Note: Yes, I know this is an emotionally charged topic. And a lot of people that may read this will be offended. At least try to get through the article before exploding.
“Support the Troops!” “Be Patriotic!” “Stand Behind Our Soldiers!” Ever hear these statements aimed at you right around this time? It’s that time again, that time of the year that terrorists crashed some planes into buildings that thousands of people subsequently died in. There’s no denying that this was a truly horrible event and that those that lost their lives, either in the attack, or trying to save the survivors, deserve to be remembered, not just at this time, but in memoriam forever on. The firefighters, the police officers, the paramedics, the National Guard, many of them did their jobs, that being the very last thing some of them did, all in the service of others. And I want to make it clear that I in no way, shape or form wish to besmirch any of the valiant efforts they made in their duty of being first responders.
“The Troops” however, the armed forced of the United States, is a slightly different matter. I, as any sane person, am happy that the country I live in has a strong military that can defend us from just about any attack, manned by very loyal people that have signed themselves to the service of our country. That said, the reality is that the military has turned into another micro-religion. I don’t believe I’ve talked about it in this form, but with the recent fall of religion as a deity based organization, many people reach for other, smaller, more worldly religions, whether they recognize them as religions or not; the point being that the military is merely one of them, usually closely tied to patriotism. I say religion, rather than ideology. The reason being that, in my opinion: an ideology only really becomes a religion once it starts persecuting non-believers. You see this all the time is highly religious societies: Don’t believe in God? You must be the Anti-Christ!
Now what happens when you express any doubt about the U.S. military and how it’s used? How “unpatriotic” and “freedom hating” will you be labelled as? Hell, how much did you react just at the title of this article? I’d imagine, just as the reaction I got from my “I was wrong about Donald Trump” article “How you are being lied to” article, many people reading this will have that same kind of knee jerk reaction of emotions to defend the military they were told is super virtuous and vital for their defense of freedoms and very lives.
But are they?
To be fair, armies do have to go on the attack at times to preserve their lands; preemptive attacks are sometimes necessary. How many of these has the U.S. been involved in since the 20th century? Aside from 9/11, along with the infamous Pearl Harbor attack, there has been next to no real attacks on U.S. soil in the last hundred years. Both world wars were wars we exported death and destruction in the forms of our troops. The subsequent cacophony of fights under the umbrella of the Cold War were fights held overseas, the closest coming to the U.S. being the Cuban Missile Crisis. In modern times, talking about the Iraq war, the Gulf war, the still-ongoing at the time of this writing Afganistan War, all of these are combat fought in an away game. Meaning that, in most cases, most, if not all, of these conflicts are in no way, shape or form in defense of the U.S. as a country.
The case has been made before: We’re surrounded by vast oceans from the east and west, by friendly neighbors to the north and south. Random missiles from North Korea notwithstanding, the U.S. has very little to fear. Sure, we have other interests aside from defense of the home land, but that’s not necessarily a defense measure we take, but a rather aggressive one. The vast majority of our military expenditures are held in other countries, many of whom pose no threat to the U.S., and sometimes suffer immensely at their hands.
The U.S. Military is no longer the stalwart line that insulates us from the destructive forces that wish to destroy us. Rather, they have been the instruments used to stir up the forces that wish to destroy us, and have been for the good part of the last 20 years. They have been used at the front line pawns of force to push forward the agendas of those in power , and we’ve had countless examples or what that entails for the past 40 plus years now, starting famously from the coverage of the Vietnam War, and more to the point of this article, the ongoing conflicts sparked by the terror attacks on 9/11.. We have evidence of what the military is truly utilized for in this time. We, for the most part, now know the cost of the military upon the remainder of society, not just the national guard, but the cost of operating 700+ bases around the world, the cost of funding soldiers to operate in active war zones, the R&D costs, the unfathomable toll of physical and mental anguish of veterans of combat, etc.
The U.S. Military, in short, is no longer the benevolent force of defense it once was. Rather, it’s an instrument of attack. And the information is now out, as it has been for the past few decades, to demonstrate so. This is why I no longer support the troops. I used to, for the longest time, I even wanted to join them, for much of my childhood in fact. But after reviewing the facts, after looking at what the military is used for, it’s hard for anyone who wants peace and reasonable defense to support this, in my humble opinion.
And that extends to anyone still signing up for “service” today. By now, the information is out there. By now, we don’t just have commercials of Marines climbing mountains and Air Force pilots flying humanitarian missions; we have footage, sometimes raw, of what soldiers are forced to do at command. We have stories of what damage is done, not in defense of us, but for the profit of others. We’ve had decades of information that has revealed the true nature of our military today, how much it costs us, and the destruction it wields not only upon others, but on our own economy. By now, anyone stepping into that recruitment office has access to the information of what the military has become, if they’re not intimately familiar with it to begin with. Maybe, in the past, being a soldier was an honorable occupation. That’s no longer the case, not today, and we as a society now know that, including those now in the military.
So what does that mean for those walking into the recruiting offices, or those renewing their contracts? To use a not too far off analogy, we now know of the brain damage that playing professional football does on average, in the same way that we now know what damage certain drugs do to us that we didn’t know before. In both of those cases, we can understand and even forgive those that partook in that sport or said drugs because they didn’t have that information prior to this. Now, if someone signs up to be a linebacker in the NFL, they know what they’re in for, and therefore are more responsible for the outcome of their actions. And, much as it pains me to say, it is time for those signing up for military service to be held up to that same standard. To not do so would be to deny them their autonomy, their ability to make intelligent decisions based on current information, at least before they become property of the government. If you’re signing up for service, I submit, you can no longer claim any innocence of your actions, that “you didn’t know you might have to hurt people”; you know what you’re getting yourself into, and what you will be forced to stand for, whether it’s wrapped in the flag of patriotism or not.
Maybe that makes me an evil person to say so (you know, because literally everything else doesn’t do just that). But unless the Army itself has started recruiting stupid people that can’t figure this out, that means anyone that’s currently enrolling in the armed services does so knowing what they will likely be asked to do in the name of their country. Why continue to support this? The reason we’re remembering this very macabre holiday, so to speak, is because of a guy our own military trained to do the exact thing that caused 9/11. Several of the groups our army is fighting now are the same ones our army helped to train and arm. What kind of rational person that opposes this would then sign up to serve in the very ranks that’s forced to both serve and attack this kind of conflict?
And the last point I want to make, for now at least: what’s the reaction most people have if you even suggest you don’t “support the troops”? Do they at least ask you why you have that position, or maybe to elaborate what you mean by that? Or, as I have personally witnessed, are you told how bad of a person you are, that they or someone they know was a veteran who served our country and defended our freedoms, how dare you disrespect our fine young servicemen and women in uniform etc.? It’s been seen as a virtuous act to “Support the troops”, but there is no act that is virtuous when you’re forced to do it at gunpoint. And as I allided to earlier, the “support the troops” narrative is no longer a virtuous ideology, but yet another religion people cling to today that requires little more than blind obedience and punishes any skepticism or criticism.
We now know what the military is. We know, though part of it is in fact the defense of our country, that hasn’t been it’s function for over a century. We as a society continue to claim that we care for our veterans that come back from the horrors of war. Why, in Hell’s bloody fiery name, do we keep sending our young into it?