Martin O’Malley Explained What’s Wrong With “Boots On The Ground”

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley spent most of NBC News and YouTube's Democratic debate fighting to be heard. But when he finally did manage to share some of his opinions, O'Malley hit all the right notes. At Sunday's debate, O'Malley said that Republicans aren't sensitive enough when using the term "boots on the ground" to describe America's war efforts. The phrase is, he said, "all bravado and macho, sending other kids" into harm's way. This isn't the first time O'Malley has spoken out against the phrase "boots on the ground." At a Democratic primary debate in November, O'Malley explained that the mother of a service member asked him not to use the phrase. "My son is not a pair of boots on the ground," the mother reportedly told O'Malley. Martin O'Malley may not have gotten much air time on Sunday, but his answer to this question highlights something ugly about the way we describe America's military efforts. The brave men and women defending the United States are people, not disembodied tools — and we need to remember that in discussions of military strategy.

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