I am infuriated with politicians who posture in such a manner that it may cause military action that involves sending U.S. troops into battle. The politicians start the wars, but we and our sons and daughters fight them. I do so long for some type of resolve that would force politicians to take up positions on the front line, just as I long for generals who send troop into battle, to be leading from the front and not in the rear with the gear. If we could do this, we would have fewer wars and fewer military “actions.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pacifist. I have been in wars, both hot and cold. I am responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of enemy combatants. I am also responsible for the saving of more than a few lives. Those who have been in battle do not relish it nor do they find solace in the solemn burial ceremonies of their friends and colleagues or joy in the parades, martial music and flags.
Those who have experienced the horror of war will tell you that under fire they did not think of Mom, Apple Pie, the Flag or the Constitution. Rather, they were looking for someway to overcome the enemy while losing as few of their friends as possible and it was for those friends they fought. Patriotism is fine for the behind the lines types, but it disappears quickly under fire and survival mode kicks in. There is no glory in combat, I have been there. The selfless actions we celebrate in our heroes would not be necessary if our politicians did not look upon the military as tools to be used, as in President Johnson sending a message to North Vietnam with the lives of U.S. Airmen. Politicians have a skewed view of the world as in an agreement signed with a group that uses terror as its primary weapon will actually be observed. How many treaties did Russia break? How many agreements have the Taliban kept? How did Iran observe the non-nuclear development treaty? Answers: all of them, none of them, and they didn’t.
Treaties aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. There are other ways to conduct foreign affairs and ensure your adversaries pose as little threat as possible. But to conduct these affairs you need to get rid of politicians and generals (who are simply politicians with a bunch of I was there medals.) We can do better but we need the public will to do so.