Sunday, August 15, 2004

Of Matters We Know Not, We Ought Not Speak

Matthew Yglesias seems not to understand what exactly it means to be an enlistee in a volunteer army:

To put this another way: Who wants to die for Iyad Allawi? Certainly I don't. If people do, they should consider forming a new Abraham Lincoln Brigade and shipping out.
This is just a dumb thing to say. When one joins the armed forces, any armed forces, the very first thing one checks at the door is one's own volitions. Whether American troops feel like dying for Allawi is neither here nor there: they signed on the dotted line and now they'll do just what their commanders tell them to do, or else face a court martial. If you don't like the military's rules, you don't sign up: it really is that simple.

As an aside, someone also ought to acquaint Yglesias with the old Patton maxim that the soldier's objective isn't to die for someone, whether it be Allawi or anyone else, but to make sure that the guy on the other side is the one who does the dying.

Sheesh - it's when I read ignorant articles like this one that I feel like saying that people should keep their mouths shut about military matters unless they've actually undergone some training.