Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Yesterday’s comment of the day: An Army captain says the military is not protecting your freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan

This was from Dustin Stewart, an infantry company commander who reads the blog. I like the independence of thought this Army captain is showing: Although American citizens should definitely be more interested in what their military is involved in, they should not think that their military is somehow "standing watch" to protect the citizens’ freedom ...

U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos/Flickr
U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos/Flickr
U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos/Flickr

This was from Dustin Stewart, an infantry company commander who reads the blog. I like the independence of thought this Army captain is showing:

Although American citizens should definitely be more interested in what their military is involved in, they should not think that their military is somehow "standing watch" to protect the citizens' freedom just because the politicians say it is so.

But standing watch in Iraq, Afg, etc, etc is not protecting Americans freedom IMO. This just seems like some sort of romanticized feeling about loving one's own military no matter what. While that is not necessarilly bad, it sometimes misleads people into thinking their military is actually defending freedom (the military's real job) instead of just being grossly misused by ineffective political leaders (the military's current job).

This was from Dustin Stewart, an infantry company commander who reads the blog. I like the independence of thought this Army captain is showing:

Although American citizens should definitely be more interested in what their military is involved in, they should not think that their military is somehow "standing watch" to protect the citizens’ freedom just because the politicians say it is so.

But standing watch in Iraq, Afg, etc, etc is not protecting Americans freedom IMO. This just seems like some sort of romanticized feeling about loving one’s own military no matter what. While that is not necessarilly bad, it sometimes misleads people into thinking their military is actually defending freedom (the military’s real job) instead of just being grossly misused by ineffective political leaders (the military’s current job).

A draft or mandatory public service (military or civil option) would do much to bring normal citizens into the fold on caring about public policy.

Remember your military on Memorial Day, yes. But don’t say we are doing something that we are not. As I’m standing in the TSA security area of a major airport right now listening to a detachment from the local police play The National Anthem, it strikes me ironic that we are "the land of the free" but also the land that strip-searches old women and relies on big brother to ensure we fly safe.

Some might take these comments as un-patriotic, but you’d be sorely mistaken.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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