January 2, 2006

"Honestly, a lot of my friends like Iraq. It's not as bad as people say."

Here's a nice story from the NYT about a young woman who joined the Army. It begins:
When she signed up for the Army in 2004, Katherine Jordan had little to say about war. Asked about Iraq at the time, she said she was far more concerned about the rigors of basic training and more focused on the fear that she might wind up here, in her hometown of 1,000, never amounting to much.

The local recruiter made her parents, Byron and Mary, feel comfortable, too, they said. They hoped the conflict in Iraq would fade away by the time their only child finished training, Mr. Jordan said back then, on the same afternoon that his freckle-faced daughter marched across the Lyndon High gymnasium in flip-flops to collect her diploma. "We don't think she is going to be in a battle zone," he said that day.
Reading those first two paragraphs, I felt this was going to be one of these pieces about how the military hoodwinks young innocents, but it isn't at all. Jordan and her parents come across as solid, intelligent individuals who know what they are doing and have good values.

UPDATE: Ranting Profs takes a similar view of the article and attracts a first comment that had me shaking my head and thinking of how to rephrase the famous Kennedy quote. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask who other than you can do something for your country.


the kommenter said...

that was fairly interesting.

ALH ipinions said...

I suspect few soldiers serving in Iraq anticipated being there. But I'm encouraged that so many of them exhibit Katherine's remarkable perspective on their perilous fate. (Did you see Tom Browkaw's recent special on topic?)

Perhaps more stories like this one will force those calling for the Americans to hightail it out of Iraq to stop pretending to be more concerned about the welfare of these soldiers than the soldiers are themselves.

D.E. Cloutier said...

My nephew is a army officer in Iraq. He expected his unit to escort convoys. Instead, all his unit did was kick in people's doors for months.

Elliott said...

How about the stories that soldiers returning from Iraq were ordered to seek out media opportunities and share their positive opinions. They were given talking points and "how to" information on talking to the media.

Dave said...

The New York Times reporting positively on Iraq?

Perish the thought!

The end is nigh!

ShadyCharacter said...

DEC, are you implying that your nephew was a jack-booted thug?

Or did those doors deserve to be kicked in?

Or are you just pulling a Kerry one step removed ("The men I [my nephew] served with were amoral animals reminescent of jenjis khan")?

Please keep us updated on how he came back from the war alienated and unable to leave his traumas behind just like in all those anti-war movies!

Anxiously waiting for the next installment of your fascinating excursion into short form fiction!

nypundit said...

Elliott, you caught us! Just the other day some of my fellow Jewish Conspirators and I were telling President Bush and Karl Rove what to do next and we gave them the talking points for this program. Sigh, I guess we'll have to find the leak at the next Elders of Zion meeting. I have to go now, the Ilumaniti are holding for me on line one.

Noumenon said...

At 19, she has increased her life insurance to $400,000 in recent weeks, Private Jordan said.

I don't get that decision. No one depends on her income. She's not even married. And the premiums on life insurance for soldiers going to Iraq must be about the highest out there.

Reading those first two paragraphs, I felt this was going to be one of these pieces about how the military hoodwinks young innocents, but it isn't at all.

The piece doesn't really make a point at all. It's not a Rorshach, even. It's more like here, this is what it would be like if you asked some soldier and her family why she was doing it and they didn't have anything ideological to say.

Elliott said...

No standard life insurance policy I am aware of covers death in Iraq so this must be a special policy targetted to soldiers. The question I have is whether it includes the standard disclaimer and she has been exploited or whether it removes that clause for a significant extra premium. Given the ~0.5 to 1% chance of death per year, the premium for such a policy would need to be ~$4,000 to be actuarially sound. Something sounds wrong about this.

PatCA said...

Somewhat positive, but check the subtext. At 19 she's still a "teenager" and, of course, doesn't know much about what's going on there but knows people who say it's not that bad. IOW another red state rube hoodwinked into service!

Perhaps Farris, the traveling teen from Florida, did okay there because it is NOT the death zone the media portray. Perhaps she is right, perhaps we are winning?

Ross said...

Yes, a fellow spent a couple of hours unarmed and unaccompanied in Iraq and lived to tell the tale ... victory!

The Drill SGT said...


The program is likely this government program. very cheap insurance. used to be 10k when I was in Nam. Direct allotment in your paycheck:

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

What is SGLI?
SGLI is a program of low cost group life insurance for servicemembers on active duty, ready reservists, members of the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service, cadets and midshipmen of the four service academies, and members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

How Much Coverage is Available?
SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000.

D.E. Cloutier said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
D.E. Cloutier said...

Shadycharacter:"DEC, are you implying..."

I am implying nothing. The comment is not an anti-war statement. The comment is not a pro-war statment. The comment is simply a fact. Take it or leave it.

Shadycharacter: "Please keep us updated on how he came back from the war alienated and unable to leave his traumas behind just like in all those anti-war movies!"

I served in the U.S. Army (Regular Army, not Reserves) during the Vietnam War. I had a good time.

1:14 PM, January 02, 2006

David53 said...

Elliot.....$400,000 worth of SGLI costs $26 per month for active duty military regardless of their age or location. SGLI is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and has been around for a very long time.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Shadycharacter: "Anxiously waiting for the next installment of your fascinating excursion into short form fiction!"

You made the assumption it's fiction. It's not. My family has served in every war in U.S. history.

You made an erroneous assumpton. Erroneous assumptions lead to bad decisions. Remember that. You'll be a better lawyer.

PatCA said...

How about something thoughtful in addition to sarcasm?

Elliott said...

Thanks for the link to SGLI. I wonder how that detail made it into the article? It made it sound like she had made a conscious decision, but at $26/month it is so heavily subsidized for combat areas, it seems like just another job benefit.

dick said...


Seems as if the fact that it is so heavily subsidized and that it costs only $26 should also have made it into the article. The way it is written it seems as if she was so worried that she took out all the insurance she could. Instead it is, as you say, almost like a job bennie. Kinda changes the point of having it in the article. Seems as if you should have both parts of that point or neither unless you are trying to slant the article.

The Drill SGT said...


It IS a job benny. Highly pushed by commanders. When I commanded a unit, we regularly had to go through POM )Prep for overseas deployment) frills where we ran all the soldiers through various stations in the Gym to ensure that everybody was ready to go. (e.g. medical physical, dental exam, shot records, wills, power of attorney, life insurance, etc). Particularly for junior soldiers with young kids, you wanted to make sure that they selected something above the minimum. The first increment was free. 10k in WW2, 35K by the end of VN. I guess 50K now is free.

Noumenon said...

Everyone had really interesting things to say about the life insurance! Glad I mentioned it. My BiL is in Marine boot camp so I'll make sure he signs up for this before he goes over.

David53 said...

Mary ---- I'm not exactly sure what you mean. How is a 21st century soldier different from soldiers of Murtha's era and why is "21st century soldier" not a complimentary term? Why would you rather have one young Murtha fighting for you? You seem to suggest those currently serving are second raters.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Murtha is a broken man. First his comments in November about our suffering troops when few to none (even the ones in Walter Reed that he has visited) consider themselves to be suffering, and now this "I wouldn't join today" comment. The Army and Marines are worlds better today than they were when Murtha or I were in. The fact that he can't see that, and the fact that he's projecting suffering upon soldiers who are not just means he's lost contact with reality. A truly sad state of affairs for an old soldier who has served his country so well.

cylon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.