Are Americans afraid to criticise the American Military Services?Why is the American Military automatically worshiped by Americans? Have we created an environment where our military is 'magic'...

Are Americans afraid to criticise the American Military Services?

Why is the American Military automatically worshiped by Americans? Have we created an environment where our military is 'magic' and beyond criticism? They are only ordinary men (with guns) but we are constantly told to be eternally thankful for the them and any negative comment is utterly crushed..

Why? What have they done for us?

  • Iraq (2003)... a disaster
  • Afghanistan(2002)... a disaster
  • Somalia(1993)... a disaster
  • Iraq (1990)... a failure
  • Vietnam... a disaster


What is so special about the American military??? Who told us to lick their boots?

Expert Answers
vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There has been enormous criticism of the military in recent American history, especially in the 1960s and 70s. It's hard to find a film about the military from the 70s that depicts it in a positive light, and even many recent films have been critical.  One reason, in fact, that people tend to be more supportive of the military today is that many people feel ashamed of the way soldiers were treated in the 70s, which included being spit upon in public.  There has been a shift in the opposite direction, and now most people seem to be able to make a distinction between the people who serve and the government that sends them into harm's way.  Another reason that people tend to respect members of the military today is that we have an all-volunteer military. I think many people respect persons who are voluntarily willing to risk their lives. Finally, I think that one more reason that the military tends to be more respected today than 40 years ago is that many people realize that there are huge risks right now to our country, and that the military helps defend against those risks and dangers.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously, there is no reason to blame soldiers for our foreign policy mistakes, if indeed we view them as mistakes. Nor should we blame the military for the excesses of a tiny fraction of a fraction of its members, as in the case of Abu Gharib. Yet there has become a bit of a political taboo against attempts to reform the military, as many of the reactions to President Obama's recent proposal to cut defense spending. Military contractors have a very powerful lobby, and politicians who propose to streamline the military are inevitably painted as "soft" on defense. We have much at stake in not allowing people who have a financial or career interest in an aggressive foreign policy dictate that policy without criticism.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a member of a military family, I would have to agree with bullgatortail: Blame the government and not the military. The military goes where they are told, when they are told. They do not have a "say" in where they are sent or what they must do once they get there.

That being said, they do chose to join the Armed Forces, but outside of that, they are at the government's beck-and-call. The "disasters" are not the fault of the soldiers. The disasters cannot be placed on the shoulders of one person or one group. Both sides fight and are held accountable in different ways by the different sides represented.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, I think you're exaggerating the idea that there can be no criticism of the armed forces.  Second, there are women in the military, so it's not just men.

Most importantly, I think that the point here is that the military does not go off and do the things that you characterize as disasters on their own.  It's not as if it was the military that said "let's invade Iraq."  The military goes where the government (that we vote for) tells them.  So if you don't like the things the military does, don't blame them.  Blame the government and the people who vote for them.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that people (Americans) absolutely do criticize the military. I do not think there is any fear in regards to criticizing any aspect of our government or culture. I will agree with the posters who said blame the government, and not the military for the failures and disasters mentioned in the original post. The people in the military are average citizens who need to  make a living. They are not calling the shots and deciding who to invade.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Pohnpei. Blame the government, not the military, for the likes of Vietnam and our more recent Middle East forays. The men who serve us are only doing their jobs--probably the most dangerous in the world. I hope, Elfgirl, that you would not have been one of the people to spit on our returning Vietnam soldiers, many of whom were drafted and didn't believe in the war any more than those who protested. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Yes, there has been criticism. However in the last decade I agree that patriotism has been linked closely with support of the government, especially the president, and the military. I do think that soldiers deserve our support, but we also need to question their commanders.

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