Support our troops


TigerHawk makes a truly brilliant suggestion:

Military recruitment is down. The left will argue that this is because people do not want to die in wars that are at best unnecessary and at worst criminal, and the right will argue that the constant harping of the press over Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and comparisons to Nazis and such has undermined respect for the military just when it should be at its highest. I imagine that both considerations come into play, depending on the political views of the recruit and, perhaps most importantly, his or her parents.

Whatever the reason in the particular case, in a time of war an all—volunteer military is not going to get the manpower it needs from slick advertising or recruiters who could sell ice cubes to Eskimos (although both are necessary). Our political leaders need to lead, and in this case that means they need to persuade Americans that the military is an honorable calling that performs an essential function. Politicians on both sides claim they "support the troops." Well, just about the most important thing they can do to support the troops is to recruit new ones.

President Bush needs to get out in front of this effort, and then every Congressman and Senator should follow. His speech yesterday was a great start. He now needs to repeat this effort in every stump speech he makes, at every breakfast he addresses, and at every press conference he hosts. He needs to go into high schools and meet with recruits and put them on the evening news. And he needs to demand that members of his cabinet and the Congress do as well. You either believe in the volunteer army, or you don't. You either support the troops, or you don't.

By the way, a campaign to bolster recruitment would make great politics, too. If the Republicans were able to define "support for the troops" to mean support for military recruitment, Democratic presidential aspirants would either have to get behind that effort —— which would enrage their base —— or explain why they did not actively support the volunteer army by helping to recruit for it. 

The President's next speech should be to tell the Dems he knows that deep in their hearts they support the troops and the idea of a volunteer army, and that he wants them to join him in public, bipartisan recruitment appearances so that they can prove their critics wrong. I am certain they will jump at the opportunity. Wouldn't it be  cynical to doubt he'll see more than Lieberman on the dais next to the President?

Hat tip:Instapundit 
Clarice Feldman    6 29 05