It's pretty basic. Belief in the supremacy of civilian control over the armed forces is the cornerstone of American democracy. The institutional failure evident in Ferguson, MO is a sign of civilian dereliction.
Just cutting the defense budget and rebalancing to the Reserves will go only so far to make us stronger, more secure, and most of all freer. Institutionalizing national service and sacrifice will help restore enduring national strengths.
My concern about films like Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker is that they might set back civilian-military relations by giving people a false understanding of the struggles of U.S. troops and the mechanics of U.S. national security.
If we Americans and our civilian-elected leaders don't come to terms with our over-dependence on the military, we will cede increasing authority to an institution that doesn't want it and should not have it.
The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review is focusing on military problems in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, rather than addressing the civilian mission of supporting good governance and poverty reduction.
If we want to see this president succeed, a vocabulary shift is vital. The more we use leftover framing and messaging rhetoric from the Iraq War, the easier we make it for the right wing to do the same.
The amount of international pressure must increase now that Zelaya is back. And it must include absolute clarity that an election held under the coup government's auspices will be considered illegitimate.