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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No vets in the running

I guess this isn't a huge deal, but it bothers me a little:

With the now official selection of Paul Ryan as the running mate to Mitt Romney . . . we have the final pairings of the four men running for the highest offices in the land. And for the first time since 1944, not one of them has ever served in the uniform of our country.

The article makes the point that the importance voters place on military service varies with circumstances. According to polls, foreign policy is near the bottom of most Americans' list of concerns, so "commander in chief" doesn't figure heavily into their judgment of the candidates. And certainly the value of military service can be exaggerated. Having served doesn't make someone able to make the right judgments about the use of the military, and the lack of service isn't necessarily a hint of bad judgment. The military that gave us Gen. Eisenhower as president also gave us Gen. Grant.

But I can't help feeling the lack of service causes a critical gap in a commader-in-chief's knowledge, and maybe even a lack of appreciation for the role of the military. There's an even bigger problem, though. As the article notes, the number of veterans in Congress is just over 20 percent, the lpwest numbers since World War II. That's where a lack of empathy might really hurt us.