Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Comment about veteran advocacy

I posted this as one part of a comment reacting to a neoneocon post:

Humble veterans. I don’t mind when veterans are open about their military histories. I encourage it. I just care that they’re real histories. Much of why many veterans are silent about their military histories isn’t out of intrinsic humility about their service but because, as with any esoteric field of knowledge, it’s awkward to talk about things with people who don’t understand. I’ve found that to be the case even as a peace-time veteran, and it’s more the case with war veterans. When veterans get together? Believe me, the stories come out.

I encourage veterans to be open about their service because I was a campus military advocate in college who was sensitive to the civil-military gap. I believe veterans should take it upon themselves to build a greater presence and profile in our society, so that, one, our extended military community has a greater role in mainstream culture and infuses more military-related values into general civil society, and two, so veterans’ hard-earned honor and their years given to service can be meaningfully transferred as a competitive advantage in the civilian world. As it stands, many veterans earn their honor with years of sacrifice for the greater good of country and people, only to find out that they’ve lost those years as prime career-building time in the civilian world. Veterans deserve better, and to make it better, they have to compete for it just like any other identity-based special interest in our society.

Eric

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