Giving your life

Giving your life
: Look at any man or woman in uniform and know that they are risking their lives. These people volunteered for this. Most go in with their eyes wide open.

Listen to Donald Sensing, an Army veteran and now a Methodist minister (and a blogger), as he talks about his son’s decision about whether or not to enlist:

One of the characteristics of asymmetrical warfare is that future enemies will attempt to strike our non-combat units, as we have seen the Iraqis do for the past two weeks. Logistic trains have always been primary targets, of course, but future conflicts will see a lot more guerrilla-type encounters than the American Army is used to, historically.

Like any father, I want my son to come through his military service alive and well. Where can he serve and do so? At the junior enlisted level, there are really no safe jobs any more, because any soldier can be assigned to a combat theater. And once there, all soldiers are liable to attack in some way.

Eyes wide open.

Now compare that with a twit profiled in today’s New York Times (and, I believe, interviewed on Today): a Marine volunteer who decided that he doesn’t want to fight.

When Stephen E. Funk enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves last fall, going to war was the last thing on his mind. He was 19 and, as he put it, adrift after a year at college when a recruiter sold him on the Marines by talking up the leadership skills, camaraderie and confidence he would learn in the armed forces.

But while in boot camp at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, Mr. Funk said, he began to feel like “a hypocrite” when he was ordered to shout out “Kill!” as the recruits drilled….

“War wasn’t a part of it at all for me. I never even thought about it,” said Mr. Funk, from Seattle, who plans to turn himself in for punishment today at his base in San Jose, Calif., for being absent without leave. “I thought it would be like Boy Scouts.”

Let me say it again: Twit.

I have nothing against anyone deciding not to serve in the armed forces and I’m grateful it is a choice today. In my day, during Vietnam, fate and your birth date determined your odds; there wasn’t a choice.

Soldiers today chose this life; they chose the hardship and the risk and I respect them for it.