Does America really need “warrior” presidents, and what does that say about our country and its citizens. Why is a military background so important in candidates for the presidency, and would we be better off as a nation without that qualification? In this commentary, The Costs of Tough Talk, these topics are discussed.
It might be that the American public is being confused by the issue of military service and its value in the presidency, and intentionally so. Certainly, any person having served on active duty would have a notion of what the prospect of sending troops into battle might mean, but so would anyone with a modicum of respect for one’s fellow human beings…
What is lost in all the punditry on military experience or attitudes is a simple truism: the people we elect to office reflect our own fears and ambitions. As long as we make military experience an essential requisite for office or think militarism a valuable asset in a president, or believe that our corporations deserve military intervention for their benefit, we’ll continue to have a government which is fundamentally militaristic, either in its foreign policy or its apportionment of our national resources, or both. Some in this country revel in military exploits (especially those not investing their lives in such), and right now, it seems they dominate the political process.
We, as a people, continue to mistake offense for defense, and continue to threaten the rest of the world by the money we spend on defense, and by the political choices we make in voting for hawks, or chickenhawks. We continue to believe that we are well served by a military budget far in excess of that spent by dozens of countries, and are protected by tough talk and by wars of opportunity……… read more