The U.S. does not do empire well. Endless confrontation has become routine and acceptable. Our conflicts have piled up like cordwood. War has enriched American profiteers and grown essential to our economy. Almost every state has monetary ties to the military, whether its weapons manufacturing plants or military bases. “We fight overseas to be free at home” is a disingenuous phrase that feels especially backwards these days.

Liberals and conservatives are identical in one fashion: both parties bow and scrape to the Military Industrial Complex and its lobbyists. The majority of Americans oppose wars that profit only immoral politicians and others who hate everything we stand for. We need to be smarter about how we use our military resources. President Trump understands this as well as anyone. In a recent interview with CBS journalist Margaret Brennan, he announced plans to bring our troops home from all military conflicts unless Congress passes a declaration of war. The POTUS is a unique combination of strength and caution. There has been plenty of justification to engage in hostilities with North Korea, but our Commander-in-Chief knows that war is only justifiable in terms of defense, and when all diplomatic solutions have failed. Instead of bombs and bullets, he prefers strength and mediation.

President Trump knows a good deal about geopolitical hegemony. He is pulling the plug on three wars (Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan), and has put economic pressure on China. Trump is not afraid to defend us, both financially and militarily. His demeanor fits the needs of our time. Ratcheting up tension has helped bring our “enemies” to the table. Oddly enough, though, not even the “peaceniks” of the Vietnam era appreciate the president’s anti-war stance. It must be confusing to be a liberal these days — now they’re required to be in favor of endless wars in the Middle East, because Trump is pro-peace.

The POTUS is the only person in America who can turn the Left into warmongering Neocons and still get bad press.

Our country has reached a critical stage where we must decide exactly what is vital to our safety and defense. Thankfully, the president has a startlingly realistic view of foreign policy. Another important matter he should address is one of increasing the legal enlistment age for military volunteers. Common sense tells us war is gut-wrenching and repulsive beyond belief. It’s a never-ending nightmare for soldiers. To take up arms and kill or be killed requires a mature decision making process. The cold hard facts are that young, less educated kids without families are considered more expendable than older, better educated, married recruits.

That’s why no one should be allowed to enlist in the U.S. military until age 25.

There are few things given the hard sell like military enlistment. It’s not fair to young minds. According to medical reviewers Rita Sather (RN) and Amit Shelat (MD) of University of Rochester Medical School, adult and teen brains work differently. “Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part, but teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part. And it’s the prefrontal cortex that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences.”

The study went on to explain that in teenagers “the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing,” and “the rational part of a teen’s brain is not fully developed until age 25 or so.”

A person fresh out of high school has no real world experience and, therefore, no perspective. That’s why recruiters prey on young kids and their lack of experience and maturity (Join the Army! It’s an adventure!). Increasing the permissible enlistment age to 25 would effectively give a person seven more years of real world experience and more time to weigh the consequences of their decision. It would help them sort out the numerous complexities between a dangerous life-threatening career choice and volunteering to defend your country.

Patriotism is ingrained in our culture. That’s a good thing. It unites our country to show support for the troops. As a Vietnam veteran, I believe we should defend our country and (simultaneously) fight the propaganda of greedy politicians who continue to create pointless hostilities. We should also stop sacrificing our innocent youth to war. If the legal enlistment age is raised to 25, we will see a more dedicated, higher quality soldier who understands that the military is one career choice of many ― a profession that he/she selected through sound judgment and a keen awareness of long-term consequences.

blog comments powered by Disqus