Sept. 8, 2016
Rosa Brooks wrote for Foreign Policy about veterans and foreign policy:
There as something a little icky about last night’s “Commander in Chief Forum,” though it took me awhile to put my finger on it.
Was it Donald Trump’s hair, or his fawning over Vladimir Putin? No, these particular forms of ickiness are nothing new. For the same reason, it couldn’t have been Hillary Clinton’s insistence on using the passive voice when describing her decision to use a private email server (“It was something that should not have been done.”) That’s also old ickiness.
In the end, it was the event itself.
Politicians have always sought to associate themselves with military glory, with mixed results. (Think Michael Dukakis and the tank, or George W. Bush’s flight suit and “Mission accomplished.”) Barack Obama’s no exception: Virtually all his major national security speeches have been made in military settings, from West Point to the National Defense University. The military is, far and away, the most trusted public institution in the United States, so it’s no surprise that politicians like to associate themselves with it. If political candidates could wear live service members as lapel pins, I’m sure they’d do so.