12 November 2015
My book, The Soldier Vote, is discussed in the post.
09 June 2015
This afternoon I learned that I have cancer. After several tests to figure out what was going on with my left kidney, my urologist conducted a Ureteroscopy and discovered a tumor in my left ureter.
He was quite sure that it was cancerous - transitional cell - and needed to come out. He will probably also take the left kidney.
I lean more at an appointment on Tuesday.
Damn. I don't need this, but it is what it is and we will deal with it.
08 June 2015
While it is often impossible to “gauge accurately the intent of the Framers,” it is nevertheless important to understand the motivations and concerns of the writers with respect to the appropriate relationship between civil and military authority.
The Federalist Papers provide a helpful view of how they understood the relationship between civil authority, as represented by the executive branch and the legislature, and military authority.
Hamilton and Madison thus had two major concerns: (1) the detrimental effect on liberty and democracy of a large standing army and (2) the ability of an unchecked legislature or executive to take the country to war precipitously.
These concerns drove American military policy for the first century and a half of the country’s existence. Until the 1950s, the maintenance of a large military force by the United States was an exceptional circumstance and was restricted to times of war. Following every war up to and including World War II, the military was quickly demobilized and reduced to near pre-war levels.
The Soldier Vote by Donald S. Inbody will be published by Palgrave/Macmillan in November 2015.
01 June 2015
That Act, along with further improvements in the early twenty-first century, began to make it easier for military personnel and American citizens living abroad to participate in elections at home. Using newly obtained data about the military voter, The Soldier Vote challenges some widely held views about the nature of the military vote and how service personnel vote.
The Soldier Vote will be available in November 2015 from most booksellers.
14 September 2014
"Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to defeat its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future." (President Barack Obama, West Point, December 1, 2009)
- Iran clearly has a nuclear development program.
- Their public announcements say it is only for nuclear energy – the production of electricity.
- Most intelligence assessments are reasonably sure that Iran is planning on developing nuclear weapons.
- Public announcements from Iran have threatened Israel. Israel takes such announcements seriously.
- Israel will not sit still for a nuclear-armed Iran.
- Unless they can be sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, they will probably take measures to destroy the Iranian capability, i.e., they will attack Iran.
- Regardless of American involvement in any such attacks, Iran will assume that we are involved.
- The United States will defend Israel from any attacks by outside forces.
- Many in the region will assume that the United States is involved.
- American security will be decreased and the need to increase military spending will rise.
Don Inbody also published this essay at http://civmilblog.com
06 September 2014
Like Wes, I did not join the Navy to go to war. I did not join the Navy to fight or to kill people. I learned how to do all those things, though. I learned it well. I even learned how to lead Sailors and Marines into war and how to give them orders that might get them hurt or killed.
The Navy was hard work. The Navy was fun work. The Navy was rewarding work. The Navy taught me lots of things about people, both good and bad.
"Thank you for your service" is a phrase I began hearing shortly after 9/11. I appreciated the thought. Like Wes's experience, I wanted to talk about my experience. I wanted to share what I learned about the world and what I learned about people. But, they did not want to hear that. They didn't have time. It was like "How are you?" and not really wanting to know. It was perfunctory.
If you want to really thank someone for their service, perhaps you need to know that many of our military men and women carry wounds that will stay with them for life. Missing body parts. Missing memories. Missing friends. Missing relationships.
Those military people don't want your sympathy. They want you to understand them, what they did, and why they did it. It does not matter whether what they were asked to do is something you agree with. They responded their country's call. They responded to your call. They responded to our call. We owe them something for doing that and while a simple "thank your for your service" is perhaps better than nothing, it is insufficient.
This country will be paying for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Somalia, and Syria, and...) for decades to come. We will be paying for the injuries for a long time. With the draw down from the wars interest in supporting the Veterans Administration will decline. Interest in supporting the plethora of charities that support our Wounded Warriors will decline. The interest of our elected officials in such things will decline as the interest of the public declines.
So, do you really want to thank them for their service?
Then, don't forget them. When you see a veteran of the wars - and not just the recent ones, but all of them - sit down and talk to them. If they will let you, ask them what they did. Ask them what they learned. Ask them why they valued their service. Ask them what they think about their comrades in arms.
We who spent time in the military have a conceit. We don't think anyone without such experience can ever really understand us. We don't think that those without military service really know what defending the nation is all about. You can break through that, though, with patient conversation with those one or two veterans of war that you probably know.
Don't offer sympathy. Offer an ear. And, if you are really serious, listen and don't forget.
27 August 2014
|Photo Credit: NYMag.com|