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How the military isolates itself — and hurts veterans

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How the military isolates itself — and hurts veterans

Phillip Carter and retired Lt. Gen. David Barno are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, and senior fellows at the Center for a New American Security.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the wire ringing our bases divided two starkly different worlds. Inside the wire, life revolved around containerized housing units, cavernous dining facilities, well-appointed gyms and the distant but ever-present risk of a falling rocket or mortar round. Outside the wire, Afghans and Iraqis tried to live their lives amid relative chaos. They didn’t fully understand what we were doing there. And when we ventured out, we struggled to navigate their world.

The wire defines a similar divide in the United States. Inside, troops and their families live and work on massive military bases, separated geographically, socially and economically from the society they serve. Outside, Americans live and work, largely unaware of the service and sacrifice of the 2.4 million active and reserve troops. Discussions of the civil-military divide often blame civilians. But the military’s self-imposed isolation doesn’t encourage civilian understanding, and it makes it difficult for veterans and their families to navigate the outside world.

More at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/military-bases-are-our-most-exclusive-gated-communities–and-that-hurts-veterans/2013/11/08/27841b1e-47cb-11e3-a196-3544a03c2351_story.html

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