Where to begin? Let me follow this in order:
"The first myth I hate is that you are defending my freedoms. No you are not."
Yes, we are. While it's true that we do not spend every moment of our existence protecting you from those who would try to overthrow our government and rule you with an iron fist whether you like it or not, and while it's true that our current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are more about revenge and preserving the freedoms of other nations and not our own, the fact is that your freedoms are protected by our VERY EXISTENCE.
I'm assuming you're an American, so hear me well: If the U.S. Military were abolished and ceased to exist, and America was thus left with no defense against it's enemies, we would be invaded and overthrown. Our fate, at that point, would be entirely in the hands of our enemies, they alone would decide what you were and were not permitted to do, and whether you would live or die would be entirely at their discretion.
Sure, the citizens would fight back, but without the military they would be as outclassed and doomed as the Iraqi insurgency is against our own military. And yes, I'm simplifying things... the other superpowers might not be so aggressive as to just instantly invade us, and our allies would probably step in, but the bottom line is just as I said... we EXIST to safeguard the freedoms you enjoy, and so it stands that we are very commonly accepted to be the guardians of your freedom, regardless of whether your freedoms have anything to do with our current mission.
"You are following orders. If your orders are to end my freedoms, you will do that happily. If your orders are to fire upon unarmed civilians practicing their freedoms at Kent State, you will do it."
Wrong. We are trained to live by a code of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. We are also trained to model our behavior in all aspects of life after the 14 leadership traits, and they are as follows: Justice, Judgement, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty, and Endurance. Please note here that the VERY FIRST leadership trait, to be obeyed above ALL others, is JUSTICE.
We are specifically trained to recognize the difference between lawful and unlawful orders. We are taught that we will be held accountable for our actions, even if our actions were dictated by our superiors. We are taught that "I was only following orders" is not an acceptable excuse for disregarding the code of honor and the leadership traits. SO, to put it very simply - are you ready for this? - WE ARE TAUGHT AND EXPECTED TO DISOBEY ANY ORDER WE RECOGNIZE TO BE UNLAWFUL OR INHUMANE. Fucking amazing, isn't it?
"In 2000, the CIA estimated global membership in al qaida at 190. 190 people in the whole word, now hundreds of thousands have been held, two countries invaded, a million people on a watch list, government surveillance, and the complete erosion of legal protections of civil liberties."
Set foot in Iraq. Barring the probability that the 2000 CIA estimate was in all likelihood a gross underestimation, it's not very hard to find people who claim allegiance to The Base (which is the english translation of Al Qaida, if you don't know). Secondly, the government does indeed have to prove that you are an enemy combatant, but the thing is that all it takes to be declared an enemy combatant is to open fire on an American. Seems to me like a pretty clear indication that you are indeed an enemy combatant. Providing any means of support to enemy combatants also makes you an enemy combatant. Harsh? Maybe. But guess what? This is WAR. It's already laughable how politically correct our government is trying to be about fighting it. You should see the treatment these douchebags get in our custody. Hell, if I were an Iraqi I would start shooting at Americans too, then quickly throw down my weapon and put my hands up before they kill me. My life in their custody would be better than it ever was as a free man.
The rest was the argument about why people join the military and why people don't. Here it is:
"The next myth I would like to address was just mentioned in a previous blog. I am not joining the military, not because I am a pussy, but because I have better career possibilities, and I do not beleive that what you do is moral. Simple as that. An intelligent person can come out of school today making well over $60,000. Why the hell would I go to Iraq, spend a year away from home, away from women, getting hot and sweaty around a bunch of men, and occasionally shot at just to make $25,000 when I can make 2 to 3 times as much to stay at home. And by staying at home, I dont have to be a party to an imperialistic power grab. Yeah meathead, you are right. the $25,000 job is far better. There must only be one reason for anyone to reject it."
No quarrel there. You're absolutely right. People join the military for pride and for the desire to serve their nation, not for money. We don't believe in "bribing" people to join. The fact is, if you're joining the military for money or benefits, you're joining for the wrong reasons, and in all likelihood you're going to turn out to be a weak link. Those kinds of men typically aren't prepared to actually do the job, and most of us would prefer they not be stuck in the same fighting hole with us because we'll probably have to pull their weight when they start panicking. So yes, if you're looking to get paid, stay away. You have better opportunities elsewhere, and from the way you describe our job the odds are good you don't have what it takes to do what we do anyway.
But I will say this: By no means at all does that mean "intelligent people" all seek out other careers as though they just know better. Let me tell you something: All my life I had to attend special schools. Not because I was stupid or had behavioral problems... but because I was learning faster than my peers. Teachers couldn't keep up with me. I would rapidly learn the material to the point where I could ace any test 100%, and then become bored and find ways to entertain myself until they finally got around to passing out the tests at the end of the week.
I've been given many tests aimed to measure my mental capacities, and have consistently scored in the 90th percentile (meaning the top 10% of the country). I don't recall my SAT scores, they were years ago, but they too were in the top 10%. I've had my IQ tested probably a dozen times, and consistently score in the high 140's to low 150's. If you don't already know, the national average in the U.S. is about ~120, give or take. 160-170 is considered genius. So if you were trying to imply that people only join the military because they're not smart enough to qualify for better jobs, think again.
I'm not a rare breed, either. I have plenty of peers in the Corps who are every bit as intelligent as I am, if not more so. If you want to talk about myths, let's talk about the myth that Marines are stupid. If you think we can do this job with nothing but muscle and pure brute force, you're naive. The vast majority of Marines are VERY intelligent. You need to be able to think fast, make very difficult decisions without time to weigh their consequences, multitask like you wouldn't believe... the list goes on and on. You need a good head on your shoulders to be an effective war-fighter, make no mistake about that. Some of the most brilliant minds in history were generals and strategists, because that's what it takes to win a war: Brilliance.
Ok, that about covers it. Whew!! That's twice in one day someone posted some grotesquely ignorant shit about the military that has spurred me on to write entire blogs in response. I wonder what's next?