Local AngleIN THE NEWS: Sen. John Kerry makes â€˜botched joke about education of U.S. troops
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told a college audience Oct. 30 that young people might get stuck in Iraq if they dont study hard and do their homework, in response to President Bushs Iraq policies. He said the initial claim was aimed toward Bush, not troops. Kerry since has apologized for what he calls a botched joke, but clarified his position Nov. 1 by saying, You cannot get into the military today if you do badly in school.
IN THE NEWS: Sen. John Kerry makes ‘botched joke' about education of U.S. troops
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told a college audience Oct. 30 that young people might get “stuck in Iraq” if they don't study hard and do their homework, in response to President Bush's Iraq policies. He said the initial claim was aimed toward Bush, not troops. Kerry since has apologized for what he calls a “botched joke,” but clarified his position Nov. 1 by saying, “You cannot get into the military today if you do badly in school.”
EXPERT OPINION: Dr. Dewey Browder, professor and chair of the history and philosophy department at Austin Peay State University, said Kerry “seems to be rehashing old ideas from the days of the draft.”
“If he, or anyone else, thinks soldiers are poorly educated they have not kept up with changes in the military,” Browder said. “Today's Army, to be specific, expects all soldiers to have a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. Indeed, education is a must to get ahead in the military service. If there is any notable difference between the education levels of military personnel and civilians in the same age bracket today, it is that the military personnel are probably better educated.”
Educating troops is important, Browder said, because their specializations demand ongoing and advanced development.
“Soldiers, NCOs and line officers operate some of the most complicated electronic equipment and weapons systems in the world,” he said. “Military staff officers manage gigantic, complex logistics and administrative systems that reach around the globe.”
Browder added, “The military is an advocate for education. The Army annually sends thousands of officers to universities to earn advanced degrees. We have some of those talented young officers right here on our own campus.
“I would like to point out that if we compare Sen. Kerry's profession with the military, we see there are no minimum educational requirements to be a senator.”
Browder oversees Austin Peay's new graduate degree program, Master of Arts in Military History. Students of all academic backgrounds have the opportunity to examine aspects of military history ranging from culture and religious beliefs to tactics and diplomacy.
Browder received a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Master of Arts from the University of Arkansas and Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State University.
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