A reader writes:
I was just reading the bit you quoted from Bob Kaplan's WSJ article. I think it should be noted that there is a huge difference between how enlisted soldiers and commissioned officers view war. (I had the privilege of serving as both.) Most officers I've known are extremely dedicated professionals who love what they are doing and have worked incredibly hard to get there. I would even add that many of them are eager to fight and put their proficiencies to the test.
In 1990, I had just turned 18 and found myself serving in Operation Desert Storm. I was scared and to be honest, completely kicking myself for putting myself in that situation. On my second day in country as we waited to deploy into the desert, a Lt. Colonel in my group gave us an impromptu class on chemical warfare. I will just never forget how excited that old guy was about the whole thing. More importantly, I'll never forget when he told us how we would test for the all clear after a chemical attack.
He pointed at me and said, we'll grab the guy with least amount of stripes on his collar, take off his mask and watch him for a few minutes. I've always thought that summed up everything I learned about being at the bottom of the enlisted ladder.
Our Army IS full of brave and dedicated professionals. We do not need to infantilize some 50 year old career officer, but we do need to make sure our younger, enlisted soldiers are being taken care of. Those kids belong to all of us; and if their lives are being needlessly wasted, we all share the blame.
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