Myself, I'm for the idea in a mild sort of way. I was not a binge drinker in college by any standards, but I didn't take the drinking age all that seriously either. There was always someone on the hall over 21 willing to keep me stocked in port and brandy. (I didn't really get into beer until later -- mainly because I hated cheap American beer, and didn't run into anything else.) Lowering the drinking age and upping the penalties for DUI would make sense to me.
One of the lines that always seems to be mentioned is, "Why is it that at 18 you can be called on to die for your country, but you can't have a beer?"
As it turns out, however, the military has taken this under consideration. All branches of the military now allow servicemen to drink overseas so long as they are above the local drinking age. (They used to try to enforce the US drinking age.) And last year the Marines took one step further:
But the commandant’s changes go further than any other service’s policy, decriminalizing welcome-home beer for underage Marines returning from deployment and giving commanders the authority to hold an 18-and-up kegger on base upon a unit’s return from a war zone.Good for them. I'm use the Marines can use a good drink once in a while. Not allowing a 19 or 20-year-old just back from a war zone a welcome-home beer would be downright disgraceful.
And there’s no need to hide a flask in your sock before the birthday ball, because the commandant has you covered there, too. As long as your unit holds its celebration on base, commanders can drop the drinking age to 18 in the U.S. under “special circumstances,” and even authorize the possession and consumption of alcohol by underage Marines in the barracks.
The new policy defines these circumstances as “those infrequent, non-routine military occasions when an entire unit, as a group, marks at a military installation a uniquely military occasion, such as the conclusion of arduous military duty or the anniversary of the establishment of a military service or organization.”
On a random historical note: Until mid-century, the British army and navy both included as part of the contractual pay owed to a soldier one drink of beer or hard liquor (usually rum) each day.