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Be all you can be.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Pocket.38, Oct 6, 2005.

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  1. Pocket.38

    Pocket.38 Member

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    A Grand Adventure

    Except That it isn't




    September 18, 2005



    The Army at work. Be all you can be.

    A friend recently asked me what I would tell a young man thinking about enlisting in the military. (He had in mind his son.) I would tell him this, which I wish someone had told me:

    Kid, you are being suckered. You are being used. You need to think carefully before signing that enlistment contract.

    First, notice that the men who want to send you to die were draft-dodgers. President Bush was of military age during Vietnam, but he sat out the war in the Air National Guard. The Guard was then a common way of avoiding combat. Bush could do it because he was a rich kid who went to Yale, and his family had connections.

    He dodged, but he wants you to go.

    Vice President Cheney, also of military age during Vietnam, also didn’t go. Why? When asked by the press, he said, “I had other priorities.” In other words, he was too important to risk his precious self overseas. He dodged, but wants you to go.

    If you take the time to investigate, you will always find this pattern. The rich and influential avoid combat. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton do not send young men to Iraq. The editors at magazines that support the war, National Review for example, didn’t fight. They are happy to let you go, though. The reason for the All Volunteer military was to let the smart and rich avoid service and instead send kids from middle-class and blue-collar families. It works.

    In talking to recruiters, you need to understand what you are up against. You are probably nineteen or twenty years old, full of piss and vinegar as we used to say, just starting to know the world. Which means that you don’t yet know it. (Do you know, for example, what countries border Iraq?)

    You are up against a government that hires high-powered ad agencies and psychologists to figure out how to lure you into the military. Over many years they have done surveys and studies on the weaknesses of young males to find out what will get them to join. They know that young men, the ones that are worth anything anyway, want to prove themselves, want adventure, want to show what they can do. Everything a recruiter does is carefully calculated to play on this. They go to recruiting school to learn how.

    “The Few. The Proud.” You don’t think that came out of the Marine Corps, do you? These phrases—“An Army of One,” “Be All You Can Be"--come from ad agencies in New York. Nobody in those ad agencies, I promise you, was ever in the Marine Corps. New York sells the military the way it sells soap. It has no interest in you at all.

    Recruiters know exactly what they are doing. They are manly, which appeals to gutsy young guys who don’t want to be mall rats. They are confident. They have a physical fitness, a clean-cut appearance that looks good compared to all those wussy lawyers in business suits. They invite you to come into a man’s world. They promise you college funds. (Check and see how many actually ever get those funds. Read the small print.)

    And of course the military is a man’s world, and it is an adventure, and it does beat being a mall rat—until they put you in combat. Driving a tank beats stocking parts in the local NAPA outlet—until they put you in combat. Days on the rifle range, running the bars of San Diego far from home and parents, going across the border into Mexico—all of this appeals powerfully to a young man. It did to me. It beats hell out of getting some silly associate degree in biz-admin at the community college.

    Until they put you in combat. Then it’s too late. You can’t change your mind. They send you to jail for a long time if you do.

    Combat is not the adventure you think it is. Know what happens when an RPG hits a tank? Nothing good. The cherry juice—hydraulic fluid that turns the turret—can vaporize and then blow. I saw the results in the Naval Support Activity hospital in Danang in 1967. A tank has a crew of four. Two burned to death, screaming as they tried to get out. The other two were scalded pink, under a plastic sheet that was always foggy with serum evaporating from burns where the skin had sloughed off. They probably lived. Know what burn scars look like?

    The recruiters won’t tell you this. They know, but they won’t tell you. Ever seen a guy who just took a round through the face? He’s a bloody mess with his eyes gone, nasty hole where his nose was, funny white cartilage things sticking out of dripping meat. Suppose he’ll ever have another girlfriend? Not freaking likely. He’ll spend the next fifty years as a horror in some forsaken VA hospital.

    But the recruiters won’t tell you this. They want you to think that it’s an adventure.

    Other things happen that, depending on your head, may or may not bother you. Iraq means combat in cities. Ordinary people live there. You pop a grenade through a window, or hit a building with a burst from the Chain gun, or maybe put a tank round through it. Then you find the little girl with her bowels hanging out, not quite dead yet, with her mother screaming over what’s left. You’d be surprised how much blood a small kid has.

    You get to live with that picture for the rest of your life. And you will live with it. The recruiter will tell you that it doesn’t happen, that it’s the exception, that I’m a commy journalist. Believe him if you want. Believe him now, while you can. When you get back, you’ll believe me.

    A lot of things in America aren’t what they used to be. The military is one of them. The army didn’t always use girl soldiers to torture prisoners. For that they had specialists in the intelligence agencies. You won’t get assigned torture duty, almost certainly, because the Army got caught. Ask your recruiter about it, just to be sure.

    Don’t expect thanks from a grateful nation. Somebody might buy you a drink in a bar. That’s about all you get. Many will regard you as a criminal or a fool.

    Wars seem important at the time, but they usually aren’t. Five years later, they are history. About sixty thousand GIs died in Vietnam. We lost. Nothing happened. It was a stupid war for nothing. Today the guys who lost faces and legs and internal organs back then are just freaks. Nobody gives a damn about them, and nobody will give a damn about you. A war is a politician’s toy, but your wheelchair is forever. If you want adventure, try the fishing fleet in Alaska.

    Think about it.


    Encourage your sister to enlist. She can be a leader of men.
     
  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Don't feed the troll.....
     
  3. jrfoxx

    jrfoxx Member

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    agreed Sistema...... :barf:
     
  4. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Member

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    I think that Fred would probably appreciate it if you credited his article...

    - Chris
     
  5. pax

    pax Member

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    It's a bad argument.

    Not that it's inaccurate or anything like that.

    It's just that Fred set out to persuade young, brave men at the peak of their testosterone-laden prowess that 1) they can die or get maimed (a thing which no one under the age of 30 really believes is possible), and 2) that fear of dying or being maimed should keep those brave young men from doing what they believe is The Right Thing.

    Appealling to the cowardice of young men is an argument that's doomed to fail, no matter how vivid the prose.

    pax

    I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so. --Stephen Leacock
     
  6. NCP24

    NCP24 Member

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    Prevented WW2 by killing a few bankers and other war profiteers? Never mind. . .
     
  7. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "Be all you can be."

    Be all you can be.

    Be all you can be.

    Be all you can be.



    Hey, look, I can cut and paste, too. :eek:
     
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Sounds like a failure in marketing and public relations.

    Pilgrim
     
  9. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Sacrificial slaghter of bankers and war profiteers? Why didn't somebody tell us that's how to ward off wars? Oh, if only we'd known!
     
  10. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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    Pocket.38

    I believe all kids, male/female should enlist when they are 18. That is the best way to protect this country, 100% military trained force on the ground, in uniform or out. No foreign country would dare touch us.

    I spent my time in the military, my brothers spent their time, my son is spending his time, and my Dad spent his time. No, my daughters did not spend their time, but I wish they had.

    It does not matter what the leaders of the country did with their time, it is still the best damned country this earth has at this time.

    If you don't like who is leading the country now you have several choices, leave it, try to improve it or bitch about it.

    I see you have chosen the 3rd choice.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT
     
  11. ID_shooting

    ID_shooting Member

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    Here, let me toss a scrap or two...

    I never, not once, regreted any minute of the 8 years I spent in uniform.
     
  12. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    Don't be so tough on Pocket.38; he probably has not realized that THR is not a left-wing, anti-American, political discussion forum.
     
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Twenty here.

    Pilgrim
     
  14. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    Wow-

    Depends on what you are looking for, speaking for the Air Force there is little chance of seeing combat unless as a pilot. Our special forces are small, the rest are mainly tech & support jobs.
    Score high on ASVAB test and the Air Force can train you into a ton of jobs that will make what a lot of college grads dont in a year. Air Traffic control, Radiology & MRI tech, Precision Measurement tech, medical equipment repair etc.
    Other branches can do it also and even infantry probably beats a career in fast food in a small Iowa town anyway...
    CT
     
  15. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    Did I miss something or did the American Military suddenly become a non-volunteer outfit that doesn't fight wars? Isn't the military a place where you go to get in shape and then go to college? I mean, who in the heck fights these days anyhow? People are too civilized for war.

    Do posts on trolling threads count for our total? :D
     
  16. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    Truth of the matter is the recruiters are absolutely DESPERATE for guys to sign up and they'll tell any lie, pull off any deception, to get another warm body into boot camp. I'm as patriotic as anybody here but lets be realistic, recruiters lie and they always have. They are experts at leading young guys to draw the conculsions they want them to draw. Testosterone driven young men want to PROVE THEMSELVES and the recruiters know how to play their emotions like a country fiddler plays a violen. Its no contest, its Mike Tyson in the ring with a Cub Scout. Our big mistake was eliminating the draft. At least then there was some degree of probability that the guy who came home in a box was not fed a crock of brown stinky bovine gravy to get him into uniform, not that it's much consolation to his family. War is a horrid, ugly thing and there is really no good answer as to how it should be manned. The ultimate problem is, if we are not willing to pay the price, what can we expect from our enemies? Mercy? No, they'll cut us to ribbons and feed our remains to the dogs. There are no good answers. As long as there are people in the world who want to destroy us we'll have to pay the price. Don't expect things to get better soon.
     
  17. XLMiguel

    XLMiguel Member

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    What part of "Armed Forces" is ambiguous? Anyone who signs up in an organization in that category can rightly infer that there's a good change of seeing combat (though pragmatically, it depends on you MOS and the ratio of support to combat troops :neener: ).

    Some things are worth fighting for, and the rights we cherish also come with responsibilities. 'Nuff said.
     
  18. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    You are so wrong on this-

    "Truth of the matter is the recruiters are absolutely DESPERATE for guys to sign up and they'll tell any lie, pull off any deception, to get another warm body into boot camp"

    Because the system is so screwed up many may resort to being dishonest to avoid losing a career 14-16 years into their 20, but by no means is this the majority of recruiters. An recruiter in San Antonio may work 36 hours a week and have so many applicants they can be very picky and not have to "fraud" anyone in wheras a recruiter in San Jose Ca. may work 60-80 hours a week and not make it.There is a lot more selective listening on the part of the enlistees that account for this reputation in my experience than anything.
    Want to know how bad it is? Want to know why NCO's go AWOL from it? Read about the nightmare here-
    http://milnewstbay.pbwiki.com/index.php?wiki=45106
    CT
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2005
  19. Glock-A-Roo

    Glock-A-Roo Member

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    He spelled "commie" wrong.

    Having to explain that combat could involve death or disfigurement is like having labels on clothing that say "do not iron while wearing". Ridiculous.
     
  20. wingman

    wingman Member

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    [/QUOTE]I believe all kids, male/female should enlist when they are 18. That is the best way to protect this country, 100% military trained force on the ground, in uniform or out. No foreign country would dare touch us.
    Quote:


    Agreed, better this happen now then too late.
     
  21. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    Yeah, because doing it by offering him the choice of a military uniform or a prison uniform is so much better. "Hey, he was forcibly ripped away from his life and sent to die, but at least he wasn't lied to!"

    These are adults. They are volunteers. The idea that they were unaware of the risks is just silly, no matter how much the recruiter lied or painted rosy pictures.

    And if we are producing adults so naive and stupid that they're unware of the risks of joining the military, then we've got bigger problems than the worries in this essay.
     
  22. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    And what are your direct background and experiences with this? Here are mine:

    • I was raised in a staunchly middle-class household in the Washington DC suburbs
    • I am the son of a internationally-reknown research physicist, and have a measured IQ arguably 50% better than the national average on my worst day
    • I had the opportunity to go to virtually any college in the nation that I wanted
    • At age 19, I walked in the door to the recruiting office under my own power
    • I was not drunk on otherwise impaired
    • I was given a relatively no BS description of what I could expect
    • I was not promised wealth, fame, booty, simple respect, or abs of steel
    • I was warned that I probably wouldn't like some of the experiences I would have
    • I was offered the chance to work hard
    • I chose to sign on the dotted line
    • At the end of my hitch, I chose not to re-up for personal reasons unrelated to the military itself
    End of story. I view my military experience (US Army Signal Corp, in a combat support MOS) as a key component in my personal growth and maturation. It's a shame that more of us can't say that.
     
  23. wingnutx

    wingnutx Member

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    Imagine my suprise when they issued me a rifle instead of the basket of kittens that the recruiter had promised me.
     
  24. torpid

    torpid Member

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    They don't hand out kitten baskets to recruits, you have to prove yourself first.

    (And yes, I do know all the posters in the recruiting office show steely-eyed Rangers hefting huge baskets brimming with little kittens, but that's something to aim toward, not a promise.)

    .
     
  25. Oleg Volk

    Oleg Volk Moderator Emeritus

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    The description of the joys of the service isn't unreasonable, though I agree that few people have to be told that this is what might happen to them personally.

    What I find interesting is that people play the lottery though their chance of winning is smaller than their chance of getting maimed in combat...they believe in that slim chance. The same people do not believe in the relatively greater chance of getting maimed if they join the army...because they just can't envision themselves torn to shreds.

    I see nothing wrong with risking your hide for your family, but I see plenty wrong with winding up as a cog in the instrument of foreign policy and not having the ability to second-guess the commander-in-chief. Going into harm's way for bad reasons invented by Clinton, Bush or LBJ isn't glamorous, it is tragic.
     
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