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A 'Conscientious Objector' speaks

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Fascinating interview with a former enlisted man who obtained conscientious objector status and left the service:


    I started to see inconsistencies between how the military was talked about in such glorified ways [when I was] growing up, and then how it was acted out in training. Training was very desensitizing. We screamed slogans like, "Kill them all, let God sort them out." We watched videos with bombs being dropped on Middle Eastern villages with rock and roll music in the background. People really started to celebrate death and destruction, and that definitely didn't match up to what I'd expected. I'd told myself that I was willing to kill if necessary, but that wasn't the same as celebrating it.

    I'd be curious to know how his experience compared with that of some board members who have served. What he's talking about sounds a lot like what I read in "Generation Kill."
  2. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    The Army's mission is to fight and win the nation's wars. It's pretty cut and dry. Sometimes it isn't pretty.

    I'm certainly no defender of a lot of things that happened in Iraq, and the rules of engagement have certainly evolved in both theaters, to the point that Soldiers, both on the ground and in the air, are pretty handcuffed.

    We enjoy what we do. I enjoy watching videos of MEDEVAC helicopters do their thing. Apache pilots may enjoy watching videos of their buddies doing their thing. That involves watching rockets and bullets blow up buildings and kill bad guys. I don't. An infantryman may enjoy watching footage of people doing his job, again, videos of shit being blown up. That's what they do.

    To each his own. I'm sorry he didn't like what he found when he looked behind the curtain. But I do, warts and all. I wish him well.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Three_Bags, I always find it fascinating what effect the military has on different people. There was a guy who grew up in my neighborhood who was a hoodlum juvenile delinquent in middle school and high school. Not completely sure he graduated.

    I ran into him at a local bar a few years back. He had been to Iraq and back, and earned a Purple Heart after being shot in the leg.

    You would have thought I was speaking with a United States Senator. That's how polished and upstanding he was. Just impressive as hell.
  4. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I've seen this too - I saw a kid I knew from high school at a local bar a couple months ago, and I was honestly shocked that he wasn't in jail. He was in and out of juvenile hall throughout high school, and actually, one of his running mates from the time just got arrested for first degree murder and arson.

    But this kid got into the Navy, and while he didn't serve overseas, he got stationed down south doing repair and construction work on subs. He said he just needed to get away from the bad influences at home - family, friends - and the highly structured nature worked. Definitely cool to see, and a reminder that some people just do need the proper environment and some time to "get it."
  5. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Growing up in an Army town, I saw both sides of it. I saw soldiers who had taken to the military and were upstanding, impressive people. And I saw guys who were jackasses who it seemed like the military may have been the only career option they had, the ones who went out cruising on weekends and picked up the high school girls. It always seemed those were the younger guys, though. By the time they made it to their late 20s/early 30s, it seemed like those type of guys usually either straightened up or got out of the military.
  6. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    I have been fortunate enough to be part of the only generation since WWI who has not seen real active combat (between Vietnam and Desert Storm, and no Grenada does not count in my mind.)

    My dad is a veteran of the Korean Conflict. My uncles served as well.

    I respect the members of the armed services to the utmost, they face things that I cannot even pretend to know. (Watching Band of Brothers with my boys to let them know that War is not fun and games.)

    My problem, as an adult, is that those who have decided to pursue armed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan did not do so with the proper caution and justification. Its the same feeling I felt watching "Born on the 4th of July." In the 70's kids were socialized into thinking that there was nothing greater than serving our country and fighting to preserve what we hold dear. I still believe in that, but its disillusioning to see people die in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan for the reasons that have been put out there. That's not the same reasons that we were given during our socialization when we were most impressionable.
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    You dishonour your father by referring to the Korean War as "the Korean Conflict."

    It was a war, goddamn it - my father was there too - and it's not right when people diminish it and the people who were there by calling it a "conflict" or "police action."
  8. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    He's only calling it what the politicians called it -- including President Truman, who invented the term "police action."
    If the politicians would led the military do its job, things might be better.
    And before you bow up on me, my father was wounded in Korea.
  9. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I'm really not trying to start a fight here, but I don't care what the politicians called it. The people who were there know better. Their children should too, even if nobody else does.

    Regarding the politicians and the military, I agree with you in principle. But I also believe there would be no need for a military at all if the politicians would just quit starting all the fucking wars.
  10. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Amen to the latter. But the only thing worse than starting a war is starting one and then doing it half-assed. I forgot who said it but one rare politician during Vietnam said words to the effect: "America shouldn't start wars unless they plan on winning them." This Korea "police action," and Vietnam "quagmire" and Iraq and Afghanistan debacles -- all good examples.
  11. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    If you want me to call it a war I will. Whenever my dad and I talk, its just "Korea", we know what happened. I'm certainly not trying to diminish it by labeling it a "Conflict."
  12. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I'm sorry, I shouldn't have jumped on you for that.

    It's just always been a sore spot for my dad and it's been passed on to me.
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