I originally posted this today at The American Conservative blog, @TAC
Buried in an amazing poll released by the Pew Research Center today that says 1 in 3 post-9/11 veterans believe the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were ‘not worth fighting,’ is an assertion that 6 in 10 such veterans polled also have ‘isolationist inclinations’ simply because they believe “the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems here at home.”
This bit of editorializing by Pew is interesting, and shows how successful the establishment/neoconservative message machine has been in propagating the belief that anyone who wants to pull back from our global military adventures to concentrate on the devolution of our fiscal stability at home is an “isolationist.’ The outrageous thing is that here, we are actually talking about people who fought in the wars. Those pushing the ‘isolationist’ meme with such vigor — think Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Steven Hayes – have never picked up a gun, much less sat in a line to pick up a measly prescription at a VA pharmacy. Sure, Sen. John McCain, who likes to fling around the isolationist charge quite a bit, was a Navy pilot and POW, but he’s still fighting Vietnam, and thinks every war is worth a go today, and is willing to put every last man and woman in harm’s way to prove it.
But when 1 in 3 soldiers say fighting the wars was “not worth it,” especially those who leave countries still teetering on the brink, come home to apathy and no jobs (11.5% unemployment rate for post-9/11 vets), marriages on the rocks (51%), disconnected from their children (44%) and suffering from post-traumatic stress (37%), I’d say their “inclinations” to refocus on the homefront are much better informed than the elitist warmongers whose dirtless fingernails have been drumming conference tables for the last 10 years, not the butt of a weapon or a bedside table at Walter Reed.
No, it’s not isolationist, it’s realistic.
But don’t think these vets have gone soft on war or the military as an institution: “84% of all post-9/11 veterans who served in a war zone would advise a young person to join (the military),” according to Pew.
And the beat goes on.