Young Joshua Zimmerman, a journalism student in the Princeton class of 1991, presents himself to us as, essentially, an Ivy League chicken hawk (“Make War in the Gulf--But I Just Want to Watch,” Campus Correspondence, Opinion, Feb. 17). From the comfort and safety of an elite campus he cheers on this Gulf War, but leaves it to be fought for him by less privileged young American “mercenaries.”
Perhaps his essay is Swiftian satire. Perhaps he wants to expose the not very pretty socioeconomic aspects of our volunteer military and this war. If so, he’s done a clever enough job.
If the essay represents Zimmerman’s real-life views, however--and it does seem to do so--then it is terribly sad. And shocking. Oh, not that he thinks that way. Many do. We know that. What is shocking is that Zimmerman is so shamelessly open, so public and unabashed about his class-based snobbery. I’ve never before seen in print so icy an unconcern about the fate of so many young men and women--Zimmerman’s fellow Americans. Thousands of young people--on both sides--may be killed in a bloody war that some of us continue to see as tragically misguided. We cannot share Zimmerman’s sophisticated and heartless detachment.