The Real Truth Goes Without Saying

Album Cover: Into the Wild

"I knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me...guaranteed."
Eddie Vedder / Guaranteed

Posted on November 03, 2006 1:17 PM in Blathery
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

After the whole John Kerry debacle, it seems like there are a whole lot of people talking about how smart our troops are. Why do they feel compelled to say this? If they really are intelligent, just like any other absolute truth, it should go without saying. Kerry's comments (taken at literal value and not followed-up on) should be seen as outrageously off-base, and that should be the end of it, right? Well, apparently not. Accuracy in Media has a column dedicated to proving just how intelligent our troops are, which includes the following tidbit:

According to a U.S. Department of Defense document, Who is Volunteering for Today's Military, "nearly two-thirds of today's recruits are drawn from the top-half of America in math and verbal aptitudes."

I especially enjoyed this simple rebuttal over at Newsvine:

So, on a global level...not so great...but for Americans, not so bad. That's reasuring [sic]...

Really, just like any other cross-section of America, you're getting what you'd guess you're getting. There will be smart people, smarter people, dumb people and dumber people. Our troops don't have to be intelligent across the board for us to be proud of them, just like Americans don't need to be intelligent across the board for us to be proud of our country and the people in it.

What bothers me most is the need to argue points that are supposedly so obvious. To me, it just shows an underlying fear that maybe it isn't so obvious, or even worse, isn't so true. You won't hear the Chicago Bears telling you how good they are at football. They get on the field and show you. And if someone out there says they aren't any good, that person will get laughed at. The real truth goes without saying.

All that being said, I did get a kick out of the Jon Carry banner.


Ian Clifton on November 06, 2006 at 9:36 AM:

Half of everyone you meet is below average.

Jon Stewart made a good point of how the Republicans went crazy over this mangled joke, yet it was okay for Bush to make his "I don't see any WMD over here..." joke, making fun of our original reason for Iraq.

Having been in the military, I can tell you anyone with sense has either shrugged this off or has incorporated it into their work (e.g., supervisor asks if troop can do X, troop responds, "Nope, I'm too stupid. John Kerry told me so.").

Just as you pointed out, there are smart people and dumb people in the military. It's one of the many things that are commonly brought up in branch rivalry (e.g., Marine makes fun of AF guy for not having to run X miles a day and Airman responds, "I can't help it if you failed the ASVAB."). The AF rarely recruits someone without a high school diploma or GED unless that person scores extremely well on the ASVAB.

Then the response by Tony Snow (and subsequently Stephen Colbert) was great too:

Tony Snow: Why doesn't Senator Kerry, rather than saying I meant to put in the word us... You try to put in us here. Left out the word us. If you don't get stuck in Iraq. Where's us fit in. You try and put in us here. You don't us get stuck... I don't understand. I mean it doesn't scan here.

Colbert: Exactly, where would you put the word us? If you don't make an effort to be smart you get us stuck in Iraq? Did anyone understand that?


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