Military ‘Thinking"…

Another one that came over the transom from a mil email thread…

This is part of an ongoing discussion I have been having with friends from all the services about the gulf that has existed between the military and civilian population.  We are worried because, while it existed in my time, the gulf is growing exponentially and this note provides one of the reasons.  I encourage you to read it. 
It is forwarded (below) unedited.  
To the vets from all the wars — those of us who saw combat know what it cost.  THANKS! 
To those who have not had the honor to serve, here is something to think about the next time you hear some ultra-liberal say that people who are actively trying to kill us are really “peaceful” or when one of the Republican candidates for President says that 9/11 was the fault of the United States, or when people say that people captured on the battlefield should be arrested and tried in US criminal courts rather than being treated as an enemy combatant, or when the man sitting in the White House occupying a chair he is clearly not qualified to fill then proceeds to apologize for America. 
Remember ours is the only nation on earth that has established itself as the clear super power capable of totally conquering the world (post WW II) — and then disbanded their military asking as they departed the rescued nations only enough ground to bury the men and women who died giving them a chance at freedom while protecting our Nation, our People, and our Constitution. 
Remember that while men and women were and are standing on the wall protecting the Constitution, we had politicians, abetted by citizens and the judiciary, who were at the same time willfully destroying that document AND STILL ARE.
————– as received ————–

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.

My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class.   She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter.   She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for me to go there.   She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer.   I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following:   Nick, you’re a smart guy.   You don’t have to join the military.   You should go to college, instead.

I could easily write a tome defending West Point and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

      In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years.
      In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years.
      Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse.   Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military.

Taxes did not increase to pay for the war.
War bonds were not sold.
Gas was not regulated.
In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families.  The volunteers.   The people who swore an oath to defend this nation.  You.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on.   You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand.

Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.
They don’t understand suffering.
They don’t understand sacrifice.
They don’t understand that bad people exist     

They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. Like you are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the macro issues they gathered from books, with your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that.

Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.

But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this.   You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up.

You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.   
Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform.   But you do it anyway.   You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED.

Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group. 

Not really politically correct (not that I really give a shit), but pretty much on point as far as the sentiment and the bottom line…  

And all we are currently hearing is more cut the military language coming from the administration even Obama showing up at the Pentagon, but have you noticed you have not heard the FIRST word about cutting any entitlements in this round of ‘budget’ cuts???  

I sure as hell haven’t…

But the more interesting part is how the Pentagon brief is being ‘spun’, and how the “senior military leadership” was on stage with the president and ‘strongly’ behind his steps… Yeah, right…

They were there because they were told to be by Paneta, who has NO agenda for how to manage the hollow force other than ‘hope’ that requirements are lessened… Fat Chance…

China, North Korea, Iran???  And not enough troops NOW to fight two limited conflicts and we’re going to cut even more?  And get rid of 20% of the contractor support?  And what ‘real’ programs are going to get cut?  

h/t JP


Military ‘Thinking"… — 17 Comments

  1. It’s Tommy this and Tommy that, and ‘chuck him out, the brute’,

    But it’s ‘thank you Mister Atkins’ when the guns begin to shoot. –Kipling

    Things never change.

  2. “They don’t understand suffering.
    They don’t understand sacrifice.
    They don’t understand that bad people exist.”

    And there you have in a nut shell where a lot of our problems lie these days. Lacking that understanding has also led to the desire for a nanny state.

  3. If there were more veterans in congress, there wouldn’t be any gov’t run healthcare, as veterans have had plenty of it and know how bad it is. It took me over a year of struggling with VA hospitals to figure out that it wasn’t any better than what I was getting on active duty, and it’s a shame most Americans want it so bad!

  4. Concur.

    It was unpopular in the early ’70s when I enlisted at 17. Needed my parents’ concurrence, but Dad was a Korean vet, and understood.

    This round of applauding the returning vets is great, and I’m glad they aren’t facing the ugliness that we saw during & after the ‘Nam years … but don’t get used to it.

    LL +1

  5. “What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.”

    Well, they are correct, because of people like them. It is bad for his future, because people like them will scorn and villify him(as well as the very real chance to come home in a wooden box), and war scars people for life, even the ones that don’t get PTSD, don’t try to tell it any different. Anyone who’s been in combat and seen friends die will suffer some form of survivor’s guilt, unless they were psychopaths to begin with. Most will still be able to be productive members of society, but the memories can haunt them to the grave.

    That such sacrifices may be necessary is beyond them, and returning veterans should be honored for their sacrifice.

  6. MSGT- Yep

    LL- Concur!

    PH- You’re right…

    WSF/Tim- Yep

    Ctone- You’re right

    Rev- Yep

    Mikael- Well said, thanks!

  7. Have to concur. Got the same speech from several adults when I enlisted. I’m just hoping that a good group of veteran politicians will come out of this war and some of them will make it to Congress and the White House.

  8. I’ve said it before. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t around when vets were coming home from Vietnam because I’d be in jail for kicking the crap out of people that spit on them. It’s a lot less toxic now, but I’m sure it still happens. And I’m sure I’d still kick the crap out of someone that did it.

  9. DB- Yep

    45er- THAT is why us old Nam vets tend to show up at the airports today to welcome the folks home… WE don’t want to see a repeat of what we went through.

  10. “Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.
    They don’t understand suffering.
    They don’t understand sacrifice.
    They don’t understand that bad people exist”
    I would only add:
    They don’t understand the concept of duty.

  11. For 2012 all “defense”/war related spending totals approximately 1 trillion. That’s about 3300 per capita. That’s about 6500 per federal income tax payer.

    That’s a huge amount of money.

    Here’s a few theoretical ways to save money: stop the kickbacks bribes and looting, end the empire and restore the republic, give up on world domination, and oh yeah, stop with the kill toys that have no practical application in actual combat situations (i.e. WMDs).

    Of course, since we have such a powerful coalition of people who gain enormous power and profit from this system, returning to our republican roots isn’t an option.

  12. Suffering.

    I’m shaking my head. You want suffering? How about the misery, loneliness and fear of the 18-year-old recruit his (or her) first night in the barracks after the lights go out.

    How about in SERE school or survival school if you were unlucky enough to be aircrew or in a job that required such knowledge.

    How about being stationed in a remote outpost halfway around the world, then get mail, four weeks old, telling you your mom died and the family has been trying to reach you for over a month.

    The Occupy pussies? Suffering? Kiss my ass. The entitlement generation? Suffering? Kiss my ass.

    Congress? Elected officials? Suffering. KISS MY PROUD VETERAN ASS!

    You want a gulf between vets and non-vets, just keep screwing with us. We’ll give you a gulf.

    Suffering? We know all about. And we know we’ve survived it once, and for some, more than once.

    We can survive it again.

    This is our nation and the Constitution is our law. We swore an oath to defend it. We have, and we will continue to do so.

    Mess with our Constitution and you’ll understand “suffering” like you’ve never understood it before.


  13. There is so much in this post and I am not sure I qualify to comment, but let me say. I honor all that have served. It is a hard life in the best of times and it mostly certainly isn’t that now. We have a long history of good men(and women) making sacrifices no one should have to make and for that I am humbly grateful.

  14. Zdog- Good point.

    A Critic- You’ve missed the ENTIRE point of the post…

    AOA- Concur!

    Agirl- Concur and you’re right… and a lot of folks NEVER made it home…