by Ian Tartt
Many are familiar with Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address in which he warned us of the dangers of an ever-increasing military-industrial complex, as well as his negative view of war as a result of having seen it firsthand as a general. It seems that this sentiment is becoming increasingly common among veterans, as Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson has surpassed both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in popularity for veterans, as several polls throughout this election have demonstrated.
Both current and former veterans are being drawn to a candidate talking about changing to a more peaceful, non-interventionist foreign policy and reducing excessive military spending, rather than continuing the status quo. Likewise, former presidential candidates Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders were praised for their advocacy of a peaceful foreign policy and decreased military budget. Perhaps this has something to do with many veterans losing friends and family members overseas; being isolated from their loved ones for extended periods of time; suffering from PTSD and often losing their own limbs only to be shafted by the VA with its long waiting times, low quality of care, limited options, and outdated technology; learning of the countless lost lives and broken families as a result of the past fifteen+ years of wars; and finding out that they were lied to and manipulated to take up arms against an “enemy” who may have been anything but.
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With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why they would prefer a candidate discussing peace as the immediate goal and aggression as a last resort. Will this have a significant impact on the results of this election? Only time will tell, but if this trend continues, it will likely affect future American foreign policy in a way that will literally change the world for the better.