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Poll: Would you ever serve in the armed forces?

Not under any circumstances 46 (61%)
I would in a an national emergency like WWII 22 (29%)
I would if I were drafted 6 (8%)
I have already served 1 (1%)
I am currently in the armed forces 1 (1%)
   Discussion: Would you ever serve in the armed forces?
trunger is counting... · 19 years, 1 month ago
besides, i'm not physically fit. bad knees. bad eyes. plus i'm a lover not a fighter and all that stuff...
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I too would have been 4F my entire adult life. I was brought up being against the War in Vietnam but i'd still have served in WWII if I had been alive and fit then. As Victor Lazlo said in Casablanca. "If we stop fighting to world dies."
100% dainty! Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I heard everyone had a groovy time with him.
Nik Chaikin · 19 years, 1 month ago
Can't anyway, bum eye.
nate... · 19 years, 1 month ago
perhaps if it was a worthy cause, yeah..... I'd put in my specialties.

But certainly not in a farce like the current "war".

Annika Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

What would you consider a worthy cause?  *I'm not 'getting' you, I'm just curious*

As for me, I wouldn't  because I'm not willing to kill people for my country.

nate... Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Well, I think I would if there was a clear threat to our country... if we were under attack or some such. I don't think I'd be of much use on the "front lines" per se... but I'd certainly help however I could... computers.... mechanical... etc.

Phoenix · 19 years, 1 month ago
Regarding my *very* poor vision that wouldn't make any sense liek I can't fight enemies I do not see ;D
danced with Lazlo · 19 years, 1 month ago
If I felt that it was the way in which I would be most useful to the cause, if the cause it just. Though if I thought I'd be of more use at home, I'd want to stay home. I don't believe in the draft because a volunteer military is always the most effective military except in a place like Israel where everyone is fighting for survival. That's the crux really... when it comes down to survival, you have to be willing to fight. And that is not always something obvious and immediate.
100% dainty! · 19 years, 1 month ago
In the past sixty years of warfare, none of them have been any war I would be proud to take part in. Vietnam, Korea, Nicaragua, Angola, Iraq, Afghanistan. . . .etc etc. WWII I may have helped out with. But then there was horrible senseless destruction wrought during that war too. So I'm not sure.
In any case, I am practically a pacifist, and I would not sign up for the armed forces because I do not trust those in power to fight "just" wars.
Starfox Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
"here was horrible senseless destruction wrought during that war"

Um, isn't that almost *ANY* war? You bomb and shoot things until they don't operate or pose a threat any more. Really, all "just" war should be total war.
100% dainty! Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
yeah . . .well hence the being practically a pacifist. I think war is one of the worst inventions of humankind ever. And when you think about it long enough, it doens't make any sense. oooh let's destroy a bunch of stuff because that's the strong thing ot do!
danced with Lazlo Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
You don't really think that's why people go to war, do you?

I mean, maybe some people sometimes, but do you really believe in the utterly simplistic scenario you just described?

I suppose Hitler could have been negotiated with. Hell, it worked for Czechoslovakia. Oh wait...

Wars are more complex than just destroying a bunch of stuff to make a statement about how big your dick is.
100% dainty! Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
yes I know. I am a fan of hyperbole and I should have stated that I was being satirical.

War *is* complex. And sometimes it is justified. You're right: Hitler needed to be stopped. Most people who are anti-war say that WWII was justfied. But my point is that even in a "just" war like that, terrible senseless crimes were committed. Like the firebombing of Dresden, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese internment camps on our own shores.
That is why it is hard for me to see war as a good solution to international problems. Even if your heart's in the right place, even if the war has a good goal like ending fascism or stopping genocide, ultimately it seems inevitable that you'll cause just as much wholesale pain and suffering, if not more.

There's a quote that someone said: "War is nothing but an ultimate failure of the imagination" or something like that. I think that quote is really striking. Because how many years have we as humans been using warfare? And we haven't thought of anything better yet? It's disappointing. We can do better.
lawrence Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I think the more important point is that there are (at least) two sides in a war. The side the initiated the war, though, is never justified in doing so.

The side that defended itself, though, is justified, and is acting on different rationale than the one that attacked it or its allies. Yes, they're joining an event called a war, but it's not really just 'going to war'.
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

The point of initiation is negotiable as well.  Looking to WWII, Japan wasn't in a good situation and chose a military route. But was the Pacific war initiated by the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, or the strained diplomatic and trade relations with the US?

You could make that case for the European war as well, since the Germans weren't in a particularly good social or economic situation after WWI.  Yes, Hitler was an evil man, but what he said and did made a lot of sense to a lot of his countrymen at the time.

No, I'm not defending Hitler.  Just as there are two sides (attacker and defender) in the war, there are many players leading up to the conflict.  It's one thing to use hindsight to criticize the moves of the last 60, or 6000 years.  It's another to live during a specific time and find the non-military alternative.

EDIT: As a continuance, does the defender's justification end at the pre-war border?  Where does it end?

Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

I agree that the Japanese internment camps were wartime atrocities, but I don't feel that way about the atomic bomb drops.

Not only did they bring a quick end to the war, they prevented a painful (for all parties) invasion of the Japanese home islands. An invasion could have completely destroyed the Japanese culture, instead of just destroying two cities.  In addition, the drops during wartime demonstrated the destructive power of the technology.  Those two examples kept the weapons from being used in Korea, Vietnam, and several other wars... including some without US involvement.

100% dainty! Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
not to be snarky, but you may feel differently if you had family that was killed in Hiroshima.

I didn't. But I think it is kind of callous and cold-hearted to talk about how dropping the atomic bombs was a good strategic decision and brought a quick end to the war, because it ignores the horror that the actual-bomb drop wrought. I think people so often forget the human cost of war. And in response to the defense that dropping the bombs kept the weapons from being used again . . .couldn't we have bypassed that whole argument and not created them in the first place?
lawrence Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
People pick on the atomic bombs because they killed hundreds of thousands of people all at once. According to this page, there were approximately 2 million Japanese civilian deaths in WWII. There were slightly under 200,000 killed by the two atomic bombs.

While I agree that atomic bombs should have not been created in the first place, it was inevitable. People will always find new and more spectacular ways of destroying large numbers of people - after all, until 2001, no one really thought that an airplane could be used as a 'weapon of mass destruction'.

Considering that their creation and use were probably inevitable, I think it's better that their first use was two relatively low yield bombs than what would have happened if their first use was, say, now, when we have fusion bombs that are capable of flattening everything within a 30 mile radius and killing millions.
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

Not snarky at all. :-)

You're right, I might feel differently if I had relatives who'd died in the attacks. It is kind of callous and cold-hearted to dismiss 200,000 civilian deaths casually.  But, as Lawrence points out, we weren't the only people working on the bomb; Germany was (although their research had pretty well stopped by August 1945, the Soviets were although they were probably years from having a deployable weapon.

As for the horror of the drop, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn't get the chance to visit Hiroshima when I lived in Japan.  The city is largely rebuilt, but there's still a sense of evil power about the place (actually, it's about the topic, but the location makes it palpable).  I felt especially sorry for the man who arrived in Hiroshima to visit family right before the bomb drop, and, when the doctors released him two days later, returned home to Nagasaki.  I'm not ignoring the human element.  I admire the Japanese, both for their will to follow through a bad decision and their quick ability to recognize that they couldn't win.  I do believe, although it's only speculation, that an invasion of the Japanese islands would have been the end of the Japanese culture.  To my mind, that would have been a greater crime.

For the last question, no.   In my uneducated opinion, not producing the bombs would have significantly slowed the scientific process, if not stopped it altogether.  Building the bombs and not using them militarily would have been a better option, but it becomes a matter of "Who's crazy enough" at that point.

100% dainty! Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
"In my uneducated opinion, not producing the bombs would have significantly slowed the scientific process, if not stopped it altogether. "

But see, that is the assumption that I think people take for granted. Why does the scientific process have to advance in the direction of destruction? I mean, as far as I know, scientists are not working on giant lasers that can incinerate Jupiter and the rest of the planets. But does that mean we are slowing down the scientific process? Right now, it seems ridiculous to think of weapons like that, but if those weapons were ever created, people would say, "Oh, we had to do that so we could progress further through the world of science."

I'm in love with science. But I think that pursuing "science for the sake of science" can be very dangerous and lead one to justify things like biological warfare, eugenics, and yes, nuclear bombs. Why do we need to know if we can destroy the earth ten times over? Maybe we should use all this scientific discovery to, I don't know, come up with a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine, or cure cancer.
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

Who's to say that the Cure for Cancer won't be found at the sub-atomic level, or that nuclear power isn't the alternative for gasoline engines? Atomic theory isn't only about weapons.

Science doesn't always advance along destructive lines. Infomercials are always touting some new scientific marvel.  Science advances with discovery. Generally, scientific research goes where the money tells it to go, from fragmenting bullets to polymers and adhesives. Can we, in fact, destroy the world ten times over?  Is the world defined as the rock or the life on the rock?  Sure, it's a silly thing to know, but isn't knowing better than not knowing?

The problem with the world is that people are imperfect.  We always want to know more than we should and have more than we have.  As long as one of those statements applies to one person on the planet, it's not perfect.

A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I dunno, Gella, if you think about it, World War 2 may well have been about the size of Hitler's penis, Mussolini's penis and Togo's penis. Clearly only Franco was man enough not to worry about his penis.

If Hitler had been a healthy, well-adjusted individual, the whole thing might never have happened, so while there are many diverse reasons why someone might particiapate in a war, I think it might well be arguable that starting one frequently DOES come down to demonstrating difinitively how powerful you are.

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
exactly, very few people are actually for war. If it was easy to avoid people would.

It isn't even always clear to say who started a war. it isn't always the first to attack. If an foreign country starts massing troups on your border do you have to wait for the country to actually attack? What often happens is that there is a series of events that each side sees as threatening by the other till finally something, often small, triggers the actually conflict.

This is actually one of the major themes of The Once and Future King where the war is started because one soldier draws his sword because he sees a snake

Even this is a simplification. If a nation is committing genocide I think it is not only morally acceptable, but a moral imperitive to do anything possible to stop it in including going to war.
lawrence · 19 years, 1 month ago
Not armed anyway, and never in a war of aggression. I'd do my part to help defend my country from a violent invading force, but never from the front lines.

You couldn't pay me any amount of money to shoot some kid who probably doesn't even believe in what he's fighting for on the other side, but has been conscripted into service by a corrupt government.
Andrea Krause Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Not even if he was about to shoot you, regardless of the reasons he was there?
nate... Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
See, I don't care WHO it is... if they're going to shoot me, and I can shoot them first, I will.

Andrea Krause Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

That's what I'm saying. Most people would shoot rather than be killed, regardless of their moral or political reasonings. Globally, the reasons are debatable. But if you're in the specifics...some guy is going to shoot you. You have the ability to defend yourself. Most people would, even not believing in the war.

I have no idea what I'd do. I have a bit of a death wish and probably would rather he just shot me. But I think that's not really a "normal" person's reaction.  I think most folks who value their own lives would defend it.

A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Which is why you don't let the government put you in a position where you have to shoot some kid because he's going to shoot you.
Andrea Krause Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

I don't disagree. I'm just being the voice of paranoia in saying we can't always assume we'll have a choice in the matter.

There's a lot of things happening now or have already happened I wouldn't "let" the government do. :)

A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Well, yes, but if it comes down to shooting the governments goons as they try to stuff me on an airplane to some war zone, or shooting people once I'm there, the goons are dead men.
lawrence Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Well, yes, in that case, I would defend my own life. But I'm not about to go into battle with the purpose of killing people who aren't directly threatening me, especially those who don't really even want to be there.

That, aside from the violence, obviously, is my big problem with war in general. It's that a few people decide it's a good idea, and under the guise of patriotism, recruit people to do their dirty work for them, forcing those who didn't to defend themselves.

Initiating a war is always wrong. My feeling is that if the leaders want the war so badly they should go fight it themselves.
Andrea Krause Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I understand your points and definitely they're valid reasons not to want to go to/be in a war.  I'm just saying it's hard to make a definitive statement about not killing that theoretical kid/guy....because you may or may not have a choice in being on the front lines, in some future war. And when in that situation, in the finite reality of gun-on-gun...things probably change. I have no idea, I've never been there.
lawrence Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Well, my point is that I will not put myself in that position. I refuse to fight on the front lines. I would rather be arrested and jailed than carry a gun into battle.
Shelly · 19 years, 1 month ago
I selected the WWII option because, gella said..if i thought it were a worthy cause and i could do something, i'd do what i could. for this iraq business, all i have done is contributed to care package efforts a local high school has done for the soldiers for personal care things 'coz i feel that in a way it's not -their- fault that they're there.... {and of COURSE since hand lotion & purell were on the list and i am -so- anal about my hands being clean and moisturized, i bought, like 3 or 4 of those to send =) } sure, some of them are enlisted men and so i -guess- being in the military was their choice, but some may have done it to put their way thru medical school or something, ya know? they might have had valid reasons. and the thing i liked most, too is that one of the suggestions for donations was also little games/toys/rubber bouncy balls for the Iraqi children, which i thought was a great touch. so i bought, like little party-packs of cards and bouncy balls and toys. i had lotsa fun with it. and the student{her mom works with me} whose school was taking the donations wrote me a really nice thank you card, too, which she didn't hafta do.
nate... Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
That's awesome. :)

Bruce Rose · 19 years, 1 month ago
I think you've all made interesting points, and I agree with all of them. However, I don't think anyone in today's military joined because they wanted to go to war.
Some joined to help pay for college, some joined out of obligation (familial or personal belief), some joined for the experience, some joined for the adventure. All of them knew (or should have known) that they were training for war and that fighting (and possibly dying) is part of the job.
I was raised in the military. It was a comfortable experience for me, and I had always planned on joining up after high school. I was (and still am) fascinated with flight, so the Navy and the Air Force were my top picks. When I found out that I wouldn't be able to fly, I made a selfish decision not to enlist. Today, I feel as though I've missed out on something that was important to me.
Of course, if I'd joined, I'd probably still be in today. I'd be overseas, fighting a war I don't support. Or not; not all the warriors are in the war. Either way, I'd have the experience, the opportuinty, and the degree.
A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Some of them may have wanted to fight. I just heard an interview on NPR the other day where a soldier was saying how much he enjoyed killing the "bad guys". First that they are taught to think in terms of "bad guys" and "good guys" disturbs me, but more I think it is really scary that we have people celebrating how many people they've killed. Sick.
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

True enough, but I wonder if that was his mindset at enlistment, or if something drove him to that point.  Maybe he saw some of his friends killed, maybe he's genuinely (whichever)-pathic.

As for the good guys-bad guys, generally anyone who points a weapon at you is a bad guy. Ideology and personal view aside, it seems like a pretty easy distinction to make.  Celebrating quantity is sick.  Someone could try to justify it as pride in your work and training, but that doesn't make it less sick.

Starfox · 19 years, 1 month ago
I don't consider WWII to be a national emergency, especially since FDR intentionally provoked the Japanese into attacking.

However in a true invasion of our homeland by an external aggressor where we did nothing to provoke an attack, yah, I would defend the country. However given the state of affairs in Washington, I'd seriously examine what kinda government the invading force would institute in it's place. If it were better, I might just sit on the sidelines. :)

Either way given my background, I'd probably be working away from the front lines in code breaking or electronic espionage. Not that I'm not a crack shot with a rifle though.

And if Texas ever decided to secede from the Union again, I'd support that in a heartbeat. :)
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

And if Texas ever decided to secede from the Union again, I'd support that in a heartbeat.

A lot of non-Texans would support that too. :-)

A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Texas should be KICKED OUT of the union and then our prez would have to resign. :)
Starfox Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Now now! Don't blame the rest of us Texans for Bush. We had to put up with him as governor for 6 years, we figured why let the rest of the nation miss out on the fun. :)
A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I was gonna say, you have all the guns, so shouldn't y ou be on the front lines? ;)
Starfox Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Yes, well we also have two of the largest military bases in the US. So, in a sense, we are. :)
George E. Nowik · 19 years, 1 month ago
i guess i have to quantify my "not under any circumstances" answer since there was no "i am automatically disqualified from being able to serve" response.

i cannot be drafted and i cannot volunteer to serve due to tourette's syndrome. that specific neurological disorder automatically eliminates me from the draft pool or the ability to join the armed forces in any way, shape or form. there was once a time when i wanted to join and serve but was told i could not.

so i was crazy. i'm still crazy. but i have to find other ways to display my crazy nature. (:

-= george =-
A.J. · 19 years, 1 month ago
The only armed service I ever considered joining was the Coast Guard, and that was because they mostly help people, but really I'm not interested in being ordered about by someone who might have considerably less intelligence than me, so i didn't think any military job would be a good fit for me.

Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

I'm not interested in being ordered about by someone who might have considerably less intelligence than me, so i didn't think any military job would be a good fit for me.

Realistically, couldn't that happen in any job?  It's happened to me countless times in retail, and it was a given when I was in factories. :-)

nate... Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
yeah, I was gonna say....

I don't think I've ever really been in a job where that WASN'T the case.


A.J. Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Not at all. if you refuse an order in a normal job, all they can do is fire you. You have rights. You can always quit any normal job.

However you can't quit the army. There you have no rights. Refuse an order and you go to prison. If you try to leave in a combat situation they can even kill you for it.

It isn't the same at all.
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago

Refuse an order and you go to prison.

...sounds like a choice to me.  Not a particularly good one, but still a choice. Besides, we were talking about idiots in charge, not punishment for insubordination.

If you try to leave in a combat situation they can even kill you for it.

Is that true?  I'll have to look it up.  I think that's still just jail time, but I'll admit that I don't know.

EDIT: UCMJ Article 85.3.(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

I was wrong, but there is a trial involved.

tibbar · 19 years, 1 month ago
Wow I am the only one who is in the military around here. I feel very out of place.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
Nope, abergson is in the U.S. Army. I guess she's been to busy to post on this poll.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
I seem to have totally forgotten the fhdc html to make a link to somebody else's profile. Does anyone remember it? I thougth it was < user > username < /user>
Bruce Rose Back · 19 years, 1 month ago
If anyone answers you, could you let me know?  I could never get that to work.
dirty life & times Back · 18 years, 11 months ago
i was in the israeli army. although way the heck noncombatant (not by choice).
Kelz · 18 years, 11 months ago
Well Ive always wanted to but ive been scared that I would get killed or something.I mean it would be an honor to serve my country but yea.

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