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The Madness of the Military Mindset

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I find in existence a new and heretofore unknown and dangerous concept that the members of the armed forces owe their primary allegiance and loyalty to those who temporarily exercise the authority of the executive branch of the Government, rather than to the country and its Constitution they are sworn to defend. No proposition could be more dangerous. ~ General Douglas MacArthur Does it matter how you make a living? Those with a military mindset apparently don’t think it does. I’ve written some articles about the military over the course of the past few months: “Should We Honor Military Personnel?” “What Is It that Libertarians Don’t Get about the Military?” “Military Habits” “Thank You for What Service?” Some of the comments I

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I find in existence a new and heretofore unknown and dangerous concept that the members of the armed forces owe their primary allegiance and loyalty to those who temporarily exercise the authority of the executive branch of the Government, rather than to the country and its Constitution they are sworn to defend. No proposition could be more dangerous. ~ General Douglas MacArthur

Does it matter how you make a living? Those with a military mindset apparently don’t think it does.

I’ve written some articles about the military over the course of the past few months:

Should We Honor Military Personnel?

What Is It that Libertarians Don’t Get about the Military?

Military Habits

Thank You for What Service?

Some of the comments I received are so vile I cannot repeat them on this family-friendly website. Here are some that I can print to help me get my point across:

“Those who willfully VOLUNTEER to ‘serve their country’ need no sarcasm from you. Vets do NOT set policy, they do not decide which areas they may serve, they do not control what they are asked to do and they have no authority to walk away from assignments; in fact, doing so easily can land them in a military prison.”

“The utility of going to war is a political issue, the soldier/sailor/airman/marine doesn’t have the luxury of making that decision after the President has issued orders via the chain of command.”

“The military member, by definition of the oath (s)he took upon enlistment or receiving a commission, is bound by LAW to follow his orders, even at the peril of his life. Never mind that when (s)he enlisted or was commissioned, typically at a young and inexperienced age, there was no idea of what engagements that member/officer would be involved in, and likely the recruiter had no idea either.”

These comments are really no different from comments I received in previous years when I wrote about the military on a regular basis. I print some of them below (just as I received them) that I have never made public before:

“The men and women with the boots on the ground have absolutely no control.”

“Do not for one second think that everyone in the military agrees with what we do. However, if the President has found a way to do justify something then that’s we will do.”

Sir, I respectfully understand and appreciate your opposition to war but please don’t confuse war with wariers.  If they have to do it then they should do it as well as they can. A soldier has little, if any choice in the matter – ‘mine is not to reason why’. Please place blame squarely where it belongs, with cowardly politicians who think nothing of spending a soldiers life for a flawed philosophy. War is killing, a bloody horrible business that ought to be a measure of last resort. Until the day comes when the politicians fight the war themselves than soldiers will have to do it and they deserve our measured respect and thanks for putting themselves on the line.

“I’ve already come to the conclusion that you’re a piece of shit.  If you’re old enough, I’ll bet you were also one of the ones screaming ‘BABY KILLER’ at the soldiers who returned from Vietnam. Disagreeing with and talking smack against the government leaders who send troops into wars that you feel are unjust, fine. But to demean the military personnel who put their asses and lives on the line, that goes clear over the top.”

This is madness.

The military mindset thanks veterans for their service even though they didn’t provide any American with any service.

The military mindset believes that soldiers should unreservedly follow orders.

The military mindset thanks military personnel for defending the country when they engage in offense in other countries.

The military mindset believes that soldiers are not responsible for the death and destruction they cause even though they are the actual ones who mete out the death and destruction.

The military mindset believes that a just war is a war justified by the U.S. government.

The military mindset believes that U.S. soldiers should fight “over there” even though there was no chance that they would have to fight “over here.”

The military mindset agrees that U.S. foreign policy is flawed, but then says that we shouldn’t criticize American soldiers for carrying it out at the point of a gun.

The military mindset believes that U.S. soldiers should be respected for putting their lives on the line for us when we were never in any danger to begin with.

The military mindset believes that the killing of innocent civilians who were no threat to Americans is just collateral damage.

The military mindset believes that politicians are cowards, but soldiers who kill with bombs from 40,000 feet are heroes.

This is madness.

For someone to take a job where he could be sent anywhere to do anything and be expected to obey orders and not be able to quit is rightly seen as madness. But put a military uniform on someone and he is suddenly transformed into a hero. This too is madness.

Laurence M. Vance
Laurence M. Vance is an author, a publisher, a lecturer, a freelance writer, the editor of the Classic Reprints series, and the director of the Francis Wayland Institute. He holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. The author of twenty-four books, he has contributed over 700 articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

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