30 January 2012

Thinking about the Military

My family has a history of military service. Both my brothers have served, my dad, my grandfather in WWII, a great uncle in WWI and a probably few others going back further. After being exposed to military training through the Devil Pups program at Camp Pendleton as a teenager I got clear that military service would not be a good path for me. I believe that in recent years the foreign policy of the U.S. government, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, has served a narrow range of elite interests and created vast amounts of pain and destruction with little or no benefits to the majority of people. So, I have mixed feelings about the military. I am pretty sure that a military is necessary, but I am equally sure that the function of the military needs to be carried out in a very careful way. It is important to have a way of understanding the role of the military as serving the broader goals of peace and prosperity for everyone, not just for a few. The question is how to reframe the mission of the military such that everyone, including those serving in the military, get that they serve more than just the narrow goals of patriotism. Here's a talk by a Dutch general on why he chose the gun as his instrument of peace:
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