Old AF Sarge at Chant du Depart (one of the fine authors of the collective there; well worth adding to your blogroll and daily patronage) wrote an especially moving and thought provoking piece yesterday called Remember. It is well worth your time to read.
(Go ahead, I will be here waiting. It is short...)
In brief, it is the considerations of a (fictional) career military man who served from WW II to Vietnam ruminating as he is at the burial of his grandson about the nature of service and the cost involved. Even if you are not typically a reader of military fiction, read it. It asks two very fundamental questions:
1) What is the reason that men and women serve in the military, sometimes for generations when the cost is known?
2) When does such devotion become unworthy of the government that it is offered to?
They are meaningful questions, especially in the light of the last week, when it seems to have become readily apparent that more and more, that the US Government is less and less worthy of such devotion between the military and the (being somewhat generous) fools that run it.
What is the reason that men and women serve? I cannot truly answer this question, as I have never served in the military. For some, I am sure, it is a calling as any other calling. For others, it is a time filler until they decide what they really "want to do". But either way, by serving they put themselves into harm's way based on the dictates of a government and its policies.
But when do government's reach the status of not being worthy of being served?
Dedication to the state is always, ultimately futile: The Imperial German Army became the Wehrmacht of WW II, which in turn became The East and West German Armies, before finally reuniting. Dedication to the Imperial cause was rendered moot in 1918 to all except a few diehards. The state, in the end, always goes away.
But what if the military made decisions to not serve the state? What if the German General Staff rejected Hitler and quashed him? History likely would be very different.
A military junta, from everything one reads, is not something to be encouraged or sought after. But neither is a military so wedded to a state and its decrees that it allows the state to be pulled into insanity, the sort of insanity we are experiencing right now - where after withdrawing almost all troops, we are having to pump troops back end to defend 1/1,000,000th of the territory that used to be under control.
What would it look like if the military "withdrew consent"? For that matter, what it would it look like if bureaucrats did the same? (Given the current circumstances, a great many people in the Department of State should be asking themselves hard questions.) Or what if civilians - you and I - simply stopped showing up?
Of course, it is best if the state or the voters that constitute it addresses its own issues before it reaches the point where others start addressing it instead. Sadly, we seem to have passed the point where that would have been true.
The State seems to believe that there is no way out but through this "slightly rough" patch into green pastures - "Trust us as you always have", they seem to say. Hopefully, everyone else in tow is starting to examine the scenery and beginning to ask the question if they are worthy of such trust and if we should have ever gone this way in the first place.