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If you voted for Bush, didn't vote, or voted no on gay marriage, I hope you get drafted.
November 5, 2004 2:46 PM   Subscribe

One soldier's opinion. "If you voted for Bush, didn't vote, or voted no on gay marriage, I hope you get drafted. I hope they stick you in my unit, and you go with me to Iraq when my unit goes back in September. I will laugh when you see what soldiers in that country face on a daily basis. I hope you work with gay soldiers too. I did. One of them saved my life. Think he shouldn't have the right to get married? Fuck you. He fought just as hard as I did and on most days, did his job better than me. Don't tell me gays don't have the same rights you do. Think the war in Iraq is a good thing? I'll donate my M-16 to you and you can go in my place."
posted by insomnia_lj (53 comments total)

 
Why oh why do these "soldiers" hate America so much...
posted by Windopaene at 2:56 PM on November 5, 2004


Does anyone know how the military voted this year? I heard that voters serving in the military still backed Bush by a big majority, but haven't seen any concrete exit poll numbers.
posted by gyc at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2004


Wow, this is pretty powerful stuff. It reminds me of what I was reading at lunch in one of our local free papers, the Good Times, its cover story is A Soldier's Tale.

The stories pretty gripping and sad.

I would also like to know how the military voted. Anyone got a link or some insight?

Very good post, insomnia_lj!
posted by fenriq at 3:18 PM on November 5, 2004


I volunteered for the service but now they're making me fight in a war!
posted by Kwantsar at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2004


...and one Iraqi's opinion, for extra measure.

As a general rule, soldiers are disproportionately male, and tend to back the Republicans by about an 80/20 ratio. That said, I know a lot of soldiers -- I run an online community for them, infact -- and the ratio this year definitely isn't 80/20... more like 60/40. The amazing thing is that this kind of anger from soldiers about the Bush administration is relatively commonplace. Many of the soldiers were horribly divided between a strong dislike of the Bush administration and of chickenhawks in general, and fear that Kerry would leave the Iraqis they've formed bonds with in much the same way that people left behind in Vietnam suffered after the end of that war.

They're conflicted. They strongly dislike the government policies, but do their best to make them work on the ground somehow, but they don't want to leave the Iraqis in the lurch or have the sacrifices of their friends be in vain.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:25 PM on November 5, 2004


I volunteered for the service but now they're making me fight in a .. senseless, unilateral invasion and occupation!
posted by Space Coyote at 3:26 PM on November 5, 2004


I volunteered for the service but now they're making me fight in a war!

Right, and it's the left that "doesn't support the troops."

I don't know how many post I've seen from wingers along the lines of "If they didn't want to get turned into hamburger by Iraqi IEDs what were they doing in the military in the first place?"
posted by crank at 3:27 PM on November 5, 2004


I hope it gets worked out so that the guys over there can have some good body armor and humvee protection, because that was an insult to send them there without it.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:28 PM on November 5, 2004


kwantsar - "I did volounteer, but I volounteered ... to defend the nation, not to assault another nation for a hidden and horrible cause."
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2004


Right, and it's the left that "doesn't support the troops."


Haven't you heard? Kwanstar isn't right wing! We don't know what he is. We're just making assumptions! He sounds like Seth every time he trots that one out.

I volunteered for the service but now they're making me fight in a war!

For someone who complains incessantly about the level of discourse, your contribution is far from adequate.
posted by The God Complex at 3:48 PM on November 5, 2004


Or “I volunteered for the service - fought in a war but now that my enlistment is over the military won’t let me go because for some reason recruitment is down.”
posted by Tenuki at 3:50 PM on November 5, 2004


Kwantsar, I think you left a couple of words out in your post. Shirley you meant:

"I volunteered to defend my country, but now they're making me fight--unprepared, short-staffed, and improperly armed--in a senseless war that started because of what was either a lie or a mistake, and continues because nobody has a plan to finish it."
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:54 PM on November 5, 2004


I don't know, but I've been told
I don't know, but I've been told
North Korean winters are mighty cold
North Korean winters are mighty cold
Sound off--
One, two
Sound off--
Three, four
Sound off--
Where's the next war--next war?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:56 PM on November 5, 2004


I would also like to know how the military voted. Anyone got a link or some insight?

I know their votes don't get counted at all unless there's a very slim outcome in the general election. In Ohio and Florida this year? They got no vote.

Iowa, they did get counted.
Not sure about New Mexico, though.
posted by Busithoth at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2004


The sad thing is that people who will be going to war in Iraq were the ones who still didn't vote...Youth never had so much to lose and still they let their parents make the decision for them...
posted by srboisvert at 4:08 PM on November 5, 2004


The rest of this guy's livejournal is quite personal.
posted by Nelson at 4:08 PM on November 5, 2004


I hope you work with gay soldiers too. I did. One of them saved my life. Think he shouldn't have the right to get married? Fuck you.

And another soldier who doesn't get to see his kids because of ineffective court orders after a divorce also saves another guy's life. Doesn't mean it's right to use his heroism as an advert for Fathers4Justice. Talk about making an appeal to emotion.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2004


>who still didn't vote

This has been debunked. There were 5 million more 18-26 voters this time around, its just that they kept up with the huge swells and got the same % they did in 2000.
posted by skallas at 4:15 PM on November 5, 2004


I called him and thanked him for putting his ass on the line. Call him yourself at 785-226-0314 (Link from Nelson)
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:15 PM on November 5, 2004


I'm not going to slam the young man one bit. What he wrote could be said in pretty much the same way by a soldier in Vietnam, Korea, WWII, or even WWI. What he is doing seems aimless to him, because nobody ever explains the big picture, for better or worse, to the lowly soldier. All he sees around him is a chaotic world, on one side, and endless, but unexplained and seemingly irrational order on the other. It is discouraging to most who experience it.

So what you end up with are a lot of people who, more than anything else, are just forced to observe and live in filth, chaos and destruction. The garbage pile of the battlefield. Many try to focus on "the good things": comradeship, helping civilians, ending the war as soon as possible, thinking of their home. But many others are emotionally left out in the cold.

So this man, while hating what he is doing, and disliking where he is doing it, tries to defend his comrade who is gay, defending him from civilians that just don't understand how very much his comrade means to him--how in that rotten place, his comrade is one of "the good things".

Death trumps everything else. There is no argument that really matters in a war beyond life and death. The endless, petty debates of the civilian world just make soldiers in war want to scream "Shut up! Can't you see what's really important?"
posted by kablam at 4:17 PM on November 5, 2004


All he sees around him is a chaotic world, on one side, and endless, but unexplained and seemingly irrational order on the other
Please show me the rational order! Im not subjected to any of the madness and chaos this man is and I don't get it either. Why is it this kid has been dodging bullets and killing arabs? tell me.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:29 PM on November 5, 2004


i mean to say - its hard to pawn off his distrust for Bush on the chaos of battle when there are plenty of folks here who've never seen battle who don't get it either.

"poor lad - he's just confused by all the loud noises and such" seems kinda dick.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:39 PM on November 5, 2004


I don't know how many post I've seen from wingers along the lines of "If they didn't want to get turned into hamburger by Iraqi IEDs what were they doing in the military in the first place?"

Yes, they bring out that line about as much as the left brings out "Why oh why do these "soldiers" hate America so much...".

Just lazy rhetoric.
posted by justgary at 4:40 PM on November 5, 2004


because nobody ever explains the big picture, for better or worse, to the lowly soldier.

This predisposes that the 'big picture' is known and explainable.

Now - how many feel that Iraq was 'known' or 'explainable'?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:45 PM on November 5, 2004


I guess I can talk as a former conscripted soldier (infantry) as many other europeans that were conscripted for a year or more in their younger years.

Frankly, I haven't lived half of what the infantry soldiers (the famous grunts) have lived in Iraq, Kuwait and other "hellholes" so I can only imagine how bad it could be with -real- shooting oppositors...but I went trought a couple of sobering experiences and lived long enough as a grunt to "get" some of what many grunts feel.

Imagine you were just conscripted to serve : you really don't feel like going, but hell you can't avoid it so be it and after all, one thinks, it will be quite an experience...and unless you sign for more years chances you're going to an actual war are slim to none...and hey you gotta shoot with a fucking gun, horray ! Yeah sure.

So I'll skip you the misery of the first months because it would take a lot of time to write and go to the sobering experiences:

1. the first one happened at the shooting range. I was luckly enough to have an instructor which instilled unholy fear of guns in us by the means of pure fear, meancing every possible consequence down to prison. Even now when I see somebody toying with a gun my first instinct is to duck and get the hell out of here the speed of light. The feeling was further reinforced at the shooting range when one of my fellow grunt had his ages hold M4 Garand jammed. The total idiot did exactly what he was not supposed to do (and was told not to)..he turned around to the instructor with a jammed gun and exaclty like in bad movies the gun fired. Luckly the shot passed only near the instructor, which proceeded to rip the guy a new one.

But don't take it as "eheh funny" it was NOT ..there was actual fear pouring from everybody and we were all very much happy to see him escorted away..at that point all we wanted was to get out of there and quick.

2. the second one was during a camp, combined training with amored vehicles, namely an ages old trusty tincan M113. As grunts we were to follow the vehicle at a safe distance (gotta provide lightly armored vehicle with troop support if you don't want the vehicle to be destroyed by other troops). So the M113 is climbing a little hill wetted by previous hours rain. The 113 does the climbing, but gets stuck cause the genius Leutenant didn't approximate the inclination exactly and didn't account for slippery slope.

The friggin genius he was ordered to turn right to get unstuck because hey you gotta go the other side..the M113 slip and capsizes. Luckly enough we were at a safe distance otherwise I'd be one with earth. Quite unfortunately one soldier inside didn't care or most probably forgot to latch his helmet, got his head on something and died the day after because of head injuries.

Now it is true that there is a number of psyco soldiers all wrapped in their flag looking for "heroic deeds", but I don't think you'll find many among these who actually saw the ugly face of death or the prospect of it. It's not a matter of being scared, it's a matter of seeing it with your eyes that makes all the difference.

So don't take soldiers account lightly, as if they were only crybabies "ah but you volunteered"..if you didn't actually live with grunts you don't even have half the notion of what it is like. And in my personal opinion, you'd better miss it entirely.
posted by elpapacito at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2004


"because nobody ever explains the big picture, for better or worse, to the lowly soldier."

That's lame and basically untrue. They *DO* spend a lot of time trying to give solders "the big picture". One soldier I know had to risk their lives on a dangerous convoy run where they were shot at in order to attend a manditory meeting on "the big picture" by one of the generals. There's your big picture for you.

They have heard the big picture. It gets lectured to them all the time. It just doesn't gibe with these soldier's reality on the ground... and the soldiers who are most critical of the war aren't dumb soldiers who don't know what's going on.

Quite the opposite, really.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:12 PM on November 5, 2004


i hope this guy makes it back from the tour alive ... many won't in the next 3 years.

their deaths are george's fault and every g*ddamn one of you who voted for him 4 years ago and again this week ... the blood of these guys and tens of thousand of iraqi civilians.

for what? and some wonder why all the animosity twords the george "god tells me what to do... and i do it" bush.
posted by specialk420 at 5:29 PM on November 5, 2004


From his journal:

"2 days ago on a convoy to Baghdad there was an attack. We lost a liutenant, and a very close friend of mine was seriously wounded. I found all of this out a few hours ago. That makes 5 people I know that have been killed, and 7 seriously wounded. All I want to know is why. Why are we still here losing people? Why were we here to begin with? This is my job and I will do it regardless, but I would give anything to know why my friends have been taken from me.
Everybody seems to want to tell us how much they support us. A lot of people thank us. But nobody has given us a clear reason as to why we came here or why we are staying.
I feel so bad for the families of the soldiers and marines who have died in this horrible country for a cause that doesn't exist. I can't even immagine what it must feel like for the families of these people.
I'm so sorry I could not do more for my fallen friends..."

posted by insomnia_lj at 5:34 PM on November 5, 2004


Thanks for the post, insomnia. Is the soldiers' online community available for general consumption? I would love to add it to my daily reads.

And if you ever read this, vert1go, thank you, too.
posted by whatnot at 6:17 PM on November 5, 2004


It is online, but I don't promote it and membership is strictly limited to those who are either there, going there, back from there, or are Iraqi. I have extensively searched LiveJournal and have found over 60 people who fit that criteria who I have invited to join.

Most of the really interesting posts are members only... only a fraction is public reading.

If you want more information, contact me off of MeFi.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:36 PM on November 5, 2004


insomnia_lj: now waitasec, you just posted twice and in the first post you said how they were always being told what was going on; then in the second post, the soldier himself writes that he has no idea what's going on.

He is asking questions that haven't been answered to his satisfaction by his chain of command. In short, his uncomfortableness fits under the very broad umbrella of "morale".

Not the easy, simple "morale" that people normally think of, but a deep, underlying understanding of purpose, which is terribly important to soldiers. Answers that put the entire *war* into context for the soldier: not just the tactics of the battle, but the strategy of the conflict.

From a purely military perspective, ignoring politics altogether, he could be told that by having a powerful military presence in Iraq, the US projects its force to the other side of the world. This accomplishes many goals, from preventing or helping to neutralize nuclear proliferation, to stabilizing a dozen different middle eastern, African, and Central Asian nations, to protecting the Persian Gulf and the world's oil supply, and to vigorously suppress tens of thousands of Islamic extremists over a broad area.

As proof of this, he could be told that the US is establishing a regional Command in Iraq, equal in stature to CENTCOM, and it will remain in Iraq, with permission, for many years to come, much like US forces remained in Germany after the end of WWII.

Now, whether or not you or he believes this, or any parts thereof; and whether or not you or he disagrees with it, or wishes to debate it, IT WOULD ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS.

"This is why I was sent here."

Now, this would probably anger him, he would strongly disagree with their motives, he might even call it all lies, but he would have at least be given *a* reason, even if not a good one. And apparently, no one has done so.

And this is not unusual, as I said. Other soldiers in other wars frequently have exactly the same point of view (I won't say "problem", because it's not him who has a problem). A soldier both needs confidence in his leaders and a feeling of purpose. Denial of either goes to the heart of "morale".
posted by kablam at 7:08 PM on November 5, 2004


This has been debunked. There were 5 million more 18-26 voters this time around, its just that they kept up with the huge swells and got the same % they did in 2000.

Sorry skallas..my point was absolutly not debunked. The youth vote may have debunked as an explanation for why Kerry didn't win but your numbers prove nothing regarding young people's disregard for their own wellbeing

"The percentage of eligible young people who voted was estimated at 51.6 percent, up from 42.3 percent in 2000."

48% didn't give a rat's ass.
posted by srboisvert at 7:10 PM on November 5, 2004


No group votes 100% of the eligable.

This was the biggest youth in thirty years. Youre's till debunked:
Despite long lines and registration snafus, voters under age 30 clocked the highest turnout percentage since 1972. The good news is that America's young people are more engaged in politics than at any time in two generations. Aging cynics have been quick to blame the kids for a host of political lapses, but the cynics have it wrong.

Start with the numbers. According to professor William Galston at the University of Maryland, at least 20.9 million Americans under 30 voted on Tuesday. That is an increase of 4.6 million voters from 2000. Four years ago, just 42.3 percent of young people voted. This year more than 51.6 percent did.

Young people were especially active in battleground states, with turnout at 64.4 percent of eligible voters. Furthermore, these estimates understate things, because college kids are more likely than other groups (except the military) to vote by absentee ballot. Surveys of college students around the country, done in the weeks before the election, found 42 percent of students planning to vote absentee. Exit polls completely miss these young voters who numbered, this year, close to 3 million.
Find another group to demonize. I suggest you start with the spoilage rate of ballots in battleground states and the faults of electronic voting, instaed of blaming the victims. Oh man, I wish I was a US leader. The voters attack themselves and reward failure!
posted by skallas at 7:45 PM on November 5, 2004


Soldier:

By volunteering, you became eligible for a free college education, free medical care (for you and your family), guaranteed home loans, and a pension. This set of benefits is far better than that which a typical 18-year old could earn elsewhere. Of course, when you signed up, you realized that this package came with an enormous catch. The contract into which you entered cannot be broken on your whim, and it necessitates that you obey all lawful orders, no matter how ridiculous you believe them to be. Even more stark is the significant chance that you will not return to the United States alive-- and a fat lot of good a VA loan will do you when you're dead.

Many before you have volunteered, received the same benefits, and returned to their families, never having seen a day of combat. These people have been lucky. You have not. But pissing and moaning about it is analogous to asking for a refund on a losing lottery ticket.

I did not vote for the President (I voted Peroutka), but let's say I did. You hope I get drafted? Fuck me? Because I disagree with you? Had you been conscripted to fight this war, and had my vote been one of the votes that sent you to combat, your indignation would be justified. But that didn't happen.

When you enlisted, you stood up, raised your right hand, and you swore to "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over (you)." Though I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, I doubt that you would have returned your salary had your expectations been exceeded.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:58 PM on November 5, 2004


i hope this guy makes it back from the tour alive ... many won't in the next 3 years.

Many won't in the next three days. Now that the election is over, Bush can burn some soldiers wasting Falluljah without any pesky political cost.
posted by jpoulos at 7:59 PM on November 5, 2004


By volunteering, you became eligible for a free college education, free medical care (for you and your family), guaranteed home loans, and a pension.

I can only assume Kwantsar, that you haven't been in the service. I however, have. My college degree was not free, medical care for the family? Nope, I could go, but not my wife. I didn't use the VA home loan as these days it is basically unecessary. And last but not least the pension, only if you stay in for 20 years, and they have hacked benefits to the point of it not being worth it anymore.

Of course that all changes if you say, get a leg blown off or something like that. Then you get all kinds of stuff.

Don't belittle this guy because he is angry. He knows he volunteered. Because he did volunteer.
What did you do I wonder?
posted by a3matrix at 8:54 PM on November 5, 2004


It's been somewhat interesting to me that some of those (not necessarily anyone here, this thread just reminded me of it) that play the why-don't-you-support-the-troops card when someone is critical of the war are also some of the same ones who play the they-volunteered-for-this card when a soldier is critical of the war.

If someone is over there fighting a war, I think they're entitled to all the bitching they want. Many of them signed up for this because their options in life were limited, and this was a means to an end that was sold to them as a one weekend a month gig. The worst case scenario existed, but was unlikely. I can also see someone being extremely bitter when a good argument can be made that this war shouldn't even be fought, and isn't being run or funded properly.

As the great George Carlin points out, the poor will always fight the wars of the rich. Always have, always will. (And yes, exceptions to the rule exist. Some join for love of country and other reasons. But most of them don't).
posted by dig_duggler at 9:16 PM on November 5, 2004


you became eligible for a free college education
Category I (most of these soldiers would be in Category I) of the Montgomery GI Bill states that education benefits are available if the military pay was reduced by $100/mo for the first 12 months of service. $100 is roughly 9% of an E-1's gross pay.

free medical care (for you and your family)
TRICARE Prime is available to active duty members and their families. It's a managed care option similar to an HMO. As noted on the TRICARE Prime web page, primary care is managed from a military care facility, there are small fees for visits to civilian doctors, provider choice is limited, and TRICARE Prime is not universally available.

guaranteed home loans
From the VA home loans FAQ:
Does my entitlement guarantee that I will get a home loan?
No, VA cannot compel a lender to make a loan that would violate their lender policies.

and a pension
Retirement pay (a pension is tied to death or disability) is awarded after 20 years of service. The retirement pay for an E-8 with 20 years of service was $1812 per month in 2003. The federal poverty guidelines for 2004 put a family of four earning $1571 per month at the poverty level.
posted by joaquim at 9:19 PM on November 5, 2004


I hope you didn't post those links to refute my point about the wealth of benefits for which military personnel qualify, joaquim. The "guarantee" on a VA loan is a guarantee of payment, making the borrower a risk-free asset; few if any lenders turn down risk-free buyers. Retiring at 48 with 75% pay is an awfully good deal. Primary care under the HMO comes from a set of predefined providers for most insured Americans. And the GI Bill is a much better deal than a typical enlistee will find elsewhere.

a3matrix-- see my earlier points about the benefit package. I don't know why your education didn't qualify.

This guy is free to be as angry as he likes. But he's hurling invective at me and wishing me ill. I think it's uncalled for.

Does being a soldier give one the (moral) right to say "Fuck you" and "I hope that you (wind up in a war zone)" to those with whom he disagrees?
posted by Kwantsar at 9:41 PM on November 5, 2004


I'd think anyone, soldier or not, has the (moral) right to say "Fuck you" or "I hope you wind up in a war zone" or even "They put their thingies where the poop comes out" to anyone they disagree with, or agree with, or are making mad passionate love to, or nuns, or anyone else that it pleases them to say it to.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 PM on November 5, 2004


"The retirement pay for an E-8 with 20 years of service was $1812 per month in 2003" – joaquim
"Retiring at 48 with 75% pay is an awfully good deal" - Kwantsar
Kwantsar, if you think $21,744 a year at the age of 48 “is an awfully good deal” you need to go back to school so you can find a better job or you will be profoundly disappointed when you get older.
posted by arse_hat at 10:44 PM on November 5, 2004


Does being a soldier give one the (moral) right to say "Fuck you" and "I hope that you (wind up in a war zone)" to those with whom he disagrees?

No, the First Amendment does. Enjoy using it; it'll be gone soon enough.
posted by interrobang at 10:44 PM on November 5, 2004


arse_hat: I didn't explicitly state that a soldier was enrolling at age 18. If I had, It would be obvious that I was referring to a soldier with 30 years of service, who would be drawing 75% of his old wage, not 50%. His base pay would presumably be higher, thanks to an additional ten years of promotions.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:49 PM on November 5, 2004


Does being a soldier give one the (moral) right to say "Fuck you" and "I hope that you (wind up in a war zone)" to those with whom he disagrees?

Yes. And it carries a bit more weight than it would coming from just about anyone else, benefits be damned.

I have had a few friends in the military, and there is tremendous pressure to step in line not only with your colleagues, but with whatever policy the commander in chief is peddling. One friend even bought a wig in order to be able to protest Gulf War I when he was off duty. I think our soldiers should be able to express dissent without fear of retribution. But I guess that begs a larger question, whether there is room for individual opinion in a military unit that relies on cohesion in order to accomplish its goals. That's a different argument for a different day.

My point is that this guy can "hurl invective at me and wish me ill" all that he damn well pleases, no matter who I voted for. Harsh words are a drop in the bucket compared to the crap he has to deal with every day.
posted by whatnot at 10:49 PM on November 5, 2004


He's in a warzone getting shot at while we're bitching about it online in our nice comfortable homes.

I'm more than willing to let him bitch to his heart's content and I'm also willing to listen to him. He's got a perspective on the war that's important to hear, not just Bush's bullshit candy-coated "Freedom is on the march".

You might also want to cut him some slack because he's a young guy who might get killed tomorrow or might be dying even as I type this. That entitles him to say just about any damned thing he pleases to you or me or anyone else he's "serving" for.

On Preview: What whatnot said.
posted by fenriq at 10:58 PM on November 5, 2004


Kwantsar. Sorry I missed the math there. Still $32,616 at 48 ain't kick ass, although if you combined it with a job it would be a nice bonus.
That said he still has the right to say "Fuck You!" to all of us not actually fighting the war.
posted by arse_hat at 11:06 PM on November 5, 2004


"Retiring at 48 with 75% pay is an awfully good deal"

I calculated the relative risk of a soldier in Iraq on a one year tour of duty many months ago, when things were *less* violent than they are today. My findings? The relative level of risk for a soldier doing one year in Iraq is roughly equivalent to a cop working for 40 years.

So, retiring on $21K a year sounds good, I guess, if you're willing to accept accumulating the risk that, say, 10 cops do in their entire lifetime, with fewer of the benefits of being home with your family...

It's a sucker's bet. I'd rather be a cop, thanks.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:00 AM on November 6, 2004


Insomnia_lj, you can't compare being a cop to being an active duty enlistee.

Most teen/early 20s Active Duty enlistees didn't have an option to be cops. A HS diploma and an above-the-cutoff ASVAB score are all that are required to enlist. Most police departments these days require prior military service or at least two years of college, plus a score on a police civil service exam score with a cut-off implying singificantly higher minimum aptitude than the minimum ASVAB score for enlistment.

The situation is quite different with the National Guard, where people enlist from all different walks of life, including professional careers, college, etc.

I think that Guardsmen have a very legitimate complaint about the choices that the military has made in mobilizing them; absent an all-out war, the Guard was not marketed to them as basically a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too option for the Department of Defense, where they don't have to pay you when they don't need you, and they can have you whenever they need you, otherwise.

In the next couple of years I think that the Guard and Reserve Bureau are going to have a lot of trouble meeting their enlistment goals, unless they creat a new class of "National Emergency Reserves" or something where's the a reasonable degree of assurance that one won't be called to active duty simply because the Government finds it more convenient than securing regular enlistments for the last couple of brigades they need to deploy.
posted by MattD at 6:51 AM on November 6, 2004


This was the biggest youth in thirty years. Youre's till debunked:

To point out that there was increase is nice but meaningless in this regard. No group has a lower participation rate yet no group stands to lose more.

I totally agree with the analysis that there was no youth vote failure behind Kerry's defeat. Unlike others I don't assume a youth vote equals a kerry vote either. What I was lamenting was the low participation percentage for young people.

You point to an increase and tell me that low youth participation has been debunked. I cannot see how this follows from any of the numbers since they are still participating at close to 50%. Roughly 10 percentage points below the national average. So where is exactly is this debunking? Sure there was an increase...but it wasn't enough. Last place is still last place.

As for demonizing ...well yes I do see that it was probably wrong of me to imply that they were baby killing chicken sacrificing pentagram drawing demon raisers when I said it was said they didn't participate.

I suspect you are actually arguing with someone other than me about a point other than the one I was making.
posted by srboisvert at 7:06 AM on November 6, 2004


"Insomnia_lj, you can't compare being a cop to being an active duty enlistee."

I can certainly compare it in terms of risk... and I did. I also have a friend who recently joined the local police academy, and she didn't meet all the requirements you mentioned.

That said, I would rather be a sanitary engineer, work in the post office, or bag groceries than be a soldier too. Far better return on investment, you get to have a real family life, and you have less of a risk of getting blown up or beheaded.

Sounds great to me. Where do I sign up?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:35 AM on November 6, 2004


Odd how people for the war often remember the part about how "their's is not to question why, their's is but to do and die" and forget the part about "not though the soldier knew some one had blundered".

Sure, it's the soldier's duty, because he volunteered, to put himself in the line of fire and possibly get killed. But those who send him there also have a responsibility to make sure his life is not wasted; to make sure that he has adequate protection and most importantly, to make sure that his reason for being there is valid.

So kwantsar, yes, he did volunteer for service and they are making him fight a war, but should he die simply because someone has made a mistake? Especially if it's a mistake that you can prevent from happening again and again?

Next time you decide that it's fun and funny to take life so glibly, think for a few seconds before hitting the post button.
posted by dazed_one at 8:36 AM on November 6, 2004


If we reach the point where nobody will want to enter the National Guard, who will clean up after earthquakes, tornadoes, floods?
posted by gimonca at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2004


I hope you didn't post those links to refute my point

I posted those links because your statements were false. The education is not free, the health care is not universally available, and the VA does not guarantee that the GI will be able to get a home loan. The value of the pension is open for debate.
posted by joaquim at 7:03 PM on November 6, 2004


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