Collectively the 99.5% of our population are happy to thank the volunteer soldiers who make it possible for them not to serve. But it makes a mockery of George Washington’s maxim: “When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.” Somehow, soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side.
For nearly two generations, no American has been obligated to join up, and few do. Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful serve in the military. Just 20 percent of members of Congress had some military experience, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.
Without any skin in the game, the 99.5% are detached from the conflicts and those waging them, and as Samuel Adams stated “a standing army ... as dangerous to the liberties of the people”, while the 0.5%, who have and are serving “... are apt to consider themselves as a body distinct from the rest of the citizens…”.