Saturday, May 26, 2007

Overread in Green Part 1

Funny, I mentioned that I was in the army in the last post. The funny part is that I almost always feel I have to explain that, and I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing. So, poof - a fitting post (or 2) for this weekend!

I'm not the kind of person who I think seems like an army guy. I really don't like guns. I'm generally against military adventures abroad. I'm not religious (a huge part of the modern US Army). I really don't care for the regimented military-style brainwashing either.

So, what was I doing in the army? Well, there was the fact that I hadn't finished school. The GI Bill ended up getting me a whole lot of cash so I could go back (thanks taxpayers!). There was also the fact that my attempt to make a living as an actor was fallen apart (another post for another day). I didn't have a whole lot of options.

Now, that's all well and good, and plenty of people join the service for those reasons. The army is brimming with people who felt at the end of their rope. That's one of the problems with our army as well as one of its advantages.

But, well, the other reason I joined up... It's pretty funny because I always feel a bit silly bringing it up. I really wanted to serve. I truly feel that people should do what they can to help their nation.

There's a bit of me that wishes we had a mandatory program of service in the US. Everyone would serve in the military, peace corps, the state department, or some other office for a couple of years. I really think that it would help to allow regular folks an idea of how things work there, and there's no doubt the nation would be better off for the service.

The volunteer army is a really impressive thing, but perhaps if a more broad cross-section of people were in BDUs, we wouldn't be so cavalier about sending them places where they shouldn't go.

7 comments:

mendi-la said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z Guy said...

"There's a bit of me that wishes we had a mandatory program of service in the US. Everyone would serve in the military, peace corps, the state department, or some other office for a couple of years. I really think that it would help to allow regular folks an idea of how things work there, and there's no doubt the nation would be better off for the service."

How Heinlein'ian of you!

Duh! I think mendi-la meant "Starship Troopers". No civil service = no right to vote! Same author. Rob is da' BOMB!

Camera Obscura said...

1) Heinlein Centennial celebration in K.C. the weekend after July 4.

2) Fix the apostrophe in the possessive pronoun, please.

Overread said...

Oh my god, how humiliating. I go crazy on my students for that kind of thing. Maybe next time I'll be a bit more lenient. Doubtful. I fixed it. - thanks Camera!

As for the Heinlein'ian aspect of the whole thing, I did read him ages ago, but I got thinking about it after talking to a Korean friend who is due to go into service in a couple of years. Maybe this is deserving of another post...

Scrivener said...

I don't think Heinlein has a monopoly on the idea of compulsory service. It's an interesting idea that I've sort of batted around a bit, but I'm still not at all certain what I think. The biggest appeal for me, I think, would be the possibility that such a program would help our young people to feel more empowered by showing them how the nation operates in some way and by getting them some experience in the world away from their parents before they go to college. But it's so damned complicated to think about how to transition to such a program. And think about how violently the conservatives would resist it.

Picky Mick said...

I think conservatives would eat it up. It's the individual voter who scares everyone away, because he really, really wants someone else to do that dirty work.