Friday, March 2, 2012

The Role of the Soldier

I would like to open a discussion about what it means to be a soldier in the US military, as Matt and I have many family members who are currently serving. Many Huffington Posters like to use the lives of soldiers as a talking point about why we shouldn't go to war with Iran. Let me give you some examples first from the Huffington Post:

And then some from MJ Rosenberg:

On the surface it seems like a reasonable argument, if not an entirely honest one. Many politicians have hid behind our troops to promote all kinds of political agendas, that's hardly a new development. So what's my question?

My question is that the last time I checked we do not have a draft. No American is forced to go and join the military. Nor, I am reasonably sure, are Americans soldiers, pilots, or sailors joining up unaware that you can get killed or maimed in the service. None of the soldiers I have spoken to would be surprised if I told them that they could be seriously hurt or die as a consequence of their decision to join. They are smart enough to know that their actions can have consequences.

Don't take that to mean that I see soldiers as faceless peons that we can go send to die in pointless wars just because we can. What am I saying is that "soldiers will die" is not a good enough reason on its own not to engage in combat. It annoys me when I see people like Rosenberg or left-wing Huffington Posters speaking as if American soldiers are the helpless victims of the government that they signed up to serve. Iran has not been a new issue and quite frankly if you join the military not expecting to fight, you should pursue another career. Just look at this example. Most of the comments there were not particularly sympathetic to the soldiers' point of view. Why? Because he should have known what he was getting into before he joined up.

And yes, I know that not every American soldier joins for noble reasons. There are some who simply need the money, and others who don't. But I feel that my point remains the same: An army fights. That's what it does. If you don't want to fight, don't join. I feel that most Americans would agree with me on that.

Now, maybe if the Huffington Posters would like to put forward some evidence that US service people are militantly (no pun intended) against a war with Iran, I'd be willing to change my position. Even Americans in general are divided on the issue. So I don't want to hear whining from people like Rosenberg that "the neocons are sending our poor boys off to die for their own twisted agenda." That's not a legitimate argument, it's exploitation. Especially considering a lot of those soldiers are dead or maimed because of Iranian support for insurgency groups. If the democratically elected US government decides that Iran is enough of a threat to America or American interests to make that decision, it's the responsibility of the soldiers to go. Of course, I have a feeling that Rosenberg and his friends would pull the usual "the US government didn't make that decision, AIPAC did!"

Sorry if I rambled a little bit. What do you think?

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