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From the Editor

John Turner

The Harvard Square Commentary is a little sparse this week, due to editorial sloth. A feature of this task which all of you should keep in mind is that it's not really a job, like something a person gets paid for.  It presents itself as a kind duty, but not one anybody is in charge of insisting on.

On Sunday evening, June 11th, an episode on Book TV depressed me mightily. It was an interview with Frank Schaeffer, co-author of AWOL, a book that argues the armed forces ought to made up of members of all social classes. In that I agree with Mr. Schaeffer, but the rest of his stance struck me as not just short-sighted but blind. Because his son enlisted in the Marine Corps, Shaeffer has concluded that signing up for the armed forces is just about the finest thing a young person can do. And supporting these enlistments is a duty every family should assume. As Schaeffer worked his way through his arguments, it became clear that everything he said applied just as much to the army of any state as they do to the American military because, he insisted, serving in the armed forces has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. It's simply a matter of serving one's country by feeling responsible for the guy next to you in your platoon. The use to which that platoon is put simply doesn't matter in Schaeffer's view. The praise he showers on his son's comrades could just as logically be given to the members of Hitler's Wehrmacht. This attitude about national duty is a formula for warfare vicious, bloody and perpetual.  If the young people of the world are taught to think as Schaeffer wants them taught there will never be a chance for the cessation of war.

I had intended to stay up late and complete the Harvard Square Commentary. But after Mr. Schaeffer, all I could do was go to bed. Sorry.



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