<< The Body Politic

Mid-week roundup

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

What’s happening in the citizenship world? Here’s our mid-week roundup:

  • World War II veteran Raymond Smith, age 92, finally received his high school diploma: “Ohio law allows veterans who dropped out of high school and then served in World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War to receive their diplomas. Smith dropped out of high school after his freshman year to support his three younger siblings. He then served in World War II from 1942-45.”
  •  Last week, the United States military reached 2,000 dead in the Afghanistan conflict: “In more ways than his family might have imagined, Lance Corporal Buckley, who had just turned 21 when he died, typified the troops in that second wave of 1,000. According to the Times analysis, three out of four were white, 9 out of 10 were enlisted service members, and one out of two died in either Kandahar Province or Helmand Province in Taliban-dominated southern Afghanistan. Their average age was 26. […] Though Afghanistan is now considered the nation’s longest war, at 128 months and counting, the number of dead is fewer than half the total in the Iraq war, where more than 4,480 died in eight years. More active-duty and reserve soldiers killed themselves last year, 278, than died in combat in Afghanistan, 247.”
  •  In July, Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, posed the question: Is patriotism moral? His answer: “This [American] project has had many failures, most often when we forget that the freedom of a nation must always grow from its own historical roots. We cannot simply wage a war that rips up those roots and then transplant shoots from our own stock (American-style capitalism, political parties, our popular culture). We have also often forgotten that the liberation of our own citizens is by no means complete. But none of this alters the fact that our governments have often worked and our soldiers died not just for our own freedom but for the freedom of all nations. We are a MacIntyrean community that is still trying to live out a modern morality that seeks the freedom of everyone. I love America because I still believe that this sublime project is possible.”