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Thread: The Military

  1. #1
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    The Military

    I'm just posting this to get some general imput about the Armed Forces.

    See, I've got one cousin getting out of Marine Boot Camp next week, one who is trainning with the Air Force to and will eventually become a Air Force mechanic, and one who has signed up for the Marine Reserves. Naturally, I feel worried about them because there is a war on (a war, which so happens, I do not agree with) and will most likely be putting themselves in harms way.

    For a while now I've been against war and against violence in general. War is devestating to everyone. My grandmother has told me stories about how her friends went off to serve in WWII and how her once big group of friends dwindled away. Some died, some lived. I'm not entirely sure how it effected her but she has told me to NEVER EVER join the military. My grandfather was in the Marine Corps in WWII; he served as a radio operator. He was captured in December of 1941 in North China and was a POW of the Japanese for the rest of the war. He was beaten, starve, tortured and worked. All of what was inflicted upon him and his comrades haunted him until the day he died.

    It seems like everyone talks about how we should honor those in the armed forces and thank them for defending our nation. In some way, I feel distain but not for the people just for what its representing. I'll say again, I feel no distain what-so-ever to people who serve its just the concept of "fighting to defend our freedoms" seems too vauge and inpersonal. Also it becomes honorable to kill. The military isn't all about killing people, I know that but it just seems twisted in a way. When one is out fighting its said that, "you must kill or be killed". That sounds awful. People who were in the military don't seem to ever mention regreting it at all although when talking about war with a veteran I find that they'll mostly talk about how they had fun with their friends and good times and so on. I don't know if they ever say "I enjoyed fighting for my nation". There is alot I don't understand and alot I never will. I don't want to show disrespect to people in the military but somehow I feel I am. I'm not trying to be ungreatful either. I'm just worried about my cousins. There is nothing I can do but I've been told to just support them.

    I'm confused, worried and upset. No one has told me anything I want to hear either its "Don't say anything stupid", or "You can keep your confused opinion". I've also been told why it should be honored, but I don't see honor in war. I feel like I'm looking at this all wrong. They're my family, I love them but I just don't know what to think of all this.


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    ahh...I know a little bit how ya feel, I think my best friend joined the marines just after he left highschool, though I tried to talk him out of it he did basic training and because he's still 17 they sent him to a sort of military college (everybody there is there is on some sort of military scholorship) doing all sorts of war and weapons classes as well as his major. I was on the phone with him yesterday, first time I'm able to hear from him all summer, and I don't think he's doing so well he's going through a really tough time mentally.

    My opinion on the armed forces has never been particularly high and hearing about the stuff he's been doing (which he's actually not supposed to tell anybody at all ) is lowering it ever further...

    This guy has been my closest friend since middle school, he's as good as family to me and I can do so little to help him. It's really tearin me up inside...

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    Well I suppose I might be able to add some bit of my thoughts for what its worth. My father was in the army for 26 years, my brother joined the Marine Corps as did my best friend. Both grandfathers served in WWII. I've grown up either on military bases or around military people. So I suppose I would have some insight into what you're going through. I'm not exactly sure what it is that you're looking for though. Its hard when you're idiologically opposed to what your family does. I think its good that you do not want to disrespect what they do, thats really the best thing in your situation. Also, keep in mind that to most people that join the military, it's just a job. A good deal of people dont join up so they can run off and kill people (though some do), they join up because its a structure that takes care of you, feeds you, houses you, and pays you. To a young person facing the world on their own, this can be an attractive option. I know you're worried about your family and thats only natural but keep that in mind. And as far as what being in combat is actually like... well I'm pretty sure thats something that one cant understand unless they've been in that situation. All you can do is try not to piss off your family (I've had a few shouting matches about the current state of things with my family) and just hope that your cousins make it through their time in. I hope that helps you and best of luck.
    Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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    The armed forces aren't for everyone. Your relatives and friends will discover that as they progress in their career. Todays military has a much higher level of education than it used to as well (i.e. enlisted members with bachelors and masters degrees). They've been moving towards smaller well equiped and well trained forces for a while. My best recommendation to you is to support their decision as best you can. You will never really know what it's like unless you're actually on active duty. The previous poster who has lots of family in the military is in a very similar situation as to what I was in growing up. Everyone in my immediate family w/the exception of my mother is or has been active duty for a very long time. It wasn't until I signed on the dotted line that I understood what it really meant to serve your country. I'll say it again, the military isn't for everyone and the only thing I caution you against is making an uniformed and very opinionated stance against something you truly don't know much about.

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    In the end its their choice to make not yours, don't force your ideals on other people, whether you think they are wrong or you are right.

    You might think you're doing the right thing, but in the end you are interfering with their life in a way that could comeback to bite you in the ass.

    Just support them in whatever way you can, if its meant to be, then they will stay in the army, if not, they will leave, as a friend and cousin, you should just give your support because its obvious that right now their mind is already made up.

    m

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    The military is an amazing institution. It is probably the only one which can take a common idiot, and turn him into something closer to respectable. I know a handful of guys who got out of the military who were no smarter then when they went in, but they were able to sustain and take care of themselves after that. Something they couldnt do before. So i guess that counts for something.

    This i take from peacetime, but right now the institution is different. If nothing else, some people need something worth fighting for, worth dying for and worth protecting. Its something that deserves respect.

    Wish him luck in his venture. He will need it. If he comes home unscaved, and not mentally or physically destroyed from it, he'll have grown immensly as a person.
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    There are a couple different streams of thought in the original post: joining the military and the purpose of the military.

    Like everyone's said, joining the military is a personal choice (like so much else in life). What's so monumental is how drastically it can change one's life. I've met people who have joined the military and left the military and didn't change at all. It was a blip on their lives. Been there, done that, got the haircut. Others find misery and a squashing sense of burden and spend the rest of their lives smearing their experiences in other people's faces. The vast majority find some way to extract value from the experience. Unprecedented educational benefits from real, civilian schools (during and after), comradery, full benefits, preferential hiring, travel opportunites (insert scoff here), and a myriad of other potential growth factors. Of course, these are paid for by living up to an oath one swears to in the beginning, one that can mean some uncomfortable tasks, even ones that counter one's personal moral code. That's a key factor.

    It's not all killing and learning to kill and thinking about killing and songs about killing, though. Sometimes you make up skits about killing. OK, maybe not.

    Bottom line: it's not for everyone, but it's not all bad. It's a challenging lifestyle that can be very fulfilling. It can also be a pain in the ass. Life is balance.

    Now as for being against violence, I wish everyone were. Unfortunately, there are and always have been people who don't have what they want and do not scruple to raise their hand to get it. They would prefer to get it from those who eschew violence as the easiest means to an end. Bullies will generally aim for the "weakest" target. When dealing with a reasonable adversary, discussion will always be the best way to go. But when the foe does not think in like terms, sometimes (just sometimes) discussion falls short and things come to a head.

    We don't live in a very nice world. We've shielded ourselves with our wealth and privilege, but the darn news media occasionally steals in with news of massacre, domination, and expoitation. Modern U.N. forces and other civilized countries' militaries work unlike any other forces in history: they fight to protect, not to occupy, or increase their hegemony (the U.N. already boasting a global sphere of influence). The Dutch aren't going in looking for more colonies, the Germans aren't trying to rape central Africa of its wealth, and the U.S. has a tradition of isolation, broken only in WWI, then WWII, then again shortly after in the hopes of breaking that cycle of World Wars. There's been some reprehensible nation-building, but this was done by men intimately involved with counting the costs of those two earlier events.

    There is no greater human effort than espousing peace, but doing so by absolutely refusing violence has produced exaclty zero days of desired peace with any semblance of liberty.

    Let him who desires peace prepare for war.
    - Vegetius (c375 AD)

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    " Fight Megaman !, fight for ever lasting peace!"

    - Megaman.


    Perhaps is silly to quote a frase from an 80´s video game, but I think we are all part of that paradox.

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    It just saddens me there's a necessity for it.

    Remember folks, you're just one chromosome away from being a chimpanzee.

    People can be surly son of a bitches.....men anyway.
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    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
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    War is inevitably going to happen (some governments/companies rely on it for business) apart from soldiers being killed, families on both sides are affected in horrendous ways...
    During the time of your grandfather, war was more of an option than anything else, and there was probably some pressure involved in his signing up. Maybe this is not so, but he probably felt it was his duty too .....
    Your cousins decision is his own, and you should support him. As many have said here, its not just about killing, there IS a career in the forces, remember armed forces are not just about fighting, they do keep the peace (when they can) and provide back-up to smaller countries....

    But your heart is in the right place, thats for sure...

    Mx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly
    there IS a career in the forces
    Indeed, and not just while you're actually enlisted. Ex-military tradespeople (comms, mechanics, engineers, electricians whatever) are highly sought after simply because they're better trained than most civilians.- they kinda have to be because if they mess up, bad things will tend to happen.

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    Its my family. Even if I find the war detesable it doesn't matter. They have no say, its not in anyway their fault. Everything about real lfie is hitting me now and I think most of all I'm just scared. I've learned that I know nothing about the armed forces or war itself.

    Shortly after I posted this I was thinking, "The Military is just a job just like firemen or police officers. A police officer may have to kill or be killed and a firefighter has to run into intense danger to rescue someone. All are considered honorable". I can understand why our nation needs a powerful military and why war may, at times, be justifiable. If it wern't for the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan I would not be here today. Its all a cycle, its all a part of the human condition. Man has fought man since the dawn of time, if I dissagree I dissagree, nothing will come of me wishing for something else.

    I spent a good chunk of my life (age 4 to age 10) living around kids whose parents were in the military. It was different then. The only thing that impacted me was how much they moved. Alot of the firends I had I only had for 6 months to 1 year, 2 years if I got lucky. They were all in the same boat. The great thing about moving so much was that they made friends real quick and as a result alot of families were ultra-friendly. I've got no beef with the military...its the aspect of war. Here I was sitting around thinking something else about the conidtion of mankind. I hate how I start to "figure everything out" then reality smacks me in the face.

    Worry and want doesn't change anything. Its true, I just need to support my cousins in what they do, and for that matter any other family member who may join. This is probably the first generation, in my family, since WWII who has enlisted in any kind of active duty. Wars shape the future. Its different when you read it in a text book but when its actually happening to you its awful. I won't argue with them, its far too late. I won't lecture them about "the horrors of war" because I know little to nothing about it (except for what I've heard and read). I will just be behind them 100% like the rest of my family.
    Last edited by Quinster; September 1st, 2006 at 04:55 PM.

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    I don't know how the situation is in other world regions, but over here and in neighbor countries like Chile we had military occupation governments several times in our countries history. The military here tortured and killed civilians who they considered "disident" just because they thought diferently. My father was walking downtown once and was beaten on the street by armed forces. He was just walking. My mother lost several friends during that time. They were having lunch at university, soldiers entered, and took people. Some you would see again, some you wouldn't. One of the only survivor of a torture instalation later told her story of how it was like being held there. She was raped and tortured, the other people who were with her were tortured and killed. All of this only happened a few decades ago.
    Even though we are in "democracy" right now, the military as an institution here, has the same values/mindset as several decades back when they were a regime, and they demonstrate it on every chance they get, just to show the general populace that they may not be in power, but they are not gone. The police is more or less the same, though here the consensus seems to be that the military looks down on the police. Police is much more corrupt, they're like a mob. All of these things are pretty common. Unless you're a part of that world, the majority of people avoid the military and the police here like the plague.
    Last edited by brokk; September 1st, 2006 at 06:59 PM.

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    I've always found it fascinating that a segment of the population grows up either getting repressed or watching their parents repress people and they join up to be on the supply side of the equation. Kind of "if you don't want to be beaten, join them" type of thing. In so many countries, joining the armed forces means dominating your non-uniformed brothers. When the military isn't obviously subservient to the elected government, you probably don't live in a democracy (hence your use of quotes).

    The funny thing about cops here (a dad and step-dad each with 32 years of law-enforcement) is that most join to help their fellow citizens and make their communities a safer place. The rest want to carry a gun and drive fast (or just eat doughnuts).

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogfood
    The funny thing about cops here (a dad and step-dad each with 32 years of law-enforcement) is that most join to help their fellow citizens and make their communities a safer place.
    I only wish this were true over here and that it were the norm, because it sounds the way things should be. Unfortunately, when you're minding your own business here not only do you have to watch out for robbers / muggers, as if we didn't have enough of those, but you also have to watch out for the police, who might "mug" you just as well. They tipically stop you, check to see if you have your national identity document, ask you who you are, what you're doing, etc. In a best case scenario they leave you alone, middle case scenario they ask for a bribe, worst case scenario you get beaten up.

    The problem here is that there is massive corruption, especialy among politicians. In the U.S. there are only two parties, republicans and democrats. Here there are 4 or 5 main parties, then tons of little ones that never get more than 3 or 4% of the votes. There is no big left party, just tons of little parties that dispute over every single issue and will never join forces. Then there are less parties of the right wing, but with more adherants in each, and they dispute among themselves as well. Two candidates of the right were (are) at each other's throats a few years back, one was from the army, the other from the police. Then we have parties that claim to be neither right nor left, when they usually end up being center-right and being increadibly corrupt, as they switch sides, discourses and allies a lot. There are also parties that have both right wing, left wing, center, and apolitical members all of this in the same party. It sounds nuts.

    In the context of this political chaos, other institutions tend to develop indentities of their own. As such, the military has its own identity as a whole, independant of whoever is at government. To put it bluntly, in the impossible case that a leftist party won the elections, there is no way in hell the armed forces would be subservient to the government. In fact they would probably over through it. Thats why the right wing parties here generally have the support of the military and vice versa, though that causes problems with the police supported right wing parties, etc etc.
    Last edited by brokk; September 1st, 2006 at 10:21 PM.

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    Oh...that right wing+ military combo is a little control bug made by the CIA back when it was created.

    When a country is big as USA, their problems affect us in "downtown" even more.To be more specific, we are still living waves of problems caused by the cold war.

    But that is another story in my opinion, it doesn´t mean to me that police and military are not people....and people, with or without uniforms can be capable of terrible things.

    I think Vikings undestood war better than us.

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    I would like to say something nasty, but I'll save it.

    For as much as I am in awe of certain aspects of the military(in general), it is not a thing about honor anymore, you don't fight with goddamn swords, there is no honor in blowing people up with a 800 pound laser guided bomb and there is no level field anymore, if you are talking about the US military.
    So people who tell you it is a 'honorable' thing to do, they are pretty much kidding themselves. On top of that, there is nothing honorable or to be proud of killing other human beings, yet is a necessity sometimes, but it is never the ideal course of action nor it should be condoned, in these supposedly "enlightened" times. So to counterbalance the rest of the mob, I say no, you are not obligated to follow in your footsteps of your family nor be in agreement with what they say, even if you love them dearly, family is about 'dissent' a lot of the time.
    Military institutions are archaic and draconian and people who tell you that the military is protecting peace and freedom that's a load of bullshit, peace through force is a preposterous concept.
    Last edited by skullsquid; September 2nd, 2006 at 12:39 PM.
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    Even so it is true the military isn't all killing; that much I've realized. Its not all the military's fault either.

    The last "honorable" war where battles were actually fought on a battlefield was WWI...and look how that turned out. It was a useless war and useless wars lead to more useless wars. If it wern't for WWI there wouldn't have been a WWII, they probably would never have been a cold war, hey maybe not even the atomic bomb...who knows?

    I don't feel the need to look down on the military because (in this country at least) they just do what the politicians tell them to do and its really them we should be mad at. We can't repeat something like Vietnam where troops would come home and be spat on.

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    Perhaps.......the problem might be that honor is lost, and maybe not only to the military.

    We live now in a " don´t be a sucker" era.....If it was ever different.

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    Hey Shamagim, did you live under the the pinochet regime? I'm always interested in that era as certain neo-conservatives tout it as an excellent experiment in free-market liberalization.
    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helium Macaroni
    Hey Shamagim, did you live under the the pinochet regime? I'm always interested in that era as certain neo-conservatives tout it as an excellent experiment in free-market liberalization.
    And it was just that, of course, that much political pressure exploded in the first months, then exaggerated testimonials about killing an amount of people that was lager than the real population of Chile at that time according to the left wing party.


    As it often happens, there was BS on both sides regarding those hard months of transition, but the military had to do what they need it to do in order to archive change.

    It worked out economicaly....BUT


    For a reason I do not understand, Pinochet was thought to create ghost accounts by the CIA, just like they did for other leaders in the fight against communism. Like the human that he was, Pinochet took advantage of the good economical situation created by a group of economy experts we called " Boston boys" and took a piece of the pie......Maybe he was weak, maybe he thought he deserved it.


    After England put matters into this particular issue back in the 70´s, investigations started with no results, but that created a socio-political problem for Chile.

    The problem was related to "the change back in September 11, 1973" and the things that had to be done for it to happen. People were tortured in order to find hidden members of the communist party, some whom were killed.

    The entire idea of this was to hunt down resistance, in some cases armed resistance. It was expected to happen in this context.


    Later on, the military itself begun to turn in its own people for the sake of political comfort. In that "let´s burn them" hype, one of them who is a friend of my uncle had evidence for the money Pinochet stole from the government during his regime in a safe box...And in his own words to my uncle " IF you knew what I have in that save box, the country's history would change"...And after he was sent in jail by his own people, he just decided to show the documents.


    There is so much I could tell you about all this, but that´s all for now....and I´m not sure about all this making any point .

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    Helium, have you seen this movie? I haven't seen it yet, but its gotten some international recognition.
    The Pinochet Case

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamagim
    It worked out economicaly....
    Heh, its ok if you're not making a point, I'm just very interested in what the Chicago Boys, and Milton Friedman labeled "The Miricle of Chile." I understand economic activity such as GDP, etc, took off after the econmic expansion and the liberalization of the market, but I also understand that unemployment during the initiation of the plan until the 80's rose some 30%, homelessness increased, real wages shot down, and wealth distribution disparity increased dramatically. I'm always interested that 'economic developement' seems often not to translate to the lower classes in said economy.

    I was interested on your take on this.

    Brokk, I haven't seen that film yet.. but I will now! Thanks for the link.
    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."

    ...I have a sketchbook?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helium Macaroni
    Heh, its ok if you're not making a point, I'm just very interested in what the Chicago Boys, and Milton Friedman labeled "The Miricle of Chile." I understand economic activity such as GDP, etc, took off after the econmic expansion and the liberalization of the market, but I also understand that unemployment during the initiation of the plan until the 80's rose some 30%, homelessness increased, real wages shot down, and wealth distribution disparity increased dramatically. I'm always interested that 'economic developement' seems often not to translate to the lower classes in said economy.

    I was interested on your take on this.

    Brokk, I haven't seen that film yet.. but I will now! Thanks for the link.
    Well, as you might know now, there was a leak...But is not greed of a single person that made the plan go as you said, there is also the thing about giving everybody a job in the Allende´s goverment, creating unessesary fake jobs with unexistant capital...So of cource there was going to be uneployement, becuase now they had to pay real money, not monopoly´s...if you know what I mean.

    My take on this is that the cold war was the mayor factor affecting the Chilean goverment, in witch the communist faction also played the role that it was supossed to play. And you won´t hear this in any story book nowadays becuase of political comfort, but there also was a large shipment of AK´s from Cuba...And there is footage of this weapons in the hands of workers that raided and occupaid farms.


    As for wealth distribution, is about the same than yours ...like in any capitalist country.


    As I said, we got hit by the cold war, violently......And maybe to stay on topic, Armed forces did what was expected for them to do, to avoid a civil war after changing sides, keep order and please the American side with a communist free country as price for rebuilding our economy......And I must say, as terrible as it was, Exile was better than what other countrys in similar situations would have done instead.


    PD: As an important note, My father is an artillery captain from a right wing family, and my mother was,( back then) an art hippie from a left wing family, so I´m telling things as neutral as possible.

    Other chileans might strongly support one of the 2 sides on this story.
    Last edited by Shamagim; September 2nd, 2006 at 10:49 PM.

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    You know. After reading some of these responses I have to really agree with them. Even if you don't support the war, you should support your family members in any way you can. Hell, I am more/less anti war as well, but that didn't stop me from giving my brother a big hug and a pat on the back when he was ready to board the the truck to the airport to be sent off to Iraq, or my sister when she went off to airforce training. Thinking about this I'm reminded of some things mentioned in (I think it was) Hamburger Hill, where some soldiers were talking about why they chose to stay in Vietnam, rather than go home, and one of the soldiers says his reason was because after going home before signing up for another tour he witnessed parents being harrassed by anti-war protestors who claimed they were happy the parents sons were killed in the war. An extreme example, but from hearing stories from old hippies and Vietnam vets when I was younger, this kind of thing did happen. So just think about that. If your family members were to return home from the intense training of boot camp, or came home from combat, and they were met with acrimony caused by your anti-military sentiments, how would that make them feel? Make them feel like heros for attempting to pursue their goals.

    Edit: I just went back and read some posts i missed, and it looks like you already got most of this.
    Last edited by Sepulverture; September 3rd, 2006 at 03:50 AM.
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    Be the generation of change

    Maybe I've missed something in this thread, but the main vibe is talking about support for people who have chosen to serve in the military.
    This is fair and respectful, now that their choice has been made.

    But you have to consider the wiser option of prevention before cure, the bigger picture has not been discussed. Nobody should be joining any armed force, its unjustifiable. Claim poverty, defence of the state, etc. Pah. Sure not everyone's values are going to be synchronised to the tune of world harmony, but if your personal values are about leaving other people and their stuff alone, then this should reflect in your career options.

    Today the ultimate point of a military career in the US is to unquestioningly carry out the dictates of an expansionist agenda, and be an agressor.

    To counter this, is to live in denial or miseduction.

    To join any armed force on this planet, is to have some modicum of pessimism or agressive ambition for the future of things.

    Entrust yourself with electing a government that doesn't preach nationalism, or expansionism, or religious dictates. One that doesn't wed itself to corporate or resource building ambitions or agendas. THINK SIMPLY ABOUT YOUR NEEDS AS A PERSON, and then let this become your world.

    Everyone deserves the government they get.

    Tony Blair, John Howard, Dubyah......how did they get re-elected? (Howard was voted back courtesy of an abundance of selfish homeowners worrying more about interest rates on home repayments than about uranium tipped projectiles decimating people minding their own business in another continent).

    Question for the day:
    Why does the US, UK and Israel get into so much shit, when Sweden, Finand and Norway seem to live in a wonderful drought of hate?

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mungus

    To counter this, is to live in denial or miseduction.

    Dont´ask me to agree when you say that everyone that doesn´t support your point of view is not only wrong, but miseducated.
    Last edited by emily g; September 28th, 2007 at 10:06 PM.

  29. #28
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    In an ideal world we wouldn't have Islamic extremists strapping 100 lbs of C4 to their chests and walking into a crowded market place full of civilians. There will always a be a balance in all aspects of life. For every good person there's a douche bag that exists to counter them. Viva la revolution!

  30. #29
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    I don't want to turn this into a debate on how people are versus how people should be, and I realize that my original post was a tad long, so let me do a little summary of the second part:

    People shouldn't visit violence upon their neighbors, but they do. "To counter this, is to live in denial or miseduction."

    If most conflicts were mere reactions, perhaps a cessation of reactionable behavior might work, but that's not the case. Economics and idealism are far more caustic.

    Having more than someone else has initiated epic violence. Believing or not believing in a certain way has been enough to attempt genocide. The question that has plagued peoples from time immemorial is "what price peace"?

    And before anyone pegs me as a war monger, this is not my opinion, but a theory generated from the massive evidence of history (and is not held solely by some idiot on an art board). Human morals, customs, and behavior have changed in the last 3,000 years, but human nature has not. Until we can get everyone on the same page, there's an unfortunate, tragic cost. Some people are willing to pay it, some people are trying desperately to change it.

    Both are necessary.

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    I did 20 years in the military, and retired four years ago as a Master Sergeant in the USAF. Having been around the world (twice), I would never trade that experience for anything. When I look back at all of my friends I went to high school and college with, every time I went back home, they are all still doing the same old thing they were doing right after graduation. The military teaches you discipline, self-motivation, and above all, pride in the fact that you do more before 0600 than most people do all day.

    Okay, I stole that last part from an Army ad, but it's still very true.

    I'm going to post an unpopular opinion, so flame away if you must... don't ever, ever intefere with someone's decision to serve their country. That particular calling is very strong, and everyone has different reasons for answering it. Be supportive of your buddy, because it is tough, and he will need it, especially if he's going to be a Marine. I would, as you yourself have put it, keep my confused opinions to myself.


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