Read this Washington Post article on how Americans see their soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Americans feel more pity than respect for men and women in military service.
The troops are lavished with praise for their sacrifices. But the praise comes with a price, service members say. The public increasingly acts as if it feels sorry for those in uniform.
American soldiers, especially the officers, find themselves in a strange place. They are not representative of the larger public. Their values are distinctly different from those of the larger public which they seek to protect. The US does not now face any serious threats. Yet the military is targeted by competing who use these soldiers as tools for assorted ethnic and ideological ambitions.
The pity might be a subconscious recognition of the pointlessness of many of the costs US soldiers pay. The Vietnam war made more sense than the Iraq war because at least in Vietnam we were fighting communists in a global context of a Cold War against communism. One could debate the accuracy of the Domino Theory or its applicability in a country whose communists were also fighting for ethnic nationalism. But at least the labeling of the enemy was honest of not complete.
“We, as a nation, no longer value military heroism in ways that were entirely common in World War II,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, who commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Instead, praise from politicians and the public focuses largely on the depth of a service member’s suffering. Troops are recognized for the number of tours they have endured, the number of friends they have lost or the extent of their injuries.
Partly this reflects the feminization of school curricula. Boys are bored out of their minds by literature and history courses that emphasize feminine topics. War and martial valor aren't taught any more. This helps drive the imbalance in favor of females graduating from high school and going to college.
My take: Guys should find something better to do with their time than join the military. You aren't going to be appreciated. You are unlikely to be used for the common good of the American people. If you must join at least aim for development of technical or police skills that will have value when you return to civilian life. Though there is one way to go extreme military and make it pay: Join the special forces and then come out as a civilian contractor making a 6 figure salary for the CIA.