I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m also not saying that I’m not. I’m not not not saying that I’m not. Good. Now that’ I’ve got that all cleared up, lets get down to business.
As I sit here listening to stolen MP3s on a computer that I purchased with a credit card I’ve since defaulted on; as I hail from a nation built on stolen land, slavery, oppression, and genocide, I wonder if things are not as they should be in the world.
What is the point of a military? Well, let me tell you what it is today. The military is a subculture built with the taxes, support, guilt, and pride of the main culture. It is a career option. We are no longer a nation who must gather (must + gather = muster*) to defend ourselves from an invading motherland and, when the fighting is done, return to our lives. No; this is what many people do for a living. That’s why you get the 25-year retired colonel who wonders why people in the real world don’t give him the same respect he had in the military. “Do you know who I am?!!!???” ”Yes. You’re the guy making my sandwich. I said ‘no onions.’”**
Do you realize that THIS IS LIFE AS WE KNOW IT? Those of us living right now will NEVER, EVER, EVER wake up to a newspaper declaring “WAR OVER!” like our forefathers did. Does that not make anyone else’s heart sink even just a little? We will be aware of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons & daughters ‘fighting’ here in the desert for as long as we live. Or at least until the money runs out…
I have had many arguments with fellow soldiers about this. Anytime there are budget cuts mentioned or, like several times over the last couple years, government shutdowns threatened, I hear the groans of my comrades. Let me say; I am not selfless. I know my goddamn place in this organization. I am a mercenary – I am in the Army for a paycheck. It seems many people act like soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines do this for free; there are military discounts, military appreciation, “this-n-that for the troops” organization. It would seem that some in the public think that we’re all heroes and deserve respect. If that were true, we wouldn’t have Fort Hood shootings, a suicide rate higher than the national average, guards dehumanizing prisoners at Abu Graib, or soldiers wandering off post and murdering a score of civilians. Fuck; if it were even partly true, we wouldn’t need an un-necessarily complex uniform code of military justice system designed specifically to prosecute soldiers.
Let me, once and for all, clear this up: WE ARE ALL HERE FOR THE PAYCHECK – EVERY LAST ONE OF US. I have not met one hero my whole 6 years of “service.” I am ashamed at some of the things that come out of fellow soldiers’ mouths; things ranging from disappointment with a duty position that doesn’t allow them the satisfaction of killing people to opinions expressing opposition to certain presidential candidates that might reduce the size of the military; something that would threaten their (and my) job. If I truly wish to serve my country, and cutting the budget – in part, the military budget – serves the nation by helping to relieve its debt crisis, what kind of anti-patriot must I be to prioritize my paycheck over that of the nation? Why is so noble to be blown up along some dusty Afghan road in an IED blast but not to accept that the nation needs you to return to civilian life? Why is noble to die for a cause but not live for the very same cause?
Fear. That’s the problem. Fear of being on the streets. Fear of anonymity. Army, since it is a career and entire sub-population at this point, at least provides a sense of security, worth, and identity. This also explains why everyone who parts from the military desires as big of a disability paycheck as possible. I’ve spoken with people who literally become giddy when they find out their hearing is worse because of the Army. What kind of sick fucks are thankful for hearing loss, bad knees, or back problems? I suppose it is very Zen to be thankful for everything, good or bad…
I just wonder what my price is sometimes. Will I say, “Fuck it; I’m gonna milk this bitch for all it’s worth.” Is it gonna be the Army that pisses me off? Will it be the American way of life? Will I succumb to the fear of joblessness and claim PTSD before I get out of the Army to ensure at least a pittance of income each month? Fuck.
I enjoy the educational advantages of being in the military; and it pains me when I see young soldiers not taking full advantage of their chance to get “free” college. No, of course; Facebook is more important.
But there is still hope, I believe.
I think we will come to realize that we cannot be the world’s police. This will, in turn, make us pull back and choose our wars with a bit more discrimination. With the advent of the internet and technology, we can hear about global atrocities in seconds and minutes with HD pictures and video as proof. We will come to realize that tyrants, rebellions, genocide, tribal wars, child slavery, hate crimes, assassinations, torture, and all sorts of malevolence are nothing new; that there was never a ‘peaceful time’ throughout all of history; there was just a technology gap that prevented the world from knowing about the Stalins, Maos, Hitlers, and Husseins of yesteryear to be common knowledge to both the rich and poor. With our newfound wisdom, we will understand our place in the world a little better. We will take care of the log in our own eye before we go on a worldwide splinter-extracting spree. God bless the USA. But first, change our hearts.
Sorry; I usually try to write humorous posts (not ‘humorous’ like fluid-filled; like comedic) but I was pissed this morning. Righteously indignant, maybe. Peace y’all. Love each other.
*not the actual etymology of the word “muster.”
**I actually LOVE onions.