Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dialing in from Dallas

I'm sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. I think it's in the four o'clock hour "my" time, six something here and seven something in Ohio. I fear the final leg of my journey, to Detroit, will have me at my wits end! I tried to sleep on the way here, unsuccessfully. I'm a fidgity flyer and it especially sucks not to have anyone to lean on. The last twenty minutes of the flight from LAX was not without someone to talk to though...

My flight was full of cocky Marine recruits who all looked like they just hit puberty. Although they looked young, they already had that cool, asshole, hardened essence about them. That was my impression until the one next to me opened his mounth and my heart sank. He was so... clueless and appropriately immature. He just talked and talked and talked to me. He'd wanted to join the Army and didn't know what the Marines were when they called him. He wanted to be a sniper because "it's so cool in the video games," but there were no openings so he's training to be a military fire fighter instead. At the boot camp he was returning from they talked about how it would be "awesome" for war to start in North Korea or Russia because it would be somewhere new to fight. "War isn't a video game!" I replied. "I know, I know..." he laughed. But does he? He also went on and on about his family. His room is decorated with Eagles football stuff; he owes his mom $200 because he asked her to buy him a new jersey while he was at camp. *sigh* I wanted to ask "are you going to call her from Iraq for a new baseball cap?". But I didn't. I just listened.

I realize the military is a great option for people like him who have no idea what they would do otherwise, but it just doesn't seem right for a kid, barely 18, to be on the front lines of something that is so far beyond their comprehension...

This is not inviting a military debate, just a highlight, or low light as the case may be, of my travels.


Mombi said...

OMG, that is so frightening and makes me feel like kids like this are preyed upon to enter the military. If they knew what they were getting into they wouldn't be so nonchalant about it.


Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God.

My boyfriend, as you know, is currently located just underneath one of the countries mentioned where it would be "cool" for war to start. My boyfriend has years of military and combat experience- and two years ago, he told me two things : we are screwed if we go to war with nk or iran. in fact, my boyfriend valiantly tried to resign from the military in April. A week before a big week in my life (you can guess which one) the army denied his resignation (even though he is a fully commissioned officer and owes the army no education credits or anything at this point) and his higher up told him "if you don't have a loved one dying right now, you're not getting out." my man is terrified that something might happen in NK that would kick off a war- we are not prepared for that kind of war. we weren't prepared for Iraq- how can you prepare for roadside bombs? What irritates me is that my man desperately wants out and is literally miserable being "stuck" (he considers himself "playing army" for the next few years until he gets out). he went on this deployment when they told him he could do 12 months in sk or 18 in Iraq. having done iraq once and been injured there, he opted for this. Iraq not only kills and injures our soldiers, it's emotionally messing with them. we're having more and more soldiers come back with mental problems than ever. suicide in the military is up big time. my man actually said that sk is a very popular deployment called AIP (avoid iraq program) by the soliders. all my man's friends are trying to get out of the military and are being denied.

it boils my blood that these young men with no conception of combat beyond video games think it would be COOL to start wars with new countries. please ask senior officers... ask people who have been in the military nearly ten, or better, twenty years. the military is struggling to adapt to strategy challenges in this "new world" and we are NOT ready for a war with nk, iran, or many other countries. wars shouldn't be started out of boredom

and plus, isn't there enough going wrong in AMERICA these days? let's not go provoking international conflicts!

angrily yours,
another ohioan

Anonymous said...

I feel the pain as I am a vet wife. What I read here is that there is such a maturity gap these days. Kids are growing up with the attitude that the world owes them something and then they get hit with a huge dose of reality. No part of life is like a video game. Trust me, Buckeye, those guys won't have that same attitude for long. I am very proud of our military but have also questioned some of our national policies and actions. Even if you disagree with our governments actions,I ask that everyone support our troops. Thank you! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm the daughter of two marines and the mother of a Navy veteran. I think you should know that these recruits know that there is a war and there have been thousands of deaths. Bravado and talking like a warrior is par for the course.

No one is using these soldiers. We have an all volunteer military. I thank God for these brave young people that will do what you nor I are willing to.