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Yes, there are people on the Left who have served in the military, currently serve, and will do so.  But it is clear that they do not represent the majority of those who do.  This is a very sad thing.  Worse it is something that should not be the case.

Long post explaining why after the fold.

First what prompted this stand that more on the Left should join the military and encourage others to join.

While reading about Ms. Duckworth's (D-IL) smack down of Braulio Castillo the "disabled" owner of a company with cosy contracts with the IRS that the IRS says they can't cancel.  I started reading the comments, I know you never see real discussions in the comments but I read them anyways.  When I found this:

"I don't feel like I or the nation "owe" the troops special benefits. I didn't want them to fight in Iraq or to stay in Afghanistan after the Taliban was toppled, I don't believe our military adventures of the last decade have made me any safer, and I resent that military veterans are being formally treated as a special class of citizen for having "defended" our country through invading a succession of Middle Eastern nations. I owe more to the roofer who is crippled making sure my house doesn't leak, or the volunteer firefighter who protects my neighborhood for low pay while simultaneously holding a full-time job...I do not support elevating volunteer soldiers, who knew what they were freely signing up for, above comparably dangerous and/or helpful careers."

Here we have a young man (according to his profile <24) who takes great pride in his Leftist leanings and has posted many times that military service is not a good thing.

Sure, his opinion.  But it drove home what i've encountered over and over at meetings, events and in forums like Daily Kos, Slate, and HuffPo.  A general treatment that because someone went in the military they are dumb and self serving...most likely until proven otherwise.  From 2002 to 2008, the treatment was slightly different - that someone in the military was tricked and being abused but with an underling dumb/selfish.

In the last six years it has gone back to dumb/selfish.  The quote from above is in this vein.  Military members are asking for special treatment for being in the military and they don't do anything of value, or more than the "volunteer firefighter" (or is it low paid firefighter?)  After all, they volunteered to join the military - a dumb thing.

Ok, so why should people with left political views join the military?  

Several reasons: It is not easy to get in, you have to be fit and smart.  You get to put others first and support the greater society.  You get to live with many different people - the best way to fight racism. You get many "socialistic" benefits.  You make the nation stronger.  You can make a change in the military.  You position yourself better against the GOP/right-wingers.

First, it is not easy to join.  There is the age requirements, between 17 and 35 (in most cases - Navy Reserve is at 39, Army Reserve use to be 42 but is 35 now.) The education minimum: to enlist you must have a High School diploma, it is possible to get in with a GED, but less than 2% do.  To be an officer you have to hold a minimum of a Bachelor degree.

And there is the legal side, no arrests for major crimes, few if any arrests for any other crime, conviction of any crime likely will bar you from joining.  Felony's are right out.  (Yes, you can get a waver, but those are rarer than for a GED.) There is the physical requirements. 74% of all who attempt to enlist that make it to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) get rejected for physical fitness (health issues or just to out of shape).  Of the few that get through MEPS, 9% don't complete basic for health/fitness problems.

On the Officer side, you have to complete a four year degree while participating in ROTC activities (or full time at one of the Academies/military schools - West Point and VMI for example) [side note: this is why there are so few minority officers, so few minorities complete college, not because the military discriminates against minorities who want to be an officer.]

So being dumb won't get you in.  (as with all things when talking about human groups there are a few who do.)  Less than one half of one precent of the US is serving in the military. Under 3% have served, and less than 33% have an immediate family member who served.

Second reason, you get to put others first.  Not just the nation, but the people you serve with.  Your "job" will require team work, real team work.  You will do things that if you don't do them will result in the death or serious injury of your fellow members.  Not just in combat but in daily tasks.  You will have to trust your fellow members to do the same.  

You will not be on your own, doing your own thing, the way you feel like it.  You will regularly make choices and do things that will do nothing to advance your career or raise you pay but that will make your unit look good.  It will get to the point that when someone in your unit or branch or service does something wrong you will feel bad they failed.  

Others come before your needs, the greater good comes before your wants.  Yes the individual is rewarded for performance, but as an example of what to be like and in the case of the higher awards, for putting others first over their own needs and safety.

Third, you fight racism by being in the military.  Yes, there are bigots in the military, when they are found and won't change, they get kicked out.  However, racism is alive and well in the nation, the military draws from the citizens of this nation so it will have  racism in the military.  But a strange thing happens when you live 24/7 with people of different races, social classes, geographical areas - you don't hold on to the bigotry as well. Even more so when you share the intensity of combat together.

"Local Community Stunned as Soldier Asks Black Army Buddy to be Best Man at wedding"  (for those not in the know, the Duffle Blog is like the Onion but with a military bent) Which sums it up well, many people have had very little interaction with others out side their community which tends to be mostly one race.  The military takes people from all over and not only puts them in one community but works them together.  More so than any civilian job i've every held.  This will do more to expand your experiences than any community out reach or volunteer service exchange will, because you go home after that, in the military you live together.

Fourth, you get many socialistic benefits.  Some of my earliest posts point this out, but the simple fact is the military has equal pay for equal work - you get paid by the time you have spent in the military and your rank.  You have Single Payer, You pay nothing for your medical care when on Active Duty, 100% is covered by the government.  They provide you food at no cost...well to the Enlisted. (cloths too)

You get housing based on your need.  Single members get barracks, married get housing based on how many are in the family.  Your next door neighbor might be an E-7 with three kids while you are just an E-3 with three kids.  My last on post housing had an E-8 on one side, an E-3 on the other, and an O-2 up stairs. I was an E-6 at the time.  You get a pension, not a 401k but a pension.

You get access to government funded Higher Education - on duty through education plans and after getting out through the GI Bill.  I earned a four year degree with $0 debt by using the GI Bill and GoArmyEd.  Later gained my Paramedic certification with the GI Bill also.  I've taken many classes over the years while on Active Duty that the Army funded.  

All these are things the right wing would call "socialism" - government funding of education, health care, retirement, housing, even food and cloths.

Fifth, you make the nation stronger.  We know that this nation is worth fight for, or we would not vote for change and resist the corporations.  By being part of the military, a branch of the government we have elected, we give the government the ability to train us, teach us, to set an example to others in the nation.  

By serving the nation, you learn skills and thinking that allow you to be a leader in the nation when you're done.  Leadership can't be taught by sitting in a classroom and writing reports on effective methods of reward to employees.  (that can help) Leadership is learned by following leaders and then leading yourself.  The military will give you that opportunity.  You will start out following many leaders, seeing what works and does not.  

Then, very shortly, you will be placed in a leadership position over two or three people.  You will make mistakes, but will be guided and taught by your leaders.  As time goes on, you will increase in rank and responsibility.  Long before you would in the civilian world, you will be responsible for many people who will look to you as a leader.  

It is not uncommon (in fact it is expected) for an Officer who is 27 years old with five years of experience to be in charge of 210 Soldiers, their work direction, feeding, housing, pay, training, health, families, everything.  The closest civilian corollary would be a manager of Wal-Mart who just directs the work.

Sixth, you can make a change in the military.  Not the day you join. But over time.  You set the example, you can express your views in approbate times, and by being true to your ethics.  (You will find that most people in the military have the same ethical out look.)  By being someone who has a point of view from the left, you will see things differently, be more willing to do collaborative work than someone with a right point of view "i'm the greatest, me, me, me."

You will have a better view of what is right and be able to enforce that.  All Soldiers can enforce all regulations regardless of rank.  Sexual harassment? Not if you're there to speak out and encourage follow through.  In the late 90's I had some Soldiers accused of being gay and was given verbal "evidence".  Under DADT we could have pushed them out, but chose not to follow up or ask.  The accusing Soldiers were talked to about not making a vendetta and given advice on how to live with people who are different.  We never had a problem after that.  (I did have one issue with a gay Soldier in 2005 but that was secondary to his being gay and more with him being a jerk who had no self control or common sense.)

One of the reasons the Civil Rights movement had support in Congress was many of the Congress members had been in the integrated military.  Years later they were in a position to make a major change in the US.  As you gain rank and authority, you can make greater impacts.  When DADT was repealed, it was people like myself who had lived under DADT and did not like it that were the loudest voices in favor of the repeal.  When Colonels and First Sergeants say something won't effect the military, they know what they are talking about.

Seventh, and the last in the list but not by any means the last point, You will be better able to face off with the GOP/right wing.  It is amazing the number of political aspirants and activist on the right who have never served.  Or even tried to.  Oh, they will be the first to shout out the Pledge of Allegiance and thank those who have served, but ask about their military service and most of the time get "um, uh, ah".

Think about where you could be if you were standing before a typical Tea Party GOP candidate for Dog Catcher.  You have spent time in the military, say Marines, served well and got your DD214 then went to college with the GI Bill so you have a very low to none student loan debt.  The Tea Partyist went to college, has a lot of debt, works some job with a politically connected company, but never served.

At some point the TPer will kick out some statement about how he loves this nation and supports all the men and women who have served and wants to do them right, unlike you.  Instead of having to hem and haw about how you too support and love the nation, you can sit up straight and say "I'm a Marine, I served this nation and was willing to die for you and everyone in the district.  I know what the men and women currently serving face and support them.  I was willing earn the right to put on the uniform of the Marines, please tell us what uniform you earned the right to wear?"

Maybe you will get lucky and have a candidate like Joe Walsh who, referring to Duckworth, said, "What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran ... ehhh. I'm running against a woman who, I mean, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it's the last thing in the world they talk about." and then they can wonder why they lost with just 45% of the vote as the incumbent.

There are many reasons for serving in the military.  It is not for everyone.  But it is for more than currently do serve.  I have been very blessed to have been able to serve for 24 years in the Army.  I am a much better person for it, and would encourage you to recommend the military to any high school age "lefties" you know.  The US Military should not be the home of the right wing.  Look to other nations that turned their militaries into that.  Not a pretty place.  

Military Service is an honor and privilege that too few choose.  

Lets start changing that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What if they started a war..... (7+ / 0-)

    And nobody came?

    "Republicans are the party that says that government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it."-- PJ O'Rourke

    by nocynicism on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:02:02 PM PDT

    •  Some will always take the king's shilling. (0+ / 0-)

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:16:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   enhydra lutris, shame on you. (4+ / 0-)

        That is all. You spit on veterans whose shoes you are not worthy to untie, I will tell you what a waste you are -- not worthy even of a cussword.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:21:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Veterans are not a monolith. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MarthaPeregrine, nocynicism

          Revering all veterns is as mindless as disrespecting all veterans.   This is the pendulum is action.   This nation is still atoning for its sins against the Viet Nam vets.   While lip service is paid, benefits get cut, tours are endless, soldiers are raped by other soldiers, god is rammed down their throats, innocent people keep getting killed, and we starve our babies to pay for their tanks, guns, bombs, drones and Halliburton's profits.    

          Going into the military is just another life choice like cop, fireman, teacher, truck driver.   All are people - some do good and some do bad.   The tone of this diary is that the left isn't good enough for the military - an attitude that is problem for too many in the  military and law enforcement.  

          You want to join the military - go ahead.    

          What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

          by dkmich on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:34:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You prefer endless wars of agression to (0+ / 0-)

          peace? I don't, but that isn't spitting on anyone.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:18:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Just how, pray tell, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serendipityisabitch

          is going along with the recruiter and joining the military an insult?

          That is what "taking the King's shilling" is - signing up, and taking the shilling - your wage for service.

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:49:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  For the opportunity and freedom you have... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftykook, Radiowalla

        that enables you to spit on us: You're welcome.

        "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept." -- Lt. Gen. David Morrison, AO, Chief of Army, ADF

        by OldSoldier99 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:50:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nobody is spitting on any soldier. (0+ / 0-)

          I am from a military family.  My dad was a Chief Master Sargent in the Air Force and fought in Korea.  Where his youngest brother was killed.  He had 8 brothers who all served.  My husband is a Vietnam vet.  My brother fought in the Gulf War in 1991.

          My youngest daughter almost joined the Navy as a photographer but was sexually harrased by the recruter and against it._

          "Republicans are the party that says that government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it."-- PJ O'Rourke

          by nocynicism on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 04:11:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nonsense. We are an imperialist nation, ever (3+ / 0-)

    starting unprovoked wars of choice. Nobody on the left should volunteer to be a hired gun who will be ordered to travel the world killing people who have not attacked us or to provide logistical and other support for those who are.

    How did the guy challenging the TPer get to claim to have been willing to die for folks if, for example, they were part of those who criminally invaded Iraq and murdered Iraqis? How does that serve rational people who didn't want us unjustly slaughtering those folks? It wasnt for me, that's for sure, not in my name.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:16:01 PM PDT

    •  Sounds to me like you failed in your duty (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LanceBoyle, subtropolis

      ...to keep the government under control, the country stood by and allowed Butch and Cheney to conduct a preposterously ridiculous war based upon lies.

      The US Armed Forces are under the control of the civilian leadership, the leadership is under control of the citizenry.

      If they went out and wrecked Iraq, it's because WE told them to, not because the leadership of the military is sitting around scheming about what outrage they're gonna perpetrate next.

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:08:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, to some extent, the way the govt (0+ / 0-)

        works today, the military is involved in planning - check the composition of the cabinet and look up "jint chiefs of staff".

        My point is that one cannot clai, lefties should be guns for hire unless the government is a) truthful and b) fully under control; neither of which is true.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:14:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I'm in on the failure too... (0+ / 0-)

          ...I don't exempt myself from my criticism.

          I don't want the Armed Forces of the US to be merely a bunch of hired thugs, self-selected the way police officers self-select, that's why I think that a broad section of the populace be in the Armed Forces...

          As it is we've got a "poverty draft" bringing in a number of people who occupy a narrow area of our population.

          Those in this thread railing against the military are, whether they intend to or not, are arguing for the US to have no arms and no soldiers to wield them.

          This attitude will lead to marginalization of the Democratic Party as a group that unilaterally calls for our nation to be disarmed.

          I want the military and the politicians UNDER CONTROL.

          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

          by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:55:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, and we need a strong Democratic party (0+ / 0-)

            to keep fighting endless wars of aggression with our humongous bipartisan army. Uh huh.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:22:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  To reduce it to essentials (0+ / 0-)

            Unprovoked killing is not progressive behavior.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:28:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who called for "Unprovoked Killing?" (0+ / 0-)

              Maybe respond to what I said rather than nonsense plucked from the air.

              You apparently believe the US should disarm and disband our armed forces.

              This is not the position of the Democratic Party, nor should it be.

              The founder and owner of this site is a military veteran, and as far as I can tell, doesn't agree with such beliefs and would not like the site to be associated with a "Disarm the USA" policy.

              The people of the United States will not support a political party that advances such a notion, however much they object to the criminal actions of the previous administration.

              The US Armed Forces are under CIVILIAN CONTROL.  It's OUR job to make sure they aren't given criminal orders.

              And we botched it.

              "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

              by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:40:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've never said disarm and disband, nice try. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leftykook

                We could cut our military by 75% and still be the largest in the world.

                Our military is under the control ob the President and Congress and we can only react, after the fact, to their warmongering. Once they are in office, they do as they please until the next election.

                I was responding to a specific allegation that lefties should join the service, I said that they should not.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:51:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm with you on the reduction... (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't exactly see the purpose of having ELEVEN Carrier Attack Groups, for instance.

                  I don't see the point of spending as much on "defense" as the next half-dozen countries in the world.

                  As for my "nice try," whether or not you specifically called for disarmament, the general tenor and direction of your comments, and those of many others, would leave that impression to someone looking at DKos to see what we think about these issues.

                  "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

                  by leftykook on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:29:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  You Do Not Make the Nation Stronger By Serving. (4+ / 0-)

    There exists no military existential threat to this nation, period. Our military complex is catastrophically outsized and out of sane control.

    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.
    --Former Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight Eisenhower speaking as President and Commander-In-Chief.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:54:26 PM PDT

    •  Then serve in the inner city. (9+ / 0-)

      Or fighting forest fires. Or in the Peace Corps. A few years service for all of us is an idea as ancient as the first democracy in Athens, 25 centuries ago.

      "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

      by Dave in Columbus on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gooserock: we've pissed off too many people (0+ / 0-)

      in too many places far too deeply not to need a military now.

      What we don't need is more shitheadedness like we got from top brass in all five uniformed services after Tailhook.

      I wish we had a modern Chesty Puller or Stormin' Norman to make these "warrior mentality" wannabe eat-up-with-it @$$h0le$ who think a fighter jock's rep outweighs a fellow airman's safety go back under the rocks their champions' triumph over Dan Rather and the truth about w let them out from under.

      They're not fit to run with real Americans. They should go back under the porch, and I hope their mothers bite them when they get there.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:20:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but it's nice to at least dream about breaking (0+ / 0-)

        that ever-escalating cycle of lunacy and violence, isn't it?

        There are very powerful entrenched forces that don't want that, of course.  So things will no doubt continue to get worse, justified by just what you said.

  •  Rush Limbaugh is on Armed Forces Radio and (0+ / 0-)

    sharing that you vote for Democrats is going to advance your career, how?

  •  I served... as an token Leftist. (7+ / 0-)

    Had some interesting conversations with my Captain, and overall truly did enjoy my time in the service.  Even if I was the only guy still arguing that voting for Democrats was the right thing after our benefits got slashed.  Honestly, I would probably still be serving, were I not a single father.

    However, I would not recommend joining NOW.

    Reason being is that the current wars of choice are a bad deal for the military.  (I have no reason to believe they will be getting better, or that people who join will not be sent overseas to be shot at.)  With the fetish for budget cutting, the troops will be increasingly asked to sacrifice more and more, as they always are when the pentagon's budget is slashed.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe in a citizen soldier.  However, I do not believe from recent trends that that is what the military brass want anymore.  

    I wish I could say otherwise.  The person who is willing to serve, and stand up against illegal and immoral orders is NEEDED.  More than ever.

    But it is a sacrifice.  And it will only get harder.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:02:10 PM PDT

    •  I was sorta middle-of-the-road when I went in (3+ / 0-)

      the USAF made me very hardcore liberal.
      Why?
      They didn't tell me to sit the hell down and shut the fuck up.
      They wanted me to understand how things work, and why, so that I could do my job right.
      But that was a long damn time ago. We were not a "warrior culture" then. Friend of mine went to Basic in '03, and it was as different from my experience as if he'd gone to the USMC.
      It's effed up.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:16:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is rare to read a pro-military diary (9+ / 0-)

    because of the negativity that they generate here.  You are very brave, I must say.  Obviously, military service has been meaningful to you and you make a good case for what you see as its benefits.  

    I truly have no opinion on the pluses or minuses of military service for the individual, but I do know that I appreciate those who are willing to serve.  So thank you for your service.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:03:02 PM PDT

  •  Better yet, bring back the draft. (4+ / 0-)

    Universal service.  And for those not suited for the military, they can perform some other service.   Citizenship is both duties and rights.

    "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

    by Dave in Columbus on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:04:32 PM PDT

    •  Universal military service can be gamed (3+ / 0-)

      The rich and well connected can ensure that their progeny never serve in an unpleasant or dangerous place. Usually they arrange for special units, kind of like country club resorts for members of their class.

      I could go on, but I won't. We all know how the game is gamed.

      Carbon di-oxide in the atmosphere is now 400ppm. That is a "Climate Cluster Chaos" of the worst order if there ever was one. (hat tip to JeffW for CCC)

      by Zinman on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:43:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not if we won't let them, just like they can't (0+ / 0-)

        get away with changing the timestamp on a vote if we don't let them.
        Just like they can't get away with sending a Brooks Brothers riot to stop a hand count of votes if we don't let them.
        Just like they can't spit on us if we don't stand there and take it.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:22:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unless it CAN'T be gamed! (0+ / 0-)

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:32:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Slave armies never work, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrillSgtK

      at least not for those in charge.

      I put off joining until the draft was ended, and if it had not been, I would have followed the example of my older brothers and found a way to avoid serving.  As it was I did 10 years, and enjoyed some of it.

      Drafts are always gamed by those in control.  Some idealists say this can be beaten, but I have yet to see an example of that working in a society structured like ours.

      I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

      by trumpeter on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 09:55:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Serving this country by joining (6+ / 0-)

    the military is an excellent thing to do. I respect people who currently, or in the past, were willing to put their life and limb on the line for me. And that includes even the clerks making sure the combat arms are supplied with toilet paper.
      I feel like it puts 'skin' into the game and surely makes one more likely to vote the rest of your life.
      There are also other ways to serve that aren't military but it is certainly a good option.

  •  You don't want me, I'm too delicate :P (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, wu ming, splashy, trumpeter

    It's an interesting idea.  I'm from a military family (both grandfathers, mother, uncle is a CSM, two cousins, etc. etc.) and I would never join, not because it's dumb or stupid but because it's not the right fit and you wouldn't want someone who doesn't believe in hurting people to be with you in combat.  

    And to be perfectly blunt, the Left's feelings towards the are not what you claim to be.  We're mad at the endless war, the civilian death, and the soldiers who come back torn for reasons we can't fathom.  Go to a right wing website, and they glorify the military with poetry and song, go to a left wing website, and we talk about VA backlogs, PTSD, global strategy, the morality of war, and you know, stuff that actually happens and is pertinent to the subject.  'Nuff said.  

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:25:23 PM PDT

    •  sujigu: I'd love to have you in the medical (0+ / 0-)

      facilities. Not believing in hurting people, you'd be amazingly effective getting people through the rigmarole of TRICARE / VA coverage, I bet.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DrillSgtK - this is a great diary (4+ / 0-)

    thank you for sharing it. I share your views. Serving in the armed forces is an honor and I salute all who do. A tip and a REC from me.

    VClib
    US Army 1969-1975

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:32:18 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure that I agree with your reasoning, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1

    but T&R for a diary worth thinking about.

    I could wish that "service" were a more comprehensive category, with alternatives that were not specifically military.

    I suspect you may get your wish in the near term, though - given the current limited availability of civilian jobs for young people, the military is likely to become a stronger option for young people with a wide range of political opinions.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:36:21 PM PDT

  •  The best strategic move I ever made was to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Roadbed Guy, trumpeter

    join the Navy during the Vietnam war.  I was in college and heading the wrong way and my stint in the Navy turned that right around.  Went back to college on the GI Bill, got a government job with the help of Veterans Preference, bought a home with the GI Bill and had some great memories.  It did make a man of me so to speak and set me on the road to a pretty good life.

    But knowing what I know now I wouldn't do it again.  The military serves primarily to meet the needs of the oligarchy and U.S. imperialism.  There is nothing noble about that, U.S. imperialism is the most destructive and racist operation on the planet.  There are less people from the left in the military because more on the left recognize it for what it is.

    Generally speaking, I can understand the need for a small military.

    Like General Smedley Butler said, war is a racket and he was nothing more than a strongman for the Rockefellers and the Morgans.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:11:41 PM PDT

  •  We've always been hated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onanthebarbarian, Dr Squid, mickT

    in the Air Force we had a phrase for it: "shot at and missed, shit on and hit" and it applies to this day.

    There are many things about this community that make me regret supporting it, and none more so than the arrogant assumption that servicemembers and veterans of the US uniformed services are no different from nor better than the mercenary @$$h0le$ of Xe, or whatever those uckers in Blackwater call themselves now.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:12:16 PM PDT

  •  I grew up in an Air Force NCO ... (3+ / 0-)

    ... family and did 4 years of my own in the Army. That's about 16 years total, and I saw 0 racist acts or comments the whole time. The services were way ahead of the crowd in that area. My friends in grade school, high school and in the Army were black, brown and white. I learned responsibility and the power of an education. After the Army, I studied my butt off in grad school.

    I hated every minute of boot camp and still despise guns and camping, but I needed that lesson to focus me on the future. Although it wasn't the career for me, I have the utmost respect for those who've made it theirs.

    I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

    by Tortmaster on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 11:08:14 PM PDT

  •  It's been a while (3+ / 0-)

    But when Randi Rhodes (nurse in the AF) was on locally, one of her constant refrains was how serving should make you a liberal. Short version: You look out for and lift up the weaker members of your unit, or you die. Transfer that to society in general? You have a liberal world.

    •  She was a C141 crew (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radiowalla, trumpeter

      Not a nurse

      Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

      by BOHICA on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:39:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here we could learn from Doonesbury, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radiowalla

      which treats citizen soldiers with sympathy and respect.

      Much of the anti-liberal talk you sometimes hear from military people is defensive-- they think you despise them and don't appreciate the risks and sacrifices they take.

      I find it odd that Kossacks who would never "sully" themselves by joining the armed forces participate in droves in the business world and thereby collaborate in its crimes.

      There's more collectivist spirit, racial harmony, authentic professionalism, and upward social mobility in the military than in the business world. And it's corporate power, not the military establishment, which plots our grand strategy and decides what wars we fight.

  •  Gee, if there only wasn't that killing part (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    In the military...

    Once you sign that line, they can do anything they want with you. They can break their side of the contract, and keep you as long as they want if they decide they want to keep you longer.

    Your life is not yours any more, no matter how sweet the pot is, you are still being told what to do.

    I was around during the Viet Nam war, and saw too many die or come back really messed up to think of anything else..

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 12:14:39 AM PDT

  •  I served. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, trumpeter

    But I disagree with you.  We need to have a smaller standing military, not a larger one.  We need to mind our own business and stop exporting violence and death and making money off of it pretending we are "spreading democracy" - because we aren't.

    Democracy is something the people who want it for themselves must provide, we don't provide that.  We cause civil unrest when we blow in and blow shit up.  That won't change with more liberals in the military because the military hierarchy is still fighting the cold war - when it's been over longer than some of our current service members have been alive.

    We need to stop lionizing violence as service.  We need to stop seeing the dogs of war as better than the doves of peace and the men and women of diplomacy.  We need to "lead" by example not by force - and we need to stop sending our brightest and best into the hell of combat to come home broken and disfigured with nothing left to come home to because we sold it all to the war profiteers.

    If they make it home.

    And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

    by Mortifyd on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:41:31 AM PDT

  •  My rebuttal to this post: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter

    But what if I don't want to pick up a rifle and kill brown people?

    •  My rebuttal to this comment: (0+ / 0-)

      Coast Guard.

      Or Air Force, they don't use rifles much.

      Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

      by DrillSgtK on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:18:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As usual... (0+ / 0-)

        I make posts in the early hours of the morning where I'm more likely to say something offensive and stupid. And being newish to the site I assumed there was a delete button(there isn't?), which the almost immediate pressing of directly after the fact before anyone could see the dumb thing I had just posted has gotten my butt out of more trouble in the past than I care to admit.

        My post here is flippant and dismissive and more than a little insulting to armed forces service members, for whom I have nothing but respect and I apologize for making it.

  •  Response to the posts above (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, leftykook

    The first few are exactly what prompted my diary.

    The general refrain is that the military does bad things by invading other nations...which is not the military's fault.  It is the Nation's fault.  WE, the citizens of the Nation, LET our government send the military to invade other nations.

    Our government is a representative system that exists because people voted the representatives into office, voted to keep them in office and continue to keep them.  Part of that is because the left gets tarred with the "you hate the military and those in the military" brush.  Saying we need a smaller military, don't need those F-35's or four more aircraft carriers, or that more money should be put towards social programs, is open fodder for the right to talk about weakening the national defense.  

    This is where point seven comes in, people like Ms. Duckworth - wounded Veteran currently serving (Still serving) in the National Guard, can put that lie to bed.  She would not vote for invading Iraq or bombing other nations that were not a threat to the US.  We need more people in office like that.

    A Congress filled with left leaning veterans could have prevented the Iraq mess.  The few who opposed the invasion were vets themselves. But because the left discouraged people from military service, this had a long term result of fewer smart congress reps in position to keep the military from being used to fund the pockets of politically connected businesses.

    In this nation, the military does as the citizens direct.  The citizens sent people to the government who sent the military.  To change how the military is used, change the leadership of the government.  To change that leadership, military service gives you a big boost in the voters minds than just about anything else.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:16:54 AM PDT

    •  No, not really (0+ / 0-)
      The general refrain is that the military does bad things by invading other nations...which is not the military's fault.  It is the Nation's fault.  
      One example is Afghanistan - near the beginning of his first term, Obama asked the military (to generals) for four options wrt that particular clusterfuck.

      Not one of them was for "less war" - they all involved escalation.

      In a larger sense, the military has the nation in a chokehold - it is impossible to speak out against it w/o being quickly labeled as a fringe lunatic (e.,g Dennis Kucinich  or Mike Gravel).  

      The "citizens" have lost any semblance of control or influence over the military beast that has taken over the country lock, stock, and barrel.  

      •  Piss-poor example (0+ / 0-)

        Especially in view of the fact that after they issued their recommendations the President told 'em, "Naaah, we're gonna do it THIS way..." and they saluted smartly and did what they were told.

        Just like they did what George Butch told 'em to do.

        You aren't going to keep our military forces under proper control unless the citizenry is vigilant and involved, including being IN IT.

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 06:01:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  IOW, a fifth way for ramping up the conflict (0+ / 0-)

          Doubt if they were too broken-hearted!

          In any event, this oxymoronic statement is nicely amusing:

          You aren't going to keep our military forces under proper control unless the citizenry is vigilant and involved, including being IN IT.
          considering that the degree of censorship imposed on information  getting to military personnel (which is even greater than imposed on the average citizen) pretty much precludes the "vigilant and involved" aspect.
        •  Anyways, the last time there was any pretense (0+ / 0-)

          of debate over the use of US military force was in the run-up to Gulf War 1.

          The last time there was any real debate over this type of thing, well, even though I'm quite old it's well before my time!

          so I'm really struggling to understand the mechanism by which your "vigilant and involved" plan is supposed to work.

          •  What if the only people in the Army... (0+ / 0-)

            ... were tea-bag morons and Idaho Militia?

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 07:14:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Based on what you said 3 or 4 posts above (0+ / 0-)

              that they toe the line and unquestioningly do whatever their civilian leaders tell them, that would not matter one iota wrt the operation of the military.

              In fact it would be comforting to me to know that these types would be under rather close supervision, as compared to being "out there" amongst the rest of us all willy nilly like, you know, like they are now.

            •  doesn't matter who they are (0+ / 0-)

              If they're going to follow whatever orders they're given.  They could be teabagging yahoos or people who transform into Mr. Rogers when off-duty ... it doesn't matter if what determines their actions is orders from above rather than any personal values or interests.

              The alternative is mutiny: masses of soldiers just going home if they don't agree with what they've been ordered to do.  Now that can go both ways: liberals stopping a war by refusing to cooperate ... or conservatives starting one by going rogue.  Racist death squads and fundie neo-conquistadors roaming the country with the best weapons and training on the planet?  Fundies hijacking nuclear bombers and destroying all the big blue cities?  "New Russia"-style looting and reselling of military hardware to the highest bidder like good kepitulists?  The possibilities are endless.

              The nature of military service - not to mention military culture - precludes large-scale liberal/progressive participation.  Violence and submission are not liberal values.

  •  Uh...no, thanks. (nt) (0+ / 0-)

    Stop the NRA and the NSA
    Repeal the Patriot Act and the 2nd Amendment

    by dream weaver on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 03:59:22 AM PDT

  •  The most unfortunate aspect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    detroitmechworks, trumpeter

    Is that dissent is virtually impossible. Protest and you're screwed.

    Also shit rolls downhill. Very seldom does the commander get the same punishment (if any) while a subordinate get fucked. Case in point, Lindy England.

    "When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen"
    --George Washington
    BOHICA
    RA18960500
    Repentant ex member of Murder Inc.
    Southeast Asia Division

    Help me to be the best Wavy Gravy I can muster

    by BOHICA on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:51:34 AM PDT

  •  Just about every country has a military (3+ / 0-)

    Even Sweden has one - and a rather good one at that.

    So do the Swiss. They may be neutral but their concept of neutrality is "Mess with us and it will cost you far more than it's worth".

    We can debate how large the military should be and how it should be employed, but we're still going to have one.

    That being the case I'd rather have some thoughtful liberals in uniform than a bunch of right-wing yahoos.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 04:58:06 AM PDT

  •  You get authority and responsibility.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...at a much younger age than civilian enterprise...

    For instance, consider Flight crews....

    An airline captain who drives 747's is apt to be 50-plus years old with 5000 hours of flight time...

    Meanwhile, in the Air Mobility Command, they have 27-year old First Lieutenants as C-5 Aircraft commanders...

    I bet the other services have similar stories, like a Coast Guard 101-ft cutter commanded by a 33-year old Lieutenant Commander....

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:51:08 AM PDT

  •  I wanted to join the military after college... (0+ / 0-)

    But the military is not an honorable place right now. It's got no just wars to fight, it's making its service members serve 3, 4, 5 tours of duty, and I'm not keen on getting raped by my comrades. And if a pro-war republican gets elected in 2016? No thanks.
    I don't think change in the military will come from the bottom up. Show me a real progressive commander-in-chief, and I'd think about it.

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:34:49 AM PDT

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