This is your depressing thought.
The United States of America is built on (many, many complicated things, but for the sake of this discussion, please stick with me) two things: Military strength, and Christianity. From the very beginning, this has been the case. When the colonies first stood up and began a revolution, a very prominent emblem for the colonists was a giant, eye-catching yellow flag saying "Don't Fuck With Me." Then, it was "God Bless America," and "In God We Trust," shortly thereafter. Once America was an established nation, though, "Don't Tread On Me" became "Also, Don't Tread On My Friends."
The Romans found that you can learn a whole lot about a people from the things they celebrate. In America, it takes only a cursory search to isolate two prominent things we celebrate: Military strength, and Christianity. My history is very rusty, but I don't think that there has been a single 50 year period in which our country did not go to war. This means that everyone, at some point in their life, has been encouraged to go off to war, or is living with family who has been to war. Soldiers have always been a symbol for national strength, and by God, our nation will stand tall and free, from sea to shining sea.
God bless the troops, and God bless America.
Never mind the cause of the war, whether it's for an ideal, (like the spread of Democracy), for money, for the defense of an oppressed people, to force a political agenda, or even to stop a genocide, at the end of it all, war is the mass-killing of people.
If soldiers are lucky, they have killed enough men and women (hopefully, most of them soldiers, and not some poor bastard just running to the store for a coke... but you never know) that the mission was accomplished, so they can go home to their families and live with it for the rest of their lives.
All throughout the world, including here in the United States, we applaud and revere soldiers. The people who were brave enough, or whose circumstances left them with little other choice than to stand up for what their nation believes in strongly enough to kill for. And we should. I know that I don't have it in me to kill someone. I know that if I were even part of the mechanism of someone's death, I would be racked with guilt. Even if I were the long-haul truck driver that picked up the bullet from the factory to take it to the coast to load on a ship, to transport to a port in Saudi Arabia, to be distributed to units all over the Middle East, to be put through someone's skull... eventually that knowledge is going to get to me. We should applaud and revere soldiers anywhere near combat, because the knowledge of directly putting the bullet through someone would fuck a person up. Permanently.
But what if we lived in a peaceful world? What if the leaders of all of our nations sat down together, had a few beers, maybe a few cocktails, and started talking about how to fix things the world over, and then did it? What if we had the first fifty peaceful years since... ever?
Our nation, the world, and the people living on it, could could start to heal.
We would keep our soldiers, they are a national treasure and a tremendously effective peacekeeping tool. They would continue to live and serve, paid by the taxes the government takes from every citizen. And eventually, some people - assholes who think they're smarter than everybody else, mostly - would begin to ask questions like, "Why do we even have a military? There isn't anyone to fight!" People would begin to talk, and the conversation would move around the internet, and the news, and become a highly divisive issue. Soon, someone would accuse them of being a bunch of leeches and freeloaders. The whole country would be in an uproar over it.
But then, the well-trained, ever vigilant soldiers who were out in the perfectly peaceful world to maintain peace, and help the citizens of whatever country they were stationed in, would not have to live with the knowledge of what it's like to kill someone.
I would prefer to live in a world where soldiers are looked at as freeloaders.