IMO, this writer has his head screwed on right. ;? http://ebird.afis.osd.mil/ebfiles/e20050408362133.html Los Angeles Times April 15, 2005 Soldiers Do Us The Honor By David Gelernter Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith of the U.S. Army was the first Iraq war soldier to win the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. On April 4, 2003, a group of American soldiers building a POW compound were slammed by a surprise attack. Smith organized a defense, then moved under fierce fire to an unprotected machine gun. He kept firing as the wounded were brought to safety and the attack driven off. Meanwhile he was hit, fatally. Even Iraq war opponents and Bush-haters say they honor Smith's courage. But their "honor" is mostly a sham. Unless you understand what drives a man like Sgt. Smith to become a soldier, the honor you do him is honor with a footnote (he was a brave man, but obviously some kind of weirdo). Here in academia, my colleagues seem determined to turn American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut. Remember the outcry when that uppity Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin announced in late 2003 that he preferred Christianity to the religion preached by Islamic terrorists, for whom the murder of innocents is evidently a holy sacrament? If you think I'm too hard on my fellow professors, explain to me why Army ROTC host colleges do not include Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Caltech . (Princeton and a few other top universities deserve credit for not being on this list.) How can you be terrified of an alleged new draft (calm yourselves! it will never happen) and opposed to ROTC's soliciting first-rate volunteers? Explain to me, while you're at it, why high school textbooks devote more space and emotion to the forced resettlement of Japanese Americans during World War II than the bestial torture and mass murder of captured American GIs by the Japanese. If we are seriously grateful to Sgt. Smith, why not change our colleges and textbooks in his honor? A few weeks ago, I spoke on the pro-Bush side of an informal debate at Yale, and an imposing middle-aged man with fierce white hair came up afterward to ask me where I got the nerve to support a president who sends young soldiers to their deaths? (Lots of approving nods.) By accusing President Bush of extorting something that soldiers have freely offered, he slandered the president and stole honor from the soldiers. Some Americans who joined a peacetime military may be surprised to find themselves fighting in blood-drenched Middle Eastern tyrannies. But the American armed services speak loud and clear and constantly to their trainees about combat heroes and traditions and combat unity, discipline, technique. They have never kept it a secret that they exist to fight wars. A 17-year-old boy tried to explain to the white-haired man (in his straightforward, soft-spoken way) that those soldiers had chosen to be where they were; had understood and accepted the dangers; loved life just as much as the man did, but had different ideas about how to live it. The 17-year-old mentioned that he and a friend planned to join the Marines when they finished college. But he couldn't change the Bush-hater's mind. I had a stake in the argument: the 17-year-old is my son. I don't know whether he'll make it into the Marines; we'll be proud of him either way. I do know that there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and that age 17 is a good time for caring about honor and duty and demonstrating the stuff you are made of and fighting to protect your country and rid the world of torture, terrorism and tyranny. I know also that a whole generation of Americans my generation, the boomers, the Phony Baloney Generation can't understand what was plain to the author of Ecclesiastes: "To everything there is a season." A recent essay by Ethan Dor-Shav in the journal Azure explains the biblical author's message: Be inspired by life's fleetingness to commit acts of love and nobility today. Don't wait. I think I understand what motivates many soldier-hating boomers. They never served in the military, and soldiers make them feel guilty. I never served either, and I have felt that way myself. But fairness doesn't require that you be defensive if you never wore your country's uniform, only that you honor those who did. It's amazing how spiritually cleansing a little gratitude can be. If Democrats would only resume being Democrats, the nation would rejoice: Can you imagine Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman failing in gratitude to the nation's soldiers? People where I live feel pity for Sgt. Smith, but this man who lived a warrior and died a hero deserves our comprehension, not our pity; and our profoundest thanks. This is David Gelernter's first regular column for The Times. He is a professor of computer science at Yale and a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard.