first published on April 9, 2017 by Josh
If you listen closely, you can hear the faint sound of the metaphorical drums beating. Armchair patriots across this great nation have dusted off their instruments and are playing the prelude to our war song. They have been heard several times since the 2001 terror attacks; the difference is that in 2001 the attacks affected everyone in this nation, which is not the case today.
America has gotten accustomed to war, and has simultaneously lost touch with it. The effects aren’t present in the lives of average Americans; to them war is a news clip, or a statistic, or the flag draped coffin of someone they never knew. Long gone are the days of war as a last resort, because these days the only people that share the burden are service members and their families. The global war on terror has had little effect on our economy; there have been no food shortages, and no restrictions on war effort goods.
War can have a debilitating effect on families; injury, death, and operational tempo can batter relationships like a Syrian missile strike. America does not share these woes with those that they send to fight. The only thing that is shared is the success or failure. Society takes none of the risk, but accepts all of the reward.
There was a point in our nations history where the war cry came from tear-streamed faces, with the knowledge of what it meant, and of what it would cost. Today it comes from smiling ignorant faces, comforted by the knowledge that they have no skin in the game. Less than one percent of the population is an active duty service member, but they carry 100 percent of the burden. It is true that battle ready warriors are ready for conflict, but they know the cost, and they know that most Americans don’t share it with them.
This nation needs a reminder that the checks, which are so eagerly written, are paid for with someone else’s blood. The eagerness to go to war is directly related to how far society has distanced itself from it. Warfare is going to change; these paltry conflicts with radical groups are only temporary. If this nation does not curb its enthusiasm, it will soon find itself in a conflict that will shake this country to its core, and Americans will get their reminder of the burden that comes with war.