Answering Questions: Dan Head (3 of 3) "The Great Divide"
A bunch of my friends are increasingly concerned about America's civil/military divide. I agree it's a problem. We fought two wars with something like 1% of the population on active duty, and we put the whole thing on credit, so no one has yet felt economic pain as a result. Military members think that a more informed, more personally committed populace will be a more responsible governing body. That, bottom line, if more people have skin in the game, then we're far less apt to find ourselves in inexplicable overseas boondoggles. What do you think? Can we close the civil/military divide, and will it lead to a more responsible foreign policy if we do? -- Dan Head
The Iraq/Afghanistan wars were handled in an unprecedented fashion. Unlike every previous war they seemed to disappear off the news and be forgotten which allowed our political leaders to do some really heinous shit in the name of America. It's damaged us in a lot of ways that I don't think we'll fully grasp for another generation.
That said the biggest problem in how we act is the political bubbles people are cocooning themselves in these days. When we were growing up the news was news. There wasn't a decidedly liberal news agency (MSNBC) or a conservative news agency (Fox News). We didn't run to the internet and only read the news and opinions of people who agreed with us; instead we had to deal with reality as it was, not as we wanted it to be. But right now that's not the case and it has produced situations where we have Congressmen trying to incite us into nuclear war with Russia and repeatedly asking for a birth certificate (and being given it) for the President of the United States.
What we need is for our politicians to be literate, intelligent people who think critically about what they're doing and how they're acting; and right now that isn't the case. I pray that it gets sorted out as we appear to be moving away from extremism on either side and back toward moderation.
I don't know if I've answered you question so far, so let me say this: the only way that we can close the gap between the consequence for our actions (the military) and just doing whatever we think sounds good (civilian) is for our populace to stop vacillating between extremes and to approach the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. When that happens, and I believe that it is coming, things will vastly improve.