Alaska Republican Rep. Bob Lynn has re-sparked the age old debate by moving to lower the legal drinking age to 18 for soldiers. He’s proposing a bill in Congress that would allow military men and women age 18 and up to drink in Alaska. ”Any soldier who braves military combat and risks their life for our country should be treated like an adult—in every sense of the word,” says Bob Lynn. He also points out that service members are allowed to drink overseas even if they’re under the American drinking age. Commanders can prohibit those under 21 from drinking in Europe but it doesn’t happen often. Lynn’s bill would also allow soldiers to smoke in the state of Alaska at 18. The current age that Alaskans can smoke is 19.
Defense Secretary Gates has been voicing his concern over the bill that is currently being mulled by two state House committees.
Lynn recently blogged about his bill and voiced his opinion that our military warriors should be treated as adults.
I’ve always found it incredibly stupid that we can pluck kids straight from high school and send them into combat but they can’t go out and buy a beer. Most can’t even come home from war and buy a beer to take the edge off. We can hand kids who’re deemed not “old” enough for alcohol, high powered firearms and tell them to kill but they can’t drink? I know America has a hard time making laws fair in general but exceptions are usually made for military men and women. Gates doesn’t seem to care that soldiers are getting blitzed in Europe as he’s only voiced his disapproval over lowering the age here. He is a politician after all and I’m sure he’s being told some of what to say but it just does not make sense.
Even now if a soldier wants a drink all he has to do is go to one of the many parties that are in and around the base. It’s just like high school in many respects. If you want something bad enough you can get your hands on it no matter what your parents say. I can understand Gates’ point that the stress from repeated tours is leading soldiers to engage in risky behavior but again they’re going to do it anyway. I don’t understand why America is so terrified of a lowered drinking age when Europe has proven that if you take away the allure of alcohol they’re less likely to over consume when they do get their hands on it. Europe does have a higher age for when kids can drive but I’d rather have a 16 year old drunk at the bar than a 16 year old drunk and on the road. If this bill is to pass in any state its either going to be Alaska or Texas and its probably a long shot either way. I for one would like to see our service men and women who are entrusted with our security be able to have a beer on their night off.