Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Youth Will be Served

Classes have started, so I am again surrounded by young men and women and teaching about American Foreign Policy. I have 2 sections and 85 total students this term.

What do I tell them? Am I biased if I make my views on the war in Iraq crystal clear? What about if I state the administration's case and then attempt to undermine it completely?

Ultimately, I decided to have them read a couple of studies from the US Army War College by Jeffrey Record (one is coauthored with Andrew Terrill): Bounding the Global War on Terrorism and Iraq and Vietnam: Differences, Similarities and Insights. These are in addition to some sections of the State Department's annual Patterns of Global Terrorism and the White House's September 2002 National Security Strategy document.

They are also reading a couple of chapters from the 9/11 Commission Final Report, the Executive Summary of Walsh's Iran/contra report, and a John Kerry speech.

At some point, perhaps I should just appeal to their most basic interests...

After all, as Herbert Hoover(!) apparently once said:
"Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die."
And from Herodotus:
"In peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons."
Can anything be done about that reality?

P.J. O'Rourke, who may or may not be kidding, recently advocated for a different system:
Killing is not as physical as it once was. It's time for young, hopeful people to be relieved of fighting duties. War should be fought by the middle-aged men who are the ones who decide that war should be fought anyway. We don't have our whole lives in front of us. We're already staring down the barrel of heart disease and SEC investigations. Being wrenched from home, family, and job would not be that wrenching for many of us.
Albert Einstein was perhaps more realistic:
"The pioneers of a warless world are the youth who refuse military service."

No comments:

Post a Comment