Naval War College Review


Francis J. West


It is almost a truism to observe that the American public is ambivalent in its feelings toward the U.S. military as an organization. On the one hand, within the strong American tradition of politi­cal liberalism the military symbolizes state control and the loss of personal freedom, On the other hand, the mili­tary exists to defend freedom, as in World War II. It is clear that the public in general regards the military as more than just a necessary evil. While the military does exhibit instances of bun­gling, waste, arrogance, and irrespon­sibility 1 it also sets national examples of courage, asceticism, selflessness, and devotion to duty.