A professional army is a great asset — a necessity, as many a democracy has discovered when it neglected to train one. But a republic needs citizen-soldiers, too. Without them, democracy is divided at its very core: between those who defend it and those who are defended.
It is not a healthy division, for the result is a mutual ignorance that leads to mutual estrangement — between those citizens who have known military service and those who haven't. It is a division no democracy can afford. For the military needs a connection with the citizenry, and the citizenry with its military. Both benefit, and the country benefits most of all.
Or as Gen. Dempsey noted: “When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors and another part that is designated as something else, I think that disparity begins to establish a psychology….” And it is not a healthy psychology, for it divides rather than unites. And united we stand.
TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES