Military Enlistment

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Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 04:13 pm
I've been giving serious thoughts to joining the military, specifically the Marines. I consider myself a solid anti-imperialist that opposes the current wars and the history of interventionism by U.S. governments, and I don't see this as being at odds with my opposition to imperialism because my individual contribution is marginal; my presence or absence has no effect on the continuation of foreign wars. All of us offer marginal individual contributions to imperialism by paying taxes; tax evasion/resistance would have the effect of getting a person imprisoned without actually hobbling the war effort, which is why I see it as pointless. There are serious individual costs without any social benefits. In terms of individual benefits, I'd hope to influence others to oppose the war and maybe gain some greater control over actual policy decisions if I were to finally gain my degree and eligibility for officer candidacy with it.

Ergo, it has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of petty nationalism or desire to "fight for America," and I oppose the wars and interventionist policies of every single United States political administration in history. I've really had an interest in the prestige that veteran status brings among military-friendly audiences and the ability to slam chicken hawks who advocate imperialism by virtue of my own status and experiences.

There's also more mundane financial issues involved; while I'm thankful (and humble) at praise of my intelligence and political knowledge, I'm technically a high school dropout (though I actually left early), and was a long-time "disciplinary problem" with a 'D' average before I got sent to a continuation school, which I eventually left for community college after getting my equivalency degree at the end of the tenth grade. I'm now overstaying my time there, and since my grades are higher but still hardly praiseworthy, I'm not ready for university transfer. My motives are the same as those of many other people; I need steady and reliable employment, and like my uncle before me (he went to the Navy), I feel degraded ultimately having to turn to my parents for support. I wanted to be an emancipated minor for years, so it's even more frustrating to still be in a state of dependency even in adulthood.

And though it might seem kind of far-fetched, I recognize the value of high-grade military training for any kind of "revolutionary" struggles that I might be able to assist in through teaching and helping others.

Most of you strike me as progressive; would you be willing to work with or even communicate with someone who went in *already* disillusioned, rather than becoming so along the way? Would that seem like selling out or being a hypocrite to you?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 04:24 pm
@Agnapostate,
I don't support the idea of joining the military to prove anything. All you can end up is being called to war in Iraq/Afghanistan, being mangled by a roadside bomb or something exotic. All you get from Uncle Sam is a medal rack and a pad on the shoulder, you get nada support, just see victims of Vietnam war and Gulf Wars I+II, higly and widely critizied.

Let people live in their belives, I don't see why you should endager youself for mere pride.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2010 07:38 pm
@HexHammer,
In terms of individual benefits, I'd hope to influence others to oppose the war and maybe gain some greater control over actual policy decisions if I were to finally gain my degree and eligibility for officer candidacy with it." Keep in mind that if you go through all the hassle of training and manage to obtain a commission, they may very well cite article 94 of the UCMJ on you. From what I understand, sedition is a very serious matter.

Now would I work with someone who was already disillusioned before entering the military? Depends on how disillusioned you are. I find that disillusionment entails a lack of motivation for your particular occupation. If you are on the point of not fulfilling your obligations and expectations, then heck no. The military is a dangerous profession, and the last thing anyone wants is an unmotivated comrade (let alone an officer) on whom they may thoroughly depend. Would you want an unmotivated doctor operating on you or an unmotivated airline pilot flying your passenger plane thousands of feet in the air? Probably not.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 09:44 am
@Agnapostate,
Agnapostate;151094 wrote:
I've been giving serious thoughts to joining the military, specifically the Marines. I consider myself a solid anti-imperialist that opposes the current wars and the history of interventionism by U.S. governments, and I don't see this as being at odds with my opposition to imperialism because my individual contribution is marginal; my presence or absence has no effect on the continuation of foreign wars. All of us offer marginal individual contributions to imperialism by paying taxes; tax evasion/resistance would have the effect of getting a person imprisoned without actually hobbling the war effort, which is why I see it as pointless. There are serious individual costs without any social benefits. In terms of individual benefits, I'd hope to influence others to oppose the war and maybe gain some greater control over actual policy decisions if I were to finally gain my degree and eligibility for officer candidacy with it.

Ergo, it has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of petty nationalism or desire to "fight for America," and I oppose the wars and interventionist policies of every single United States political administration in history. I've really had an interest in the prestige that veteran status brings among military-friendly audiences and the ability to slam chicken hawks who advocate imperialism by virtue of my own status and experiences.

There's also more mundane financial issues involved; while I'm thankful (and humble) at praise of my intelligence and political knowledge, I'm technically a high school dropout (though I actually left early), and was a long-time "disciplinary problem" with a 'D' average before I got sent to a continuation school, which I eventually left for community college after getting my equivalency degree at the end of the tenth grade. I'm now overstaying my time there, and since my grades are higher but still hardly praiseworthy, I'm not ready for university transfer. My motives are the same as those of many other people; I need steady and reliable employment, and like my uncle before me (he went to the Navy), I feel degraded ultimately having to turn to my parents for support. I wanted to be an emancipated minor for years, so it's even more frustrating to still be in a state of dependency even in adulthood.

And though it might seem kind of far-fetched, I recognize the value of high-grade military training for any kind of "revolutionary" struggles that I might be able to assist in through teaching and helping others.

Most of you strike me as progressive; would you be willing to work with or even communicate with someone who went in *already* disillusioned, rather than becoming so along the way? Would that seem like selling out or being a hypocrite to you?



I would be willing to communicate with someone like you if you join (and also if you do not join). After all, I communicate with all sorts already; I post at a couple of web sites and often respond to people who respond to me, regardless of whether they are hypocrites or stupid or whatever.

I personally would never join, as the idea of being told when and where to sleep, when and where to eat, etc., is exceedingly unappealing to me. And I don't want to kill people simply because someone tells me to do it, and I don't want other people to be shooting at me either.

There is an old joke: Q: How can you tell when a military recruiter is lying? A: When his mouth is open. There is a lot of truth in the joke. Do not believe any promise unless it is in writing, and make sure you understand all of the details of the contract you sign, if you enlist. (They will be happy to use those obscure clauses to not give you what the recruiter promises verbally.) A friend of mine enrolled in the military in order to get money for college, and they never gave him as much money as they promised, and they also lied to him about when he would have to go to boot camp and other such things, which screwed up his education. At first, he resented such things, but eventually, they seem to have been successful in brainwashing him into loving his abusers.

I would not sign up, but it is your life, not mine, so you are the one who needs to be able to live with all of the consequences.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 10:04 am
@Pyrrho,
Here's how I feel about the situation.

I am not in the military but my brother and father are/were and I have always had a great respect for the men and women who have served.

I personally can think of no greater way to repay the great country that I was blessed enough to be born in and that has provided so much than to give back by serving for but a brief period.

In some ways, I think our country would be well served to have every citizen serve at least 4 years in the military(of course I also think 2 years of college (minimum) should be compulsory so...)

To me ,it's about laying down your own selfish desires and humbling yourself to something greater than yourself; a larger purpose and cause.

Serving in the military and being anti-imperialist are not mutually exclusive. It is the men and women who are anti-imperialist and who DO serve and who work their way up the chain of command who can have a real influence. The more those who oppose stand on the sideline the longer the status quo will continue.

Whatever you decide, I count myself lucky to have people who are willing to literally risk their lives to ensure the safety of others.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 10:25 am
@Amperage,
Amperage;151363 wrote:
...

Serving in the military and being anti-imperialist are not mutually exclusive. It is the men and women who are anti-imperialist and who DO serve and who work their way up the chain of command who can have a real influence. The more those who oppose stand on the sideline the longer the status quo will continue.
...



No matter how high up one goes in the military, whether the policies of the country are imperialistic or not will be beyond one's control. It is congress and the president who decide such things, not generals.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 10:33 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;151368 wrote:
No matter how high up one goes in the military, whether the policies of the country are imperialistic or not will be beyond one's control. It is congress and the president who decide such things, not generals.
true, but such people have a far greater influence on presidents and congress men and women than I do. The president does have military advisers and does meet or at least speak with high ranking members of the military and so do members of congress I would think
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2010 03:22 pm
@Amperage,
I'm a retired veteran of 20 years.

I wouldn't worry, too much, about potential idealistic conflicts were you to enlist - at least not right now. I believe your primary question ought to be: Are you ready, willing and able to make the commitment enlistment demands?

When you enlist, your life is irrevocably changed. Particularly during your initial and follow on training, your life and time will not be your own. This is owing to the mindset they're wanting to instill: Discipline, teamwork, aggression and success. We could talk at length about what the military stands for, its disuse or what have you, but if you, personally, are considering this: Stick to the immediate impact. You ready to commit yourself fully? You, quite literally, will be making a legally-binding agreement to suspend many of your freedoms while in active service. Don't take it lightly. I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything; but truth be told, I wouldn't do it again nor go back to re-live.

In any case, I'd echo what others have said. There are valid concerns there and yes; if you can go Air Force, do. Though I should caveat this by the qualification that what fits each mind/goal set is quite varied. For my part, I went in for practical reasons and quickly took on the banner of being the protector of my people; idealistically, this was a disaster. Ultimately, whether it's "worth" the sacrifices you'll make will come from yourself. Quite honestly, most folks just don't much care.

Do it for yourself, in full appreciation of the gravity and commitment, or don't mess with it at all.

Good luck!
 
 

 
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