Friday, May 12, 2006

 

How do you define "elite"?

I found this while surfing.
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,96759,00.html

"The nation is hearing echoes of this complaint in words of some of the generals currently criticizing Rumsfeld: “My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results,” said Lt. General Greg Newbold in Time magazine recently. "

Well for one thing, both Bush and the much maligned Rumsfeld are veterans. Something you would think a two star general would know before he shot off his mouth. Second, the article is written by people with very close ties to the Clinton White House. In fairness, they did offer that information in the article. But the whole tone of the piece has a certain taste of, "oh my God, we didn't realize!" quality that is pretty shameful when you consider that they never got that clue when Clinton was in power. They also had to include the swipe at Rumsfeld when a casual check would have told them he was a former pilot. They dance on the head of a pin here trying to both show that the so called "elites" were grossly under represented in the services, while at the same time making an under the table case that only veterans can make the choices about going to war or not.

We've already had this debate. Civilians govern the services for a reason, so that men who may fine officiers, but lousy policy makers don't form a praetorian guard. I also challenge their assumption that the wealthy constitute the "elite" of this country. I've met too many officiers to believe that, they aren't as a group any better than your average high school football team. One or two that really shine, the majority are decent at what they do, and a few outright suck. A moneyed background doesn't give you a higher than normal IQ. It gives you more choices, it doesn't make you smarter. Especially since most people who have money were born into it. I know that the argument they make is a valid one if you say that people in power should have a greater understanding of what they commit us to, that more upper class people should serve. But that's not what they say when they use words like elite. The best and brightest are more often than not drawn from the ranks of the enlisted. Educated by the military, they often far outshine the annointed officer class in both ability and in commitment.

Elite is a word to describe men and women who have earned a special distinction over the rank and file. Not to describe the moneyed Harvard brats of political clans. Being smart doesn't get you to Harvard, being rich does, a whole separate criteria. They speak from arrogance, they count themselves in this special class that just gosh darn it all, don't understand what it's like having a family member serve.

The message board at the site touching on this was totally dominated by former officers, ones with usually a decided lean against the war. I've met some vets like that, they usually hand out LaRouch pamplets and say that the Illumanati are joining with a global Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. And if I sound overly cruel to these people,

good, my work is done.

Comments:
Your mom's elite.
 
I take it you're going to college, and consider yourself "special". An education is wasted on those who have never harboured an original thought.
 
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