Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Military Recruiting Lead: Oberlin, Ohio

Meet Jonathan Bruno, President of the Oberlin College Republicans. He's organized "Support Our Troops" donation boxes of care package items, located in business all over town. Why?

"I think that our troops out there in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere are making huge sacrifices, and in most cases they don't get the recognition they deserve," said Bruno. "The reason we're doing this is just to try to bring attention to the fact that these men and women are extremely courageous. They've made incredible sacrifices and we ought to be recognizing that."

To his credit, when we Asked Mr. Bruno The Question, he responded:

I would like to say that I have indeed considered military service, and I certainly have not ruled it out for the future. I ultimately came to the conclusion that I would be better equipped to serve my country having earned a degree and gained a set of skills closely tailored to my natural abilities. I have no doubt that, if and when the time comes, I will be a much more effective defender of Liberty and the American way of life having continued my education.

Mr. Bruno also stated, "Just because some conservatives decide against military service for one reason or another, this does not preclude them from having the good sense to realize that taking a firm stance against terrorism and America's enemies is the right thing to do."

So here's our question: How firm?

Update: At his request, I've removed Mr. Bruno's e-mail from this post. Please, in the future, keep your comments civil. Hate mail is not acceptable and not in the spirit of Operation Yellow Elephant. Thank you.

17 Comments:

At 14 March, 2006 17:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's alway easier to take a firm stand on terriorism when you can be firm and it is someone else who has to do the standing.

 
At 14 March, 2006 19:37, Anonymous JB said...

Here is the full response I sent to Mr. Olson:
------------------------------------

Dear Mr. Olson:

First of all, you seem to be concerned about the status of military recruiting in this country today, and I sincerely thank you for any efforts to help raise awareness of the issue, and to make sure the military is not strapped for resources and manpower.

I was disappointed, however, when I saw the true nature of your project after a quick look over the "Operation Yellow Elephant" website. Not only do you seem to delight in making racist ad hominem attacks, and in allowing your commentators to call the targets of your recruiting efforts "faggots," "shit eating pussies," and "SHIT EATING NAZIS," but your entire project is based on a silly logical fallacy.

Yours is a mission of sanctimony, not of genuine concern.

The underlying message of "Operation Yellow Elephant" is that anyone who has not served in the Armed Forces is unqualified to express support for the War on Terror. Despite the fact that many young conservatives probably have considered joining the military, this notion is a silly one, an untenable position that bears no relevance in other important political debates.

Allow me to illustrate with a few examples. Many liberals and democrats would assert that the government's inability to tax Americans would be detrimental to this country, that it would even leave us on the brink of collapse. By your argument, then, anyone who has not decided to devote his or her life to becoming an IRS accountant, or to writing and passing tax legislation, is unqualified to express support for government taxation. Indeed, I can think of countless analogous examples: must one become a physician to support healthcare reform? Must one become a civil rights attorney to support a "level playing field" in public life? Must one become a UN peacekeeper to support an end to the violence in Darfur?

The answer to all of these questions is no. Similarly, just because some conservatives decide against military service for one reason or another, this does not preclude them from having the good sense to realize that taking a firm stance against terrorism and America's enemies is the right thing to do.

In your message, you encouraged me to enlist in the Armed Forces, and "Be a Man!" To begin, I should say that this last part ("Be a Man!") was somewhat bewildering, considering the significant number of extremely courageous female service members stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere today. In fact, the merits of a soldier's service to his or her country in the military have nothing to do with sex or gender, and I hope you will recognize that in the future.

To address your invitation to enlist, I would like to say that I have indeed considered military service, and I certainly have not ruled it out for the future. I ultimately came to the conclusion that I would be better equipped to serve my country having earned a degree and gained a set of skills closely tailored to my natural abilities. I have no doubt that, if and when the time comes, I will be a much more effective defender of Liberty and of the American way of life having continued my education.

I hope that my message has compelled you to rethink the path in which you have chosen to direct your efforts. Military recruiting is an important issue, but it is incumbent on you to consider the arguments I have made above about the decision to serve and the decision to support the War on Terror. I believe you could truly make a positive difference if you spent less time engaging in bigotry and hatred with your sophomoric commentators, and more time working with military recruiters to ask all eligible Americans to consider service in the Armed Forces.

Sincerely,
JB

 
At 14 March, 2006 20:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I ultimately came to the conclusion that I would be better equipped to serve my country having earned a degree and gained a set of skills closely tailored to my natural abilities."

His natural abilities being a bullshit chickenhawk that can't back up his belligerent and warmongering talk.

Meanwhile, those not "equipped" can use their lesser "natural abilities" to die for teh country (read blacks, latinos and poor).

 
At 15 March, 2006 03:52, Blogger Karl said...

As you can see, I posted complete paragraphs from Mr. Bruno's response, and communicated directly re the old posts from last August and his claim that OYE seeks to limit anyone's ability to express an opinion. We don't. But respect for an opinion must be earned.

I have removed his e-mail address at his request because of "hate mail." Please, people, be civil.

Thank you.

 
At 15 March, 2006 10:22, Blogger scott said...

War on Terror is such a poor expression. Iraq and Afghanistan are 2 very different things. One is a war to oust a regime that supported terrorism. One is a republican driven vendetta. I refuse to let republicans lump these two together, whether intentionally or simple ignorance. If these people support the lies that got us into Iraq, then yes, quit with the care packages, and go fight. The fact that they cogitate and arrive at this enlightened decision that they could better serve their country by not enlisting ultimately translates to "This war is justified - for others to fight." The IRS analogy is inane.

Also, this guy is so offended by the anonymous stupid comments, I am sure he told Malkin how offended he was with her "raghead" remarks. Spend 2 minutes looking at any conservative site that allows comments, and see what you get.

 
At 15 March, 2006 13:45, Anonymous Samwise Galenorn said...

I noticed that he always tries to deflect criticism of himself by saying:
I ultimately came to the conclusion that I would be better equipped to serve my country having earned a degree and gained a set of skills closely tailored to my natural abilities
as if going to college will help out this country fight a war.
Lets be clear on one thing: It doesn't!

There are hundreds of way to help this country without serving in the military. But he's making the same mistake that a number of war critics on this blog are making, in that only military service will help this country, and all else are secondary.
You can help this country through a number of means without military service.
1. Contribute your time to an adult literacy program
2. Work at Habitat for Humanity
3. Volunteer at Salvation Army
4. Be a teacher at an inner city school
5. Contribute money to the ACLU

He could be at least honest in his lack of support for this country, rather than trying to say he's patriotic, and not doing anything worthwhile that will make a difference in someone else's life.

 
At 15 March, 2006 17:22, Blogger Karl said...

scott-

Yeah, anonymous stupid comments are a price we pay for free speech online.

Though I do like the troll with ENLIST YOU PUSSIES on every thread.

And so it goes . . .

 
At 16 March, 2006 11:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From analog.joe:

I love responses like JB's - everything revolves around taxes - like the chicken hawkes that got us into this mess, I'm sure he has more important things to do and only has the time to support the toops rather than be a tooper. I am sure I will end up appologizing for that comment when JB announces his cure for cancer.

 
At 16 March, 2006 21:38, Blogger Sadie Baker said...

"The underlying message of "Operation Yellow Elephant" is that anyone who has not served in the Armed Forces is unqualified to express support for the War on Terror."

Where do they get that? They always say that, every time. Is it just the Right Wing Victim Complex talking, or is it an official chickenhawk talking point?

 
At 18 March, 2006 23:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. What is the exact syllogism you are using to support operation yellow elephant?
2. What is the primary motivation behind it, and how does it explain the visceral, hysterical manner of those who support it?

 
At 19 March, 2006 11:54, Blogger Karl said...

anonymous above-

To whom are those questions directed? Operation Yellow Elephant itself?

Please confirm; if they are questions for OYE, I'll have to consult the dictionary and will post answers here.

Thanks.

 
At 19 March, 2006 23:19, Anonymous kiche said...

I ultimately came to the conclusion that I would be better equipped to serve my country having earned a degree and gained a set of skills closely tailored to my natural abilities.

i grew up in a swamp on the mississippi gulf coast (an area that has been destroyed by katrina). in the winter (or rather what my family thought was the winter), when i got off school, we would come home and pick up sticks and chop wood to put in our wood burning stove to heat our house.

i wonder why mr. bruno thinks that being born into a upper middle class/upper class family makes him the recipient of "a set of skills closely tailored" going to a fancy assed private school. i know plenty of people much smarter than this piece of shit who will never have that kind of opportunity.

people like mr. bruno are callous traitors, and if they believed any of the propaghanda they spout, their asses would be in the military, in iraq.

 
At 22 March, 2006 10:53, Anonymous mat said...

The underlying message of "Operation Yellow Elephant" is that anyone who has not served in the Armed Forces is unqualified to express support for the War on Terror.

No, no, no, you silly little child.

Let me--an Army veteran--explain to you the simple logic behind Operation Yellow Elephant:

1) No one is saying you cannot express support for the War on Terror.

Goodness gracious, no! Express away, you beautiful little Republican patriot! The last thing we liberals want is to deny any American the right to free speech. We especially want you hypocritical, arrogant, and elitist little College Republican warmongers to speak out as loudly as possible so all of America can wonder, rightfully so, how such prime examples of the American meritocracy can, on the one hand, scream for their peers to go get killed fighting in wars far from home, and meanwhile you little unctuous creeps, safe and sound in your quiet little college campus, feel NOT ONE OUNCE of shame for not enlisting! Not only that, it is even more fun to see you little Republican warmonger darlings trip over yourselves to justify your cowardice and avoidance of military service with some of the most laughably childish and chickenshit arguments imaginable!

2) You can serve your country and come back later to finish your education and get your work career going.

My father, for instance, in 1942, right out of high school, enlisted in the Navy to fight in WW II. Dad, a brilliant scholar and athlete was, a month or so before before Pearl Harbor, accepted at Notre Dame to study and play football in the fall of 1942. Silly Dad threw that away to fight for his country! What a loon! What a sucker! After the war Dad got his college degree and became an educator. He led a fairly good life and was able to do all the things he’d set out to do, and of course he was also proud of his service in the war.

And I did almost the same thing. After a year of college, I decided I wanted to serve my country, so I enlisted in the Army for the next eight years and had a glorious time. After I was discharged, I too got my education and I'm now a successful engineer earning big bucks and living large.

The point is simply this: selfless duty to your country FIRST requires you put aside your personal ambition to serve a cause greater than your own little selfish personal goals.

What you and your little chickenshit College Republican peers are, in the end, are loudmouth assholes who talk a good game, but only from the sidelines, and meanwhile your peers are fighting and dying in a war you feel too cool, too self-important, too elitist, and too pre-occupied with "more important" priorities to go fight.

I don't know... I guess it makes you the lowest form of scum on the lowest rung of patriotism ladder.

But keep on waving that little American flag at Podunk University and kidding yourself that you're serving some greater cause.

 
At 22 March, 2006 13:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think JB's supposedly "analogous" examples were downright hilarous. Apparently he in no way understands the difference between military service (particularly enlisted service) and the various occupations he compared it to. It takes yeras of school and, in theory, no small sum of money to become an accountant, lawyer, or doctor. These are generally the kind of occupations one does not undertake for a limited amount of time. Also note that these are occupations that one can, in general, undertake at any age.

The military, on the other hand, is something one can decide to do at 18 and still subsequently go on to do any of the other things JB mentioned. The military offers commitments starting at two years (actually, it might be one now) of active service. The military also needs young, able-bodied recruits. A 50-year-old can handle the job of IRS accountant; he is not much use in a HMMWV on the roads of Iraq. One could argue that the best, most efficient way these able-bodied young Republicans could serve the "War on Terror" is through military service...because we need people their age NOW to do it, and then after their 2, 3, or 4 years nothing is stopping them from becoming the doctors, lawyers, or accountants of tommorow. Except maybe a bullet or shrapnel from an IED, which is really what these young Republicans are afraid of.

It has worked thus far for me. My tour in Iraq hasn't stopped me from pursuing my engineering degree...it may have delayed it, but it certainly didn't stop me. I guess delaying one's professional career is something that only poor people are expected to do nowadays.

To JB (not that his cowardly ass will likely come back):

Oh, and I do most certainly believe that nobody has the right to support a war (since there is some confusion regarding the term, I'm defining "war" in this context to be any situation in which soldiers are being shot at and killed on a near-daily basis) they have no intention whatsoever of fighting themselves. If you are young, able-bodied, and unwilling to serve you need to shut your mouth when it comes to supporting our decision to go to war. You may believe your "natural abilities" qualify you for something better than military service, but judging from a comparison of the want ads to the military recruiting shortfall the "War on Terror" needs you in the military more than a law firm, hospital, or accounting office, natural abilities or no.

So unless you are willing to do what your country needs you to do right now (which is to fight the war that those you so staunchly support started), you can go ahead and leave th subject the hell alone. This country has more than enough lawyers...it needs a lot more soldiers. And the job description of a soldier in no requires being either poor or unintelligent, despite what these kids seem to think.

 
At 23 March, 2006 10:07, Blogger Karl said...

I'll be passing along the above two comments (at minimum) to Mr. Jonathan Bruno and I'll suggest that he post any comment right here.

Thanks again for your comments, and your service (in ascending order of importance to our nation).

 
At 29 April, 2006 11:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JB grasps a simple principle that eludes the rest of you. A private individual's decision about the course of his life is irrelevant to the question of what the nation ought to be doing in Iraq.

You would think that of the two questions-- national policy in Iraq and what a college student unknown to you decides to do with his life-- the former would be the only one to interest any attentive adult. But then, the whole point of this blog is badly focused rage and ham-fisted reasoning.

 
At 01 May, 2006 09:53, Blogger Karl said...

anonymous-

Mr. Bruno is neither a "private individual" nor a "college student unknown to you."

He is the President of the Oberlin College Republicans who has publicly taken a position on an issue of importance to our country.

And at least most of us were engaging in civil discussion with him.

We'll have to disagree on one point: What our country seeks to accomplish with military force is very much linked to the personal decisions of real Americans whether to consider volunteering for military service.

If our national leadership cannot convince real Americans to volunteer, then our national leadership will have to consider limiting our nation's military commitments overseas to our current capabilities.

 

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