The civil-military divide

19 September 2007, ABC Radio National, "Late Night Live"

The Civil-Military Divide

As a result of the drop in American public support for the war in Iraq, members of the military and their families are feeling increasingly isolated and misunderstood as they bear the brunt for simply carrying out orders. However, this also highlights a divide which has existed between members of America's civil and military establishments since Vietnam. In fact surveys in the USA reveal that elite members of civil and military institutions remain suspicious of one another, and continue to harbour strong negative stereotypes about the other. It turns out this has wide-reaching implications for US government policy, particularly on the way wars are waged. Late Night Live tries to explore the history of this divide and look at how a more co-ordinated approach to Iraq - one which included greater civilian and even humanitarian input - might have turned out.