Most of us are very proud of our military. We should be. Without our armed forces we would not be the free country we are today.
America must keep a strong military. Our sons and daughters put everything on the line for our country. We should stand strong with them.
We must keep a strong number of soldiers. We never want the world to look at us with the perception that we have a weak military. Currently we have a small Navy, (Russia is on the move building a super Navy) and a small Air Force. The Army and Marines are tired and stressed out because too few are being asked to do too much. We need a larger pool of service men and women to do the work they are being asked to do. We could certainly use some of them just to protect our own borders.
However, we must get out of the war business. We do not have to be in an ongoing war. Congress should always vote and declare war if America is involved in the war. We then should go in and get the job done. Fighting wars for five and 10 years is too long.
Deployments of our soldiers are generally too long. Fifteen months is too long. For the sake of our soldiers and their families we must eliminate 15-month tours. No tour of duty should ever be longer than 12 months, but I am in favor of a nine-month tour. Nine months is a long time to be away from family. This would reduce stress and give our military hope of being able to emotionally survive. Too many soldiers return back from deployment emotionally shattered to marriages that are stressed to the max. A nine or six-month tour would be better than a 12-month tour.
Our service men and women deserve our best support while they are in the service and then we should help them as they transition back to civilian life. Every service person should have civilian life boot camp before they are released from the military. They should leave with a fine-tuned resume featuring their education and skills they learned while in service. The basics of how to find job openings and preparing to interview for a job opening should be taught. A plan of how to return to civilian life and go forward with an active life should be addressed. This might help keep some of our veterans off the street. It is sad that we live in a nation where so many of our former service people live on the streets of America. There are different reasons for this but it should never be because we did not help transition soldiers back to everyday life. We must take care of our veterans with continued support for their college education, health care insurance and benefits that were earned while in service to our nation.
It is my prayer that we never have to use our military in another war. I would love to see our nation never lose another person on the battleground. We should never enter into any kind of war without the consent of Congress. When we do enter into any kind of conflict it should be quickly carried out. When we are finished we need to leave. The long drawn out years of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan should never have occurred and could have been completed in a shorter time period.
Commentary is by Glenn Mollette, Newburgh, Indiana, author of American Issues; he has two sons in the military.