General Stanley McCrystal, who led US forces in Afghanistan before being dumped after an unfavorable Rolling Stone profile was published, makes the case that national service is a basic responsibility for all Americans.
We have let the concept of service become dangerously narrow, often associated only with the military. This allows most Americans to avoid the sense of responsibility essential for us to care for our nation—and for each other. We expect and demand less of ourselves than we should. And now it is time to fix it.“Service member” should not apply only to those in uniform, but to us all.
The concept of national service is not new, nor is it outdated. When America needs it, national service is the personal obligation of every American. And she needs it now. All of us bear an obligation to serve—an obligation that goes beyond paying taxes, voting, or adhering to the law. America is falling short in endeavors that occur far away from any battlefield: education, science, politics, the environment, and cultivating leadership, among others.
Without a sustained focus on these foundations of our society, America’s long-term security and prosperity are at risk.
Just a brilliant essay from a man who deserved far better treatment from his country after that Rolling Stone profile.