I simply do not understand the opinions or actions of certain groups of people in our society.  I’ll try to avoid using labels since I detest labels so much, but you can probably figure out who I’m talking about by the description.  There is a segment of our society that gets apoplectic about most things that the military does, labeling their actions as immoral regardless of the justification behind the military action.  One group from that segment of our culture, Code Pink, set up shop a couple of years back outside a recruiting station and harassed the troops that were working there, just doing their job.  I might add that these troops were doing something that supported the Constitution, the very document that gave these ill-mannered, ignorant people their right to harass our hard-working troops for no good reason.  I understand their objection to war on moral grounds, but it makes absolutely no sense, if you do not like the actions of the powers that be and instead take it out on the hired help.  Those non-commissioned officers that work at the recruiting stations are usually there on special duty, which lasts just for a few years.  A few years is enough for this very tough job. 

After their assignment to recruiting, they then return to their normal jobs back on bases of whichever service they work for.  But while they work at these recruiting stations, they are, as I already noted, just the hired help, having absolutely no impact on the bigger military mission or on military policy.  Moreover, recruiting duty is typically not very enjoyable.  They are ridden hard by their superiors to constantly beat the bushes to get recruits to sign up, and they only get credit when the recruit gets through all the hoops of medical, legal, and mental/intellectual screening, which takes out most of the ones that they can even talk into at least trying to join.  Furthermore, each of these military recruiters has a quota, and when they do not meet their quota, they receive all sorts of harassment and “help” from their superiors, even if they fell short due to circumstances beyond their control.  It is not an easy job to convince young people these days to sign up for one of the hardest jobs on the earth, to appeal to their sense of duty at the tender age of 17 or 18, when they normally don’t think in such grand terms. 

Now, can you imagine having to work a thankless job, a job which you probably didn’t even ask for, but which you were forced to take, and with all the things you put up with on this stressful job, then you have to add to the stress with a  bunch of ignorant kooks  like Code Pink that want to punish you for something you have absolutely no control over.  Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in Code Pink’s right to protest, and I think protest is a healthy part of our American political process.  But these protests should take place at a location where you might actually find higher military leaders, such as a major command headquarters.  In those places, they might actually get the attention of the people who have some influence on military policy and missions, i.e. the generals, admirals, flag officers.  Of course, this makes me skeptical about their true motivation.  I wonder whether they really are trying to influence policy or whether, in their morally limited, judgmental world, they truly hate the military and everyone in it.   

I think part of the problem here with such protesters is that people sometimes forget in their ignorance why the military exists and how it operates.  This dynamic was obvious at one such Code Pink protest outside a recruiting station, when Jon Stewart sent one of his people to interview the protesters.  Although Stewart does have a comedy show, his man truly was not playing "gotcha" with the protesters.  He asked them simple questions to determine whether they had any knowledge of our political process and the Constitution upon which all our political system rests.  Their inability to answer simple questions was embarrassing.  What they didn't seem to know is that the military has a mission to support and defend the Constitution and to obey all orders of the President of the United States and all officers lawfully appointed underneath him in the military chain of command.  This Constitutional mission is constantly talked about in the military, especially since all oaths of office and enlistment include statements about supporting the Constitution.  Since there are constantly ceremonies in all military units at which someone is reenlisting, then the troops hear these words about their Constitutional mission on a very, very regular basis.  The repetition is a good thing as it constantly reminds us of the source of our authority.  Additionally, it reminds troops that they derive their authority from a moral mission, so that all actions done under that authority should be done in a moral, legal manner. 

It is true that, sometimes, there is a breakdown in morality on the fighting level of the military in our various wars throughout history, but this typically does not happen because the troops are flawed.  Most often, from what I have studied, it happens when there is a breakdown in the morality of commanders and other officers in charge of the troops or confusion about the mission, confusing orders, etc.  Additionally, unless you are a combat veteran, you simply cannot imagine what it is like to live with the incredible violence that troops live with on a regular basis in a time of war.  This has such a profound impact on the psyche of our troops, leading to many suffering from PTSD for years afterwards, long after they are out of the military and long after others have completely forgotten about the battles that these troops re-live in some way on a daily basis.  Our troops are highly trained, and they are constantly reminded of the morality of right action during war.  The images you see on television and the movies frequently take short-cuts and sensationalize things for the sake of entertainment.  I think that, perhaps, these people like Code Pink get their information about the military from watching these Hollywood images that have little correspondence with reality. 

I guess, if you got your information about the military from places like that, then you might have a distorted image of our troops and might be overly pessimistic about who they are and what they have done. But we should never get duped by Hollywood into thinking less of our brave troops.  As hard as they work, and as much as they sacrifice and suffer, this is just inexcusable.  These men and women do things for the rest of us that we might never fully appreciate, and which we might never get a real chance to thank them for.  So we owe our troops much better treatment, even if we object to the violence of war or object to military policy.

I pray that you will honor and support our brave troops and remember the sacrifices and suffering that all veterans go through for the sake of liberty, sometimes for the rest of their lives.  And I pray that, even if you object to our nation’s military policy, that you will direct your anger toward military leaders and not the troops.  Please lift up your prayers for these men and women today, and if you happen to see one of them in uniform, please thank them. 

 


Comments

02/09/2017 1:18pm

I was much impressed by the Recruiters, Protesters, and the Constitutional Military Mission which shed light on ways for dealing the situation. Those military expeditions and each and every story were much too motivating then and there.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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