Let's Make It Personal

by Donald R. Barbera

I propose that all members of congress must be willing to volunteer their son or daughter for combat duty before they can vote to declare war on any hostile state.

I also propose that in order to serve in the United States Congress, all members, including women, must have served actively in a combat unit of the United States Armed Forces. Any members that have not served in the U. S. Armed Forces will be banned from voting on any decision to commit troops to a hostile area or declare war.

I firmly believe that congress doesn't have enough of a personal stake in any war to make it any more than a high tech video game complete with antiseptic rocket strikes, radar guided missiles and laser enhanced weapons making ultra-clean strikes on inanimate objects like buildings.

They are spared the sight of men, women, and children dying. Perhaps, if members of their own families had to be placed in harms way because of their vote, maybe they would give more thought before declaring war.

They might even come up with an entrance and exit strategy. They might even consider diplomacy before sending one of their own instead of one of ours. They might consider a thousand other things before they sent their own sons and daughters off into the danger zones of the world.

Now there are complaints that the United States is suffering from a shortage of troops. Having served in the military during the Vietnam Conflict, a shortage of troops never occurred. Why? We had the draft and no one got away with the exception of rich kids and the sons of congressmen, like Dan Quayle and George Bush, who got to play weekend warrior in the National Guard or Army Reserve while the rest of us just took the luck of the draw.

Regular folks like me couldn't get into those draft-dodging units because all the privileged young men had all the spots filled and their daddies had a way to make room for them. Of course, now the National Guard and the Reserves are the first to go, so those are no longer convenient hiding places.

Still, the armed forces are suffering from an enlistment shortage. Duh! It seems easy to figure out that death is a natural deterrent to enlistments. Understanding human nature makes it easy to see that recruits are far more willing to serve during peacetime, but once a war is in place and people are dying, men and women have a way of recognizing they could be killed and make it their priority to avoid jumping from the refrigerator into the frying pan.

It still stands that we all want to go to heaven, but none of us wants to die, unless you happen to be a suicide bomber. Most of us have dreams and ambitions and don't want to see them casually thrown away on an unequal basis.

We have been long on military might and short on brainpower. Putting the neck of congressional offspring on the line doesn't preclude us from having our wars; it just requires that a bit more thinking go in to it.

Let's Make It Personal by Donald R. Barbera

© Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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