[Photo: President George W. Bush holding Monmouth's Jim Horn]
Monmouth University’s Professor Jim Horn, Educator Extraordinaire, froths at the mouth whenever the military comes up in e-conversation. And, since Master Horn must love frothing at the mouth, he brings up the military frequently.
I wrote in late January about Horn’s piece â€œUnending War Relies on Steady Supply of Dropouts and Pushouts,” in which he wrote:
â€œThese youngsters today have failed to make it in the testing factories we call schools, and recruiters, armed with these kidsâ€™ school data (NCLB mandates it), have an unending supply of hot leads.
What would that recruiting poster look likeâ€“an army one group of dropouts and pushouts who can still contribute to the Americaâ€™s world class military economy. Sign your body up today!â€ [emphasis added]
Not surprisingly, he’s at it again. In a brief treatment of the proposed changes to the GI Bill – a topic worth serious thought and discussion – Horn takes the opportunity to lambaste the American GI, who he’s classified as “undereducated”:
According to the Pentagon, which directs the spending of $3 billion every week in Iraq, this new GI Bill proposal is too expensive. And from their perspective, Webb’s bill threatens the readiness to conduct war without end (or maybe just a hundred years), which can only be carried out by underpaid, undereducated “volunteers” who do not have viable career options outside the military. (We all know that if we were drafting middle class kids to serve as IED targets in Iraq, this war would have been over a long time ago). [Bold emphasis added]
Before I parse this, remind yourself of the meaning of the word tendentious:
“… having or showing a definite tendency, bias, or purpose: a tendentious novel.”
“Marked by a strong implicit point of view; partisan: a tendentious account of the recent elections.“
Got it? Let’s hit the analysis.
First, Professor Horn wants you to look at the sheer amount of money being spent per week in Iraq:
“According to the Pentagon, which directs the spending of $3 billion every week in Iraq, this new GI Bill proposal is too expensive.”
And, he hopes, you’ll think it’s a ridiculous sum. He also hopes that you’re as agenda-driven and logically deficient as he is. That way, the argument that we’re spending tons of money per week on something unnecessary – at the opportunity cost of depriving veterans of money for education – will take root and blossom. It would have been a far stronger point if he’d compared the amount of monetary change in the proposed GI Bill to the vasts of military spending overall, but doing so wouldn’t have allowed him to poke the Iraq war with a stick and quickly run away.
“And from their perspective, Webb’s bill threatens the readiness to conduct war without end (or maybe just a hundred years)”
Well, everyone knows that John McCain wants to station nukes on every streetcorner in every foreign country for at least 100 years. Haha!
But Jim Horn, that silver-haired teenybopper, is infected with a star envy/crush that runs both deep and bold. I can’t help but remember his cutesy comment to the semi-fasting Kozol on the HuffPo:
“Thank you for your eloquent commitment to what’s right for so many years … A trusted lieutenant, should you need one. Jim Horn”
This time, too, he was likely just purposely distorting McCain’s comment by following in the footsteps of another one of his heroes.
“…which can only be carried out by underpaid, undereducated “volunteers” who do not have viable career options outside the military.”
Underpaid? Probably. I’ll give him that one.
But undereducated? This is standard Horn-fare – to pity the military for being ignorant, dumb, enslaved, stupid, unaware, backwoods cannon-fodder for Big Oil, Bu$hCo, Condoskeeza, Dick “Dr. Evil” Cheney, etc. It’s almost as charming as when Susan O’Hanian thought it was funny to sing – yes, sing, in a NCLB protest song – that NCLB was created as a way to divert attention from our wars. [She removed that line from her song, but then wrote in her newsletter that she regretted it.]
Thanks, Jim, but I don’t think they need your pity.
Not only is his claim about the mental ineptitude of the American GI rude and patently untrue, it doesn’t even make sense given the context. If our GIs are undereducated and intellectually worthless – so worthless that they “do not have viable career options outside the military” – why on earth would we pay them bucketloads of money when, as Jim suggests, we’re getting substandard production out of them?
Stick to education, Jim. You might have trouble in the private sector, despite your claim to believe in the foundations of education, which do include – to your chagrin – basic economic principles.
The scare quotes around “volunteers” can’t be ignored, either – I’ll spare you the obvious analysis, but I do ask that you remember that definition of tendentious.
“(We all know that if we were drafting middle class kids to serve as IED targets in Iraq, this war would have been over a long time ago).”
Jim is likely right. If there was a draft of any sort, the country would probably have a different approach to this war. But since we aren’t drafting anyone, it’s completely irrelevant.
Demeaning, tendentious language abounds – from calling GIs “IED targets” to referring to John McCain as “the Republican War Hero candidate” to implications of selfish, inhumane class warfare. And really, tendentious language here and there, light sparring, etc. isn’t a terrible thing. It’s not always destructive or mean-spirited, but Horn is a willing practitioner of the vile.
My disapproval has nothing to do with Horn’s politics or beliefs – public and higher education, the military and pretty much everything else can be criticized fairly. And for what it’s worth, I do hope that Jim Webb’s bill passes and increases education benefits for veterans. I am on Horn’s side entirely on this particular issue, but I condemn his reasoning and his discourse.
It has everything to do with his motivations.
Because of that, I’ve got to channel George Patton one more time:
You’re one lowlife son of a bitch, Jim.
The University that puts up with your pseudo-professional screeds is nearing that classification, too, as well as the unindicted co-conspirators who stay silent at the Education Policy Blog.
Sometimes, for better or worse, there’s just no other way to put it.
I’ll leave you with two excellent reads:
- The American GI, by Colin Powell, written on the occasion of The American GI being named to the TIME 100: The Most Important People of the [20th] Century.
- Freedom is a Little Piece of Broken Concrete by Darren.