Friday, December 01, 2006

Maturity

If you don’t ferret out the short clips on the wire services (Reuters, Associated Press), your local newspaper doesn’t run items from the wire services, you didn’t get a copy of the November 30 Raleigh (NC) News and Observer, you didn’t get to page B5 of the News and Observer, or you were not at Camp LeJeune November 29, you probably didn’t see the account of a visit to the base by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Conway.

Conway, according to the newspaper, drew a clear distinction between “political policy” and “supporting the troops” who are tasked with carrying out the policy.

Conway, who assumed his position just last month, was at LeJeune speaking to 2,000 Marines. Most had been to Iraq, and many are to go there in 2007. Much of Conway’s speech was therefore directed at topics having to do with training, equipment, rotation policy, and casualties.

What caught my eye in the paper, though, was the observation that during the Vietnam War the U.S. public could not separate opposition to war policy and programs from disdain for soldiers, sailors, Marines, air force and coast guard personnel. But, he assured his listeners, for the most part, today's citizens don't mix disapproval of the Iraq War with disapproval of those serving.

Conway opined that today's civilians who make up the electorate are more mature. I would attribute the difference to a more cynical electorate that feels the administration lied about Iraq and is lying on other issues tied to war, terror, and abridgement of civil liberties.

That’s the policy side of the issue. The people side comes down to the premise that everyone, regardless of profession, is due respect from and should be respectful of every other individual. Maybe that translates into maturity.

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