Sometimes David Broder merely irritates. But once and a while, he makes a good point.
Today, only 121 veterans of the armed services are in the House -- barely more than one-quarter of the membership. A generation ago, in 1975, 318 of the 435 representatives had worn their country's uniform, and a good many of them had seen combat in World War II or Korea. Comradeship came more easily to them, and so did the kind of mutual respect that makes possible compromise and, ultimately, agreement.
None of the top leaders of either party today has been in the service. Most of those who aspire to be their successors also lack that experience.
It is not just politicians and legislators who would benefit from undergoing the discipline and experiencing the rewards of giving a period of their lives to tasks assigned by their country -- either military or civilian. That is the surest way we know to restore the sense of shared commitment so lacking today.
We need more veterans -- and we desperately need more people who know the difference between warfare and politics.