Hell’s Bells

Some thoughts on supporting our armed forces.

I am an American, and many things currently embarrass me about my country, but our military is not one of them. Let me elaborate.

I have deep, deep reservations about the state of the country. I believe there are many points where things started going downhill politically, partly because of the classification system we adopted between WW1 and WW2, partly due to the Marshall Plan, and partly due to our government establishing needless agencies as a reactionary response to events like 9/11. I believe that every President since Truman has lied to the public and betrayed the Constitution, as well as every Director of the CIA and multiple four star generals. In general, I think America is headed in a direction towards totalitarianism and suppression of the Bill of Rights, and yet these things are not what I refer to when I use the word “military.”

I have many friends who have enlisted, into all branches of the service. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, you name it. The highly structured culture of their service has changed all of them in many ways, and in some cases they are no longer people who I can relate to. But they are still people I can respect. When you join the military, you make an agreement with the government. You sign away your rights and cease to be a US citizen, as you are now a soldier. In many cases, this is a lifelong commitment, and it is putting your life on the line. Although circumstances vary based on the type of agreement you have, there is always a chance you may be called into battle, and there is always a chance, however small, you may be killed in duty.

For all the anger, frustration, and confusion I maintain towards the path of my country, that is a commitment I have never made, and one I probably shall never make. There are many things, including free speech, that I will fight for in my own way, but for all the soldiers who have dedicated themselves to what they feel or have been told is “right”, I have the utmost respect. It is difficult to express fully in words, but if you are a soldier, I thank you.