Good news! Good news! Good news! The military is re-instating 70-year-olds in its efforts to staff the troops needed in the Iraq-Afghanistan theater.
By raising the age of eligibility for military service a whole generation of patriots can participate in military service, rather than being relegated to merely championing it from afar for the young.
And so in the spirit of Rush Limbaugh's suggestion for an All-Women's Amazon Brigade, I hereby suggest the formation of a Super Macho Patriot Brigade.
What are the qualifications for the Super Macho Patriot Brigade? Candidates must 1) be a vocal advocate of current US military operations, 2) be over age 40, 3) have not served in the military in their youth which is to say did everything imaginable to avoid service during the Vietnam or other war era, and 4) earn an above average, very comfortable living substantially in part by championing service in the Iraq War.
Finally, with the implementation of the Super Macho Patriot Brigade, the folks fitting the above profile will be able to shed their Chickenhawk reputation.
So who comes to mind as candidates for the Super Macho Patriot Brigade?
Certainly Rush Limbaugh, who avoided military service in the late 1960s due to a cyst on his behind. Cysts are treatable, so I assume this was done decades ago. Maybe Rush can enlighten us when he rushes down to the recruitment office. And of course Rush has lost a lot of weight these past several years and is an active golfer, being so physically accomplished that he even participates in tournaments regularly.
Sean Hannity, who once laughed off the idea of his enlisting with the quip, "they don't want 41-year-olds with a spare tire around their waist." Now they do, Sean. Besides, eight weeks of basic training will take care of the spare tire. But Sean's personal trainer has already buffed him up for his time in the military, so this really is no excuse at all.
Neal Boortz. Now admittedly, in contrast to his soon-to-be comrades in arms, Neal actually did try to join in his youth. Neal's asthma kept him out of the service. Of course, there have been many advances in medical treatments and technology to lighten the physical requirements of military service during the intervening years. And like the other two, Neal boasts of being in good shape from his work with a personal trainer, even to the point that he regularly pilots acrobatic planes and hot-air balloons, skis mountains around the world, and is an avid and knowledgeable gun enthusiast. Surely, if anything, Neal may actually be overqualified to begin his military service as a private.
Others who quickly come to mind include moralist Bill Bennett, blabbermouth Michael Savage, politico Newt Gingrich, the hateful Ann Coulter, privileged Michael Reagan, suck-up Joe Scarborough, Vice President Dick Cheney, pompous Bill O'Reilly, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Trent Lott, Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, Saxby Chambliss, Jeb Bush, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Ted Nugent, John Ashcroft…. When you stop to think about it, there are quite a few high-profilers who fit the pattern for membership. Yes, none of these gung-ho war enthusiasts ever served in the military.
Other than relieving these very public patriots of their "do as I say, not as I do" hypocrisy, think of the practical and moral benefits of each of the Super Macho Patriot Brigade members replacing a 20-year-old in combat.
The 20-year-old has only begun his adult life. The 20-year-old, in contrast to the Brigade members, has not experienced years of marital bliss, the joy of offspring, a fulfilling career, wealth and fame. These proposed Brigade members have enjoyed literally decades of adult life and all of its attendant experiences along with a level of wealth and fame beyond most Americans' comprehension. If Americans must die in service to their country, as these folks constantly tell us is necessary, surely it should be those who have already had a full life rather than those just starting out.
Think of what a lift to the spirits of their fellow soldiers these rich, older, famous, accomplished people will bring when they are seen shoulder to shoulder with our men in uniform. And so, as a public service, I offer this proposal and await the enthusiastic response for those eligible to fill the ranks of the Super Macho Patriot Brigade.
March 3, 2005
Jim Cox is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Lawrenceville Campus of Georgia Perimeter College and author of Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage.