War Is the Health of the State
I'm of two minds when I think of the men and women who've lived and died for our country in the US military.
Words can't express the gratitude I have for the warriors and those who didn't want to be warriors, but took up arms anyway to fight in wars that would've altered our society drastically, had we lost. I joined the Navy right out of high school, mostly to learn a trade and to avoid being a conscript in the Army. It was an experience I'll never forget. While most of my hitch was a peacetime cruise, we did face danger once, for a few days.
We were in the Caribbean taking part in the Cuban Missile Blockade. 'Twas a tense time, those few days we worked, mostly at General Quarters, waiting to see who'd blink or who'd launch. It scared me even more later, after I learned more of the story.
Which brings me to the other side of the coin. How many of these wars actually had to happen? In how many of these wars did we really need to involve ourselves?
The Revolutionary War--the war of independence from the British Crown, was the war that helped create the greatest nation on earth, a Constitutional Republic (not a democracy), and the pattern for dozens of other republics around the world--many of which have failed for lack of an individualistic philosophical base. There's no end to the respect I have for the Founders and all the individuals who fought to form the greatest nation in earth's history.
Unfortunately, the philosophical base that helped form the United States of America has deteriorated as well.
Most of the wars in which we've involved ourselves since could've been avoided, with less inept Presidents and Congresses. Simply adhering to the Founders' idea of avoidance of foreign entanglements would've left the nation far more capable of conducting trade and communication with other parts of the world, and allowed an always innovative America to advance and prosper in ways unimaginable to the people of less free parts of the world.
Might the United States, as a politically isolationist trader-state, have been attacked by foreign powers? Possibly, but with the ability of a free people to invent and industrialize, and the inability of dictatorships to marshal true enthusiasm on the part of the oppressed classes, it wouldn't have come to much.
So, while we celebrate the remembrance of our military veterans, living and dead, it behooves us to also remember that a moral government (if such isn't a contradiction) could've avoided the need for so much tragedy and so many needless deaths.
Of the many guns of the state, more are pointed inward than outward.