Sacred Soldier: The Dangers of Worshiping Warriors (Paperback)

Sacred Soldier: The Dangers of Worshiping Warriors By Robert F. Keeler Cover Image

Sacred Soldier: The Dangers of Worshiping Warriors (Paperback)


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A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and military veteran examines both the realities of our military and the worshipful attitude of Americans toward it.

How can our nation stop fighting needless wars, if we keep worshiping the warriors? Why do presidents so easily fool us by using “support the troops” to justify war? Is “Thank you for your service” merely meaningless, or a meaningful sign of a dangerous modern idolatry? Are today’s soldiers truly defending our freedom, or too often suppressing the freedom of other peoples? If our military is so powerful, why has it not definitively won a major war since 1945?

These are questions we seldom hear. Instead, what we see is ballplayers wearing military-style camouflage caps, baseball teams handing out a flag to the “veteran of the game,” and the Pentagon paying the National Football League to stage elaborate military displays like fighter-jet flyovers.

Sacred Soldier: The Dangers of Worshiping Warriors offers a more clear-eyed, warts-and-all view of our military. It argues that we owe our warriors more than those five empty words of gratitude. We owe them honesty as they enlist; we owe them protection from rampant sexual abuse by other members of the military; hesitance to shed their blood in multiple deployments to unwinnable wars; and the highest possible quality of care when they return from battle, wounded in mind, body, and spirit.
Robert F. Keeler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and military veteran who spent more than 45 years in journalism. At Newsday on Long Island, he wrote about town, county, and state politics and spent a decade covering religion. He served as Albany bureau chief, editor of the paper’s Sunday magazine, and member of the editorial board. His previous books are Newsday: A Candid History of the Respectable Tabloid; Parish! The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Story of a Vibrant Catholic Community; and, with co-author Paul Moses, Days of Intense Emotion: Praying with Pope John Paul II in the Holy Land.
Product Details ISBN: 9781623711078
ISBN-10: 162371107X
Publisher: Interlink Books
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 248
Language: English
“A scathing, impassioned, and deeply personal critique of contemporary American militarism. Sacred Soldier unpacks in rich detail the contradictions and hypocrisies that beset the relationship between Americans and their armed forces. Robert Keeler has written an important and compelling book.”
— —Andrew Bacevich

“The writer writes, the peace warrior nonviolently fights. In the Orwellian tradition, Bob Keeler's words in Sacred Soldier come from a writer turned peace fighter who is writing truth to power, both to the policy makers and those on the margins, in hopes of a better humanity going forward. May we heed Bob's clarion call. We are what we do.”
— —Jonathan W. Hutto

“In Sacred Soldier, Bob Keeler wants us to reconsider our veneration for military service on the ground that fighting wars is largely a very bad thing to do. The result is a scathing indictment of American militarism in the post–World War II era. The book’s damning bill of particulars calls on all of us to reconsider the role of our armed forces in the life of our country and the larger world.”
— —Daniel Akst, author of War by Other Means: The Pacifists of the Greatest Generation Who Revolutionized Resistance

“This clear, concise, and highly readable book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the true nature of war and of military service. Well written, extensively researched and documented, with Keeler’s experience as a journalist, it provides the reader with a broad range of insights and information regarding the mythologization of the warrior, so critical a part of the era of perpetual war in which we live.”
— —Camillo “Mac” Bica, Vietnam veteran, VFP member, author of Worthy of Gratitude? Why Veterans May Not Want To Be Thanked for Their “Service” in War