To the Editor:
William Kristol’s discussion of the new MoveOn.org “Alex” ad does not mention the idea that when men and women are asked to risk mutilation and death, the danger from which they are protecting their country should be actual rather than illusory or fictitious.
Menlo Park, Calif., June 23, 2008
Note from KBJ: Reasonable people can and do disagree about both the existence and the nature of the threat we face. By the way, where is Alex’s father, and how does he feel about Alex becoming a warrior? Most men want strong, honorable, courageous, patriotic sons. It’s no accident that we have terms such as “panty-waist,” “wimp,” “pussy,” “coward,” “mama’s boy,” “sissy,” and “milquetoast” in our language. Can you think of others?
Note 2 from KBJ: How will Alex feel one day when he realizes that his mother used him as a mere means to her partisan ends? Thanks, Mom, for not using me in that way.
Note 3 from KBJ: Suppose Alex volunteers for the military when he reaches the age of 18. Will his mother be ashamed of him? Will she stop loving him? Will she disown him?
Note 4 from KBJ: In case you’re wondering, I did not serve in the military. My father and stepfather did, however. Conscription ended in the United States in 1973, when I was 16 years old. On 14 March 1975—24 days before my 18th birthday—I registered with the Selective Service System in Saginaw, Michigan. One month later, before anything happened, the registration requirement was suspended. I was never drafted and never volunteered. I still have my registration card. Indeed, I am looking at it as I type this. Had I been drafted, I am fairly sure that I would have served, but you never know about such things unless and until they happen. Had I been drafted and not served, the terms above, such as “coward,” would have applied to me.
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