A lot of my friends and family have disagreed with my decision to enlist with the United States Army, so I’ve decided to post my reasons for enlistment and my rebuttals for their reasons for why this was a bad idea. I’m wondering how many people will actually read this, considering that I don’t believe many people know of this blog.
» Enlistment Over Commission
I went to college, so it’s only logical that I become a commissioned officer rather than enlist as a grunt. The pay’s better as an officer, plus there’s less people on the chain of command that can give me shit than if I was an enlisted soldier. This sounds like a no-brainer, why in the hell am I enlisting?
If I entered the Army as an officer, I would have no say over what Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) that I would be assigned to and trained in. I would be placed in an MOS based off the needs of the military. Enlisting gave me a choice of what fields I could work in so long as there were jobs open in the MOS’s. I’m using the Army to give me experience in a field that I want to work in. I don’t think I would be satisfied with any old managerial position out there in the civilian sector.
Lastly, I don’t intend to stay enlisted the entire time I serve in the Army. Since my obligation currently is five years of active duty service (along with three years as a non-active reserve), I figured an extra three years wouldn’t be too much time to add if I went officer. Also, due to my prior training, the Army will at least be somewhat reluctant to retrain me in another branch. I’ll be 32 years old by the time my obligation is at an end, but I figure I’ll be much more marketable in the civilian workforce than I was out of college.
» Earning My Rights
Months ago I got into a spat with one of my college buddies over that whole Pentagon 9/11 conspiracy theory. My argument in a nutshell was that I thought it was ludicrous that the Department of Defense would willingly sacrifice the lives on those on that plane and the servicemen and women in that section of the building to cover something up. I told him I didn’t appreciate the fact he was spreading this rumor and his answer was something along the lines of having free speech. My answer was that though the right entitles you as such, it does not mean that he deserved it. His final reply to this was that since he was entitled to the free speech, he did not have to earn it.
I’m not going even try to wax philosophically about this since I figure people like John Locke and J.S. Mill have done a better job of it than I would ever. I am going to argue, however, though rights may be something that we as a society believe we deserve, it almost never comes without a cost. Most leaders aren’t enlightened or benevolent enough to give the governed what they universally believe they are entitled, so leaders must be “convinced” into sharing power with the people. It’s cliché to mention these days, but people in this country were will to fight for what they believed they deserved over two centuries ago. Another friend once told me that he didn’t believe that the Iraqis deserved freedom and the rights associated with them because they weren’t willing to fight for them. He also noted that he himself might not deserve the freedoms he enjoys now since he would be hesitant to stand and be willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for them. I share his view and see military service as a way to come closer to my goal of having earned my rights as an American. During my time in Atlanta I’ve had a couple of friend mention a sense of civic duty and consideration of military service after learning about my background as an Army brat whose lived overseas most of my life. I have a feeling that they were making such claims as to establish some sort of connection and that they had no real intention of following through with these seeing how comfortable they are with their lives. After I serve no one can take this from me.
♪MAMA, SHE HAS TAUGHT ME WELLSong of the Moment: “Mama Said” by Metallica
TOLD ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG
SON, YOUR LIFE’S AN OPEN BOOK
DON’T CLOSE IT ‘FORE IT’S DONE
THE BRIGHTEST FLAME BURNS QUICKEST
THAT’S WHAT I HEARD HER SAY
A SON’S HEART’S OWED TO MOTHER
BUT I MUST FIND MY WAY…♪