Fewer than 1 percent of the population currently serve in uniform, and 7 percent are military veterans. The number of Gold Star families — the term for those who lost a family member to combat — is about 7,000 from Iraq and Afghanistan. There is a discussion among military families, veterans and scholars that begins with a basic premise — that civil society and military circles are culturally, socially and geographically distinct, a form of isolation with real consequences for the country.
“The last 20 years of the everlasting wars have been carried by a narrow slice of the population, and the burden is heavy but not wide,” said Phil Carter, a former Army officer and director of the military, veterans and society program at Center for a New American Security, a think tank. Carter said that Kelly’s comments echo a prevalent attitude in some military and veteran circles — a feeling of pride for taking on a tough job in some of the most dangerous places on Earth, coupled with a simmering resentment of civilians oblivious to their mission.
Geography heightens the separation. Military families and veterans tend to be linked to military installations that populate the South and Midwest, turning those populations inward and away from the coasts, and recruitment often draws on those who already have military ties, making service in uniform a family business of sorts.
Analysts were taken aback by remarks by former House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly suggesting that discourse about those killed in action can only reasonably occur in the walled-off segments of society where losses on the battlefield are most directly and painfully felt.
“Veterans feel very keenly that America is disengaged from these wars. The problem is not going to be fixed with the idea that only people who are personally involved have the right to ask questions,” Klay said. “It’s the exact opposite.”
The notion of military service as the purest form of public virtue, at the cost of other kinds of service to others, is an alarming development, he said.
“Military courage is something society needs to have and we need to valorize it,” Klay said. “But we also need a civic body that makes this a country worth fighting for.”
In particular, Klay said, the politicized discourse around service, and who understands its burdens, obscures legitimate questions that all citizens need to engage with, beginning, in this moment, with why U.S. forces were in Afghanistan, for instance, in the first place. (The Guardian)
My comment: members of the military have to weigh their loyalty to the Constitution and orders from above against the pro-Trump, pro-gun and anti-democrat views of those (mainly in the South and Center of the center of the country) around them. Will there be another attempted coup, and if so , will the rank and file and the service retirees defend the status quo? These are the ex-fighters, trained to use sophisticated weapons. I don’t know the answer, but feel uneasy about the current and retired military rank and file.
Connection with Epicurus? Peace of mind!