April 22, 2004


From Mohammad:

I wasn’t like this before. I was afraid most of the time. I have always looked for safety above all. I lost faith in the whole world and I wasn’t ready at all to make the slightest sacrifice for the sake of others. I was trying to leave my country and find a better job in a safe place, BUT, The brave solders (who don’t hold shares at Halliburton or Bechtel) who crossed seas and oceans and came to my country to fight for our freedom -and don’t anyone dare say the opposite, as I met so many of these soldiers and had hundreds of letters from them and there families and I know their motives; they fight for their country’s safety and for our freedom and they are proud of what they are doing- gave me the faith and showed me that man should not care only about himself, his family or his country, these are not enough to make a human being. These guys are MUCH better than me because I have to fight for my issue and they fight for me. They deserve the respect of the world and so do the people who support them. They always give me hope to go on no matter how difficult it seems.

A couple of my soldiers wrote yesterday that they don't think the military belongs at our elite universities because somebody smart enough to go to Harvard should do bigger and better things than the military. They're going to get yelled at today.

Yes, there are smart folks at Harvard. But so much of elite academia is self-perpetuating horse manure. I've never been to Harvard, but I did go to a fairly rigorous university, and many aspects of it were a joke. The students weren't that motivated, most of them simply wanted to regurgitate on the test and then go to their frat party, and a great number of them are now America-bashing MA students, cycling back through the system. In contrast, my students work their tails off to attend classes in addition to their more important job of PROVIDING FREEDOM!

I'm extremely disappointed to hear my student soldiers denigrate themselves like that. At Iraq the Model a soldier's inherent worth is obvious; why isn't it obvious to them? Maybe I should smoke them at the start of class...


Well, I tried to smoke them, but I got choked up. They were looking at me with the most interesting look on their faces; I realized that most of them consider their job to be nothing special. They don't think they're heroes, so for me to get choked up when I praise them is probably a hoot.

But they're all heroes to me.

Posted by Sarah at April 22, 2004 06:59 AM

Our cadets at the academies are some of the brightest students graduating from high school each year. Many have received full scholarship offers from places like Stanford, Northwestern, and Cornell. Officers help infuse the enlisted corps with a spirit of learning which might never have been there before. Ask your students who influenced them to take classes. I'm sure many are there because their officers inspired them to get an education.

Posted by: Mike at April 22, 2004 01:11 PM

Tell your student who say those things that *I* say "BULLSHIT".

Today's enlisted soldier is not some walking automoton that fires bullets on command. Soldiers get more on the job training than virtually any other occupation, and while the pay sucks and it's a mostly thankless job, you get to do things other people can only dream about...if they are inclined to do so.

Do you think that some Harvard snob with multiple PhD's are as good at their job as the average Spec4 in the infantry? Does some clown in tweed and courdoroys teaching Faust (and interpreting it badly I might add, because it's a cryptofascist tract symbolizing corporate greed, like Enron and Halliburton) carry the same immediate impact as a squad of troops guarding a checkpoint?

Academics are a luxury that can only be provided by a strong economy and robust national defense. if there were no privates, sergeants, and 2nd LTs rooting around gumbo mud in Grafenwohr, those Harvard academics would be hiding in caves with their berry smeared offspring cavorting just outside.

Posted by: Jason at April 22, 2004 04:14 PM


You are too kind to aca-dumb-ics. Faust? Why would anyone even want to *touch* the work of a dead white male when they could read I, Rigoberta Menchu instead?


Posted by: Amritas at April 22, 2004 10:12 PM

Ah, you are right. i commited the venal sin of using an example work of a dead white European male. I am ashamed!

I am leaving now to take sensitivity training. Mind the electrodes.

Posted by: Jason at April 22, 2004 10:29 PM

The soldiers are right - the kids at the elite universities (I was one once) don't belong in the military. But it is not because they are too smart, but too soft, too undisciplined, and too selfish. You do NOT want them covering your back.
(True, some could be 'saved', but not worth the risk unless you have no choice.)

Posted by: Glenmore at April 23, 2004 09:51 PM

Gee Mike, you MUST be an officer. You make it sound like enlisted soldiers can't think for themselves-like college is too lofty for folks "like them". While many officers do make a positive difference in our military, I wouldn't go so far as to say that most of our enlisted service members are in college because of them.

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