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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unpopular Opinions

I don't like the military and hold anyone who is a part of it in deep suspicion.


Maybe I should back-up and contextualize this...

This past week was Fleet Week here in SF, and my work in the Wharf is right on the edge of the action. Planes flew overhead regularly, blasting out my eardrums like a homecoming football poster. Ships were docked in the piers, filled to the brim with barnacles and seamen. Various recruiting posts lined the walkways, from Army to Air Force to Navy to Marines to Coast Guard.

That's what started this. Sorta

What really started it is when way back, back in my much-younger days, a good friend of mine joined the Army. Originally it was to play in the band, but like most high school kids who enlist, the sucker-punch was waiting in the wings. Never made the Army band. He ended-up going into combat.

Ever since then, not a day hasn't gone by when I wondered if our friendship wasn't ruined by it.

Because you see, I'm a Pacifist. (Capital P.) I don't believe killing others is a good thing. Not to say I wouldn't kill if I had to -- to protect myself or someone I cared about -- but I don't intentionally go out seeking to kill others, I don't put myself in situations where violence would be an option or possibility.

And there you have it. The crux of why I don't like the military or people who've enlisted.

I can't trust a person who's willfully chosen to commit acts of violence and murder.

Whether you joined-up for patriotism, for a college-education, to protect our freedom, because you couldn't do anything else -- whatever the reason, you chose to serve. And in that service you may be required to kill, to help kill, or allow someone to be killed in front of you. You may have even already done so.

Why? Because you were ordered to? Because they were trying to kill you too?

Because you went over there and put yourself deliberately in harm's way. You put yourself in a position to kill. And whether you admit it or not, you willingly decided to embrace the possibility of being a killer.


And for who? Not for me. I'm safe here. Nobody's attacking us. Nobody's trying to kill us anymore. We've killed everyone, or scared them so far underground, into the asshole of the Earth that you couldn't dislodge them with all the weapons in our arsenal. Nobody's endangering Americans except other Americans.

Not for the country. America has bigger problems than civil unrest in someone else's country. (Unrest we created in the first place, I might add.) There are people starving, and dying, everyday here. Homelessness has reached epic proportions. Ordinary people are unable to find work. The top 1% of the country owns more wealth than the rest combined. Racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice exist in our varied institutions. All of this often happens for no good reason. And you want to grab a gun to kill some random stranger halfway across the world?

Not for freedom. There's nothing keeping us from being free except ourselves. Our own government does far more to restrict our freedoms than any foreign terrorist fighting out of caves in their home country. Think: Patriot Act, SB 1070, MKULTRA, COINTEL PRO, segregation, Jim Crow Laws, etc. The list goes on & on, of freedoms the government has and does restrict, yet you fight foreign citizens in the name of freedom that is being diminished in the daily?

Not for anyone but yourself did you do this.

Did you join to get a free education? Sorry, but that's fucking sadistic. I may be asshole to eyeballs in debt, but at least I didn't have to kill anyone to go to college.

Did you join to protect us from the terrorists? Sorry, but most of them are dead. The only ones left are their children, who will one day grow up and hate us just like their parents. We're creating our own enemies, every day.

Did you join because there was nothing else for you to do? Wow. That's a load full of crap. You can't do anything except shoot people? Real winner here...

Excuse my sarcaustic ranting, but I feel strongly about this.

Everyone's always so damn stocked about the troops. Those "I support the troops" stickers make me sick. You support baby-killers? Murderers?


You might think this is a radical position to take. And maybe it is. I can understand that a lot of people will look sideways at me for this, but I can't help feeling that those jarheads/flyboys/sailors/grunts walking past during my shift are the reason I have to pretend to be Canadian when I go to Paris, the reason I can't go to the Middle East. They're the reason people hate us so much, and why the rest of the world either laughs at us or spits on us.

No, they're part of the reason. They're part of the reason [people throw shoes at our President].

And for anyone in the military who's reading this: any excuses you may make will not bring back the lives you took. The families of your victims won't buy into your claims to patriotism, or protecting America's freedoms, or forgive you because you got a college degree in basket-weaving. (They certainly don't benefit from them.) God -- if you're religious -- won't say, "Oh, don't worry about that, it's not murder if it's war." That will not suffice before judgment. And as for "just following orders"... It didn't work for the Nazis in the Holocaust, and it doesn't work now. Doing something despicable, and horrible, just because you were ordered to is never a good reason.

So while I want to support the ordinary men & women who serve our country, putting their lives at risk every day, who suffer in the desert, and the jungles, who lose limbs, or come home with post-traumatic stress, and who are so dedicated to America that they'd give up their lives in its service... I just can't.

Their actions betray their intent, and make me a fool to believe that they are all completely good people.

I have only to look again at the pictures of Abu Ghraib. I have only to read the testimonies of countless victims in the War on Terror. I have only to listen to the voices crying out across the world for freedom... from us.

I understand this must be pretty shocking to ya'll, but it's the truth as I see it, as I feel it. Death to be is anathema when it's forced upon someone by another. Violence is the last refuge of all evil men. And for my part, I can't condone any kind of killing in the name of...

Whatever.



Cheers

P.S. Here are a couple of articles that reflect more of my feelings on this.

[Warriors and wusses]

[Daily Planet]

[Lew Rockwell]

5 footnotes:

Mira said...

Thank you for this post.

I know saying stuff against military is somewhat taboo in the US (at least it's how it seems to be) so it's great to know there are people

For the record, I hate military too. Not just the US, any sort of it, including the one in my country (it goes without saying). Mu husband hates military too, and he hates the fact he was forced to serve the time in military (military service is compulsory here- well, it will be abolished in the 2011).

PS-Killing in self defence or to protect your loved ones is NOT the same thing as being a soldier. I know they make people think it is, but it isn't. I know they make people think your country (whatever it is) is your family, but it isn't.

Zek J Evets said...

mira,

thanks! i think speaking out against the military is especially difficult in times of war because the typical idea is that we must be united -- even when our soldiers and officers are doing horrible things.

yet, still i've gotta speak my mind.

Natasha W said...

"Unpopular Opinions

I don't like the military..."


I don't think this is an unpopular opinion at all. A little taboo, but not unpopular. At least where I grew up it wasn't. But we have a history of resisting military forces.

Zek J Evets said...

@anon: thanks for your comment, but unfortunately i don't regularly publish anonymous comments by spammers, trolls, or flamers. please come back with a user-name and something intelligent or constructive to say if you want your comment published.

cheers!

Zek J Evets said...

@anon:

P.S. This is a personal blog, not a forum. I don't have to do anything.