I too served in the military, and it helped me through some really tough years. But I regret it and tell my kids that I loathe the idea of them joining.
It has to do with the fact that our military is not a defensive force. With the possible exception of one or two major wars, it's been mostly used to assert and maintain American economic supremacy.
Think about it: in your lifetime, can you name a honorable war Americans have fought? Keep in mind what war is all about: it's (mostly) daddies killing other kids daddies. So far as I'm concerned, you need a pretty damned good reason to justify that.
Yet time and time again, we go to war to protect and expand the power of American elites. We send poor off to die for the rich. We kill innocent people for the benefit of the guilty.
And then we say military service is honorable and we should support the troops?
Have they no agency? Can they not figure out everything I've written here? If they have figured that out and join anyway, doesn't that make them, dare I say... evil? And if they haven't figured it out, but instead joined for the same reason I joined (college money) or because so many people told them that military service was so wonderful, then aren't they - at best - negligently ignorant?
I mean, think about it - they are signing up for the fucking military...
They had to know at least this much: That there was a strong likelihood that they'd be asked to kill someone. With that the case, is the decision to join something you make as cavalierly as I did? I mean, what do you say to the Iraqi widow (and kids) whose husband you killed at a checkpoint?
"I needed the college money..."None of that would work for me.
"Military service is honorable..."
"Everyone supports the troops..."
I've seen others suggest that the troops are innocent grunts that don't give the orders... That the real responsibility lies at the feet of the Military Industrial Complex and our political leaders. But that's crap too... That argument flips everything on its head.
You can't tell me that troops don't know what they are signing up for: to kill on command. Before anyone signs up for that, you don't think they should think long and hard? Shouldn't they research the history and background of those that are likely to give the order?
You sell the troops short when you take away their agency. After all, it is they - not the military industrial complex - that do the killing. Ultimately, they pull the trigger.
The troops do the killing.
Let me sum up here:
- When you join the military, you are signing up to kill people.
- The vast majority of times our military has been ordered to kill, it's been for, at best, no good reason. More often, the reasons have been evil.
- When we mouth platitudes that support the troops, we are tacitly supporting the militarized, authority-bowing culture we've been trained to support. And we need to stop it.
I understand this diary will be inflammatory and upsetting to many of you. I just ask that you do your best to specifically point to where it is wrong before troll-rating.