You may have heard about the recent column in the Denver Post equating military service with slavery. If you haven’t the column, called KEEP OUR SLAVES SAFE, I can sum it up in one word:
Not that there aren’t important issues that need to be addressed. But the whole argument about our poor, poor soldiers who never wanted to actually fight a war but just wanted money for college is just plain lost on me.
(Tip: Don’t comment or email and try to convince me otherwise. I have long since made my mind up about this issue, and nothing I’ve heard in the past year has even dented my conviction. Call me closed-minded if it makes you feel better. I’m also close-minded about the idea that the world is not flat.)
The column was written by Reggie Rivers, who at one time played running back for the Denver Broncos. Here’s the opening
Our military is one of the last bastions of slavery in the United States. At the moment, our slaves are stuck in a combat zone, getting killed and maimed, and there’s nothing they can do about it except hunker down and pray.
Yes, our slaves signed up of their own free will, but most of them were as misled about their job as the rest of us were about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
And I don’t think “slave” is too strong a word to describe someone who is not permitted to quit his job no matter how dangerous it becomes or how much he hates it. For most of us, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and guaranteed that we have the right to withhold our labor. It doesn’t protect soldiers.
Ah. So a US soldier in a combat zone doesn’t have the same rights as the teenager in the Orange Julius at the mall? Weird.
Random Nuclear Strikes asks Is their ANY validity at all to this guys argument that I’m missing?
I don’t think so.
Rivers also takes the downloadable first-person shooter AMERICA’S ARMY to task as a “brainwashing” recruiting tool:
The U.S. Army has an official video game that can be downloaded at www.americasarmy.com It’s a recruiting tool aimed to win the hearts and minds of children of all ages. The goal is catch them before they develop critical thinking skills that might lead them to question the wisdom of volunteering for slavery.
The site’s FAQ section includes this encouragement for parents: “In elementary school kids learn about the actions of the Continental Army that won our freedoms under George Washington. Today, they need to know that the Army is engaged around the world to defeat terrorist forces bent on the destruction of America and our freedoms.”
Parents are further assured that the brainwashing of their kids will be conducted without undue exposure to the horrific reality of warfare. “The game does not include any dismemberment or disfigurement. When a soldier is killed, that soldier simply falls to the ground and is no longer part of the on-going mission.”
So Rivers thinks that the game would be better if it reproduced the blood and gore of an actual battlefield? All the better to scare kids away from voluntary slavery? Probably not, but it might be okay if we also show some nudity. Or something. (I’m not really sure what the point of that last linked column was…)
I haven’t read enough of Rivers’ stuff to really have an informed opinion. But I hope he writes better than he did in this most recent column. And I hope he writes better than he rushed the football.
Sure, soldiers give up a lot of rights when they sign on. But calling them slaves is just plain silly. And an insult to those that were or are actually slaves.
And did Rivers conciously intend to time this column to coincide with Memorial Day? Even if he was right, WHICH HE FUCKING WELL ISN’T, why would he choose to go head-to-head with the day we memorialize those soldiers, sailors, and airmen that have fallen? I’m willing to entertain arguments that it’s because he’s stupid, but that doesn’t answer the question of his editors greenlighting it.