When in the Course of human Events it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth the separate & equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness:...And so our Revolution - really a civil war - began. Those who served, fought, wounded, or died in that war understood why they left family and future to put their lives on the line.
In 2011 after a decade of undeclared war, with a leadership that cannot even call bombing another nation conflict and the reasons for these wars not even defended by those who lead us - why do we fight?
Besides following orders and doing what you can to protect and serve your band of brothers - why are we scattered around the world killing others, and for what purpose?
If our leaders cannot define or describe what we are doing with our armed forces - can we?
Over at the Christian Science Monitor, our friend Professor Bruce Fleming is asking that question.
The class of 2011 at the US Naval Academy ... has just graduated and its members have become officers. As have the classes of the other service academies. They should know what they are about to embark upon: A futile effort? A noble endeavor? A job with guaranteed benefits that may have them coming back in a box or spending years in rehab?The most important word in the English language: why.
We got Osama bin Laden, but the euphoria will fade and the fight against terrorism will go on. Indeed, after a decade of US military intervention in the greater Middle East, the benefits – even the point – of shedding our blood and treasure seem elusive at best. We should tell our young soldiers what, exactly, they are defending.
How should the military see itself in this age where victory is unclear and the value of violent intervention so nebulous? Why should anyone join the military, either as an officer or as an enlisted person? Is it all about paying for college, having a steady income, or escaping a stifling small town or inner city? US military leaders give no clear answers. Yet these are the questions we must ask.
UPDATE: BTW - in case you missed it the first time, this weekend's Midrats is a "best of" with our interview with Don Rumsfeld and Bing West. You can listen to it here.