Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fisher Price Computer

Mean, but kind of funny. I have to admit, I've said this to Mac users in the past.

Kidnapping Recruits 2:

In which a reader responds in an utterly reasonable way making the author feel like a wild-eyed crazy person.

I said:
"Okay, I invite my right-leaning readers to justify this. Show me why I need not be concerned about the government taking kids off the street and forcing them to sign papers. 2 ground rules: if you say, "he wasn't tortured" or use the words "nazi" or "soviet" you lose."

To which I got this response from a semi-regular commenter:
I probably AM 'right wing' by some reckoning but I really hate the Left - Right labels. I like kittens and being nice to people AND shooting guns. Progressives have called me a Nazi and Gun Nutz have told me to get my bleeding heart out of Dodge. You can't win sometimes.

A boat I find myself in quite a bit, actually. I also tend to reject the Left/Right labels but lately, at the provocation of Travis and my son, I've started to think again about what it is the Left stands for and so have been caught up again in the false dichotomy. My Bad.
I only point out that we don't - really - know what happened. We have the Mom's side of the story, a few bits from he kid (described IIRC as shy) and ... that's it. The column is just that .. a column. They have a restricted word count and the point is to tell a story, not to report facts.

True we only have one side and I've convicted without hearing the defense. Not good on my part. OTOH I think it's still within the mandate of the press to report facts. That may not be the case here, i.e. there may be facts unreported or a different story, and I haven't been completely impartial in jumping to my conclusion. Fair enough.
As it happens (small world!) Ms. Paynter responded to a polite well-reasoned email I sent yesterday. She called (if I understand her correctly) the recruiter in question and left a message. He hadn't called back as of early afternoon today. She said she was interested in hearing both sides of the story.

I must now lapse into conjecture. Likely his SOP requires him let the PIO handle the press and he's sent the contact up the chain of command. He might or might not want to call Ms. Poynter. If they said "don't do that" he's in dutch with his OIC. If he doesn't the government is being muleish.
More conjecture based on events that happened in 1985. The conversation (mostly) jibes with what I've heard recruiters say. Back in the day (as of 1993) a Marine recruiter got points only if his enlistee graduated boot camp - the idea being that this would ensure the recruiter didn't shove people in for the sake of points who were otherwise unqualified.

This seems like a sane and reasonable policy.
I doubt they'd grab the kid without his explicit 'yes'. The kid was described as 'shy' and it's possible he did say 'yes' or there was a communication snafu of some type - he was getting passive-aggressive and they took that as 'this kid is ready to go'.

I did think about this. I know how I was at 18 and it was pretty wishy-washy and, in the right conditions you probably could have gotten me to say just about anything. That said, I still think it would be coercion.
I further note that the events described (where the recruiters had the kid) don't sound like he was on his way to Boot - it sounds like they had him in for ASVAB testing but ... who knows?
One screwed up event does not a policy of impressment make. And we're light-years away from needing a draft for reasons that would make this letter much longer than it already is.
What can I say? A response 90% conjecture wasn't what you were looking for but absent the other side of the story it's all we've got.

Agreed! Absolutely agreed. One event is not a policy of impressment. My only concern is that it's a cockroach effect, for everyone you see, there are 10 more hiding under the fridge. Even that isn't a policy. I do worry that, in the push to make numbers, the recruiters are getting desperate and taking measures into their own hands, doing things they normally wouldn't do. At no point though, do I think these guys were acting under orders.
My honest opinion is, we need a draft. It's the only way to solve a variety of problems, not the least of which is getting Iraq into shape to govern itself. I was alive and aware during the Vietnam war (although a kid) and unlike the current war, it was something that was talked about with much seriousness every single day. My parents and uncles were in their mid-20s, so it was a topic of great relevance to them. I think if we called up a draft, if would crystallize a number of issue about the war, about the sacrifice of troops and about getting the job done right. I think you just cannot fight a long term war with a volunteer army. It's just doesn't make sense to me.


After being prompted for months to get a decent looking blog that allows commetns, I finally moved to

Hopefully this will mean, a) getting rid of a lot of crap associated with Dreamweaver and b) more postings since I can do this from my desk at work again.

I'll add some of the old stuff into here, but mostly it will still be at the old site.