Just the Facts, Ma’am

The military recruitment budget is $3 billion annually; 90 percent of the people killed in war are civilian noncombatants; 91 percent of Berkeley High students believe the war in Iraq is wrong and illegal; 65 percent of veterans never get their education benefits; 33 percent of homeless men are veterans…

Okay, here’s the breakdown:

  • The recruitment budget is $3BB? BFD. The budget is $4BB for housing. The military is huge. Numbers that seem huge at first aren’t when you look at the big picture.
  • 90% of the people killed in war are civilians? Is that this war, or war over the last 100 years (counting the Total War of WWII) or over all of humanity? And no matter what the measurement here is, doesn’t that make the lesson of this stat become “be a combatant, not a civilian?”
  • 91 percent of Berkeley High School students thought the war was wrong and illegal? Does that mean I can conduct a pop quiz? I would ask questions like, “Do you believe that the Congress authorized war just to go look for WMDs” and “What year did this war occur in” and “How is war legally declared” and “Where is Iraq on a globe?” I bet 90% of the students would get those questions wrong, too.
  • 65% of Veterans never get their education benefits? If the numbers are correct on this, it should read “65% of veterans never seek their education benefits; 100% of veterans who properly apply for benefits receive them.” This is like saying “25% of people who go to McDonalds don’t receive Ketchup” and insinuating that McDonalds is shorting people Ketchup.

    The simple matter is, most soldiers join because they think it is the right thing to do, not because it is the only way to pay for college.

  • 33% of homeless men are veterans? That one is just plain bullshit, and I’m not afraid to call them on it. Specifically of the Vietnam era, Jug Burkett thoroughly discredited this lie in Stolen Valor.

The idea of the anti-war teach-in — four different presentations given to four groups of about 300 students — was hatched by students studying social justice and social action in CAS, Berkeley High’s Communication Arts and Sciences school. The project was guided by CAS teacher Joanna Sapir.

Oh, I bet the plan was hatched by “four students”. I bet they are all Joanna’s pets.

Delgado was 19, just a bit older than the students he was addressing, when he signed the Army Reserve contract that changed his life. The son of a diplomat who grew up in Egypt and other countries abroad, he said he did not go into the service for college money — his family was paying his way — but because he wanted a change in his life. He thought he’d join the reserves and put on a uniform a couple of days each month.

In other words, he wanted to play soldier, not be a soldier.

Soon after the war began in March 2003, Delgado’s unit was deployed to Iraq. “I got to Iraq and felt totally unprepared,” he said.

He told the students that he had always been opposed to war intellectually, but in Iraq he began to understand the meaning of pacifism and began studying Buddhism. After three months, he told his commanding officer that he wanted to apply for conscientious objector status. The process took two years and he was honorably discharged in January.

So… he thought he was going to play soldier, and then when he actually had to be a soldier, he found Buddha. The only saving grace I have for him is that he properly sought conscientious objector status and served out his enlistment and earned his honorable discharge. I’m disappointed that he joined on disingenuous terms, but I’m heartened by him finishing his commitment. Finally:

As panelists took audience questions, the students who spoke seemed generally against war and against serving in the military. However, student Mateo Guttierez challenged the panel, asking, “Do you think it’s immoral or unpatriotic to use tax-payer time during school to give information on draft resistance?”

Bravo, Mateo. You’re on the right track, but you are missing the big picture — it is immoral and unpatriotic to force tax-payers to fund government schools. Public schools today are indoctrination centers, no matter where you go: pro-US, anti-US, pro-government, etc. — and it is immoral to take money at with a gun to fund that.

(Via Classical Values)

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