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Article posted Jan 29 2013, 5:06 AM Category: Commentary Source: Laurence M. Vance Print

No, I Have Never Been in the Military

by Laurence M. Vance

It happens every time I write an article about war. It happens every time I write an article about the military. It happens every time I even mention war or the military.

The question may take a variety of forms but it is really always the same: "Have you ever been in combat" "Have you ever been in the military?" "Have you ever served?"

Because I have never been in combat, been in the military, or "served," my answer is, of course, always in the negative.

Those who ask such questions have one purpose: to discredit everything I say about the military. In their mind, it is either that I canít possibly have sufficient knowledge of what it is like in the military to be able to criticize it or I have no right to criticize the military because I have never been in it, or both.

But rather than hang my head in shame and sheepishly acknowledge that I have never been in the military, I lift it up high and shout No, I have never been in the military. I have never experienced the "glories" of combat. I have never had the "honor" of serving. Thank God I was never in the military.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never sung filthy cadences that glorify rape and killing.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never put my family through unnecessary hardship.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never helped to carry out an evil, reckless, and interventionist U.S. foreign policy.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never destroyed a countryís industry and infrastructure that was no threat to the United States.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never enforced a UN resolution.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never killed someone that I didnít know, who was no threat to me, my family, my city, my state, or my country.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never been a plumber, but I know it is a dirty, smelly job. I have never been a roofer, but I know it is hazardous work. I have never been a prostitute, but I know it is an immoral activity.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never experienced PTSD because I had serious doubts about the justness of what I was fighting for.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never experienced the desire to commit suicide.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never unnecessarily been in a situation where I had to kill or be killed.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never been part of an organization that was a global force for evil.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never embraced the values that are all too prevalent in the military: adultery, fornication, promiscuity, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pornography, sodomy, divorce, sexual assault, sexual harassment, suicide.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never had to be on guard against being sexually assaulted.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never been an accomplice to murder.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never killed a civilian and called it collateral damage.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never fought a police action for the UN.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never played golf on a U.S. military base thousands of miles away in a county that could provide for its own defense.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never violated the Constitution I swore to uphold.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never urinated on a dead body.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never been all that I can be in an organization that was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never expressed blind, unconditional obedience to someoneís orders.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never cursed like a sailor.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never fought an undeclared war.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never committed random acts of depravity and violence.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never killed civilians for sport.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never participated in state-sponsored terrorism.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never posed for photos with murdered civilians.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never tortured and humiliated prisoners.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never worn a uniform in an airport and grinned from ear to ear when a group of people cheered me as I walked by.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never stopped having independent thoughts.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never transported anyone to some secret CIA prison to undergo "enhanced interrogation techniques."

No, I have never been in the military. I have never piloted a drone over Pakistan and killed people like I was playing a video game.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never been part of the presidentís personal attack force.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never unleashed violence and civil unrest in another country.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never deprived my child of his father while I made multiple duty tours with increased deployment terms.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never fought an unjust war of aggression.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never cut off someoneís body part as a trophy.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never died in vain or for a lie.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never dropped a bomb on a wedding party.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never traveled thousands of miles from the United States to fight in a senseless foreign war.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never dwelled in one of the filthiest moral environments on the face of the earth.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never helped to keep in business the worldwide network of brothels around U.S. military bases.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never traveled the world, met interesting people, and killed them.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never told people that I was defending their freedoms when I was doing nothing of the kind.

No, I have never been in the military. I have never agreed to kill people to get money for college.

No, I have never been in the military. But when men that have been in combat, and have been in the military, and have served confirm what I say about the military and add their own criticisms of the military to it, they are not listened to either.

No, I have never been in the military. But I will continue to criticize it and persuade people to not join it. How could any thinking person do otherwise?
_
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The Revolution that Wasn't, Rethinking the Good War, and The Quatercentenary of the King James Bible. His latest book is The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom. Visit his website.





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