how do most of you now feel about the military?
I don't like our aggressive foreign policy or the way our culture glorifies violence, having said that I hope I don't feel the same moralistic disdain for soldiers as I used to.
Not serving a few years in the military is a regret I have. It is one of the influencing reason I chose to do a career change as a nurse recently. I left the JW world in my late teens but still had lingering beliefs that influenced my decisions in my early adult life.
My brother joined the Navy, but he was never baptized nor was heavily influenced by the witnesses. He has now over 10 years in the Navy and is currently stationed in Japan. He has been to more places in the last 10 years that most people will never see.
I have one last chance in serving. I will graduate with a BSN and be a registered nurse at age 40. Most branches will accept an RN as a commissioned officer up to age 41 or 42. It is a long shot. I just want to do 5 years even if it is just in the reserves.
I joined the U.S. Navy not out of patriotism, but only for the opportunity to leave my hometown and see the world.
In 20 yrs as an Aircraft Electrician, I never fired a weapon in anger, in fact I only fired a weapon twice in the Navy, once in bootcamp, and once to qualify to carry pistols. I am glad I joined, and would go back in a heartbeat if they needed me.
I have a daughter in the Air Force (Pharmacy Technician) she has been in over 7 yrs, if she stays in, she can draw a pension in 13 more yrs at age of 40 for the rest of her life.
Of course my and my daughters service is much different from frontline trigger pullers, I have the utmost respect for the grunts (diggers for you Aussies). I am ok with women in the military, but not in the front lines. I do not think we should have invaded Iraq, but for the military to work the troops have to follow the LEGAL orders given them.
I have a high respect for military. My father was professional soldier in the 1950's and 1960's, and my FIL is former marine who served in WWII till Korean war. To be a soldier is not certainly easy and it can affect relationships due deployments and long time away from the family. My mom had to travel to base to see him for years before they decided to have kids and settled in. For my dad, military was a way to escape postwar misery and I do not think he ever regret it.
My view on the military, (as well as many things these days), is far from black and white.
On a practical level, the military is necessary. There simply exists no other way to protect a larger community of people, (we call these countries), without it. As long as survival is the primary driver of human existence, some form of armed protection is necessary, in aggregate. Bad and dangerous governments do exist, and pose a practical threat to innocent people. Something is needed to balance this. I am appreciative of anyone willing to put their life on the line for the greater good of the larger community I live in. I view it as hypocritical to think otherwise.
Having said that, I cannot think of many military initiatives post-WW2 that the US has been involved in that I would have supported, apart from those that had a primary focus of humanitarian effort. Korea,Vietnam, the first Gulf war, Afghanistan, and especially Iraq, all were tactical in nature, and in the end caused greater threats over the long-term. The evidence of this speaks for itself. The Cold War unfortunately was a by-product of WW2, and likely unavoidable, however. Fortunately, we managed to not blow the planet up yet. We had some very close calls during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and during the Reagan "Star Wars" years. Much of that was classified for a long time, and has since surfaced. Scary shit, really.
Our military model is also very outmoded. Once of the big problems with the elimination of the draft, has been that most who enlist, (not those in training for office), do so because of having no other opportunities, (such as higher education or entrepreneurial skills), available to them. This is fine during peacetime, when either a career can be built from this directly, or one can use take advantage of the GI bill later. This fails badly however during times of war, (which the US has perpetually been involved in at some level since 9/11), when troops are forced to do multiple tours of duty, simply because no newer recruits are added to the roster. In effect, this becomes a race to the bottom for the underprivileged. I think this is a big ethical issue we need to face. It will require a paradigm shift of sorts on many levels, however before that will happen.
Btw, if you have not been to the Vietnam Veterans' memorial in DC, please do so. It is difficult to articulate the impact this makes. Seeing those thousands of names of soldiers who died, presented in such a way, will change you forever. It blew my mind when I saw it in 1999, (still very much a JW then). I am not one to get emotional about such things, and could barely get through it. I was with some colleagues from work and it took every ounce of mental strength I had to not start bawling by the middle of the monument.
This is not a game.
I think the military in most countries is corrupt and takes advantage of the soldiers especially the young teenagers.
I do respect the soldiers who serve but would never serve myself. I would not want either of my kids to go that route as I don't want them to be subjected to harsh training and mistreatment that some have to endure. But if they chose to do so I would not object.
My daughter nearly married a military policeman. His training was rough and he was very sick. Sadly things did not work out for them. But I am glad my daughter does not have to spend months at a time without her husband.
It's not a perfect life for those in the military so I thank them for their sacrifices.
Interesting thread. I was raised by my JW mum & non-JW dad, who was anti-war for personal reasons; so I grew up believing that war & the military were wrong. But now I've read many books about war, and come to my own conclusion - which is that its a very complex issue, beyond the ability of any one person to explain. For me it is entirely theoretical - I have no connection to the military, and never will have. We are moving into an age of greater human rights for all, and where people will value their lives, and the lives of others more highly than in the past; so maybe the huge loss of life, and wars between countries will no longer happen, and the 'hawks' and others who support military action will be seen as dinosaurs. But this could be 100 - 200 years into the future, too.
Somebody has to stop the Hitler's, the Mao's, the Pol Pot's and the Kim Jongs of the world when they rear their ugly heads. What would Kim Jong Un do if there were no military consequence to fulfilling his goals? No doubt he would send his goose-stepping ass clown goons to rape and pulverize Japan and South Korea.
Until we learn to overcome language, race and religious barriers the military is a necessity for peace.
I don't know what I'm taking about.
"Having said that, I cannot think of many military initiatives post-WW2 that the US has been involved in that I would have supported, apart from those that had a primary focus of humanitarian effort. Korea,Vietnam, the first Gulf war, Afghanistan, and especially Iraq, all were tactical in nature, and in the end caused greater threats over the long-term. The evidence of this speaks for itself"
Guys I'm not talking about WW2, WW1 or even the French and Indian war!
I'm talking every conflict this country has been in the last 40 years and probably will be in the next 40 years.
It's a different world and this government the good old USA are not always the "Good guys."
Call me crazy but I think war and killing are bad Ideas. This should be a no brainer.
Everyone agrees then they say "Yes but...."
There is no "Yes but...."
Yes you are right, the governments are not going away. However you can make a personal decision not to take part in the insanity of war.
I was spit on in High School because I would not salute the US flag. I said I would have no part in their war. To which people would say "What if EVERYONE thought the way you do!"
To which I'd Say "Well, I guess there would be no more war!"
You think war is a good idea? Then invest your son. Let him join the "Kill or be Killed business." Then get the telegram that they died for "Freedom." Yes, they died for freedom. The freedom for us to have cheaper gas.
John Lennon, Gandhi, Jesus, the Buddha said it all.
But I guess, many of you folks here don't believe in any of those guys anymore.
Again, please watch the movie "Why we fight." Then make a personal decision on whether war is a good idea.