When our evolving democratic system became so skewed that financial capital multiplied under control of miniscule elements in America that were sufficiently powerful to corrupt our political system, wars could and have been waged in support of those interests. Recall the departing words of the Republican President Eisenhower who knew so well the horrors of war: “…beware of the military industrial complex.” Our national electorate is still asleep.
As one who enlisted many years ago, I have known a small measure of the quality of America’s defense forces used and fueled by our nation’s industrial machine and have observed the corporate dividends that issue from large untaxed profits. The time is fast approaching, however, when our electorate will be awakened to the fact that our “all volunteer force” instituted nearly four decades ago is not working. Too many of our service men and women did not bargain for the role of mercenary that our country placed upon them. In fact, our nation has abrogated its duty to allow its soldiers to protect themselves in the traditional role of warrior for their government. I argue this because rules of engagement at tactical points of decision producing legions of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) cases from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have been so modified by legal judgment in real time that the soldier is in fear of prosecution, if not in civilian courts, by their countrymen. While they will not be damned as they were in the Vietnam debacle, the growing number of sympathizers and advocates demanding help for the damaged veterans – and their burdened families – among us who are unemployed, homeless and in need of long term solutions will rise up to correct this awesome defect in the great experiment called America, the home of the free and the brave.
Maj. Gen. Roger R. Blunt retired in 1986. His last assignment was as commander of the 97th Army Reserve Command headquartered at Ft. George G. Meade in Maryland.