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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Attention pro-war students: Uncle Sam wants you

    They go by many names, such as chicken hawks, yellow elephants and College Republicans. You have seen them around campus, exhorting people to “”support our troops,”” by which they mean “”send anyone but me to fight and die in Iraq.””

    Whatever name is applied to them, they have three things in common: they are of military age, they support George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and their mouths are much bigger than their balls (or lack thereof).

    If you are a healthy young student who believes, as the president does, that the Iraq war should continue or even escalate, then you fall into one of two categories: veteran or selfish little coward.

    Our Iraq misadventure is in its last throes, but the president is fighting a dead-end insurgency campaign against the American people by continuing this filthy and futile war. Most of the sacrifice required to continue this insane policy falls on the troops in Iraq, their spouses, their children and their parents. If you are willing to make your fellow citizens suffer but you are unwilling to make that same sacrifice, then you are a coward.

    I don’t mean to say that your opinion on the war only counts if you have served in the military. Most of us haven’t, which is the way it works in a democracy with a volunteer military.

    Nor do I mean to say that fighting in Iraq makes your view of the war correct. If that were the case, veterans would agree about how to proceed in Iraq instead of disagreeing bitterly. What I am saying is that serving in Iraq gives your pro-war view a degree of moral credibility, even though this war is profoundly immoral.

    I know that many UA students have served in Iraq, and if you are one of them, then you have my gratitude and respect for your service to our country. However much I disagree, at least veterans have put their own lives on the line to back up their support of the war. It is far too easy to cheer for more blood when the only risk you face is a nosebleed from vomiting too hard in the Frog & Firkin bathroom.

    If you aren’t willing to put yourself on the line, then you are just spewing White House talking points as other, better people hold your pretty hair out of your face and then clean up while you sleep it off in your safe little dorm room.

    Are you serious about supporting our troops? Then go to Iraq and help them. Desperate to bolster its numbers, the Army is offering significant incentives. A new program allows recruits to serve only 15 months on active duty. Coincidentally, that is how long soldiers are spending in Iraq these days, if they are lucky enough to avoid an early trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center or Arlington National Cemetery.

    You have no excuse for not going. Sign up now, and you will be done in three semesters. This university will still be here when you get back. You will return with a sweet scholarship and the pride of knowing you stood up for what you believe in. No prospective employers will look down on you for taking a break from college to serve your country. Quite the opposite, I assure you.

    You know who you are. You feel the weight of your own cowardice and hypocrisy every time you hear about an IED cutting short yet another young life. You know you should be there, but you just can’t bring yourself to enlist. You probably think I am rude for bringing your dishonor out into the open.

    You need not feel ashamed. If you don’t think this war is worth fighting, then stop saying so. If you do think it is worth fighting, go fight. If you do neither, then you can live with the knowledge that your fellow Americans are dying to protect someone who doesn’t deserve it. No amount of pro-war cheerleading can drown out that shame.

    Shane Ham is a first-year law student. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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