Sunday, November 26, 2006

Only 25% Of U.S. Congress Are Veterans

"Only about 10 percent of the members elected to Congress for the first time this year are military veterans, according to a survey by the Military Officers Association of America. In all, only about one in four members of the new Congress will have served in the military -- down from half in 1991 and three-quarters a decade earlier."

"The number of veterans in the House peaked in 1977-78, when about 80 percent of the members had military experience. The peak in the Senate was in 1983-84, when 75 percent were veterans."

The above quotes were taken from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an article written by Bob Dart of the Cox Washington Bureau.

I have often wondered how our Congress could go along with Bush in invading Iraq on the flimsiest of excuses.

How they could continue that support as our effort there began to go downhill.

How they could continue to say "stay the course" as thousands of civilians died, and the death count for our own soldiers neared the 3,000 mark [most of them after Bush had declared "mission accomplished"].

Now the Democrats seem to have jumped on board the "continue the war" train, even as the public is jumping off in ever greater numbers. They talk about changing course in Iraq, but ignore the only change that makes sense -- an immediate and complete withdrawal.

The American people were not asked to share in the sacrifices of Bush's unnecessary war, but are finally opening their eyes to the truth anyway. It is time for Congress to do the same.

The numbers quoted above may have something to do with why we are continuing this hopeless cause. I suspect that it is easier to keep our soldiers in harm's way if you have never been there yourself. I suspect that you cannot really understand the terror, loss and heartache suffered not only by our soldiers, but also their families, if you have never had to share in that terror, loss and heartache.

Now I don't believe we should make military service a prerequisite to serving in Congress. But if we are going to elect a Congress that has few veterans, then we must be more vigilant as citizens in our oversight of that Congress.

War should never be used to try and spread our own beliefs. It should only be used to defend ourselves, and then only as a last resort.

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