Who should fight? That's what the armed services are about these days, aggressive action rather than guarding. Former President Bush picked a chump in the bar room and took a swing. Now the country is out in the alley, cheering on his pumped up military descendants.
But the fact is, even with the shock of 9/11, Iraq is not Germany in WW II, nor is Afghanistan. Both countries are symbols of the terror we face, not necessarily the staging grounds. And of course this statement includes an assumption the terror is not within, that connections between the Bush family and the bin Laden family is meaningless, that more important financial interests which are global don't slaver after warfare.
And even assuming America is blameless as a warmonger, it is not blameless, try: it is shameless, as an employer. What's the lifetime maximum for a soldier who loses a limb in combat? $100,000. And other stateside atrocities of neglect of soldiers with bruised bodies and psyches. I have become an Abolitionist in the sense that Abolitionists before and during the Civil War were not about changing the law by using the system. They just wanted to change the law; they knew the system's absolute corruption needed to be blasted through.
But the case being made by Pentagon presidential advisers is that the military needs more soldiers, more cannon fodder. I refer to the military qua institution, not qua various individuals within the structure who are inevitably humane and concerned. I can only refer to what I hear on radio reports or read in the news--alas, the commonsensical and compassionate don't get the microphone.
We already know women in the service are perforce at risk. Instead of being moved forward to the seeming equality of fatigues, women are often enough 'made use of.'
And now because of "thinning ranks" the military is willing to open to gays. No more Don't Ask, Don't Tell providing a "safe" cover. The military is willing to pretend it is suddenly without prejudice--just like that!--imagine!--and allow lesbian and gay women and men to also have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to lose a limb, come back to America, be ill-treated, untreated, abandoned.
Could there be any more transparent ploy?
My suggestion is Don't Enlist, Don't Fight. Don't Ask, Don't Sign the Dotted Line. If any institution in this country needs to open itself to gays, it's Hollywood, not the military.