Posted by: quiscus | October 2, 2011

October 1, 2011

“America’s Asymmetrically Politicized Military

America is still laboring under the idea that the uniformed military is apolitical. It isn’t. Not only is the military increasingly politicized, it only expresses open political views on one side of the debate over America’s wars. Given the military’s influence on public opinion, that’s an unhealthy situation.

When the American people hear the uniformed military speaking out loudly on matters of war and peace, they listen. In fact, they are so deferential to the military that one recent survey indicated 28 percent of Americans think civilian control of the military is a bad idea, with another 28 percent not sure. It’s tough to think of an idea more central to the principles on which this country was founded, yet Americans are increasingly deferential to military leaders.

It would be one thing to have a political military in which both sides of an argument could air their views openly, but the anti-war faction in the military is hamstrung by enduring norms of remaining outside politics and a noble abhorrence of doing anything to harm morale. Yet the American people have been hearing the views of one faction of the American military on our current wars for years, at least since Gen. David Petraeus became one of the most prominent and successful political figures in the country. The problem is that they’ve only been hearing one side.”


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