Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Soldier In Me by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga runs the Daily Kos, a website that's highly activist in its opposition to the American political right. In this May 3, 2006, American Prospect article, The Soldier In Me, Zuniga describes his view on his Army service and expresses much of the sentiment I hold towards my own Army service.

Excerpt: The military is perhaps the ideal society -- we worked hard but the Army took care of us in return. All our basic needs were met -- housing, food, and medical care. It was as close to a color-blind society as I have ever seen. We looked out for one another. The Army invested in us. I took heavily subsidized college courses and learned to speak German on the Army’s dime. I served with people from every corner of the country. I got to party at the Berlin Wall after it fell and explored Prague in those heady post-communism days. I wasn’t just a tourist; I was a witness to history.

The Army taught me the very values that make us progressives -- community, opportunity, and investment in people and the future.

I consider myself to be a progressive populist, and on that level, Zuniga and I see eye-to-eye on the practical community and social values of military service. However, due to his partisan political focus, Zuniga discourages young Americans from joining today's military. That's the main place where he and I part ways in his article. In my view, the "selfless service" of the military transcends the politics and partisanship of the day. Investment by individual citizens into the fundamental communal values of duty and service always matters, moreso in times like today when they are tested by uncertainty and adversity. Our nation depends on it.




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