Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
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14-04-2013, 01:45 PM
Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
I'm posting this under "Health and Psychology" because I'm trying to understand the psychological motivation of the young man in question.

I heard something on the radio the other day—a 2-minute interview with a mother and her 20-something son in the "Storycorps" project—that has stayed with me. When I heard it I was in the middle of breakfast, and I lost my appetite. I still feel terribly sad when I think about it. But the radio station seemed to position it as a heart-warming story of laudable sacrifice. So I'm interested in what people here think about it. Am I the only one who sees this is an example of fucked-up values? Or do I just not "get" the military mind?

The radio interview is here ("At three years of age, you just started playing..."); the text, slightly expanded, here. By the way, the excerpt from "Rhapsody in Blue" heard at the end of the segment was played—beautifully, I might add—by the young man in 2001.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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14-04-2013, 02:11 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2013 02:14 PM by Vera.)
RE: Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
No, Paul, you are certainly not the only one. Unfortunately, as long as the media (esp. your media, in the States), put such a spin on stories like this, these vile, totally fucked-up value systems will perpetuate themselves.

A world where the military is more important and more worthy of admiration than music is a world I'm not sure I want to live in. What gives me a bit of hope, though, is that this is a very American thing, that a lot of other countries don't share.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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14-04-2013, 02:36 PM
RE: Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
No

Man gotta do what he gotta do... I do kinda admire him. He'd promised his mates he'd be there so he made damn sure he was. I think the major fault lies with whoever told him he could cut off his fingers and still go. Fuck that stupidity. He was forced to make a choice like that where they could have just patched him up and let him go. He obviously didn't feel he had the option of *not* deploying. So basically they cut off his fingers and made him feel like it was his choice, whereas it was whoever was in charge of deciding if he could deploy or not who made the actual decision. What *should* have been said was either "we'll patch you and it's fine" or "you're not going, period." To say "if you cut off your fingers you can go" is pure horseshit.
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14-04-2013, 03:30 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2013 03:36 PM by bbeljefe.)
RE: Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
You're far from alone, dude. It makes me sick to my stomach to hear people who are this indoctrinated.

Vera makes a good point about the these stories continuing to be aired but it's not that these stories are aired that causes this mentality.

This goes back much farther in life than signing up to the military. Like almost all of our fundamental beliefs, it starts in the family. It is reinforced through religion and it haunts most of us for our entire lives. Quite simply, it is the fifth commandment (honor thy father and thy mother, blah, blah bullshit).

Our family of origin, like our country of origin, our hair color, our height and so many other things about us is purely accidental. We have no control over it and rationally speaking, we should give no allegiance to any of the above unless it is duly earned. However, it is much easier for parents to to get respect if they can threaten you with some supernatural torture at the hands of someone other than themselves than it is to actually treat you with respect... so that's what they do. This isn't too hard to effect since children naturally need to be able to trust their caregivers and that need persists, even among atheists, throughout life mostly thanks to indoctrination and a complete lack of critical thinking.

Since we are raised to love people for their title rather than for their virtue, we're primed at a very early age for honoring other things arbitrarily as well. Gods, countries, schools, football teams, et al. My school's football team is the best! Why? Had you lived in school district B instead of school district A, would that still be true? Of course it would.... to you (the collective you).

Atheists are keen to identify this sort of indoctrination in religious people but all too often they cannot see it in themselves. They may be rational thinkers where religion is concerned but they will quickly don a green costume and travel across the Earth to murder strangers simply because an American politician said it's moral. Or, they'll praise their abusive, neglectful parents to then ends of the earth simply because they're their parents. Imagine that, two people fuck once, long before you are even around... and all of a sudden you owe them a lifetime of love, honor and care taking in their old age, regardless of how horribly they treat you.

But let's look at that again in chronological order:

First phase of life; Parents: Owed unconditional love in perpetuity, can make your life wonderful or miserable. Owes you nothing but chooses, through own virtue, to do things for you.

This is virtually every parent child relationship whether religious/atheist, American/German, black/white, rich/poor... etc.

Initial Indoctrination; God: Owed unconditional love in perpetuity, can make your life wonderful or miserable. Owes you nothing but chooses, through own virtue, to do things for you.

This is a metaphor for the family. Not so much god as the religious teaching surrounding god. This theme is consistent across cultures, times and has for so long been the case as to be present in families with secular parents.

Adult Manifestation; Country: Owed unconditional love in perpetuity, can make your life wonderful or miserable. Owes you nothing but chooses, through own virtue, to do things for you.

The particular politicians or policies of one's country can be questioned or opposed but the underlying theme remains the same. Ergo, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."


This is why a man will voluntarily amputate a part of the (alleged) most important possession he has in life in order that he can keep a promise to a concept he had no choice in being affiliated with. To me, this indoctrination is the most reprehensible form of child abuse known to mankind and, without a doubt, it trumps religion as the most widespread and commonly accepted form of child abuse, which is evidenced by the fact that there are indeed atheists in fox holes.

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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14-04-2013, 03:35 PM
RE: Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
Sorry for the double post. Went to edit misspellings and hit reply instead.

DOH!

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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14-04-2013, 07:20 PM
RE: Love of country? A sick decision? Something else?
As a former Marine who served during the First Gulf War (but saw no combat), I can kind of understand where the man is coming from.

Some people use the term "brain-washing" to categorize what we go through in boot camp, and there is a bit of truth to that accusation. You spend 13 weeks, 24/7, being transformed from a civilian into a Marine. I can say that graduation day was one of the proudest moments of my life.

After basic, you go to your MOS school, and then to your unit. Now, I was a rear-echelon type, which is more like a regular job than the combat arms folks (and therefore they tend to look down on us). But a grunt - well, he becomes part of a fire-team, which is part of a squad, which is part of a platoon, and so on. They live and train together for a job that involves putting their lives on the line.

In this guy's case, he and his mates had formed a bond during a previous combat deployment, which is one of the deepest ties men can form with each other (so I've heard and read from many combat vets). Therefore, I do not find it surprising that he made his particular choice.

Now, whether or not the cause for which he made his choice was worthy - well, that is another debate. And frankly, I believe that he should have pursued his musical gifts instead of joining the Corps, as this world needs music more than gunfire. But once he earned the eagle, globe, and anchor, and deployed with his unit, the die was cast. Some bonds, strange as they may seem to outsiders, are too strong to be easily sundered.

All that said, I agree with the chap on Bill Maher's show who said that he hoped for a day when males could find other ways to prove their manhood other than sports or combat. I'd like to live to see that day.
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