Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Stanford Law Student Going to Iraq By Choice
Mike Zummer is not your typical Stanford Law Student. Besides being one of my former co-bloggers, he's also in his thirties - making him older than average. Also, being a conservative former FBI agent gives him a different political persuasion than all but a few. What truly sets Mike apart though is that he is giving up his position of privilege at perhaps the most desirable place to study law in the country, voluntarily, to serve in Iraq. Yes, voluntarily. Mike enlisted and has taken a leave of absence from Stanford Law School. He was not part of a reserve or a national guard unit - he recently CHOSE to go to what is said by some cynics to be a killing zone.

Over the next few months, we are hoping to have Mike post from Iraq, pending clearance from his superiors, of course. But before Mike ships off, I think it is important to point something out. It is the common tripe of the left that the priveleged, or elite, do not serve in wars. That they get the poor, uneducated masses to be misled into fighting for causes that supposedly do not benefit them. Another line is that our "volunteer army" which is supposedly of such high caliber, is in reality stupid kids pressured outside of a shopping center by professional soldier-recruiters, who in a different time would easily be confused for used-car salesman - as documented by Michael Moore.

To those say such things, I personally can only point them in the direction of my friend Mike. Who is capable. Who is elite. Who is brilliant. And who chose to serve not because of any pressure from the outside, but because of an internal pressure of a duty he felt he owed to his country. Now that is just one example. But if we all look around, I'm sure we'll find others.

The truth is that our soldiers are not a bunch of misfits. It takes somebody with guts and a sense of both duty and honor to sign up. And there are no better examples of that than those who walk away from amazing opportunities to give something back not just to their country - but to their friends, families, and loved ones, who are the citizens of the country they serve.

UPDATE: If you wish to give Mike Zummer your thanks, please email him at mzummmer (at) stanford (dot) edu

UPDATE: If you want to read Mike's reasons for going, click here.

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