Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What CAN we say about the military?

I know people who either serve in, have served in, or have family members serving in the military. This means that every time that I, who would like to have an honest conversation, utter or type a word about the role of the military in anything, there is no shortage of people who want to tell me I am "anti-" or "attacking" or "against" the military. I find it so disheartening that people who apparently genuinely applaud freedom, courage, standing up for what is right, and a whole host of other qualities have such a knee-jerk reaction to any comment about the armed forces. There appears to be a resistance to using those noble qualities to speak truth to power if the military is even remotely tangentially involved, let alone if the military is implicated in doing something wrong.

It's highly distressing. I can't think of other parallel situations. People discuss things that are all over the map in terms of topic, level of seriousness vs. frivolity, local vs. global, personal vs. political, etc. But when you say something about the military, you are apparently supposed to refrain from critcism - even when you are crticizing higher-ups who make policy, far from the front lines - or else you are roundy condemned for not supporting the military. Why isn't there any room for debate? Why is everything divided into this "you're-either-with-us-or-against-us" mentality? Why are so many assumptions made about who the speaker is, what s/he does, or what s/he thinks as soon as s/he brings up the military in anything other than the context of "Let's have a parade for heroes."

I find it so, so sad and disheartening.


Anonymous said...

A while ago Ariel Sharon spoke to the US cogress. A heckler spoke out and disrupted the proceedings. He commented that we should be thankful and that this is a sign of a true democracy, that over in the middle east someone couldn't speak out like that or even speak against the government without several repercussions. I 'm not sure anyone in congress got what he was saying. Doesn't have to do with the military, but it does have to do with speaking up for one's feelings and beliefs. In the mid 2000's, the administration considered anyone who spoke out as anti-patriotic. Too bad the speakers out didn't have more influence. Dad

raine studios said...

It is sad. I some of it stems from a swingback from Vietnam when soldiers came home and were reviled.