Should the Military have more rights than us?

Katherine - posted on 04/01/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )

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If you're fighting for your country, then you should be able to enjoy a beer - regardless of your age, an Alaskan state representative says.

Republican Rep. Bob Lynn, of Anchorage, has introduced a bill that would allow military members under 21 to drink and smoke legally, reigniting an old controversy about equal treatment for those in the armed forces.

"It's outrageous that a member of our military can be subjected to the horrors of war, but can't legally have a beer or smoke a cigarette," Lynn wrote on his blog, noting he does not advocate drinking or smoking as a "general practice."

"Any soldier who braves military combat and risks their life for our country should be treated like an adult - in every sense of the word," the Vietnam Vet added.

The legal drinking age in Alaska is 21, and the legal smoking age is 19.

Defense Department rules mandate that all U.S. military facilities follow the 21 drinking age, but U.S. bases abroad can drop their drinking age as low as 18 based on the host country's laws.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spoken out against lowering the legal drinking age, citing an increase in suicides and dangerous behavior among troops who deal with the stress of multiple stints abroad.

Lynn's bill dredges up a booze debate that dates back the Vietnam War, when men as young as 18 were drafted to fight but were not allowed to drink.

At the time, 29 states lowered their drinking age to 18, 19 or 20. But by 1988 nearly ever state had raised the drinking age back to 21.

Royal Bidwell, the business manager of the Forget Me Not Foundation, an Alaska nonprofit whose mission is to stop underage drinking in the state, said the bill should be killed.

"It's just not a very smart thing to do," said Bidwell, who lost his 17-year-old daughter to a drunken driver in 1983, noting a person under the age of 21 doesn't have the same judgment as someone that's of age.

"Let's say you got a G.I. at a bar or a party. Say he's 18, and he's there with others of the same age group and he's allowed to drink and he's not. There's a potential for conflict."

ashahid@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics...

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Johnny - posted on 04/01/2011

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The age of "responsibility" and the age of military service should be the same. How can you ask someone to lay down their life for your country and not let them have a beer when they get back? Crazy. Here, there is only a one year difference, and several provinces, it is the same. It's got nothing to do with drinking and driving. That should be absolutely illegal and seriously punished no matter who you are. I don't know about other jurisdictions, but our police have stated repeatedly that their most serious drinking/driving offenders are in their 40's and 50's.

When my husband and I were in Vegas a few years ago, we were in line for a night club with an Iraqi vet who had a plate in his head. He was 19 and had been blown up by an IUD right at the beginning of his first tour. The side of his head was flat and no hair grew there. He had no vision in his right eye and would never legally be able to drive a motor vehicle. He also had no hearing in his right ear. We sort of tried to sneak him in with us, because we were so outraged that a man who had sacrificed so much for his country couldn't even go dancing and have a drink. He was turned away of course.

To me its not so much about the activity, but about allowing them to be adults. I find it funny that 21 is the legal age in the US though. Kept me from traveling there without my parents (who would order for me) until then.

[deleted account]

In the US the drinking age was raised to 21 back in the 80's and I remember thinking how unfair it was that at 18 you were responsible enough to fight and possibly die for your country but not responsible enough to walk into a bar and have a beer. I kind of agree with Johnny in that I think the age of responsibility and the age of military service should be the same. However, I think the age of military service should be raised to 21, not the drinking age lowered to 18. Personally (and I know there are exceptions) I don't think that 18 year olds should be allowed to go to war OR drink. Maybe a compromise. Maybe meet in the middle at 20. That's all I've got.

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User - posted on 04/02/2011

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Simple - increase the minimum age you can sign up for the military to 21. It saddens me that teens are allowed to put themselves in the position of getting killed for their country before they've even reached adulthood.

[deleted account]

I agree Kati. They go through all of that, and then come home and don't know (and will never know) what it's like to live a "normal" life.

Rosie - posted on 04/02/2011

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i agree with theh premise of the article, if you are old enough to fight in battle, you are damned well old enough to have a beer. however i think that they shouldn't be old enough to fight in war until they are 21. let these poor young men live a little before shipping them off to a foreign country! many go from living at home to living in afghanistan, killing people, and fearing for their life and their buddies lives. pretty messed up if you ask me, but then again i think all war is.....

Tara - posted on 04/02/2011

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If you're old enough to kill someone in battle, if you are old enough to live in fear of suicide bombers and anti aircraft missiles, if you are old enough to risk your very life for your military forces, then you are sure as shit old enough to drink a beer and smoke a cigarette if you so choose.

This is one of the only laws I've seen proposed recently that makes sense through and through.

If I were a 19 year old armed service member and I was told I couldn't have a beer after a 5 hour long fire fight in the dark I would be pretty insulted and I would feel like they were treating me like a child.

I think the drinking age in the states is too high anyways.

It has nothing to do with driving either.

Even in Canada I find it absurd that you can vote and gamble at 18 but can't smoke or drink until 19 (in most provinces). Funny things we as a society hold onto without really thinking about why.



edited to add: As for the OP lol, I don't necessarily think the military should have more rights, on this issue I think the age should be lowered to 19 everywhere in the US, or even 18, if you can vote, you should treated as an adult.

Sneaky - posted on 04/02/2011

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That's a very manipulative and evil thought Jodi: "But hey, if you think about it, it would certainly be a good way to attract new recruits straight out of school :P "

I LOVE it!!!!

Stifler's - posted on 04/01/2011

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I think they should be able to have a frigging beer if they're putting their life at risk every day for their country. They can die for the safety of their country and fire weapons and all that but can't drink alcohol? Wow.

Jodi - posted on 04/01/2011

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This is the exact reason Australia's legal drinking age was lowered to 18 during the Vietnam War. If a country can require its young men to go off and fight for it (and in fact CONSCRIPT them to do so), then those same young men should be deemed legally old enough to have a drink.



I am not sure it is viable to only allow it for the military, however, because 18 is either old enough to drink or it isnt. You don't suddenly become more responsible with alcohol when you join the military.



But hey, if you think about it, it would certainly be a good way to attract new recruits straight out of school :P

Katherine - posted on 04/01/2011

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Yes, in the US it's 21. I agree with you. If they can serve at 18, they can have a beer served at 18. I think it's actually one of the most sensible laws they're trying to put into effect right now at any rate.

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