Berkeley Letter to the Editor Insults Those Who Serve In the Military

May 1st, 2008 | by Sqotty |

I was perusing the letters to the editor page on Inside Bay Area and was stunned with one that I read concerning the Berkeley anti-Marine protests run by code Pink and other groups during the past few months.

From Inside Bay Area (you’ll have to scroll down a ways to find it):

I respect the Marines and anti-war protestors, and agree with both.

But in light of the recent protests, one can’t help but wonder whether the members of Code Pink and their sympathizers wouldn’t make better use of their energy if they were to spend time in the local junior high math classes helping underachieving students get on a track to leave high school with more options than joining the military.

This is right up there with John F. Kerry’s statement about how if you don’t study hard in school, you end up in Iraq. It is insulting to all those who choose to serve in the Armed Forces. We don’t have a draft. Those who enlist may do so for any number of reasons, but I seriously doubt it is due to a lack of options when completing high school.

I served in the Air Force. I had a number of different options before me. I chose to serve my country for four years of my life and have never had any regrets in doing so. I did so because I knew, deep down, it was the right thing for me to do, and that I had always wanted to serve in the Air Force since I was a kid. I chose the Air Force over the other services because of a love of airplanes. No, I wasn’t a pilot as I didn’t have a Bachelor’s Degree, and ended up working in computers when I was in the Air Force, which was just as much fun.

Like me, when I served, every single member of the Armed Forces is a volunteer. We haven’t had a draft since we withdrew from Vietnam 35 years ago. Most come from pretty average middle-class backgrounds, shooting down the lie that they had no other options than to serve in the military. Some come from poor backgrounds, but that does not mean they don’t have good math skills, or other options other than the military, unless they made bad choices and involved themselves in gang violence and drugs, in which case even military service isn’t an option for them. There are also those who come from affluent families (yes, that really is true as I know a few in this category). Anyone with the will to do so can earn a commission. Yes, one of the incentives to enlist is receiving college benefits. Many employers offer their employees educational benefits. What’s wrong with that? (I didn’t use my post-military education benefits…paid for it all myself.) It’s also a good place to develop good career building skills in technology, something that can be had outside the military as well.

People always have choices. Some choose to serve in the military; many, choose not to. To say that there are kids out there with zero options other than to serve in the military because of a lack of math, or any other, skills is insulting and just plain wrong.

But we are talking about a letter from a Berkeley resident, so this comes as no surprise.

When the writer starts off by claiming to “respect” the Marines, then asserts that those her serve in the military do so because they lack the skills necessary to do anything else shows that they in fact DO NOT respect the Marines or any others who choose to serve in the Armed Forces.

Further insulting is to assume that those Moonbats in Code Pink are better at math than your average serviceman. I’d like to provide Zanne Joi of the Bay Area Code Pink with a few calculus problems to solve.

I wonder if this is the same Sachu Constantine that teaches 10th grade math in San Francisco, the one who gives his students take-home exams?


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  1. 2 Responses to “Berkeley Letter to the Editor Insults Those Who Serve In the Military”

  2. By MondegreenMom on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    While I do understand your point, and would assert that recruitment statistics indicate that the Service is not full of poor kids who can’t do math…

    While I confess to be a college graduate who can’t do math and who comes from the same demographic as many CPers (white,middle-aged, female and very plain)

    …I need to point out that “talking about a letter from a Berkeley resident, so this comes as no surprise.” is very much the same kind of logic you’re fighting against. There are a lot of here who support the Marines and despise the Pinkos.

    My initial response to the quote you highlighted was actually positive, because he was at least getting the Pinks off the street.

    As for “under-achieving” students with other options, well… compare statistics for Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond residents war casualties with those for folks the same age who stay in the Bay Area…the armed forces could be saving lives (using Sachu C.’s logic…)

  3. By MondegreenMom on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    I just re-read all the above, and apologize for not starting by saying that I absolutely support the all volunteer military, and want to thank you for your service.

    Somewhere along the line the POSITIVE perception of the military as a way to “level the playing field” got lost. Russell Baker wrote eloquently about those who used the service that way 60 years ago (he was one — smart kid w/o tuition money). What was once an incentive is now perceived as a “trick”.

    I recently found an old high school friend on He’d been an outstanding athlete with a mediocre transcript, a hot temper and no tuition money when we graduated and we worried about him… 25 years later he recently retired from the USMC and left an amazing job in Washington… because he needs to finish his dissertation. In my opinion the USMC may have saved his life — and certainly gave it depth and meaning.

    Not something Zanne Joi is wired to comprehend. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. Keep it up!

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