Today’s Doonesbury is dead on, I’m afraid:

(At least the last panel; the hurricanes bit is rather overstated.)

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    I got into a long discussion with a 16 year old daughter of a friend of mine. While (this self described liberal) strongly supported the war, she was blasting Bush for using reservists and keeping them from home.

    I explained that as a matter of policy we had a choice. We could keep a large standing professional Army and let them do this or we could lean on reservist.

    When she told me we should have a large standing Army, I told her to quit complaining about defense spending if she wanted a large standing Army during peace times.

    Suddenly, this 16 year old female liberal became a hawk. She understood the debate and realized she could not have it both ways.

    If only our elected leaders understood it.

  2. Captain Scarlet says:

    i have to disagree. the national guard and reserves are not trained only for hurricanes and such. that’s rubbish. they are soldiers just like the active component. are they getting “jerked around”? guard units that fought in WWII were deployed for years, wiped out, and reconstituted with new personnel. will the army always have complainers? sure, that comes with the territory and it is the only thing the cartoon got right. but it ignores the vast amount of soliders that love being there and doing their job.

  3. James Joyner says:


    Indeed, I noted that that part of the cartoon was overstated. Clearly, the Guard is much more well trained than they were, say, a decade ago. Are they equivalent to active units? No.

    The last part of the panel is correct in the sense that the RC is recruited with the understanding that they have limited obligations–a weekend a month and two weeks in the summer–unless there’s a major emergency. The war in Iraq certainly qualifies within that contract, but probably not peacekeeping duty.

  4. Pet peeve: reservists — and even “regular” armed forces personnel — who find that they are suddenly being called to do what they signed up to do (i.e., serve in an armed conflict) and don’t like it. I have to lay some of the blame for this on the years and years of service-sponsored advertising campaigns that encouraged our young people to think of military service as just a stepping stone to a bigger and better career, though there is some truth to that, certainly. But the fact that people are surprised to find they are now being called on to do what they were trained and paid to do just floors me. What did these folks think they were signing up for? Did they really think there was no risk in enlisting, or serving one weekend a month and two weeks a year? They volunteered — with no coercion — to serve in the armed forces of the United States of America. They are now being called on to do just that.

    As a Marine Corps wife, I can attest to the frustrations of uncertainty — when will he come home? how much danger is he really in? do I agree with the reasons he was sent over there (in our case, Somalia)? do I agree with the way the conflict is being handled? These are all understandable frustrations and concerns. But military personnel — reservists included — and their families need to remember that military service is just that: service. It is not 9-to-5, it is 24/7 — always has been. We didn’t like every assignment he was given. We didn’t like every situation in which we found ourselves. But ultimately, my husband’s job was to serve, and the job of our family was to support him in that — no questions asked. Just knuckle down and do what needs doing. So that’s what we did.

    Our servicemen and -women will come home when the job is done, or rotations out can be safely accomplished. In the meantime, we pray for their safety, and offer our thanks for their sacrifices — some more permanent than others. Those that gripe and complain, even knowing what they signed up for, dishonor the memory of the hundreds of thousands of vets who served before them, month after month and year after year with no promises whatsoever about when they would “rotate out” or return home. And I, for one, wish they would just shut up, because they do not represent the men and women who are serving with honor and dignity. Semper Fi.

  5. The standard anti-American drivel from a guilt-ridden Liberal enjoying the good life. Nothing here to see, folks…