Americans don’t have a problem of appreciating the military too little. Americans have a problem venerating the military too much. I spoke to a retired allied naval officer recently who confessed to me that he could not understand why, after 17 years of inconclusive war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military remains on such a high pedestal in the United States. It’s a good question.
I personally didn’t have any problem with President Trump giving the U.S. military 12 more months in Afghanistan, for example. But I wonder how he will hold his generals accountable when they fail to realize significant gains after pledging to regain momentum in the war there. Will he be as critical of their performance now that he, as their commander in chief, owns their victories and defeats? I hope so, frankly.
Along the same lines, rather than ordering troops to march in vanity parades, they should be ordered them back to the rifle range. After all, to quote a pretty handy German general, the best form of welfare for the troops is first-class training.