Reggie Rivers is a former running back for the Denver Broncos. In his football retirement he has hosted a radio show in Denver, and is also a columnist for the Denver Post newspaper. Friday’s edition carries an editorial by him entitled Keep our Slaves Safe a reference to the US Military and the servitude he believes they work under.
The military world according to Reggie
Our military is one of the last bastions of slavery in the United States. At the moment, our slaves are stuck in a combat zone, getting killed and maimed, and there’s nothing they can do about it except hunker down and pray.
Yes, our slaves signed up of their own free will, but most of them were as misled about their job as the rest of us were about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
And I don’t think “slave” is too strong a word to describe someone who is not permitted to quit his job no matter how dangerous it becomes or how much he hates it. For most of us, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and guaranteed that we have the right to withhold our labor. It doesn’t protect soldiers.
I will admit during my 20 years in the U.S. Navy I felt at times I was “owned by” Uncle Sam. Mostly it occurred while stuck on the ship for duty, as the other 75% of the crew were allowed to leave “the plantation” to enjoy the sights and sounds of the many beautiful ports of the world. But I knew that going in, and my chance to view the same sights came 24 hours later as I went off duty. It’s also true in four assignments on ships, and three on shore duty I had my choice. It was my decision to serve on two Destroyers, two Crusiers, and 7 years in Japan for my shore stations. My choice, not the Navy’s. It was my choice to complete 20 years. It is also the choice of those serving now “to quit” at the end of their contracts, be it 20, 10, or as little as 2 years. While its true some military members are being extended past their original contracts, this only applies to certain jobs with critical skills. If those being extended are unhappy, or have beliefs like your “slavery” scenario, to bad. “Let the buyer beware.” That possibility, along with entering combat, was in the contract they signed, if that clause went unread, or misunderstood, tough. Live with it and get on with life.
Considering your NFL background, and the environment it fosters, I fully understand your misconceptions on obligations and contracts. Players sign a 4 year contract, then “hold out” of training camp in the third year, whining and crying because they want $5 mil instead of the $3 mil the contract calls for. Then the greedy owners give in instead of slapping him with a breach of contract lawsuit. I understand Reggie, I really do.
Here are a few questions for you:
When you graduated with your Journalism degree (I assume thats correct ) were you given a choice of which NFL: team to play for? Did any of your compatriots, except Elway, and Manning? No!… Hey look at that, a “plantation” mentality.
Once drafted and signed to a fat 3 or 4 year contract did you, or your compatriots, have the ability to “opt out” and go play somewhere else at the two year mark? No!… I guess slavery is in effect here also.
When performance wasn’t up to your teams expectations and a trade sent you packing to the NFL wasteland of the Arizona Cardinals did you have an option to “quit?” No, not as a matter of a league wide policy. Only the “big time” stars had that option and was granted by a individuals contract. Sounds like the “plantation” to me, gotta work for “da man” no matter what.
What about that free agency thing? Great wasn’t it. Finally everyone had a choice in the NFL. Almost. There was that slight bump in the road called collusion. Got so bad no free agents could move anywhere one summer. It took an anti-collusion rule, and more than a few lawsuits, to break that little conspiracy up.
But lets move on to what else you have to say:
Our armed forces recruiters are quite adept at making military service appear beneficial (it mostly is) and safe (it’s not). The threat of war is minimized, because few rational people actually want to fight.
According to Chalmers Johnson, author of “The Sorrows of Empire,” almost half of our enlisted forces are between 17 and 24 years of age, and they were lured into military service with promises of education, job training, escape from poverty, medical benefits and the chance to operate some cool, high-tech equipment.
Johnson wrote: “A real deterrent to recruitment is the possibility that a new soldier will find himself or herself in combat. Roughly four out of five young Americans who enlist in our all-volunteer armed forces specifically choose non-combat jobs … .”
I overlooked your WMD canard, but this crap just begs a response. I have read Johnson’s book and it has many very valid points, but if your going to use this excerpt to buttress your slavery theme you need to look at another source. I find it frightening that you would believe the thousands of recruits since 9/11 are so stupid, so out of touch with the real world they had no idea a war was going on. And BTW military recruiting is at an all time high, men and women are waiting months after sign-up to start their careers at boot camp. All with no idea about the War on Terror by your account.
Do you know why 4 out of 5 that enlist are in “non-combat” jobs? Far from any fear or personal choice to avoid combat, the US military by necessity is made up of 80% non-combat jobs. Ever here the phrase, “an army travels on its stomach?” Thats your 4 out of 5 Reggie, much of it running the supply system, maintance of equipment, food delivery, doctors and nurses. I bet Jessica Lynch would dispute your claims non-combat jobs are a safe bet, she was part of the supply corps.
Go ahead Reggie, continue:
The recruitment effort gets more aggressive at the high school level. Johnson wrote, “Complaints about harassment by military recruiters in San Diego became so numerous in 1993 that the San Diego Unified School district adopted a policy against releasing student information to recruiters of any kind.”
Bans on overbearing campus recruiters became so common that President Bush addressed the issue in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The bill stated: “Any secondary school that receives federal funds under this Act shall permit regular United States Armed Services recruitment activities on school grounds, in a manner reasonably accessible to all students of such school.”
So our kids get bombarded with formal and informal recruiting messages – and they sign up. One day, they find themselves sitting in a Humvee in Iraq, with their best friend lying dead on the floor next to them, and they suddenly realize the deception of their recruitment and the shackles of their slavery.
They just want to go home, but they can’t. And domestically, we continue to trot out the tired mantra that supporting the troops means supporting the war.
If we truly care about our young slaves, we should do everything we can to get them out of harm’s way.
Your in a hole Reggie, and you keep digging. In addition to the normal anti-Bush, anti-war, “Bush lied, people died”, “where are the WMD’s?” spiel the far left wingers and Libertarians (like yourself) trot out, you add to your nonsensical rant that Bush has sent his jackbooted stormtroopers into schools looking to steal away our children to a life of slavery. Shear lunacy! Not to mention a flat out lie.
NEWSFLASH Reggie, its called discrimination. You more than most of us should understand the concept. Military recruiters were denied access to many schools because of leftest anti-war school boards that allowed anyone from the private sector, and other governmental agencies to hold school job fairs, meet with school guidance councilors, and make promises of fat paychecks, college tuition assistance, and free vacations in Casablanca. The Department of Defense were banned from doing the same. Its called discrimination, and its illegal. That was corrected with the No Child Left Behind Act.
Its Memorial Day weekend Reggie. A time to reflect on all those that have sacrificed for our freedom. Even your freedom to write this editorial, honest dissent is always welcome, but don’t you think a little respect is in order? What we get are false assertions, twisted logic, and flat out lies.
Reggie, your despicable, The Denver Post should place you on its waiver wire. Maybe Moveon.org will pick you up for the $100 waiver fee and you can join Al Gore in his next ravefest.
UPDATE: Dale Franks also has a few Memorial Day greetings for Massa Reggie!
UPDATE: Reggie is getting a rather large following. Captain Ed has joined the ranks sending greetings.