Since ancient times the ideal Mission of the Warrior Path is two-fold:
* Protect and Defend the Weak and the Innocent.
* Uphold and Promote the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
World myths and actual history is filled with stories of noble warriors who did just this. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table spring to mind, as does the Celtic warrior queen Boudicca. Hindu prince Arjuna chose the higher path on the battlefield of the Mahabharata stories, and Genghis Khan, though brutal in battle established well-run systems throughout his vast empire. Others include the noble Zulus who fought the British at Roark's Drift, the Samurai and the Japanese Bushido warrior code, the female Amazon warriors, and among the Incas, Pachacuti.
It is a noble path and is an essential part of any human system.
No doubt most of those who serve today in the Armed Services, particularly those in direct contact with threats, strive to be on-mission and do so valiantly and with honour.
However, too many of the supposed support systems, both military and civilian, are neither constructed to nor can function to realize these higher ideals. Go as far back in history as you like and you'll find ambition, profiteering, and fevered dogma sending the actual warriors off to face and fight and commit horrors, to shed blood, and to bring death and destruction.
The Warrior Path needs to be redeemed. Absolutely.
But the place to start is not with the boots-on-the-ground but closer to the top, where decisions are made and passed down to those who serve. Where strategies are decided by well-attired chess players distantly directing moves on the muddy, bloody battlefields. Where arms manufacturers and dealers influence military acquisitions requiring tax-payer monies. Where abundant funds get directed not to the welfare of the actual war-fighters but to suppliers and influencers. Where support and care that is supposed to be focused on the individual soldiers and their families gets lost in labyrinthine bureaucracies and corruption.
Again, this has been happening since Oog collected a bunch of sharp rocks and traded them to Moog for a larger share of mastodon meat from the hunt. It happened horribly so in World War I when millions died in the trenches because of leaders' stubborn refusal to admit the facts. It is also painfully obvious in the US's current bloated defense budget, while the actual warfighters must go on food stamps to feed their families and too often end up homeless on the streets they fought to keep safe.
The problem, like many we face, is systemic. To focus on just one part of it almost guarantees you won't get change because like the mythical hydra, when you cut off one head, others spring up in its place.
So what's to be done?
"The Defense system ignores at its peril the turning tides of public opinion and action. A "Pew Research Center poll shows a substantial percentage of Americans [40%] are dissatisfied with capitalism. We would be foolhardy to assume that the defense industry, along with other large corporations, will cruise through the next few decades unaffected by the rise of citizens' demands for economic and judicial fairness, social systems that provide services for all citizens, and intolerance for purposeless or corrupted military conflicts. The non-corporate economy is growing alongside disgust and distrust for corporate and political malfeasance. To presume that the restive populace will accept business-as-usual indefinitely is to ignore history and the cyclical nature of life as evidenced in economics (boom and bust), politics (conservative and liberal), national policy (imperialism and isolationism), and personal engagement in the armed services (rejection and affinity).
Addressing this disparity would better prepare us for the Future of Land Warfare without a dependency on fallible equipment, political wind-shifts, and a world economy likely to remain shaky for years to come.
To assure any workable future for warfare requires changing the way that Congress and the defense industry work with the military."
[from "Men Who Walk Into Battle", McMillan & Smith]