Military service

May 30, 2008

You know what distinguishes Fort Bliss from other military posts? If you said it’s that soldiers under 21 could drink on base, you would have been right, until now:

Citing too many drunken-driving crashes and arrests and too many fights, the new commanding general has raised the drinking age on base from 18 to 21, bringing 17,000-soldier Fort Bliss into line with what has been the law in the rest of Texas since 1986.

And not only that, but all Fort Bliss soldiers are barred from slipping across the Mexican border to Ciudad Juarez, the city of famously loose morals where young Americans have been getting drunk — and getting into trouble — for generations. From now on, no passes to Juarez will be issued.

I’m sort of on the fence on this one. Young people tend to raise the most hell when drinking, and that fact doesn’t change just because they put on uniforms. And the argument “old enough to die for their country, etc.,” doesn’t carry as much weight as it did when there was a draft. But what about those who have actually been to combat but aren’t yet 21? Should those who served, well, be served? A 19-year-old Pfc. complains that a few rowdy guys just “ruined it for everyone.” Way of the world, kid.

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2 Responses to “Military service”

  1. Doug Says:

    I’m in favor of an 18 year old drinking age for everyone, not just those in the military. If you’re deemed mature enough to make all of those other adult decisions, there is nothing special about the decision to use alcohol.

    Just one datapoint is that my older siblings were able to start drinking at age 18 just over the border in Ohio. By the time I reached that age, the drinking age had been raised to 21. Nevertheless, I still started drinking at age 18 and was more of an idiot about it than my siblings. I recognize that this doesn’t prove anything other than that I’m more of an idiot than my siblings.

  2. Harl Delos Says:

    I recognize that this doesn’t prove anything other than that I’m more of an idiot than my siblings.

    Was, Doug, not am.

    We’re all friends here. One definition of a friend is that when you make a fool of yourself, a friend believes that it’s not necessarily a permanent condition.


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