How do you all feel about the many, many YouTube videos of military folks being reunited with their families and/or dogs after their tours in Iraq or Afghanistan? See, for example,

I am torn on this one. I watch these videos when links to them come my way, and they’re very touching and tear-jerking. But something about the whole enterprise of the viral reunion video strikes me as voyeuristic and manipulative and overly… convenient, maybe?

Like many Americans, I’ve been almost completely shielded from the wars. They’ve been fought by other people. But these videos make me feel, on some visceral level, like I’m a part of these touching moments of reunion. Which I’m not. And the whole problem is that millions of us haven’t been asked to contribute anything. So isn’t it weird for us to watch these videos and pass them around to each other and say awwwwwww while we wipe tears from our eyes?

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Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.