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Why Should We Respect Professional Soldiers?

Updated on November 21, 2009

I’ve never understood the exaggerated public respect that is accorded to professional soldiers. Most recently in the UK we’ve witnessed the spectacle of the Prime Minister effectively being emotionally blackmailed into phoning the mother of a soldier killed in the war in Afghanistan because apparently he made a few mis-spellings when he sent her a hand-written note of condolence. Frankly, I would prefer it if the leader of our country delegated this little administrative task to someone who can spare the time.

Why do we owe these soldiers respect? Some would argue that they are fighting for their country and while this is true it is also true that they are in the situation of their own accord. No-one joins the army of ignorance of what the job involves.

In fact this is the very reason why soldiers do not deserve the exaggerated respect they receive. Soldiers join the army knowing full well that they will have to kill people. I cannot begin to imagine the mindset of someone who thinks this is ok. The fact that these men and women are apparently okay with the idea of being paid to kill others is pretty disturbing to say the least and hardly worthy of respect.

In fact it is no surprise to find that 8.5% of inmates in the UK prison system are former soldiers. In 2007, 11.6% of US army recruits needed ‘moral waivers’ for past criminal acts in order to be able to join. We should not be surprised about this, the lack of empathy needed to be a decent criminal is a top requirement for any prospective soldier.

The huge wars of the last century, WW1 and WW2, were fought largely by conscripts. True, there were also plenty of volunteers, but I think it is fair to say that from the point of view of the UK at least, both wars posed a serious risk to the country’s existence.

That is the difference between soldiers in those wars and professional soldiers. Soldiers in WW2 especially did not want to be involved but they had little choice. By comparison, professional soldiers today are like a bizarre kind of tourist. They sign up, get kitted up with things which hurt people and off they go.

I remember speaking to a guy who was in the Paras (the UK Parachute Regiment) once and he was saying how ‘gutted’ he was that he had missed the Falklands war and left before he had a chance to be involved in the first Gulf War and so never really saw any ‘action’. I find it hard to believe that this is an uncommon attitude amongst professional soldiers. Many of those who are now complaining about poor (killing) equipment would have been the most enthusiastic about the prospect of war back in 2001.

Now your trenchant flag-waver will defend these soldiers by saying that they are defending their country but that is not true. Both UK and US soldiers are involved in wars which have little or no bearing on the security of their respective countries. Sure, there are important geo-strategic interests at stake, but it is not the case that there is a massive risk to the ordinary citizens of either country from Islamic extremists, let alone Afghans or Iraqis.

There are plenty of people who do far more important jobs in our societies but receive far less credit. Just off the top of my head it should be fairly obvious that, for a country not threatened by war - doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, firefighters and policemen all perform far more useful jobs than soldiers. I don’t think we should put these guys up on a pedestal either as there are plenty of reasons why people choose these jobs, not all of them gratifying, but the fact is that they contribute vastly more to society.

All of these groups, especially teachers and social workers, are subject to all kinds of abuse from the media and other commentators when things don’t go perfectly. Yet it seems as though soldiers can do no wrong, unless of course they are actually implicated in a war crime, in which case these soldiers are hastily labelled as ‘not representative’ of the rest of the army.

Do soldiers have their uses? Sadly, our world is still troubled enough that they do. In particular there is a benefit in the international community deploying soldiers to keep the peace in troubled countries, though clearly there is a need for international agreement on the wheres, whys and hows of deployment.

But this does not mean that soldiers deserve the excessive respect that they are accorded. No-one joins the army in ignorance of what the job involves and the choice to join is weighed up against the often generous benefits of joining. Most worryingly of all has to be the mindset of the kind of person who considers killing for money acceptable, regardless of the patriotic nonsense with which these motivations are disguised.


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      Cross 16 months ago


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      Cross 17 months ago

      This article is very well written and touches on a topic that's is virtually impossible to talk about in the United States. Anytime someone tries to talk about the hero worship of soldiers in the United States they get cried down with shouts of "Soldiers died for your freedom!" and "You're a pussy because you didn't sign up!"

      You can even see it in the comments. People, especially military members, have this knee jerk reaction to any question of the military's actions, authority, or actual purpose in the function of the country.

      For the military members it makes sense. After all they choose to join and were allowed to join because they met certain requirements. Soldiers are broken down, conditioned to bend their wills and follow the dogma of the institution. They are made to believe they cannot and should not question what they've been told.

      For regular people it's mostly a matter of relations and environment. After all if someone has a parent, sibling, or husband in the military they feel they can't question it because that would jeopardize their relationship.

      Environmentally people in the US are bombarded with what amounts to propaganda in the form of movies, television ads, posters, and word of mouth messages that scream "SOLDIERS ARE HEROES. THEY FIGHT FOR JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY". Peer pressure helps too. Anytime someone has a 'wrong' option they get cold, shoulders, threats, or spark a violent argument (also known as one sided shouting match).

      However I feel plenty of people, probably even a good number of soldiers, question the amount of respect the military gets if not outright demands from the public. It's just everyone is too afraid to speak up. We (or at least I) ask these questions out of concern. However people just end up seeing them as accusations and personal attacks, shutting down and getting angry instead of actually discussing things.

      If we the military doesn't want to be questioned and brushes off our concerns with "We gave you your rights" like some thinly veiled threat that they could take them away if crossed, then I don't think they deserve any respect.

      However I don't necessarily think the soldiers themselves are to blame. After all they are completely subservient to the organization they serve. They aren't allowed to question things and those that do are shamed, punished, and sometimes outright killed.

      So while I don't think people who serve in the military deserve respect or worship, I do believe they deserve our sympathies. The insinuation they serve and have willingly given themselves and so much else up for is the problem, not they themselves. At least not entirely.

      Thank you Pseudonymous, or whoever wrote this article, for posting it up. While I'm unsure if it'll change anyone's mind it's at least nice to have some kind of venue for discussion about this.

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      Gary 3 years ago

      Thank you Georgie.

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      Lee 3 years ago

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      He may hate Obama, he said he didn't care if I posted this because he was Government; and Yass Obama immune?

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      Most US Citizens are Darpa Micro Right Eye Implanted From Computer-Your Freedom Is Gone And Don't Know! members retarded and gay Howard Raymond is micro-chipping and recording you there! I am glad Howard has AIDS and cancer!

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      Invasion of privacy, demonic possession and illegal selling of my sex because I was a platinum member at for 2 years.Howard Raymond owns Darpa USA Gov. said uses a Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency)

      invisible wifi retina-eye implant installed from his home or site VG. software then your monitor with no cam of your own views, sells and records many members threatens and harasses you 24 hrs. a day. Howard is selling his porn site members sex

      like his father did in England for 20 years. Raymond said military, police and Gov officials are Darpa implanted monitored like all US citizens for their own security but don't know!

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      Georgie 4 years ago

      Before I proceed to tell you how disgusted I am with you post. I will say to any defence personnel reading this Hub, the attitude of this article's author is not held by all and I hold nothing but respect and gratitude for your service.

      Now, I am from Australia so my context may be slightly different. In Australia I believe we have the opposite problem. Many civilians and especially our youth (I am 17) never stop and think about the sacrifices of our soldiers, professional or reserve. They lack respect, discipline, integrity, patriotism and courage (it sounds like you could do with a great deal more respect and patriotism as well).

      Regarding the UK Prime Minister incident, this soldier lost his life under the Prime Minister's watch. He was serving his country and in turn the Prime Minister. His family deserved a note that was thought out well enough to not hold spelling mistakes.

      To answer your question of why we owe these soldiers respect? We owe them our upmost respect because they in the prime of their lives and yet forgo many of their civilian rights to protect and serve their country. This is very much a selfless act. They go weeks without contact to their families. And some pay the ultimate price of their life so you can sit at home and be disrespectful behind a keyboard. No doubt contributing a lot less to our country then they do. The get paid a wage ,which is quite frankly not enough, as they need to be able to feed their families like any other person working for the government.

      Of course they are not ignorant of what their job entitles. They know it is an ultimate reality, it is not why they sign up. They become professional soldiers for the moment when an Afghan girl gets to go safety to school for the first time. They join for the moment when they capture a terrorist who was planning an attack on innocent civilians, in many case his own people. They join for the moment a farmer can finally cross a field without worrying that an ancient land mine will blow his legs off.

      They are not paid solely to kill people. They are paid to serve their country in many different ways, one of which is protecting the people standing beside them which sometimes leads to killing people. But if you knew a little more on the subject, you would know the rules of engagement. UK soldiers cannot fire on subjects in Afghanistan unless they are engaged first.

      Your numbers on inmates that are former soldiers are wrong (possibly due to the fact that this hub is 3 years old) but the figures i found were quite different. A high proportion of inmates that are ex military could be to do with the fact that some suffer mental illness on their return due to their poor reception from the likes of you and because they have just gone and done one of the hardest jobs possible. Never again infer that soldier are criminals. And they are not required to lack empathy. They are required to possess an empathy that goes beyond what a normal civilian has. An empathy which is held deep in their hearts, an empathy that fuels their mental and emotion strength. True empathy is not protesting for the rights of the people of the Middle East, true empathy is actually getting up and doing something about their rights. This is one of the many things that distinguishes a soldier and a civilian.

      The Para was most likely complaining about not being able to use skills, and not necessarily those of killing, that he trains so hard for more often. He could be complaining about not being able to feel he made a the same kind of contribution that others had. Soldiers on the whole complain a lot less then civilians. Maybe, just maybe, they complain about their equipment, as in many cases better equipment would mean less soldiers would have lost their lives. And in the case of an Australian soldier ( a family friend) better equipment would have meant that he would have been able to meet his baby daughter who has now had to grow up without her heroic dad.

      Saying that Islamic extremists don't threaten the security of the US or the UK is ridiculous. Their have been countless attacks on US and UK soil by these extremists. And even if this war was 100% about the westernised worlds financial interests (I believe it is about much more including national security) your beef should be with the politicians and not the soldiers.

      These jobs that you believe are so much more important are very different from that of a professional soldier. A soldier gives up his civilian rights, he is held to a higher standard in everything he does. A teacher goes home at night. A teacher works 8:30-3:30 (in Australia anyway). These jobs do deserve respect but not the same kind of respect that should be directed at a soldier. Those jobs might have more of a direct impact to your life but what is required of those jobs falls very short of what is required of soldiers. A doctor does save lives but so does a soldier. A doctor (unless a military doctor) gets to save lives without risking his own at the same time. A policeman saves lives, while risking his own but he gets to go home to his family at night, he gets to enjoy life's luxuries while doing his job.

      Defence personnel undergo the same amount of media persecution as teachers and social workers. Unfortunately at least in Australia, most of our teachers lack moral fibre, passion or integrity. They are and frequently admit that they became teachers for the holidays and hours. In Australia to receive a decent education, my dad has to slave away to pay private school fees of around 30,000 AUD per child. I will admit I do not know much about social workers so will not comment on something I have no knowledge of.

      Your argument fails in the fact that you do not understand the character of a soldier. They don't get through the recruitment process if money is their sole motivation. They don't kill for money, that is an assassin. They serve their country and risk their lives to do a job that few have the strength of character to do. The pay is not nearly enough for them to sacrifice their lives, if money was their motivation. They can achieve the same pay as a teacher or policeman and still get home in time for dinner. Soldiers sacrifice far more than you can imagine. Its about time you learnt some respect for those who do so much for you.

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      daveb 4 years ago

      Great article pseudonymous! It's staggering to read responses from folks such as Proud Soldier that provides a look into the indoctrinated ideology many soldiers are equipped with today. Luckily, responses from Candid and the like, are a vindicating breath of fresh air.

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      me 4 years ago

      U almost had me, I was moslty agreeing w U until this psg...'Nuwt, thanks for your comment. I don't accept your hunting / soldier analogy. I have no problems with killing animals, but you can hardly say that is the same as killing another human being, right?"...and this selfish, arrogant disgusting attitude is Y the planet is f**ked, which is Y I actually place far more value on animals (which humans R) than ppl, who proven by that sentence R extremely selfishy, arrogant, disgusting creatures...fact is humans don't even give a shit about each other. I could go on and on regarding this point but I think U get mine...

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      anna 4 years ago

      Some people are on this thread saying, "It's soldiers that protect your rights!" They really don't though. Or at least, they haven't for hundreds of years now. The last time soldiers actually "fought for freedom" was when we were becoming independent from England. When you're invading other countries, killing children, and representing fascism and colonialism, you're not protecting my individual freedom. You don't get credit for that just because you willingly with all knowledge of what it takes, joined the military, and sacrificed your life and privilege.

      I respect your choice and your beliefs. I understand that it's a life commitment and an insane experience. But you asked for it. That was your choice. And again, I respect it. But never ask me to extend more respect to you just because you're a soldier.

      Also, many of you REALLY need reading comprehension skills.

      The writer didn't say soldiers didn't deserve anything. He just said that they don't deserve the "exaggerated respect" that they get, for valid reasons stated.

      It's important to have a military, but it's not an organization that should be idolized.

      And stop with the "People willing to put their life on the line to make sure you and your opinion continue to exist." That's just a blatant lie.

      Candid said it best:

      "Soldiers serve governments, not their fellow citizens. Their deaths do not secure liberties, law does. They do not do a job others won't, they do a job they choose. I don't dislike soldiers nor do I blame them for pointless wars, but my rights have nothing to do with them nor do I owe them for an action I did not require or ask for."

      Well said, Candid.

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      none of your business what my name is 5 years ago

      yeah all the military does is kill,kill,kill they don't try to make life easier in Afghanstan all they do is go from village to village burn houses and killing innocents and if one them is a terrorist then its a plus. alright sarcastic comment over

      p.s. I would like to the writer go live in Afghanistan or Iraq or any country where there's basically no military to protect the masses and see if he still feels the same afterwards

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      my name is my business 5 years ago

      Soldiers aren't going out to just kill people. They have a job. Their job is to complete their missions. And most missions are created to protect our country. They aren't applauded for killing people. They are respected for doing what most of us will not do to protect our country.

      ps. Romney 2012

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      old soldier 5 years ago

      Only those who have walked the path of a soldier can understand and truly respect the life of a soldier. People who join a military organization to kill are not soldiers they are most likely disturbed sad people that should be pitied. I was a soldier for 22 years. For the most part it was just a job. There were some times of terror and of pain. I did kill but thoroughly did NOT enjoy it. I don’t care about anyone else’s respect or distain. I did want I did for my own reasons. The discourse of this blog is an interesting subject. You have the freedom to question, and I applaud you using it. That is what a Soldier fights for. Any of your countrymen that don’t use it are the fools. If we don’t exercise our freedoms the sacrifices of all the soldiers in history are for naught. So please go on questioning let no one stop you.

      War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

      John Stuart Mill

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      US soldier 5 years ago

      The funny thing is that true professional soldiers don't give a damn about civilians' respect. We don't care if you appreciate us - we do what we do for reasons you cannot understand.

      The important thing is that you remain free to keep thinking and keep debating. You may not believe that we preserve your freedom, but that is simply a matter of perspective.

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      Candid 5 years ago

      Soldiers serve governments not their fellow citizens. Their deaths do not secure liberties, law does. They do not do a job others won't, they do a job they choose. I don't dislike soldiers nor do I blame them for pointless wars, but my rights have nothing to do with them nor do I owe them for an action I did not require or ask for.

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      iCFX 5 years ago

      Pseudonymous very well stated, especially your first reply. I have not read everything you said since that is a lot of reading but still ;)

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      Ret SGT Price 5 years ago

      I am sorry you see us as just "nothing" type of people. The comments you have made have "some" valididty, SOME! You may be able to write some sort of opinion but that's all it is, opinion. There is very littl in here that supports your "thoughts". I joined NOT FOR PERSONAL GAIN, if your gong to se this as a financial gain. JOKE! I joined because I chose to start my life as a thief. I and I alone chose to make a difference by getting my act together with some disciplin. I elected to do what so few of you so called "patriots" would ever do and I knew the risks. I, unlike you and your so called supporters know nothing og integrity, honor and personal sacrifice. It's obvious when you dog the troops and disregard everything else like the extremists who are content in killing women and children all out of personal or religious beliefs. What about them? Oh I am sorry but the "arrogant" American troops are more important. You are one seriously ill and ugly person to dog a community of people who do not ask you for anything, including RESPECT. I personally do not need your respect but I will tell you this. You ever approach anyone in uniform who has less tolerance than I do and it maybe your own fault you eneded up hurt. This is no threat, it is just reality. I suggest that all of you and your "eco-terrorists" who have to hide behind that little "occupy mask" need to focus on what's important, the economy instead of your swollen egos.

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      anon 5 years ago

      It's shocking how many threats you are getting from people that miss the point of this post.

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      good soldier 5 years ago

      "Proud soldier" doesn't even know what hes serving the country for, freedom of speech and your opinion is what its all about. solders that don't like america, and the sociopaths like this one should take there pedestals and live on there own little island. and don't join looking for respect and benefits that doesn't make a hero. to all the non-hero soldiers out there, we don't need you.

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      proud soldier 5 years ago

      I find it absolutely disgusting that unappreciative citizens like you exist. Soldiers, whom you have labeled as being nothing short of deranged sociopaths, courageously defend our country and give you the right to post such left-wing garbage online. With that said I PRAY that I will someday get the opportunity to meet you on the battlefield and personally exterminate you.

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      chris 5 years ago

      I think some people have misinterpreted what you've said pseudo. I think what you mean (and I agree) is that you have little respect for those who join the army knowing full well they will have to kill people. But only those ones right? I think you still respect those who do not actually fight (SAR etc).

      Another point I'd like to make is that I think you (and I) have respect for those who genuinely fight to defend their country, such as WW2 conscripts. But you do not respect those who sign up in one of the killing roles knowing they have to kill people. Neither do I.

      Ps, I'm aware this is a really old discussion.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      you state soldiers join knowing they have to kill...not every job requires them to kill. there is also something called the draft that requires males when they turn 18 to sing up for. learn some facts before you post garbage like this.

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      civvie 6 years ago

      Right, its just another job, so why give them more respect than anyone else...I risk my life everyday just for people to have the convenience of electricity. wheres my discounts?

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      Soon to be Marine! 6 years ago

      Just to let you know, i do respect your freedom of speech and freedom of your own opinion. I also see now that you are British so some of the things that i talked about does not apply to you. I am also sorry for cussing and stuff for i was angry at that time and didn't like what you had to say at all. I do hope that you forgive me. Just please keep in mind that our soldiers are not all wanting to kill everyone and please understand the hardships that they go through. God bless.

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      Soon to be Marine! 6 years ago

      Soldiers are a key to society, just like workers. They go through hell to protect you, your family, and your friends when they need to. You are here now because our soldiers have saved us from complete and utter destruction, for if there were no soldiers, we would be easy prey. And soldiers go through things NO MAN SHOULD EVER GO THROUGH, EVER!!!! To have to take a man's life, to think about when his parents, wife and children get the news. All the sorrow and suffering that that family will live through. If your a parent of a soldier killed in battle, then you lost a child. A wife, your other half. And a son or daughter, you lost your ONLY TRUE FATHER. To have to think about that stuff brings you down to the ground, and even lower than that. And then to watch your best friend get shot, and you hold him and listen to him as he delivers his VERY LAST WORDS, its heartbreaking. He doesn't even have to be your best friend to feel extremely depressed. Not only does it cause depression, but it scars a man for LIFE! Have you ever heard of shellshock, or ptsd, or how about AMPUTATION!! I dare you, look this stuff up. One bullet can change a man's life FOREVER! One of my friends, his grandpa went to WW2, and he wanted to, because he wanted to kept this country free. He used to be a lively, very social, very kind guy that everyone wanted to be around. He was in a trench one day with three of his comrades, and a sniper struck. His comrades fell, one got shot through the chest, the other's head exploded. He stayed in the same spot for three days pinned down by that sniper, forced to stare at his fallen comrades with one's blood covering him. This man now is a bitter old man with a temper issue. Sometimes if his dog ticks him off while he's hunting he will shoot it. Those men out there are willing to put their very life on the line for a complete and total stranger at any time at any given place. And another thing, YOU try going through basic training, or how about surviving the CRUCIBLE! You will go home crying to your mommy. You try taking a bullet for your country, i bet that you wouldn't even dare go near the thing, or how about having to kill a man or to watch your fellow comrades die RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES as you hold him close and he delivers his final words to you. You are just another worthless piece of shit, not respecting these men. Everything that you have is here because our soldiers guarantee your safety and the safety of the people and machines and factory's that make your stuff. I'm proud to be an American, and i support our troops 110% of the way. And I myself am planning to join the United States Marine Corps when i get older, to ensure my fellow country men's safety and to give back to my country. And FYI, i plan on not only joining, but making a career out of it, and my goal is to become a sniper in the special forces. I pray to God that this comment will change your thoughts about our soldiers out there. God bless.

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      tazzietiger66 6 years ago from Longford, Tasmania

      I have always thought this myself : why would a person join a group that kills other people for money ...strange old world when one type of killer (murderer is thrown in jail ) and another (soldier) is a protected species ..

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      Giggles 6 years ago

      Let me guess, you aren't getting enough attention for your perceived services provided?

      I mean, your kind are really predictable.

      Basically, you think everyone gives a crap about what you do... Then you find out that you don't get any extra french fries or honors from others.

      No one admires you and wants to be like you,,,, An average looking, average intelligence, average incomed, nobody.... And this upsets you....

      So, you rage on and on... IN your own self righteousness.... About how professional soldiers don't deserve anything...

      It just shows how low you have hit in your own life. No one really cares about these things... except those who hit the bottom of their life... trust me, ive been there too.

      But I accepted that I am a nobody with nothing really to admire... Unlike these soldiers.

      SO basically///// Grow up and accept yourself for who you are... A nobody.

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      Snickers 6 years ago

      So basically, you got beat up and your woman left you for a professional soldier.

      While you were pussing around breaking things in college, getting some useless, low paying degree and playing war games on your used video game system, tougher, smarter and better men were out there really killing the bad guys.

      Anyway, you can still use some vagasil to soothe your crotch kitten and call on some gay guy to bone your booty for pleasure.

      Enjoy! LOL

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      ACI 6 years ago

      Freedom: Oh, I readily agree that there are many that join up because they think they will be smack in the middle of a Medal of Honor video game or God of War. I'm sure within a few days of being deployed the only thing they are getting smacked with is reality. Also, you didn't mention the ages of your acquaintances. Young people, 19-29, generally DO think the military is about killing bad people and coming home to ticker-tape parades. Just because they may think that way, doesn't make it so. They're young, and with movies and video games...they get influenced to think they get to be blasting away at stuff with firearms and rescuing fair damsels.

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      Freedom 6 years ago

      I agree more with Pseudo... Having a strong history of military service in my family I at first had alot of pride. But as I got older and witnessed the magority of my aqaistance enist and even considered the ideal myself. I ultimately came to the same conclusion that Pseudo has.

      I hardly find anyone joining the military today because they feel their "freedoms" are endangered.

      What I do hear, is a excitement to cause injury to others... to reap benefits off of the system... and have college paid for... and injoy a sence of a strong case of superiority complexure.

      I AGREE that there is a requirment and very real need to fight oppression. But I also AGREE that the majority of modern soldiers give two shits about MY freedoms. (Inless they are defending there own barbarism) and care much more about material gain for being allowed to kill others. I can only speak of my experiences but they haven't been pretty and seriously make me question like Pseudo. I hardly can dfferentiate between todys military and thug mercenaires.

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      ACI 6 years ago

      Pseudo: I felt like you do once. Long ago, when I was in 20's. Flash-forward 20 years and I am now married to a former American SF soldiers who just retired from 20 years in the service.

      I felt angry at your comments, but I'm not going to come at you in anger. Snarkiness and personal insults, in my book, does nothing but perpetuate more snarkiness and bad behavior.

      The UK and the US have a volunteer army because at some point, it was decided by the powers that be that the draft was wrong, and ultimately counter-productive. People that don't want to fight, and aren't trained to do so, or have the mentality to do so, just become cannon fodder and ultimately are risks to others.

      What I'm getting from your post is that you think the military itself has no need for existence? That if we just laid down our arms and our defense systems, the rest of the world would join us in singing "Kumba-ya"? REALLY?

      The unfortunate truth is, Pseudo, that there are people that want to kill you. They do, they really do -- and they don't give a pig's fart what your politics are. They resent the comparative wealth of the developed countries. They resent that you have enough food to eat, warmth in the winter, and fresh, clean drinking water. They resent your religion, your color, your very existence. They want what you have, period. OR they want to kill you because you don't believe as they do.

      I respect soldiers because they do what the rest of us don't want to do...keep us safe from the people that want to lay waste to us, our children, our parents and our way of life. A private in the US Army will make about 26k per year -- and be deployed to areas where people want him dead and will do anything to achieve that result.

      You are entitled to your opinion, Pseudo. But for ME -- I believe you have the right to your opinion only because there are people willing to put their life on the line, spend months away from their families to make sure you and your opinion continue to exist.

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      magnum 6 years ago

      The United States has had it's soil occupied several times.

      1) Revolutionary War by: The British Empire

      2) War of 1812 by: The British Empire

      3) American Civil War by: The Confederate States of America

      4) Second World War by: The Japanese (They invaded the Aleutian Islands)


      The UK

      700/600 BC The Celts invade.

      43BC Emperor Claduis invades (Romans)

      450 The Anglo-Saxons invade

      410 The Romans leave

      793 The Vikings invade.

      1066 The Normans invade

      1688 By the Dutch

      I'm just saying History has a way of repeating it's self.

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      kim 6 years ago

      A solider does not shoot another person unless they feel that they or their collegues are in danger so therefor i think they do deserve the amount of respect they are getting. not alk soliders join just to kill people they join to learn a new skill to work in different enviroments to have a once in a life time oppurtunity. The army is something i want to join not to kill people but just for the travel and to do things and have oppurtunitys that i wont be able to do. People need to remember the army are defending their country and the people that livr there. hardly any of you would be here having this debate if the army arent here to fight and defend our country.

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      Cpl Ho 6 years ago

      If we live in utopia/paradise, there will be NO need for government or soldiers or police because everyone will be rational/reasonable/civil and all that...

      BUT simply because we do not live in an ideal world, therefore we need government to make laws, police(with guns) to protect our community, and soldiers to defend our sovereignty.

      But wars today are hardly just and our sovereignty has not been threatened for years, you say... Yes, that's true. But YOU elected YOUR government who decide for YOU what wars are just or not. Your government decides your country should go to war to support the US, go to war so that you will continue to get cheap Arab oil, go to war so that there will be control of trade routes, go to war so a little island across the world is not taken away etc. etc....

      Without professional soldiers, your government will conscript your a** so fast that you'll have no time to write your lengthy article, my friend!

      I respect professional soldiers simply because they are professional. I see their profession as no different from that of other civil servants. They get paid by the state through taxes to do their job well, so they leave politics at the door and get the job done, well, at great risk to their lives and that of their comrades.

      I quote: “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

      If you have any gripe about the wars your country fight, take it to your politicians, not to your soldiers.

      They are just doing their job.

    • georgethegent profile image

      georgethegent 6 years ago from Hillswick, Shetland, UK

      Surely the guys that join the British Army are not professional, it's the ones that join the French Foreign Legion that are more likely to be professional, or in hiding, whatever. Think again perhaps?

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      PseudoBoy 6 years ago

      I completely agree with the author of this piece and I thought the argument was put across elegantly. Lest anger and subjectivity blind the logic behind the argument and let us consider this:

      If a burglar entered (invaded) a soldier's home and the soldier's family was threatened, does the soldier have the rights to kill the burglar? Then does a normal citizen (i.e. - any human being) also have the rights to kill the burglar?

      If the normal person does not have the rights, then why is that? Is it because by enrolling as a soldier, you somehow receive an intangible license that permits you to kill?

      In such a parallel argument, logic dictates that it is immoral to kill because there are numerous abstract implications. Examples include the belief that “Only God has the rights to take a person’s life” and the disregard for the person’s chance of repentance etc.

      In my humble opinion, I agree with the author that the only group of people worth demonstrating respect to would be those who fought involuntarily in WW2. RIP

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      Anon 6 years ago

      I could not agree more with this piece of writing. I too believe respect is more deserved by those forced to fight in the world wars. An army is nothing more than an exploitation of people through propaganda, or force in less developed countries, to ensure corrupt schemes such as communism (Dictatorship) and Capitalism (Greed fuelled failure) continue to exist and appear 'necessary'. The leaders are provided with the utmost protection available to them, and the people involved in the fighting are treated as meat, all for the 'honour' of being a 'hero' in wars which stand no purpose to us that is not financial or selfish.

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      guy 6 years ago

      you are an idiot and your article is garbage. The fact that you can even write such debauchery and not be beheaded is a testament to the very soldiers you are insulting... go on enjoying those freedoms others gave all for. pig

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      Ohgreataliberal 6 years ago

      @ W

      Who told you that everyone that enjoys Mixed Martial Arts and Body Building are insecure meat-heads? Your woman's intuition? And that part about soldiers joining the military to act out shooting games?WOW. Please stop spreading your stupidity..


      Alber Einstein also had a role to play with a little something called the Atomic Bomb.But at the same time he holds contempt for soldiers....

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      Henry 7 years ago

      Like Connor, i have recently enlisted for the army( specifically in the Australian Defense Force.)

      The point in the article that 'gets' me is the part about the pointlessness of foreign deployment in recent times being dismissed as pointless. While they may be operations we can criticise such as Iraq and/or Afghanistan, what about operations in East Timor or the Solomon Islands ( for the Australian Defense forces mind you) where troops are merely peace keepers ? Shouldn't your lack of respect towards troops be headed towards the Politicians and diplomats that send troops there?

      The military( from my perspective in the Australian Army) are a disciplined organisation that is capable of performing a combat role and the foreign arm of the Australian government. The troops are volunteers, and while many choose to enter dangerous hostile situations where combat is likely to occur it is the ACT in which they will behave as a professional soldier earns my respect due to their duty and their training.

      The impact of their lives have an effect immediately on the people around their deployment( civilians, hostiles etc etc) and those at home ( families, neighbours).

      A soldier is not a grunt, there is no such thing as cannon fodder in the post-modern western army. Professionally trained soldiers must conduct themselves in a professional conduct that represents themselves, their army and indeed, their country. That is why we have Military courts to punish those who do not act in accordance to the rules of war.

      In response to your lack of understanding why a soldier who wanted to fight in the Falkland islands was so unhappy, perhaps it is the culmination of training and the lack of application as well as the desire to 'be a man'( i know a lot of veterans who would stay in combat because they don't want to let down their mates). Saying you can kill someone is a lot more easier then actually doing it. Most Soldiers( at least in my immediate vicinity) nowadays are not ' meathead academic dropouts' .

    • Pseudonymous profile image

      Pseudonymous 7 years ago

      Connor, thanks very much for a thoughtful and considered response. You've obviously given your chosen profession a lot of thought and that is very heartening - although I suspect you are in the minority.

      Clearly we disagree fundamentally on the function and purpose of soldiers. I think it's a shame that you feel that you can best give something back by being a soldier, rather than a teacher / doctor / aid worker / engineer etc working in a developing country.

      Nonetheless I wish you all the best in your chosen profession. All armies need more people like you.

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      Connor P 7 years ago

      I understand this is an old post, however, I feel complied to respond. Being a 17 year old Canadian male who has recently enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces I had a couple points I felt obliged to express. Before I begin however, I respect the fact that you have the right to speak the thoughts you so adamantly conveyed. Also, I understand you are a British citizen and not an American nor Canadian so I will attempt to keep my comments non biased and applicable to all nations.

      While reading your article one thing struck out at me. You expressed the idea that, "Soldiers join the army knowing full well that they will have to kill people. I cannot begin to imagine the mindset of someone who thinks this is ok. The fact that these men and women are apparently okay with the idea of being paid to kill others is pretty disturbing to say the least and hardly worthy of respect." Now I am curious how you can possibly believe this. For starters not every position in the Military is an infantry fighter who is deployed in hostile territory. Do you believe that SAR Techs (Search and Rescue Technicians) deserve no respect as well? Bear in mind that these soldiers risk their lives day in and day out with one prospect in mind. Saving a total stranger. Also, while I promise you I am not attempting to be aggressive, the fact that you think all a soldier does is kill innocent or guilty people is extremely naïve. What about Hurricane Katrina or Haiti? In addition, a soldier does not sign up to kill people. He signs up to save people. I urge you not to attempt to sway this truth, considering I am a future soldier who has these hopes. However, I do understand I can only speak for myself. Both you and I are some of the luckiest people in the world. We can leave our homes without fear of oppression and death. We eat three meals a day. We have clean water. We are a minority. I feel that it is of strict moral quality to attempt to give back. The world can be a terrible dark place. Soldiers attempt to convey some light, if only a little. And while I believe killing somebody is a terrible thing, if it would save innocent lives.... well lets leave that choice up to you. Somebody has to make a difference. I plan on it.

      t is the Soldier, not the reporter

      Who has given us freedom of the press.

      It is the Soldier, not the poet,

      Who has given us freedom of speech.

      It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,

      Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

      It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,

      Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

      "It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,

      Who serves beneath the flag,

      And whose coffin is draped by the flag,

      Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

      - Father Dennis Edward O'Brien

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      proud of my friends 7 years ago

      5 friends joined the army four came back dead the last was injured and on returning to the U.K. was retained in a secure unit. they never asked for respect it was their job and they knew the risks. But to believe that they joined to kill is wrong. they joined to have a job, to protect their country, to be trained in a skill. the majority of their job entailed helping civilians that have been affected. The way in which you have managed to generalise the whole of the british forces as stone cold killers is horrific. there are many jobs involved in the armed forces some never ever face combat.

      People make life or death decisions every day.

      Doctors - turning off life support machines or taking a risk with an operation

      police men - checking a man who has a damaged leg before checking an un-conscious man who is bleeding from the head

      firefighter - save the conscious first before searching for the unconscious

      these professionals work on the probability of surviving the only difference between them and soldiers is soldiers defend themselves by killing another were as the others just save.

      But think about it this way the soldiers may have killed but think about who they are killing. soldiers save lives by killing those who take lives away for example saddam hussain

      soldiers deserve the respect they get even though they do not ask for it. this however, doesn't mean the other services provided by police medics etc do not deserve respect. Just like soldiers they deserve more than they get.

    • whoflungdung profile image

      whoflungdung 7 years ago from London, England

      This is a can of worms isn't it!!

      He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.

      Albert Einstein

      Who I am to argue with Einstein?

      Look I think that the arguments appear to have become conflicted. When people talk about sacrifice and dying, I think in your hub you have touched on the main point. If we were being "invaded" as the media would have you believe when a handful of misguided lunatics blow themselves up, then in true English style, I would be signing up to fight them on the beaches because that is sacrificing to defend.

      That may be why when we turn up on someone else's oilfields and start firing bullets at them that anyone old enough to hold a gun will shoot back??

      People that sign up to the Army now in Britain or the US, sign up "primarily" for their own personal gain, to "be the best you can be" because they buy into all the great adverts on the tele of groups of people kicking about on socials and gaining qualifications paid for by the government.

      What people fail to realise when they put pen to paper is that while these governments may offer you all these wonderful things, all they ask in return, is that you go where they send you and shoot who they tell you?

      It is a shame that some people do not see how easy it is for governments to control public opinion through the press. I am sure if everyone was this ignorant, we would all be signing up....

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      proud 7 years ago

      oh and another thing i forgot to mention the soldiers don't ask for your respect they only ask that you remember they're sacrifice if they are unfortunate to have passed on. the spooks do very little dagerous things and the whole point of them is to be annonumous if you died while poisoning somone would you want them to know who you family were i think not

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      proud 7 years ago

      Pseudonymous at the very begining to this discussion from what i gather you are lead to believe that soldiers join up to kill people and that the police health service and a multitude of other jobs deserved more respect this in my opinion is total bull sorry but have you even stopped to think that the armed forces have been going into a multitude of different nations so that they can provide the exact services that you say deserve more respect and yet they have to do this while under constant threat of death.

      take in point afganistan im not sure what the exact portions were but before our military entered the taliban were in control when they were actually a minority they shunned western ways which included voting, rights for women, medicen,JUST law enforement and some of these same facts could be said about Iraq so what do these killers of yours do go into a country and try to make it so that the locals don't have to be afraid to sit a watch tv or more importantly read a book get an education people don't join up to kill that is just a side affect of having to do the right thing against lunatics who don't belive that a beautiful woman can show her face.

      and i noticed a point about prisoners joining up. have you ever lived rough on the streets had to steal just to live i doubt it people go to prison for all sorts of things and once they get out they have done they're time they have paid their dept to humannity but people like you don't give them a chance to redeem themselves but the armed forces do and let me ask you a question i have a friend he is 28 years old his parents beat him as a child so he rebeled and left school at 16 without any qualifications (he admits that this is a bad idea now but we all make mistakes) after this he couldn't get a job his parents kicked him out of his house he got put in council housing on his own at 18 where a local criminal forced him to give him his dole money or work for him or get stabbed so what would your choice be obviously he got caught stealing a tv spent 6 months in prison where he decided to turn his life aroud but of course with his jail time he couldn't so he joined the military he now has proper qualifications is making a living putting money back into our economy and has a great wife and kids now he is thinking of getting out of the army to spend time with his family and what's this people see a qualified family man with resposibilitys ahh wait more money into the ecconomy through a decent job so don't diss prisoners yes they are fuck ups but the ones who join up are generally the ones who what to change that.

      and earlyer in your comments you mentioned only underprivalaged and undereducated as shown above this is sometimes true however this doesn't give you the right to generalise for example i myself am currently at university studying enginering my parents are paying for it totally and my father makes quite alot of money (im not going to say howmuch over the internet) so im going to come out of uni dept free and i know very few people who are in my possition however intead of taking a design path which is what my course is designed for and with plenty of jobs around even in the economic downtern for my proffesion i am currently in training to try to join the royal marines commandos why you may ask not to kill anyone a abour the thought of hurting anyone im joining up to help for example the people in haiti gess who are out there rebuilding the army or wait who is protecting us from the somalian pirates or wait who for exampal defended our country from invasion by the argintininans because that's what happened we got invaded it may not have been mainland britain but does that mean if the french invade jersey (i know they wont) we just supposed to let them have it

      so yes the police deserve our respect yes doctors and nurses deserve our respect enginers builders artists and everyone else deserves respect but no one deserves more respect then some stupid git from moss side or east london who rejected by they're own contry is willing to risk they're own lives and the time they have with they're children to do exactly the same job you do at home whilst under fire for someone in another country they've never heard of or been to

      and just to ad in a movie reference "nothing ever changes" (the latest rambo film) it may be hitler discriminateing jews and invading england itself or it could be osama and sadam discriminateing against women and invadeing kuwait ether way they had to be stopped hitler was stopped with conscripts but somehow i don't think upping the death count will catch osama and retern peace to iraq what we need are specialy trained people who are willing to get the job done even if it means resorting to violence in other words


      (ps sorry about the spelling my computer is a bit broken)

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      7 years ago

      I don't believe that soldiers are untouchable when it comes to criticize them, look at the vietnam vets.

      I think soldiers should be respected as just people doing their jobs, there's a reason why it's called the "quiet profession". Besides, I'm pretty sure that when it's on the news nobody really gives a shit anyway, because most people won't understand what happens overseas.

      If you want exaggerated respect, why don't you look at the professional athletes or actors/ musicians making millions of dollars doing what they love and their contribution to society is only entertainment. They don't put their life in danger, and when they die it's on the front page of every newspaper in the country. Even worse, most people DO give a shit.

    • Pseudonymous profile image

      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Edgerusher - again, thanks for your comment. Of course I am aware that there are linkages between the intelligence services and the military. But there is a fundamental difference between soldiers and, for want of a better term, the 'spooks' who work in the intelligence agencies. Namely, when a soldier dies it is in the papers, Presidents and Prime Ministers (or their secretaries) send letters to the families of the deceased, etc, etc. When a spook dies none of this happens.

      Your summation of the various organisational hierarchies misses the entire point of this article - which I have already recapped for you - which is why should we respect professional soldiers? As far as I can see our society does not offer exaggerated respect to spooks or (to follow up your continued argument) politicians. I fully agree that some politicians are worse than soldiers, and not purely because they are sending others to fight in wars (although this argument ignores the fact that no soldier is conscripted.) However it seems to me that politicians get their share of criticism, whereas soldiers are for some reason untouchable. The point of this article is not 'should we respect politicians?' because that would be pointless - we already choose whether or not to respect politicians based on their actions and our own proclivities. Rather the point of this article is why should we respect soldiers, who as far as I can see make an uncoerced choice to fight, kill and (if they are unlucky) die in the employ of the state.

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      Edgerusher71 8 years ago

      To continue tying up my point is that you feel that soldiers don't deserve the extra respect because of their chosen professions but that brings up a question in my mind, do the civilian leaders who control this military of meat heads with an inferiority complex or violence lovers deserve the extra respect they receive for ordering the military into these battles and "lead us to victory"? I mean politicians run for office knowing they will have to order people's sons and daughters to kill and to their own deaths don't they? So surely they are even worse than the soldier.

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      Edgerusher71 8 years ago

      The domestic in intelligence agencies you speak of I'm assuming those of the SIS, Security Service, JIC, GCHQ, and a few others give or take. What you are failing to realize is that the agencies you speak of with a capability of preventing terrorist attacks are actually overseas as well providing this information to military outlets, if they aren't using their own resources to kill as well. Outside of the special branches your police have, which aren't capable of handling such duties anyway, these non-military organizations are in some cases the lead planners of bombings, armed predator attacks, cruise missile launches. Not to mention, assuming you have something equivalent to our FBI which has no international jurisdiction, those agencies collaborate just about all they know from military sources and these "domestic agencies" with paramilitary organizations. What all this is saying is that ok you think soldiers are evil, immoral, undeserved of respect whatever. But from the information you have presented in response to my comments shows that your reasoning for this is flawed. You're simply pointing the finger at the military without actually understanding that this war on terror encompasses all aspects of government assets...foreign or domestic

    • Pseudonymous profile image

      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      W, thanks for your comment. I'm not sure its as easy to surrender as all that - your commander might have something to say about it for one thing. Presumably you then end up in a military prison somewhere and, if you are lucky, avoid 'active interrogation.'

      You say you disagree but you seem to agree with my point that the military attracts people who are excited by violence - or at least may not be able to understand that killing people isn't all fun and games.

      I agree that everyone deserves an appropriate level of respect and that awful doctors should be disbarred or even prosecuted. Incidentally, if you know some (as in multiple) doctors who are that bad shouldn't you report them?

      If I mess up in a job then I suffer and those in my team suffer too. The difference is that I have chosen a job where such mistakes are (hopefully!) non-fatal. This doesn't make me a 'better person' than a soldier but the point is that they have chosen their profession as I have chosen mine.

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      8 years ago

      Just quickly scanned the article... reading some of these comments, I disagree with the author...

      A soldier is trained to kill, injure, and maim. But seriously, it's not like the Iraqi soldiers don't have the choice of surrendering. There wouldn't be any killing if one side surrenders but that's not going to happen anytime soon.

      I totally agree with the point on the attitude of some soldiers, complaining about lack of "action". It's just one of those fields that attracts a certain profile or demographic. Bodybuilding and MMA attract insecure meat heads that have an inferiority complex, and the military attracts the same people that play waaay too much shooting games and watch too many war movies.

      I think everyone deserves respect... appropriately. The point about doctors however, I know some doctors that are so horrible they probably kill more people than most soldiers (wrong diagnosis, wrong medication, unethical...).

      A doctor fucks up on a patient, and the patient suffers. A soldier fucks up on a mission, himself and his team have to suffer.

    • Pseudonymous profile image

      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Edgerusher, thanks for getting back to me. I think it is worth recapping my main argument which is this:

      - Every soldier who dies at the moment is apparently a ‘hero.’ Our society in general doesn’t recognise a lot of heroes. You will never generally hear about the death of a doctor who has helped countless people during his career in the same way you would the death of a frontline soldier. I’m not saying this is a bad thing (in the sense that should we be deifying anyone?), but it does raise the question as to why the discrepancy between soldiers and the other professions which is the basis for this article.

      - There is a key difference between soldiers and other members of our society – namely that soldiers (and its worth restating that this article is purely focussed on soldiers not military personnel in general) are required to kill people. I think killing is serious enough that it should only be done for a very good reason.

      - A common argument and one voiced by all (I think) of the people who have objected to this page is that these soldiers are defending their country. If that were true then this could be seen as justification for killing others.

      - My argument is that this is not correct. Neither the UK or US has been invaded. Moreover, terrorism cannot be prevented by soldiers. This should be self-evident when we observe that the people actually preventing terrorism in our countries are domestic intelligence operatives.

      - In fact, this justification seems to be a hangover from the epic conflicts of WW1 and WW2, though I argue that these conflicts were substantially different from current ones in that they largely involved conscripted soldiers and because the fighting did pose a genuine threat to national safety – i.e. the soldiers involved were unambiguously defending their countries.

      - If you accept the above argument then killing by professional soldiers is, at best, helping to fulfil national political goals – this may still be important but is hardly an unambiguous justification for the killing of other people.

      - If you disagree with the above argument you need to argue that both the current major conflicts allied troops are involved in are substantially defensive in nature, i.e. that they were preventing future highly dangerous attacks that could not have been averted through any other means (i.e. through normal use of domestic intelligence.) This page isn’t really designed to discuss this as it is a massive topic on its own, as your previous comment alluded to. I can accept if you think that the invasions were necessary to prevent threats to our own countries, but this is where we have to agree to disagree.

      - If we accept a downgraded justification for the killing by our soldiers of enemy combatants, coupled with the fact that soldiers have chosen their profession with full knowledge of what they will be dealing, then I suggest we need as a society to re-evaluate what I have termed the exaggerated respect in which soldiers are held.

      - This doesn’t mean that we don’t need soldiers, as I have stated repeatedly there are arguments for military intervention in a variety of situations. It does, however, mean that we need to get past an outdated paradigm in which we see all soldiers as ‘heroes’, ‘fighting in the defence of democracy and freedom.’ Instead I think we need to realise that these are salaried professionals who choose to enter a profession in which they are required to kill others and decide on an appropriate level of public respect.

      In direct answer to your final question, extremists should continue to be dealt with as they are at the moment, via a co-ordinated effort from allied domestic intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks on civilian populations.

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      Edgerusher71 8 years ago

      I have read your piece, repeatedly. All I can seem to get out off it is that people who voluntarily join the military seem to be of less working mind than a person who doesn't. In addition to that, you saying you don't respect people in the combat arms branch of the military, the "killers", which means you think it's wrong, that seems to hint that members of various extremist organizations should be allowed to do as they please because killing them is wrong, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Now I ask you, if we were to simply let these people be what happens next?

    • Pseudonymous profile image

      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Edgerusher, thanks for a long and detailed comment. I believe, however, you have missed the point of my article. I am well aware of the background to both of the current major conflicts the UK and US are currently involved in. I am also aware that many - perhaps even the vast majority - of the people who will be killed by allied troops are not nice people.

      My point is that I find it difficult to respect people who are prepared to put themselves in a position where they will have to kill other people, regardless of whether these people to deserve to be killed or not. You make the argument that such people are neutral about killing but, as I have said, I am not so sure about that.

      I'm not sure quite why you felt it would strengthen your argument to end your comment with semi-coherent vitriol. This is not an article on either war so I suggest next time you read before you post.

      I get the tube - what you would call the subway - every working day.

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      Edgerusher71 8 years ago

      You still have neglected to touch on WHO is being killed though. I believe that you are assuming everyone a soldier kills is an innocent man, woman, or child. You are ignoring, whether it be blatant or not, that when a soldier is called on to perform their duty, in this case killing they are being called on to do so because there is an individual on the business end of his rifle with the intentions of killing him and everything he stands for. So I ask you? Have you actually thought about the people that are consistently the target of soldier? Or do you just assume that collateral damage is the status quo because if that is the case then you are sadly misunderstood of the capabilities of your British army, my American army, and in general military technology of the free world. It also seems to me that you under the impression that ALL the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were merely created out of nothing and exist only due to the fact their nations were invaded. This shows yet another lack of research to strengthen your argument by looking at what possible opposition you might face when you post such...controversial comments. The insurgencies in both nations already essentially had a basic structure to follow before coalition forces crossed either border. In Iraq the fedayeen Saddam and the regime's secret police, which i would expect you know about, already had a vast network of houses, spies, etc. setup in order to sniff out those who might want to undermine the Hussein government this fact being well documented over and over again. So it's not to inconceivable to imagine that simply shifting the focus from possible traitors to the American army really wouldn't be that difficult considering there are already resources at hand.As far as Afghanistan that is even more obvious. The mujahideen's war with the Soviets in the 80's, which you should also be aware of if your going to criticize today's conflict. The vast majority of the battles being fought today are simply a continuation of that battle which they also fought in an insurgent manner and in fact from some of the same cliff faces they fought from recently i.e. tora bora. So the manner in which they are fighting they have done before so it's what they know, the fact that it's Americans and Brits didn't all of a sudden commit them to suicide bombing. As far as why they are fighting it's really quite simple and the exact same reason in both nations. Aside from Al Qaeda the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents are fighting because their positons of power are at stake. They are used to being in charge, living the comfortable life and controlling their own little worlds which is something they will not freely give up. Also the vast majority of citizens in both nations are in fact rather satisfied their has been a change in power because in both places there were rather oppressive regimes. If you believe that over 50%(aka the majority) are anti-coalition then you once again haven't actually researched in depth the conflict over there and are only going off a misinterpretation of a warrior being unhappy they missed a fight. That Para wasn't gutted over not being able to kill he was gutted over missing the opportunity in his mind to help contribute to what he thought was a worthwhile campaign. Actually watch some documentaries, do some googling, hell even join some military forums you will find that the same 90% good 10% bad apple syndrome happens in the military just like everywhere else but what you will also find is that the actual act of killing,especially with special operators which are some of the most steely eyed, dangerous, and INTELLIGENT people on the planet derive "no pleasure nor Pain" and put themselves in a state of neutrality and then move on with the mission. Contrary to popular belief amongst liberal individuals like yourselves there is no place in any military for Rambo, Arnold Schwarzenegger those individuals are the first to go. And as far as your percentages, which are not accurate, you will find that those in jail that are "veterans" are only so because technically having served even a week in the service makes you vet. Those in jail were probably removed from the military by the military for negative reasons which they didn't want part of their organizations. Ending this, at least until you respond with some other lack of knowledge statements, go do some actual research interview more than just a few soldiers since that's what you like to do apparently and don't try to undermine one of the most noble professions that protect you to allow for your miserable little existence to continue be it from Nazi or suicide bomber...I hope you don't take the subway.

      PS. if you don't understand that subway comment, you should leave all your opinions on the military in the trash and throw yourself in there as well.

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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Nuwt, thanks for your comment. I don't accept your hunting / soldier analogy. I have no problems with killing animals, but you can hardly say that is the same as killing another human being, right?

      You've also touched on one of my key points which is that there are plenty of what you have described as 'unmentionable' people. My argument would be that these people don't get the same respect as soldiers and that this is the problem.

      As I have pointed out in the article, there is a need for professional soldiers but I don't think that this view is incompatible with seeing killing as distasteful. To turn around your argument, men of action always need men of words to be anything other than monsters as without justification soldiering is nothing but uniformed barbarity.

      Edgerusher, thanks for your comment too. I haven't spoken with all soldiers but I haven't been particularly impressed by the ones I have spoken to. Nonetheless I am sure you are correct in saying that some soldiers are extremely intelligent. However, I think you hint that I have a point when you say I should look past the front line infantry.

      As above, I don't think it is hypocritical to accept the need for an army but find the idea of killing distasteful and indeed to be wary of the militarism which is used to justify conflict. As in the main article I think there is a clear difference between those who actively seek a role in which they will be required to kill and those who are drafted in unwillingly.

      I don't consider my grandfather - or anyone else for that matter - to be less worth their salt than a professional soldier, simply because they show a healthy disdain for killing other people.

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      Edgerusher71 8 years ago

      Most of those people being "senselessly killed" would probably like to kill you given the opportunity....

      ps. Have you spoken with all soldiers? Quite a few of them are actually some of the brightest individuals you could meet. Especially when you look past the basic infantry and such into special operations forces, aviators, and oh yeah MILITARY doctors, nurses, teachers.

      One last bit not calling you a coward but somebody has to do the job(you mentioned that much yourself) and if you are clearly to high and mighty to do it why look down on those who do? Those soldiers that volunteered are still ordinary people just like your grandfather maybe more worth their salt than him because they are going when they don't have to...would he? better yet would he approve of you ripping apart his younger brothers in arms?

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      nuwt 8 years ago

      Why should we respect Professional Soldiers? This question can be considered mostly as a liberal pacifist view whose ideas see the world very differently. These are people who grow up never having to do the necessities of life for themselves; a good example of this is the fact that most people in our society never have to get their hands bloody from hunting and killing their own meal. To many people, live foods come from stores. Most people can live their whole lives never giving thought to how these resources are truly acquired, but behind the scenes of all the magic and wonder of these self replicating food shelves exists an industry to keep the food shelves stocked just as a person sleeps safe at night because of law enforcement which is there because people were given the freedoms to govern such laws by a soldier who fights to keep our way of life from those who would wish to oppress and do harm.

      There are millions of unmentionable people who work under this invisible curtain to keep societies working and operating safely. From the mail that gets to a person’s door to the garbage being taken away, we respect these people the same way we should respect our soldiers. They provide a service that allows people to focus on other things and tasks. Growing up in a safe society it’s easy for people to forget wear freedoms come from as they forget how food gets on their table. The freedoms that our governments established have been built on the bones of fallen heroes. All governments were forged by the blood of soldiers; people who fought, not talked, about right or wrong. A country can never repay the debt to these heroes. All societies can do for these men who sacrifice so much is to give them a little respect for the protection of their society. A professional soldier deserves the respect of all members societies chosen government. When people need conflicts to be resolved they need a competent force to meet these threats that words or a drafted army can never meet.

      Drafted soldiers are inferior to a Professional Soldier this is proven by the same reason why we don’t draft people to be mailmen, garbage men, and butchers. Why? The reason is because a Professional competent man exists to fill these roles and get the job done right. After World War two, the most costly war of human life in all of existence. How can people say they will only fight when millions have to die to win over tyranny? This absurd view can be expressed the same way as an analogy saying we as a society should only put out flames when half the world is engulfed in fire and then rapidly seek to draft men to put out the flames? The same reason to have a Professional Soldier is the same reason to have all professional services; to keep people safe. People who object to a warrior killing the enemy is the same as a child disgusted by the realities of how his meat was put on the table, but does not push his plate away. The necessities of our way of life are bought for us by those who “volunteer” to serve. Men of words will always need men of action to uphold the values they speak of. So we should respect our Professional Soldiers it’s the very least we can do.


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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Meat, thanks for coming back. As for your original question, well, let me put it this way... if you think what you do is just 'flushing the toilet' then how does that make you any different from the average Al-Qaeda fanatic? They also think they are doing the world a favour...what makes you right and them wrong? You've never killed anyone who wasn't trying to kill you... well that's a start I suppose, but presumably every one of the people who killed one of your buddies was in the same situation, trying to kill someone who was trying to kill them. Again, what makes their killing worse than yours?

      I appreciate your comment that you are not looking for respect. Perhaps the issue is not so much soldiers as their cheerleaders at home - the ones who would never risk their own skins but are only too happy to cheer the boys off to war, fly their flags and make a lot of noise when somebody (on our team) dies.

      I've never described you as a Nazi.

      If you read the Telegraph or the Mail then you get the impression that our whole country is under threat from an army of burqa-clad, bomb-wielding fanatics. This sells a lot of papers but isn't really the truth. Of course, there are dangerous people out there but put it this way, if car accidents and smoking-related-illnesses could sell papers then you would never stop hearing about them, as they kill a lot more people.

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      Meat 8 years ago

      No Problem, Bro. You still didn't answer my question though. Now, I get the feeling you think not much is worth killing for (well, I read that unless your country is getting invaded - might be a little too late, but I appreciate that sentiment nonetheless, I know people who would rather just lay down) - then you should be even more happy that you have a volunteer force. I've never killed for money - in fact, I've never killed someone who wasn't trying to kill me.

      I'm not going to get into all of the "dying for your freedom" rhetoric, because that strategy is made at the Starfleet Level, not at Private Meat's level and you're right that not everyone joins up for those reasons. I do know though that we get sent to these far off places fighting a war with vague strategic objectives and we just do our best to make sure our buddies return back home safe to Mum. I don't ask for any respect and, in fact, it makes me cringe a little when someone thanks me - I just politely thank them in return for their support. Most of us are the same way. If you don't respect us, doesn't change a thing.. we put our heads down and get back to work. You're still going to disagree - just save the comments about me having the same perspective as the average Nazi - that's not very original, bro.

      You live in England? Cool. I did for a while, too. Hounslow, outside of London. I still keep up with the news over there.

      Now, that's all I have for now. The word of the day is "Legs" and I need to get back home and spread the word.

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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Meat, thanks for your comment. You've pretty much just backed-up what I've written about about soldiers. And throwing in that snipe about me not brushing my teeth...priceless.

      As for England being invaded - nope, sorry, can't say I've seen any of that...but what do I know? I only live there.

      P.S. I use the word 'shit' too

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      Meat 8 years ago

      Hey, bro - what's so wrong with killing? Just imagine if you never brushed your teeth - oh wait, nevermind. Umm.. imagine if you never flushed your toilet after "moving your bowels" (as someone such as yourself might say). That's all we're doing - flushing the toilet so you guys don't have to smell it.

      England is in the process of being invaded - just ask your friends at MI5 or Scotland Yard. Was 7/7/2005 really that long ago?

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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Matz, thanks for posting your comment. It's nice to see an insult-free reply for a change!

      I admit my 1066 comment was pretty facetious. In fact, the reason England hasn't been invaded in so long is due to soldiers - professional and conscript - as well as the navy, air force etc. But I do feel we live in a different time where 'defence of the nation' isn't really the prime motivator for the army, rather it has been 'necessary' due to occupation in other parts of the world (Northern Ireland included) and the desire to maintain an ability to influence elsewhere in the world. Ultimately, the UK's main defence now is nuclear weapons, not a guy (or several) with a gun.

      I'm not sure I agree with you about the motivation of people signing up. I think for many recruits the main motivators are lack of equivalent opportunities (due to lack of education/skills), relative youth (and therefore inability to fully appreciate what it is to kill someone else and risk your own life) and the 'excitement' of joining the army - plus the old mix of patriotism, etc.

      I don't agree with you that our social fabric is falling apart (though there are problems), as people have been saying this since time immemorial. Even if this were the case surely there are better ways of serving one's country in any of the professions mentioned elsewhere in the post: social work, teaching, healthcare etc. Discipline should involve self-discipline rather than just the ability to take orders. A lack of ability to think for themselves mean that many soldiers struggle once they have left the forces.

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      matz 8 years ago

      good hub,see you have the right to freedom of speech that lets you write this,its the armed forces that protect this right.many people in the arm forces don't join to kill many are in logistics etc .my father was in the british army and served in northern ireland (where i now live)he didn't kill anyone but when you join up you have to obey orders sometimes being disiplined can make a man of you .now adays our social fabricate is falling apart youths feel that the government is letting them down and signing up can make them a better person in socitey.also even though the uk was last invaded in 1066 there have been many other attemps ie the spainish admarda. all in all enjoying your hubs keep up the good work. p.s sorry about the spelling but that's english education for you

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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      Deadboxhero, thanks for dropping by. As usual, the only ‘defence’ militarists like yourself have is that I must be a ‘coward’ or ‘lack character.’ If not wanting to kill people for money means that I lack character then fine, I have no character.

      As I’ve said already said - how are these soldiers keeping me safe? When was the last time England was invaded? To save you the bother of looking it up the answer is 1066, almost 1,000 years ago.

      Your whole argument rests on the fact that soldiers do this out of a sense of duty but my question is why should we applaud a sense of duty that includes killing other people? Why should we respect people who are too stupid to question the reasons they have been sent to a conflict or too immoral to care about the consequences?

      Personally, I would rather give my respect to nurses, doctors, social workers, teachers etc. – people who improve life rather than take it away and who usually have to accept much less in the way of reward for their ‘sense of duty.’

      At no point in the above argument did I say that we didn’t need professional soldiers. The only arcane views being expressed are your tired nationalistic ones.

      Jon C, I fail to see how forcing every adult male (exactly why are women exempted?) to endure potentially 7 years of military service is of benefit to individual freedom and it would appear that there are already more than enough willing recruits to keep the army going as it is.

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      Jon C. 8 years ago

      I am totally blown away that such a mindset exists. I think we need the draft back with the old seven yerar total commitment from ever male. You serve at least two years on active duty, then you have five more years of a Reserve commitment to satisfy.

      A very small price to pay to be an American.

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      deadboxhero 8 years ago

      Of course you intend to keep talking, you're just a coward. Cowards always run there mouths

      As far your views about Soldiers "not deserving" your respect shows a lack of character. These men sacrifice a life of privilege and freedom to live like animals, to endure the psychological cost of killing, and to live in constant fear of being maimed or killed and or watching helplessly as their buddies are maimed or killed.

      These men endure all this at the will and obedience of the society they serve and they do it all because of a sense of duty knowing fully the hazards of there profession they say "Here I am send me" only because somebody has to keep gutless worms like you safe.

      Soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq because we as a collective society felt threatened, your lack accountability for this is quite disturbing.

      Your argument about not needing professional Armies is just as arcane and foolish as saying we don't need professional medical people because in the 1800's your great, great grandfather got along just fine.

      Apparently, somewhere in Kenya a village is missing their idiot.

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      Pseudonymous 8 years ago

      chefaija, how exactly do they 'provide' my freedom? Neither the UK or the US was or is in danger of being invaded by Iraq or Afghanistan. Even if you want to play the terrorism card then this is the job of the intelligence services not soldiers.

      Like I said, the soldiers that actually fought for our freedoms in WW2 were ordinary people, like both of my grandfathers. They were not paid killers.

      If a situation was to arise in which my country was to be invaded then it would be ordinary people like myself for the most part who would be required to fight. In that situation I absolutely would fight. While I wouldn't be aiming to 'die for my country' as you put it, I would be willing to sacrifice myself for the people I love and for the ideals which make life worth living, e.g. freedom from tyranny, equality and democracy.

      I fully intend to 'keep talking'

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      chefaija 8 years ago

      Soldiers provide your freedom They are the reason why you get to write this hub. Would you serve Ask yourself if you would die for your country. Then keep talking

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      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Much of this is my sentiments

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      iskra1916 8 years ago from Belfast, Ireland.

      Excellent hub !

      Well thought out and constructed.

      I agree completely!