This Civilian

Anybody who has been reading the last few weeks knows that my focus has been on the military.  During the course of my 16 year relationship with a U.S. Marine, I have learned a great deal about military culture.  The issues our service members face hold a special place in my heart.

Okay.  So this morning I am having my (required) second cup of coffee, and I run across a discussion on this.

After cleaning off my keyboard and fighting my gag reflex, I got angry.  Violently angry.

angry

That is to be expected, right?  Who wouldn’t be angry about this type of dehumanization and abuse as a weapon of war?

It is now known, Cienfuegos wrote in May 2004, that hundreds of these photographs had been in circulation among the troops in Iraq. The graphic photos were being swapped between the soldiers like baseball cards.

Baseball cards?!?  <Seething>

Look.  For the past few months, I have been exposed to all manner of military activists hellbent on convincing me that our government is headed towards tyranny.  I have been reminded, countless times, that they have fought for our freedom only to see it now being incrementally snatched away by a despotic government.

Yet, they defend the organization for which they fought tooth and nail.  They tell me I just don’t understand.  Because I am a civilian.

By all means, help me understand.

The government is a highly secretive organization, marked by cronyism and wasteful spending.  The security of any given “mission” often trumps individual rights.  Human rights violations are rampant because decisions are often made by those with no experience in a particular issue.  Scandals are often times covered up and justified because the organization’s primary focus is on protecting the institution.

The military is a highly secretive organization, marked by cronyism and wasteful spending.  The security of any given “mission” often trumps individual rights.  Human rights violations are rampant because decisions are often made by those with no experience in a particular issue.  Scandals are often times covered up and justified because the organization’s primary focus is on protecting the institution.

So….what’s the difference, again?

Look, I am not pointing fingers here.  I am simply pointing out that the Military Industrial Complex is just as, if not more, corrupt than government.

Baseball cards?

No one can tell me the government is violating our human rights, while photographs of abuse are passed around like friggin’ baseball cards.

No one can expect me to believe that turning in a fellow brother is “cowardly snitching”, while turning in a government official is “patriotic whistleblowing”.

A person can’t advocate protesting against the government, while decrying protesting against war.

Nobody can convince me that citizens are sheep, while service members are “just following orders”.

That, my friends, is hypocrisy.

I have always supported the idea of listening, with both ears, to our military members.  After all, they are the ones who are called upon to sacrifice their lives in defense of our freedom.

I listen, with both ears, to both the angry and proud rantings of our service members.

I am confused how having no real rights to speak of can be funny… if you wear a uniform.  I have listened to the “sandwich” jokes in reference to women.  I have seen the LOLs following some ridiculous order handed down by commanders.  (Excluding the CIC, of course)  I have heard the justifications for mistreatment of Middle Eastern natives.  I have read the rants against drones, and pats on the back for special forces-styled assassinations.

And today, much to the dismay of my gag reflex, I have witnessed the originals of those passed around baseball cards.  I have been aware, for many years, that this type of thing occurred, but it is sickening to see the evidence of it.

This civilian has great respect for military personnel, but was sickened.

This civilian is angry for you, and angry with you.  I will have your back when you’re right and tell you when you’re wrong.

This civilian does not see service as super citizenship.  I will listen, attentively, to your thoughts, as long as you remember that your service does not give you the right to tell me when mine have been infringed upon.

This civilian does not chuckle at the corruption of one organization, and rally against the corruption of the other.  I am an equal opportunity criticizer.

The government has its fair share of problems, and I will be the first to admit that.

But, the military needs to get its own house in order, don’t you think?

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3 thoughts on “This Civilian

  1. As a 45-year-old, this is easy for me to say, but I think it’s time to bring back the draft. We need to steer away from the professional/career military.

  2. There is no denying the military unfortunately has a huge issue when it comes to sexual assaults, even against their own comrades.

    I suspect much of this is also a reflection of how toxic our rape culture is, how “normalized” certain behaviors and expectations have become, and somehow, being in the military amplifies the toxicity of our rape culture (for a sad, sick few).

  3. I am not certain a draft would be the solution. In all likelihood, you run the same risk drafting these types of people as you do having them enlist voluntarily.

    Rape culture is extremely toxic. We have taken to phrases like “being raped” for everything from taxes to video games. The high level of aggression, inherent to the military, certainly doesn’t help.

    We are Americans, are we not? We are supposed to be better than this!

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