tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
A friend on Facebook posted this text:
A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is beyond honor; there are far too many people in this country who no longer remember this fact.

If there were a way in which I could serve my country by writing a blank check payable for an amount up to and including my own life, but not including someone else's life -- the life of someone who did not consent to sacrifice their life for my country, and for whom the basic circumstances of survival might be incompatible with my country's agenda -- I would do it. But my moral beliefs do not allow me to swear that I would be willing to take a life -- because I would not. I cannot conceive of being able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning as a person who believes that I am sufficiently wise, sufficiently far-seeing to make the decision that taking another person's life is the right thing to do in the long run, that taking that life might save the life of someone else who I'll never see, or at least that the probability of saving that other person's life is sufficiently high to justify extinguishing this one. To me, being an actor in a system wherein we do those kinds of calculations on each other's right to exist would be immoral. I could never be sufficiently sure that I was killing for... justice? Freedom? Whatever it was, not to advance the economic interests of the power elite of my country. Given how many people have killed a human being believing, or hoping, that they were killing for freedom and justice, but who were actually killing in order to keep a defense contractor in Cristal -- I would not be able to say, straight-faced, that I was the one exception, that I wasn't like all those other killers. What would make me so different?

This is all kind of abstract, as I'm nearly 30, transsexual, and flat-footed; I may not be the last person who would get drafted if the de facto, economically propelled draft that's in effect in this country stopped providing enough cannon fodder, but I'd be pretty close to the last boy picked for the team. Even so, I hope you'll believe me when I say that if there was an obvious way to serve that didn't require me to promise to hurt anyone else, that didn't require me to be taught how to hurt other people without feeling bad about it, I would do it. But the shops don't close for Peace Corps Day.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-12 12:55 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
I see people everyday who've written that blank check you'd be willing to offer: their uniforms say "Fire Department." Every firefighter knows they may die in the course of the job, to save a stranger; none of them joined up wanting, or offering, to be able to kill anyone.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-14 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anemone.livejournal.com
Why is service so much more valued -- at least rhetorically -- when engaged in with a willingness to take the life of someone who isn't like yourself?

I would guess it's precisely because military service is of so little value. You must honor the military in order to get people to join up and do things that would get you in jail in any other context.

I always figured that's why we had a Vietnam memorial so long before a WWII memorial--"everyone" knew that WWII soldiers were good guys, but there needed to be a reminder that people who fought in Vietnam weren't evil.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-22 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ex_tachycardi133
I shouldn't be here - one link led to another and then another and then another, and naturally, there is much work to be done - but I have to say that this line:

If there were a way in which I could serve my country by writing a blank check payable for an amount up to and including my own life, but not including someone else's life -- the life of someone who did not consent to sacrifice their life for my country, and for whom the basic circumstances of survival might be incompatible with my country's agenda -- I would do it.

Is amazing. This whole post is pretty brilliant, really. Where I am the military is not held in such high esteem (because we've never actively engaged in any war) and so it has always both intrigued and confused me that American media makes it sound that a military career is the Pinnacle of Service & Honour. Good to hear a view from the other side sometimes.

Profile

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

November 2014

S M T W T F S
      1
23 4567 8
9101112 131415
1617 1819202122
23242526272829
30      

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags