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Military experience for presidents

Posted Saturday, May 10, 2008, at 3:40 PM

Do you think a president should have had military experience at some level or that military experience isn't a factor?


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Interesting question, Bo! This vote's from someone who spent 25 years on active duty...I submit that our Commander in Chief needs to have more than a passing awareness of the military to understand what he's commanding! A couple years dodging challenges in the Texas Air Guard may actually have been counterproductive for our incumbent. He seemed to know just enough to make him easy prey for the fossil he selected as his first Secretary of Defense. I'm no supporter of President Clinton, but he appeared to know his limitations in that field, and rely more on his senior military leaders--not just blindly following his SECDEF. While I have the floor, here's a big salute to today's Guard/Reserve folks whe are doing a bang-up job carrying a load that's miles beyond what their predecessors were called on to do in decades past. God bless 'em all!!

-- Posted by dkd57 on Sat, May 10, 2008, at 4:24 PM

I think military experience can be helpful, but it is not necessary. I certainly do not think that career military persons make very good Presidents because they tend to use less diplomacy when it comes to potential foreign conflicts. I do however think that someone who has actually been in battle and has seen the horror of it may tend to be more hesitant to pull the trigger on military action.

I think someone who has a keen understanding of history at the national and world level and who is a deep thinking person can make a better President than someone whose main qualification is that they served in the military.

Military service, while noble and honorable, does not mean the person understands economics, world affairs, environmental concerns or other issues facing our country.

-- Posted by volfanatic on Sat, May 10, 2008, at 10:39 PM

I'd like to see leaders who,as the above posters said,know history,know the harsh realities of our world,know economics,science and diplomacy and can pick good support personnel.listen to them and delegate authority in an appropriate manner.

I wouldn't mind at all voting for someone who was a foreign exchange student,served in the Peace Corps or VISTA or the mission field,did Jr. ROTC and ROTC,held down a blue collar job or farmed,stayed home and raised babies for a decade or so,lived on a normal person's paycheck,was active in their community and genuinely expected to live with the consequences of their response to the issues.

As it stands,the voters not only doubt that our officials know all the answers,they are stunned when one appears to comprehend the questions.

The people are getting less interested in politics and more interested in survival.

Whatever a candidate's background,he's got to have our trust that he'd be a good steward of the authority he's been given.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, May 10, 2008, at 10:54 PM

As a leader you should never ask someone to do something that you would not be willing to do yourself. That goes for any true leader, whatever their position. Should military experience be a requirement? Not in my opinion, but any person elected President of The United States should be required to undergo some semblance of boot camp so that they can better understand what they are in command of. I would prefer a President that has military experience, but that should not be a requirement.

Personally, I think we should go back to fighting with swords and cudgels, with the generals at the lead. That would make it so that the reasons for the wars that are fought have been thoroughly thought out.

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, May 10, 2008, at 11:02 PM

I like your idea,Thom.

Or,better yet,fighting hand-to-hand.

It's harder to ignore the real issues when you're dealing with a foe face-to-face and having to deal with the carnage,disease and bad weather while you're at it.

We still have old-timey atrocities to contend with but we can also release bio-engineered weapons from a distance,crush buildings with sound waves,slice and burn enemies we never see and,in countless ways,reduce combatants and non-combatants alike into euphemisms.

It's one thing to develop quick reflexes and good eye-hand co-ordination from video games.

It's another when lives are reduced to the pixels on a screen.

If our leaders don't have some idea of the enormity of war,then a military conflict becomes one more "business deal" with the battles and alliances among nations being no more and no less than those involving multi-national corporations.

A boardroom battlefield or computer simulation won't impart the least idea of the ripple effects a war can have.

The soldiers on a tabletop don't have families or worry about long-term health care.

The person in the Oval Office has to think of what it means to turn the eagle's head from the olive branch to arrows held in a sinister claw.

He or she has to know the truth of war rather than just stories told to inflame the blood.

He or she has to learn that peace is not a passive absence of action but the vigorous,hard-won presence of rationality,equity and positive effort.

Neither war nor peace can be abstract concepts or tools used for self-promotion.

Our leaders have to know where their action and inaction will lead and not leave us to bear the consequences alone.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, May 11, 2008, at 10:16 AM

I think that military service would be an added benefit to their resume, but shouldnt be required. I think if they appoint the proper advisors in that area or any area of weakness than that should be enough.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Sun, May 11, 2008, at 11:23 PM

Did anyone get a chance to watch the mini series John Adams I think it was on Showtime a few weeks ago.It really opened my eyes about American History.

It was about our country just forming and the writing of the Constitution and the strugles everyone one went thru for our freedom.How George Washington did not want to be president and he sure did not want to be a second time.Those men did not get PAID for the job they held in high reguards. I think if it went back to those days of not paying the politician we may end up with a few more good ones like Washington.He had the military experience but he also seem to have a good head on his shoulders too.

-- Posted by redcat00 on Thu, May 15, 2008, at 8:17 PM


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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette.
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