As a veteran- A new idea for when our Nation has to go to war:
When the country decides we need to go to war, there should be a tax applied to every non-military, non-veteran family to help pay for the war. If the people decide soon after that the tax is not worth the war, then the war is not worth it...
That might limit our military conflicts, and would also have the effect of paying for it when wars are necessary, which unfortunately, they sometimes are. And if, in the general consensus of the American People, we decide that our Nation or interests are vitally threatened, then I'm sure that We, the American People would be willing to pay for it.
For my liberal friends, I think this makes sense, because one of our (many) complaints during the Bush years was that the costs of neither war were included in the budget- they were added as "supplementals" - kind of a ... "oh, and we're at war, so we also need $500 billion more this year, for that." -- And they didn't cut things to pay for it, nor did they add taxes to pay for it.
For my fiscal conservative friends, I think this also makes sense: If a war must be fought, then it needs to be paid for in some manner. These are over and above the regular peace-time costs of maintaining the world's mightiest armed force- and they need to be funded as such. And when the war is over, funding to the renewed peace-time armed forces should return to appropriate levels.
To my libertarian friends: I know you aren't much of a fan of taxes, but I also know you are very much against the unnecessary use of U.S. armed forces as the world's police force, and the money it costs us to do so. This would certainly have some impact on the use of our armed forces. While this would be a tax, it would be one that the People would always have the ability to stop- by voting out their representatives who are in favor of war (or threatening to). With a few limitations (like gerrymandering and strange Senate rules), we are still mostly a majority-rule nation.
For my Tea Party friends: I know you also hate taxes and government intrusion- but this would not be an intrusion of any sort, and the "tax" would not be one that benefited non-working people. It would only fund the operational warfare costs of our military engagements- and we could end them at any time. Nobody gets "addicted" to this- trust me, it is a rare Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman who yearns to go back into a true hot zone for the extra combat pay. He or she would much rather be home.
For my "Constitutional Originalist" friends: The original taxes imposed by the newly-formed United States of America were authorized in order to pay for the Revolution. The bulk of that was directed toward back pay for the American Revolutionaries, most of whom had not been paid for the service for years.
For my, "Don't give a shit," friends: If you're not into politics, but that also means you probably don't vote. This might actually make you give a shit, since you could have the power to end a tax about something you disagreed with.
Overall, this would be a form of what happened during the "Greatest Generation's" efforts during WWII. That generation was called that because they all sacrificed, not just the warriors overseas. Americans not at war had to ration and help pay for the war- many things from food, tin and copper, to Liberty Gardens (neighborhood gardens), and war bonds.
This shouldn't be a revolutionary or radical idea. If a war is "necessary," then it needs to be paid for. This would be the non-partisan, very American, way to do it.