As the slow drawdown of troops in Afghanistan begins, Wilson Center senior scholar and former Vietnam soldier James Reston reflects on the sacrifices American soldiers must make for peace and the particular disconnect between soldiers and civilians in America's current wars.
There is a fundamental danger to allowing the policymaker to have an ample supply of uncomplaining soldiers from the small towns and inner cities of America. When there is no political resistance at home to their endless deployment, the war planners are free to execute their grand designs, no matter how long it might take. Such a situation makes these protracted conflicts more palatable and likely. But there is a moral point here: How do you ask the last soldier to die for a slow drawdown?
Read his full reflection on the tragedy of the udue burden that American soldiers currently bear in his USA Today opinion piece.