The issue at hand today, my dear reader, considers our military. I’m not going to go on a diatribe that bashes the Iraq-Afghanistan engagements that envelop our country. I would instead like to discuss the availability of alcoholic beverages to underage soldiers. Is it right? Is it wrong?
I think this is one of those unfortunate gray areas that could very well have a multitude of answers. Plainly, yes and no. Were I a bartender, I would ask an underage soldier who flashes me a military ID a few questions. First and most importantly, I would say: Have you ever seen combat?
In my opinion, if an underage man or woman hopes to receive a drink, he or she would have to had seen combat. If the soldier has gone to a different country, been shot at while fighting for liberty in the name of his or her country, upon returning I’d say he or she has earned a beer. That’s the least they deserve for their sacrifice.
Now, if an 18-year-old straight out of basic training were to walk up to the same bar and flash the same military ID, I would tell the person to get lost. Just because you are in the military doesn’t warrant you special treatment outside of the law. At that point, all you have really done is a lot of cardio and training. You haven’t been in a situation where someone else is trying to kill you.
I’m sure there are those who would argue with my views, and it is their right to do so. However, just because these men and women are giving at least four years of their lives away, they are still not of legal drinking age as defined by the law. And going around the law is not cool.
Laws are in place for a reason, are they not? If someone joins the armed forces and then kills someone, he or she is still prosecuted for murder. I know it’s a far stretch from underage drinking, but the point remains the same. Being government-issued, or GI, doesn’t put you above the law. If anything, it makes you more of a slave to it.
I know bartenders who agree and disagree with me, which brings me to my point: choice. It’s what people choose to do that really affects the world. This wouldn’t be an issue if young men didn’t choose to volunteer for their chosen branch of the service.
One chooses what he or she is doing in everyday life. Whether or not they’re going to serve an underage soldier or whether or not they’re going to brush their teeth, it’s totally up to them. It’s our ability as a deep-thinking species to make these rationalized choices and decisions.