It’s popular in America to say that we support our troops. I agree! But I don’t think it’s nearly enough to say ‘thanks for your service’ or to buy a meal for a veteran or active duty service member.
I think we might need a “Bill of Responsibilities for Citizens of a Nation Contemplating Sending Troops Into Harm’s Way”
Here are some seed ideas we could consider adding to such a Bill of Responsibilities:
1) We as citizens have a responsibility to make sure that our President and legislators are as transparent as possible within the limits of national security about where our troops are being sent into harm’s way, and why.
2) We have a responsibility to ask our legislators to make certain that we’re using our military assets (who are our friends, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces) for vital purposes, and to hold those leaders to account when we feel that those soldiers’ & sailors’ lives are being put at risk for no good reason.
3) We have a responsibility to the men and women we’ve asked to serve, to give them the medical, psychological, & psychiatric support they need during and after their service.
4) We have a responsibility to support the families of these men & women while they’re serving and, if they’re wounded or killed in service, that we continue to support their families. Families of active duty service members should not be depending on welfare, food stamps, or charity to make ends meet.
5) We have a responsibility to service members who are being demobilized, and to veterans, to be sure they’re given support during the transition to civilian life. Not just a hot meal at the airport on the way home, but job training & help finding work. Most of the skills that people learn in the military can be used in civilian work, but it’s not always evident at first glance how those skills can be useful. I suggest that fully-paid tuition to any state college would be a nice benefit for anyone who completes their enlistment.
The most important of these responsibilities may be the first. We citizens need to be critical observers of our president & lawmakers, to ensure we’re sending troops into harms’ way for only good reasons. So many things are hidden behind the label of ‘national security.’ Let’s find out what’s going on.