Distinguishing Defense

Many folks are not that comfortable with the idea of working in or for the military.  Yes, at some level we all support armies via paying taxes, selling them food, teaching their kids, etc., but the more direct their support the more uncomfortable many folks get.  For example, actually stabbing enemy soldiers on the front line is more direct than most of us prefer.  No doubt this discomfort at directness deprives armies of the support of many talented folks.

Some military folks I know emphasize that their efforts are primarily defensive; they help resist enemy attack and protect civilians from harm.  They are clearly asking not to be treated as if they were just an average part of the military machine.  But I wonder: why don’t we make it easier for such people to show that their efforts are mainly defensive.  Why don’t more parts of the military, and more military contractors, officially distinguish themselves as more emphasizing defense over offense?  Why can’t I work for a particular “defense” contractor with a clear reputation for only working on the defensive side of war?

Now it is true that in this case orgs that did not explicitly identify as defensive would look more offensive, making some folks less willing to associate with them.  But many a brash young man is eager to show he is a front-line fighter, so there might be overall sorting gains from making this distinction.  Is it that those who run our military hate the idea of officially acknowledging and accomodating citizens who don’t offer full unconditional (offense or defense as required) support of our military?

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