Respect Soldiers! - But Why?

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Fraser Greenfield:
I judged you so on the basis that there was no listed nationality on your profile, and you write like an ignorant teenage boy from the West Coast.

And there you finally completely killed any notion that you were interested in an actual debate.

Fraser Greenfield:

Allar:
[quote="Fraser Greenfield" post="528.379246.14867114"]

You're not actually suggesting that Vietnam was in any way a justified or necessary war are you? Because it's fairly clear that the Vietnamese, on the whole, supported Ho Chi Minh in both the North and the South, a division which by the way was created arbitrarily due to the fear of Soviet influence. Pray tell, why was the (unsuccessful) suppression of the popular will of the Vietnamese in any way conducive to maintaining American freedoms?

Two words: Domino Theory. If you'd ever heard of it, and understood it. You'd know perfectly well that American intervention into Indo-China was a perfectly rational, justifiable decision.

Careful now, you're making assumptions about my background, knowledge and intelligence that you shouldn't be making. I am both aware of and understand Domino Theory and find it to be an unconvincing theory in terms of justifying American intervention in Vietnam. Domino Theory, at it's most basic level, is the notion that if one state in a region becomes Communist then a domino effect will be produced resulting in an entire region gripped by Communism yes? This would obviously have been a problem from the perspective of the American policy of containment.

There are a few problems that I see with this idea. First is the fallacious assumption that all Communist states would necessarily thwart American interests at every turn in tandem and that a victory for Communist ideology anywhere necessarily posed a threat to the US at home regardless of circumstances. Ho Chi Minh was influenced in no small part by the Founding Fathers of the United States and wasn't interested in making an enemy of the United States. Though he clearly didn't agree with the economic or social system of the United States it seems reasonable to conclude that a Communist Vietnam could have at least been kept from openly helping the Soviets in regards to US policy in the region. It's not like every Communist state got along with every other Communist state, the Sino-Soviet Split is the obvious example of this but Tito in Yugoslavia is another good example of a Communist state that was kept separate from the Comintern and Soviet policy. That's not to say the Vietnamese would've done the US any favours but it would've been preferable to the war they embarked on which they couldn't possibly win.

This is the second point that, in my mind, makes the Domino Theory unconvincing in this context. Approval for Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh was somewhere north of 70% in the election before partition, that was throughout the entire country. There was no feasible way that a state with a population so overwhelmingly in favour of the Viet Minh and a population emboldened by the defeat of the French could be beaten down. The US was never going to win the war in Vietnam and it certainly wasn't fought because of a fear of damaging American liberties. It was fought to try and capitalize on the failure of the French before anybody else was able to get their hands on the state. This is all up for debate of course I just have a difficult time believing that intervention in Vietnam was motivated even primarily by fear of a domino effect when political neutralization of the popular regime was a far more feasible option.

Furthermore, even if you can make the argument that Vietnam was, at the time, motivated by Domino Theory and a legitimate fear of what effect the spread of Communism would have on American freedoms it doesn`t make my criticism any less relevant. I said that the war wasn`t conducive to maintaining American freedoms and it wasn`t. Even if it was motivated by good intentions (which I don`t believe) the assumptions made were clearly wrong. The US LOST, the NVA and the Viet Cong won, Vietnam to this day is Communist and the freedom and liberties of the American people were not eroded by the loss of that war.

Allar:
Careful now, you're making assumptions about my background, knowledge and intelligence that you shouldn't be making.

If you've ever been to Hamburg and seen the Black Block out in force on a matchday of that club, you would be making such assumptions though.

Allar:
There are a few problems that I see with this idea. First is the fallacious assumption that all Communist states would necessarily thwart American interests at every turn in tandem

And against the background of the Cold War, they would have, even if just for the heck of it. For example the RAF terrorists were sheltered by the German DDR because they were ideological allies against Western Germany, despite of them being cold blooded murderers and terrorists

Allar:
The US was never going to win the war in Vietnam and it certainly wasn't fought because of a fear of damaging American liberties. It was fought to try and capitalize on the failure of the French before anybody else was able to get their hands on the state.

Would you mind showing us some proof of this? Because it sounds extremely unlikely, seeing as the US never made any attempt to colonise Vietnam. Heck, in those days the US was anti-colonial to the point of being responsible for quite a few horrible things such as the Indonesian occupation of the Moluccan Republic.

Allar:
This is all up for debate of course I just have a difficult time believing that intervention in Vietnam was motivated even primarily by fear of a domino effect when political neutralization of the popular regime was a far more feasible option.

There was no popular regime in Vietnam to topple as you claim. Half the problem was that the ruler in the south was a brutal catholic dictator who oppressed Buddhists. Even the heavily Christian US in the end gave their okay to South-Vietnamese generals getting rid of him through a coup.

I'm a soldier myself, but I can see what you're saying. And that you have the same problem as me, in that things make a lot of sense in your head, but getting them onto paper (or whatever digital equivalent this is) isn't as easy.

I can't stand it when people come up to me and thank me for their freedom, when I know I didn't do a damn thing to protect their freedom when I went over to Iraq. I think soldiers deserve respect in that they're willing to put their lives on the line to protect the greater good (some of them anyway, others are just in it for the action, trust me, or other reasons)... but that's not what this 'war on terrorism' BS is all about. The government claims they're protecting our freedoms and way of life from terrorists, while at the same time being the culprits themselves in this endeavor by trashing the constitution, slashing our freedoms and throwing away our rights in the name of security. It's fucking disgraceful.

I swore to protect the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic, and right now the domestic ones are a far greater danger to our republic than some Islamic jihadist over in the middle east that we probably created by killing someone he knows in a damn drone strike to begin with.

Blablahb:
If you've ever been to Hamburg and seen the Black Block out in force on a matchday of that club, you would be making such assumptions though.

Hey you'll get no defense of the Black Bloc from me, far as I'm concerned people who call themselves Black Bloc in almost every case are hooligans looking for an excuse to break shit. I'll grant you that I've not been to Hamburg though, I'm a Canadian and I started supporting the team after being introduced by a German friend. Best I've been able to tell whilst the club's fans are definitely of a left-wing slant with some radical views they're mostly good people. I won't deny there are bad apples, there always are, just saying it's really not appropriate to make such sweeping generalizations when I've not made any comments that should indicate that kind of behaviour.

Blablahb:
And against the background of the Cold War, they would have, even if just for the heck of it. For example the RAF terrorists were sheltered by the German DDR because they were ideological allies against Western Germany, despite of them being cold blooded murderers and terrorists

Different context than what I'm referring to though. The DDR was part of the Soviet bloc and taking its marching orders from Moscow. The Eastern Bloc was undoubtedly working in tandem with the Soviets because they didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. My point is that Vietnam could very well have been more along the lines of Yugoslavia or China if the Americans had played their cards right but they didn't even try.

Blablahb:
Would you mind showing us some proof of this? Because it sounds extremely unlikely, seeing as the US never made any attempt to colonise Vietnam. Heck, in those days the US was anti-colonial to the point of being responsible for quite a few horrible things such as the Indonesian occupation of the Moluccan Republic.

Allow me to clarify my position. I didn't mean to imply that the Americans sought to colonise Vietnam in the way that the French did. I mean that they sought to preserve Western influence rather than leave it to the Vietnamese to decide or even ensure the fairness of the elections that followed. Instead they knowingly allowed their puppet to rig the election and never raised a fuss about the failure to hold a real referendum on Vietnamese statehood in 1956. It was about power and extending the reach of the US. I won't deny that the misguided and crippling paranoia about all things left-wing that was popular in the US at the time played a role, I simply don't believe that it was fought due to the perception of any sort of existential threat.

Blablahb:
There was no popular regime in Vietnam to topple as you claim. Half the problem was that the ruler in the south was a brutal catholic dictator who oppressed Buddhists. Even the heavily Christian US in the end gave their okay to South-Vietnamese generals getting rid of him through a coup.

No popular regime in the sense that it hadn't been established yet because the Emperor refused to hold elections in 1956 and the South Vietnamese Prime Minister rigged the election so he won by an absurd margin. You can find numerous sources for the projection that around 80% of the population would've voted for Ho Chi Minh if given the chance. Even if that's a choice between the lesser of two evils it's still a choice that they were never allowed to make. That doesn't excuse atrocities committed by the Communists mind you, popular doesn't mean just. I'm just saying that it's difficult to believe that the war in Vietnam was fought to preserve American freedoms, there were numerous ways that situation could've been tackled that wouldn't have left such a sour taste in people's mouths both at home and abroad.

We can debate the motivations of old and dead people all day though, my only point throughout this whole thing was that the statement made which suggested that those who fought in the Vietnam War deserve respect because they protected the freedom of American citizens. I disagree and I think that the loss of the Vietnam War proves that American freedom and liberty weren't in jeopardy or they would've suffered a loss of those liberties following the loss of the war and a domino effect in Southeast Asia.

Elcarsh:

Charles_Martel:
A nation must have soldiers. These soldiers face hazards and hardships that no other profession has to face. This includes dangerous professions like police and firefighters.

Someone has to do this dangerous job so be thankful they are doing it so you can live in peace and freedom.

I respect all my nation's soldiers that serve honorably. I have scorn for those who don't respect them.

That's a nice notion. Too bad it's not true. How often are armies actually called upon to defend their country? To my knowledge, the US army hasn't done that so much as once during the last century. I take it your reverence for soldiers makes an exception for them, hmm?

OK, I haven't read the thread, so forgive me if I've been ninja'd, but...

Do you even know why Armies aren't really called upon to defend their country? Because we have a fucking Army.

Soldiers and Armies are used for more than just killing, you know. Most of us don't want to kill. What Armies do when it comes to defending their own country is a lot more passive than picking up their rifle and aiming it; Armies act as a shield.

For instance, no one would risk a full on invasion of the United States because its Army is fucking huge. Bigger than ours, bigger than most Armed forces on the planet.

And you might say that Armies are redundant in the whole "Shield" aspect because of the Air Force - that's bullshit. Complete and utter fucking shite. Aeroplanes can't hold or recapture land and buildings. Sure, they could bomb the fuck out of somewhere, but they can't move in and take out individual targets, nor can they defend a single area from an enemy attack.

tl:dr - Armies are important. Don't be stupid.

Edit: Just to add to this; yes. It has been a very long time since an Army in the Western World has fought a defensive war at home, but it's for that very reason that we haven't had a War in the Western World for a very, very long time.

Moktor:
Ah yes, the old "It is safe today, so it has been safe since the dawn of time" fallacy.

So modern soldiers deserve respect, not for what they are doing, but because of what other soldiers did? Is that what you're saying?

Elcarsh:

A Raging Emo:
OK, I haven't read the thread, so forgive me if I've been ninja'd, but...

When you can be bothered to actually read the thread you're posting in, I'll be bothered to read your post.

What. The. Fuck.

Seriously, dude. There's no need to be so fucking rude.

Holy crap, wow.

You're implying I'm too lazy to read the thread, when in actuality I saw your post while reading the fucking thread and decided to comment. That's all.

A Raging Emo:
What. The. Fuck.

Seriously, dude. There's no need to be so fucking rude.

Holy crap, wow.

You're implying I'm too lazy to read the thread, when in actuality I saw your post while reading the fucking thread and decided to comment. That's all.

I'm simply quite fed up with answering the same points over and over and over again.

But I'll humour you.

A Raging Emo:

Do you even know why Armies aren't really called upon to defend their country? Because we have a fucking Army.

Soldiers and Armies are used for more than just killing, you know. Most of us don't want to kill. What Armies do when it comes to defending their own country is a lot more passive than picking up their rifle and aiming it; Armies act as a shield.

So, the idea of the deterrent pops up again. I'll just drop the facts of Sweden in here; Sweden went through both world wars without participating and hasn't faced a single conflict on its own turf ever since. Why do you think that is? Is it because of our awesome military might that scared off Hitler?

A Raging Emo:
For instance, no one would risk a full on invasion of the United States because its Army is fucking huge. Bigger than ours, bigger than most Armed forces on the planet.

And I'm sure Canada are just waiting, poised to strike whenever the US shows any weakness.

All the while, you've still not explained how this means I need to automatically respect all soldiers all the time.

A Raging Emo:
And you might say that Armies are redundant in the whole "Shield" aspect because of the Air Force - that's bullshit. Complete and utter fucking shite. Aeroplanes can't hold or recapture land and buildings. Sure, they could bomb the fuck out of somewhere, but they can't move in and take out individual targets, nor can they defend a single area from an enemy attack.

I've already had dinner, no need for further red herrings.

A Raging Emo:
tl:dr - Armies are important. Don't be stupid.

Irrelevant. The subject isn't how important armies are, but why on earth I should automatically respect someone for being a soldier when they do absolutely damn all for me.

A Raging Emo:
Edit: Just to add to this; yes. It has been a very long time since an Army in the Western World has fought a defensive war at home, but it's for that very reason that we haven't had a War in the Western World for a very, very long time.

We haven't had a war because we haven't had a war?

Well...duh?

ruthaford_jive:
I'm a soldier myself, but I can see what you're saying. And that you have the same problem as me, in that things make a lot of sense in your head, but getting them onto paper (or whatever digital equivalent this is) isn't as easy.

I can't stand it when people come up to me and thank me for their freedom, when I know I didn't do a damn thing to protect their freedom when I went over to Iraq. I think soldiers deserve respect in that they're willing to put their lives on the line to protect the greater good (some of them anyway, others are just in it for the action, trust me, or other reasons)... but that's not what this 'war on terrorism' BS is all about. The government claims they're protecting our freedoms and way of life from terrorists, while at the same time being the culprits themselves in this endeavor by trashing the constitution, slashing our freedoms and throwing away our rights in the name of security. It's fucking disgraceful.

I swore to protect the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic, and right now the domestic ones are a far greater danger to our republic than some Islamic jihadist over in the middle east that we probably created by killing someone he knows in a damn drone strike to begin with.

That sounds fairly sheisty, if you don't mind me saying. But it does make sense.

Here, I could see how our soldiers (Mexican, here) would feel shafted like that. They are paraded around and about like heroes in political speeches, but they do very little other than driving around town, waiting, and get bored around the shitload (and I mean shitload) of military hold-ups distributed every few hundreds of kilometers in our highways--and when shit gets bad, it gets bad quick and nobody knows when it's gonna happen. So they do the dance day in and day out. And on top of that, some dudes just fucking snap and do crazy shit.

But, most military dudes over here (non commisisoned) are poor folk that would rather do that than starve, or something. It's pretty sheisty how people get used like that.

I think soldiers deserve just as much respect as any other profession in service of your fellow man. Teachers, doctors, scientists... well you know what I mean.

Katatori-kun:

Part of the military's job is to give us the military we need when we need it. If we're marching off to wars unprepared, then our military isn't doing its job.

I'll dispute this one. No, it means their civilian leaders and pentagon creeps aren't doing their jobs. The grunts have dick-all to say about it.

Blablahb:

Allar:
There are a few problems that I see with this idea. First is the fallacious assumption that all Communist states would necessarily thwart American interests at every turn in tandem

And against the background of the Cold War, they would have, even if just for the heck of it. For example the RAF terrorists were sheltered by the German DDR because they were ideological allies against Western Germany, despite of them being cold blooded murderers and terrorists

That's rather different isn't it? Most states that turned to the Soviet Union for help were states that were rejected aid from the US, you know like Cuba, Egypt, Syria etc.So into the late 70's we reflected on this and say Jimmy Carter felt that rejecting aid for the Sandinistas wasn't the greatest idea since they'll just turn to the Soviet Union. Communists weren't solid by the Cold War, they were for awhile but after Stalin's death the movement began splintering more seriously. After Kruschev gave the secret speech which admitted Stalin was a bit of a psychopathic murderer the whole movement was astounded since for decades they had been trying to convince themselves Stalin was great and that these murders were either exaggerations of lies. After he did that many Communist parties had to change up their allegiances across the world (notably Britain where Politt kept his reverence for Stalin or France where it was a bit embarrassing how much support they had for him) To begin with Stalin himself didn't support too many Communist movements other than his own, his supplied the Koumanting over the Chinese Communists, he didn't really care about Vietnam and advised all other Communists to not start up any wars that would drag him into them (like Korea which he accepted after it started seeing how successful it was becoming) because he was attending to the Soviet Unions interests over the movements.

Blablahb:

Allar:
The US was never going to win the war in Vietnam and it certainly wasn't fought because of a fear of damaging American liberties. It was fought to try and capitalize on the failure of the French before anybody else was able to get their hands on the state.

Would you mind showing us some proof of this? Because it sounds extremely unlikely, seeing as the US never made any attempt to colonise Vietnam. Heck, in those days the US was anti-colonial to the point of being responsible for quite a few horrible things such as the Indonesian occupation of the Moluccan Republic.

It wasn't the US trying to be imperialistic, it was the US trying to control the new republics instead. That's what he was saying.

Blablahb:

Allar:
This is all up for debate of course I just have a difficult time believing that intervention in Vietnam was motivated even primarily by fear of a domino effect when political neutralization of the popular regime was a far more feasible option.

There was no popular regime in Vietnam to topple as you claim. Half the problem was that the ruler in the south was a brutal catholic dictator who oppressed Buddhists. Even the heavily Christian US in the end gave their okay to South-Vietnamese generals getting rid of him through a coup.

Yah and you know what the worst part was? Despite him being such he was still the best the US had, everyone after him was even worse. The coup itself wasn't very US supported, the generals approached the ambassador who said yes right away then told the President about it and by the time Kennedy found out it was too late, Kennedy didn't want to overthrow Diem especially in such a violent manner, because he knew that despite all his shortcomings he was the best they were going to get.

Now there were going to be elections held for a united Vietnam peacefully in 1954, the US however let South Vietnam not do them because in all of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh was incredibly popular and would've won. It's quite clear that the US knew that Ho Chi Minh was popular both in the South AND the North and that's why they had such a brutal dictatorship in South Vietnam because there would be no way to get a popular politician who would've been a US-supporter. The Johnson administration even lied to keep the war going, they just knew from the start it was unwinnable.

Donuthole:
I'll dispute this one. No, it means their civilian leaders and pentagon creeps aren't doing their jobs. The grunts have dick-all to say about it.

But they're only in charge of respectively the total budget and internal distribution of that budget. Organising training and the composition of that training is in the hands of the responsible military officers.

For instance where am I going to train? Here at home? Arrange to train in an arctic country? In a hot arid country?

To name a few concrete examples, said arctic training and survival training were left out of my training because I'd always be operating from a base, and they needed to get me there to fill a gap in the organisation much more than they needed a fully trained fighting officer. In theory I wasn't even supposed to be in any fighting.

That means someone in the academy made a few choices regarding the program for everyone there, and for my program in specific.


The only way civilian leaders are responsible for being unprepared is if the budget is cut back to a point where you can't prepare any longer. Belgium's army for instance has been ridiculed as occasional trainers; 'we'll schedule excersizes if it happens to be we can afford ammunition' and such.

Blablahb:

The only way civilian leaders are responsible for being unprepared is if the budget is cut back to a point where you can't prepare any longer.

Bullshit. I'll wager you one Iraq War. It was Donald Rumsfeld, a civilian, who sent too few ill-equipped troops to that boondoggle.

Elcarsh:
Is it because of our awesome military might that scared off Hitler?

No, it probably has to do with Sweden working with Nazis.

A Raging Emo:

Elcarsh:

Charles_Martel:
A nation must have soldiers. These soldiers face hazards and hardships that no other profession has to face. This includes dangerous professions like police and firefighters.

Someone has to do this dangerous job so be thankful they are doing it so you can live in peace and freedom.

I respect all my nation's soldiers that serve honorably. I have scorn for those who don't respect them.

That's a nice notion. Too bad it's not true. How often are armies actually called upon to defend their country? To my knowledge, the US army hasn't done that so much as once during the last century. I take it your reverence for soldiers makes an exception for them, hmm?

OK, I haven't read the thread, so forgive me if I've been ninja'd, but...

Do you even know why Armies aren't really called upon to defend their country? Because we have a fucking Army.

Soldiers and Armies are used for more than just killing, you know. Most of us don't want to kill. What Armies do when it comes to defending their own country is a lot more passive than picking up their rifle and aiming it; Armies act as a shield.

For instance, no one would risk a full on invasion of the United States because its Army is fucking huge. Bigger than ours, bigger than most Armed forces on the planet.

And you might say that Armies are redundant in the whole "Shield" aspect because of the Air Force - that's bullshit. Complete and utter fucking shite. Aeroplanes can't hold or recapture land and buildings. Sure, they could bomb the fuck out of somewhere, but they can't move in and take out individual targets, nor can they defend a single area from an enemy attack.

tl:dr - Armies are important. Don't be stupid.

Edit: Just to add to this; yes. It has been a very long time since an Army in the Western World has fought a defensive war at home, but it's for that very reason that we haven't had a War in the Western World for a very, very long time.

To address the deterrent idea, that failed spectacularly in the build up to WW1. The west had huge armies and alliances and the idea was that everyone was so big, no-one could dare attack each other. A sort of pre-cursor to MAD theory. It ended up making war almost inevitable. What kept Europe peaceful comes from many factors. One is that we had to be united during the cold war, but the main one is that the powers of Europe bound there economies together so that war would be a disaster for everyone. Diplomacy and money have kept Europe peaceful, not armies.

Similarly america. Would you go to war with one of the biggest markets in the world? knowing they could boycott the fuck out of you? Why do you think america is so panicky about china overtaking them. The army is a shield, to be sure, but the market is a bigger one.

I'm not arguing to abolish the military, that would be daft. But considering we don't swoon over diplomats and spies I do think it could be argued that the military needs to get the fuck over itself.

evilneko:
It's not the soldier's fault if the war is bogus.

Every sodlier is partly to blame for the war they are in... Wars only happen because people fight them. If every soldier just said "No more war." and threw down their gun... guess what? No more wars.

Katatori-kun:
There hasn't been a conflict where my right to freedom could seriously have been in jeopardy in over half a century. So no, it's not a reflection on anyone serving in the armed forces now.

Have you never heard of deterrence? The *reason* there hasn't been a conflict where your freedom could have been in jeopardy is because of our military.

Look, the world is divided into two types of people:
1) People who believe that wars are prevented with armies
2) People who believe that wars are prevented by treaties

If you believe #1, you'll think having an army is incredibly important, and you'll respect soldiers.

If you believe #2, you'll think having an army is useless and you won't respect soldiers. You will get away with believing this for a long time, possibly generations, until eventually your country gets invaded by someone who believes #1. There are enough villains in the world that #1 is always true in the long term.

Archon:

Look, the world is divided into two types of people:
1) People who believe that wars are prevented with armies
2) People who believe that wars are prevented by treaties

One, that's a false dichotomy, and two, that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not "uniform" should equal "respect" or not.

Vegosiux:

Archon:

Look, the world is divided into two types of people:
1) People who believe that wars are prevented with armies
2) People who believe that wars are prevented by treaties

One, that's a false dichotomy, and two, that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not "uniform" should equal "respect" or not.

First off: when someone says "there are two types of people," he is obviously engaging in a simplification to prove a point. But the existence of the shades of grey in between does not disprove that there are, in fact, two basic and opposed differences of opinion with regard to the causes of war and the utility of armies in preventing them. Do you disagree with the existence of those two schools of thought?

Second: The question wasn't whether "uniform" should equal respect, it's whether "soldiers" should get respect. By "soldier" I assume "someone who bears arms in the service of their country" is meant. If you believe that your nation's soldiers protect your nation, then their decision to serve in the military is worthy of respect. Service in the military is not as fiscally rewarding as the private industry. No one gets rich from being enlisted in the infantry. But many get broken knees, psychologically scarred, maimed, or killed. If you believe that their doing so is in the cause of protecting you, is that not worthy of respect?

On the other hand, if you believe your nation's soldiers are a parasite on the economy and, e.g., the US could get by with an Italy-sized army, then I think it can be harder to respect soldiers. Then you see a bunch of testosterone-thickened goons who enjoy blowing stuff up.

Archon:
Have you never heard of deterrence?

Yes, I have.

The *reason* there hasn't been a conflict where your freedom could have been in jeopardy is because of our military.

Yeah, sorry, I'm going to need some much more rigorous evidence of that claim than some bullshit appeal to deterrence.

Look, the world is divided into two types of people:
1) People who believe that wars are prevented with armies
2) People who believe that wars are prevented by treaties

*YAWN* strawman.

I never said I believed that treaties protected US citizens.

What I said was that there is no credible enemy that wants to take away my freedom. If you want to convince me you aren't completely talking out of your ass, please provide (with evidence!) an enemy that wants to take away my freedoms and would have the capability to both invade and occupy a significant portion of the US if we reduced our military capacity by a reasonable margin.

I have a little respect for soldiers on the account that they went through harsh training that I would most likely not be able to do. (I was always good at physical things, but not like that.)

That being said, I don't ever automatically respect soldiers in any other way. They can earn respect individually, but just a uniform doesn't make me respect you. In fact, I have no respect at all for many of the soldiers today. Simply because I can't get myself to respect people that wage war to bring peace, and are total asses about it to boot. (contradictions and such) This is of course my own personal experience with soldiers I've met. It doesn't reflect -all- soldiers, I know.

Captcha: Speeding Bullet

Archon:

If you believe #1, you'll think having an army is incredibly important, and you'll respect soldiers.

I think having people maintain our infrastructure is important too, but that doesn't mean I particularly respect the people who repair our roads. I don't respect people who take our garbage even though it's better than having people deal with it themselves. And then politicians. We kind of need them, country won't run itself. I don't automatically respect them for that though.

unabomberman:

ruthaford_jive:
I'm a soldier myself, but I can see what you're saying. And that you have the same problem as me, in that things make a lot of sense in your head, but getting them onto paper (or whatever digital equivalent this is) isn't as easy.

I can't stand it when people come up to me and thank me for their freedom, when I know I didn't do a damn thing to protect their freedom when I went over to Iraq. I think soldiers deserve respect in that they're willing to put their lives on the line to protect the greater good (some of them anyway, others are just in it for the action, trust me, or other reasons)... but that's not what this 'war on terrorism' BS is all about. The government claims they're protecting our freedoms and way of life from terrorists, while at the same time being the culprits themselves in this endeavor by trashing the constitution, slashing our freedoms and throwing away our rights in the name of security. It's fucking disgraceful.

I swore to protect the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic, and right now the domestic ones are a far greater danger to our republic than some Islamic jihadist over in the middle east that we probably created by killing someone he knows in a damn drone strike to begin with.

That sounds fairly sheisty, if you don't mind me saying. But it does make sense.

Here, I could see how our soldiers (Mexican, here) would feel shafted like that. They are paraded around and about like heroes in political speeches, but they do very little other than driving around town, waiting, and get bored around the shitload (and I mean shitload) of military hold-ups distributed every few hundreds of kilometers in our highways--and when shit gets bad, it gets bad quick and nobody knows when it's gonna happen. So they do the dance day in and day out. And on top of that, some dudes just fucking snap and do crazy shit.

But, most military dudes over here (non commisisoned) are poor folk that would rather do that than starve, or something. It's pretty sheisty how people get used like that.

I have never heard that term before... sheisty.

Anyway, I'd argue it's kinda like that everywhere to some extent. Soldiers are political tools more often than not. And it's sad really. I wish there were more soldiers that were aware of it, but then as you said many in the enlisted ranks (such as myself) don't come from wealthy families, and for some the military is really the only option I suppose.

Helmholtz Watson:

Elcarsh:
Is it because of our awesome military might that scared off Hitler?

No, it probably has to do with Sweden working with Nazis.

"After Denmark and Norway were invaded on April 9, 1940, Sweden and the other remaining Baltic Sea countries became enclosed by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union"

I fail too see how if we respected our soldiers more, we would be able to fight off Soviet union and Nazi Germany. We did what we had to do to survive and I fail to see how a pointless war would have helped anything except costing a lot of Swedish lives and then being under Nazi control

And fyi

"German telegraph traffic to occupied Oslo went through Swedish-leased cables which the Swedes intercepted. The traffic was encrypted with Germany's Geheimschreiber device, but the cypher code was broken by Swedish mathematics professor Arne Beurling[21] in early summer 1940 and the results from this espionage were sent to the Allies through the Polish resistance movement. When the German battleship Bismarck embarked on her voyage to attack the Atlantic convoys, Swedish intelligence informed the British of her departure from port. Swedish businessmen and diplomats were also actively spying for the Allies, in Berlin and in the occupied territories."

here you can read a bit more on it
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_during_World_War_II

And perhaps you should check what your American companies did for Nazi Germany as well?

Archon:
If you believe that your nation's soldiers protect your nation, then their decision to serve in the military is worthy of respect.

And what of soldiers who signed up during wars we could justifiably view as unjust? To take a random year, over 200,000 people joined the US military in 2008 when the US was embroiled in not one but two 'wars' that there are very real and very legitimate objections to - wars which could hardly be described being entered into to 'protect the nation'.

Should we respect them for joining up during such a time? For helping to encourage these wars which kill civilian and soldier alike?

Their decision to join to protect a nation (if indeed that was their reason to join at all) is only as respectable as the cause they're actually serving.

Amnestic:
And what of soldiers who signed up during wars we could justifiably view as unjust? To take a random year, over 200,000 people joined the US military in 2008 when the US was embroiled in not one but two 'wars' that there are very real and very legitimate objections to - wars which could hardly be described being entered into to 'protect the nation'.

Should we respect them for joining up during such a time? For helping to encourage these wars which kill civilian and soldier alike?

Their decision to join to protect a nation (if indeed that was their reason to join at all) is only as respectable as the cause they're actually serving.

Sure, fair question! My answer would be:
1. In discussing whether to respect soldiers, we are discussing a default position: To mark out the radical limits of these defaults, soldiers could default to "heroes worthy of respect," "no better than anyone else," and "baby killers/murders/enemies of freedom." For the reasons I've stated earlier, I default to "worthy of some respect". By default I treat a soldier with more respect than, e.g, a random businessman. Whatever your default, let's agree that particular soldiers and particular situations will change the default.

2. In discussing the recent wars, I think reasonable people can disagree as to the legitimacy of the wars and whether they were intended to protect America. And I think its very questionable to assume that soldiers who enlist are doing so because they desire to further bad deeds by America. I believe most enlist out of a desire to serve their country at some level. Certainly I know several soldiers who were planning on leaving the service, and re-upped because they felt they had a duty to fight in Afghanistan.

3. If you are personally convinced that the US's recent wars are evil and those who volunteered to participate in them are knowingly contributing to evil, then obviously I would not expect you to default to respecting them. That requires a level of certainty over (a) the reasons we went to war, and (b) the reasons soldiers enlisted, that I do not profess to have, and that I believe is past reasonable doubt.

My question to you then, in turn, is if the war is moral, do you then respect soldiers? Do you default to respecting, e.g. French resistance fighters in WWII opposing Nazis?

Archon:

Sure, fair question! My answer would be:
1. In discussing whether to respect soldiers, we are discussing a default position: To mark out the radical limits of these defaults, soldiers could default to "heroes worthy of respect," "no better than anyone else," and "baby killers/murders/enemies of freedom." For the reasons I've stated earlier, I default to "worthy of some respect". By default I treat a soldier with more respect than, e.g, a random businessman. Whatever your default, let's agree that particular soldiers and particular situations will change the default.

My default remains "Respect people for what you know they've done, not for what you assume they've done." Because particular soldiers are at different points, respecting the group as a whole seems silly - you'll do a disservice to those who deserve your respect by not giving it its due, and you'll give base respect to those who don't deserve it. I don't respect doctors, firefighters, teachers or police as a whole either. They're just people until I find out otherwise.

The last one especially is rather important since a clear line can be drawn between law enforcement and military. You'll find many people who refuse to respect the police as a whole due to the number of corrupt officers who commit crimes, cover for each other and get off completely free (maybe some 'paid suspension' until it blows over). Yet those same people who distrust the police will go out of their way to champion the military despite seeing multiple war crimes and enormous civilian death tolls.

That sort of thing says to me that some people respect the military not because of deeds but because it's almost expected of them in social circles, rather than because they actually respect the service.

Archon:

2. In discussing the recent wars, I think reasonable people can disagree as to the legitimacy of the wars and whether they were intended to protect America. And I think its very questionable to assume that soldiers who enlist are doing so because they desire to further bad deeds by America. I believe most enlist out of a desire to serve their country at some level. Certainly I know several soldiers who were planning on leaving the service, and re-upped because they felt they had a duty to fight in Afghanistan.

I could maybe forget the initial surge in enlistment following the September 11 attacks since the US as a whole was reeling from them and "Patriotism"* was at an all time high. After that though?

I don't think they signed up "wanting to further bad deeds". I doubt most of them went in there shouting "FUCK YEAH! LET'S BE EVIL!" or anything. But they signed up for a war I disagree with. Two wars. Wars which drained the US (and by knock-on effect, the world) economy, wars which killed civilian and soldier alike, wars which seemed to say to the world that torture is okay (it's not) and wars which really didn't have all that much point in the end. Osama Bin Laden was killed by a special forces squad in Pakistan, Saddam Hussein didn't really have WMDs. The idea that military service is the only method of serving ones country is patently ridiculous. Your friends could've chosen another path; they chose Afghanistan.

I'd respect them more if they'd started volunteering at soup kitchens.

*I put "Patriotism" in quotation marks because that same "Patriotism" was what helped pass the PATRIOT Act, something which I consider rather antithetical to purported American values.

Archon:

3. If you are personally convinced that the US's recent wars are evil and those who volunteered to participate in them are knowingly contributing to evil, then obviously I would not expect you to default to respecting them. That requires a level of certainty over (a) the reasons we went to war, and (b) the reasons soldiers enlisted, that I do not profess to have, and that I believe is past reasonable doubt.

I don't know why the US went to war with Afghanistan. I don't even know why the US is still there. Do anyone? I keep asking this in these sorts of threads and I never get a satisfactory answer. Ostensibly it was first to get the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. 10 years later they finally get him...in Pakistan (which is meant to be a US ally!).

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

"I am truly not that concerned about him."
- G.W. Bush, repsonding to a question about bin Laden's whereabouts,
3/13/02 (The New American, 4/8/02)

So was it to get Osama? Again, serious question.

My default remains the same regardless though - What you know they've done, not for what you assume they've done.

Archon:

My question to you then, in turn, is if the war is moral, do you then respect soldiers? Do you default to respecting, e.g. French resistance fighters in WWII opposing Nazis?

I default to the same default as always. A French Resistance Fighter might be just as bad as a Nazi, just on the other side of the conflict. Or he might not be. Why would I respect before I know?

I'll counterpoint - You said earlier that

I believe most enlist out of a desire to serve their country at some level.

Do you respect Nazi soldiers who joined up to fight for their country, even if they didn't join up to do evil?

Fraser Greenfield:
You can sing about peace through your rose coloured glasses all you want, if Kuwait had fallen, the world energy economy would have collapsed overnight.

Kuwait did fall - for a few months - and the world energy economy did not collapse overnight. Furthermore, even with the temporary loss of both Kuwait and oil exports from Iraq it still didn't collapse. Oil prices quadrupled between 2003-2007 (sextupled to 2008 peak), and the market didn't collapse then either. And besides, if we'd let Saddam have Kuwait, what else would he have done with its oil but continue pumping and selling it anyway?

There were plenty of good reasons to kick Saddam out, but the above makes oil market implosion seem a pretty implausible one.

Fuck the military, you know who really deserve our respect, Firemen, policemen and doctors.

You know, the people that save lives without having to learn how to kill.
(granted police have to learn how to kill, but save lives in countless other, non-violent ways)

Especially doctors.

Amnestic:

My default remains "Respect people for what you know they've done, not for what you assume they've done." Because particular soldiers are at different points, respecting the group as a whole seems silly - you'll do a disservice to those who deserve your respect by not giving it its due, and you'll give base respect to those who don't deserve it. I don't respect doctors, firefighters, teachers or police as a whole either. They're just people until I find out otherwise.

While your position is coherent, I find it personally (aesthetically) distasteful. Here's why: For the most part, you and I will never know what people have done. Their past will be obscured to us simply because we don't have a chance to get to know most people. So therefore your way leads you to go through life assuming that people are unworthy of respect, simply because you are ignorant of their past deeds. I think it is healthier to default to an assumption that people are worthy of the respect unless we have reason to think otherwise. So I default to respecting doctors, firefighters, teachers, and police - I'll add in mayors, priests, and professors. In short, what 1950s would have called "authority figures".

The last one especially is rather important since a clear line can be drawn between law enforcement and military. You'll find many people who refuse to respect the police as a whole due to the number of corrupt officers who commit crimes, cover for each other and get off completely free (maybe some 'paid suspension' until it blows over). Yet those same people who distrust the police will go out of their way to champion the military despite seeing multiple war crimes and enormous civilian death tolls.

While I agree that there are such people, I am not one of them, and their opinions and actions are irrelevant to whether or not respecting soldiers is a coherent position.

I could maybe forget the initial surge in enlistment following the September 11 attacks since the US as a whole was reeling from them and "Patriotism"* was at an all time high. After that though?

Since you put "patriotism" in quotes, let me ask pointedly whether you are a patriot and/or believe in the value of patriotism? Put another way, do you see value in maintaining the existence of nation-states of citizens that are kept distinct from other nation-states of citizens?

I think a highly cogent argument can be made that nation-states improve liberty and civil well-being. But if you disagree and see no value in them, then I think it becomes much harder to support the existence of nation-state's armies and soldiers.

The idea that military service is the only method of serving ones country is patently ridiculous... I'd respect them more if they'd started volunteering at soup kitchens.

I disagree with you rather strongly here. While volunteering for the military is not the *only* way to serve one's country, it is a very singular one, marked by the following:
1) Substantial loss of one's personal freedom and autonomy in service to the nation
2) Substantial reduction in one's earning power relative to the market for similar services*
3) Substantial risk of injury, disease or death

Volunteering at soup kitchens simply doesn't come close. The only forms of government service that have similar levels of sacrifice and risk are (a) CIA covert operatives, (b) undercover police agents, (c) certain State Department assignments in foreign countries.

A lack of rhetorical skill precludes me from elaborating this further, but Robert Heinlein does an excellent job of explaining this position in Starship Troopers. (The intelligent book, not the stupid movie).

*For example, infantry in the US Army make about $20-$30,000 per year. The same soldier, employed as a mercenary, will make over 6 figures. The difference is what a soldier is willing to do for his country versus his wallet.

*I put "Patriotism" in quotation marks because that same "Patriotism" was what helped pass the PATRIOT Act, something which I consider rather antithetical to purported American values.

No argument from me there.

I don't know why the US went to war with Afghanistan. I don't even know why the US is still there. Do anyone? I keep asking this in these sorts of threads and I never get a satisfactory answer. Ostensibly it was first to get the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. 10 years later they finally get him...in Pakistan (which is meant to be a US ally!).

I think that's a discussion that could merit an entire other thread.

Archon:
Do you respect Nazi soldiers who joined up to fight for their country, even if they didn't join up to do evil?

I respect German soldiers who joined up to fight for their country, yes. As well as Russian soldiers who fought for Stalin's Communist Russia, British soldiers who fought for their Empire, etc.

Obviously my relation to them is different in that they are foreign powers to me. I wouldn't meet a German WWII vet and say "thank you for your service" the way I might upon meeting a US WWII vet, for instance, but I also wouldn't think "how could you serve those evil Nazis, you evil man?!"

Since Nazis are a touchy issue, it's worth noting that (a) the majority of German soldiers in the Wehrmacht were not Nazis, (b) the war crimes that were committed by the Germans were largely not committed by the Wehrmacht. I think one has to have a different reaction if you know the person was a volunteer for, e.g., the Einsatzgruppen.

Archon:
I disagree with you rather strongly here. While volunteering for the military is not the *only* way to serve one's country, it is a very singular one, marked by the following:
1) Substantial loss of one's personal freedom and autonomy in service to the nation
2) Substantial reduction in one's earning power relative to the market for similar services*
3) Substantial risk of injury, disease or death

Volunteering at soup kitchens simply doesn't come close. The only forms of government service that have similar levels of sacrifice and risk are (a) CIA covert operatives, (b) undercover police agents, (c) certain State Department assignments in foreign countries.

A lack of rhetorical skill precludes me from elaborating this further, but Robert Heinlein does an excellent job of explaining this position in Starship Troopers. (The intelligent book, not the stupid movie).

*For example, infantry in the US Army make about $20-$30,000 per year. The same soldier, employed as a mercenary, will make over 6 figures. The difference is what a soldier is willing to do for his country versus his wallet.

Er, that depends. There are various military positions of little risk, most military personnel aren't frontline soldiers. Being in the navy of a first world power makes you pretty safe from enemy action, for example.

Also, mercenaries have to be paid more than real soldiers in part because they don't have a government to provide their equipment and health care, for example.

Ranorak:
Fuck the military, you know who really deserve our respect, Firemen, policemen and doctors.

I'm sure there's enough respect to go around.

Blablahb:
That's bullshit and you know it. There's nothing difficult about being a soldier, for certain not any more difficult than doing anything else requiring physical activity.

Erm, huh? You can be called away from your homeland for months or years at a time, to a place you have no knowledge of with a different culture or language. You go through an incredibly tough training and depending on what branch, are expected to keep in good shape for what you gotta do. You might go to a country where it's not irregular for triple digit tempuratures while wearing around 40 pounds of gear. It is expected you will be shot at and possibly killed. You will statistically have a higher chance of mental illness like PTSD and a higher chance of suicide. Do I have to go on?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be an ass to you, but I can't imagine you ever saying it isn't difficult to a career soldier, like my buddy who was shot twice in Afghanistan after being there for 3 years, for an example.

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