T Nation

Soldiers are Soldiers, the Big Lie


This actually bugged me for quite some time.

Why are so many here in awe of soldiers?

Despite what you might think of the reasons for (recent) wars, the guys who go there don't do this for humanity or America.
They do it because they are men.
War is a blast, especially if you happen to have the upper hand, better intel, weapons and propaganda.

I doubt not that many parrot the phrases they've heard so much when hugging their moms for a last time.
"Don't cry mommy, someone has to do it. We have to (choose according to culture and pers. preference liberate them/ defend our border/ repay them/ purify the continent/ obey gawd"

But deep down, they KNOW it is about...well, call it like you want: testosterone, the will to compete at the highest level with the biggest stakes, joy of killing, the big adventure....

Of course, some really want to make a difference. Is it 5%, 3% maybe? No idea, but it's minimal. Others are solely in for the dough or perks like health insurance which is more or less the same - although a combination of destitution/opportunism and bloodthirst is likely.

But reason #1 is the beast inside men.

Why so many here, even women(!) try to embellish what is the ugly, bloodied, grinning hydra we call war?


Oh and, this has zero to do with the puppy.

While tasteless and unmanly, I care far more for people then animals.


Because they are willing to do things, eat things, and kill things that normal people haven't the balls to even comprehend.

The normal people depend on these people you have no respect for to keep us free.

All you have to do is listen to someone who has been in the fog of war - just listen for 5 minutes, and they will tell you stories that will sicken you, and won't so much as blink.

You can throw rocks and dismiss their service if you want, but I will not join in your chickenshittery.

I'll bet you are typing this up from the safety of whatever passes for a german bedroom these days. Suffice it to say, you would be speaking Russian were it not for these people that really don't deserve any respect.

You sicken me.


I don't agree completely. I think some that do go to war/become soliders do so for idealistic reasons (whether I agree with their reasons or not). Many of the young men who signed up for the military in the wake of 9/11 come to mind.

A lot of people do it for economic reasons. Some young people that would have difficulty financing college or getting trained in a skill go to the military.

I would guess that most of those who become solidiers because they think it will be a great adventure get disabused of that notion rather quickly. At least that is my experience from talking with veterans. Of course, there
are always a few, Patton comes to mind, who get orgasmic about it.


I don't think there are very many at all who get orgasmic about it.

I think it is mostly kids looking for a job, or an adventure, who get thrust into a war to fight to the life or death.

It is in that moment when they decide to live and fight that they are heroes. I can sit and listen to my bro-in-law talk about the assault on Baghdad all day. And every time he tells the story, I respect him that much more.

He doesn't want to be considered a hero. He doesn't want any extra fanfare. His outlook was he signed up to do a job, and he did his job. His just happened to include upholding and defending the constitution. Agree with the war or not. He did everything that was asked of him including putting himself squarely in the middle of harm's way.

I don't know what planet one must be from not to respect that.


Mikeyali comes to mind.

It's safe to say that those are the crushing majority.



I don't know, perhaps the russians would be speaking german?

Anyway, It's precisely because I listened to WW2 Vets and lots of GIs (knowing tattoo artists who work near US bases in Germany can do wonders to broaden your horizon), I even had the opportunity to hear a Vietnam veteran during my time of (peaceful)duty. Boy did he lively describe this war-adventure of jungle action and fucking -at which point he always had to apologize exaggeratively to the female german NCO, who happened to sit across the table and was pissed!

Or take the "Band of Brothers" cast. One of the original soldiers, explained how one boy from his town who was refused for service did kill himself.
Did he kill himself because his sense of duty was so ginormous?
No, he was embarrassed to be the only one not man enough.

Of course, when they return, they are most often sick of it.
But that's not the point.


Live and fight for what?

There are plenty of people each day that decide to live and fight and you do not respect them at all.

It is the instinct of every animal feeling cornered. If a gerbil can do it, um, must do it, so can I.

It´s hardly magic.


I agree. What I meant was that there may be a few who do it for that reason and of those few only very few will continue to have that attitude once they are really in war.


Over here in Canada our Veterans have special license plates for their cars that state they are Veterans. Every time I go to a customers home how has one, I take the time to personally thank him and sometimes her for fighting for my freedom, which I do so enjoy.

They fought a war but even worse, they watched their friends die time and again. Try living with those memories all your life. They are the bravest and humblest people I have ever met.

I would not dare to insult them by even thinking I could understand what they went through. War is hell, they walked into it and very few came back, show some RESPECT, those in Holland do every year and they never started the last big one.


Right. But still, it's a minority and a good excuse to bathe oneself in the fountain of absolution, especially if the enemy is a weakling.

Agree, this is also what I meant under financial reasons because it ultimately comes down to money.


Still, the quota of how many american Iraq-GIs were total jackasses surprised me. Probably the atmosphere. You got to constantly keep up the image of a bragging badass.
Even the few soldiers of my unit who went to Yugoslavia behaved like idiots (if the media would know..), and they barely had a shooting.


(1) I think there are people here that genuinely respect soldiers and the sacrifices they make, as Rainjack has expressed.

(2) On the other hand, I think that some here have made a fetish out of being a "tough guy". Having been raised on Rambo, Terminator and the whole series of "action heros", they have lived combat vicariously and part of the image they wish to project of themselves as Tough T-Men is to glorify war.

For those who belong to category two (2) I would say they have become prisoners of their own stereotype. I suspect that many of them would not be as tough if they found themselves in an actual war zone. Nonetheless, one can be full of "sound and fury" on the Internet without every having to back it up with action.


War is hell, exactly. I wish no one to see their friend die in front of them.

I respect everyone who commits himself to a cause he and I deem noble. And war is not something I have on that list. Perhaps you heard better war stories then me.
Mine are pretty revolting.

Still, there are heroes out there, I'll give you that. But the majority were initially driven by different reasons, blunted by the things they saw, bestialized by the things they did.


Isn't that the truth! In the course of the Cold War, we tended to forget the sacrifices made by the Red Army and the Russian people in breaking Hitler's army. (Think Stalingrad).

Not to take anything away from the American soldiers who went through hell and kicked ass, but the Russian people could very well have ended up speaking German.

Fortunately, Hitler forgot to read history and fell for the same trap as Napoleon!


Yes, but why this very high respect?

WW2, which is doubtless many times a nobler war for the american soldier then todays corporate wars, required the men to serve.

So why did my grandma, who was in a death camp with mortality rates far higher then pracitcally any US regiment, had to fight lice, hunger and rapists, get NOT the same respect and saluting, constant praising.
ANY man or woman who faces death & various hardships should be extra respected and saluted according to this logic.


If you, lixy and orion are any representative, you'd likely be surrendering faster than the French.

But since you used our manpower to keep you safe - we will never know.


Live an fight because they took an oath to do just that it.

I never said it was magic, did I? I never said it wasn't a daily occurance in laces other than a battlefield, did I?

Sober up, or put your words into someone else's mouth.


But they had no choice, the oath was forced from them. (WW2)


I am talking about GWII. That is all volunteer. As for WWII - they don't call them the "Greatest Generation" for nothing.


Well, apart from the question as to whether a particular war is just or not and leaving aside the valor of any particular soldier, let's face it, governments, societies have to glorify war. Otherwise, how would they get young men to go? I mean, soldiers don't get paid well and, it would appear that they are not treated well when they return. One reads horror stories about homeless veterans,
veterans with post-traumatic syndrome not able to get treatment, families who go bankrupt because the male bread-winner is diabled, etc.

While I dont doubt the noble intentions of many of these soldiers, let's face it, how else are you going to attract them if you don't glorify war? I am not accusing any particular government. All do this, to a greater or lesser extent.