"Thank you for your service." Why?

There is more to service than Iraq. There are aide and relief operations every year in this country and across the world. Soldiers serve the government to allow it to better serve the People. If the government abuses it’s assets, that’s not the soldiers’ fault. Nor will it be the end all be all of a soldier’s service to his country and to his countrymen.
I could understand if you were against someone thanking a soldier for his actions in Iraq, but there’s nothing at all wrong with thanking him for his service. Unless of course you’re against civil defense, disaster relief, foreign aide and all that terrible stuff.

I’d have no problem thanking them for service in other areas (well, assuming I knew enough about what was going on in said other area). It’s just Iraq and Afghanistan I have a problem with.

It’s not “serving in the military” that’s problematic, but “serving in the military and not speaking up / refusing to fight when said military orders you to do the wrong thing”.

If you beleive in the justification of the current war or not is irreverent. These people are sacrificing their freedom for a number of years, and putting their very life on the line to defend yours - if such a threat arises.

You can say that again. :wink:

This is a little condescending. FYI, I have served in the military. I don’t need a lecture about what it does.

Trust ME. I never did a thing that anyone needs to thank me for.

Two issues with that. One, “enemies foreign and domestic”. What do you do when, god forbid, that very President you’re sworn to serve seems to be becoming the very enemy you’re sworn to be defend your country from? You prioritize. Loyalty to the President and loyalty to the Constitution are not one and the same (unfortunately), and when the two come into conflict, well… whichever one most closely resembles the will of the people should win, IMO.

And speaking of the people, the Constitution is not supposed to be above us either. “We the people” did ordain it and it is our tool, not the other way around. If, by chance, it should become obsolete or in need of change in the future, well… we should just change it. It’s not the Ten Commandments, it’s a sheet of paper documenting our collective will, and if that collective will should change, we need not be bound to an old transcript…

That “collective will” put Bush into office. What did you do to avoid that. Your logic is misguided, you as a citizen of the U.S, are ultimately responsible for the Iraq war. You should be thinking about what you’re going to do about that, instead of trying to find a scapegoat in the military.

Should I be thanking an Australian Iraq Veteran for his service? None of the “reasons” for the invasion of Iraq are even remotely relevant to Australia, yet there we are, equally as morally culpable for the bloodbath. Should I be thanking a digger for his service to this?


The collective will voted for Gore.

Not in Florida!

We’re all responsible. To be fair, I never voted for Bush and I never supported either the Afghanistan or the Iraq war, but I still do accept partial responsibility for my country’s actions. I did not want us to get into either war, but I also didn’t do much to prevent them from happening beyond griping about it and putting in some ballots.

I am, however, speaking out now. I can’t single-handedly change the course of a country, but I do want to try and talk to people who are equally responsible and equally a part of our future actions. I’m discussing it so that I can see their perspective and they can see mine, and hopefully, in the long run, the more accurate, truthful, and useful perspective will win out. Right now, I simply don’t agree with the collective will and I’m trying to explain my reasoning. But I would like to be educated and corrected whenever I’m wrong.

Prior to 9/11, I had seriously considered enlisting in the armed forces, but I could not do so in good conscience after witnessing what I considered to be a hasty, ill-justified, revenge-driven response (Afghanistan). To this day, I still have a strong desire to enlist (for reasons that are my own), but I refuse to do so out of my belief that it is still the wrong action for my country to take.

What I’m doing about the whole situation now still isn’t much – it’s still just talk – but this really isn’t about finding scapegoats or shifting blame; it’s about trying to understand different opinions and trying to determine what’s best for the country as a whole and what my part in all of it should be.

I can understand someone saying “Thank you for your service” in general. Members of the Armed Forces provide essential services, be it in peace time or war time.

We need a professional and trained standing military force to deal with whatever threats may come up. If you oppose the war in Iraq it would perhaps not make sense to say to a veteran of the war, “thank you for fighting in Iraq” but it may make sense to say “thank you for serving” regardless. Iraq veteran or not, almost all of them will be serving out lengthy enlistments where they will do things not related to the war in Iraq that we certainly need them to do.

I was a career Army officer, however, and I personally didn’t decide to pursue that career path because I expected, wanted, or desired the thanks of anyone. What it boils down to is, I was doing something I wanted to do; philosophically I recognize that collectively members of the armed forces are providing an essential service. It’s one that brings with it a risk of being put in harm’s way–but that is true of other professions as well such as law enforcement and emergency services. By and large I think the overwhelming majority of the armed forces, law enforcement and et cetera have gone down the career path that for a host of reasons they wanted to go down, they didn’t do it for ticker tape parades or “atta boys” in the line at the supermarket and probably don’t really care if you thank them or if you think they’re the worst people in the world, I know I certainly don’t.

Likewise, it’s ridiculous to argue that soldiers should disobey orders to be deployed in a war they disagree with. They have a duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States which means when the elected Commander-in-Chief engages the country in a war under his lawful powers as President, you’ll not protest or disobey a deployment that comes about as a consequence of that. You have a responsibility to disobey illegal orders, you have no right to disobey legal ones and doing so will carry legal consequences.

And I do not think people really want a military that has its own “veto” over what orders to accept. The military is an instrument of the state and operates under the overall authority of the elected government. It’s unfortunate when that government makes unwise military decisions, but a soldier can’t disobey an order to deploy simply on the grounds that they feel their deployment is part of an unwise military campaign.

This I can understand and respect.

This is the crux of it. Why not? To a degree, yes, of course orders like – “Take that hill” should and must be followed in order for a military to function, but should soldiers really disregard their own moral concerns in the face of repeated, systematic wrongdoing? At what point should a soldier say “I refuse to do that, even if it’ll get me in trouble”? Sometimes, there are laws and concerns higher than “Listen to your superior.”

As for the responsibility to disregard “illegal” orders, does that mean rules of engagement or some other body of laws?

People have automatic respect for the military because they’re afraid if they don’t they’ll get either bitched out, looked at or locked up. Frankly I’m tired of getting bitched out about not supporting a bunch of murdering drones on the pretense that they’re defending us from some invisible threat and are not a massive, disorganized money pit. It’s knee-jerk PR.

I apologise if it came across as condescending. I suppose I probably did mean it to be a bit. I am glad that you served and may have some insight, but while you and I know that it was a job and you (or my husband or my brother or the many other men/women serving currently) are/were just doing your job and may not see a reason to be thanked for that – some people truly do appreciate the choice that many have made to serve their country.

FWIW, I prefer the “thanking” to the spitting that my father endured when he got back from Vietnam.

The one thing one should thank them for is stupidly voulenteering, lest Dubya reinstate the draft.