Minimizing wars; respecting the troops
The issue I'm handling here is not a simple one, as it has many different aspects. The issue is that of war and treatment of military personnel. While there are some who fully embrace military mentality and support military solutions regardless of their cost and destructiveness - and others who hate the military and oppose military altogether - the facts of the situation show that the matter needs to be dealt with in a more brain-intensive manner.
I think that most people in the world, including many in the military, will agree that war itself is a huge undesirable. Wars cost millions of lives and trillions of dollars, which diplomatic solutions do not. War is a case of diplomacy failing - a failure of the political process. It should therefore be seen as a failure of politics and disincentivized rather than gloried.
That being as is, there is a need to respect and reward people who do risk their lives for their country. The military veterans do not deserve to be treated the way that Vietnam War veterans were treated in 1970s - with hatred and spit. These people have done something difficult and dangerous, and that is respectable. The hardships that people go through in wars are often extreme, and that is even the case for American military personnel.
But the problem does not end there. For as long as there are people who go around talking about their heroic exploits in wars - something that they are of course completely entitled to talking about - many boys and young men get the idea that going to war is the only way that they have to have honor or to be real men. This once again incentivizes war, which once again is a huge undesirable. Generations grow up itching to go to war and influencing the political process to create often completely unnecessary military entanglements. This is is a global problem, not limited to one or another country. For as long as many boys and young men feel that going to war is the only way to have honor and manhood, there will be wars.
Reducing military buildup, like reducing barriers to trade, is a Prisoner's Dillema scenario. It is best for everyone if everyone does it; but the party that does it unilaterally puts itself at a disadvantage. For as long as there are armies around the world, there needs to be a military to protect one's own country. With the military personnel - like with police officers and doctors - the situation is best when their help is needed the least; but realities of the world necessitate their existence.
So how does one balance two competing demands - disincentivizing wars and rewarding the people who risk their lives for their country? It is this question that needs to be asked at all times. The demand for wars must be curtailed by a societal insistence that there are other ways to be real men or to have honor than to go to war. Generations growing up must be made to understand this and steered toward constructive pursuits such as work, business and education instead of destructive pursuits such as wars or gangs. Meanwhile the governments need to be made to know that it is not OK to involve the countries in needless military entanglements, diplomatic solutions must be looked for as much as possible, and war must be seen as a political failure for which the people who started it must be held accountable.
When the nation absolutely has to go to war, the troops must be supported and come back to a respectful reception at home. They did not cause the war, they do not deserve the blame.
By equilibrating between these competing demands it becomes possible to reduce war as much as it does to give back to those who have risked their lives for their country. And that achieves an optimal scenario that addresses legitimate concerns by each side while minimizing the wrongs on both.