Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Those who refuse to support the state deserve no support from the state

Anyone who has read this should be able to tell by now how much of a spots fan I am. A huge one. And while I think baseball is the greatest of them, I have played/coached/officiated in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, golf, and tennis. I'm a huge sports guy.

For those of you who might be reading this and haven't read many of my posts or my profile, I also spent 20 years in the Army, am retired, am a combat veteran of Desert Storm, and have done and seen shit that most people can't even begin to imagine.

My father is retired Air Force. My older brother spent some time in the Army. My sister tried to join the Air Force but was medically disqualified. My younger brother spent 4 years in the Air Force. My father had a uncle killed in World War I, and a cousin who jumped into St. Mere Eglise and was wounded. I have an uncle who spent a year as an Infantryman in Vietnam. And many other family members who have served.

I am proud of my service, but I don't put it in peoples faces. A lot of people I know (especially here) don't have any clue. I don't shy away from it, but I don't volunteer it either. I have immense respect for anyone who has ever served. And I have very strong opinions about the subject. So a lot of people won't like my opinion on this. I don't care.

I found this posting at Spolitical's site. And I have a problem with what I read.

Because it seems this guy is exempt, and doesn't need to do his duty because he has 'unique skills' that other soldiers don't have. How's that again, I missed something? Its funny that a flute player for the West Point band won't ever get released to play for the New York Philharmonic, but someone with 4.3 speed in the '40 gets out? A nuclear physics major at the Point won't ever get released from doing their duty to be able to take a job for the Department of Energy. But a sweet jumper from 15' gets you an exemption? A singer in the Academy chorus won't get released for a chance at American Idol. But a 12 - 6 curve ball gets you out of harms way?

What's more, this guy is commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. A leader of solders? A future general? I don't think so. This guy went to a service academy to learn how to be a leader and he's running away while normal grunts are doing their 5th tour in Iraq or Afghanistan? I'm glad this guy won't actually be leading troops, because he doesn't deserve the privilege. Make him a supply guy, or let him run the mess hall. But he doesn't deserve to lead real soldiers.

I knew a lot of guys in the Army that had a lot of athletic ability. Guys, and some women, who were offered college scholarships to play basketball, or football, or the chance to box professionally. They were all allowed to do so. After they finished their current enlistment and were discharged from the Army. But 'officers' have 'unique skills' that other soldiers don't have?

Seriously, I'm missing something here. This isn't the British Army. Officers are supposed to set the example and lead from the front, not run away and hide. Considering the number of soldiers who are under Stop-Loss and can't get out, and this guy gets to play sports instead heading into a combat zone. Its ridiculous. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating he go into harm's way and be killed or injured. But I know a bunch of 19-year old soldiers (on food stamps) with 18-year old wives and 6-month old babies who would like the same opportunity.

This is wrong. And the fact that more people will support this 'right' to play football than will agree that he needs to do his duty is exactly why its wrong. And why its allowed to happen.

I don't know Caleb Campbell. I don't know if he's a good person or a bad person. It doesn't matter. I hope he has a great career and goes to the Hall of Fame. I also hope in his induction speech he remembers to mention those that fell so he could play a game.

Because when you get right down to it, it is still just a game.

Being a soldier isn't.

Pat Tillman understood that.


Pete Ridges said...

You've probably seen this, but the Army have just changed their policy:

It's not relevant now, but my understanding was that it was never about a soldier's "right" to play in the NFL- rather, that the Army thought it would somehow help their image. The backlash appears to have persuaded them otherwise.

Ron Rollins said...

I saw it, and was going to do an update, but just didn't have the time.

You're right about it, but that's the problem. The Army has to worry about public relations and try to improve it just because of the types of articles that are being written about the Army not letting him play.

All of those articles are show an immense lack of respect and understanding, but the Army finally figured it out. The soldiers serving in the Army now should have an opinon that counts, and not a lot of people who have never been in or never will be.

But he still doesn't have to do his duty. He gets to coach? Bullshit. Put him in a regular unit and let him do what all soldiers have to do.

Until then, I can never respect this guy.