Just What Is the Military’s Image and Reputation?

Another Military Appreciation Day has come and gone. Everything about the Fourth of July has been tainted by military idolatry—including worship services on the Sunday before the holiday. Patriotism is now equated with admiration for the military. And the highest form of patriotism is to kill or be killed “in defense of our freedoms.” The image and reputation of the military is at an all-time high.

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) senior fellow Michael Rubin is concerned about the image of the military. In his recent article “Greed, Not Just Politics, Is Corrupting the Image of the Military,” he criticizes former U.S. generals for endorsing “usually in exchange for generous donations or honoraria,” the Mujahedin al Khalq Organization, or MEK, which he calls “a cultlike group of Iranian exiles complicit in past terrorism against Americans.” Generals “taking money from the MEK corrupts the reputation of the U.S. military.”

If retired military officers collecting honoraria for their endorsements was the only thing wrong with the U.S. military, then it might be an otherwise stellar institution.

Just what is the military’s image and reputation? Since Rubin never tells us, I guess I will have to:

  • Pretending to defend our freedoms
  • Fighting wars that are not constitutionally declared
  • Obeying immoral orders
  • Serving as the president’s personal attack force
  • Engaging in offense while calling it defense
  • Going where they have no business going
  • Fighting unjust and unnecessary wars
  • Carrying out a reckless, belligerent, and meddling foreign policy
  • Making widows and orphans
  • Policing the world
  • Blindly following orders
  • Invading and occupying other countries
  • Bombing, maiming, and killing for the state
  • Doing the government’s dirty work
  • Destroying property and infrastructure
  • Supporting a network of brothels around the world
  • Helping to create terrorists, insurgents, and militants

This is the image and reputation of the military that we never hear about. Soldiers are not heroes, role models, defenders of freedom, or public servants. They do not protect and defend the Constitution. They are at best pawns in the hands of Uncle Sam, drops of oil in the gears of the war machine, dupes, and cannon fodder. They are at worst myrmidons, destroyers, mercenaries, and killers.

The Fourth of July has nothing to do with the military. It never even had anything to do with the Revolutionary War.

And if someone is concerned about retired military officers tarnishing the image and reputation of the military, then they should be going after the retired military officers with ties to the defense industry serving as war analysts on television.