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A thought on the armed forces and pacifism...

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One thing I've noticed over the years (and a post by Ray Sotkiewicz - LawnDart brought to mind), and something that has really astonished me as I grow older:I find more peace-loving folk within the armed forces than outside.I've found it extremely ironic to come to that conclusion, but in the end - if you really think about it - I guess it makes complete sense. Those who are tasked to fight to preserve our freedom tend to be those who wish more than anything to avoid a fight in the first place. That they have the absolute resolve to do so if it comes down to it is absolutely clear: but its been extremely interesting to me to find the vast majority of those who have or are serving in the armed forces have a more pacifistic view of the world than those outside of the armed forces - generally speaking.I wonder what others think of this idea? Have you found it to be the same, or has my sampling been too small? As a point of reference: I come from a long standing military family - my grandfather was Commander Thomas J. Dailey, the worlds authority on WWII battleships and tactics for his time - and my personal hero. He was the first strongly opinion'd pacifist I met in my life, with an overwhelmingly decorated history. He hasn't been the last.Any comments?Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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Hi Elrond,I made the same observation when talking to members of the British and German forces. Obviously, this is not a representative sample (The total number of soldiers I know is less than 20), but maybe it's an indication.Cheers,Gosta.

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I am not saying it is true or not. I have talked to quite few still in, most recently while in California.Most that I talk to feel that peace should always be a goal. But at some point, how long does one wait. I feel most want peace to be the goal and are peace loving. I asked my friend ----, who is an NBC Officer still serving in The United States Marine Corps. We have been friends for 18 years, and he and his teams are ready for Iraq. Are they excited to go in. Heck no, but they understand when a job needs to be done.While serving, everyone understands that war is a possibility. The reasons one may not agree with, but one thing is clear. After 8 long years of Clinton. Every person I talked with and know serving my country was happy to see his sorry butt go. They were still using equipment from the early 90's and 80's because they shrunk the Defense budget so much. Morale was not at its peak, and numbers have declined. But when calle upon, they will always be there. Always have, always will. And thank God they are willing to serve.I honestly feel in my heart that if there was a 20 megaton Nuclear Bomb that was set off in Paris, France, there would still be people in these forums stating:Give peace a chance, maybe they are just misunderstood terrorists, and it is France's fault. (No Offense to my French Friends, put any city in there) :-)Well, I simply do not want to wait for that to happen.Regards,Joehttp://home.attbi.com/~jranos/mysig.jpg http://avsim.com/hangar/air/bfu/logo70.gif

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Elrond,I am in the Army. I don't want to go to war. Hell, I have a baby on the way. Iraq is the last place any of us want to go. Flying airplanes is much more fun. However, this is a job that must be done now. I know that sounds like we want to rush off to combat. The reason we should go now is, the sooner we go, the sooner it is over, the sooner we can come home to our wives and kids. Besides I would rather go to war before he has nukes than after he has nukes.DAVE

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Hi Elrond,I have not served in the military, nor have any of my family or relatives. However, I live in what I would consider a military town (San Diego, CA), only a short distance from the Miramar Marine Corp Air Station (formerly the NAS, home to the Top Gun Academy). My interactions with the representatives of our fine armed forces have always been enjoyable. I find they are polite, and tend to help out when others just want to go about their own business. I suspect that much of this has to do with their training, which I presume has a heavy emphasis on teamwork, and helping out their fellow commrades. I think this is what ultimately leads people to respect life, and all it has to give. This in turn would lead to a desire to preserve life at all costs, and as a consequence, a pacifistic lifestyle. Of course I am projecting based on my own beliefs, but I hope I'm not far off from the truth.

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Makes sense to me ! After all, talk's cheap. Its easy for a civillian to sit around saying:"Yes, sure, lets send the troops in"However, its the Forces that have to do the fighting and, possibly, the dying.And if those soldiers/sailers/airmen/marines have actually seen fighting they know what an apalling business it is. Sometimes fighting is necessary, and the Forces personnel will do their job the best way they know how, but it isn't a job to be taken lightly.If the politicians and the rest of us want War, let us all be clear about the consequences.

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Its been interesting to read the responses here. I think one of the flaws our (the United States that is) government has made is on the ... well, lets call it the "marketing" side of American society on the world stage. With all of the extremely successful marketers in our country (Microsoft being the most visible and apt example here), I find it surprising that America policy doesn't include more of this to influence world opinion with the "sell".If the armed forces indeed are more pacifistic in view than the general population as a whole, don't you think that'd be something to advertise to the world? That the men and women of our forces abhor war, unless absolutely necessary? The world already knows that the US does not back down from a fight when tasked to do so... That, I think, is very clear by our actions over the past hundred years. But the views that most of the non-western world holds of the US always seems to me to be nothing like what I live in day to day.There are so many *good* things about our society (not just the US here, but all of western society) that most Mid-East and other non-Western countries do not know about us. I find that one of the biggest failings of our governments - spreading, or selling if you wish, that message to the very people that hate us so, for what I believe are highly misunderstood reasons.Or am I way off base here?Take care,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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"There are so many *good* things about our society (not just the US here, but all of western society) that most Mid-East and other non-Western countries do not know about us. I find that one of the biggest failings of our governments - spreading, or selling if you wish, that message to the very people that hate us so, for what I believe are highly misunderstood reasons."I fully agree with that.Many many people from the Mid-east have a complete wrong look on the Western world.But maybe we also do on the Mid-east.I have had several discussions about the islamd and its negative side.Muslims believe the Western world thinks they're better than them(due to our wealth,high living standard,... in comparison with them),so they are going to "defend" themselves against us,resulting in agression against the Western World,while they're is actually no reason for it.This,IMHO,partly due to the Islam,which is in many cases abused to justify acts of agression.Religion is more important than the state for them,religion is everything for them.and that's were the tricky part is,if state and church are not seperated,you're gonna get problems.Here in Belgium and the Netherlands we have an abnormal number of foreigners,resulting in many problems because they don't wanna integrate themselves,they wanna stay Turkish,Maroccan,...So they should indeed get a better view on the Western world,and the state doesn't do much to do so.i rememeber many muslims cheering when they saw what happened on 9/11,that's really sad.

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My dad is in the US armed forces, and last night he, my mom, & I were talking about the current world situation. He basically said that he didn't believe in going to war with Iraq, that it was completely political and had nothing to do with the fact that Iraq is making weopans, that's just a nice excuse. A direct quote from him: "You realize that no matter what my personal beliefs are, Bush is my commander in chief and I have to listen to him." He is one of the many, I think, that do not believe in the Iraqi war cause.

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Interesting concept Elrond,You Said:"well, lets call it the "marketing" side of American society on the world stage. With all of the extremely successful marketers in our country (Microsoft being the most visible and apt example here), I find it surprising that America policy doesn't include more of this to influence world opinion with the "sell"."You Also Said:"If the armed forces indeed are more pacifistic in view than the general population as a whole, don't you think that'd be something to advertise to the world? That the men and women of our forces abhor war, unless absolutely necessary? The world already knows that the US does not back down from a fight when tasked to do so..."I disagree. I believe that Osama perceived The United States as weak, and if there were such a marketing plan that states The United States Military has pacifistic (Did I just invent a word. :-) ) views, it would convey a position of weakness to those that desire to end our society.Hence 9/11. That is why I belive Iraq is not the end. Some say it will destabilize the region. It has never been stable in my lifetime, anyway. I think it will stabalize the region.So, I think such a campaign would convey weakness, and I would not support it.Just a disenting view.Regards,Joehttp://home.attbi.com/~jranos/mysig.jpg http://avsim.com/hangar/air/bfu/logo70.gif

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something about - at long last.In my mind, marketing (of the truth, but marketing none the less) is the answer here. War, indeed, may have to be a short-term solution to put out specific fires... But war itself will not stop the smoldering underbrush from catching fire again and again.An active and enthusiastic line of communication and understanding between our societies (in BOTH directions) seems to me to be the only avenue. And Marketing 101 is the door to open that avenue. From my view at least.Take care,Elrondhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/Boycott-RIAA.gif]"A musician without the RIAA, is like a fish without a bicycle."[/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font://http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/B...cle."[/b][/font

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I think Alastair summed it up appropriately. Those that have never served in the military or lost family members and friends are sometimes apt to take this attitude of sending in the troops more than the military is. There are also some that think the military should be kept under lock and key to protect society from them and only released when they feel it to be appropriate. I live in a city with a large military presence that is for the most part accepted as a respected part of the community and many retired personnel have chosen to remain here. As far as the military being anxious to rush off to war, overall I think not. Some fail to accept the fact that these personnel have homes, families, and children with interests in the community just like anyone else and starting wars is low on their list of priorities in spite of the beliefs to the contrary. Obviously, individuals may have other thoughts. As some have mentioned to me lately, they would rather have peace and carry on with their lives. If called on to do their job, then they are more than willing to do it to the best of their ability. Also, I think promoting the US military as being pacifist is a poor concept. During my time in the military, I would have resented this as it infers that I was either not willing to do my job or might question orders passed down from the proper authority. I feel that anyone on active duty today might possibly feel the same. This is only an opinion and would be better answered by someone now serving. jb

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I think it is true for most countries.The military of all NATO countries consider themselves guardians of piece and freedom, not winners of wars.They see their mission as primarilly the prevention of armed conflict, in other words the prevention of them having to execute their stated mission.When war starts, they've failed in their mission to prevent that from happening or so they see it themselves.As already said, the people who know best the consequences of war (barring those civillians who have lived through one in the battlezone) are soldiers. While most will not have seen real combat, they know from exercises how costly it can be.

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Someone once said to ensure peace prepare for war!To trueBut you are correct. I have met many men in combat and never one who enjoyed the prospect of a repeat performance. Many military men quite enjoy the games type lifestyle of the peace time military and silently hope never to have their skills tested in combat. Some however long for the ultimate test of their skills with the ultimate rewards (life) or penalties (death or injury). Generally one test is enough however.A strong, well prepared armed service is frequently staffed with intelligent, well trained, well disciplined, highly motivated pacifists and that is the job of the military, peace. War is what happens when politicians get involved.Goodonya mateCookie

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