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Sean Gilfillan Headshot

The 1%: America Insourcing Sacrifice

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Reading about the suicides and killings going on within our military ranks is enough to make any military man/woman depressed.

It is heartbreaking to see that 5 soldiers were killed by an NCO who had been in Iraq for almost 3 years of his life. That soldier was a 44 year old National Guardsman. Hardly a kid. How is that part-time soldier supposed to have a life? How are any of our active or reserve component service members supposed to lead a life outside the military with this constant rate of deployment?

Get the deployment numbers down to 2:1 and eventually 3:1? So for a 20 year military career, one is expected to serve almost 7 years away from home? It is just not right.

The only answer has to be that our Congress and our President must deem it so vital to our national security and interests that this is required for our nation's preservation.

If that is the case, then why isn't everyone sacrificing? Why is America insourcing sacrifice to 1% of its population when it is deemed necessary to our national security and interests? I believe that it has gone too far and we are seeing the ramifications of sending service members overseas for 3-4-5 year-long tours. This Operational Tempo (optempo) was not even used in Vietnam and it is absolutely breaking the military.

Let's look at some simple metrics that anyone can understand. The suicides are up. The divorce rate is up. The murders/assaults are up. The PTSD and physical injuries are up. The deaths are up. Those who want to lead a family are getting out. The best and brightest aren't serving in the military. People undeserving of promotion are now being promoted. And most importantly, the gap between the military and those they serve is ever widening.

We are finding out that there are serious consequences for spending 36-60 months of your life in Iraq and Afghanistan while your family, friends and the rest of society continue to live their lives without sacrificing a thing. This issue needs to be addressed... and quickly.

Somehow the pain the military feels by going to war needs to be felt by every member of society so we don't continue to insource the sacrifice to only 1% of us. If it is truly a national security necessity, then the entire nation must participate, including the sons and daughters of the elite. Let them look into their child's eyes before making such a momentous decision and say to them:

"Son/Daughter... I believe in this cause so much that I would be willing to sacrifice your health and possibly your life in order to achieve it"

If that was our litmus test for going to war, I think things would be a little different.