Friday, June 1, 2012

rrearleii explains why he feels respect shouldn't automatically come with being a soldier.

rrearleii explains why he feels respect shouldn't automatically come with being a soldier.
I'm sorry, but respect doesn't come with a job title. Respect needs to be earned.
When I see pictures of people in the military, I don't see people fighting for their country, making a sacrifice, or laying down their lives for something greater. I see regular people who all have their own reasons for joining an organization that they have no control over. Not all members of the military join to "save their country", as many blind supporters would have you think. In this day and age, it's no longer romanticized to the degree that it was in WWI and WWII. You don't see people lining up outside recruitment centers so they can lie about their age to get in for the glory and responsibility that will make them "men". These days, people are joining the military because they can't afford an education and know that the military will offer to pay for their tuition if they put in the appropriate stint in the armed services. They join because they see it as a career choice. Less often now, we see people joining because they see ads on TV and on the sides of buses that promise prestige and a long life filled with honor, and glaze over the political motivations behind whatever wars are currently being fought. Others join because they want to fly jets, drive a tank, or become proficient with various guns. The WWI-II era mentality that if "we" don't stop "them", then they'll destroy the world is dead and gone. We see news reports of members of the military opening fire on unarmed civilians, going door to door shooting women and kids, and shoddily covered-up fiascos where friendly fire breaks out and kills soldiers who won't drink the army's kool-aid. The very motivation for each current war is in question, but the general consensus is still that these "heroes" should still be praised for the work that they are doing.
I'm not saying that every member of the military is being duped into thinking that the war they are ordered to fighting in is farcical, or that they join for less-than-honorable reasons, but I don't think there is any way that every soldier in the US armed forces is there because they think that their service is going to change the world for the better.
One of my grandfathers fought on Okinawa in WWII, and the other designed and built destroyers, so I'm not unfamiliar to the military. Several of my friends have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, joined the air force or the marines. I know that none of them (my friends, not my grandfathers) joined because they wanted to "protect the US from the terr'ists". I don't respect them in that regard, for the same reason I don't respect my friends who work in lawn care. It's a matter of career choice, not what the job title represents.
I respect those who know what a was is being fought for and join because they feel so strongly about that cause that they are willing to give up everything they know to do something about it. On the other hand, there are no wars going on right now that the US is involved in that isn't about money and political control. That makes the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard nothing more than nationalized private military contractors when active in actual warzones, and to me, fighting for money is never worthy of respect. Yes, there are people who join the military to "serve their country", but not nearly as many as there were joining during the world wars, possibly because the motivations for war are currently more muddled and not as plain as "if we don't go over there and fight them, they'll make their way here, and then we'll be screwed". I admit I don't fully understand why people join the military these days when the motivations behind the ongoing wars are so vague, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a reason that I would argue a different way about that deviates from the thought process of the people who do join.

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