Bush Goes To War

No, not that Bush. News emerged this week that George P. Bush, son of Jeb and the president's nephew, is joining the U.S. Navy Reserve. As far as I know, he is the first member of that family to enter the service since the current conflict began.

My first reaction to this news (Hat tip: Ron Dreher) was very cynical. It looks like resume-building by someone who is well aware he needs to get his ticket punched in order to have political viability in the future. When 9/11 happened GPB was 25, single, and a college graduate - perfect officer material - but he didn't rush to the recruiting office like some people.

It's also curious he chose to join the Navy. In this war the greatest need for talented people to volunteer is in the ground forces. So someone who genuinely "wants to help" wherever he can best do so would probably go there first. Conversely, if you want to wear a uniform without getting shot at, your best bet is to join the Air Force or Navy. These services do important work that can be dangerous, but the statistical fact (at least for now) is that they are safer places to serve than the Army or Marines.

Since GPB had his choice of services to join, and had to know that it would become public knowledge and his motives would be questioned, he would have been wise to volunteer for a branch that is perceived as more rigorous and sacrificial. He did not. I would be a lot more impressed if he had followed the example of this young man, who could have taken the easy path in life but did not.

Nevertheless, George P. Bush is at least doing something to serve. That is more than you can say for most of his generation (along with most of his relatives) and he deserves credit for it. I wish we weren't in this war and no one had to make the kind of sacrifice that military service requires. As long as we are, however, the burden should be shared.

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