Tuesday, 25 March 2008

In Which "Dick" Puns Are Avoided

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Richard Cheney:

" "The president carries the biggest burden, obviously," Cheney said. "He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us." "
(Quote from ABC News).

Leaving aside for a moment my general feeling that one has to be careful about treating the military as a completely infallible and immaculate entity that one cannot criticise without being unpatriotic, it's a pretty hard sell that President Bush has a harder time of it in the war than the soldiers do. Especially when you consider that Bush mentioned only a week or so ago that he thought fighting on the ground war must be somewhat romantic.

Seriously, if a Democratic administration tried to make the case that war was tougher on them than it was on the troops, they'd be rounded up and fired into the sun. Hypocrisy is pretty hard to avoid in politics, but germs are pretty hard to avoid in bathrooms, and you should still have enough sense not to gargle from the toilet bowl.

PS: Note also the emphasis that the American soldiers volunteered to join the military. Well, sure, if you ignore the number of people who sign up to the army because they can't get a job anywhere else (well, I guess the women could become hookers, but let's put that aside), and you ignore the fact that signing up to a job doesn't mean anything your boss decides to make you do is automatically OK, then yes, these men and women did in fact volunteer. But how is that relevant here? No-one forced Bush to become president. In fact, a metric fuck-ton of people actively tried to stop him becoming president, to the point where his party had to cheat in order to get him over the finish line. Linking "it's harder to send people to die than it is to be sent to die" to "and anyway it's not like they didn't have a choice" is a pretty distasteful attempt to simultaneously engender sympathy for the guy that demands the sacrifices and lessen the relevance of the sacrifices themselves.

Anyway, I really should get back to work.

Update: I just read an interesting article that suggested that for a lot of people signing up for the army "economic need" equates less to "serve or starve" than it does "serve to break through into the middle class". It's an interesting distinction, so perhaps we should change "hookers" to "call girls" in the above.

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