I look at it like this - when you sign up to, essentially, be a foreign, imperial occupier wreaking death and devastation on foreign countries, you can't just excuse yourself by saying that other people chose those policies, because you chose to participate.
Thank You for Your Service?
Interesting... I'm seeing some gray between the black and the white. Marking this SOB.
I don't believe in blind, patriotic fervor (unless it's to the Brazilian Women's Beach Volleyball Team) and I've been frustrated to see comments lately on FB that "we should just carpet bomb the hell outta Afghanistan and get out." Wow, really? Why not just get out? How would Americans feel if the shoe was on the other foot and the MiddleEast had invaded the US to "preserve peace and restore order?" How many of gun-toting Republicans wouldn't fight back? So what do you expect of rebels in Afghanistan? They're born into a world of strife and see "evidence" of what they consider US oppression as they grow up. Who is on another's terrain? That's another topic.
BTS: If you aren't happy with some of the US's military actions, the blame lies with politicians and the electorate itself, not with the common soldier, sailor, marine, or airman.
The OP raises some interesting questions for me - Where's the consistency? Do you also feel that common German soldiers who herded Jews into gas chambers should've been absolved of their guilt for crimes against humanity? They were just following orders, right? Hmmmm.....
This is a problem that's far bigger than the soldiers. The problem is that not enough real thought is given to putting them in harm's way. Occupying an entire nation--two nations, in fact--over the actions of 19 men seems a bit excessive to me. Most people, of all nations, just want to live their lives. I seriously doubt that Iraqis or others are constantly, unanimously sitting around thinking of ways to kill Americans, any more than Americans are sitting around doing the same. There's always a fringe group that's got dumb, crazy ideas and wants to take life.
Only problem is, sometimes, said fringe elements end up in the right place at the right time, for themselves, I mean.
I think, so far as those who put their lives on the line are genuinely protecting me and mine, they've earned my thanks. Unfortunately, I'm more worried about getting robbed by my fellow Americans than being attacked by foreigners. Or should I feel lucky? I'm confused...
The moral consequences of taking life are inherent in the job the military does. I can't support the taking of life unless there is some absolute need to do so, some danger so imminent that the benefits of doing so outweigh the wrongness of taking that life. I can only hope that we will look for better methods of showing peace and compassion to equal and surpass the methods we have found to take life.
And sure those who don't want to take part act under extreme duress, but there's still a moment where they weigh their options and say "Yes." That yes, however coerced it may be, is still willingly given. People throughout the ages have had to act against that same sort of pressure in order to follow their consciences. That's why I say that I do respect this one thing about the Witnesses... I knew some older witnesses who had done jail time during Vietnam because they said NO, meant it, and stood by it. That takes courage. Killing half-armed peasants with whom you have no personal conflict in a country halfway around the world just because the government tells you to takes something, maybe a sort of courage, but definitely not the courage that has enabled people throughout time to resist all of the threats and punishments sent against them by those who have power.
Wars pay off handsomely for those who start them. As long as the bottom line is there, there will be people who are always trying to get wars started.
BTW, I'm not really sure how this wound up in "family and parenting." Is there a way to move it?
I am usually very uncomfortable with the behavior directed towards men of war....
But having said that, I try to keep in mind that it's NOT the foot soldier who causes the war....
They're just pawns - and ones that can get their heads shot off, while we're at it...
The methods of training soldiers has always fascinated me - largely because my dad applied it to ME when he was bullying and beating me into the cult. [He was a 'sarge' in the big WWII...]
I realized rather early that foot soldiers are also 'bullied', to quite an extent. They HAVE to be, in order to push them into a mental state where they will be willing to get themselves KILLED for an extra 10 - 30 feet of ground....
So, I feel sorry for them. But the generals and the politicians...
What has a military done for you lately?
If you're an american, they went across the world to get Osama Bin Laden for attacking and killing thousands of people on our own land.
How about pirates from Somalia that have attacked/hijacked/killed innocents on the high seas?. Just to name two recent things.
The world is filled with threats and they must be addressed or tyranny would rule. Notice that we are speaking english instead of german or japanese?
Oh, 70 years ago is ancient history perhaps? I don't think so. So yes, I thank those who give up their constitutional rights to protect ours.
It takes balls to join the military and it takes fortitude to finish the commitment.
Thanks to all
I was given a thank you just recently for my time in the service in the late 60s early 70s - I was shocked because that had never happened before. It came from a woman who appeared to be my age, and I'm sure she was aware of the common disrespect that was heaped on a lot of us back then.
I'll also thank you Poppers! Thank you for your service!
When good men do nothing evil prevails.