Can We Change Everyone in the Military?

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by Christian Light

Recently by Christian Light: A Collection of Thoughts

     

About a month ago I decided to message one of my buddies on Facebook I haven't talked to in about a year. All I said was "Hey what's up man?" This is was his response.

"I get out of the marine corps in 3 months, and guess what? I did 4 years! And went to Afghanistan! Got my combat action ribbon. You bailed outta the chair force while being stationed in Germany. Must have been some rough times over there. Hahah not! Don’t ever add me again! You’re worthless! Enjoy working Au chicken express doing nothing with your life. Tell that fat f**k bill I said what’s up. NOT!!"

I was pretty surprised to receive this message back. He and I had not talked in almost a year before I sent him a message that day. It's not that we hadn't talked that long out of spite, it's just because he was in the Marines and stationed in California and I was in Germany. We went our separate ways but we were still friends as far as I knew. I was also curious how he knew I was out because none of my buddies had talked to him in a while and none told him I was out. I think the only way he knew was a post I posted on Facebook saying I was happy to be out. I was perplexed also because when I went to message him it said we were no longer friends. Maybe this should have been foreshadowing to what he was about to send me. When I talked to him a year ago he seemed cool and said he still wanted to hang out again when we were both out of the military. Getting that message really shocked me. I'd never seen him ever act like this. We were always so cool with each other. I wouldn't say we were best friends but we were certainly good friends. We used to go fishing all the time, hang out, drink, party, and look for trouble pretty much. We were typical bored teenage guys. We even worked together at the same job.

Before I graduated me and two of my friends decided we would all join the military. One of my buddies joined the Army, I joined the Air Force, and the one who I messaged joined the Marines. We all had different reasons for joining the branch we did, but ALL of us wanted combat jobs. My goal was to get eye surgery and cross train into Air Force Special Ops, my Marine "friend" is infantry, and my Army friend is infantry. All of us wanted to go to Afghanistan. That's all we could talk about was joining and getting over there to fight terrorists and defend our country. Oh, how naïve we were.

This brings me to a point I'd like to bring up. The hardcore people in the military like and want the wars. When I say hardcore I mean people that joined specifically to have combat roles and go deploy. Other people in the military could usually care less. They see deployments as just extra money. They just see the military as a job and nothing else. However, there is a "sect" I guess you could say, that wants war and combat. They see going into combat and serving next to your buddy as the bravest and noblest thing a man can do. My buddies and I all thought like this. We couldn't wait to get over to Afghanistan and get into "the s**t" as the military calls it.

This "sect" loves killing, war, adrenaline, and (the idea of) combat. They don't just want the wars. They would love it if the wars never ended. They like the perpetual drama of war. In fact I was worried that by the time I was in the military we would be out of Afghanistan. I was afraid I'd never get to see combat. Did you happen to catch how proud my friend was that he was sent to Afghanistan and received his "combat action ribbon?" They see the fact that America has been in so many wars in the 20th century as a good thing. They are the ones who think anyone who advocates peace is just a stupid hippy and that anti-war people are just ignorant and oblivious to how the world really is. Surely countries need our military and troops to make things safe for the world! Imagine what would happen if the U.S. withdrew from all these foreign countries! My God! Chaos would ensue! When you bring up the possibility of peace or that war kills so many innocent civilians they just shrug it off. The typical response is "well that's just how things are in the world. We're never going to end war and people are always gonna die and kill each other." No matter that our drones kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Those who love the wars don't put themselves in other people's shoes. They don't think from their perspective. If you bring this up and say "Well Hey! What if it was your family that just got drone bombed and killed?!" They might respond "I'd be upset but at least I'd know that they were only trying to protect and help us" or they might say "well that's just what happens in war. They will probably dodge the question. They don't want to admit that if that happened to their family they would be insanely irate and want to kill the people that killed his family. Surely those whose families get drone bombed in foreign countries don't get mad and want to kill Americans, they know that that America was just trying to protect and help them. It's just a mistake. This is the thinking of those who like the wars. How do I know this? Because it is exactly what I thought and other guys who had similar views to me thought. Anyone who deviated from this was just a stupid anti-war hippy liberal who didn't understand how dangerous the world is. We had to be the people to stand up and protect them. These are the people that will always try to rub it in anti-war people's faces and say "I fought for your right to say that." Yep, sure you did. Keep telling yourself that buddy.

I proceeded to respond to my friend. I do not want to post my response because it does contain personal information that I would prefer not everyone to know. However, I did bring up how we weren't defending the constitution and that I no longer felt compelled to serve knowing that the government wasn't upholding their end of the bargain (obeying the constitution). I will say that I was very respectful, tactful, and polite in my response. I did not use expletives or curse at him directly. This was his response

"You got kicked out cause you couldn’t hack it man. Yeah I remember that document you weak b***h. I have had the best friends of my life get killed protecting that f**kin document. You should have been thrown into the brig because of the weak s**t you pulled! You’re not fit to be in the military because you’re a weak minded f**k! I wouldn’t give you benefits if my f**kin life depended on it! You’ll quit every job that gets thrown your way. Tell your economics students how you couldn’t hack it in the chair force"

It pains me just to read this and copy and paste into this document. The anger and spite in this message is overwhelming. Especially since it is coming from someone who I thought was one of my good friends. I'm positive he was drunk when he wrote these. It doesn't matter though. If he really didn't mean what he wrote me when he was drunk then he would have talked to me the next day and apologized. He did not apologize. I do feel sorry for him. I know he is going through a hard time. Some of his friends died in an IED attack while he was in Afghanistan. He probably doesn't know what to do and just took it out on me because I was an easy target. It still doesn't make what he did okay. I would have a hard time accepting his apology if he ever asked me. Needless to say we are no longer friends. Maybe we can't change all their minds. What I've noticed about military members is that some are receptive to the idea of peace and contemplate it, like I did. Others, however, radicalize their pro-military beliefs and grow even stronger in them. They become even more pro-war and pro-violence than they were before. I believe this is what happened to my (former) friend. I didn't respond after this message. I did not want to argue anymore. It was only upsetting me.

I was particularly enraged after reading Laurence Vance's recent article "Do Soldiers Imitate Christ". What this Michael Milton character was spouting out of his mouth was absolutely ridiculous. "Veterans Day is a holy day, at least for me" said Milton. A Holy Day? Is this man serious? You know, maybe we should have Veterans Day. I have no problem remembering those who have died, but let us also reflect on this day how many people died in pointless and needless wars. How come nobody discusses that on Veterans Day? I purposely did not attend church on Veterans Day this year. I didn't know what they had planned but I'm sure whatever it was would have my stomach churning. I was scared I might stand up and get angry like Jesus did with the money changers in the market, that I would yell at them and chastise them for worshipping something so unholy and as un-Christian as the U.S. military. So I didn't attend. I go to church to worship God, not to worship the military and the state. If I wanted to worship the military and the state I'd pick up a couple issues of National Review and read my heart out. When I deliver pizzas I drive by the local Methodist church in my town. The sign on the outside of the church says "Thank a veteran for your freedom." I just shake my head every time I see it. Don't try and thank me "for your freedom" because you'll be sure to get a lesson in reality!

Some positive things have happened lately however. My Dad returned from Afghanistan yesterday and I, my Mom, and my sister are all extremely happy that he made it home safe and sound. Some of his buddies weren't so lucky. The other day a sergeant I used to work with in the military sent me a message on Facebook. He said he wanted to know how I was separated from the military because he no longer wanted to be in. I knew he was a Ron Paul fan before I got out but I guess it's gotten so bad he can't take it anymore. He is going to try and separate like I did. I wish him luck. Standing up against your chain of command is a hard thing to do and very brave. I was extremely scared of what would happen to me when I eventually started telling my superiors I no longer wanted to serve in the military. It's a scary path and I'm glad to be out.

Maybe we can't convince everyone in the military that peace and non-violence are the way to a peaceful society. We are convincing many though. I knew plenty of Ron Paul supporters when I was in the Air Force. Even my buddy in the Army is starting to see the military and government for what it really is. He's stated to me multiple times that if the government ever started turning on its own people he wouldn't participate. He has friends he works with that feel the same way and I've had friends I used to work with in the Air Force espouse the same thing. Slowly but surely freedom is winning and statism is losing.

Christian Light [send him mail] is a former Air Force Security Forces Airman. After joining the military he became disillusioned and became a Ron Paul minarchist, eventually gravitating and becoming a Rothbardian Anarcho-capitalist. He currently lives in Texas and is aspiring to be an economics professor.

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