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Saturday, October 21, 2017

More on the military/civilian divide

In the Washington Post - For some veterans, John Kelly’s remarks add to a worrying military-civilian divide ...

[...] Kelly’s defense of Trump — beginning with a vivid description of how dead troops make their way home — turned into a lecture on how Americans do not understand the military community’s sacrifice. And it alarmed some of those who study relations between the military and society .... Kelly’s remarks broaden what had been a relatively insular discussion among military families, veterans and scholars. It 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 16 years of war 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 Washington 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 .....

More on this from The New Yorker: John Kelly and the Language of the Military Coup ... and ... John Kelly and the Dangerous Moral Calculus of Working for Trump

I'm still slowly reading Rachel Maddow's book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, and she begins it with the idea held by Thomas Jefferson that there should be no huge standing professional army in the US, but that citizens and soldiers should be one and the same when necessary. Here Rachel gives a talk about the book at Harvard ...


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