Saturday, March 27, 2010

A rewrite of a Marine's call for peace

A rewrite of a Marine's call for peace and pause that had been reduced into sheer irrelevance....and an apology.

(I want to apologize to all of you who posted your thoughts and feelings regarding the prior article - I de-published the article to rewrite it to this, and it will not re-publish. I understand many people put a lot of effort into those comments, as I put a lot of effort into my replies. If any of the Newsvine community can tell me how I can get the comments back , I will gladly do so. My biggest apology is for my failure as a moderator. I should have done a better part to keep the conversation to the topic at hand and avoid responding to derailing comments.)

This is intended to be a rewrite of the article that was written - because some people obviously DON'T get it.

The article I wrote yesterday was intended to be a call for peace, and a moment for pause. In all honesty, it was merely my venting after reading dozens of headlines regarding the type of violence in the US that I was more accustomed to seeing on the daily intel briefing sheets while in theater. I never expected the response I got, and I must admit while some of the comments that I received were some of the greatest thoughts and words I've ever seen - some were words I'd hope no human being would never utter to another. My family and myself were threatened, if for no other reason than because my opinions differed from someone else's. Obviously, the intent of my message was convoluted and lost. This is an attempt to correct it.

Every service member has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There's no grey area to that. It's as black and white as it gets.

I nor any service member wants to combat civilians in this or any other country. I don't know how many times I can reiterate that - we do not want it to happen. Even as we prepare for war, we pray for peace.

We lace up our boots every morning in an attempt to preserve the freedoms that democracy has awarded us. We all love our country, and we would give our lives to protect it and its way of life.

Military members must have faith in the system of Government, or the whole chain of command and system of military discipline falls apart. We are rarely given all of the details of our entire mission, and instead are expected to complete seemingly ambiguous tasks in support of that mission with the belief that we are doing the right thing . When we find an order illegal , we're obligated not to follow it, and report it.

So call me naive, but yes. I do have faith in the Constitution and the mechanisms inside of it to correct itself and removing people unworthy of holding office. If I didn't , I never would've taken an oath to defend it. You just can't defend part of the Constitution, or the parts you agree with. It's all or nothing. I choose to defend all of it ,even the parts I may disagree with.

Probably the most foolish choice of words I chose to use in that article were the words 'civil war' . I just shouldn't have written them. But I could think of no other way to articulate what I felt it would require for the military to become involved. A civilian uprising wouldn't be sufficient, it would require an all out civil war.

Much of the comments reflected on this poor choice of words - and successfully derailed the conversation from a call for peace and to use the democratic system to resolve our differences, to people arguing over who's side would destroy who. I'll admit, I too was guilty in that regard - and my attempt to compare military and civilian life easily came across as boisterous and hostile, even though its' intent was to be succinct and concise. For that, I apologize.

BUT DON'T YOU @!$%#ING GET IT?!? In a war, no one wins. Even if you're not wounded, it doesn't mean you leave whole. The images, the feelings, the thoughts never leave you, they're forever etched into your mind, and they become a part of who you are. It's been said that "the people who die in war are the lucky ones - they don't have to live with the memories of what transpired." As morbid as it sounds, in many cases its true.

And to what end ? What would be left AFTER this 'war' was concluded ? Would anything really change ? Or would we slowly sink back into the quagmire of the status quo, resort back to what's comfortable, and then future generations will be arguing over the very reasoning behind this conflict , just as we now debate the real reason behind the civil war ? What would our children, and their children say when they look back at this point in our history ? Seriously, what does anyone expect to gain from fighting their friends, family, neighbors over a difference of opinion ? That's what this really boils down to - people are screaming for blood because they feel differently than someone else.

If that's not the definition of madness, I don't know what is. It needs to stop. Now.

The senatorial elections are coming in November 2010. Everyone who feels passionately about this country , one way or the other, should get out and vote for who THEY think will best represent them . The same in November of 2012. This is your Constitutional right - this is your step in democracy. You get to choose who represents you and your views in the Government.

If you choose to vote using force instead, not only will you fail in your attempt, but your cause will suffer on account of your actions. You will hurt not only yourself, but also every individual who ever aligns with that cause in the future. Consider that when you're making your decision - our causes are not typically portrayed by our most noble or thoughtful members, but rather the most crude and thoughtless. They forever taint what might otherwise be a worthwhile message.

So once again, I , an NCO of Marines, call on all people both military and civilian to exercise your Constitutional rights and participate in the democratic process. I urge you to stop reacting, and start instead thinking and considering. I urge you not to immediately dismiss opinions other than your own.

I urge you to open your minds and consider that maybe, just maybe, there's not a single one of us who has all of the answers, and that includes myself.

In short, I urge all of you - to treat everyone else as you would want to be treated, whether you agree with them or not.

To those calling for a civil war, this Marine wants you to stop, and think...

An article I wish I would never have to write - To those calling for a civil war, this Marine wants you to stop, and think...


It's been said that the military is always preparing for war. That is true. We prepare for combat every day. We ran 5 miles today to the rifle range and shot nearly 200 rounds a piece at targets and then ran back. However, we also pray for peace. I would love one day to be completely unnecessary. But alas, I am a realist, and I know that day will never come.

The headlines of the last week have reminded me more of glimpsing at the S2 Daily Briefing Sheets while in theater or the Al-Jazeera than the NY Times or the Washington Post. Think about that for a moment, let it sink in.

Before I get into the main premise of this article - I need to make two statements here.

First and foremost , when it comes to the back and forth of who did what to whom and why - I don't give a @!$%#. It doesn't change the action. In life we're judged by our actions, nothing more, nothing less. One of the greatest things of the military is when it comes to an enemy, the politics behind the situation - don't matter in accomplishing that mission. For the military , life is simple in that regard.

Secondly, Regardless of your political ideology, you've earned the right as US Citizens to say your piece - no matter how wrong it may be. That is your right, and I will give my life to protect it.

But this government of ours is a democracy. We vote for our representatives, and they vote in our interests. Sometimes, the votes don't go our way. That's life, better luck next time. Exhaust your legislative options, and then focus on gaining the required votes and/or seats to achieve your desired legislative vote next election time. That's the way things work.

But the SECOND you start committing acts of violence and vandalism, then you've usurped that Constitution. You in a way have assaulted it. And then you and I (I being every servicemember who has sworn to defend said Constitution) will have a MAJOR PROBLEM.

For those of you calling for a civil war, I implore you to stop and think about what you're saying. Look around your neighborhood and your city. Now imagine using that terrain to survive. Imagine dodging semi-automatic rifle fire as you scramble from cover to cover, dragging your wounded child behind you. Imagine the deafening report of a mortar as it strikes the ground a 150 feet in front of you, the overpressure enough to shatter your teeth and perforate an ear drum. Try and envision a Stryker rolling through neighbor's front lawn or a F/A-18 making lazy loops over your head in Close Air Support for the troops in the distance.

Now with that vision in mind, stop by your local Marine Corps base, being they will be the first military units you'd face in an all out 'civil war' . Look at them for a moment, examine their 'work environment' . They're running the track, they're climbing ropes, they're grappelling with each other in mock hand-to-hand combat, and shooting targets while moving in raid lines on a daily basis. Nearly everyone on that base, down to our 'secretaries' has a combat award of one type or another, they've faced some of the most stressful situations on Earth where succumbing to the stress can get you killed, and they flourished.

Now ask yourselves and be honest - when is the last time you've run anything other than late to work, climbed anything other than a flight of stairs, grappelled with anything other than a paper jam, and shot off anything other than your mouth? When's the last time you were in any situation more stressful than a traffic jam?

Now I'm not blaming you for your career choice, not in the least. I can't think of a single job that's not useful in some way or another. I just want you to simply compare and contrast your work environment with ours and ask yourselves "Who is better suited to win this battle ?" We both know the answer here, and if you doubt that answer, look at the results from Fallujah in 2004. Over 1200 of them 'lost' and we 'lost only 28. That's a 'win-ratio' of almost 60-1, and they've been fighting their whole lives.

Put this in another scenario. You and your officemates think your local pro football team sucks , so you put together your own team of the best your company has and challenge them to a game. Even if your team might be good, they're professionals. This is their job. Your job is to answer phones and type on a keyboard. In short, they've forgotten more than you will ever know about football. The result, will be a slaughter for you, and a practice for them. But at least you'll get a chance to sit at home, ice your wounds and say 'whew I never should've done that!'

Not so with combat. The results of combat are far...FAR..more permanent. There are no second chances, no time for regrets, and no do-overs. This is not Call of Duty.

Now I 'd like to disperse a myth here - many of you think that US military would not fight civilians. I can't speak for all, but in my case - the moment you declare civil war, you're no longer civilians. The moment you attack the constitution, you're now enemies of that constitution. And I swore to defend and support and if necessary give my life for that Constitution and utilize every tool, technique, and weapon at my disposal to do so. And trust me, I'm not alone.

I hope some of you heed my words and cool the rhetoric and focus on achieving your goals diplomatically instead of physically. It would never want to receive a frag order to Maryland, or North Dakota, or Texas, but it is an order I will follow no matter how much it pains me to do so.