T Nation

Unexpected Effect of War in Iraq

I’ve been talking to a lot of people around my area who have friends or famaly in Iraq (standard service or national guard/reserves). I alwase ask how the person is doing and if they were in the service before or after 9/11, and i’m starting to see a pattern. Some of the people say that there friends/famaly are realy shaken up and the war is messing them up. The majority of these folks were in the service BEFORE 9/11. Others say there friends/famaly were fine and doing there job. The Majority of these people joined the service AFTER 9/11.

I’ll let you draw what conclusion you wish from this, but I believe that a secondary effect of the war is that people will realize that the Military is for war, not a college fund.

La’
Redsol1
(ready for flames!)

[quote]redsol1 wrote:
but I believe that a secondary effect of the war is that people will realize that the Military is for war, not a college fund.

[/quote]

Gee, maybe you should inform the recruiters of this. Many people may have a valid right to b’itch about being sent to Iraq when recruiters basically (especially before 9/11) would tell the recruit whatever he wanted/needed to hear in order to get a signature. To say that this has no influence at all on what people believe and why they join would be completely delusional. That is why many were surprised to end up in Iraq holding a gun when all they expected was an education.

Could not have said it better myself.

When I run in to anyone that asks me if they should join the military or tells me they are going to join I tell them…

"Make no mistake… There is ONE reason to join the militayr. That ONE reason is to defend your country. There is NO OTHER reason that should be a deciding factor because make no mistake… One day you may be called upon to do just that.

College money, career training, ‘start a new life with a fresh start’ etc. all mean NOTHING if you are told to go and do something that you aren’t mentally aware that you may be asked to do.

ONE REASON. That’s all. Nothing else."

~~

Several have listened… Some have not.
My brother-in-law did not. But when it came time to do what was needed to be done… It was a serious reality check. And now we hear from him every week or so and how they’ve come under attack, etc. and that this wasn’t what he signed up for.

It’s only my complete understanding of what he’s going through that keeps me from telling him that it’s EXACTLY what he signed up for.
Instead, a gentle reminder and thanks on behalf of those that he IS helping and serving for head his way. Along with wishes that he and his chain of command are wise enough, and lucky enough, that he comes home to us.

ONE REASON. That’s all. Nothing else.

I joined the military in 92 at the age of 17. My recruiter told me that it would be no different than going to college except for wearing uniforms and getting paid. The reality I experienced was nothing like college. Lesson learned.
It must be much more difficult for recruiters to make many of the same promises today.

[quote]choyt wrote:

"Make no mistake… There is ONE reason to join the militayr. That ONE reason is to defend your country. There is NO OTHER reason that should be a deciding factor because make no mistake… One day you may be called upon to do just that.[/quote]

This is true, but again, people lie. I know what I was told by a recruiter and the truth is, they NEED people in my position so the goal is to say whatever it takes to get you in. You may not agree with it but that is the reality of the situation. I am not expected to carry a gun on the battle field only because of my profession. But yes, the truth is, I signed in order to help defend this country. I still can’t overlook what is said by recruiters, especially when it comes from personal experience. Before this war, the lull of “peace” was a selling tactic by recruiters. I have one friend who joined the reserves in college and he told me, “but who are we going to go to war with?” after he joined. This was years ago, but you get the point. It is easy to sit there, having never been in the military or never at risk of seeing a gun, to judge others when they say that they didn’t expect to be called for war, and definitely not as long as some have been over there. One girl I know was in the middle east for nearly 2 years. 2 YEARS. No, I am sure that was not relayed by her recruiter before she joined. This is also why there will be a decrease in the number of new recruits.

Pro X,

“That is why many were surprised to end up in Iraq holding a gun when all they expected was an education.”

Nonsense. Whatever the incentive package to get folks to join up, it is impossible to believe that anyone would be foolish enough to think that service in something called the United States Armed Forces meant killing time in order to get an education paid for.

If someone was dumb enough to actually believe that, it’s no one’s fault but their own.

Trying to pass responsibility off to someone else is a familiar trick, but let’s face it - anyone smart enough to know which way to point a gun is smart enough to know that military service includes that potential and obligation to serve in a war. War could break out at any time, for any number of reasons - and the entire point of a standing army is that it stands at the ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

Caveat emptor. No recruit got the wool pulled over his eyes.

When I enlisted in the Navy it was for one specific reason. That reason was to serve my country. My family has a very strong history of military service, and to qoute my father “If you serve your country,Your country will serve you.” I was raised to believe this,and grew up to find that it holds true.Finding out about the G.I. bill was nothing but a bonus. Every man and some women in my family for the past two generations have served and have benefitted from it. If anyone who enlisted in any branch of service had any misconceptions about the service that our military provedes, they should have paid more attention in History, and pulled their heads out of their asses before signing up. There are some very specific questions that recruiters are required to ask.One of those is “Are you, by any moral or religious belief,prohibited from taking someones life in combat?”. No one gets in who answers Yes to that question. I’ve heard a whole lot of shit from people who are now saying “I didn’t sign up for this!”. What did they think they were signing up for? The freakin Peace Corps? I commend those who stick it out and proudly serve their country,but for those who whine and say “I didn’t expect this!”, all I can say is LEARN HOW TO READ BEFORE YOU SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE!

p.s. my enlistment was not only before 9/11, it was in 1990, before the first Gulf War.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

Nonsense. Whatever the incentive package to get folks to join up, it is impossible to believe that anyone would be foolish enough to think that service in something called the United States Armed Forces meant killing time in order to get an education paid for.
[/quote]

I didn’t say that. What I did say is that many recruiters clearly downplayed the role of many who might have joined in the past. I doubt anyone would be dumb enough to believe that they could NEVER be called upon. However, to ignore the fact that many recruiters are known to say things like, “don’t worry, we aren’t at war with anyone now and the risk is low of you being called” doesn’t make sense to me. Before 9/11, I do not think many in the reserves expected to actually end up in battle with gun fire overhead. You may not agree with that, but don’t ignore it.

I joined to serve, but also for experience. That is probably my main reason for joining. I probably would not have joined if I actually expected to be in the middle of live fire on a regular basis. While that may be a possibility, for most in my position it may be a low one. I have always held the idea that it is a risk joining if you don’t have a college degree…because you don’t know what your job will be. I will do what I am called to do, however, I also asked as many as possible who were already in this position before I ever signed what my expectations should be.

Do I agree with being naive about the situation? No. That friend I mentioned who said “who are we at war with” wasn’t too bright. I am simply stating the role of the recruiter in some misconceptions. Do you actually believe that this plays no role at all?

When anyone joins the military it should be clear that they can lose their life in defense of their country if needed.I think the majority of people are aware of this or should be. There should be no illusions on this!

But, on the flip side of that the powers that be should never squander that sacrifice you are offering unless there is no alternative but war.

[quote]Elkhntr1 wrote:

But, on the flip side of that the powers that be should never squander that sacrifice you are offering unless there is no alternative but war.[/quote]

I think that’s a totally different debate…that could go on for weeks.

ProfX-

You’re probably right! Just my two cents.

Prof. X,
If you know of a recruiter that is intentionaly misleading potential recruites, You should report this Imediately. If the one you speak of is still in active duty or reserve, you should also still report him.
The last thing any branch of service wants is someone who doesn’t want to be there.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
It is easy to sit there, having never been in the military or never at risk of seeing a gun, to judge others when they say that they didn’t expect to be called for war, and definitely not as long as some have been over there.[/quote]

I’ve served in the military.
I’ve held, aimed, and fired my weapon at individuals firing on me and my squad.

I’ll judge ANYONE who is in any branch of the service and says they “didn’t sign up for this” any damned time I like.

Thank you very much.

[quote]choyt wrote:

I’ve served in the military.
I’ve held, aimed, and fired my weapon at individuals firing on me and my squad.

I’ll judge ANYONE who is in any branch of the service and says they “didn’t sign up for this” any damned time I like.

Thank you very much.[/quote]

FMF wrote this:

[quote]I joined the military in 92 at the age of 17. My recruiter told me that it would be no different than going to college except for wearing uniforms and getting paid. The reality I experienced was nothing like college. Lesson learned.
It must be much more difficult for recruiters to make many of the same promises today. [/quote]

and this is what I am referring to. You have the right to hold any opinion you like. That right is one thing we are defending in service. I still hold that some recruiters may be to blame for why some people feel as if they weren’t prepared to be called.

[quote]choyt wrote:
Professor X wrote:
It is easy to sit there, having never been in the military or never at risk of seeing a gun, to judge others when they say that they didn’t expect to be called for war, and definitely not as long as some have been over there.[/quote]

Prof X,

Based on the above comment, just who were you referring to? Because both of us that posted before you have served, and it would seem, seen our share of conflict.

[quote]choyt wrote:
choyt wrote:
Professor X wrote:
It is easy to sit there, having never been in the military or never at risk of seeing a gun, to judge others when they say that they didn’t expect to be called for war, and definitely not as long as some have been over there.

Prof X,

Based on the above comment, just who were you referring to? Because both of us that posted before you have served, and it would seem, seen our share of conflict.
[/quote]

It wasn’t directed at you because I don’t know and didn’t know whether you have served or not. It was a general statement. I also didn’t ask and it was not my concern. You serving in the military is not the issue…because I serve in the military. I understand where you are coming from if you have been in battle, but why ignore the point I made to harp on you having served? (two posts now about you serving?) It is of no consequence because we both have been in the military while I still am. Move on and deal with the topic.

One person in this thread wrote that he was told one thing by a recruiter that gave him a different perception than what it was really like. I can only assume that many RESERVISTS have probably been told similar things straight out of high school. That is the point as far as why some probably are “shocked into reality” to find that they are actually called to serve.

Do I completely agree with that mentality? No, as I ahve stated before, but I won’t pretend that it doesn’t exist or why it does. Bottom line, before 9/11, I am sure this was a selling point. I doubt any recruiter could get away with that now.

Only mentioned my service again when addressing your comment that seemed aimed at those that had already replied within the thread.

I’ve moved on.