Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Do soldiers die for their countries or because of their countries?

While the admiration for those who serve in the military and die may be deep and widespread, interest in what they are doing and why they are doing it is shallow and fleeting.

During November’s midterm elections it barely came up. In September just 3% thought Afghanistan was one of the most important problems facing the country. When Pew surveyed public interest in the war over an 18-week period last year, fewer than one in 10 said it was the top news story they were following in any given week, including the week Stanley McChrystal – the four-star general commanding troops in Afghanistan, was fired.

The country, it seems has moved on. The trouble is the troops are still there.

“The burden for this war is being carried by such a small slither of society,” explains Professor Christopher Gelpi, who specialises in public opinion and foreign policy at Duke University. “Unless you know someone in this war, live near an army base or know of someone who has died, then it is possible for the public to ignore it. People are very disconnected from it.”

And when they do pay attention, they do not like what they see. Polls in December reveal that 63% oppose the war, 56% think it is going badly (with 21% believing it is going very badly), and 60% believing it was not worth fighting. Indeed opposition to the war in Afghanistan is now on a par with Iraq.

Back in 1971, during the Vietnam war, John Kerry famously testified before the Senate foreign relations committee. He put the question: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Forty years later, the answer appears to be that you simply stop paying attention to their deaths.

It seems American soldiers are not so much dying for their country, but because of it.

[The Guardian]

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