There is no way to reconcile these two immediate faces of America to millions of people across the world; the military and the Peace Corps will always serve their own distinctly different purposes and for many reasons it is better that it remain this way.
Military action in Syria could embroil the United States in civil wars from the Tigris to the Levant; U.S interests could also come under direct attack. A steely-eyed view of regional dynamics and contingency planning are critical to optimizing U.S. objectives.
Afghans have taken charge again of their own destiny. The American officers at the security meeting were witness to this change on the ground. Having not been asked to contribute to the discussion, they were silent observers to the intricate issue of Afghan inter-service coordination.
Will military strikes help ordinary Syrians or harm them? Will more violence deter the use of chemical weapons and other war crimes in Syria and elsewhere, or exacerbate the problem? Have all other possibilities been exhausted, or are there peaceful solutions that haven't been tried?
President Obama is a highly intelligent man, but has limited experience. The military advisers on the White House staff should have dissuaded him from his current course of action. He has put himself into a corner and now has few viable options.
The Department of Defense has no more important responsibility than supporting and protecting those who defend our country, and that means we must do everything possible to prevent military suicide. When one of us faces a challenge, we all must stand together.
The pundits mostly are trying to figure out the president's tactics short term on the "next war" or "what this means politically." But Syria isn't the point. Politics isn't either. Our Constitution is.
Whether we like it or not, we are now playing a game of diplomatic and military chess in the Middle East, and like any good player, we must think through several moves ahead if we want to have any hopes of winning. So far our government has not done that.
Military action is a tactic not a policy. The decision to go to war should be linked to a broader strategy of creating a safe haven on Syria's border with Syria and Jordan. The safe haven would be protected by a no-fly-zone, enforced by NATO.
To be truly competitive with the unwinnable military options we must now inject not just food into the mouths of the innocent, but inject empowerment and preparation for a future into a dying and desperate people.
Trying to build legitimacy and content for international law is doing something. The problem, for many of us, is that it seems slow, and offers no immediate resolution to punishing Assad for his awful attacks.
Like lots of American families, lots of military families need two earners for financial stability and to achieve their families goals. The crises of spouse unemployment really undermines our population
Freeloading on the military's popularity may be foolproof, but it is also foolish. It may work, but it doesn't make it smart. Every time we turn decisions over to the military and hope it does the right thing, we waste some of the critical capital of civilian control.
Sexual misconduct in the military has been steadily rising for a number of years and has become a blight on the reputation of the armed forces. Time will tell whether these latest efforts will curtail sexual assault or if a greater caliber of action is required.
For many of us who served before the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," it's almost surreal. Full rights for gay military couples seemed like a long shot back then. Like the repeal of DADT, this announcement will be remembered joyously as a part of our shared LGBT history.