Occasionally when I write on Afghanistan, my critics say that it is easy for me to say since I have not put my life at risk. I think this is generally a feeble critique since less than one percent of Americans/Canadians/Brits/Germans/whoever actually serve in combat these days, and it makes little sense that only combat veterans should have opinions on the civ-mil issues of the day. Not very democratic, eh?
Still, I feel better about my opinions on war and such when I see veterans of recent campaigns articulate similar views. For instance, Andrew Exum, with the nom de blog of Abu Muqawama, has an excellent post today on the freedom of speech and of religion that must not be infringed even when loons like Terry Jones put lives at risk in Afghanistan due to his own ill-conceived grandstanding. Exum, who now blogs from the Center for a New American Security, served as a US Ranger in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He demonstrates what I found on the Joint Staff--that most of the folks serving in uniform do buy into the meaning of the Constitution,* that they are, indeed, fighting to protect freedom of speech and such even if expressions of free speech put their lives at risk.
* This may not apply to all folks in the military, as some have pretty distinct views about religion, especially at the US Air Force Academy.