Americans Have Strong Opinions On The Military, But Most Don’t Understand It

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Paratroopers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry Regiment and Charlie Troop (LRS) 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment conduct airborne operations at Fort Hood's Rapido Drop Zone on April 17, 2015.

Paratroopers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) 143rd Infantry Regiment and Charlie Troop (LRS) 3rd Squadron, 124th Cavalry Regiment conduct airborne operations at Fort Hood's Rapido Drop Zone on April 17, 2015.

Harvey M. Sapolsky, a professor of public policy and organization, Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on American military power as a global force, and why this necessitates an all-volunteer military.

"It isn’t that soldiers’ lives aren’t valued. Actually, the concern with their casualties has grown with time even after conscription was abolished. It is just that American presidents are expected to act—to do something when trouble starts in the Middle East, when North Korea rattles some sabers and when Russia tries to change its boundaries. Doing something often involves the deployment of ships, the use of soldiers as advisors, a missile strike, and the start of a bombing campaign. One thing leads to another, but rarely to a quick, easy victory."