Clearing up confusion


Published: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 11:43 p.m.

The commentary (Jan. 7), "Volunteer military is isolated from civilian society," consists of repetitions of the title's claim (four), the author's purported reasons for her purported problem, and her suggestion for a cure - reinstituting the military draft.

Unfortunately, the author gives no facts that support the existence of her purported problem. She fails to base her highly questionable opinions on any specific examples illustrating how and why the United States "lost the ability to have a meaningful discussion about anything that involves the military."

Or how the " ... demise of the draft ... ended the natural exchange of experience between military and civilian worlds." Or by what mechanism "The strong sense of civilian control of the military ... was lost by the end of the draft."

Has my 32 years of active service in our military, preceded by four years of reserve duty while in medical school, plus my continuing consulting with our military forces, put me too close to the problem to recognize it?

"Why doesn't anyone ever talk about ... how weak civil-military relations have become ... ?" Could it be that the professor alone has identified this problem? Or that the "problem" is solely in her mind?

The professor decries the lack of civilian control of the military. Has she ever heard of Congress? Last time I looked, it was composed entirely of civilians. And does she really need to be reminded that Congress controls the military?

After several readings, the reason for the author's convoluted and confusing invective became clear: her alleged assertion that today's military is ''openly aligned with the Republican Party."

Perhaps a bit of advice from a scientist might help cure the professor's current confusion.

Scientific method demands that if one cannot put aside emotional bias, one must recuse oneself from involvement in a problem.

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