In news that will shock no one, service members and veterans are less than thrilled that the United States is still embroiled in conflicts — or "advise and assist" missions, to use Pentagon parlance — in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This nugget of insight comes from a survey conducted last Veterans Day, in which current and former service members were asked to respond to questions about national security policy and the current state of the military. The results of the poll were published this month by Smithsonian Magazine.
The majority of respondents (84 percent) said they agreed that the "current occupation" of Iraq and Afghanistan "has been going on too long."
For anyone who's bitched about the "forever" part of our forever wars, the survey offers some comfort: At least you know you're not alone, though it makes some sense if you felt like you were. As Smithsonian Magazine notes, "as far as we know, this survey was the first one to pose that question to current and former service members."
A little more surprising though, is that a lot of those same folks (83 percent) still support the ongoing War on Terror, even as it drags on into its seventeenth year.
In terms of national security threats, just over a third of respondents cited "terrorist organizations" followed closely by "rival powers." Rogue nations and criminal organizations ranked lowest in terms of dangers to American security.
The poll was a joint effort by the Smithsonian, Stars and Stripes, and Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, which surveyed 922 veterans and 109 active duty military personnel.
The full results of the survey can be found on Smithsonian Magazine, as well as on Stars and Stripes, along with respondent's opinions on current military policies — from transgender personnel in the military, to whether or not American troops should be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
A Coalition convoy stops to test fire their M2 machine guns and MK19 Grenade Launcher in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in the Deir ez-Zor province, Syria, Nov. 22, 2018 (U.S. Army/Sgt. Matthew Crane)
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Video game company Blizzard Entertainment, which creates blockbuster franchises like World of Warcraft and Overwatch, has stood behind veteran employment for years. On top of hiring veterans, they support many related programs, including Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty Endowment. Blizzard's goal there is to help veterans find careers by supporting organizations that prepare veterans for the job market.
A combat patrol advanced three miles north of Lucca (furthermost point occupied by American troops) to contact an enemy machine gun nest in September 1944 as part of the Italian Campaign (DoD/National Archives and Records Administration)
World War II Army veteran Milton Miller says he has never forgotten an act of cowardice by his platoon leader.
It happened in the Alban Hills south of Rome following the Allied Forces' amphibious invasion on the Italian beaches of Anzio in January 1944.