According to AP, presidents from about 100 universities have signed a petition to lower the drinking age in their states from 21 to 18. The thinking is that the higher drinking age "actually encourages dangerous drinking binges on campus," as well as being discriminatory. Groups like MADD are opposing the move.
The reason this news item caught my eye is that it so completely reverses the arguments of my own college days. Then the drinking age was 18 but the voting age was 21. The argument then was that if the young men fighting in Vietnam were old enough to die for their country, they were old enough to vote in it. Subsequently, the voting age dropped and the drinking age rose. Now the soldiers fighting in Iraq are old enough to die for their country and to vote in it, but (mostly) not to drink in it.
Somewhere in all these conflicting claims there is surely sense, but I can't find it. Traffic fatalities have fallen since the drinking age was raised to 21; that's well documented. But if a young man or woman is old enough to carry an M-16 on a life-threatening mission...surely he or she is old enough to have a beer?