Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Father confessor

For the n-th time this semester, a student has taken it upon himself to unload his burdens on me. I'm now up to four confessed abortions for the semester—a new record. Apparently, I should have gone to seminary after all, since I put people at ease in ways that never am.
In the course of a forty-five minute conversation with a student today, only about ten minutes of which were actually about course materials, we discussed abortion, the way that pro-life groups seem to focus on clinics in white areas and what it is like to have to decide whether to shoot children and women who may or may not be involved in insurgency or jihad in Iraq. At the end of this conversation with this very damaged human being who I am in no way competent either to help or certainly to judge, I found myself wondering why the hell it is that the class that decides when to send our troops to war almost never actually has to, or is willing to, fight them. Why are our hawks of the Cheney/Bush model? What happened to the idea that you shouldn't be sending people to wars you wouldn't be willing to fight? I know that there are ample arguments against the draft, but I wonder whether re-instituting it—with no exemptions—might make us much less likely to fight wars or at least more deliberate about entering them. And, in the spirit of the finest period of the Roman Republic, it seems only right that Senators ride out with the troops.

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