Pardon me, Scoresby, and I want this to sound as benign as possible, but, speak for your damn self. I joined the Marine Corps, and specifically chose Infantry Rifleman as my Military Occupational Specialty, so that maybe one day, I could go fight in a war. I don't want to sound ungrateful, I really do appreciate the fact that you care, but, seriously, this is why I signed up. And I'd wager that the same goes for my fellow Marines, or at least my fellow infantrymen.

When we heard we might be going to war, we weren't frightened, we were excited. When we shipped out, we weren't angry at our government, we were proud to be carrying out the duty that our elected officials had charged us with. When I came back without having fired a shot, or having been shot at, I wasn't relieved, I was disappointed.

See, you mention that a few of us servicemen joined to "serve their country", but that's not it exactly. There are plenty of non-military organizations that serve the country. We joined to kill and to die for our country. To place our ordnance and our lives between our loved ones and their enemies.

Obviously, there are those that joined for the college money or whatever. But what can I say? They joined for the wrong reason. Maybe that's a little harsh. But the fact of the matter is, that all branches of our military are made up completely of volunteers. Vietnam was different because these kids were getting signed up against their will. Of course, I know more than a few Marines that joined for the wrong reasons. But none of them are infantrymen. Which means that, largely, they won't be in much danger, even in a combat zone.

But if they do find themselves in combat situations, or wounded, or even killed in combat, well, the fact remains: they volunteered. Hopefully, before they signed up, they thought long and hard about the fact that they might be sent into hostile territory, they might get shot at, they might bleed to death in excruciating pain. Hopefully they weighed these possibilities against the dream of a higher education and decided it was worth it. And if they didn't, well, that was dumb. They should have.

And another thing is, I don't buy this whole "these poor slobs have no choice but to join the military if they want a shot at going to college" line. I was poor. I went to college. My parents didn't have to pay a thing. Financial Aid, scholarships, and student loans. I can tell you from personal experience that poor people can pay for college.

It boils down to: I'm not expecting other people's children to make the sacrifice. I'm expecting the people who volunteered to make the sacrifice to make the sacrifice. People like me. Please, PLEASE don't use me as an excuse not to go to war. I am a weapon, clean and ready. Point me at your enemies. Pull the trigger so that I may fulfill my function. Right now, this is why I am here.