A Letter to America From 489 Military Officials, Ambassadors, and National Security Officials on Election 2020
We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it.
Misinformed people have condemned mask-wearing as cowardice, but the primary benefit of masks is not protecting the wearer. They stop you from spreading it to others, something that happens before feeling unwell.
That’s the problem with this virus and why staying home when you’re sick won’t stop it.
A June 3 study estimated that 40% to 45% of virus-infected people might have no obvious symptoms at all. That won’t stop them from spreading it to others. If we wait until we feel sick to don a mask, some of us will unknowingly infect others, sometimes many others.
Mask-wearing stops you from infecting others. Even people who show symptoms may spread the virus silently in the time between catching it and feeling sick, as long as 11 to 14 days.
One man hurt so many people, and he could not have done it without the many silent approvals from peers. The people he hurt might have been spared if his peers had done the tough thing and stopped him. That failure cost lives, as it so often does when we stay silent in the face of corruption.
Not everyone is cut out for calling people out on unacceptable behavior. That’s OK; don’t take a position where lives depend on it, though. Accepting power means accepting that duty.