Skip to comments.How the military isolates itself — and hurts veterans
Posted on 11/10/2013 4:20:29 PM PST by mandaladon
In Afghanistan and Iraq, the wire ringing our bases divided two starkly different worlds. Inside the wire, life revolved around containerized housing units, cavernous dining facilities, well-appointed gyms and the distant but ever-present risk of a falling rocket or mortar round. Outside the wire, Afghans and Iraqis tried to live their lives amid relative chaos. They didnt fully understand what we were doing there. And when we ventured out, we struggled to navigate their world.
The wire defines a similar divide in the United States. Inside, troops and their families live and work on massive military bases, separated geographically, socially and economically from the society they serve. Outside, Americans live and work, largely unaware of the service and sacrifice of the 2.4 million active and reserve troops. Discussions of the civil-military divide often blame civilians. But the militarys self-imposed isolation doesnt encourage civilian understanding, and it makes it difficult for veterans and their families to navigate the outside world. The U.S. militarys domestic bases are the nations most exclusive gated communities. Theres restricted access, of course, and visitors are usually asked to provide multiple forms of ID and to submit to a car search before entering. Through the gates, theres a remarkably self-contained world. Roughly a third of military families live on bases, with many more living just outside the wire in military enclaves. About 100,000 military children attend on-base schools. Military families shop at discounted grocery and department stores, see dedicated doctors and pharmacists, leave their children in military-subsidized child care, and play in base sports leagues. Many bases have their own golf courses, gyms and gas stations. Some have their own cemeteries, too.
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Retired General Barno has apparently forgotten the open posts that the Army had prior to 9-11. It was the Al Quiada threats to carry their war onto US military bases that led to them being turned into traditional Forts where access was controlled.
I remember the many ways to drive onto Ft. Belvoir when I was stationed there 1980-82. Only the main gate had a guard and it was to give folks directions when they needed them. Now I know of only 3 gates to get onto the entire post.
On base facilities are not world class or first rate. The base gym is hardly Gold's Gym but it does the job. The commissary and the BX/PX does the job but is hardly superior to shopping malls of facilities back home. I been in countries where the only luxuries were boxed water and MREs. My impression of the writers is, to quote the late Col Hakworth "Porcelain Princes"
Odd are, these clowns voted for Obama.
It’s also not so well known that Obama is purging the military of anyone loyal to the constitution. Those who even considered sending help to Benghazi against the White House’s orders during the attack has been dealth with by him. Generals and admirals are being replaced. Anyone who also expresses their belief in the Christian God is also being stamped on.
these reporters are nuts. First they want to enlist us under fed.gov with Obamacare, then they complain those volunteering for the protection of government are not free like civilians.
Whatever. Socialists just love to kill anything for no particular reason.
The authors must have a agenda, they are wrong on so many issues and should know better based on their background. I grew up in the military, spent 25 years on active duty, and have supported the military in the 20 years since my retirement. I have a little different take.
Most military kids were not accepted when they attended the local schools. Unless you were an all-state level star athlete, they didn’t have much to do with. Soldiers were not welcomed downtown, and families had trouble fitting into neighborhoods including churches. On post facilities have greatly expanded over the last 60 years because of these difficulties. Installations in and near cities have been shuttered and sold to make the valuable real estate available for development. America likes her military out of sight and out of mind.
The notion that in the midst of a war against Islamic terrorists we should swing open the gates and get them unfettered access to our families and children is laughable. Are these morons really that stupid?
I live in a town next to the oldest military installation West of the Mississippi. Our Chamber of Commerce, of which I am a member, ignored for years the military and the businesses that supported the installation. They did appreciate the money that military folks spent downtown, but were quick to complain that too many were driving out of town to the mall. Well, maybe the fact that the downtown stores closed at 5:00 when the military was just getting off work had more to do with that.
I generally found the Germans to be more hospitable than the American civilians in Army towns.
These idiots don’t understand that most military members learn while still in their teens how to pack up all their stuff in a U-Haul, drive across the country to a town where you know no one, find a place to live, get your kids in school or day care, pack your gear and deploy to a combat zone for a year. When you get back, you do it again.
Of course, these guys belong to Obama’s favorite Left Wing National Security Think Tank, so fiction writing is probably a specialty.
The Obama administration has hired several CNAS employees for key jobs. Founders Michèle Flournoy and Kurt Campbell currently serve as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, respectively. In June 2009 The Washington Post suggested, “In the era of Obama...the Center for a New American Security may emerge as Washington's go-to think tank on military affairs.” CNAS scholars include John Nagl, David Kilcullen, Andrew Exum, Thomas E. Ricks, Robert D. Kaplan, and Marc Lynch. CNAS is led by CEO Robert Work, former Under Secretary of the Navy.
Most folks don’t have a clue now and never will as to what life/work/routine is like in any intense career or activity. I’ve seen this first hand all my adult life and even to some degree in my school years. As an engineering student I couldn’t explain much of anything to family or non-engineer friends. I played a lot of football back when and those conversations are limited to old team mates because the inside skinny is foreign mumbo jumbo to outsiders. As a nuclear engineer I didn’t even try to talk trade to anyone outside the biz. As a Marine all my Mom could handle was where I was. People ask all the time why it is that vets, especially combat vets, don’t talk about their experience. The answer is incredibly simple: The average non-committed slider can’t comprehend the experience so most of us don’t even try. In my experience wives are frequently the worst. They wonder why you won’t talk but their eyes glaze over as soon as you try.
Been there. Done all that. And don’t really give a rip if some sniveler wants to know why GI’s are a bit of a close group. It the first place the dumbass wouldn’t understand having a back-up, having a co-pilot, having your flank covered, somebody riding shotgun, having a linebacker, having a spotter or letting it all hang out when something important is happening.-——————SEMPER FI
Understanding the taste you get in your mouth during a mortar attack or when a round buzzes by your head so close that you can feel the heat, is something no amount of explanation can express. Or having the automatic instant reaction of hitting the dirt when there’s a particular type of noise isn’t something people who have never lived it can comprehend.
What a bunch of horse crap.
This whole article just pissed me off, but this line really irritated me.
I saw an example of the new Obama type general, SHE is General Janet Wolfenbarger commander of Air Force Materiel Command. She looks like she just got out of college. What a joke. Could we have won World War II with commander in chief like Obama and his light weight leadership?
Typical of the Washington Compost trying to isolate the military from the rest of this country.
The role of the military is not to serve society. It is to protect the nation from enemies foreign and domestic.
For two former military, they seem to have drunk the koolaid.