Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

To the veterans and all military

(Edit: A short update to my views as of 2013 is at the bottom of this page.) Disclaimer: most people will probably feel offended after reading this and want to insult me. If you choose to, try to do so with civility. (Edit: this isn't my best post but it is my most popular. Fancy that. :)

I really only have one thing to thank you for today: thanks for giving me the day off from school.

I want to quote a famous physicist here, now, as he happened to share my views on this matter:

"That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed."

-Albert Einstein

I regard all soldiers as cowards and immoral people. (This does not mean I approve of them dying.) I find phrases like "Against the war, but for the troops" to be disturbing, and a great window to an explanation for why non-violence isn't around more. People are against wars and such, but god-forbid they be against the people who fight the wars, the soldiers! If you really are for peace, you cannot also be for soldiers. You can be for the lives of soldiers as humans, but not as soldiers.

"Soldiers aren't cowards; it takes courage to do what they do!"

Anyone can hold a gun, fire a gun, and kill someone else. It's also fairly easy to get people to lay aside their natural moral instincts and obey authority (see the Milgram experiment). There is no glory or honor or courage involved in bloodshed; it is just bloodshed, and that is an evil. I wouldn't be so harsh, if soldiers were deeply saddened by it all, and approached all their duties as if they were at a funeral. At least they acknowledge that wars are completely wrong and there should be no good feelings if one is in the midst of it all. (Yes I realize some soldiers are deeply saddened by what they have to do; I respect them for that. Now if only they can quit the army.)

Soldiers are indeed cowards. What are they afraid of? Using their brains, and doing the right thing. It takes far more courage to take a punch, and not hit back, but not cringe in submission either, than it does to retaliate. It's painfully obvious to anyone who considers violence that it's wrong; but most intellectuals back down and say it's okay when done in self-defense (cheerily ignoring that initiated violence isn't causeless (i.e. the US is not justified on grounds of self-defense for its invasions in the Middle East)). It takes courage and strength to restrain yourself, to not succumb to destructive behaviors. It takes courage to use words or non-violent, non-cooperative demonstrations to show your opposition to something. The easy way, and the coward's way, to deal with a problem is to lash out against it. As the old computer science joke goes, "Brute force will solve any problem given enough time." Applied here, though, it may mean that humanity will destroy itself, thus solving all problems (that we cooked up).

"They believe they're fighting for their country!"

I'll admit some soldiers can indeed believe this, but none from the USA can. Any that do are seriously deluded. Some 3000 people died on 9/11, and because of our vengeful ways we have lost another 5000 soldiers (which is all part of the plan, so no one freaks out--thank you Dark Knight for noting that). Not to mention all the thousands upon thousands of dead (and even more displaced) Afghanistan and Iraqi people. Our country is actually less secure now than it was in 2001, thanks to increased resentment throughout the world because of our actions. If you're a soldier, you're supporting violence, an unjust war, an evil government, and the extermination of non-Israeli Middle Easterners. Or maybe you're just useless, like those 50-some thousand soldiers in Germany. (What the hell do you guys do?)

"They're in the army to better themselves physically and mentally!"

Football and martial arts already fill those gaps, and probably better. You can also just do regular exercise in conjunction with hard math to get both results; you don't have to unite the two. Besides, I highly dispute the "mental" challenges of regular soldiers--more like mental degradation. Only the ones who program the missiles have to use their brains.

"Not everyone involved in the military is bad. What about those who work behind the scenes, programming missiles and creating technology to better equip the infantry?"

Yeah, right. How were you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something. to create a life. To feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death and destruction.

Sarah Conner, Terminator 2

Those who work with the military in any way are contributing to the overall destruction it causes. If no one programmed the missiles, there would be no missiles.

"You at least owe the past soldiers your freedom and everything else!"

That's like saying I owe some individuals in a tribe of the first humans thousands of years ago for starting the long line eventually leading to me. I respect some of the results wars helped bring about (end of slavery), but I do not respect the means, and I really think technology is a trump card in this. As more things become automated, the desire for human slavery decreases.

I respect the founding fathers for founding the country, but I do not approve of doing so by means of war. (As an aside, we can see India received its independence with Gandhi, so don't say war is required.) Certainly I do not owe them anything--they are dead, and I am here. If they had not succeeded, I would not be here. This doesn't mean I owe them my existence.

"Yeah, nothing says 'courageous' like hiding behind computer screens and bashing soldiers who are actually out there fighting. It's easy for you to say, snug at home and not facing life-or-death scenarios."

Hooray for ad hominem attacks--this is an attack against me in place of an attack against the argument. Look, bring the fight to my doorstep, and I'll show you the non-violent way to react to it. I think it's a great statement about our society that I'm not often in life-or-death scenarios, and I certainly don't see why those should be required to judge a person's courage factor.

If there are any good arguments for the side of appreciating soldiers, post them in the comments. But I have yet to hear one.

Edit: There are two points I'd like to clarify. The first one: I don't want soldiers to die. I don't want humans to die period. Any humans. The second one, I don't think soldiers as humans are inherently evil, but I think the soldier profession is evil. You could probably find army guys I'd get along with without knowing they were in the army. But you can also find friendly killers. I don't think murderers are inherently evil, either, but murdering is an evil act.

Posted on 2009-11-11 by Jach

Tags: non-violence, philosophy, soldiers


Trackback URL:

Back to the top

Anonymous December 09, 2009 07:42:51 PM you're a fag
Anonymous December 10, 2009 12:13:04 AM If this rant of yours tell us only one thing it'd be you obviously know nothing about war and those that are involved. Hiding behind the internet and calling soldiers cowards is one thing but to go say it to their faces is another, something I bet you'd never do.

you're a loser.
Anonymous December 10, 2009 12:37:50 AM Wow, you do realize the first source you used (Einstein) was later contradicted by the point that "Those who work with the military in any way are contributing to the overall destruction it causes. If no one programmed the missiles, there would be no missiles." In case you forgot to do a simple wikipedia background check, it would enlighten you to the fact that he was instrumental in the creation of the atom bomb. Secondly you are not rallying for peace, just inaction, which you clearly demonstrate by your opinion that we should not attack back, nor should we run away, just maintain our course and beliefs(in other words inaction). If you have taken any history course you can clearly see that inaction only leads to disaster, such as letting Hitler rearming Germany while all countries didn't bother enforcing restrictions agreed upon the treaties; but i don't want to bore you with anymore explanation. Overall you clearly contradict everything you say with your statement "I respect some of the results wars helped bring about (end of slavery), but I do not respect the means," that has the same exact impact as "I support the troops not the war." Its unfortunate that you feel this way, but I will proudly say that I am happy to see that people, like you, are taking advantage of the freedoms I help protect, whether you wish to believe it or not, that's your right.
Anonymous December 10, 2009 02:46:33 PM It's very apparent that you are either a hypocrite or a child who has never actually been confronted by someone who wished to do you, or worse, someone you care about, mortal harm. I know this, because if you had been, and acted according to your psuedophilosophy, you wouldn't be alive to write this drivel. There are, in point of fact, very bad people in the world and it's disgusting that you would use your fortunate life, which has been kept safe and fortunate from those bad people, as a soap box from which to cast down derision upon those who make your fortune possible.

I'd take this down before it becomes a lifelong, tailing embarrassment.
Anonymous December 10, 2009 02:46:34 PM It's very apparent that you are either a hypocrite or a child who has never actually been confronted by someone who wished to do you, or worse, someone you care about, mortal harm. I know this, because if you had been, and acted according to your psuedophilosophy, you wouldn't be alive to write this drivel. There are, in point of fact, very bad people in the world and it's disgusting that you would use your fortunate life, which has been kept safe and fortunate from those bad people, as a soap box from which to cast down derision upon those who make your fortune possible.

I'd take this down before it becomes a lifelong, tailing embarrassment.
Jach December 13, 2009 06:10:42 PM Thank you all for reading! :)

First commenter: surprising as it may be, I am not homosexual!

Second commenter: I'll gladly call soldiers cowards to their face. Anyway, please address a particular part of the post you disagree with.

Third commenter: Read up your history on Einstein. His role in the creation of the atomic bomb was very minor--he basically sent a letter to the President. He expressed regret afterward: "I made one great mistake in my life... when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification - the danger that the Germans would make them."

You cannot make peace through war. Look up Eastern teachings and see how inactive non-violence is.

I support some ends war has brought about, but I do not support the means. This is not equivalent at all to supporting the troops. The troops ARE the means, which I have said I do not support.

Thank you for trying to provide a counterargument!

Commenter 4/5: Read up about Gandhi and other Eastern teachings. I think it's a good thing about our society that no, I haven't faced mortal danger yet. That doesn't weaken my argument. Next, tell me who these "bad people" are. I agree there are very bad people in the world; I bet we could agree on some and disagree on others. This again does not weaken my argument.

I considered possible backlash when I started this blog. Then I figured: "I'm a programmer, my results will speak for themselves. And besides, I wouldn't want to program for a company that cares what I think about the military." There's enough material on this blog to paint me as insane; I don't mind.
Amaroq December 14, 2009 04:32:41 AM You use Ghandi a lot. And I recently realized that there's a flaw in arguments that tout him as the ultimate end to violence.

Ghandi was dealing with the British, a relatively civilized society. The people we deal with aren't always civilized enough to feel guilty about hurting non-violent people.
Jach December 14, 2009 06:06:42 AM Amaroq, humans are humans. Don't demonize them. And learn to spell Gandhi correctly.
Amaroq December 14, 2009 07:36:31 AM Gandhi. My mistake.

Have you forgotten about the Crusades and Manifest Destiny? A group of humans swept westward, slaying any non-believing humans in their path.

I don't demonize humans. But I recognize the reality that, brought up with a strong enough belief in the right (or rather, wrong) religion, any human can commit a number of atrocities against other humans.

Deeply-religious people with the right motivation would slaughter a hundred courageous, non-violent Gandhis.

Religion is just one of the justifications people can use to commit violence against each other. If someone believes that the atrocious acts they are committing are justified by their beliefs, non-violence won't stop them.

Do you remember, not long after 9/11, when that journalist was captured by Al Qaeda? He was decapitated in front of a camera, and a video of the decapitation released for America to see. The terrorists restrained him, took out a knife, and proceeded to saw back and forth, across his throat, until his head had been sawn off enough for them to pull it away from his body, holding it up by his hair. There were bloodcurdling screams the whole time, until they cut far enough in. (I watched the actual video before it was suppressed for how gruesome it was. It made me sick.)

Any man capable of that would not hesitate to do the exact same thing to a Gandhi. Do you honestly think that if that journalist had stood up proudly to those people, his fate would have been any different?
Jach December 14, 2009 07:47:33 AM Israel is east of Europe; learn your geography.

I'm not deluded to think that non-violence will save someone in all cases, and I HOPE you're not deluded to think violent striking back will save someone either. But I give greater probability to the former, and in a war, there will be much loss and sorrow either way you go. But if you go the non-violent route, I'm confident there will be less sorrow on BOTH sides, and a peaceful end can be made.

A sociopath can kill many without thought, and he can order others to kill many without thought. Most humans aren't sociopaths, and in the end their sense of justice will win over. Fighting back only incites their anger and gives them reason to keep on attacking.

Do you honestly think that if that journalist had attacked them, his fate would have been any different?
Amaroq December 14, 2009 09:18:28 AM I don't know the circumstances of the journalist's capture. I don't know whether he surrendered or fought to escape before he was captured.

Careful of your choice of words though. I don't suggest he should have attacked them. But he should have fought tooth and nail against them when they attacked him and captured him. He was slaughtered in cold blood in the end anyway. Fighting would have increased his chance of escape, or at minimum, made the terrorists' jobs more difficult as one last act of defiance before he went. He would have died with the pride of knowing he didn't give up his life willingly.

Sociopaths do exist. Certain religions, by design, produce them. Muslim children are told that Americans are demons who drink the blood of Muslims. There are commercials on Arab television that depict fat business men with pudgy cheeks and evil looking eyes, talking about how smooth and soothing coca-cola is because of the arab blood they've mixed into it. These children grow up believing that Americans are satanic beasts, and therefore they will have no qualms about killing Americans, even if they have to sacrifice themselves to do it.

That's on top of the fact that their religion preaches that they are supposed to take over the world and spread Islam globally.

When a sociopath attacks you, non-violent resistance can't stop him. You do admit that non-violence can't save you in all cases, and I admit that retaliatory force can't save you in all cases either. But I think that using force in defense is more likely to keep you alive than non-violence is.
Jach December 14, 2009 12:51:45 PM A satanic beast would like to talk to you about Islam. Other satanic beasts would like to talk to you about other religions. As for me, it's my opinion you shame atheism.

You're trying to equate two completely separate situations. The first is when you actually have a choice to fight back or not. The second is when you don't have a choice. The journalist falls under the second.

I think you either don't know what a sociopath is or you highly overestimate the percentage of them, let alone the ones who feel like doing harm.

When you fight back, you only anger the other party further, and you lose control yourself. That does not help your chances, especially when it's not 1-on-1. Martial arts falls under a different category of violence than what you suggest, because with martial arts goes a lot of teaching that you shouldn't ever have to use it. They're just a bit more forgiving than I am about situations where violence is allowed, and against sociopaths I'd probably concede. Most violent people aren't sociopaths, however.
Jach December 24, 2009 11:56:36 PM Fun link:
Jach December 29, 2009 10:28:01 PM Another fun link, aimed at the commenters above as well as people in general.
Airborne Infantry December 29, 2009 11:12:11 PM Let's dissect this commentary and approach it rationally and not from an attitude of hate which is probably what you want from us poor ignorant soldiers. I am retired military, I served in the Army for 22 years as an infantryman and I am proud of that.
First of all I did not give you the day off, that was an act of Congress, I see no reason for you to have the day off and we are probably talking High School if I am correct. One of the good things about this country is you can believe, and in fact state you views on any number of subjects. I became a soldier not to please but to help protect this country and the freedom I have been blessed with.
Albert Einstein -- Instrumental in the formation of the Manhattan Project, as evidenced by his 1939 letter to President Roosevelt ; one of the developers of the atomic bomb, the ultimate weapon of war.
"Soldiers aren't cowards; it takes courage to do what they do!"
No not just anyone can fire a rifle otherwise you would be doing it. It is one thing to fire a rifle; it is another thing to fire a rifle when someone else is firing back at you. The Milgram experiment proved you can sit in a room and push a button; it says nothing about assaulting an enemy position under fire. To get up from behind the safety of a wall while somebody is shooting at you, to keep on moving when you buddy's chest explodes; the Milgram experiment doesn't cover that. It took courage to get out of the landing craft at D-Day, it took courage not to run at the Alamo, it took courage for Pickett's 15,000 men to march towards Union lines under withering enemy fire. It doesn't take courage to find an excuse to justify your actions (I couldn't find my boots). I doubt you would have done it, whatever excuse you would have come up with. And soldiers do realize the consequences of their actions, as they are the ones that attend the funerals of their fallen comrades, there is not a more sobering event standing there listening to a lone bugler playing taps. And yet they go back to their jobs and do it again, not because they are mindless automatons but because of their faith and convictions.
So when someone punches you one time and you don't do anything and they realize that, kind of like a bully and they go to punch you again. What do you do then? The Amish and the Quakers have convictions and I support them for them beliefs, but again you don't see them at the antiwar demonstrations either; their beliefs are their beliefs and they don't try to impose them on other people. Humans have been waging war since they evolved into societies and evolved from individual combat into armed conflict. We may stop fighting in time, but is not going to happen in your lifetime or the foreseeable future. So as long as one side is willing to use physical violence and the other side doesn't that is where you get those lost civilizations.
"They believe they're fighting for their country!"
Sounds like you took a poll, how do you know what they do or do not believe in. Who are you to question their motives? How do you know you are not deluded?
Between 1992 you have the first attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the Khobar Towers, and the two embassy attacks. Since the attack on the World Trade Center how many successful attacks have you had, how many have been uncovered. Let's attack Spain, they don't fight back as hard, maybe that's what the terrorists were thinking or let's attack the subway in London. But they haven't come back here yet. The plots that were uncovered were pretty stupid and amateur. Maybe that means the terrorist leadership is off balance or crippled. For your information the soldiers in Germany have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan several times. It is called a forward operating base.
"They're in the army to better themselves physically and mentally!"
This one is kind of ridiculous. Equating military service with playing a game of football is pretty weak. And I don't understand why you like football, doesn't that help to perpetuate the violence. Look at all those people running into each other and yelling. People join the military for a variety of reasons, job training (not everything in the military has to do with war, we have X-ray technicians) money for school, a belief in service to country, and some people just want something challenging. What is this with the missile programmer, they come programmed from the manufacturer, all they have to do is punch in a location coordinate, a monkey could do that. This shows how much you actually know about the military.
"Not everyone involved in the military is bad. What about those who work behind the scenes, programming missiles and creating technology to better equip the infantry?"

Again with the missile programmers. And about the bomb, refer back to your hero from the first quote, Albert. I don't think he makes the Japanese short list for famous scientists.
"You at least owe the past soldiers your freedom and everything else!"
That someone stood up to the British in the first place with military force in the first place, that is the reason you are here. You say eventually we would have gotten our freedom. Like India in 1947 perhaps, and yes Ghandi used nonviolence but if you don't think several thousand people lost their lives in that transformation you are sadly mistaken. How many more years would you have been willing to tolerate slavery? Ten, fifty at what cost, the Civil war is the only reason it didn't take another 50 or 100 years.
"Yeah, nothing says 'courageous' like hiding behind computer screens and bashing soldiers who are actually out there fighting. It's easy for you to say, snug at home and not facing life-or-death scenarios."
Life and death situations are normally where a person gets to display their courage, or lack thereof. Life or death is not a mandatory requirement for courage, as there are a lot of decisions that require moral courage. But when you throw in the life or death it kind of separates the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

"If you really are for peace, you cannot also be for soldiers. You can be for the lives of soldiers as humans, but not as soldiers". Referring back to this argument that you made in the second paragraph I would think that the act of murder is evil therefore the murderer is evil.
Bottom line; you don't like soldiers, you don't like what they do and this is your justification for not being one. That is your choice, nobody asked you to be one.
Jach December 30, 2009 06:46:36 AM Airborne Infantry: Thank you, sincerely, for your thought-out comment. You have indeed given me things to think about, and I'll now attempt a counter-argument because at the moment I still disagree. For information (available on my About page linked at the top of this blog): I'm in college right now, and lots of people usually get veterans day off. I thank the military tongue-in-cheek like, as I really can't thank them for much else. (Lots of neat technology--like the internet--has been invented with military interests, but I suspect it would have come around without that.)

I offer this link to you to understand Einstein's role in the creation of the atomic bomb and how minimal it really was:

The freedom the USA has is indeed to be admired. (But it could definitely be freer.) Democracy/republics existed before the USA, but I admit my knowledge of history here fails to remind me if any of those governments came about in a less-violent fashion than the US's.

My little quotes in bold in the main post are really things that have been said to me in the past (I'm likely paraphrasing, but still), it's nice to know you at least don't agree in all their foundations.

Anyone can fire a rifle. I own one, and a shotgun. I have no problem with hunting, except in the cases when done for pure sport and for most cases of eradication. (The near-extermination of the wolves is very saddening.)

You offer up truly terrible events as examples of the courage of soldiers? I'd sooner equate such actions with madness. The fact that it is so easy for humans to do what you say I could not--be the first to be mowed down by machine gun fire, watching friends die around you as you rush to most-certain doom, feeling yourself slowly dying as toxic gas fills your system--implies that such actions are not courageous. The label of courage should be restricted to, if not rarer, at least more difficult acts than that. As you've said, humans have been killing each other since forever. It's an easy thing to do, hardly worthy of being called courageous.

I agree that it's not courageous to offer the excuse of "I couldn't find my boots" to try and avoid marching into battle. You know what you got yourself into (hopefully), you made a promise to die for your country regardless of why or how, so go fulfill it. If you're truly against it, use your brain and argue why, or blatantly refuse even if it means you'll get shot by your own commander. As for me, I wouldn't be in the military in the first place. But thanks to the desensitizing of violence by modern media (movies, t.v., video games), I think I could withstand watching buddies being blown up around me without succumbing to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (whose very existence and frequency in soldiers suggests such brutal war isn't natural to humans). I would definitely be very saddened. Honestly, I don't know if I'm strong enough yet to hold on to non-violence principals if a certain few of my friends were to be killed in front of me, but that's a fact about my current state of mind, not a fact about non-violence's success. (If my friends are being killed around me, I probably don't have much hope either, and my strategy--violent or non-violent--probably wouldn't matter. If I die non-violently, then I die knowing I didn't succumb to that darkness and that anger in me. If I die, taking several with me, I would have died a coward and a murderer. There's nothing to be proud of by killing people to save your own skin, much less by killing people when you die in the end.)

Soldiers don't fully realize the consequences of their actions, and I shall demonstrate with a simple question: did you ever go to the funeral of an enemy combatant? If the answer is yes, and you are not a minority, I will be truly surprised.

I realize most soldiers are sobered by death after-the-fact. We as humans don't want to die, we don't like death around us, and if you ask most people (even soldiers), they'll agree that violence is bad and, if pressed further, will often say it should only be used as a last resort or in self-defense. The cowardice is when people DON'T use it as a last resort--for those people who do, I have to respect at least partially. Common soldiers do not fall under that category I'm afraid. Going back to do it again shows the cowardice and, frankly, the irrationality of soldiers. If death is bad, why do you cause more death? I would argue that many soldiers are deluded unfairly by those higher in command, and that those people are far more evil than soldiers ever could be.

If someone punches me, I don't "do nothing". I ask why, I ask them to stop, I'll seek a more peaceful resolution to the problem such as the courts/higher powers (though arguably that's just a "civilized" form of violence, and I'd try many other things first). In short, I treat them like a human, and I don't cringe from them in fear nor do I provoke them further by hitting back. I know the stories of people hitting back and winning, showing their dominance as the Alpha, and aren't troubled again. But those I think are rarities, if you disagree then we shall have to find a study.

The Romans used violence, and yet they're arguably a "lost civilization." Could you be clearer on that? It seems like you're implying that only non-violent solutions lead to a complete elimination of a culture, when I'm not aware of any and know plenty of violent cases.

On to a more serious error in your thinking: respecting people's beliefs (and not imposing your own onto others). Since you used the word faith earlier I'd assume you're a Christian, but feel free to correct me. This is getting on a different line of argument, but essentially: your rationality is my business. I have an interest in my future, and in the future of humanity, and one of my desires is to strengthen the pursuit of truth and other good things (like non-violence) in the current generation, whether or not my final goals come to pass in the end. The saying is "we are all players on the vast gameboard of life whether we accept the responsibility or not."

People with faulty beliefs aren't to be respected or admired for them, they're to be corrected. It is the only way for humanity to progress: look around you, nearly everything is a product of human intelligence, and that intelligence has not always been allowed to flourish, and people have not long had the desire to find the truth with such intensity as late. We've only had Science for about 500 years.

Back to the topic: humans have indeed been fighting for ages, that doesn't make it good or desirable. That is an argument that it's part of our nature, but as history has shown it's one part of our nature we have means of control over. I'm saddened you don't think an end to violence will come to pass in my life time, for I expect it to. (I also expect to live well beyond 200 years, so I might get it on a technicality...) At the very least you could bet more wars will be fought with machines, though I've heard very strong arguments the next world war (should there be one) is going to be a war of economies and the US cannot possibly hope to win.

I didn't take a poll, but the "fighting for the country" is a typical reason for fighting I've heard time and again. You ask how I know I'm not deluded: deluded with respect to what? I try to check myself, if you have suggestions of where I'm deluded please put them forth. I seek to better myself.

Few notable attacks have occurred on US soil in the entire history of the country. We're happily surrounded by two great bodies of water which make it inefficient for foreign nations to even try, we also carry a big stick. I don't claim to be an expert on why they haven't "come back here", and there are other arguments than the one I'm going to give, but here it is. Whether the trade centers collapsed or not, the very act of flying a plane into them would have garnered the response the extremists desired. And now look at things, and tell me the US is winning. The extremist movements have grown, more horrendous acts are being committed, more lives of soldiers have been lost than lives of civilians on 9/11, the economy is in trouble, and the world-at-large generally disrespects the US.

Your information of the German troops actually being useful is well-received. I still suspect other motives than that, though. But then again the US has bases everywhere.

Again, the argument of soldiers bettering themselves mentally and physically has been put forth. I don't like football, but not because it perpetuates violence. If I had my way and no one went to war anymore, I wouldn't also expect violent video games to go away or martial arts. Call that contradictory if you will, it's worth thinking about (for me anyway) and perhaps later I'll do a blog post about it. But I do think that what physical benefits you can get from the military are better received in sports and in other forms of physical training.

Using the military to help with job training and school is like selling crack to kids to help feed your family. I have to put more blame on the systems for those things, but those such victims of the government (yes, soldiers joining for job training and schooling are victims--they should be able to get it without such) are still responsible for their actions.

I understand there aren't programmers who, upon launching a missile, guide it into the target in some video-game-like interface. By missile programmers I refer to those programmers who write the software for the companies contracted by the government, knowing full well that their software is going to be used to help blow people up and for no other purpose. Some people sadly have to join such companies to pay the bills, they're in the same group as the soldiers joining the military for schooling.

How many Japanese people would I have to find for you who respect Albert Einstein to change your mind on that?

"That someone stood up to the British in the first place with military force in the first place, that is the reason you are here."

No. The reason I am here is because my parents had sex, and their parents had sex, and so on. The reason this country exists for me to be in can be attributed to the Founding Fathers (whom I greatly respect in many ways, and also denounce in others (e.g. Jefferson had slaves)), but don't try to claim it was the soldiers whose violent ways directly influenced my being here. The US is not the only free country, was not the first free country, and isn't going to be the last free country despite what some books' plots go off of. You at least agree that we probably would have eventually gotten our freedom.

When asked whether he thought non-violence could work against someone like Hitler, Gandhi replied (paraphrasing since I couldn't find a quote): "Yes. But not without defeats, and much sorrow. But are there no defeats in war? No sorrow?" I understand that non-violence does not mean everyone lives. What others must learn to understand is that the opposing side aren't demons and deserve to live as much as you, and in the end non-violence will result in less casualties on both sides.

Your use of the Civil War is somewhat ironic. The blacks weren't really freed after "slavery" was no longer permitted; they were still treated as less than human. You can thank the Civil Rights movement (which was done non-violently, Martin Luther King Jr. being inspired by Gandhi) for a more thorough liberation, I think. Maybe I should start using civil disobedience when talking about non-violence in use against governments, since that has more obvious support than non-violence used against individuals.

I disagree with you that life and death situations are great indicators of someone's courage. We're all programmed to fear death, I think I'd find it more indicating of how someone handles that fear.

Murder is evil, and the murderer can be evil for that and other reasons, but remember he or she is still human. If all murderers were inherently evil, from the fact that they murdered alone, I'd have to call a great many people evil who really aren't. (I don't consider people who murder by accident evil solely because they did such an evil act.) Sure murderers should not be congratulated for the act, they certainly did "an evil act", but it depends how and why they murdered along with other factors before you can declare them "evil". (And evil people are still people.) "Good" and "Evil" aren't binary switches that you go from instantly depending on your actions, regardless what demonizing people and many fantasy books would like you to believe.

Your bottom line is correct, but this is not just my justification for not being one. It's a justification for why no one should be one. Eventually I'll provide even better arguments, but this was mainly a reply to the bolded quotes I've heard too often.

As for it being my choice, tell that to the people who were drafted but couldn't see a way out of it. My uncle, however, starved himself to hospitalization so he would be declared legally unfit to serve. That's courage. (My now-dead grandfather who served as a spy in the Korean War was not pleased.) If you think no-one asks me or anyone else to be a soldier, I think you should look just a little more closely at the government. Their propaganda is everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by, I truly hope you return to read my reply. It's nice to know people like you exist who are willing to give a structured argument to something as offensive as my blog post.
Jach March 23, 2013 07:13:03 PM See, this is why I don't delete stuff I put on my blog. It is interesting for me to look back on thoughts of my prior self, and see how they might have changed. And again, if an employer reads stuff of mine from 2009 and dismisses me immediately, before even asking if my view has changed, I don't want to work for that employer. My view on the military has changed in the last few years. What particularly has changed? Let's start with what's the same:

I still think people who enter or have entered the US service any time since post-WW2, with the possible exception (I'm not so sure) of the Korean War, as man-to-man combat troops, have morally shaky foundations. This is borne out by my own experiences with veterans, who are generally fine people I like talking with, but if I were religious, I wouldn't want them leading my church.

I have increased respect for those who have entered non-combat positions or interface commercially through the military-industrial complex. Not a lot of respect, but not negative or 0 respect. They have a lot of faults in them too, but the benefit outweighs those in their case, I think. Such positions including designing new weapons, building and operating drones, positions involved in cyber-defense and cyber-warfare, and others.

Why? These people are making it less and less necessary to have the existence of the former people. Drones replace infantry, cyberwar replaces traditional war, developing massively destructive weaponry brings us to a steady, supremely peaceful, MAD state of the world. We are in an era of unprecedented peace between the world's powers--in previous eras of long peace, such as Augustus' golden age, it was achieved through military dominance such that there were no other nations near the power of Rome. In modern times, both Russia and China could give the US a run for its money militarily, especially since they have equally destructive weaponry. In previous times, we'd be constantly fighting each other for territory. Now, we're largely at peace due to necessity. The people within the military-industrial complex who keep this peace alive ought to be honored.

In other words, while I agree to the truism that "if no one programmed the missiles, there would be no missiles," I no longer think there ought not be missiles. Missiles save lives.

I am still of the opinion that the US has not had a justified war, with the possible exception of the Korean War (it's on my list of things to study in detail), since WW2. I am a firm believer in personal responsibility--this means not taking part in monkey dances. Non-violent non-cooperation is a way to avoid that, at the risk of becoming like prey to the aggressors; violent warfare is a way to dominate it. (However, I think that in our modern age, it ought to be permissible to engage in 1-on-1 monkey dances--that is, one can consciously join the monkey dance when it is initiated upon you, and use the force of the law later to punish the initiator--this is just self-defense, as it is meant to be.) Another aspect of my belief in personal responsibility is that I detest the idea of "trigger phrases", words or concepts that trigger uncontrollable emotions and can "make" one violent. If you do not take personal responsibility for your own emotions, for your own mind, you are more worthless to me morally than the infantryman. (You should still sign up for cryonics, though.)

I still do not owe my existence to any dead figure in the past. But I no longer respect the founding fathers all that much.

"I support some ends war has brought about, but I do not support the means." was not thought out in detail. The ends are immutably linked with the means, something even Gandhi understood. So if I disagree with the means, I would have to find out a different fork of means that is chained to the same ends. This is complicated, and people still debate over whether Gandhi's alternate means of non-violent non-cooperation was itself sufficient to free India. One could just as easily see India as part of the 20th century trend of destroying monarchies and getting rid of colonies.

The US was in a better position in 2000 than in 2013. Security-wise, innovation-capable-wise, and so on. Overall better. But the US was better in 1950 than in 2000. If we could take all our modern tech and return to 1950, it would be a better place to live.

There is one use where I think infantry can have a useful and moral contribution in this country right now: enacting martial law in the cities or segments of cities that need it. Ideally, anyone "killed" would be sent to a cryonics facility, but the lack this country has of a master of life and death of the citizens is part of the reason we are weak.
Anonymous November 19, 2016 09:58:47 AM They're all self entitled and try to act like they were rambo, that they are so important for serving America. I used to live in a facility with these assholes and all they'd do is wine about stupid shit and resort to petty gossip. Lani, the most particularly annoying one would freak out whenever food was donated to the facility and try to monitor it like a hawk, claiming it was only for the vets. Seriously, sometimes even the crazy nut jobs there were easier to put up with than these guys. It's just stupid and barbaric that they go to these wars and support killing people and then are somehow claimed heroes.. I was getting annoyed with their self entitlement and how they acted as though only they belonged there.. It got old after a while always having organizations and news teams come in to talk about how great it was these lowlifes had found housing.. If that's the one thing you have to be proud of in your life, serving in the military, you need to set your priorities straight..
Back to the first comment

Comment using the form below

(Only if you want to be notified of further responses, never displayed.)

Your Comment:

LaTeX allowed in comments, use $$\$\$...\$\$$$ to wrap inline and $$[math]...[/math]$$ to wrap blocks.