24 August 2008

Zeitgeist and the Military

Shazzam! It Should Not be a Surprise that the Military is all Gomer Piles

Lela directs our attention to an account of two recent Dartmouth grads who got commissioned in the USMC. A faulty perception that people who only enlist or join the officer corps out of some kind of financial destitution conjures up a thought process that people in the ranks are somehow less patriotic because they didn't have any choice in the matter. The two Dartmouth Marines blast this line of reasoning in their article:

But when we did divulge our secret, it often felt as if a sheet had descended, separating us from our insouciant classmates. First came a brief stare, and then we were met with some variation of “Why are you doing that?” in a tone either brusque or reverential. We soon learned to size up our audience and respond appropriately. To people who we felt deserved an explanation, devoid of bravado or humility or caustic humor, we would start by saying, “Lots of reasons.”

The notable absence of America's elite class in the military, which The Onion once did a parody of, is a troubling sign of the times. Despite the fact that people like General Petraeus and his COIN cadre have many PhDs amongst them, the perception that the military is chocked full of rubes is evident in popular culture references like the horrendous movie Stop Loss.

So what to do about this quandary? The consortium of milbloggers seem to be (hopefully) making a dent in American public opinion that military members are capable of independent thought. This article from the Dartmouth grads will hopefully dispel rumors that everyone in the military was swindled into some morbid Ponzi scheme by their recruiter. And, it is important to note that, regardless of a servicemember's financial/genealogical background, they all wear the uniform and perform the same duty to their country.