One of the chief complaints we hear about Congress and our three current wars, (I’m sorry… TWO wars and a time limited, scope limited kinetic military action which will last days, not weeks, or TLSLKMAWWLDNW) is that they don’t have “skin in the game.” There are a few exceptions though, and one of them is the fact that Senator Scott Brown is still a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and, as such, is obligated to perform specific periods of service each year. This time he’s volunteering to go to Afghanistan.
“As a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, I have service obligations that I fulfill each year.
“Following in the tradition of other lawmakers who have completed their military service requirements overseas, this year I have requested to conduct my annual training in Afghanistan.
“Doing so will help me to better understand our ongoing mission in that country, and provide me first-hand experience for my duties on the Senate Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs committees,” he said.
There will be some immediate criticism of this (which is hinted at in the Boston Globe article linked above) because a sitting US Senator would be a very high value target and could draw needless risk and fire upon his unit if he deployed in a war zone. But it’s worth pointing out that Brown is a JAG. (judge advocate general’s corps) They are essentially lawyers and one would suspect that he wouldn’t usually be deployed in the field.
All in all, this could be a plus. I’m all for members of Congress being as well informed as possible on critical decisions, and many of them have visited war zones to get a first hand look at the situation on the ground. He may also be setting a very good example. It would be easy to criticize him for this decision, but if it’s not going to result in needless danger to other members of his unit, good for him.