Several days ago I mentioned SecDef Robert Gates's important speech about the widening gap between the "narrow sliver" of Americans who have anything personally at stake in the country's ongoing wars, and all the rest of us. The latter group -- the huge majority -- isn't even touched by the wars financially, since taxes haven't gone up to cover their costs.
A ton of valuable replies have come in, but for work-and-travel reasons I have not been able to reply, edit, or share many of them (or on other pending topics). Two items for the moment:
1) That Joint Forces Quarterly article. For a very long time -- essentially, throughout the entire post-Vietnam, post-civilian draft, volunteer-service era that started in the early 1970s -- people in and around the military have debated how much the "narrow sliver" phenomenon matters. For a 1997 report in the Atlantic (by the estimable Tom Ricks), see here. For paired arguments by (now Senator) James Webb and me in the magazine in 1980 see here and here. With ten more minutes I would find ten more links.
The latest big development on this front is an article in a military journal that is being seen as either a re-assertion of military professional independence, or a dangerous challenge to civilian authority. The article is here. You can follow debate starting with a critical assessment at Fabius Maximus here. More later on this.