GIs AllMy military experience having begun at age 15, when...


September 07, 1995

GIs All

My military experience having begun at age 15, when I trained as a horse-mounted cavalryman, then became an artillery sergeant while still too young to enlist legally, then argued my way out of the military police, so as to become an armored infantry captain in battle, I feel qualified to show resentment on behalf of my men (my comrades) for the following by Theo Lippman Jr. in his Aug. 21 column:

''In fact, a great many young Americans were reluctant to voluntarily take up arms for their country even in that 'good war.' Of the approximately 15 million GIs, 10 million were draftees. Those who argue that aerial bombardment of cities was evil because the casualties were civilians need to consider that most of the soldiers, sailors and Marines getting killed on battlefields were, at heart, civilians, too.''

Almost all of my fighting men had at least accepted cheerfully the assignment to infantry combat (rather than wangling their way into rear-echelon outfits), whereas a very large percentage of volunteers had promptly enlisted in reputedly safe or at least relatively safe services, hoping to avoid the misery and danger of front-line duty. Only about 20 percent of servicemen ever faced combat of any kind. Yet in later years some military non-combatants (including females protected from danger) have had the effrontery to brag of being ''volunteers.''

All wartime servicemen had been, without exception, as peacetime ''civilians,'' legally members of the armed forces reserves. The peacetime Army of the United States, for example, consisted of: the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, the Organized Army Reserves, and the Unorganized Reserves. All members of the latter -- males between 18 and 45 years old -- belonged automatically (and still do) also to the Unorganized State Militia (and hence have the constitutional right and duty to own and bear arms).

Selective Service calls up the best of unorganized reservists -- physically, mentally, morally -- to serve their country in war. What made World War II terror bombing ''evil'' was not that the victims were ''civilians,'' but that they were largely women and children -- not subject to deliberate attack by civilized men. Such terror-bombing was criminal, as practiced by all sides.

Excepting those physically or mentally defective, all fairly young males not in uniform were nevertheless members of their nation's military, both de facto and de jure. And practically all of these were doing work of military significance, direct or indirect. Attacking them was proper.

Mr. Lippman reasons that most soldiers were really civilians, whereas in legal fact most male civilians were (and are) soldiers of one kind or another.

Willis Case Rowe


Women, Too

Your Aug. 22 editorial, ''The Maryland Club's Mission," which made the point that the club served as a stabilizing factor in the neighborhood and should be encouraged to rebuild on the same site, was right as far as it went.

The neighborhood does need the club. But what would serve the neighborhood and this city even better would be a non-discriminatory Maryland Club that opens its doors to all, regardless of sex.

There can be no justification for the Maryland Club's continued refusal to admit women to membership and full use of all club facilities. Why do its members feel the need to be in a place safe from the company of women? Why has it been so proud of sexism?

As it plans for the refurbishing of its building, the Maryland Club also needs to update its outmoded membership policy.

Sally B. Gold


Off the Map

It seems unfortunate that The Sun ran an article on how difficult it is to find the Edgar Allan Poe House.

One of the reasons for this is that many of the Baltimore promotional maps these days have been shifted eastward to include Fell's Point, but then cut off at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., overlooking noteworthy sites of downtown's west side.

Even the glossy brochures put out by ''The Downtown Baltimore Show'' are guilty of this obvious geographical shift to the east.

Along with the forgotten Poe House, a few blocks west of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., you can also try to find the B. & O. Railroad Museum, the H. L. Mencken House and Mount Clare Mansion at Carroll Park, none of which exist on most of these newer maps.

Because of that they suffer for it.

This form of subtle neglect should not go unnoticed. Maybe it would help the spirit of folks in this West Baltimore community if they could also find something to be proud of on these ''promotional maps.''

John Ellsberry


Told It Like It Isn't

I would hope that everyone who read the Aug. 22 letter of Arthur Laupus, headlined ''Tobacco's Value,'' was as shocked and incensed as I still am.

As I understand Mr. Laupus' reasoning, we should embrace tobacco as we do motherhood because it provides jobs and secures the economy of North Carolina.

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