Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's Veteran's Day and I'm Glad I Never Served

Today is "Veteran's Day" and I'm very glad and thankful that I never "served" in the military. I don't have a military bone in my body. A 5:30am bugle is anathema to me. I do pushups only of my own volition. I don't use toilet facilities in full view of others or in a foxhole outdoors. Motel 6 is roughing it, and I prefer soundproof walls and solid porcelain, thank you.

I've been reminded so many times in my life that I fall into the first generation not to be subject to a military draft. I was however coerced with threats of prison (and an unwanted boyfriend named Bubba, no doubt) by our compassionate government to register for the draft on my 18th birthday. The last draft used was for the Vietnam war, and talk revived during the first Gulf war, just short of my being too old. That draft talk was frightening to me then. But it has been revived yet again, and I fear for my sons' freedom when they are old enough to face the same coercion.

The bible is clear in the Old Testament about military service being voluntary. Those who are scared or who are recently married are not to serve. God only wants dedicated volunteers, and I joyfully hold this truth for my country today. The idea of a draft is unbiblical. Even though my father served in the navy and his father in WWI and several other uncles and cousins since then, I never felt any compulsion to serve in any capacity. In fact, my dad told me he would kick my ass if I ever joined. That had no effect, as I would be too scared to go to war anyway. Sorry, warhawks.

But I even held my fear of military service, before my conversion to Christianity, while I was a Republican warhawk. I wanted to nuke Iran in '79 - quite literally - and Iraq in '91. The smart bomb techno war in the Gulf turned me on. I saw several stories about our pilots in their early 20's listening to heavy doses of death laden heavy metal music (my favorite genre at the time) just prior to their sortis that killed thousands. Carpet bombing a hundred thousand Iraqis into another world was quite thrilling to me (their families were just as guilty as Saddam because they dared support their men against the US of A). I never had the slightest problem with civilians being killed, either, because they were just worthless dregs of humanity that could never amount to anything resembling Americans. My pro-death, pro-military attitude was in full force, just as long as somebody else was over there fighting the war.

Today, I still couldn't serve in the military. If my neck of the woods were attacked by an invading foreign power (or a domestic one as well) I could see myself fighting out of necessity, but only in a militia or as a freelance warrior. My tactics, odd as it may seem to most Americans, would be quite similar to those of the "insurgents" in Iraq. I would subject the invaders, even decades after a successful invasion, to blind, "random" (to their minds) attacks. I could be an invisible sniper or something similar. I'm a Christian, but not a pacifist. I wouldn't rule out extreme torture or grotesque body disfiguring or mutilation of captured soldiers as means of psychological torment and warning to other invaders. I've never understood the concept of "rules of war" and as a holder of private property, there would be no rules for self-defense. If my life were unlawfully threatened by anybody, military or otherwise, I see no restraint whatsoever in defending myself from them. Anything would be fair game to save my life or the lives of my loved ones. None of this means I support torture tactics used currently by the US in the "war on terror" because I don't see our current was as moral in the first place. But maybe the idea of "rules of war" such as the Geneva convention are useful in restraining states from gross evil when acting out of their own self-interest.

I sincerely hope I never have to engage in anything close to this in my life. I hope the same for our sons and their sons. I do believe in the biblical promise that the nations will beat their swords into plowshares. I hope this happens within my lifetime. Meanwhile, I'm still thankful I never served in the military and am quite convinced that my life is much better because of it.

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