Thank You for Your Service?

by Laurence M. Vance

(Editor’s Note: The only “thank you” should be spoken to a militia member when he/she is defending his own seceded nation. But when every able-bodied person in your nation between 18 and 50 is a member of the national militia, only the children and seniors would be doing the thanking.)

It is without question that Americans are in love with the military. Even worse, though, is that their love is unqualified, unconditional, unrelenting, and unending.

I have seen signs praising the troops in front of all manner of businesses, including self-storage units, bike shops, and dog grooming.

Many businesses offer discounts to military personnel not available to doctors, nurses, and others who save lives instead of destroy them.

Special preference is usually given to veterans seeking employment, and not just for government jobs.

Many churches not only recognize veterans and active-duty military on the Sunday before holidays, they have special military appreciation days as well.

Even many of those who oppose an interventionist U.S. foreign policy and do not support foreign wars hold the military in high esteem.

All of these things are true no matter which country the military bombs, invades, or occupies. They are true no matter why the military does these things. They are true no matter what happens while the military does these things. They are true no matter which political party is in power.

The love affair that Americans have with the military – the reverence, the idolatry, the adoration, yea, the worship – was never on display like it was at the post office the other day.

While at the counter shipping some packages, a U.S. soldier, clearly of Vietnamese origin in name and appearance, dressed in his fatigues, was shipping something at the counter next to me. The postal clerk was beaming when he told the soldier how his daughter had been an MP in Iraq. Three times in as many minutes I heard the clerk tell the soldier – with a gleam in his eye and a solemn look on his face – “Thank you for your service.” The clerk even shook the soldier’s hand before he left.

I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing, and I am no stranger to accounts of military fetishes in action.

Aside from me not thanking that soldier for his service – verbally or otherwise – I immediately thought of four things.

One, what service did this soldier actually render to the United States? If merely drawing a paycheck from the government is rendering service, then we ought to thank every government bureaucrat for his service, including TSA goons. Did this soldier actually do anything to defend the United States, secure its borders, guard its shores, patrol its coasts, or enforce a no-fly zone over U.S. skies? How can someone blindly say “thank you for your service” when he doesn’t know what service was rendered?

Two, is there anything that U.S. soldiers could do to bring the military into disfavor? I can’t think of anything. Atrocities are dismissed as collateral damage in a moment of passion in the heat of battle by just a few bad apples. Unjust wars, we are told, are solely the fault of politicians not the soldiers that do the actual fighting. Paul Tibbets and his crew are seen as heroes for dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Before he died, Tibbets even said that he had no second thoughts and would do it again. I suspect that if the United States dropped an atomic bomb tomorrow on Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing everyone and everything, and declaring the war on terror over and won, a majority of Americans would applaud the Air Force crew that dropped the bomb and give them a ticker-tape parade.

Three, why is it that Americans only thank American military personnel for their service? Shouldn’t foreign military personnel be thanked for service to their country? What American military worshippers really believe is that foreign military personnel should only be thanked for service to their government when their government acts in the interests of the United States. Foreign soldiers are looked upon as heroic if they refuse to obey a military order to shoot or kill at the behest of their government as long as such an order is seen as not in the interests of the United States. U.S. soldiers, however, are always expected to obey orders, even if it means going to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, or Libya under false pretenses.

And four, what is a Vietnamese man – who most certainly has relatives, or friends or neighbors of relatives, that were killed or injured by U.S. bombs and bullets during the Vietnam War – doing joining the U.S. military where he can be sent to shoot and bomb foreigners like the U.S. military did to his people?

And aside from these four things, I’m afraid I must also say: Sorry, soldiers, I don’t thank you for your service.

* I don’t thank you for your service in fighting foreign wars.
* I don’t thank you for your service in fighting without a congressional declaration of war.
* I don’t thank you for your service in bombing and destroying Iraq and Afghanistan.
* I don’t thank you for your service in killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
* I don’t thank you for your service in expanding the war on terror to Pakistan and Yemen.
* I don’t thank you for your service in occupying over 150 countries around the world.
* I don’t thank you for your service in garrisoning the planet with over 1,000 military bases.
* I don’t thank you for your service in defending our freedoms when you do nothing of the kind.
* I don’t thank you for your service as part of the president’s personal attack force to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.

Thank you for your service? I don’t think so.

Laurence M. Vance writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The Revolution that Wasn’t, and Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com.

6 Responses to Thank You for Your Service?

  1. carroll price says:

    I have heard the terms many times and it never fails to produce a feeling of disgust and unbelief that, with all the evidence to disprove it, a large number of Americans still have the impression that the US military exist for the purpose of defending and protecting their interest.

  2. derfel cadarn says:

    Thanks for nothing ! Why should anyone wish to thank another for murdering innocents in their name. By the definitions used for a terrorist group the US military qualifies as such. The only thing stopping the American people from recognizing this is the deluded concept of American exceptionalism,what empire throughout history ever thought of themselves as unexceptional? Answer; none. Perhaps when America learns the first basic rule that we ALL were taught as small children, The Golden Rule and lives by it we may become exceptional. Regretfully America is too much a busybody to to consider others thoughts or feelings and we will continue to reap as we have sown. How simple it really all could be,but that would require honesty,integrity and honor all things that are in short supply in America today. May whatever gods you pray to send their blessings,we will need them.

  3. Mike says:

    We never know how future textbooks will look back upon these times and recap them. The article has a angry tone to it, but I ask what have you done to make your country a better place? I can only assume from skimming through your likely misguided rants that you consider yourself an expert on foreign affairs and international diplomacy likely from watching CNN and reading your biased left wing newspaper on your iPad. I’m not hear to start a fight or rattle your cage. Instead, I ask that think before you publish such articles. Do what Abraham Lincoln’s wife did and set the letters off to the side for a day and then decide if you want to publish such negative comments.

    In closing remember that our military members do not crave hurting people. They must follow their orders. If you do not agree with the orders they are given you should do your part and step up to correct the injustices in any small way you can. Have you ever written your congress member or do you just complain about the “idiots” that run this country.

    Support your country and its troops. There are too many people out there who just complain. The first step toward change is getting off your couch and working toward a better tomorrow.

    • dumpdc says:

      Mike- You’re an idiot…not even a useful idiot. Can’t spell…can’t think. Angry tone? If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. We here at DumpDC are supporting ourselves and working for change. THAT’S how we are making the country a better place. Laurence Vance is in fact an expert, unlike yourself. Military personnel do NOT have to obey orders if the orders are unlawful. All the military personnel outside our borders are deployed unlawfully, whether you like it or not. We here at DumpDC do NOT support this country and its troops. We support secession. Please stay in slave America where you’re comfortable and you can feel proud waving the flag. Russ

      • txjet says:

        The troops around the world are deployed their lawfully. How can you say that it is unlawful, they are there with the permissions of the country that they are stationed in. Many times that nation requests for them to stay so that their nation continues to run smoothly. I work full time and support myself, and I work for a change but it doesn’t mean this country is a better place. Sure, it may help but it doesn’t always mean we are right. None of the hundreds of people I know in the military want to kill or hurt anybody. Much the opposite, they want as little bloodshed as possible. All that is ever broadcast is the negative stuff that happens because that is what people want to hear. The amount of humanitarian efforts from our armed forces is immense. The nuclear disaster in Japan, we sent several ships over, as well as ground forces, not to harm but to help. Water, food, clothing, whatever we could to help. Same in Africa, and everywhere else that needs it.

        I would give my life to support our troops, even if I don’t agree with what they are doing because they have the balls to go out and put their life on the line to protect us. Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, and Service before self, are some of the words that our military uses. Not We’re right, you’re wrong, and negative stuff. Open your eyes and get out of your cubicle and go see what positive happens. Promise you it outweighs the negative 10 to 1.

      • dumpdc says:

        Dear txjet-

        If any military personnel deploy to a foreign nation, they violate their oath of service. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows for the US military to leave our shores. Further, they are not “protecting us.” They are the enforcers of an evil DC foreign policy of overthrowing other sovereign nations. You are right about the words that the military uses. But the words are a con job to get young men and women to ignore the ACTS that they are committing in foreign lands. That accounts for the monstrous numbers of active duty and veteran personnel committing suicide. And there is nothing in the Constitution that allows the US military to deploy to do humanitarian work. That is for the private sector to do. I personally resent having my income stolen from me at the point of a gun to help others. Get your head our of your red, white and blue ass and deal with truth. Russ

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