I don't want to piss on anyone's grave

A lot of people that serve in the military are not there to "serve".  They are there to earn a dollar and maybe go to college.  They bought the recruiters sales pitch or they want the adventure.  They're young and have nowhere else to turn and don't fathom the idea that signing up is to signup blindly to their leaders future "cause" in an obligation to die... though not necessarily willingly.  I say this because of something I heard on NPR this afternoon.
It was some wingnuts response to Cindy Sheehan. The commentator was  Stephen Mansfield, author of the book The Faith of the American Soldier.  With a soft voice and inspirational music the speaker said that the noble cause that her son died for was the willingness to "serve" in the military. That each person chooses to serve and does so willingly and with self sacrifice knowing that it may be their job to die for their country.  Okay, here's the deal, bullshit!  First off the men and women that serve in the military most likely do it to survive and not because they thought of it as some higher purpose.  Certainly there is that case of a person doing it to serve his fellow man.  Im sure it also isn't a rare case and that is certainly noble.  But it is not a "cause".  Second, it is not Stephen Mansfield that should be answering Cindy Sheehan.  Its G.W.F'n Bush.  I'm fairly certain Cindy Sheehan has been crystal clear on this subject.  So all the sweet music and all the soft words telling her this afternoon that Cindy Sheehan is misguided and doing her son wrong are worthless from the get go. He also speaks of how soldiers surrender their rights and place themselves on the altar.  Certainly they surrender their rights, which is exactly why citizens should be ready to speak up for them for they cannot legally speak for themselves.  They are not in a position to say NO.  Only we are and we must be capable of saying no to an administration that squanders them.  As for placing themselves on the altar I promise you there will be far fewer people signing up if they truly believed thats what they were doing.  

Lets assume, and its a big assumption, that every soldier signs on the dotted line to "serve" their fellow Americans and offer their life up on the altar of history.  Now you have to be smart enough to see the difference here. Also, no one signs thinking someone is actually going to take their life so willingly, so quickly, and without thought.  They do so either not thinking about it or at least believing that their leaders aren't a bunch of pinheads.  Suckers!  George Bush doesn't care about indiviudal soldiers.  To him they are merely numbers to be watched in a political sense.  His tears are crocodile tears and if people don't get that I feel sorry for them.  So if soldiers do this, sign up with the specific intent to "serve" it is truly noble.  Now this is where I am pissing a bit, if they don't sign up with that thought in mind then they are not performing a noble act.  They are simply taking a job that happens to involve the obligation to die or put oneself in harms way, but they may do it thinking it will never happen.  Every soldier does sign the dotted line to serve their fellow man and offer up their life but not every soldier signs the dotted line for that specific purpose.  Those that simply sign so they can make some money are not committing a noble act.  They aren't bad people either, they just don't happen to be doing something specifically noble.  to the parents of soldiers in harms way that want to think otherwise I say go right ahead.  For those that choose with forethought it is a noble individual act but it is not a "cause".  Cindy Sheehan wants to know what noble cause todays soldiers are fighting and dieing for.  So the guy on NPR giving his pretty speech, clearly with the intent to "move", was someone trying to pull a fast one.  A soldier can do a noble act of serving and at the same time not serve in a noble cause.  A solider can die for oil, he or she can die for Bush's family honor or his ego.  A soldier can die in some perverted religious war.  None of it transfer his individual noble act into a death for a noble cause and the death can occur without the individual having specifically signed up for the cause.  Now I have no doubt that all of the soldiers there today would have signed up had they been told this was about protecting this nation and WMD's and the like.  Oh yeah, they were told that.  But from the get go thats not what this was about.  Bush knew going in, and certainly his underlings and overlings knew, that Saddam was not a threat to us or even his neighbors and he was barely a threat to his own people.  If he was a threat to his own people then its their problem to deal with.  With our help sure but you take liberty it isn't given to you.  It is simply a waste, a war based purely and absolutely on lies.  This is not a case of our leaders being wrong, oops.  They knew it going in and they lied to us.  The only thing they were wrong about was the glorious victory to be had.

Now, maybe I'm too blunt here.  I'm sure everyone will gaffaw at my willingness to call todays soldiers death an absolute waste.  Its sick to think there are people that would twist those words into saying todays soldier is a waste.  I cannot fathom the mind that believes in such twisted logic but I don't deny there are wingnuts that relish in it.  These soldiers are dieing for Bush's ego in a war intended to gather control of a large portion of the worlds oil interest and to strike a blow for the Christian faith against Islam.  They fight in a war thats purpose was to rally Americans around the flag in an attempt to win more Republican seats in the first midterm election and then because Bush felt he should follow through on all the election rhetoric...because clearly the results of that first midterm showed people bought it hook line and sinker.  These soldiers fight in a cause that is not noble or just.  They do so without losing their personal honor however and those that did choose to "serve" purely out of a willingsess to sacrifice still retain their honor and the noble act of singing on the dotted line to die for their fellow man.  But their death and their sacrifice is wasted.  

If George Bush wants to see how willing all these guys are to die for his cause I dare him to ask each one, without them giving up who they are, if they want to be there for the true reasons that they are there.  Many may reup to help their friends get through the nightmare, that is not to say they do so to justify the war...though many soldiers may be misguided enough to believe in this administration.  Even those men and women still have their honor...just a few marbles missing.  Those men and women are truly noble.  If given the opportunity, how many of the volunteer soldiers would volunteer for this specific war?

The NPR caller commentator on Cindy Sheehan on 8/18/05 was trying to pull a fast one and I hope everyone out there is ready for this argument.  The comment with its music and dramatic reading was clearly partisan in nature.  I have no doubt it was orchestrated and not simply some individual comment.  It was simply too obvious.  Which worries me for the fate of NPR.  Be prepared to answer the spin.  Is a soldier's noble act of signing up to serve his fellow man the noble cause they fight for?  My answer to that NPR commentator is NO you twisted little screwball.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to drink the cool-aid and not be able to see the things I see.

Here's the link to the comment called An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan on Talk of the Nation (<-sorry actually it was All Things Considered). You can listen to what I heard this afternoon from a link of f this page.  

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4805852

Tags: (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

correction
It wasn't Talk of the Nation it was All Things Considered.
by jrflorida 2005-08-18 07:03PM | 0 recs
always a selfish reason
There's always a selfish reason to join the military.

It always bothers me to read an obit where it's claimed the GI joined for patriotism or in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Everybody that joins buys into the patriotism thing somewhat, but it's not the dominant reason for anybody joining.

by Carl Nyberg 2005-08-18 07:06PM | 0 recs
It's not worth to serve anymore.
My late father was a Master Sergeant for the US Army and he served for over 30 years. He joined the military, not only because he was serving his country, but because he ran away from an abusive home at an early age, and had nowhere else to go. When he enlisted, he wasn't the legal age of 17 or 18, but back in the 1920s, I guess they didn't thoroughly conduct background checks.  In the mid-late 90s, my father was very dismayed that the Republican Congress decided to initiate cuts in veterans benefits(both medically and salary) and with a fixed income, it didn't make things easy for my family.It was very hypocritical since the so called Gung Ho Republicans were pro-military, but screwing those that served nearly half of their lifetimes in the service.  My dad never bragged and he didn't care to discuss the firefights that he was involved in as he served in both the European theatre of World War 2, and the Korean War, but he talked more about the comradery with his buddies and the places that he was able to see overseas. According to my mom, he still had nightmares of the things that he witnessed and dealt with. A few years before he died, he instructed his grandsons to not serve in the military, beacuse you put your life on the line for your country, but the government turns around and shits on you when your time is done. It's very fortunate that he isn't around to see the shit we're in, because this would kill him to see innocent young men and women coming home in caskets or critically or mentally injured for a warmonger President whose only intention was to show his daddy up. I'm sure the Republicans would call this cowardly, but I don't see any of their asses enlisting and fighting in this quagmire.
by indydem72 2005-08-18 07:54PM | 0 recs
You're right. It was bullshit and here's why
That each person chooses to serve and does so willingly and with self sacrifice knowing that it may be their job to die for their country.

That's an afterthought and a fairy tale that the military tells soldiers and maybe some soldiers even believe it after they get home alive.

There's only one reason and one noble cause that soldiers are willing to die for. Each other.

It's the magic and the commraderie of the small unit that makes men heroes. when they are under fire, nobody risks their life for God or country. They do it for each other. They do it because they know and believe that their buddies would do the same for them. They do it because if they don't have each others back, none of them will make it home alive.

There are some ugly stories about men who have cracked under fire and how they are treated afterwards. They are under a heavy cloud of suspicion and depending on the circumstances, their life can become a living hell. A small unit is only as strong as its weakest link. A weak link that cracks threatens everybody's life. Maybe it's in self defense, but the whole unit treats that soldier as an outsider, almost in an intentional effort to get him to crack again.

That may not be a perfect explanation, because I've never served. It's based on a combination of reading about these situations and conversations with a close friend who felt guilty afterwards about how he treated one of his buddies. He said at the time he didn't have even a twinge of guilt or conscience. His instincts and the instincts of the entire unit were in survival mode.

Maybe someone who has actually been there can explain it better.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-18 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: You're right. It was bullshit and here's why
As it is I'm not speaking from personal experience either.  I can say what motivated me to think about going into the military and what I know of others desires for military service.  Adventure, the desire to fly helicopters, the desire to show myself as a man.  By the time I got out of college I was beyond all of this and with no compelling conflict or need for me to serve I chose to go on into the private sector.  I told myself at the time that being an egnineer for a defense company would be doing my part.  I don't know where I got all that from.  I certainly gave that up to after I left my job with Lockheed.   I'm not from a military family per se.  I had 5 years of JROTC in highschool so I was around a bunch of kids with a gung ho attitude, but thats what you get with kids in that program.  You either have that attitude or you explain why you are wearing the goofy fitting uniform every Wednesday to all the school bullies.  But it was all attitude.  A desire to be more than they were.  I can speak about why my friends joined up and it wasn't about serving their God or country.  At least one may claim that now but I do believe it was drilled into him more than anything else.  The marines tend to break you down and reshape you and he was reshaped.  24 hours and standing up and sitting down hard and fast on the buttox they just air drilled vaccinations into can tend to break a person down.  And I can say my cousin that currently serves does so because its the best employment he can ever hope for outside of the chicken plant.  Theres something to be said for job security when you have no alternatives.  It has given him a skill as a diesel mechanic so that maybe when he does get out he can make something of himself.  Thats , of course, neither here nor there since that in and of itself is not the cause we are fighting for.  If it were it would certainly feed upon itself.  I fight for my country so that I can fight for my country?  The logic circle doesn't work out right.  But then thats the idea when the Repugs get the flags out.  They want people staring long and hard at the red white and blue in some crazy trance so that they can keep the game going a little bit longer.  I shake my head knowing this is how things are and at the same time wondering how in the world these people exist and even prosper.
by jrflorida 2005-08-19 06:35AM | 0 recs
I sent two letters to NPR
I even put up a diary about this disgusting Mansfield commentary before I realized that your diary covered the subject so thoroughly.  Write a letter but be BRIEF so it gets read on the air.  Mansfield is just another apologist who doesn't get it and I caught myself saying "F*** YOU" at least twice while listening to the commentary.
by AntiCliche 2005-08-19 06:47AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads