I’d be more interested in what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman tells his daughters about serving in the military than his telling President Obama to accept the Nobel Peace Prize “on behalf of the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century — the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.”
His young daughters, and President Obama’s, are about the same age as my older son. My son asks me if he should enlist. I answer that it will be his choice, there are important personal and citizenship benefits and prices, and the benefits may or may not work out for him and others. My son will make his own choice, and he will know from his father’s life that he can rely upon me to walk the talk, whether in a promise to him or by my example in how I live. He will decide if that is the suitable example for his way of living.
It is relevant to our children whether they’ve seen us walk the talk in our lives and with them when by our words we properly honor those who serve and may encourage others to serve. That neither Thomas Friedman nor President Obama chose to serve in the military, or that I did, is the past. The now our children see is how our words to others match our words to them.
Another top national columnist recently asked me, “if you'd ever had the thought that we are losing the best people our country has to offer” in our current wars. I replied:
What I would say is that in my experience in and with the military (I served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and come in contact with many in my Encinitas area just south of Camp Pendleton), meeting and overcoming the challenges and realistic fears of enlisting, of training, and of serving in a war, all under the risk of severe harm or death, causes one, each one, to exert themself to rise to be the best Marine or soldier they can be. That creates a mature, focused person with a special appreciation for their citizenship and country and freedoms, as well as for the welfare of others one serves with and the people in the country serving in.
In short, it is their training and service and sacrifice that makes them, all who serve, the best we have to offer, and upon their return the best citizens. Those who fall are, thus, of course a severe loss.
The possible loss of one’s child is calamitous. So is the loss of others’.
If Thomas Friedman or President Obama do not believe that how they counsel their own children is more telling than how they counsel others’ children, that tells me all I need to know about whether they walk their talk, really care about others’ children, or are worth taking seriously.
If literally every effort is not made to support those who do serve to survive and accomplish the mission upon which sent, that is the most serious dereliction possible by a parent or columnist. Words may be enough for the Nobel Peace Prize, or a New York Times column, but not enough for any responsible parent.
P.S.: Ed Morrissey relays who is saying what about what to do in Afghanistan.