- Posted February 23, 2013 by
America’s New Attitude towards the Military (reposted)
For most of the period between 2001 and 2011, I worked as a Department of Defense Civilian. I was deployed for 20 months of that time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (I am in the center of the attached photo, surrounded by an Aegis security team during a site visit to Camp Loyalty, Iraq in September 2005.) For me, the Iraq War profoundly revealed a change in America’s view of the U.S. military. For several decades prior to 2001, America held the military in extremely low regard. This unpopularity was due to America’s experience in the Vietnam War, which had deeply tainted the military. The repercussions lasted for a long time. They still lingered when I served in the military in the early 1980s. The liberation of Kuwait in 1991 restored some degree of confidence in the U.S. military, but did not change America’s attitude dramatically. The attitude changed after September 11, 2001. Military service has become much more acceptable. America’s new attitude towards the military profession is good for those of us who served or support the military. However, America now seems far less willing to be critical of war itself. At least at this point, it is hard to see how the Iraq War will turn out to have been any more successful than the Vietnam War. The Iraq War taught America to be more accepting of those who perform military service, but it also seems to have suppressed a self-critical attitude towards the foreign policy decisions for which we all share some collective responsibility. ______________ This story was submitted by Andrew S. Backe as part of CNN’s iReport series “The War through Your Eyes: Iraq Ten Years On.” It replaces an earlier version that was not formatted properly when posted on the iReport site.