I show respect, like I would often upgrade military when I worked for the airline. Mostly because I didn't think most of them knew what they really signed up for. And some might be guard or air guard...outfits that never should be used except for defense, but since 911 have been misused just like the rest.
On an individual level, though, it is a very rough thing that can happen. You get the most incredibly well trained and conditioned people and then let politicians and corrupt interests decide what they do and where, then wonder what could possibly go wrong. It is sick. And the public is herded into the madness like sheep. In order to keep it going, they blindly glorify in a way that reeks of insincerity, if you ask me.
Anyway it is confusing, as far as the big picture. On the smaller scale I just end up in weird places, like playing on the Midway aircraft carrier on Veterans' day. It is a word war two vintage aircraft carrier which is moored in San Diego harbor and has been made into a big museum. A very popular one at that. The place was swarming with people. They have planes below deck and on the flight deck and tours and all kinds of stuff.
There I was. On top of that I was right there in the midst of a lot of PTSD people involved in the music therapy program, and some who have had serious injuries from things blowing up in Iraq and elsewhere. Nations, and how they go about things, are really screwed up. That can be confusing.
I do not like too much involvement with anyone right now. Unless the right person...but that is different. All I can say is that I am glad my nephews did not join the military. Not sure where they may have gone if they had. When was the last time a deployment to a war zone made sense all the way through?
Usually the parts that made sense were just patches to fix the misguided initial effort. It is criminal. I am in disbelief that after VietNam we suckered for letting people go to Bosnia and all manner of places. How did we let Bush get away with sending guard units for extended tours in Iraq and elsewhere? Doing wars which don't work and for which we are so unprepared that you deplete the stores of reservists? Insane. But here in SD the main thing is to thank everyone and ignore the cruel reality of it.
How do you appreciate the military itself but not how they are used and where they are sent? And the other part is that it is a choice in this age. No draft at the moment. It brings up some conflicting questions and beliefs, I guess. For me, I could not be loyal to a government that ignores the Constitution, which is what you swear to protect. You do not swear allegiance to some arrogant politician. No way to really think it through and do the job. So, loyalty takes on another meaning.
In the military it comes down to not leaving your colleagues in a lurch. Your loyalty is to your team. The big picture has to be ignored. And it is life or death, losing limbs, and crazy, so the fidelity aspect toward your comrades in arms is the all important value. No way to succeed if they are thinking much beyond that, looking at motives, goals, and the Constitution.
Wars suck but should be fought with a clear goal. Bringing democracy and happy times to lunatic cultures is not a lofty or sane and moral goal. Winning hearts and minds is absolute bullshit. A kinder, gentler army, there to build schools and hand out candy is pure lunacy. If you could see the lives that are altered, the people scarred for life because politicians and those that own them want to serve needs having zero to do with protecting our shores or our Constitution, you'd probably hesitate to send them in harm's way. Not so with those doing the sending. They see the results and try to make people feel wonderful for getting blown up in ill conceived endeavors of their making.
And I don't care to think about my life. It is worrying me how hard it is to have a positive thought about myself or my circumstances and what I have destroyed and created for myself. What a waste. I'd rather think of the follow orders syndrome that makes me less than gung ho when it comes to police work or military service. I would thank them all, but they make more money than I do, and they know where to be and what to do at any time because that is how it works. There is security in jobs with pensions and insurance and job security. The down side is that you could get blown up or sent somewhere unpleasant. For a lot of years most people did not have to go anywhere stupid.
If you joined in 1973, you could have probably taken a retirement after twenty years, never got shot at or had to hang in the hot hot desert winning the hearts of lunatics from the medieval times. You could then have started your own business or found other government work and wrangled a second pension by age 60. Lots of people did that. I never had it in me. Still don't. But it would have been a fu--ing improvement so I cannot knock it.
People join for any number of reasons. I doubt the clarity and sanity of our foreign policy are high on that list. How many people have a clue what we are doing and why? I really do not. I do know we manage to arm the bad guys and that friends are ex enemies quite often, and enemies are ex friends. Very fluid loyalties all around. Obviously it is not working well. I think using the military to kill the aberrant, and to do it without being polite and risking our lives needlessly is the best approach. Anything else risks lives. So, if we aren't going to wipe them out, don't go their. Do not engage.