Saturday, February 8, 2014

On thanking the military for their service

A Facebook friend of mine named David Singhiser threw down this well-written, thoughtful post yesterday. 
Other than the Christian angle that he takes, I've been having a lot of the same thoughts. 

What and how you speak has consequences. Earlier this week I lost my temper and lost most of my cousins and at least the respect, if I ever had any, from my brother and sister.

I regret the loss. I wish I could regret what I said. I suppose I should regret how I said what I said, but it got their attention, even if it was too late: a cousin was cheered and congratulated upon joining the US Marines last month.

Just as what I said has consequences, so do other things that I see constantly posted: nice, kind, patriotic posts, given with the best of intentions.

But I hate and despise them, because they too have consequences.

"Thank you for your service;" "They're fighting for our freedoms."

Or the blasphemous:

"There are two defining forces which have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ, for your soul, the American soldier, for your freedom."

What's wrong with that? What kind of jerk am I that would despise that?

It's a simple thank you, but what else does it say?

Dear soldier, you, who I don't know, and have never met, I assume that everything you have done has been to serve me, my family, and country, my dear hero, I know this, because you wear a uniform.

And what are the consequences? It teaches our children that putting on a uniform and doing nothing else makes one a hero.

We do not know what kind of service the soldier has performed. For all we know he has spent the last years protecting poppy fields in Afghanistan for the drug lords. We do know if he has spent his free time throwing puppies off a cliff for target practice as has been posted on YouTube.

No, we assume they are great heroes, moral and virtuous, because they wear a uniform.

That is one consequence you teach your kids: put on a uniform and you will be a hero.

Repentance, virtue, kindness, love, compassion, courage to go against the grain?

No, that is not encouraged.

Put on a uniform and conform, that is the message you champion.

"Thank You For Your Service" inspires the unthinking into joining the military. They believe it, because they hear and see it repeatedly: "They're fighting for our freedom."

So kids who are not mature enough to buy alcohol, are allowed to join the military thinking that they will be defending freedom, when in fact, they are fighting for what Eisenhower warned against: the military industrial complex, and of course oil.

Every time you thank a soldier for his service, find out just what he or she did, look around and make sure a kid doesn't hear and get the impression that by joining up, he or she becomes a hero.

Realize that though they may think they are protecting freedom, our freedoms are not in danger by tribesmen in Afghanistan or zealots in Iraq, or Libya, or Syria. American soldiers are fighting and dying for someone's greed.

As bad as the Taliban are, can they really keep you from speaking your mind, keep you from going to church, reading or writing a book? Who really threatens your freedom? The threat is not overseas. So why is the military overseas?

There are consequences to what you say. Look beyond the niceties.

Thanking strangers, standing up and applauding at airports, because they wear a uniform only encourages more children to aspire to join, kill, and get killed.

Those whom I know who are still in the military or have been in the military, who have studied the history of this country, love and understand freedom and liberty, hate being thanked.

They feel a range from embarrassment to disgust of the thoughtless idolization of the military. They, more than anyone know the crimes, the stupidity, and the evil that goes on in war and the military. Some are haunted by what they have seen; some are haunted by what they have done.

Thanking them only intensifies their pain.

And what about the threat to the souls of your children? Listening to some of you, I'd think they've joined a church choir. Christ taught us to love our enemies. The military teaches soldiers to dehumanize the enemy, calling them: Krauts, Japs, Gooks, Sand Niggers. It begins in training. It makes it easier to kill, because you see, there once was a time when most soldiers just shot above the heads of the enemy troops. The military had to put a stop to that.


What exactly follows the military? Where do they go for R&R? Monasteries or brothels? You've encouraged children to dive in to a den of vipers, you thank them, idolize them, and damn them because you refuse to think, you repeat the clichés, you follow the mob, believe the propaganda, all the while insisting you're free.

Instead of supporting the troops, keep your loved ones from joining. Don't feed the beast with your children. Have you not read in the Old Testament how the ungodly threw their children into the fire? What are you doing, if not that?

Discourage anyone from joining. Encourage them to be true heroes, fighting for freedom with their minds and their words. Instead of killing and getting killed, teach them to be peace makers.

Brutes and slaves, blind followers, obeying masters, killing and getting killed for glory! heroism! honor!

Free people are better than that.

Christians follow, honor, and obey the Prince of Peace.

I stand my what I said. I am sickened by parents, family members, teachers, counselors, pastors, or friends who encourage young men and women into joining the US military. They failed them. They believed lies, followed the herd, and sent children marching into the fire.

1 comment:

MingoV said...

I worked at a VA hospital from 2003 to 2007. The wounded veterans weren't saying "rah! rah! we were protecting your freedom." They basically talked about what a cluster-fug it was in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the latter, many casualties were from officer incompetence, such as letting native Afghans work inside a fortress with the 'unforeseeable' consequence of them opening the gates for a night attack that killed dozens.

The reality is that many young men volunteer for the military because they want the excitement of death matches. The "I'm fighting for your freedom." slogan is a justification for "I'm fighting for thrills."