Friday, December 10, 2004

So ... just what constitutes a "national emergency" anyway?

Lots of ink being spilled describing how the U.S. military is in deep trouble, what with increasing desertion and resignations, a tougher time getting new recruits who don't fancy getting their nads blown off to make Halliburton and the Carlyle Group richer, and increasing grumbling from the soldiers already stuck in Iraq who are being kept there under the "stop-loss" program. Yes, one might say the American military are not a bunch of happy campers. All of that is described here, but there was one passage that really leaped out at me:

A further sign of strain can be seen in the Army’s decision this year to mobilise 5,600 members of a pool of former soldiers that can be mobilised only in a national emergency.

Um ... say what? When exactly did the U.S.'s illegal, pre-emptive invasion of another country become a "national emergency"? There are no pitched battles being fought on American soil. Iraq is clearly not preparing to launch their own invasion; hell, isn't Iraq supposed to be on the same side as the U.S. by now?

And while it's a complete fiasco that Iraq seems pretty clearly descending into a nasty civil war, it's not at all clear how any of that represents a "national emergency" for Americans. The only danger to Americans at the moment seems to be to those unlucky enough to be stuck dodging bullets and roadside bombs overseas. So where's the "emergency"? As many have already pointed out, this was a war of choice, not of necessity. To paraphrase a well-known saying, really bad judgement in starting a war on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part.

If I was one of those 5,600 former soldiers, I'd be giving serious thought to going to court to find out just whose definition of the word we're using here.

No comments: