“For Troops, Being Pitied Is Tough to Take”

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Our November 21 cover

That’s the headline on the front page of Tuesday’s Washington Post, over a story by Greg Jaffe. He traces much of what we reported in this week’s cover story, An Army Apart. But he drills down into the mindset of troops, who have concluded the gap we reported on has curdled into pity among Americans for the troops fighting the nation’s wars:

The starkly conflicting impressions illustrate the uneasy relationship that has taken hold between the military and an often distant, sometimes adoring American public…The military’s unease springs, in part, from American indifference to the wars…Troops who eat out in uniform are routinely treated to free food by fellow diners…To some soldiers, who are better-paid and -educated than many Americans, the charity can strike the wrong chord. The giveaways can seem like acts of atonement, designed to make up for many Americans’ indifference to the wars and their reluctance to serve.

Powerful, disturbing stuff.