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Old 05-20-2019, 02:45 PM
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Supporting military action that you are able but not willing to participate in is extremely cowardly


Spinoff from this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=875473

In more detail, my position is this: The basis of whether military action by one's country should be considered should be based on the underlying risks, rewards, rationales, and causes of the possible military action. But IMO, if you support a military action, and you advocate that young people in your country be sent overseas and face unpleasant circumstances away from their families as well as risk of injury and death, and you have the relative youth and health that would enable you to join them, then if your proposed military action comes to pass and you choose not to join them, you are a gutless coward (even if the military action really is necessary!). If you are too old to serve, but you have children that have the youth and health appropriate for military service, and you advocate for military action while privately working to dissuade/prevent your children from participating in the military action (or use money/influence to get them into a non-combat unit or organization), then you are also a gutless coward.

Further, I believe such cowardice should lead to public shame and humiliation (by society, not law or government). I believe that this would be an effective societal deterrent against unnecessary wars, and thus would be greatly beneficial to society -- especially a society, like American society, that often seems to lean towards unnecessary wars in recent years.

I believe such cowardice is pretty common, but that doesn't make it any less cowardly.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-20-2019 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:47 PM
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I agree. However, nowadays there are numerous ways for people who cannot join the military to serve in the theater of operations, whether as a government civilian or a contractor. So, people should be doing that as well if they can.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:17 PM
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Surely, if you’re a coward you shouldn’t be in the military anyway.

I can only remember supporting one war in my lifetime, and that was the war against Afghanistan right after 9/11. However horribly it was mishandled, there was no doubt in my mind that going in was the right decision. But there’s no way in hell I’d have ever joined the army, even though I was eligible at the time. I’d have made a terrible soldier! I don’t have the discipline, I doubt I could ever bring myself to shoot anyone, and I’d probably have just gotten my fellow soldiers killed. There’s better people for that job and there always will be. Does that mean I can’t speak out in favour of any war, no matter how justified?

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:18 PM
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There are practical reasons not to do so. If you are talking about a draft, and then someone supports a war but then dodges the draft for aforementioned war, then yes, that would be hypocrisy. But in general, the U.S. military does not have a personnel shortage, or at least, not one to the extent that someone who supports a war would have to volunteer for the military to fill all of its slots. The number of able-bodied people who supported the war in Iraq probably far exceeded the number of people the U.S. military needed in Iraq.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:19 PM
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Surely, if you’re a coward you shouldn’t be in the military anyway.

I can only remember supporting one war in my lifetime, and that was the war against Afghanistan right after 9/11. However horribly it was mishandled, there was no doubt in my mind that going in was the right decision. But there’s no way in hell I’d have ever joined the army, even though I was eligible at the time. I’d have made a terrible soldier! I don’t have the discipline, I doubt I could ever bring myself to shoot anyone, and I’d probably have just gotten my fellow soldiers killed. There’s better people for that job and there always will be. Does that mean I can’t speak out in favour of any war, no matter how justified?
You can speak out for anything you wish, of course. But others can also speak out, including by making judgments about you.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:26 PM
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You can speak out for anything you wish, of course. But others can also speak out, including by making judgments about you.
Well, yeah. That goes without saying. But should the fact that I’m neither physically or psychologically cut out to be a soldier mean I’m morally obligated to keep my mouth shut if the Nazis come back?

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:21 PM
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There are practical reasons not to do so. If you are talking about a draft, and then someone supports a war but then dodges the draft for aforementioned war, then yes, that would be hypocrisy. But in general, the U.S. military does not have a personnel shortage, or at least, not one to the extent that someone who supports a war would have to volunteer for the military to fill all of its slots. The number of able-bodied people who supported the war in Iraq probably far exceeded the number of people the U.S. military needed in Iraq.
I'm talking about willingness. It's mostly unverifiable, barring someone admitting to it or it being otherwise revealed. In that other thread, at least one poster outright admitted that they had no intention of serving in the military, even for an action they supported. But most people aren't going to make outright admissions like that, in my expectation.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:43 PM
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So, let's just separate two issues here: the character of the person making the case for war; versus the actual case for war.

What I suspect is that there is one of to things going on here. Either it's a fixation on how bad some person is because of their cowardice, or it's an ad hominem that purports to color the arguments for/against war by painting its proponents as bad people.

To the extent that someone advocates for an immoral war, I'll generally have a bad opinion of that person whether they want to enlist or not. If someone supports a just war, the thing being advocated is so much more important than the personality of somebody supporting it, so I'm not likely to change my mind much on that count, either.

So I can't see how the OP's argument is going to color my opinion on anything under any circumstances.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:50 PM
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I'm talking about willingness. It's mostly unverifiable, barring someone admitting to it or it being otherwise revealed. In that other thread, at least one poster outright admitted that they had no intention of serving in the military, even for an action they supported. But most people aren't going to make outright admissions like that, in my expectation.
But we all support plenty of things we personally might be squeamish about doing ourselves. I may say, "Someone ought to put out the wildfires in California" while personally being a pyrophobe and not daring to get myself near the flames - and leaving it to paid volunteer firefighters.


ETA: Buck Godot already said it above.

Last edited by Velocity; 05-20-2019 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:02 PM
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But we all support plenty of things we personally might be squeamish about doing ourselves. I may say, "Someone ought to put out the wildfires in California" while personally being a pyrophobe and not daring to get myself near the flames - and leaving it to paid volunteer firefighters.
I think military action is fundamentally different than dealing with natural disasters. Natural disasters must necessarily be dealt with -- there's no option to do nothing. War, on the other hand, is usually not necessary, as well as having the potential (and frequent history!) to make situations catastrophically worse.

And being "squeamish" is fine and understandable. I don't have any problem with people having feelings, including feelings of squeamishness, fear, etc.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:28 PM
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I'm not sure if I fully agree. The U.S. Armed Forces are a part of the government and I, citizen Max S., by virtue of the taxes I pay, have some say in what the government should and should not do. My influence is extremely small and indirect, through my representatives.

On the other hand I have no right to dodge the draft should I be called into service. Draft dodgers are gutless cowards. There is also a reasonable limit to hawkishness - after a certain point either you should shut up or sign up and shoot them yourself.

But I am young, and not a member of the military or part of a military family. My opinion is my own and it is not set in stone.

~Max
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:38 PM
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Norway mainly has a defense force. Service used to be compulsory, but now it's downsized to the point that only those particularly fit for and motivated for service get to join.

Joining one of the units that can and are deployed in active operation abroad is an additional and voluntary option.

I don't always agree with the judgement of the people deciding what operations to engage in, but if, for instance there was a joint UN operation to liberate a country invaded by a neighbor, I would support Norwegian participation, even if there is no way I would have followed the path that led me to take part.

If that makes me cowardly, so be it. Do you, OP, think I have an obligation to oppose the military action, or just to not actively support it?

What if the only political party I could vote for who were against were, say, seriously anti-choice?
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:38 PM
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My influence is extremely small and indirect, through my representatives.
My opinion is different for representatives. I have no problem with a representative acting hawkish so long as he or she represents a hawkish population. In fact it is their duty to do so. Then again, if war is the number one priority of the electorate, perhaps they would do better electing a veteran who shares their view, or at least not a chicken hawk...

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:37 PM
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Well, my father tried to join the military the day after Pearl Harbor, but was rejected for medical reasons. By the time the Army had dropped its standards low enough to draft him, he was married with a child on the way. So there are pragmatic reasons.

His brother served in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. In the final war he suffered an injury that sent him to a desk job for the rest of his life. I figure he had already done enough.

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:39 PM
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Well, yeah. That goes without saying. But should the fact that I’m neither physically or psychologically cut out to be a soldier mean I’m morally obligated to keep my mouth shut if the Nazis come back?
IMO it means you should find a way to make sacrifices and contribute, should that occur.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:41 PM
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IMO it means you should find a way to make sacrifices and contribute, should that occur.
Thatís fair enough.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:42 PM
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Well, my father tried to join the military the day after Pearl Harbor, but was rejected for medical reasons. By the time the Army had dropped its standards low enough to draft him, he was married with a child on the way. So there are pragmatic reasons.

His brother served in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. In the final war he suffered an injury that sent him to a desk job for the rest of his life. I figure he had already done enough.
I forgot to add an exception to my reasoning - if you are the sole caregiver (i.e. single parent) for a child, then that's another reasonable justification for not serving/seriously contributing for a war you support.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:47 PM
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I also want to point out that in the realm of debate, whether or not one is a gutless coward has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of their arguments. The exception would be if the debate was about that person's character, or if that person's character somehow is brought in as an argument in the debate.

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:50 PM
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So, let's just separate two issues here: the character of the person making the case for war; versus the actual case for war.



What I suspect is that there is one of to things going on here. Either it's a fixation on how bad some person is because of their cowardice, or it's an ad hominem that purports to color the arguments for/against war by painting its proponents as bad people.



To the extent that someone advocates for an immoral war, I'll generally have a bad opinion of that person whether they want to enlist or not. If someone supports a just war, the thing being advocated is so much more important than the personality of somebody supporting it, so I'm not likely to change my mind much on that count, either.



So I can't see how the OP's argument is going to color my opinion on anything under any circumstances.
Agreed - my OP is purely about the personal character of those who make certain arguments. It shouldn't influence your opinion about any particular case for or against any given war.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:56 PM
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Agreed - my OP is purely about the personal character of those who make certain arguments.
What if the person in question makes other contributions to the nation? Are those also irrelevant, in your opinion, so that the measure of a man boils down to a binary distinction between military service or coward (with the exceptions of health or family responsibilities you noted)?
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:51 PM
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I also want to point out that in the realm of debate, whether or not one is a gutless coward has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of their arguments. The exception would be if the debate was about that person's character, or if that person's character somehow is brought in as an argument in the debate.



~Max
I agree. This is a thread about personal honor, character, and duty. Not about the validity of an argument for or against a war.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:03 PM
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Does this view extend to other professions as well?

If I support the enforcement of laws but I don't decide to be a police officer am I a coward? If I support the fighting of fires but don't volunteer as a fire fighter am I a coward. If I support the fighting of disease and starvation in far off lands but don't travel over seas to help the needy am I a coward?
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:32 PM
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Does this view extend to other professions as well?

If I support the enforcement of laws but I don't decide to be a police officer am I a coward? If I support the fighting of fires but don't volunteer as a fire fighter am I a coward. If I support the fighting of disease and starvation in far off lands but don't travel over seas to help the needy am I a coward?
My personal opinion as stated in post #9 extends to municipal offices including law enforcement. I think there's a reasonable limit for any profession as to how detailed and passionate advocacy (or criticism) can be before I start wondering if you should just do the job yourself.

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Old 05-20-2019, 06:03 PM
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Does this view extend to other professions as well?

If I support the enforcement of laws but I don't decide to be a police officer am I a coward? If I support the fighting of fires but don't volunteer as a fire fighter am I a coward. If I support the fighting of disease and starvation in far off lands but don't travel over seas to help the needy am I a coward?
No; I think war is fundamentally different than dealing with natural disasters, health care, or law enforcement.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:10 PM
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I believe repairing the bridges in Pittsburgh a worthwile government undertaking. I could conceivably add my labor. But I don’t want to. Fortunately, there are people who do want to.
I believe there is something disturbing about the fact that the US can be involved in as many as three wars at one point (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) with most of the US population never confronted with any consequences of war. But the notion of “shut up, if you aren’t willing to go”, in these times of a professional (i.e. volunteer, non-draft) military is wrong. The deployment of the military is a state exercising its power, the which any stake-holder should have a say in. So I must respectfully disagree with you, and RobertHeinlein, on this.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:23 PM
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I believe repairing the bridges in Pittsburgh a worthwile government undertaking. I could conceivably add my labor. But I donít want to. Fortunately, there are people who do want to.
I believe there is something disturbing about the fact that the US can be involved in as many as three wars at one point (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya) with most of the US population never confronted with any consequences of war. But the notion of ďshut up, if you arenít willing to goĒ, in these times of a professional (i.e. volunteer, non-draft) military is wrong. The deployment of the military is a state exercising its power, the which any stake-holder should have a say in. So I must respectfully disagree with you, and RobertHeinlein, on this.
I have no interest in shutting anyone up -- quite the contrary, in fact. I want to know everyone's opinions. Please, please, give me all your opinions, especially about war, my fellow Americans! This is the kind of thing we should be talking about (and indeed, even arguing about!).
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:21 PM
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What if the person in question makes other contributions to the nation? Are those also irrelevant, in your opinion, so that the measure of a man boils down to a binary distinction between military service or coward (with the exceptions of health or family responsibilities you noted)?
I am certainly willing to make case by case determinations, if anyone is interested.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:45 PM
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I am certainly willing to make case by case determinations, if anyone is interested.
What about general taxes? Do you think a citizen who pays taxes, advocates for military action, but has no intention of joining the military (unless drafted) is a coward?

I think it would depend on how heavily they advocate and what is advocated. John Doe opining on a pre-emptive strike would not necessarily be unwarranted. Calling a soldier (or general) a coward would be unwarranted and worthy of public shaming if not a face-slap. Advocating any sort of war and then actively dodging a draft for that war earns a couple punches to the gut on-sight.

~Max

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Old 05-20-2019, 05:20 PM
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11 out 45 US Presidents (including 3 of the last 4) never served in the military: Trump, Obama, Clinton, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Quincy Adams, Van Buren, Cleveland, and FDR. Quincy Adams and Van Buren were founding fathers advocating for revolution. Cleveland actually hired a substitute for himself in the Civil War. FDR was the Asst Secy of the Navy prior to becoming Commander in Chief. Cowards?

Only 96 of 535 current members of Congress are veterans. Are they allowed to advocate for military action? (hint: it's their job) Cowards?

Many current positions in the modern armed services involve no risk of bodily harm. Are drone operators cowards? Are stateside Honor Guards cowards?

Do you include pacifists in your cowardly role call? or is it just hawks?

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Old 05-20-2019, 06:09 PM
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11 out 45 US Presidents (including 3 of the last 4) never served in the military: Trump, Obama, Clinton, Coolidge, Harding, Wilson, Quincy Adams, Van Buren, Cleveland, and FDR. Quincy Adams and Van Buren were founding fathers advocating for revolution. Cleveland actually hired a substitute for himself in the Civil War. FDR was the Asst Secy of the Navy prior to becoming Commander in Chief. Cowards?
Many of them probably were, though this isn't enough information based on the reasoning in my OP.

Quote:
Only 96 of 535 current members of Congress are veterans. Are they allowed to advocate for military action? (hint: it's their job) Cowards?
Anyone can advocate for anything they like, of course. And folks are free to make judgments about others based on what they advocate and other decisions.

I have little doubt that some members of Congress are cowards, but this isn't enough info based on the reasoning in my OP.

Quote:
Many current positions in the modern armed services involve no risk of bodily harm. Are drone operators cowards? Are stateside Honor Guards cowards?
Some of them may be, but I have no specific information about any of them. This wouldn't be nearly enough information to make any conclusion based on the reasoning in my OP.

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Do you include pacifists in your cowardly role call?
Absolutely not! Pacifists very clearly wouldn't apply to the reasoning of the OP.

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or is it just hawks?
Not all "hawks" -- just the ones that would fit the reasoning of the OP.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:00 PM
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This thread reminds me of that famous scene from "A Few Good Men":

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Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.
How many of you watched that and thought "Damn, that Col. Jessup is right. We should just say 'thank you' and keep our opinions about the military, military actions, and actions of members of the military to ourselves unless we're ready to 'pick up a weapon and stand a post'"?
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:23 PM
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What instruments and techniques do you propose for the public shaming and humiliation?

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Old 05-20-2019, 06:29 PM
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What instruments and techniques do you propose for the public shaming and humiliation?
Lots and lots of discussions like this, including naming names and calling out the cowards.
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:17 AM
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Lots and lots of discussions like this, including naming names and calling out the cowards.
I think you need a mapping app - Namin' & Shamin'

You go to the site and put in someone's name and address and it puts a little pin on their house. Once you've outed them, other people can search by geography, click on a pin and add their own shit.

If any entrepreneur wants to pick up on this, it might be a good paid subscription service. It wouldn't have to be limited to chicken hawks, you could have separate maps for any kind of public shaming and humiliation people wanted to deliver. Because some shaming targets might not be on Facebook or Twitter or other social media, but people still need a way to get at them.

But anyway, back to the chicken hawk thing - how much research do you think a person should have to do before outing a gutless coward?

Say there's a woman in your neighborhood and sometimes you're out in your yard when she's walking her dog. And you know she's a Trumpie because when she walks by, you say "Mornin'" and she says something like "Where's the fuckin' emails?" So one morning when she walks by she says "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!"

So you ask her "Would you go in the service if we got into it with Iran?" And she says "Hell no, I was in the service and I got groped." Now, you don't have any particular reason to believe she was ever in the service or got groped in the service, other than her say so. And pretty much every other thing you've ever heard her say is Alex Jones-level bullshit.

Does she get a pass for the alleged groping or do you go to Namin' & Shamin' and pin her house?

How about the guy up the street, known Trumpie. You know this because when he's on his lawn tractor, he cups his hands around his mouth and yells "FUCK OBAMA, FUCK HILLARY!" when you walk by. As Trumpies are wont to do. One day instead of "FUCK OBAMA, FUCK HILLARY!" he yells out "WE SHOULD TURN IRAN INTO A GODDAMN PARKING LOT!" So you ask him "Would you go in the service if we got into it with Iran?" And he says, "Hell man, I'm in the reserves!" But he doesn't offer any proof and you watch him for the next few months and he's always around. And you stalk his socials and there's no evidence he's in the reserves.

Pin or no pin?

Also, just want to make sure - all this naming and shaming can be done anonymously, correct?
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:35 AM
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I think you need a mapping app - Namin' & Shamin'

You go to the site and put in someone's name and address and it puts a little pin on their house. Once you've outed them, other people can search by geography, click on a pin and add their own shit.

If any entrepreneur wants to pick up on this, it might be a good paid subscription service. It wouldn't have to be limited to chicken hawks, you could have separate maps for any kind of public shaming and humiliation people wanted to deliver. Because some shaming targets might not be on Facebook or Twitter or other social media, but people still need a way to get at them.

But anyway, back to the chicken hawk thing - how much research do you think a person should have to do before outing a gutless coward?

Say there's a woman in your neighborhood and sometimes you're out in your yard when she's walking her dog. And you know she's a Trumpie because when she walks by, you say "Mornin'" and she says something like "Where's the fuckin' emails?" So one morning when she walks by she says "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!"

So you ask her "Would you go in the service if we got into it with Iran?" And she says "Hell no, I was in the service and I got groped." Now, you don't have any particular reason to believe she was ever in the service or got groped in the service, other than her say so. And pretty much every other thing you've ever heard her say is Alex Jones-level bullshit.

Does she get a pass for the alleged groping or do you go to Namin' & Shamin' and pin her house?

How about the guy up the street, known Trumpie. You know this because when he's on his lawn tractor, he cups his hands around his mouth and yells "FUCK OBAMA, FUCK HILLARY!" when you walk by. As Trumpies are wont to do. One day instead of "FUCK OBAMA, FUCK HILLARY!" he yells out "WE SHOULD TURN IRAN INTO A GODDAMN PARKING LOT!" So you ask him "Would you go in the service if we got into it with Iran?" And he says, "Hell man, I'm in the reserves!" But he doesn't offer any proof and you watch him for the next few months and he's always around. And you stalk his socials and there's no evidence he's in the reserves.

Pin or no pin?

Also, just want to make sure - all this naming and shaming can be done anonymously, correct?
Anonymous "naming and shaming" would be contrary to the spirit of what I'm advocating for. As would casual or flippant "naming and shaming". This post appears to be an attempt at satire or something and thus I'm not really sure how to respond. Suffice to say I'm not in favor of any of this.
  #36  
Old 05-20-2019, 05:42 PM
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How many of you watched that and thought "Damn, that Col. Jessup is right. We should just say 'thank you' and keep our opinions about the military, military actions, and actions of members of the military to ourselves unless we're ready to 'pick up a weapon and stand a post'"?
Where has the OP advocated for any sort of limitation on who can criticize the military?
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:46 PM
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This is a pretty bad argument if applied universally.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:52 PM
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Where has the OP advocated for any sort of limitation on who can criticize the military?
"Criticize"? He hasn't, which is why I didn't use that word in my post. I think it's fairly transparent that he's trying to establish a framework where he's free to criticize the military and advocate against military actions without any repercussions but he can label those who disagree with him (and support military action) as 'gutless cowards'. I find the whole exercise unconvincing.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:56 PM
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"Criticize"? He hasn't, which is why I didn't use that word in my post.
No, you didn't use the word "criticize" in your post. You quoted a famous scene from a movie where an officer loses his temper at the idea that someone could possibly question his methods in doing his job, stated that you felt the scene is relevant to the OP, and then asked if anyone posting to the thread had internalized the idea that non-military people should not share opinions about military actions. But you totally didn't say the word "criticize," so you win all the internet points!

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I think it's fairly transparent that he's trying to establish a framework where he's free to criticize the military and advocate against military actions without any repercussions but he can label those who disagree with him (and support military action) as 'gutless cowards'. I find the whole exercise unconvincing.
Yes, he absolutely is establishing an ethical framework around what someone who thinks the use of force by nations should be willing to do before they advocate for the use of said force. Well spotted! Now, can you explain why you think that's a bad thing? Do you not find the idea of saying, "I think this is important enough that you should die for it, but not important enough that I should die for it," at least slightly distasteful?
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:54 PM
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... Yes, he absolutely is establishing an ethical framework around what someone who thinks the use of force by nations should be willing to do before they advocate for the use of said force. Well spotted! Now, can you explain why you think that's a bad thing? Do you not find the idea of saying, "I think this is important enough that you should die for it, but not important enough that I should die for it," at least slightly distasteful?
It's not that there's any issue with trying to establish an ethical framework generally, just that iiandyiiii's is badly flawed. As for the question about distaste: not particularly.

As others have noted, there are a fair number of activities, some of them dangerous and even deadly to the participants, that many of us support / advocate for / enjoy. For example, this evening I went to the hardware store and picked up several sheets of plywood for a home improvement project. I did this knowing full well that logging is one of the deadliest jobs in America, and despite the fact that I have no personal desire to become a logger.

No one bothered to ask, but if they had, I would have told them that I certainly hope logging efforts continue, even though I understand that I'm essentially advocating for my convenience to be able to go to the hardware store and pick up sheets of plywood at the cost of scores of mens' lives each year. If someone wanted to call me a 'gutless coward' for being part of the market for wood products, or supporting the logging industry, or argued that I have blood on my hands for it, I'd laugh and think less of the person making that argument. Ditto for things like eating crab, or enjoying electricity provided by a coal-fired power plant.

Do you think people have the blood of coal miners on their hands when they flip on a light switch? Do you think they're 'gutless cowards' for implicitly supporting coal mining, even though they're unwilling to dig up their own coal?
  #41  
Old 05-20-2019, 08:36 PM
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How many of you watched that and thought "Damn, that Col. Jessup is right. We should just say 'thank you' and keep our opinions about the military, military actions, and actions of members of the military to ourselves unless we're ready to 'pick up a weapon and stand a post'"?
You know Col Jessup was the bad guy in that movie, right? And I don't think this OP is about criticizing the military, but those outside of the military who say "Yeah! We should go kick Iran's ass! But I'm going to stay here in the safe USA"
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:02 PM
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iiandyiii, a few thoughts and questions -

1. Do you believe that those who are capable of serving in uniform, but did not, outside of your scenario here, are somewhat less honorable, courageous, patriotic, or whatever attribute you may choose to name, than those who did?
2. I understand that roughly 75% of young Americans are unfit for military service due to criminal backgrounds, health/obesity, drug use, educational background, and other factors. Do you think society is going to change its attitudes toward war by isolating the 25% of Americans who are fit to serve, and shaming a certain portion of them to oppose wars of choice? In other words, donít the vast majority of Americans have an easy out for being called cowards?
3. Why not just stigmatize the fetishistic view this country has toward violence generally? That if successful would seem to be fruitful in reducing the support for wars of choice, and also the violence we see on our streets and in so many homes - from gun violence to bar fights to child abuse.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:57 PM
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You know Col Jessup was the bad guy in that movie, right? And I don't think this OP is about criticizing the military, but those outside of the military who say "Yeah! We should go kick Iran's ass! But I'm going to stay here in the safe USA"
Yes, I'm well aware (it's probably part of the reason I'm comparing iiandyiiii's argument to his). I would hope it's obvious to most people that Col. Jessup's 'if you want to complain about what we're doing in Cuba, you can pick up a weapon and stand a post' line of argumentation is obviously flawed. I would also hope the flaws inherent in iiandyiiii's argument, which - while not identical to Col. Jessup's argument - is awfully reminiscent of its 'I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post' line of thinking. From many of the responses in this thread, it seems that they are, at least to quite a few Dopers.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:22 PM
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Does a prior stint in the military exempt you from the public shaming and humiliation?

Let's say you enlist and do your time and decide to leave when it's up. Nothing big happens while you're in. You get out, you're 30 and single healthy. Now some shit happens.

And you support military action, but you really didn't like being IN the military and you don't wanna go through THAT shit again.

Gutless coward, or thank you for your service?
  #45  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:24 PM
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Does a prior stint in the military exempt you from the public shaming and humiliation?

Let's say you enlist and do your time and decide to leave when it's up. Nothing big happens while you're in. You get out, you're 30 and single healthy. Now some shit happens.

And you support military action, but you really didn't like being IN the military and you don't wanna go through THAT shit again.

Gutless coward, or thank you for your service?
IMO, coward. I served already, but if I advocated for military action, it would be cowardly if I was still physically (and psychologically) able to serve and contribute but chose not to. In fact, I don't think I'd be able to live with myself having made such a decision.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-20-2019 at 06:28 PM.
  #46  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:36 PM
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Spinoff from this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=875473

In more detail, my position is this: The basis of whether military action by one's country should be considered should be based on the underlying risks, rewards, rationales, and causes of the possible military action. But IMO, if you support a military action, and you advocate that young people in your country be sent overseas and face unpleasant circumstances away from their families as well as risk of injury and death, and you have the relative youth and health that would enable you to join them, then if your proposed military action comes to pass and you choose not to join them, you are a gutless coward (even if the military action really is necessary!). If you are too old to serve, but you have children that have the youth and health appropriate for military service, and you advocate for military action while privately working to dissuade/prevent your children from participating in the military action (or use money/influence to get them into a non-combat unit or organization), then you are also a gutless coward.

Further, I believe such cowardice should lead to public shame and humiliation (by society, not law or government). I believe that this would be an effective societal deterrent against unnecessary wars, and thus would be greatly beneficial to society -- especially a society, like American society, that often seems to lean towards unnecessary wars in recent years.

I believe such cowardice is pretty common, but that doesn't make it any less cowardly.
Well, does that extend to everything then? I mean, if I support gay marriage, do I need to become gay and get married? If I support the right for a woman to choose, does that mean I have to get pregnant?

It doesn't seem reasonable to me that if I support some position of my government that means I have to directly participate in it. Seems all sorts of crazy to call someone coward that supports the US in a military action by not joining the forces...hell, I think calling someone a coward is foolish in any case, as you can't know what is in their heads or how they think. Conversely, I don't see how being in the military gives anyone the right to be the only ones who can support the government in military action. That, also, seems ridiculous to me, especially considering the fact that our own system specifies that it's the civilian branch that controls and directs our military. What you say, if taken to it's logical conclusion, is that ONLY military people can support US military action, and anyone else is an extreme coward if they do but aren't in the military, or aren't rushing off to join. That's contrary to our entire system.

I get that you are trying to make a point...but it's not a good point. IMHO.
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  #47  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:38 PM
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Well, does that extend to everything then? I mean, if I support gay marriage, do I need to become gay and get married? If I support the right for a woman to choose, does that mean I have to get pregnant?
I believe war is fundamentally different than these other issues.

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It doesn't seem reasonable to me that if I support some position of my government that means I have to directly participate in it. Seems all sorts of crazy to call someone coward that supports the US in a military action by not joining the forces...hell, I think calling someone a coward is foolish in any case, as you can't know what is in their heads or how they think. Conversely, I don't see how being in the military gives anyone the right to be the only ones who can support the government in military action. That, also, seems ridiculous to me, especially considering the fact that our own system specifies that it's the civilian branch that controls and directs our military. What you say, if taken to it's logical conclusion, is that ONLY military people can support US military action, and anyone else is an extreme coward if they do but aren't in the military, or aren't rushing off to join. That's contrary to our entire system.

I get that you are trying to make a point...but it's not a good point. IMHO.
This appears to make a lot of assumptions that are either absent from my OP or even in direct conflict. IMO your points don't actually challenge anything I said, aside from your quibble with calling someone a coward.
  #48  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I believe war is fundamentally different than these other issues.


Why is it fundamentally different? Seems an arbitrary thing that you are just making up to me. Perhaps you can go into some sort of detail that shows that, objectively, it's fundamentally different to support the US in military action than to support it in any of the myriad other things it does at any given time, foreign or domestic. What about quasi military things, such as the War on Trade(tm)? If I support that, does that mean I have to only buy American or I'm an extreme coward?

Quote:
This appears to make a lot of assumptions that are either absent from my OP or even in direct conflict. IMO your points don't actually challenge anything I said, aside from your quibble with calling someone a coward.
Seems like a logical progression to me. You are saying that anyone who isn't in the military or isn't going off to join right away shouldn't be able to support the government in a military action. In fact, you go the next step and say that if they don't, they are a coward. What's the assumption that's absent from your OP??
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Last edited by XT; 05-20-2019 at 06:45 PM.
  #49  
Old 05-20-2019, 06:47 PM
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Why is it fundamentally different? Seems an arbitrary thing that you are just making up to me. Perhaps you can go into some sort of detail that shows that, objectively, it's fundamentally different to support the US in military action than to support it in any of the myriad other things it does at any given time, foreign or domestic. What about quasi military things, such as the War on Trade(tm)? If I support that, does that mean I have to only buy American or I'm an extreme coward?
Because, in our history, war is usually (but not always) a choice made by the wealthy and powerful at the expense and to the detriment of the poor and powerless. And war usually results in catastrophic suffering and loss of human life, unlike the other things you mentioned.

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Seems like a logical progression to me. You are saying that anyone who isn't in the military or isn't going off to join right away shouldn't be able to support the government in a military action. In fact, you go the next step and say that if they don't, they are a coward. What's the assumption that's absent from your OP??
This is not an accurate summation of my position.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:00 PM
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Because, in our history, war is usually (but not always) a choice made by the wealthy and powerful at the expense and to the detriment of the poor and powerless. And war usually results in catastrophic suffering and loss of human life, unlike the other things you mentioned.

Ok, but I'm still not seeing why this makes it a special case that the people who support the government need to be called out if they aren't in the military.


Quote:
This is not an accurate summation of my position.
That's because it wasn't a summation...it was a logical progression of your position. You didn't bring it up, but that's because you don't seem to want to think through what it means or where it goes. This is where it would lead, and it's not a good place. If you think war is mainly about 'the wealthy and powerful at the expense and to the detriment of the poor and powerless', how much more would that be if only a military (elite) are able to comment on it, positively or negatively, or be called cowards? Or if you wanted to support the US in something it's doing, you'd immediately have to join up or be called a coward? Seriously, this is exactly where what you are advocating would lead.
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