I had better spend a couple years in the Army, being in a position to be sent to these kind of conflicts.

You know, I need to put my life on the line. I need to � because to me it was a matter of integrity and a matter of, not even common sense, but I think integrity really says it. I mean, how can I advocate sending people to potential harm, when I myself have not put myself in that position?

And that was probably the main reason I joined the Army.

There were some extraneous reasons. I mean, it was a way for me to help pay for school. But my parents, you know, say, we�ll pay for school, just don�t join the Army, right.

And so it wasn�t something that I had to. And I still don�t know how my parents would have paid for school. They didn�t have a lot of money. But for them it was � I mean, they did their best to talk me out of it.

To me it was a matter of principle. If I�m going to be a hawk, I need to be there myself. And I�ve moderated my hawkishness, but I�m still fairly much a military hawk. I mean, I thought Afghanistan was a perfectly justifiable war.

What I have a problem with is lying to start wars that are unnecessary, and I think Iraq qualifies.
Anything there?