29 October 2005

Missing the Point

I was just looking at an interesting article in the Brunswick (Maine) Times-Record. It seems that the president of the Bowdoin College Democrats, Alex Cornell du Houx, is off to Iraq. He is a member of the Marine Reserves, and his unit has been activated in preparation for a December deployment to Iraq. Despite his vocal opposition to the war, Cornell du Hoax is putting his uniform on, putting his political aspirations on hold, and doing his duty. (Something similar happened out here in Hawaii last year with one of the members of the State Legislature.)

The president of the Bowdoin College Republicans (who is also the secretary for their national organization) made some amazingly petty and small-minded comments about Cornell du Houx's pending deployment:
Daniel Schuberth, a leader of the Bowdoin College Republicans and College Republican national secretary, said, "I applaud Mr. Houx for his service, just as I applaud any other soldier who is brave enough to take up arms in defense of his country. I find it troubling, however, that one of the most vocal opponents of our president, our country and our mission in Iraq has chosen to fight for a cause he claims is wrong. Mr. Houx's rhetoric against the war on terror places him in agreement with the most radical fringes of the Democratic Party, and I am left to question his logic and motivation."

Although I've already seen some progressive blogs beating up on Schuberth, I've actually heard similar sentiments from people who are far to his left when talking about my own family situation. A couple of people have actually said things to me along the lines of, "but if you are opposed to the war, how can you let your wife go off and fight there? if she is opposed to the war, why is she going?"

Anyone who raises such questions demonstrates a lack of understanding of the proper relationship between the military and the civil power in a democracy. In order to for a nation to remain a democracy, the military must be subordinate to the civil power. To put it bluntly, the military does not get to decide if they want to fight somewhere. They are told to, by the politicians. If it works the other way around, it isn't a democracy. It's a military dictatorship.

People who have a committment to the military, and who fulfill their committment despite their opposition to the war, are acting in the finest traditions of the United States. By acting in this allegedly illogical manner, they are doing their part to protect our country. In fact, they are doing so twice - from enemies foreign, and from enemies domestic.
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