For a time it was common sense that without a military no nation will remain a nation for long. In the case of Switzerland an astoundingly effective natural barrier protects them from any invading force. That is the only reason Switzerland has been able to maintain a neutral status in so many conflicts. Most other countries in the world don’t have that protection from violent threats. So they have to create it by forming a military.
Then there was a time, in the not so distant past, when the military was considered the problem, not a solution to the problem. There is no perfect solution to the problem as long as people are involved. That’s life. Instead of acknowledging people are flawed and that these flaws are why a military is necessary in the first place, it was instead assumed that the military’s very existence was the only cause of its necessity. Without a military there would no longer be a need for the military, because no one would see us as a threat. The notion of “the only thing to fear is fear itself” lead this changed philosophy, and spear headed not just anti-war protests but anti-military sentiment. This supposedly enlightended view would not allow for such a thing as a justified war. Lies and misrepresentations would now guide public narrative about war.
Some of this anti-military sentiment lingers today. In the Abu Graib scandal of the Bush years there were stories condemning not only the actions of a few punks in the military, but it seemed as if the entire military should be held accountable for the abuse of prisoners. At the same time there was a strong resistance to allowing the actions of many, many suicide bombers to be treated as representing the entire Muslim race. There was and still is plenty of open mindedness and tolerance for Islamic militants, not so much for America’s own armed services.
Today we see the pendulum swinging back toward honoring those who serve, and rightly so. Today we will more often see people expressing thanks to our troops for their service, and rightly so. There are a lot of things military personnel have to deal with and do that an increasing entitlement-minded civilian population couldn’t handle even if our lives depended on it. There may be some punks who allow this to go to their head but the vast majority of those I know who serve are honorable and humble people. They don’t have a chip in their shoulder and they don’t think of themselves and superior. It’s easy to accuse our troops of thinking like that when they have accomplished so much, because their job required this of them, and we civilians so often give up so easily at so little difficulty. Some feel it easier to question the intentions of our veterans rather than our own. In my experience, those who are more likely to feel they are better than others are not the military or veterans, but their critics. Let’s face it, taking a test is not on par with having people shoot at you.
No one is suggesting our military or the troops or veterans are perfect. And that’s where we meet some of that lingering hatred for the military. Patriotism itself is sometimes equated with Nationalism or some other nefarious motive. To say “thanks for your service” is sometimes equated with putting troops on a pedestal or suggesting America’s armed service members are infallible. I humbly submit to you we should be willing to afford at the very least the same benefit of the doubt to our troops and veterans as we are supposed to afford to terrorists, I mean Islamic militants, I mean freedom fighters, or what ever we’re calling them now. There are a few other things in American life that are treated as infallible and sacrosanct which are likewise undeserving of such reverence. In a culture pushing self esteem above accomplishment and promoting an entitlement mentality it’s also easy to put ourselves on a pedestal.
Ultimately, everything we do and build will die. No system of government, no idea, no structure or anything humanity has built will least for ever. Nothing we do or build is worthy of being put on a pedestal (not the military, not Obamacare, not President Obama himself) but we should also give credit where credit is due. That includes avoiding giving credit and blame where they are undue. It’s all too common today to see our troops treated as villains and suicide bombers as victims.
But honoring our troops requires more than just words. In an article written by an Iraq war veteran he mentions some organizations designed to help our veterans reintegrate themselves back into civilian life. This is a good mission which deserves your support. Please visit one or more of the following organizations:
While we are flawed and finite creatures there are some who do quite a lot, given human limitations. Better yet, these people accomplish such things in the service of us all, putting themselves in harms way, to help keep us safe here at home so we can work and study and play and keep ourselves entertained. It’s true that our military and veterans are flawed people, as are cops, fire fighters, etc., (as are you and I), but what they do and have done in service to the rest of us deserves recognition and appreciation. That’s due credit, at the very least.
culture, freedom, military, patriotism, troops