Is adulation of the military really patriotic?

Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland

10/21/09

The nation’s founders would roll over in their graves at what patriotism has become. After their bad experience with British colonial military abuses and seeing European citizens paying with blood and treasure for the frequent wars of their monarchs, the founders feared standing armies for undermining liberty. The U.S. Constitution rejected European militarism in favor of tight congressional controls over the employment, organization, and funding of the U.S. armed forces. Since World War II, those controls — such as congressional declarations of war — have been severely eroded. And the American public, still feeling guilty over the admittedly terrible treatment of returning draftees from the Vietnam War, has retained its awe of the now voluntary military as an institution, even as it has soured on the Iraq and Afghan Wars. Even while fighting two unpopular wars, the public has supported huge defense budgets all out of proportion to what is needed to defend the country. Is this healthy for a republic?

//www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2640


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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