The Millionaires in Congress Don’t Care About Sending Your Son or Daughter to War

Please save us from flag lapel pins
Please save us from flag lapel pins

W.J. Astore

Yes, I know it’s a harsh claim that Members of Congress don’t care about sending your son or daughter off to war. Partly that’s because more than half of them are millionaires. And if they’re not millionaires now, they will be when they leave office and cash in as lobbyists and similar Beltway bandit jobs.  After all, it’s hard to sympathize with working-class families with sons and daughters in the military when 1) You’re rich (or at least comfortably well-off); and 2) You have no sons or daughters in the military, and never will.

I wrote to one of my senators in PA, Bob Casey, about the need to end our wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere — about the need to bring our troops home rather than continuing to place them in harm’s way for no reason that’s in our national interest. When I wrote, I asked him if he would send any of his four daughters to Afghanistan, or even if he’d urge any of them to serve our country in any capacity in the military. I never heard back from him or his staff, not that I was surprised.

Senator Bob Casey is a Catholic who went to Holy Cross in Massachusetts in the early 1980s. I’m a Catholic who did my ROTC service at Holy Cross in the early 1980s. We may have even crossed paths on campus. But Bob Casey is from a well-connected political family. I’m the son of a firefighter and a homemaker who joined ROTC to help pay for college. Bob Casey and his daughters have never had to think about military service except in the most abstract terms. They might applaud it, but they won’t do it.

The same was true for Mitt Romney and his five sons. Eager to salute the military; not eager to join and serve. Fortunate sons (and daughters), all.

You could say the same for virtually all Members of Congress today.  Almost no military service.  Few sons or daughters in the military, and certainly none in the front lines in combat branches.  Certainly, they’ll praise our troops.  They’ll salute the flag with vigor.  But what they won’t do is to send their loved ones into harm’s way.

Each and every time our Congress or our President sends troops into harm’s way, they should think whether they’d risk their own.  For example, it’s conceivable that President Obama’s oldest daughter, Malia, could join the military in 2015 at the age of seventeen.  (You can join the military at seventeen with parental permission.)  After basic and advanced training, many American teenagers have been sent into combat only to die before they’re out of their teen years.

Can we imagine such a tragic fate befalling the son or daughter of any prominent politician in the United States?  Of course not.  The burden of military service has perhaps never been shared equally in our history, but its inequality has never been more slanted than it is now.  The rich and privileged exempt their offspring from service (or at least from dangerous service), which only emboldens them when they cast their votes for more war.  In doing so, they risk nothing near and dear to them.  Heck, they may even pose as being “tough” and “uncompromising.”

Save me the flag lapel pins of our millionaire politicians and all their posing.  Want to support our troops?  If you’re young enough, quit Congress and enlist in the military.  Or be sure to encourage your own sons and daughters to join and serve in harm’s way.  At least then you can say you’ve made a sacrifice commensurate with those made by so many working-class families across the USA.

5 thoughts on “The Millionaires in Congress Don’t Care About Sending Your Son or Daughter to War

  1. One member of the “Axis” (Germany, Italy, and Japan) agreement in December of 1941 sent a battle group of thousands of sailors and airmen in aircraft carriers, cruisers and submarines to attack the U.S Pacific fleet’s base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. They sunk several battle ships and killed somewhere around three thousand service personnel. The President of the United States immediately declared war on Japan and shortly thereafter war on the other ‘Axis’ nations.

    On September 11th 2001 fifteen Saudi Arabians out of a group of 19 commandeered several domestic airlines crashing them into several buildings and killing a similar number of innocent civilians. The President of the United States at that time ordered all civilian aircraft out of the air but allowed a private plane to pick up the influential members of the Bin Laden family who were in the country to fly out of the country without even asking them if they may have had dealings with their compatriots. He then told the American people to go shopping and later called the influential Saudi his ‘brother Bandar-Bush’.

    ‘Bandar-Bush’ became head of Saudi intelligence and has been influential in backing undemocratic regime change, often with American support, throughout the middle east and central Asia.

    Our millionaire Presidents and congressmen and women have been more interested in cozening up to the Saudis than examining their role in financing the 9/11 attack or questioning if Saudi middle eastern intervention is in our best interest.

    With oil at stake why should millionaires worry about where they send the children of poor people to die or live maimed?

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    1. Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight. That’s a saying as true as it is tiring. And I’m so tired of all the posturing. Thanks, WW II veteran, for sharing my anger.

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  2. The military budget and personnel are being slashed for the sake of saving money. Privates in all services are paid below the poverty line. The amount on money spent on personnel divided by the amount of serving members comes to about 107,000$ per person. $200 billion is spent on personnel for a million strong work force. Where is the money going? The math doesn’t add up for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marine families are living on food stamps while the generals and colonels are raking in millions of dollars. Congressmen send the “tired and poor” to their deaths, pay them shit, to die in wars for the sake of “freedom”, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Very few congressmen served in the military even this generation who were supposed to have been drafted into the Vietnam war. There should be a report called, “the math doesn’t add up”. But who am I to ask questions? I am a soldier without an army who lives in the Communist Republic of Canada

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