Author Topic: Civilian views of the military and their actions  (Read 750 times)

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Online Kattelox

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Civilian views of the military and their actions
« on: July 09, 2018, 02:41:22 PM »
Thought this would be an appropriate place to put it since there's an inherent element of politics to this, and better safe than sorry before it gets political.

Recently I've told some people about my plans to join the Navy, and a few of them reacted with a lot of vitriol. Comparison to being a Nazi, being called a baby killer, told about how they lie about military service to get discounts and free stuff (not sure how that works if you don't have an ID but okay), being told that I deserve the worst to happen to me because I'm joining a morally bankrupt organization, all that stuff.

How do you view the military? Do you judge those who choose to join? Can you both disagree with and support the military and its members? I'd like perspectives from both people who have and haven't served. I don't judge people who choose to join the military because I, like them, have my own reasons for wanting to do this. I am a liberal, I do not agree with everything the military does, I do not like our President or current administration, but I have my own life to live, and the military offers me a way to reach my goals that I can't find elsewhere. Not only that, but someone joining as, say, a yeoman in the Navy is not the same as someone enlisting to see the front lines of combat; a corpsman is not the same as the Navy SEALs and special ops dropping in to sling lead at the enemy.

My point is: if you hate the military, and people who serve, do you think it's justified? I understand disagreeing with the actions of the military, but the military does what our elected officials tell them to do. It is a crime to not obey orders, and some would say that joining with full knowledge of that makes one complicit in any heinous acts the military commits, but that is such a black and white view of something so complex and layered that for me it's very hard to argue with someone so set in their vitriolic rhetoric against people who serve. One of my biggest reasons is that our military is a volunteer military and without it we would've had a draft back after 9/11. Which is worse? The world is not a video game, it is not a utopia by any means, and we have to be very realistic and honest even with difficult subjects like these.
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Offline TAC

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 03:10:10 PM »
Non military civilian here..

I have literally never heard of someone hating the military. Personally I have great respect for anyone that serves. I've always felt that way, even though is seems that fawning over military seems the very "in thing" to do. But I have always thought that anyone that joins is brave and deserving of our respect.


  Not only that, but someone joining as, say, a yeoman in the Navy is not the same as someone enlisting to see the front lines of combat; a corpsman is not the same as the Navy SEALs and special ops dropping in to sling lead at the enemy.

Not sure exactly what this means?
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 03:14:58 PM »


  Not only that, but someone joining as, say, a yeoman in the Navy is not the same as someone enlisting to see the front lines of combat; a corpsman is not the same as the Navy SEALs and special ops dropping in to sling lead at the enemy.

Not sure exactly what this means?

He's basically saying that not everyone in the military is guaranteed to be out on the front lines.
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Online Kattelox

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 03:16:33 PM »
Right. Someone doing administrative work in an office is not the same as someone on the front lines, essentially. Everyone has different duties and they're all stationed all over the place doing different work. Some people never see combat. I have a marine friend who just drove a truck around his base for 2 years, never got deployed; another one went to Afghanistan and was actually having bullets fired at him.

I also don't like the sheer, unabashed adoration of the military and its members, but I'm not asking for that from people who hate on troops, either. Everything in moderation. Some people join because there's literally no other option, and may not like being showered with praise especially if their time was spent doing, essentially, janitorial work, or they hated what they were ordered to do especially if it actually involved killing people.
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Offline TAC

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 03:31:59 PM »


  Not only that, but someone joining as, say, a yeoman in the Navy is not the same as someone enlisting to see the front lines of combat; a corpsman is not the same as the Navy SEALs and special ops dropping in to sling lead at the enemy.

Not sure exactly what this means?

He's basically saying that not everyone in the military is guaranteed to be out on the front lines.

Obviously. But I wasn't sure what was being implied. I didn't understand the point.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Online Kattelox

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 03:33:57 PM »
Obviously. But I wasn't sure what was being implied. I didn't understand the point.

To make it clear, one of the guys who was arguing with me was being very confrontational and calling me a baby killer, before I had even signed the papers to join. He equates everyone who joins with that of the absolute worst of the bunch, and that willingly signing up, especially 'under this administration' makes you morally corrupt or bankrupt regardless of your personal views, no matter what your job ends up being. It's a very black and white view of military service to me and extremely problematic because it isn't logical or fair at all; his position seems to be that using the military, which is to him completely morally bankrupt and evil, to better one's position in life or to achieve their life goals, makes you unworthy of respect because you're contributing to 'the machine.'
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 03:44:10 PM »
The military is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. I neither like nor dislike the military, though I don't like the way it's generally employed. It's made up of individuals who, like the rest of us, range from the honorable to the despicable.  I neither like nor dislike soldiers in general, but could only judge them as individuals.

The argument that one is volunteering to serve while the military is up to no good is certainly a tricky one. Again, I'd have to judge a person's motivation at the individual level. A whole lot of people joined up after 911 because they were pissed off and wanted to kill brown people. Fuck those guys. Plenty more think they're going to be "defending our freedom" or other such nonsense. I consider them naive, but that's not a crime. Others see it as a means to an end. If your ethics allow you to take part in it to further some other goal, knock yourself out. Mine wouldn't, but I don't judge the ethics of others.

Recently I've told some people about my plans to join the Navy, and a few of them reacted with a lot of vitriol. Comparison to being a Nazi, being called a baby killer, told about how they lie about military service to get discounts and free stuff (not sure how that works if you don't have an ID but okay), being told that I deserve the worst to happen to me because I'm joining a morally bankrupt organization, all that stuff.
Take solace in the fact that for every one of those guys there are 3 more that will fawn all over you simply because of your service, whether it be good or disgraceful. If Lynndie England were to walk through an airport in uniform people would line up to buy her drinks and someone would offer up their 1st class seat in appreciation of her "service." That maybe she's vile wouldn't occur to them.
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Offline TAC

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 03:48:00 PM »
OK K-lox. I understand. But honestly, whether you're a janitor or an office person, or a soldier, you are part of the machine.

But I would never think any less of someone who joins because of a college $$ or to learn a skill.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline cramx3

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 04:31:56 PM »
I can't think of a reason to hate on military personnel on an individual level unless there was a good reason to.  From me view, it seems most of the negativity towards the military is in response to the way our country uses it, and not really based towards the people who follow orders.  I personally respect them.  They do something I have no interest in doing and can physically do things I cannot.  I respect that.  I respect someone who is willing to die for the country even if they are just a clerk or some non front line position.

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 04:36:45 PM »
Being Native, I will never join the military. But i do respect those that serve that aren't despicable people. What they're doing in Iraq and places of that nature are some of the same things The U.S. has done to us, and still do.

Think about this though. If you had to shoot or attack people knowing it's wrong, would you do it, knowing you'll be discharged for not following orders? That's one reason why people say the military owns you and molds you to become the man they want you to be.
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Online Kattelox

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2018, 04:57:32 PM »
If I was ordered to shoot/kill, then I would, whether I want to or not. I will sign those papers knowing full well what that entails.

My position is that I respect the individuals on an individual basis, everyone who serves has my respect (unless a specific individual mouths off about wanting to kill for sport or some other reason like it's a great activity to participate in or tries to downplay the gravity of armed conflict). I think it's possible to have respect for them while criticizing the overall actions of the military because, again, most of those who serve are simply under the chain of command, and hell, a lot of them have zero idea of what's going on anyway, many of them don't (at least from what I know) really pay attention to the actions coming from up high the way civilians do.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 10:31:58 PM »
I'm biased; I have too many people in my family that have done time in the military to really look at this objectively.

But I've seen my step son give up family time - he has a 14-month old son - in service of our country.  He services helicopters that keep other servicemen safe and alive.   I watched my daughter's godparents go on deployments - both women, in Saudi Arabia, where they were not welcome - and did so without complaint.    I heard first hand stories of my ex-wife deploying on numerous occasions at the sacrifice of her family.  I watched a family friend - a general - get deployed for months at a time (he was commander of a remote support base for the capture of Saddam Hussein).  Also an A-10 pilot who saw combat in Bosnia, he won't talk about it but the odds are decent that he has taken lives in the service to his country.   I have a great uncle that landed in Normandy, not in the first wave, but in a subsequent wave.  Another great uncle was in forces that landed in Italy and moved northward. A third great uncle was at West Point in the same class as Jimmy Carter, and served much of his career working in and around nuclear submarines (he was my namesake, and died of cancer at 62; probably not a coincidence).   A great great uncle - if you believe the obituary - survived a Siberian prison camp in World War I and fought in Africa during World War II.   

I think righteous sanctimony should be reserved for cases of absolute black and white, and this question is anything but that.

Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 07:41:55 AM »
Barto came closest to my views when he summed up the military as nothing other than a tool, and therefore neither inherently good nor bad. It can be used to help liberate Europe from fascism or it can be used to overthrow the governments of sovereign nations and create servile client states for the American government. There will be people who fawn over anything in a military uniform even if it still has chunks of My Lai victims clinging to it, and there will be people who would dance on the grave of Louis Langlais (that Bin Laden-raid SEAL I wrote about a while back at our other forum, one of the most admirable human beings I've ever read about). The military is an easy target for people to vent a whole host of emotions upon, almost all of them ugly (pride, jingoism, self-righteousness, thirst for vengeance), but as a couple of folk have already mentioned, it's nowhere near so black and white. In an ideal world we would have no need of weapons and people trained and ready to use them. This, alas, isn't an ideal world.

If you want the view from someone in the very odd position of being a personal 'internet friend' of yours (Kattoelox) but also an ideological enemy of your country, then I can say that your question in this thread puts me in an awkward position. Because as you (correctly) wrote: if one day you're given an order to kill somebody, you will carry out that order. And that order may well be to kill some Jihadists on their way to blow up innocent people (good, by my definition). Or, it could just as easily be to kill a friend or acquaintance of mine in east Ukraine (bad). Perhaps even myself; it's not an impossible scenario. When you put on an American military uniform you serve the economic interests of the American government, and part of those interests are based upon the rest of the world, which necessarily includes Russia, being subservient to you (slightly off-topic but Trump has just spent the first part of his day rambling on about how much the US pays to NATO while neglecting to mention which country constantly uses NATO's resources to wage self-serving wars all over the fucking planet). So, like I said, this is awkward, but I know you don't like bullshit and you asked for honest opinions in your OP, so here is mine: as long as you're out of uniform, I wish you nothing but the best, but if you are in a uniform, and somebody gives you an order to do anything that harms Russia or its interests, then I have to 'dehumanise' you and see you only as an American political pawn on the chessboard, not as a person with a family that loves him. War is hell, as the saying goes, and dehumanisation is perhaps the worst part of it.

My question for you Katt: do you think you are psychologically ready to die for your country? I'm not saying that would ever be likely to happen (it's outlandishly unlikely), but I'm asking hypothetically. A man who is willing to kill for his country must also be willing to be killed for it. I'm sure you must have thought about it as part of this decision you're making. Are you prepared to die, potentially in your 20s, for this America?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 07:46:38 AM by Dave_Manchester »
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Online Kattelox

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 08:21:34 AM »
I appreciate all the responses from everyone. Quite a lot of things have been said that I agree with already: the military is a tool, judging members individually and not just based on the worst or best aspects, showering with undying praise for 'their sacrifice' is a bit douchey, etc. and particularly from Dave, because I am fascinated with his worldview given his unique position amongst us. So specifically to Dave:

Quote
In an ideal world we would have no need of weapons and people trained and ready to use them. This, alas, isn't an ideal world.

I agree 150%. I do not like conflict, I do not like war, I do not like the idea of innocent people dying by the whims of politicians (or innocents dying at all). I wish the world was a conflict-free paradise, but wish in one hand and shit in the other, see which fills up first.

Quote
So, like I said, this is awkward, but I know you don't like bullshit and you asked for honest opinions in your OP, so here is mine: as long as you're out of uniform, I wish you nothing but the best, but if you are in a uniform, and somebody gives you an order to do anything that harms Russia or its interests, then I have to 'dehumanise' you and see you only as an American political pawn on the chessboard, not as a person with a family that loves him. War is hell, as the saying goes, and dehumanisation is perhaps the worst part of it.

As sad as that makes me I completely understand and can't blame you for it one bit. One of the reasons I'm choosing the Navy over the Army or Marines is that the Navy is much more of a support role than those branches and the likelihood of me actually being in combat is relatively low by comparison. There's always that chance, but hopefully it won't have to occur.

Quote
y question for you Katt: do you think you are psychologically ready to die for your country? I'm not saying that would ever be likely to happen (it's outlandishly unlikely), but I'm asking hypothetically. I'm sure you must have thought about it as part of this decision you're making. Are you prepared to die, potentially in your 20s, for this America?

Hindsight is 20/20... if I had known my life would come to a head such that I would be joining the military under a Trump administration, I would've joined with my friends fresh out of high school, halfway through Obama's first term. Unfortunately life is hard and complicated and confusing and it's taken me several years of serious contemplation to get to this point. I've spent about 20 minutes or more trying to word this specific paragraph perfectly and it's very hard. I came to grips with the possibility of having to die years ago, because I think it's one of the most important things one needs to consider before seriously pursuing a military path. For me personally, it is my way out of a dying rural community with very little opportunity. I could stay here and take over the family business that I have less than zero interest in, or I can take a leap of faith, give up a few years of my life, and do a complete 180, all with the ability to support myself by the time I'm done. There are so many factors involved in my decision to say 'yes, I am willing to die for my country' that this post would exceed the character limit if I went into them. Psychologically, do I think I'm ready to die? Man, that is one loaded question. I would love to say yes, but I've had the fear of imminent death in me only once (horrible car wreck in '09) and it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I'm not sure I can say yes, I'm not sure anybody can truly say 'yes' to that question until they're actually in a situation that would require that. But, you go in knowing it is a possibility, and you have to be brave enough to accept that as truth, and you'll have to be brave enough to accept shit is going down if the time comes, god forbid. That's my perspective, anyway.

Relative to the OP and people talking shit about veterans, all of the above is why I find it so baffling that some people treat anything concerning the military and its members as black and white. There are so many factors that make just a single person consider joining, can you imagine trying to generalize and stereotype the 1 million+ people in service (and the other, what, 800k in reserves)? It's all about weighing the good and the bad... unfortunately there's a lot of bad that comes with this stuff.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 08:49:35 AM »
Relative to the OP and people talking shit about veterans, all of the above is why I find it so baffling that some people treat anything concerning the military and its members as black and white. There are so many factors that make just a single person consider joining, can you imagine trying to generalize and stereotype the 1 million+ people in service (and the other, what, 800k in reserves)? It's all about weighing the good and the bad... unfortunately there's a lot of bad that comes with this stuff.
Yet by treating the taking of life as black and white you provide their reasoning.

If I was ordered to shoot/kill, then I would, whether I want to or not. I will sign those papers knowing full well what that entails.

When you abdicate conscience you become part of the machine that people rail against, and with good reason.
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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 08:54:20 AM »
So that completely negates the dozens of other reasons I have for wanting to join? Okay, then. Judge away... it's my life and I am the one who has to make peace with that. (edit: this sounds saltier than intended)

And I'm not treating the taking of life as black and white. It is a fact that if you join the military, that may become an order, however unlikely. One has to accept that if they're going to join. Just because I might be ordered to do it, just because I might pull the trigger, doesn't mean I want to. To not follow the order is a crime; if I am not willing to follow orders, why would I join? Following the order does not mean I take any pleasure or satisfaction in it. It is absolutely not black and white. People who kill others or just get put in the position to kill tend to come back with major PTSD. My marine friend nearly shot a bullet through an innocent Afghani woman's head and it's still fucked him up 9 years later and he didn't even pull the trigger.

Again keep in mind I chose the Navy over the Army or Marines in large part because I want to decrease my chances of seeing combat and potentially having to take a life. Working with electronics on a ship or in a hospital is far more my bag and I'm crossing my fingers it works out that way.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 09:00:10 AM by Kattoelox »
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 09:05:01 AM »
It is virtually impossible to not directly or indirectly support things you are may be morally against.  If you buy your laundry detergent at Walmart, is that an endorsement of their ownership group's ideology on social issue X?  Or is it just buying your soap at a place that fits your budget?  If you work for a company, is doing your job an implicit endorsement of some VP's pet political views?  Or is it just doing your work to bring home a paycheck to support your family?  Yeah, there are lines you have to draw to maintain your personal integrity.  But those lines often aren't clear, and there is no way to get by in life with sharp, well-defined lines completely in tact.  We have to sacrifice some lines for others and just do the best we can.  For someone who may not agree with a lot that the military might stand for, or with a lot the given political regime might stand for, I can respect both those who say the military isn't for them for that reason, as well as those who say they can put that aside and do their jobs.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 09:15:10 AM »
So that completely negates the dozens of other reasons I have for wanting to join? Okay, then. Judge away... it's my life and I am the one who has to make peace with that. (edit: this sounds saltier than intended)
Yeah, it does.

Look, you asked a question and I provided an answer. You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy, and you're demonstrating a willingness to do that unquestionably. There are people who will take offense at that, and understandably so.

And don't delude yourself about the Navy being any less violent than another service. It's not. In fact it's very likely the most lethal branch in the armed forces. It also has the most separation between the operator and those that get killed. To many the fact that you don't have to see the people you blow to bits makes it even worse.

And I want to point out another aspect of this. You're not some naive farmboy from Iowa who buys into the "America=freedom" bullshit. You've been discussing politics with all of us for many years. You know the role of the military and its function in maintaining this fishbowl we all live in. That makes you an even more willing participant and the people you're asking about are certainly taking that into account. 
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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 09:20:42 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this. 

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 09:22:55 AM »
I understand most of what you're saying... but the military is not a 100% evil, destructive entity. The military offers aid and support to people as well, and without a volunteer military, you'd run the risk of being drafted. As far as that is concerned, I just ask that you don't judge everybody who enlists as some soulless robot who is happy and content with every aspect of the military. Because I certainly am not. I don't think it's fair that because one decides to join, for a multitude of reasons, that they suddenly lose respect from others. It's one's right to have that opinion, but I am pleading with you, everybody joins for different reasons, and they're not all bad people.

Do you shop at Wal-Mart? Do you buy anything from massive companies that profit off sweatshops in third world countries? I can guarantee that you do...

EDIT: EB, even though that first part of that other post sounded salty, I'm not trying to get heated or hostile with you. I value your input just as much as anybody else.
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Offline Grappler

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 09:59:43 AM »
I just ask that you don't judge everybody who enlists as some soulless robot who is happy and content with every aspect of the military. Because I certainly am not. I don't think it's fair that because one decides to join, for a multitude of reasons, that they suddenly lose respect from others. It's one's right to have that opinion, but I am pleading with you, everybody joins for different reasons, and they're not all bad people.

I really agree with this.  I've known and read about so many veterans that fully believe in the military and its purpose without agreeing with the politics behind that purpose.  They're proud to have served and would do it again, even though they might not always agree with the reasons behind their orders, and they are fully aware of that distinction.  Military personnel are human, with their own thoughts and feelings just like us all.  And like any employer, when you are ordered to do something, you do it because it is your job, even if you don't always agree with your boss' reasoning.

As for how people view the military and its veterans, there are plenty of supporters.  I went to high school with a guy that was blown up in Iraq about 10 years ago by an IED.  He lost both legs and an arm.  He was a gymnast and retains that chiseled physique despite his disability, so it's not like he's this ugly, deformed man now.  He now works for a company that designs and manufactures powered wheelchairs as a spokesperson and also works in conjunction with the Gary Sinise Foundation, traveling the country either working or doing public speaking about his experiences.  He is constantly posting pictures on social media with either beautiful women hanging all over him or hobnobbing with celebrities.  So EB is right - for every detractor, there will be many more people that support you.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2018, 10:03:00 AM »
So that completely negates the dozens of other reasons I have for wanting to join? Okay, then. Judge away... it's my life and I am the one who has to make peace with that. (edit: this sounds saltier than intended)
Yeah, it does.

Look, you asked a question and I provided an answer. You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy, and you're demonstrating a willingness to do that unquestionably. There are people who will take offense at that, and understandably so.

And don't delude yourself about the Navy being any less violent than another service. It's not. In fact it's very likely the most lethal branch in the armed forces. It also has the most separation between the operator and those that get killed. To many the fact that you don't have to see the people you blow to bits makes it even worse.

And I want to point out another aspect of this. You're not some naive farmboy from Iowa who buys into the "America=freedom" bullshit. You've been discussing politics with all of us for many years. You know the role of the military and its function in maintaining this fishbowl we all live in. That makes you an even more willing participant and the people you're asking about are certainly taking that into account.

Eh, I see your point, but some of what you are saying seems - seems - to run afoul of the initial notion that "it is just a tool".    My son has spent a good bit of time in the service of his country, and he has, quite literally, destroyed nothing.  He has, though, provided support to people and communities that perhaps needed that support.    Saying the military's sole purpose is to "destroy" is akin to the anti-Second Amendment arguments about guns.  "What do you need THAT for?"  I'm not na´ve; that can all change 180 degrees in the matter of a phone call.    I get that.   

I deeply - very deeply - respect Dave for his point of view and he's, in my view, 100% right - but in his scenario that pits KTLX versus Comrade Dave, they are BOTH fighting for ideology not personality.  Not just KTLX.   So any of the judgments, any of the criticisms might be appropriately spread around.   Is Dave any more or less culpable for Stalin's mass killings than Kattleox is for, say, Vietnam? 

At the end of the day, EVERY decision is one of balance.    I take a shit, and I am in some small way reducing the usable resources of the planet.   One would  hope that I correspondingly increase them in some other fashion.  I drive to work, I am in some small (maybe not so small) way reducing the usable resources of the planet.  One would hope that wherever I'm going correspondingly increases them in some other fashion.   Much of this is so existential as to be impossible to calculate (driving to my son's school, I burn gasoline and pollute the atmosphere; one hopes that the education that my son is gaining is a net positive to society in some way).  The military is no different.   Every person that can feed their family or provide healthcare to their family because they helped construct the parts that my other son puts on the helicopter can only be a good thing, no?   Whether I would "die" for that or not is my own conscience, and that's where it ought to remain, no?   

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2018, 10:19:41 AM »
Completely irrelevant, but I want my username changed to KTLX so much. Haha. :)
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2018, 10:31:12 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.
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Offline Chino

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2018, 10:43:10 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.


Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2018, 10:49:07 AM »
I understand most of what you're saying... but the military is not a 100% evil, destructive entity. The military offers aid and support to people as well, and without a volunteer military, you'd run the risk of being drafted. As far as that is concerned, I just ask that you don't judge everybody who enlists as some soulless robot who is happy and content with every aspect of the military. Because I certainly am not. I don't think it's fair that because one decides to join, for a multitude of reasons, that they suddenly lose respect from others. It's one's right to have that opinion, but I am pleading with you, everybody joins for different reasons, and they're not all bad people.
I didn't say the military was evil. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I'm also not judging you. As I said before I don't consider myself qualified to judge the ethics of others. I'm explaining why people can and will criticize you for agreeing to become an active participant in very disagreeable actions. I will say that I'm having a hard time rationalizing your insistence that you're not going to become a mindless robot while at the same time affirming your willingness to do whatever you're told even if it means taking the life of somebody for reasons you disagree with, though.

Quote
Do you shop at Wal-Mart? Do you buy anything from massive companies that profit off sweatshops in third world countries? I can guarantee that you do...
I managed to boycott Walmart for nearly 20 years. Eventually it got to the point where saving even $20/month became more important than not supporting those self-righteous shitbags. This goes along with the point Bosk made that we're all trying to make do the best we can, and I understand that. Yet I see a world of difference between buying Walmart brand dishwasher detergent and joining the damn army. One is indirectly supporting something out of necessity. Another is volunteering to directly support something.

I understand that you see this as a necessity given your current situation, but in all honesty it seems to me that you're selling yourself short.

Quote
EDIT: EB, even though that first part of that other post sounded salty, I'm not trying to get heated or hostile with you. I value your input just as much as anybody else.
:tup
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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2018, 10:52:02 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.

No, but without the military keeping our state safe, we are allowed to vote for such rights and freedoms at every election.

And maybe it's because things like 9/11 hit close to home and other smaller terrorists in and around NYC, I actually do feel some parts of the middle east do threaten my freedom to live and my beliefs. 

Offline Chino

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2018, 10:55:28 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.

No, but without the military keeping our state safe, we are allowed to vote for such rights and freedoms at every election.

But so do a million other things. Without teachers educating the population, we couldn't make informed decisions in the voting booths. Without DOT crews, we might not be able to get to the booths in a November snow storm. Without the taxpayers, we wouldn't have the school gymnasiums to house voting booths come election day. Without intelligent IT security personal, we wouldn't have secure elections. The military is a small piece, not the sole piece, of the freedom collective.

Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2018, 10:56:05 AM »
So that completely negates the dozens of other reasons I have for wanting to join? Okay, then. Judge away... it's my life and I am the one who has to make peace with that. (edit: this sounds saltier than intended)
Yeah, it does.

Look, you asked a question and I provided an answer. You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy, and you're demonstrating a willingness to do that unquestionably. There are people who will take offense at that, and understandably so.

And don't delude yourself about the Navy being any less violent than another service. It's not. In fact it's very likely the most lethal branch in the armed forces. It also has the most separation between the operator and those that get killed. To many the fact that you don't have to see the people you blow to bits makes it even worse.

And I want to point out another aspect of this. You're not some naive farmboy from Iowa who buys into the "America=freedom" bullshit. You've been discussing politics with all of us for many years. You know the role of the military and its function in maintaining this fishbowl we all live in. That makes you an even more willing participant and the people you're asking about are certainly taking that into account.

Eh, I see your point, but some of what you are saying seems - seems - to run afoul of the initial notion that "it is just a tool".    My son has spent a good bit of time in the service of his country, and he has, quite literally, destroyed nothing.  He has, though, provided support to people and communities that perhaps needed that support.    Saying the military's sole purpose is to "destroy" is akin to the anti-Second Amendment arguments about guns.  "What do you need THAT for?"  I'm not na´ve; that can all change 180 degrees in the matter of a phone call.    I get that.
Your son is not the military. He is a cog in the wheel, though. The file clerk owns some culpability for its failures just as he deserves some credit for its triumphs. There's a reason why Bob Kraft's secretary has a handful of big, tacky-ass rings. While your son hasn't destroyed anything, I suspect it is the case that whatever branch he's in couldn't be destroying things without people like him doing their jobs.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2018, 10:58:03 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.

No, but without the military keeping our state safe, we are allowed to vote for such rights and freedoms at every election.

And maybe it's because things like 9/11 hit close to home and other smaller terrorists in and around NYC, I actually do feel some parts of the middle east do threaten my freedom to live and my beliefs.
Aside my very strong belief that our government is the far greater threat to my freedom, I also can't help but think that the way our military is utilized further jeopardizes our safety. It's counterproductive in its current state.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2018, 11:02:46 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.

No, but without the military keeping our state safe, we are allowed to vote for such rights and freedoms at every election.

And maybe it's because things like 9/11 hit close to home and other smaller terrorists in and around NYC, I actually do feel some parts of the middle east do threaten my freedom to live and my beliefs.
Aside my very strong belief that our government is the far greater threat to my freedom, I also can't help but think that the way our military is utilized further jeopardizes our safety. It's counterproductive in its current state.

I see what you are saying and while I don't agree with the way we use our military all the time, and even in regards to the Middle East, I just can't feel like it's not only vital to our way of life, it's a necessity to have one and therefore something I should respect, even when I don't necessarily agree.

Offline Stadler

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2018, 11:15:24 AM »
All of those arguments, though, work the other way, as does the military argument.  That's my point above about balance.


Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2018, 11:24:59 AM »
You're volunteering to become a cog in a machine whose sole purpose is to destroy

I feel like you lost me here.  You've made your opinion pretty clear, but it seems like you take our freedom for granted if you believe this.
I value my freedom a great deal. I just think it's a huge reach to consider the US military its defender. The threat to my freedom doesn't come from Afghanistan; it comes from Washington, the state of Texas and the city of Dallas. The military's role is to support US interests, and those interests increasingly run contrary to my own values, including freedom.

This, at least in regards to modern day. I don't deny that the military keeps us and our allies safe, but we protect our freedoms in the voting booths and through legislation, not with the military. The marines didn't get gays the right to marry or women the right to vote.

No, but without the military keeping our state safe, we are allowed to vote for such rights and freedoms at every election.

And maybe it's because things like 9/11 hit close to home and other smaller terrorists in and around NYC, I actually do feel some parts of the middle east do threaten my freedom to live and my beliefs.
Aside my very strong belief that our government is the far greater threat to my freedom, I also can't help but think that the way our military is utilized further jeopardizes our safety. It's counterproductive in its current state.

I see what you are saying and while I don't agree with the way we use our military all the time, and even in regards to the Middle East, I just can't feel like it's not only vital to our way of life, it's a necessity to have one and therefore something I should respect, even when I don't necessarily agree.
To the extent that a military is necessary to defend our way of life there will always be people willing to enlist. Pearl Harbour and 911 are proof of that. What we're seeing now is a military necessary to protect our global status, and that is not the same thing. It's not necessary and it's morally questionable.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2018, 11:34:53 AM »
Well, I can't exactly wait another 20 years to enlist when/if the military suddenly has to defend an attack on American soil, so I'd like to get in, do my time, and get out knowing that I did my job and helped serve a country I have pride in. Honestly it's kind of sad that we're at a point people have to say, "I don't have American flags in my house" just to avoid the possibility of being called a nationalist or something. When I was a kid I wore a t-shirt with an American flag on it and someone at the store said something to the effect of "hell yeah brother" and it made me so uncomfortable I never wore it again, but I don't think having pride in your country should be viewed as an inherently bad thing... as long as you're not rubbing it in people's faces and stuff

At the end of the day I and everyone else who chooses to enlist has to make peace with their decision. Part of the reason I made this thread is because, like the Randy Newman song goes, I just want everybody to like me, and it bothers me on a deep level when someone judges me or looks down on me for decisions I make, particularly with something like this, so I've been trying to understand the views of others. I'm comfortable with the decision (and will be seeing the recruiter immediately after ProgPower, by then hopefully I've nailed down an idea of the rate I want to go for), and I have to accept the criticism from others who disagree so deeply, so I'm trying.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Civilian views of the military and their actions
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2018, 12:10:27 PM »
Once again I'll spare you a Carlin spiel, in this case about pride, flags, and the symbol-minded.

It's human nature to look down on people who don't share your values. You have a particular dislike for racist assholes, for example. I do my best to keep myself from judging people I disagree with, but it certainly happens still. Whether you agree or not with their rationale, you have decided to put a pretty big target on yourself (figuratively, I hope) for that sort of behavior. I personally disapprove of what you're doing, but as you correctly pointed out it's a matter between you and your conscience and I certainly have no place in the discussion. I'm not going to be the one calling you a nazi or whatever.
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