Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Weekly Standard on Be A Man! Enlist!

OYE Comment:

This is not a parody. The Weekly Standard, with Associate Editor Matthew Continetti [right], actually published this cover story on The 9/11 Generation, by Dean Barnett. Money quotes [seriously]:

In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn't answer the phone.

[ . . . ]

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, military service didn't occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

I've spent much of the past two weeks speaking with young people (and a few not-so-young) who have made the decision to serve their country by volunteering for the military. Some of these men have Ivy League degrees; all of them are talented and intelligent individuals who--contrary to John Kerry's infamous "botched joke" ("Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq")--could have chosen to do anything with their lives. Having signed up, they have either gone to Iraq or look forward to doing so. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media have underreported their stories.

[ . . . ]

Tom Cotton is another soldier who knew what he was doing. When 9/11 occurred, Cotton was in his third year at Harvard Law School. Like most Americans, he was "shocked, saddened, and angered." Like many on that day, he made a promise to serve his country.

And Cotton meant it.
After fulfilling the commitments he had already made, including clerking for a federal judge and going to work for a large Washington law firm, Cotton enlisted in the Army. He jokes that doing so came with a healthy six-figure pay cut.

Cotton enlisted for one reason: He wanted to lead men into combat. His recruiter suggested that he use the talents he had spent seven years developing at Harvard and join the JAG Corps, the Armed Forces' law firm. Cotton rejected that idea. He instead began 15 months of training that culminated with his deployment to Iraq as a 2nd lieutenant platoon leader with the 101st Airborne in Baghdad.

[ . . . ]

[Some thoughts:] "Everyone in the Infantry has volunteered twice--once for the Army, once for the Infantry. These are all grown men who all made the decision to face the enemy on his turf. The least you can do is respect them and what they're doing."

Now serving in the Army in Virginia, still enjoying his six-figure pay cut, Tom Cotton says he is "infinitely happy" that he joined the Army and fought in Iraq. "If I hadn't done it," he says, "I would have regretted it the rest of my life."

[ . . . ]

About a month ago, I attended the commissioning of a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The day before his commissioning, he had graduated from Harvard. [ . . . Later,] as he entered [his] dorm in full dress uniform, some of his classmates gave him a spontaneous round of applause. A campus police officer took him aside to shake his hand. His father observed, "It was like something out of a movie."

[ . . . ]

It is surely a measure of how far we've come as a society from the dark days of the 1960s that things like military service and duty and sacrifice are now celebrated. Just because Washington and Hollywood haven't noticed this generational shift doesn't mean it hasn't occurred. It has, and it's seismic.

OYE Comment:

Operation Yellow Elephant salutes U.S. Army Lieutenant Tom Cotton and all other servicemembers mentioned in this article for their service to our country and wishes them all the best. Please read the entire article for all of their stories.

We cannot help but wonder why Dean Barnett didn't Ask The Question of Weekly Standard Associate Editor Matthew Continetti.

Can't pro-war conservatives find a more credible spokesman?


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