Cashing out on images of military support...

Cashing out on images of military support…

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Cashing out on images of military support...
Image Courtesy: US News

Bringing the military back down to earth and a bit closer to the society it serves would help politicians in their effort to scrutinize military affairs and encourage Americans to see accountability as a healthy practice in a democratic society.

Those who continue to mythologize the military in popular culture should re-balance their portrayals.

By Nazarul Islam

I have always wished military leaders around the world, did a better job of educating service members about the importance of non-partisanship, including on social media. This will require clear regulations and consistent enforcement. The same leaders should also rethink their view of military professionalism, abandoning the notion that they have an exclusive domain and embracing an approach that accepts the need for civilian oversight.

Essentially we need and deserve reforms. Areas in need of reform include among civilian elected leaders, who are less likely to see change. Politicians today face few repercussions for politicizing the military, and they have considerable incentives to continue to do so. Still, elected leaders could start to deal with the problem by ending the practice of soliciting endorsements from retired generals.

In the United States, perhaps they could also avoid the presence of the uniformed military as a backdrop for partisan political speeches and further, avoid running campaign advertisements that insinuate that they enjoy more military support than their opponents.

Veterans and active reservists or members of the National Guard should also avoid focusing their services for someone’s electoral gain. That would mean an end to cashing in on public support for the military through campaign ads that suggest their military service makes them superior citizens.

Politicians should also stop propagating the myth that serving in the military is a prerequisite for overseeing it. This belief not only diminishes the important role the civilians play but also symbolically raises the military above its civilian superiors in the minds of service members and the public.

Instituting a decade long  waiting period—or at least adhering to the existing seven-year requirement—before a retired officer can serve as secretary of defense is a necessary step. So is valuing and investing in the contributions of civilian expertise at all echelons in the Pentagon.

Again, for those who continue to mythologize the military in popular culture should re-balance their portrayals. A little more M*A*S*H—the darkly comedic 1970s television series about a U.S. Army medical unit during the Korean War—and a little less righteous soldiering might humanize military personnel and chip away at the public’s distorted view of the armed services.

Bringing the military back down to earth and a bit closer to the society it serves would help politicians in their effort to scrutinize military affairs and encourage Americans to see accountability as a healthy practice in a democratic society.

If Americans do not recognize the reality, lurking beneath their idyllic vision of civilian control, the United States’ civil-military crisis could only get worse. More than most citizens realize, the country’s democratic traditions and national security both depend on this delicate relationship.

Without robust civilian oversight of the military, many civilized countries on our planet, will not remain a democracy or a global power for long…

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About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer Nazarul Islam is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America. He is author of a recently published book ‘Chasing Hope’ – a compilation of his 119 articles.