Why the Proposed "Veteran Support Fund" is Deeply Misguided
As I have noted here numerous times in the past, I do not like sending mercenaries (private contractors) to do our dirty work in foreign wars. It is easy enough, however, to criticize outfits like Blackwater (or whatever it has transmogrified into). I also think that this proposal - that the wealthy whose kids don't serve in the military should contribute to a fund that will pay off parents whose kids have done - equally offensive. Why? The two practices - those undertaken by war privateers and do-good moralizers - are essentially equivalent; in both cases we are paying others to do our dirty work. In both instances the consequences, I believe, for the health of our polity are dire."As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the
citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their
persons, the State is not far from its fall. When it is necessary to
march out to war, they pay troops and stay at home: when it is necessary
to meet in council, they name deputies and stay at home. By reason of
idleness and money, they end by having soldiers to enslave their country
and representatives to sell it." - J-J Rousseau The Social Contract (Book III Ch 15)
Moreover, this new proposal is deeply confused. If we have an debt, then it must be because the military adventures that the Bush and Obama administrations have been sending troops off on are justifiable. But if they are justifiable, we should be sending our own kids. My own view is that we have been sending kids off to foreign wars for nothing. The Iraq fiasco was wholly unjustifiable. Much of the Afghan occupation is likewise. Not my wars. No debt. In fact, since my tax dollars have been going to finance the Iraq and Afghan adventures, I already have "paid" for something I never wanted or approved.
Finally, as I have noted here before, there are many people doing many things not involving violent conflict to whom I believe we owe an obligation and deep thanks. Why not aim our energies there?
P.S.: Nothing I say here entails that the U.S. Government can shirk its obligation to veterans - those men and women who have been recruited to serve in the military however ill-advised the policies underlying that recruitment might be.
posted by Jim Johnson at 7/06/2012 01:27:00 PM