Monday, May 29, 2017

Tell 'Em What They Died For, Johnny

You, soldier, were slain before your time at Saratoga, Shiloh, Luzon, or Hamburger Hill.  You served our nation, gave more than anyone should reasonably offer, and for that you have our gratefulness, as inexorably insufficient as it must be, on this Memorial Day.

I write specially to reassure you that your service and sacrifice have not been rendered callously insignificant statistical accumulations by the parade of platitude-spouting politicians and obnoxious working class pseudo patriots who practice casual jingoism as a second religion.

As I wistfully imagine it from my corner office on the 3rd floor (for I write this on Thursday), you lie there in the bloody mud, a limb or two blown off, a river of dark liquid flowing from holes in your torso you can't even feel, delirious as the medic shakes his head and his triage efforts enlist you for the angel of death's coming corps, the deafening hail of bullets and artillery the soundtrack of your final moments as a living, breathing entity. 

You stare up as that last bit of blue fades from the sky, replaced by an empty white light as your neurons realize the futility of it all.  You might think of the needlessness of mass mutual homicide to resolve sociopolitical disputes.  You might think of your gifted heroism.  You might think of your family and that faithful gal in Columbus or Wichita who will now have to find herself another fella.

But most assuredly, I know you were asking yourself if the United States of America would continue to be a leader in establishing legal norms for the human race through a peerless, comprehensive professional educational system.  Indeed, given our enlistment age brackets, you likely would have been a fine candidate for bar membership, particularly back in the day when bar membership was as simple as bringing a flask and a risque lithograph to the local magistrate judge.

More important than memorializing the tragic loss of those who would now be of an age to donate curriculum-saving wealth accumulations to certain third-tier institutions is the confirmation that our legal education system remains excellent, vastly superior to our enemies and better, even, than our staunchest allies of engagements past.

Solider, I bring the Good News.  As I write this, the federal government, the one on whose uniform you bled, will still lend funds to all individuals interested in maintaining American justice at an ABA rubber-stamped school.  The number of institutions serving the vital function of educating the public has increased in the last few decades.  Law professors have become so ruthlessly efficient that they can work only two to three days a week and continue delivering results that make their students weep with happiness as they pay their student loans.  Everyday lawyers are as wealthy as ever, law graduates are not defaulting by and large, and our courts are a model of efficiency and professionalism.

Open and affordable, providing a versatile degree that gives penetrating expertise in the law with broad insight into an incalculably broad list of other industries, there has never been an opportunity like enrolling in an American law school.

But would you believe people criticize it?  Audacious.  They speak of paying back $400,000.00 of non-discharagable debt like it's an anchor upon their career.  But you, soldier, you know sacrifice, and that $400,000 is nothing.  Certainly less than a life.  To compare the two is patently ridiculous.

If you could only see what we've become, soldier, I have no idea that you would put on the uniform yet again and read headlong into the peril of enemy fire, knowing that your country will continue to set the global standard for law school.

Often on holidays such as this, certain people will take remarkably cynical and self-serving approaches to the holiday, reducing your fulfillment of duty to some weak justification for shameless exploitation.  I hate that. 

Crucial to combating that nonsense is educating our future leaders as much as possible.  Three years of legal education may not be raising the stars and stripes in enemy territory, but it's darned close.

Since riding the Million Dollar Express is better than taking the doleful train to basic when war is afoot, I don't know what these little maggots are doing complaining except spitting on your hallowed graves.


  1. The scam is a terrible thing-but this essay was poorly conceived. The combat deaths of our nation's troops in no way is related to the scam, and any attempt, such as this, to draw an instructive analogy utilizing Memorial Day is a bad idea. It simply can't be done and ought not to be attempted.

  2. There are similarities between the law school scam and our recent military fiascos.

    I enrolled in law school in the early 2000s, when every law school proclaimed 99% employment rates, with an average private practice salary of $100k+. I went to an admitted student event, where the dean declared, “everyone gets a job, even the student ranked last.” Another admitted student asked, “I want to go into public interest law. How will I repay $150k in student loans?” The dean of career services replied, “You should go into private practice first, where our grads earn an average of $100k. Pay off your loans. Then move to public interest law.” Of course, all of this was a complete lie. I fell for it because there were no scam blogs.

    Around that time, the Bush administration was in full propaganda mode. Hussein had WMDs and was building a nuke! He planned 9/11 with Al-Qaeda! The administration played the NYT for a fool. The Bush administration would leak their fake intel to the NYT. The NYT would report on it. Then Cheney would go on the Sunday talk shows and cite the NYT stories to justify going to war.

    Around a year later, it became apparent that two “respectable” institutions in our country are full of lying con artists – law schools and the White House. When you go to a toilet law school, it doesn’t matter if you make law review and get good grades. Big law firms, shit law firms, the Feds, the state/local government, prosecutors, public defenders, and Judges have no interest in hiring you. After graduating law school and passing the bar, I went and talked to someone who was actually honest for a change – an Army recruiter. One of the first questions he asked was, “can you pass a drug test, and if not, when?” The Army was so desperate at that point, they were taking anyone. He was very direct, “you know you are going to Iraq?” And I said “sign me up.”

    The war in Iraq was a disaster, that’s the one truth I’ve heard Trump ever mention. At the time, everyone was lying to themselves, from Bush on down to the company commanders. Bush and the future tea baggers claimed we were fighting Al-Qaeda and winning. But southern Iraq, most of Baghdad, and a majority of the population is Shia Muslim, not Sunni Muslim like Al-Qaeda. These Shia insurgents didn’t buy into the idea that we were “liberating” them. They controlled politicians, judges, the police, and the Army. Sometimes the most dangerous place to be was near an Iraqi army/police checkpoint, because they had allowed insurgents to set up an IED. They thought we would let our guard down. You could always count on a rocket attack coming from someplace near these checkpoints too. The Sunnis in the west were not happy we removed Hussein (a Sunni) and allowed the Shia to take control of the government. They joined up with Al-Queda to fight the Shia and U.S. troops. So we fought a three way war, where we drove around waiting for either the Shia or Sunni insurgents to blow us up. We would go kick in the doors of homes of suspected insurgents and arrest people, thinking that would stop the insurgency. Petraeus came along, and recognized we had to change our strategy and tactics because the war was failing. He set forth a counterinsurgency strategy. But one of the key decisions he made to stop the violence, was to simply pay insurgents to stop fighting. The hope was, that the Sunni and Shia would then work together to form a stable country. As soon as those payments stopped when we left the country, the Sunnis stopped supporting the Shia government. A few years later, the Sunni terror group ISIS rolled through western Iraq, with the backing of the people living there. Many of the leaders of ISIS are veterans of the Iraq war.

    (continued below)

  3. (continued from above)

    The way that the politicians and military leaders lied about the war, and denied reality, is very similar to what we hear today from legal academics. The legal market is stagnant. That is an objective fact that you can see from the BEA stats. There are more attorneys than jobs available. Another objective fact from the BLS. But these facts are ignored by people like Simkovic and Diamond. The lunatic Diamond claimed that the Orange county legal market was booming and justified keeping Whittier Law school open. Simkovic tried to expand his million dollar law degree nonsense to LLMs. They deny the economic reality of the legal market. But college grads see the truth and now the enrollment at law schools is down. So now the law schools are admitting objectively less qualified people who are failing the bar in great numbers. But these law professors refuse to acknowledge that. They actually claim the bar exam is too hard and biased. To deny reality as they do would require one to suffer from delusional disorder or to be a lying con artist. The latter is the simplest and most likely explanation.