A community columnist piece appearing in Wednesday’s Charlotte Observer attracted the anticipated pro & con responses printed in today’s edition. Steve Stoeckel wrote a piece in the form of a letter to Donald Rumsfeld explaining why his (Steve’s) sons would never fight in Rumsfeld’s “splendid little war”. Citing the example of Robert McNamara who later expressed regret over Vietnam and his own experience in avoiding that conflict, the author states he will “do anything I can to make sure you don’t get your hands on them.”
Today’s letters were split for and against Steve’s position but all the responses seemed to have overlooked a key point. None of them came out in support of his sons and their ability as independent thinking human beings to determine their own path in life. By “forcing” his beliefs on his kids, Steve is no better than the generation of parents who raised their sons by drilling into their heads the idea they should blindly march off to what ever war/conflict this country was engaged in. Ultimately it is the decision of the sons (and now unfortunately also the daughters) whether to join the military. I would have more respect for his sons (and Steve) if he raised his children as free-thinkers. Bringing kids into the world because you want little cookie-cutter versions of yourself is not too far removed from cloning. You take your chances and you live with the consequences. The only guaranteed way to avoid having your children fight in wars is to not have any. (children OR wars) Something more than writing editorial columns(or LJ posts) is needed to end the latter.
(note- my father served in WW2 and from time to time expressed his belief that I had an “obligation” to serve my country. I interpreted “obligation” as “military service”. I began to seriously question this when someone I knew on a first name basis was killed in Vietnam. Luckily the war and the draft ended before I turned 18. I’ve “known” no war and for that I am thankful.)