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Author Topic: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?  (Read 5283 times)

Josh

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Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« on: November 05, 2011, 06:29:33 PM »
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I remember the first time I was thanked by a stranger for my military service. It was February 2006, and I was on the way home for mid-tour leave with a planeload of other troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our plane stopped in Bangor, Maine, like thousands of similar flights before and after ours. One by one, garbed in dusty camouflage, we walked into the terminal.

I was expecting an empty airport, but instead we were met by a platoon of older volunteers decked out in red-white-and-blue, welcoming us home with cookies and cellphones so we could call our families and let them know we were back stateside. One by one, the volunteers thanked us, shaking our hands or hugging us.

As a soldier, I recommend everyone read this article.

I agree with everything this article says. However, I would like to point out one thing I have run across in my travels. I've heard some people thank veterans solely because it is the politically correct thing to do right now. I've watched some of these same people then bad mouth soldiers, the military, and the country. My point in identifying this is simple: Do not thank a soldier or veteran just because. Do it because you mean it. If you do not mean it, don't do it. That is why we fight, have fought, and will continue to fight...So you can have the FREEDOM to make that choice. I do not want support from every person out there because I know not all people support what we do or why we do it.

Enjoy your freedoms, that is why soldiers like myself have fought and will continue to do so.

I will say that I enjoy, for the most part, being thanked for my service. There is nothing better than knowing what I do is appreciated. I enjoy it when you can tell the person saying it genuinely means it. Just remember, Saying thank you does not necessarily mean doing it vocally. You can do it other ways like allowing a soldier to go in front of you at a store during checkout, offering them a hand with bags or a large load they are attempting to move, or just simply holding a door open. I don't speak for all soldiers but I do know that some soldiers appreciate small things like this far more than a "Thank you".

Source

mouser

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 06:35:01 PM »
Josh, thank you for your service.

Josh

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 06:38:17 PM »
Thanks mouser.

And I would like to point out that receiving "kudos" was not why I posted this topic. I thought this article/opinion piece hit on an important topic that others should read.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 06:39:41 PM »
Just remember, Saying thank you does not necessarily mean doing it vocally. You can do it other ways like allowing a soldier to go in front of you at a store during checkout, offering them a hand with bags or a large load they are attempting to move, or just simply holding a door open. I don't speak for all soldiers but I do know that some soldiers appreciate small things like this far more than a "Thank you".

It is often said, but never the less true, that actions speak louder than words. Back when I still had the bar, I would serve anyone with a military ID - regardless of their birthdate.


Thank you.

Renegade

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2011, 12:12:37 AM »
I read the article. I suppose there are a large number of views on the topic.

My likely unpopular take on the topic

DISCLAIMER: First, it is not my intent to offend here. I'm merely stating some personal takes on violence and the like in this context. I'm not spitting on anyone, belittling anyone, or anything of the sort. Please don't read into things more than is written. I'm more than happy to not have an opinion on some topics and to reserve judgment.

It seems to me that context really needs to be taken into account.

Outside of the context, I think it's reasonable to be thankful to soldiers for their intentions, even if you disagree with their actions. e.g. You can be thankful that they signed up with the intention to do good for the country. You can hate what actually happens.

My views on violence are rather radical. I think that whenever possible, it should be avoided. But when it isn't possible to avoid, violence should be greeted with escalation to greater violence, and that should be well-known and publicized to act as a deterrent, with the hopes that it aids in avoiding violence.

i.e. Bring knives to fist-fights. Bring guns to knife-fights. Bring tanks to gun-fights. etc. etc. up to logical conclusion of WMDs. (Yes, I fully understand the insanity there. But that's the point.)

By escalating the potential cost for the adversary to insane levels, deterrence works *IF* they recognize that and work rationally.

So, the hope of deterrence is that by making it irrational to become violent, hopefully violence can be preempted entirely.


Armed forces and police seem to be very similar in many respects.

I think it's reasonable to be thankful for the cop that shows up at an accident, helps people in the crash until an ambulance arrives, then directs traffic and helps calm/smooth the situation. He's helping out. That's a good thing.

I don't think it's reasonable to be thankful for the cop that shows up at a peaceful protest and starts forcibly removing people from public property or starts arresting people or intimidating people or shooting tear gas or... That he's been ordered to do so isn't relevant. He's not helping people. That's not a good thing.

The same thing applies to the armed forces. When you have peace keepers move into a conflict area where civilians are being systematically exterminated, and those peace keepers stop that, then that's a good thing. They're helping people. I think we can be thankful for that.

I don't believe that people should be thankful for armed forces deployments that do more harm than good. Unfortunately, I think that's a large number of military deployments.

The US 8th army is a good deployment. It helps keep peace on the Korean peninsula. I think that's something we can be thankful for.

For Iraq... I'm not so sure. I reserve judgment there.

But at the end of the day, whether or not we're thankful, as I described above, is dependent on the political forces behind the operation. What are the motives? What is really being done? What good is being done? What is the reality of the situation? Am I being asked to be thankful for killing people? Am I being asked to be thankful for helping people?

I wish that wars were fought with education and assistance. People that have good lives and that are well educated aren't likely to resort to violence.

How much does 1 missile cost, and how much does 1 classroom with desks, books, pencils and paper cost?

Take things away from people. Beat them down. Give them no hope. Make any option better than the options that they currently have, and you have a recipe for violence that no deterrent can overcome.

Armed forces in the form of violence -- I can't be thankful for that, and I can't support it.

Armed forces that assist and protect people -- I can be thankful for and support that.

Same for police.

I can't support police violence/oppression against people, like is happening all over the world right now.

But I can absolutely get behind peace officers that serve to protect and help people.

The blanket "support the troops" platform, I can't get behind. It asks too much.


Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

mouser

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2011, 12:35:17 AM »
A man/woman in uniform has no more control over what military operations their country engages in than any other citizen.

That's why I think it makes sense to separate support for the men and women who serve in the military from the politicians and the military-industrial corporations who are always so hungry for war.

I think the anti-war movement has been very wise to make this distinction in modern times.

I think we have every right to demand that police officers and military men and women meet the highest standards of behavior and complain loudly when they do not.  And expect them to refuse illegal orders and speak out when they see wrongdoing, and to participate in our political process to bring about change for the better.

But it's unfair to hold a person in uniform responsible for decisions made by politicians.  And by the same token, military men and women have to accept that when people vehemently oppose a military intervention -- it is not a personal judgement against the men and women in the military.



Renegade

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 01:47:20 AM »
A man/woman in uniform has no more control over what military operations their country engages in than any other citizen.

That's why I think it makes sense to separate support for the men and women who serve in the military from the politicians and the military-industrial corporations who are always so hungry for war.

I think the anti-war movement has been very wise to make this distinction in modern times.

I think we have every right to demand that police officers and military men and women meet the highest standards of behavior and complain loudly when they do not.  And expect them to refuse illegal orders and speak out when they see wrongdoing, and to participate in our political process to bring about change for the better.

But it's unfair to hold a person in uniform responsible for decisions made by politicians.  And by the same token, military men and women have to accept that when people vehemently oppose a military intervention -- it is not a personal judgement against the men and women in the military.


Why must you insist on being so much more eloquent than everyone else? :P ;D

I think you've nicely laid out some of what I was thinking above.
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JavaJones

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 01:59:50 AM »
I was going to chime in but mouser said it for me. Good work. I support and appreciate those who serve, regardless of my views on any particular conflict or political decision that may put them in harm's way.

That being said, in service you must also uphold moral and ethical behavior as much as possible. I know this is often hard on the battlefield, tough choices have to be made in a split second, and things aren't always clear. Yet there are also plenty of examples where that wasn't the case, but a bad choice was clearly made anyway (Abu Ghraib anyone?). Fortunately the vast majority of people in the military are good people, doing the best they can, and don't want to hurt people unnecessarily. They deserve respect even more because I'm sure it's hard to do what they are asked to do while maintaining the core of their essentially good human nature. Killing someone can never be easy unless you are a psychopath.

Respect.

- Oshyan

wraith808

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 07:57:38 AM »
I know this is often hard on the battlefield, tough choices have to be made in a split second, and things aren't always clear.

In the middle of the battlefield, it's not just tough- it's a call you shouldn't ever make, nor have to make, at a certain level.  In a lot of ways, the system is screwed up in that there's way too much politics in the armed forces, therefore people get command positions that shouldn't have them.  Especially since there is a reason the command structure is in place- to put these decisions in the hands of one person, so they can be made as one.  This is so they can act as one mind, and not have to worry about whether someone else in their unit will make a different decision and not cover their back.  Sometimes things are obviously wrong, i.e. gunning down an unresisting civilian populace.  But in the vast majority of cases, this is the reason that unquestioning obedience is drummed into the lower ranks, starting from the moment they enter boot camp.

Renegade

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2011, 07:59:51 AM »
I was going to chime in but mouser said it for me. Good work. I support and appreciate those who serve, regardless of my views on any particular conflict or political decision that may put them in harm's way.

I suppose I'm in a very different situation as an expat. I look on military forces where I live, have lived, and around the world. I don't particularly draw too many distinctions between them, except for the ones that are active, e.g. the US (to cite the obvious example), and the ones that aren't particularly active... Hmmm... can't really think of a decent example there.

I can't say that I have much respect for the North Korean armed forces. Heck. It's a meal ticket. Quite literally. If I had the choice to serve or starve, I'd serve. But there's nothing admirable in that decision as far as I can see. (Going back to Kant and duty.) My decision to serve is more of a decision to feed myself. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing particularly admirable either.

Respect and fear
However, I certainly have respect for their special forces ability to do serious damage.

I met a retired Korean special forces colonel... You want to talk about one scary, scary, scary fellow... Jeez... Perhaps "respect" I mean in the biblical sense of "fear".



Quote
But it's unfair to hold a person in uniform responsible for decisions made by politicians.

I think that's really an important thing that should be emphasized. Which is why I mentioned "intent" above.

Controverial
What I find disappointing, is the willingness of senior military staff to follow decisions by politicians. When it comes to defense, sure - follow orders. When it comes to offense... we have a problem.


Dunno... I suppose I'm a fence sitter.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2011, 08:25:22 AM »
^ Military officers don't make policy decisions regarding offense.  So they *always* follow orders from their Commander in Chief, who is a politician.  Yes, they make recommendations, but those are from a purely military standpoint.  So I don't get your point...?

Renegade

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2011, 08:36:28 AM »
^ Military officers don't make policy decisions regarding offense.  So they *always* follow orders from their Commander in Chief, who is a politician.  Yes, they make recommendations, but those are from a purely military standpoint.  So I don't get your point...?

That was my point.

It's relatively easy to sit back, sip scotch, and order people into combat.

I would rather throw politicians into an octagonal ring and see who walks out. It would make great pay-per-view. :P Though since it's government, I think it should be free to air. :D
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2011, 08:40:51 AM »
But if they made policy decisions, then wouldn't the US be a military dictatorship?  At least in regards to foreign aggression?  I think the reason that they follow orders from a politician is because they are appointed rather than duly elected and serve in many cases for longer than the term of one administration.  You think that would really be better? 

<sarcasm>That's not prone to abuse...</sarcasm>

And many high ranking US officers have never been into combat...

Renegade

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2011, 08:46:57 AM »
I was thinking more in terms of having the choice to NOT invade. i.e. To refuse an order.

But it doesn't really matter much to me. I know nothing will ever change. We'll just keep killing each other over things that none of us care about, except for a privileged few.
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2011, 09:36:36 AM »
I was thinking more in terms of having the choice to NOT invade. i.e. To refuse an order.

It's been done before.  It's called resigning in protest.  Not very effective in most cases.

davidqxo

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Re: Is "Thank you for your service" enough for veterans?
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 09:03:18 AM »
Josh and Renegade, thank you both for expressing well the same things that I have thought on the matter.

(Is there a recipe somewhere for doing those reveal buttons? Oh well, rather than be coy . . .)

My feeling is that if you have a nicely running, freshly sharpened chainsaw you just have to find a tree to cut down. There's something so satisfying about using that power. If you have a gun you want to shoot it at something. If you have a large standing army and more weapons that anyone else on the planet . . .

I respect our people in uniform (aside from those very few I can imagine who just wanted an opportunity to go kill someone). Whether they did it for economic, family duty, country duty, or whatever reason. They made an honorable choice. At the same time I feel that having a large standing army is an excuse for politicians to take bad, stupid, immoral actions. So when I see what we spend on and how we use our armed forces, I kind of want to say, "Thanks, but no thanks."