Is War A Permanent Engagement for the US?

HopeTracker| It’s almost asinine for those of us who haven’t been to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other war zone to open our mouths on the subject. Yet, even before the Ft Hood massacre, concerned people can only imagine what is happening to the hearts, souls, minds, bodies, marriages, families, careers and all else that matters to members of the American military.

In a separate dialogue from the patriotic questions of why we’re in Iraq and Afghanistan and what we’ve actually accomplished there in the past eight years, is a growing concern and empathy for American troops and their families, whose lives have been turned inside out, with no end in sight.

Is America in a permanent state of war? I’m not certain that question is asked by the American media. It’s only the last few days that I’ve asked myself this question.

A full discussion of alternatives and options of dealing with global ideological and terrorist conflicts and poverty and environmental-induced uprisings is long overdue.

What have we achieved with military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are other diplomatic or business-development goals better-suited for this new-reality world. Should our military members be deployed on a different kind of mission?

This week’s Newsweek magazine draws out important facts about the wellbeing of America’s military troops. Read Is Fort Hood a Harbinger? Nidal Malik Hasan May Be a Symptom of a Military on the Brink.

via Newsweek John MacDougall / AFP-Getty Images As the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the wall falling in Berlin, Newsweek writes The Wall and the End of History, arguing that peace has finally come to Europe.

Post-wall Europe, meanwhile, has come to mean peace, social democracy, and the EU Commission, which has made Karl Marx’s prediction come true at last: after the final class struggle, “power over men” would yield to the “administration of things.” So it has: regulation has replaced revolution, and the welfare state has trumped the warfare state. Marx got only the timing wrong; it would take 140 years from the Communist Manifesto to the fall of the wall. via Newsweek

It’s true that Europe has moved from being the scene of tens of millions of people dying for a variety of reasons, and the incubator of the world’s most murderous ideologies ever invented: communism, fascism, and Nazism, complete with the Gulag, the Gestapo, and Auschwitz to a thoughtful, peaceful region of the world.

Is this new state of military-defined existence because the fight for ideology is now America’s job? Or do the Europeans have a different approach to global problem-solving in the 21st century? Are feminine principles operating differently in Europe, given the region’s significantly greater commitment to women’s rights than America’s? Is Europe willing to go again to war? Under what circumstances?

Hear Evil; See Evil; End of Discussion

America is a source of many ‘pat’ one-syllable answers to provocative, thoughtful questions. Thinking skills aren’t highly valued, especially when America feels under assualt inside and out. Yet, thoughtful conversation is exactly what we need right now in the US, especially about our expectations of military members in the years to come.

The recession has been kind to American military recruiters. During the current budget year, which ended September 30, the Defense Department brought in 168,900 active-duty troops, or 103 percent of this year’s goal, while the National Guard and reserve forces reached 104 percent of the goal.

This brings the number of active duty members of all the US armed services to about 1.4 million, not including nearly 880,000 ‘selected reserves,’ ready to be called up.

With not enough jobs being created as America emerges from recession, perhaps the military will do well enough for now without a draft. Yet, there’s growing concern that the underpinnings of the strategy are wrecking a psychological and social havoc not fully articulated in America.

Perhaps the media is only focused on the bad news stories. My sense is that the actual story isn’t being told, and it takes a crazy event like last week’s Ft. Hood massacre to bring the debate to the front burner.

Understanding military strategy has never been of much concern, except to historical enthusiasts. It’s important that Americans ask the critical questions: it the vision of America one where we are permanently funding major military operations in one country or another, what’s the impact on America’s fiscal house and the heart and soul of our country? Anne

More reading:

Military and VA Struggle with Mental Health and Other Heath Care Issues Kaiser Health News

Testosterone Imbalance: War Kills for What Reason?