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Enough with America's 'thank you for your service' culture. It's betrayal, not patriotism.

Dennis Laich and Erik Edstrom, Opinion contributors
Fri, February 5, 2021, 6:01 AM


Consent-free exorbitant expenditures might be excusable if they produced positive results. Only the U.S. military’s win/loss record since WWII is paltry at best: a tortured tie in Korea, losses in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and embarrassments in Beirut and Somalia — hardly offset by “big” wins in small wars like Grenada and Panama. That scarcely justifies such extravagent spending. Yet fear mongering from the military-industrial-congressional complex, and cynically crafted cries to “support the troops,” stifles patriotic dissent.

Demands for informed consent are unlikely to emerge among Americans long-trained to quietly capitulate to war industry whims. So, for now, it may fall on veterans themselves to disavow endless wars — the death and injury caused — and the unsustainable spending underpinning it all.


Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich retired from the United States Army after more than 35 years of service. He is a graduate of the Army War College and author of "Skin in the Game ... Poor Kids and Patriots."

Erik Edstrom graduated from West Point and deployed to combat as an infantry officer in Afghanistan. He is the author of "Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of our Longest War." Both authors are senior fellows at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN) — an organization of independent military and national security veteran experts.

nicestuff 7 Feb 7

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Americans need to get honest about what we now have regarding military service and wars of choice, instead of this strict code of thanking vets for service, supporting the troops (whatever that really means?), and otherwise accepting without question the policies of the pols, the government, and the military leaders. What we really have is a poverty draft and a military, at least at the lower rank levels, made up mostly of people who join mainly to escape poor employment options, racism, and poor education options, rather than out of patriotism or public service, and because of that they are seen by their civilian leaders and top brass as more like cannon fodder and human capital rather than precious human beings or noble warriors. That last part ought to rile up ole bigpawbullets, but I've already blocked him, so I'll just imagine his outrage...

Well said. Supporting the troops doesn't mean supporting the war, tho some want to equate the two. Leaders are not "supporting" the troops when they send them into needless wars.

@nicestuff They also aren't supporting them when they come back as far as veteran health care, and supporting vets in transitioning to civilian life. It's more like send them to war and then dispose of them after they discharge. Politicians do not have that same support for the troops when it comes budget time for veterans care and programing.


As a guy who fought in one of the above listed, and one unlisted "military action" I can't say that at the time (my early to mid twenties) I felt "Betrayed" by my country's leadership. But then, I'm a product of my culture. After my participation in said conflicts I came to realize that war is the most insane activity humans engage in. In my opinion, the only excuse for it is the defense of a society's homeland. I don't like being "thanked for me service". I didn't "serve" for you. I did it for me.

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