Today on Blogcritics
Home » “Patriotism Lite”

“Patriotism Lite”

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Is America at war — or just the American military? That’s the question in the back of the minds of a growing number of troops.

Troops fresh from the fight are beginning to question why there is no sign on the homefront of a war overseas.

  • No serious talk about a draft
  • No tax hikes to raise the $5 billion a month to cover war costs
  • No war bond drives or rationing or other efforts from past wars to unify the people

In short, there is no sacrifice.

Over the 4th of July weekend, I left up a post asking readers to post their sacrifices in the War on Terror — of the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” as it’s now called.

I got only one example.

The International Herald Tribune quotes a recently returned US officer:

“Nobody in America
is asked to
sacrifice,
except us.”

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines spoke to the paper only with the promise of anonimity — lest they sacrifice their military career on top of their other sacrifices.

President Bush has only called for symbolic support for the troops, most recently in his June 28th speech at Fort Bragg:

“Find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street.”

–President Bush, June 28

Retired MAJ GEN Robert Scales — former commandant of the Army War College says he’s hearing from a lot of current officers who feel the military is increasingly isolated from the rest of Americans. He sees politicians as wanting to declare war abroad and maintain normalacy at home.

This attitude — having their cake and eating it too — is an indication that politicians themselves don’t want to make sacrifices in the War on Terror — or the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism or whatever name the politicians have decided to use this week.

Powered by

About Terry Turner

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    For the most part the lack of sacrifice is because this is NOT world war two. Even in Vietnam there wasn’t notable sacrifice on behalf of the nation. These wars are not of a level of cost or commitment to require a country with an economy the size of the US to make wholesale sacrifices.

    To your specific points:

    >>No serious talk about a draft< <

    There has been serious talk about a draft and what an idiotic idea it would be. Two draft bills were proposed in Congress, both were voted down, and every responsible politician has stated a clear policy opposing a draft.

    >>No tax hikes to raise the $5 billion a month to cover war costs< <

    No but the government HAS borrowed money to cover that cost, which will ultimately be paid for out of taxes. It's essentially the same thing, except that with a strong and growing economy it might not become necessary to raise taxes if we can spread the repayment back over an extended period of time. You'd prefer a destroyed economy and a larger than necessary increase in taxes just because we're in a war?

    >>No war bond drives or rationing or other efforts from past wars to unify the people<<

    These measures were taken during WW2 not to create ‘national unity’ but to raise money so taxes would not have to be increased, and to gather resources which were not available because of the war. This war isn’t taking the manpower out of the fields to cause rationing or using up the enormous amount of metal to cause scrap drives or costing enough to have a bond drive – though a bond drive isn’t actually a bad idea to reduce our level of foreign debt.

    Your ignorance of both history and of the actual demands of the Iraq war relative to our current size and wealth as a nation is dismaying.

    Sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake makes very little sense when the cost to the nation of things like a massive tax hike would be greater damage than the war is already doing.

    But you know, there ARE sacrifices – not necessarily because of the War in Iraq, but because of the war of terror declared by radical Islam against the US. Here’s what I’ve sacrificed because of the war.

    My right to be confident that my phone conversations are private (the Patriot Act)

    My right to feel that I can travel safely to most parts of the world

    My right to carry my pocket knife when I go on a trip by air (TSA Regulations)

    My abilitiy to take my family to the top of the twin towers during our recent family trip to NYC.

    My right not to be constantly assailed by biased attacks from leftists because I support the war on terror.

    And, of course, as I’m sure you’ve done, I’ve donated money to veterans groups and to groups which provide aid to Iraqi citizens because of the war.

    Is a sacrifice any less real because it’s imposed by circumstances rather than the government or voluntarily because of one’s sense of obligation to society?

    Dave

  • http://watchingwashington.blogspot.com Terry Turner

    “Your ignorance of both history and of the actual demands of the Iraq war relative to our current size and wealth as a nation is dismaying.”

    Actually both are pretty good.

    The problem is more symbolic than real. Though a lot of the rationing from WWII was symbolic (it was continued through much of the Korean War).

    But there is a huge need — and a growing demand — for a sense of community between civilians and troops.

    This is a growing cry from the people we’re sending to war about the ones who stay at home and benefit from their sense of sacrifice.

    While we may have to give up things like trips to the top of the WTC and sit out long lines at airports, National Guardsmen are having to take out second and third mortgages to keep their businesses going or some declaring bankruptcy to finance their part of the war — that is, serving.

    And I admire your contributions to private groups — I actually suggested that in my July 4th post.

    Likewise I have and made some pretty significant financial sacrifices.

    I think its more the “lip service” people pay without really doing anything concrete toward winning the War on Terror (though that’s now called the “Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism” — see my other post today) that sticks in the troops’ craw.

    Service members — especially those who’ve served in combat — have excellent BS detectors. And they’re detecting a lot of it these days.

    But if like you and me, someone’s making actual contributions, sending batteries and care packages to troops, buying phone cards for ‘em or contributing to scholarships for their kids — then they’re making a concrete sacrifice.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Actually both are pretty good.< <

    I suppose the structure of your article made it difficult to discerne that you have any of that historical awareness.

    >>But there is a huge need — and a growing demand — for a sense of community between civilians and troops.< <

    This is hampered by the open hostility shown by a good third of the population or more to the war and to some extent to the troops as well. Hatred of the war or of the administration may not add up to hatred of the troops, but it can easily be perceived this way. The troops want to know not only that you feel sympathy for their sacrifices, but also that you have confidence in what they are doing. They need to believe in their cause and they need us to believe in it as well. Hostility to that cause translates as lack of support for their efforts.

    >>This is a growing cry from the people we’re sending to war about the ones who stay at home and benefit from their sense of sacrifice.< <

    Really? From reading Milblogs extensively I sense the exact opposite. Most soldiers seem glad to make the sacrifices they have if it benefits society as a whole and if their fellow citizens are showing appreciation for their effort. If we're falling short it's in showing appreciation.

    >>While we may have to give up things like trips to the top of the WTC and sit out long lines at airports, National Guardsmen are having to take out second and third mortgages to keep their businesses going or some declaring bankruptcy to finance their part of the war — that is, serving.<<

    This is largely the fault of the government. We need clear and absolute laws suspending mortgage payments and other debts and protecting the jobs of soldiers who get called up to active duty.

    Dave

  • http://www.usedcarsalesman.com chris franklin

    If you’re in Iraq, you should really read Shimon Tzabar’s -White Flag Syndrome.-

    If you stick around for Iraq’s reconstruction, you could make out quite well financially (See Japan, Europe Post WW2). Sure the U.S. people may not be sacrificing, but this does not mean that our soldiers should not profit from their contacts and their on-the-ground experience in Iraq.

    (of course, their “contacts” may be limited to one elderly gentleman named “Abdul,” I really don’t know :)

  • http://watchingwashington.blogspot.com Terry Turner

    No doubt you’re going to see the opposite on military blogs. Note this line from the IHT article:

    “Members of the military who discussed their sense of frustration did so only when promised anonymity, as comments viewed as critical of the civilian leadership could end their careers.”

    This is a growing sentiment that military sociologists are spotting as they meet with returning veterans. It’s that “appreciation” that’s beginning to ring hollow for these people.

    And the suggestion that a third oppose the war also folds into this argument. Since 9/11, Americans have been told to go on with our lives as normal. We’ve been discouraged from doing anything more than show symbolic support.

    Civilians have no concrete stake in this war — just an abstract one. It’s hard to understand what a soldier is fighting for if you’re not affected in any appreciable way. Part of the rallying effect of WWII was involving civilians in the sacrifice.

    But politicians have a reason for not wanting to involve civilians. If we sacrifice, we demand a quick prosecution of the war — a speedy victory. If our lives are not appreciably affected, we don’t put pressure on the politicians to resolve the fighting. We run into long wars — like Vietnam.