Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Marching to November

Beginning in the 1980s, Democrats have delighted in scolding various Republicans as "war wimps"--public officials and think-tank types who advocate the use of military force and who did not themselves serve in the military.

On the kindest interpretation, the "war wimps" charge is based on a non sequitur, linking two things that have nothing to do with each other (military service as a young man, on the one hand, and sound judgment in geopolitical affairs, on the other). On a not-so-kind interpretation, it entails the repudiation of a crucial democratic principle: civilian control of the military. After all, if only men with military experience are justified in ordering other military men into combat, then national security has been ceded to an unsupervised warrior class--something that Democrats used to warn us against.