Sunday, February 26, 2006

Respect my Authority!

This weekend I was reading Texas Monthly magazine, which for those of you who aren't familiar is at times a rather stuffy, snooty little publication chock full of ads for things that most of us can't afford or wouldn't want anyway. Anyway, I was reading this great publication because I spotted the cover...



I thought, "Hey, I'm a Texan, I've been to war let's see what they've got." All in all not too bad on their part. If it's available where you are take a look.

But between this magazine and reading some posts over at my buddy T-Bone's I saw a couple of things that tripped my trigger(neither were caused by T-Bone or Texas Monthly). It is a trend that I for one find both irritating and insulting to the intelligence of most people. The growing propensity of some people out there to preface a statement with the phrase, "As a veteran of ____ war who served with ___ unit I think..." usually followed by some diatribe that has nothing to do with their service.

I will honestly admit that at times I myself have been tempted to say..."as a veteran of OIF" when posting an opinion about OIF. But when I thought about it, that statement really had no bearing whatsoever on my opinion on the war...so I didn't include it. Unless someone was in the Headquarters of Central Command or some-such I really don't need to hear the words, "as a OIF vet" when you rant (more often than not against) about the war.

PFC Snuffy who served with 3ID has as much right to have his say as anyone else about the war...but his service doesn't give him any special insight to WMD production or the decision making process that occurred at the White House before we invaded. Is he more personally affected by those decisions? Of course he is, but he has no clearer idea about who had what intelligence that John Q Public does, and in some case he has less.

And for you folks that have never been in the military, the armed forces are a microcosm of society at large. We have crooks, liars, drug abusers even murderers. When a person says I served in unit X in war Y you don't know if this guy was the soldier of the month or a bad conduct discharge. It's a red herring in my opinion and not necessary for most discussions.

I think a lot of people try to use their service as a crutch in these situations, as if their argument would hold no weight on its own, they need to add, oh, and by the way I served in this or that war so you'd better listen to me. It's as if I got on ESPN and said, "you know I played semi pro baseball so this my opinion on MLB"...like that carries any weight at all.

Arguments for and against our present course of action in the GWOT should be argued on their merits alone and not on the pedigree of those presenting them...and i say that as an OIF vet who served in the 1st Cavalry Division. ;-)
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