Called to new service

Sarah Palin is floating the notion that we ought to be electing military veterans to our political offices. (I note, purely in passing, that it was on this date in 1972 that I took the Oath of Enlistment.)

On the other hand, perhaps we shouldn’t be electing veterans just because they are veterans, as Jenn (who also has taken an Oath) notes:

In general I agree that more veterans should be elected, but electing someone simply because they are a veteran is a horrible, horrible idea. Cases in point — Wesley Clark, John Kerry, John Murtha. I could go on but I think the point is made. Besides that there is no guarantee that a) veterans are any better leaders than the people currently being elected (anyone who has served knows how many bad leaders there are in the service) or b) any more honest than anyone else. All other things being equal military service would be an excellent tie-breaker but as a sole qualification I have to say no.

Then again, hardly anything in life comes with a guarantee. And if I seem willing to take a chance on the guys (and girls) who wore the uniform, it’s because I remember the ones who took a chance on me, all those years ago. Your mileage, of course, may vary.


  1. fillyjonk »

    31 March 2010 · 3:43 pm

    James Stockdale possibly didn’t deserve the reputation, but for quite a while I know he was the poster child for ill-prepared candidates after his disastrous performance in a debate. And he was a highly decorated Navy man.

  2. Jeffro »

    31 March 2010 · 4:51 pm

    I’d be more likely to give former military politicians the benefit of the doubt. I think the odds would be in my favor, bad examples not withstanding.

  3. Lemon Stand »

    31 March 2010 · 5:47 pm

    Huh. I agree with Jenn. (I joined in 1983 so my mileage is a tad shorter than yours… but I don’t EVER intend to run for any kind of office… You can thank me later.) :o)

  4. Lisa Paul »

    31 March 2010 · 6:03 pm

    I’m disagreeing here. The military — especially the officer track — teaches leadership, which we could use a lot more of. If nothing else, people who have been in combat and seen comrades and their troops die might be a little slower to get entangled in wars except as an absolutely last resort.

    And I’m going to disagree on Wes Clark as well. And here’s where I expose my bias –my father was a professor at West Point and he says Wes Clark was one of the brightest students he ever taught. That’s saying a lot at the most rigorous college in America.

  5. narciso »

    31 March 2010 · 8:51 pm

    She picked three in particular, Adam Kinzenberger, Vaugh Ward and Col. Allen West, because they have demonstrated proven leadership skills and the right positions. The Dems chose Massa among others who have proven tobe deeply clueless

  6. Jenn »

    31 March 2010 · 9:18 pm

    I am not discounting military service, I am just saying that as a sole decider it is inadequate.

    Lisa, the military does try and teach leadership. It doesn’t always succeed. That female Navy Captain who was just relieved of her command is a good case in point. In my opinion Wesley Clark is another. I know a former officer who served under him in and he has nothing but disgust for the man. It’s also telling that His former boss said he had character and integrity issues.

  7. Lisa Paul »

    1 April 2010 · 1:24 am

    NOTHING BUT NOTHING should be a sole decider. By definition one criteria is inadequate. Public office should demand brains, leadership skills, negotiating skills, a moral compass and so much more. Making a decision on the basis of just one criteria would be like voting for a candidate on a single issue. Stupid.

    While nothing succeeds 100%, military officer training does really stress leadership, as other professions do not necessarily.

  8. Are companies using unpaid internships to get free work out of students? « A Conservative Shemale »

    3 April 2010 · 10:08 am

    […] Dustbury linked my comments regarding Sarah Palin’s call to elect more veterans. I stand by my contention that it isn’t enough just to be a veteran. You need the right kind of veterans. […]

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