Thursday, December 29, 2011

A growing gap?

I was reading an article yesterday from Time magazine. I was in a doctor's office so I'm sure it was several months old. The premise of it was that there is a growing gap between the American public and those that serve in the military. As I started reading, I was intrigued.

The author states the growing gap is due to improvements in pay and benefits that an all volunteer force is now provided. This force is better educated and has a stronger work ethic. Our current force often is more of a family affair where it is not uncommon for brothers and sisters to join, or sons and daughters of previously serving soldiers. Much of what was stated I can see, however I believe some of the article was built on a false pretext.

One of the foundations of the article was that there are fewer and fewer who had parents or other family members who had previously served in the military. He based this on the previous generations who had served through WWII. While that is true, the veterans of WWII were there often by choice but it was during a time of unprecedented emergency. At no time in our history had there occurred such a mobilization of men into uniformed service. It was an anomaly. It is not fair to use that as a basis of this article. Serving in uniform at that time was not a career choice but a temporary situation.

To be fair, benefits now issued to the armed forces are what they should have been, even though they now out-pace the benefits of the average citizen. And it is not uncommon for family members to gravitate to serving in similar situations such a firemen and police officers. They are members of groups where they feel more comfortable than in other groups. The enlisted and officers it was stated also have a higher degree of education than the population as a whole. That is understandable as leaders tend to fall into that classification as a whole.

I however, do not believe soldiers of this country are any more disenfranchised from the population than any other group, be they soldiers, police, priests or doctors. Each of us tend to gravitate to groups more like we see ourselves. Doctors and priests likely fall into all of the same classifications discussed in the article. We are a people as a whole made up of multiple groups whose membership has banded together from common insights and bonds. The military as a group is no different than any of the other groups, they just serve a different function, though it is a function not all of us could perform.

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