When it comes to supporting the troops, Politicians always say the right thing. But how they vote is often a different matter.
World War II, generals did not talk about loving their soldiers, but I they usually took care of them better than today. One reason for that was the Army Chief of Staff’s, George Marshall, insistence that in a war for democracy, our military had to act in a manner consistent with democratic values, which meant firing officers who didn’t perform. But I think an even more important reason was that almost everybody in the Military had been drafted. They were not separate from the general society like the Volunteer Military is today.
Not only does the volunteer part of the Volunteer Military make for a military that doesn’t reflect our country, it makes for an ex-military that is easier to ignore. After WWII, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 which was better known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. It was major legislation that provided a wide range of benefits for returning World War II veterans that included low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash payments of tuition and living expenses to attend college, high school or vocational education, as well as one year of unemployment compensation.
The Volunteer Military came in during the Nixon administration but it is hard to blame him as Congress was controlled by the Democrats. Either way, it was brilliant or stupid depending on your point of view. Brilliant if you want the United States to be involved in more wars – and spend more money on equipment like the F-35, that we don’t need – and stupid if you don’t want the United States to be involved in lots of wars (spending the money on, say, better schools).