I’m sure that if I were a conservative Republican, I would probably find offense in a lot of the opinion pieces published in the Daily Nexus. But I’m not. I’m a fairly liberal Democrat, and as I sat reading last Friday’s paper, I have to say that I was shocked to read Stephanie Tavares’ rash and unfair article (“Army Recruitment Dangles Deceptive Bait,” Daily Nexus, April 9).
Every day I hear something new about the conflict in Iraq. Most of it is partisan party-line politics, and what I hear on campus is generally the same old anti-Bush rhetoric. What I hear on CNN is sad, and what I see on the screen are people – soldiers and citizens alike from around the world dying as the world struggles to construct a new Iraq. But Tavares’ article was not about any of these things, at least not specifically. Her piece focused on the men and women who serve as recruiters for the U.S. military, as she is angry because her friend “George” has recently been called up from the Army Reserve.
In the article, military recruiters are referred to as “local dupes” who know that the “virtues of the American Armed Services are a load of crap.” She charges them with luring in poor, unknowing high school students with a string of lies about the benefits of military service. Well, it turns out that they weren’t lying. The Armed Services do make college affordable for many students who may not have had the grades or the money to attend directly after high school. An enormous number of those who join the Armed Forces never do see combat. These men and women spend their time serving their country by keeping the peace and aiding less fortunate nations around the world. But all of them know that, by signing up, they face the possibility of war. Do not assume that the men and women of the Reserves are fools simply because they have chosen a different path than you or me. They signed up to fulfill a duty in a time of need.
Ms. Tavares, give your friend George some credit. He’s not that kid you picked up from the football game anymore. In fact, he’s not a kid at all. George is an adult, and he is an American. In this country, citizens are free to vote as they please. They are free to go to college, they are free to get a job and they are free to join the army. They are free to be Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, Greens or Communists. They are free to worship a different god than their neighbor, and they are free to disagree with the government. And, as Tavares has demonstrated, they are free to insult the men and women who die for these very freedoms everyday. It is easy to forget how lucky we are to have these liberties.
When George joined the Army Reserves, he knew very well what was expected of him. In other countries, young men may be forced to serve a state to which they may have little, if any, allegiance. The United States offers its soldiers very good benefits, and the draft is avoided because brave and patriotic men such as George step up to serve their country.
To accuse recruiters of attempting to con innocent American youth into an entrapment of service is outrageous, disrespectful and unfair. These men and women have spent years of their life to help protect the very freedoms you observed by writing that article. They sacrificed their own safety to ensure your own. Criticize the war, the decisions being made or the government all that you want. But the next time you criticize American soldiers like George who have sacrificed so much for the sake of their country for peace and for order, please think again. This war does have a face. It is the face of someone’s brother, sister, mother or father. It is the face of the recruiter standing outside of the UCen. It is your friend George. This is a face that deserves our respect – it has earned it.
Sarah La Due is a junior political science major.