Today's military different from that of yesteryear

newsroom@islandpacket.comApril 10, 2014 

Gun violence is a tragedy no matter where it happens or who's responsible. Maybe the reason we are particularly concerned with gun violence on military bases is because we expect more from our military personnel. That is a nice thought, but not realistic.

In the past, everyone was tasked with military duty. Active military personnel included people from all segments of our society. But that has changed, and not for the better.

The all-volunteer military force sounds good on paper, but in reality it is a failure. The military now must depend on those who want to join up, usually people who, for whatever reason, did not want to continue their education, or could not find employment.

Many citizens were too eager to accept a volunteer force because it meant their own loved ones were spared the responsibility of supporting their country through military service.

When presidents involved the country in multiple wars, the military had to lower its standards to meet combat requirements. Tragically, too many people were sent to war with serious mental issues. Normally, if someone goes to war with a mental illness, he/she seldom returns cured.

If all young folks were required to support the country, we would not be restricted to the lower echelons of society to meet our military/foreign policy objectives. Consequently, Americans have to accept responsibility for sad tragedies because they endorsed the volunteer program. Change is needed, but it will be difficult, if not impossible.

Clifton J. Jester

Bluffton

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