"You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand"
Some thoughts from an American sniper upon returning from war. This whole thing is very much worth reading. You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand | The Best Defense
. . . We would like to believe compulsory national service has failed to win wars in the past, that a draft is the penultimate form of a dictatorship and that today's military is better than any in our history. But is it really voluntary? Is compulsory national service as threatening as some libertarians would view it? Is the all-volunteer military the "best" our country has ever produced? As an OIF vet and Jarhead, and above all someone trying to find a healthy balance as a civilian once more, I've watched the military from within and without and the truest observation I can make is that we fight with a conscripted force in all but name. For those who cannot listen to an argument without attacking someone's personality or politics, here is my background up front. I am a white male. I'm a middle class kid who grew up working on my grandfather's potato farm in Southern Idaho and lived in suburbia while attending badly run and academically useless public schools K-12. I'm a Generation Y, ivy-league educated, FDR liberal, environmentalist, atheist vegan. I graduated with a BA in English and History in 2002 from a private college I busted my ass to get into on an academic scholarship. I enlisted as a private in United States Marine Corps after 9/11 but I wanted to be a jarhead before that for these reasons: 1) I could not afford graduate school without the GI Bill; 2) I wanted to repay the government and country that gave my grandfather free farmland and an education after his war in Korea; and 3) I wanted to be there for my friends. I was a grunt and a scout sniper. I served four voluntary tours in Iraq. On the last two tours, I burned into my inactive reserve time and took someone else's place so they wouldn't have to go. I'm currently using the New Deal-GI Bill to pursue my graduate studies and I am a small business owner. But guess what? I'm average. This was just a job and a means to an end just like most the guys I served with. Despite the physical injuries I sustained and the PTSD I will live with forever, the lies I was told by military and civilians alike, I do not regret being there for my Marines and my Iraqis. . . . 1. Elitism and Snobbery I am distressed by the elitist feelings military personnel have about themselves and the elitism showered by us, civilians, on them. This is a starting point that fits into the observations that follow. In some sense, we have transformed the military from just a regular part of government service into a special interest group that believes in its own entitlement. . . .