Best and Brightest Young Students Unwilling to Share War Burden, Prof. Ken Bode Writes

Best and Brightest Young Students Unwilling to Share War Burden, Prof. Ken Bode Writes

January 7, 2005

January 7, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - Professor Ken Bode's recent experience leading sessions at the Richard Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow's Leaders provides the backdrop for his op-ed column published in today's Indianapolis Star. Senator Lugar's symposium brought together about 500 of Indiana's top high school juniors. Dr. Bode, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw, polled the students in one of his seminars, asking, "How many of you expect to go to college? All. How many of you expect to do military service at some time? Four or five hands in each group. Of these, all but one intended to go to a military academy. One of 150 wanted to be a Marine. How many of you expect to be drafted? None. How many of your parents would like it if you were? None."

Despite reports that more troops may be needed in Iraq and elsewhere, Bode reports that the students "remain secure in the belief that they will never have to serve. Next question: How many of you know someone who is in the service? A dozen or so in each group. Who are they? Did they go into the Army or the Guard intending to fight a war? Or because they needed the money or college benefits? The latter, almost all."

Bode, former CNN senior political analyst, continues, "So, with our country at war, why are some Americans -- and all of you juniors and your families -- cruising along with no risk, no stake, no problem? Why shouldn't you, boys and girls, young and Army age, have some share in the sacrifice? Why only the Guard, the Reserves and the volunteer Army? Why are they the only ones suffering casualties? Good questions, but not ones they particularly wanted to hear. OK, one more: If President Bush were to say in his State of the Union that a draft is necessary -- men and women, no college deferments -- would you go, if called? Discomfort at this proposition but honesty nonetheless. Some said they would serve, some said their parents would never let them go."

Read the entire essay at College

Ken Bode's other recent columns can be accessed here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.