Mackubin Owens, of Newport, a monthly contributor, is a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
The United States spends a great deal of money on its military. The American people acquiesce in this funding because the military remains a respected institution in American society. But this respect could collapse if the American people come to believe that the U.S. military is not a profession based on honor and duty, the purpose of which is to ensure the security of the United States, but rather just another self-interested bureaucracy motivated by something other than dedication to the public good.
There is evidence that this is happening now. Two reasons explain why. First is the lack of success in our post-9/11 wars in Iraq and especially Afghanistan. The American people look with horror as the United States executes a disastrous exit from Kabul. They rightly wonder about accountability.
Second, at the same time, they are subjected to stories about how the military is making “diversity” rather than military effectiveness its primary goal. Or stressing “climate change.” They rightly wonder if there might be some connection between the Pentagon’s focus on such fads and the lack of military success in recent years. Does the Pentagon even care about military success? If it doesn’t, it should. Success on the battlefield is the only justification for a military.
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