From a Marine sergeant who reads LRC and who is getting out of the military after eight years.
3:36 pm on August 11, 2012 Email Laurence M. Vance
When I first joined the military I was a good, George Bush conservative who wanted to serve my country. But after three deployments to the Middle East as an infantryman I came to several realizations.
First, how can I petition or demonstrate against the U.S. government for violating my freedoms here while I take those same freedoms from the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? I cannot without being a hypocrite. Regretfully, I have confiscated firearms from non-hostile Iraqis, detained Iraqis and Afghans because of baseless, unfounded suspicion, and quartered in civilian towns and, in some cases, the homes of Iraqis and Afghans. These are all human rights violations that the Founders would have resisted by force and, although neither Afghanistan nor Iraq has accepted the U.S. Constitution, we still have no business committing acts in foreign countries that are contrary to the spirit and intent of our Bill of Rights.
Second, if the Founders would have resisted these egregious acts by force then how can I blame Iraqi and Afghan insurgent forces for their resistance? That leads to the question of why we are still fighting over there. Bin Laden is dead. We are literally traveling thousands of miles now to assume a defensive posture against people who are upset (and rightfully so) that their children, wives, and mothers cannot go to the market without being frisked. They are understandably angry that we are willing to accept their families as “collateral damage” when we target them or some other alleged America-hating aggressor. The Afghan people are tired of the world trying to shove democracy—a foreign concept of freedom that they consider to be illegitimate—down their throats.
Third, I see daily evidence in the news that the U.S. government does not hold its citizens in any higher esteem than it holds the citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan. SWAT raids on non-hostiles, warrantless searches & seizures, and TSA checkpoints & grope-downs are the norm for U.S. citizens just as they are for our victims in foreign countries. The only difference being that Americans think they have more to lose if they resist. In the book of Matthew, chapter 7 Christ said, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” How can I as a follower of Christ take part in acts of which I do not want to be on the receiving end? As I said earlier, I cannot without being a hypocrite.
Fourth, as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces I took an oath upon enlistment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” and to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me.” I no longer feel that I can uphold my oath to support and defend the Constitution while obeying the orders of the President and some of my appointed leaders, so I know that it is time for me to get out.