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December 14, 2006

Our "dumb" military

James Taranto has spent the week on vacation and in place of his usual Best of the Web Today column has been posting reader responses to Kerry's "botched joke" suggesting that people in the military are dumb and Rangel's own borderline racist comment on the same subject. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm afraid I can't help you, Mr. (or Ms.) van Winkle.

The link to today's installment contains other links to previously posted responses. One of today's responses, from Ari Steinmetz, really struck me:

I was also struck by the Doonesbury arc in which a student declares he can best serve his country at a hedge fund. My story is something of the opposite.

I tried to gain admission to the Air Force Academy but, while I received a congressional nomination, my school record wasn't strong enough. I tried to enlist after college to enter flight school, but my recruiter said competition for such slots was too stiff and my test scores weren't high enough. My fallback was the M.B.A. program at Columbia. After one semester there, my recruiter called me up to say a slot had opened for me. I jumped at the chance and dropped out of school. After three months of officer training I shipped out to flight school at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla. While I had a great time, once again I didn't make the cut and flunked out after nine months. I went back and finished my M.B.A. Now I am a mutual fund manager.

So, you see, I had to settle for an Ivy League M.B.A. and a Wall Street career because I wasn't good enough for the military.
If you've ever dealt with military people or if you've ever served, this story will ring true.