How we betray our soldiers by omission

remember_the_fallenOne of the worst things about living in a collapsing society is the faithlessness of people. They idealize being entirely self-sufficient.

To that end, they refuse to invest themselves emotionally in any idea that lacks self-interest. Nation, culture, religion, nature, marriage and ideology beyond “more rights” get the axe.

As part of this, the first group they betray are those who devote themselves to ideas that are both collective and yet transcend the collective herd. Ideas that rise above the mere sum of us as parts. Ideas that unite us without self-interest.

Currently, 22 former or current American soldiers are committing suicide per day. Why is this?

One explanation is traumatic brain injuries. With body armor and better armor on vehicles, soldiers are less likely to die of shrapnel wounds and bleed out on the battlefield. However, they are still exposed to the concussive force of the explosion, which opens up many small cavities in the brain. The effect is much like rubbing steel wool over circuit boards when they’re on.

However, not all of these soldiers have had traumatic brain injury. The majority of them seem to have depression, PTSD and other disorders related to their self-esteem and feelings about their service.

Our science isn’t advanced enough to consider this, but people who do dangerous and morally complex jobs need some solid truths to believe in. They need to know that when they go over there and shoot people, or hold their friends as they die, that they are doing a Good Thing. No ifs, ands or buts. No lengthy antiwar monologues either.

What may be crushing our soldiers is something similar to what happened when soldiers came back from Vietnam. As they returned, they often faced hostility from hip kids who were mocking these guys for their service. Many of these hip kids went on to more lucrative careers. That experience is soul-crushing enough, but what might be wrecking our soldiers is that now they come home to faithlessness. People are apathetic about the war because they don’t see a personal benefit from it. Thus there is not even a question of whether the soldiers are doing the right thing; no one cares what the right thing is.

And thus these guys fall through the cracks. The hip kids are apathetic and go on to lucrative careers, perhaps as Facebook promotions experts or disability code compliance gurus. The soldiers get used up, cast aside, and then told not that they were wrong to serve, but that their sacrifices were unimportant.

We are betraying them through the absence of a support structure. When your Dad unclogs the upstairs toilet, generally the family is going to praise him for taking on a dirty job. Why don’t we do the same to our soldiers? People are too busy being unique, “different” and faithless as a means of showing how cool they are to take the time to even thank someone.

This leaves these guys alone, ignored, and subverted by a world that has very happily gone about enriching itself while others slogged it out in the dust and the blood. That’s enough to make anyone consider increasing the body count by just one more.

33 Comments

  1. crow says:

    Nicely put.
    I reflect, often, upon exactly what RAF pilots died for, seventy years ago, over the skies of southern England. Today, the only glory imaginable for a so-called ‘Brit’ is Andy Murray finally winning Wimbledon.

    1. NotTheDude says:

      Many popular achievements now that are now celebrated come without any memories of pain or sacrifice. They aren’t worthy of news time anyway. The Olympics, although a great event to behold and prepared for with great dedication by those who competed, was so overblown in importance by the UK that I felt it lost it’s meaning a bit. No one was picketing the stadia in protest over the extravagant waste that it caused, but folk who most likely wouldn’t have the guts to face such a determined foe took to the streets against a war to shield us from madness. All our cultural institutions are searched by slimy or deluded Leftists to prove that they founded by ‘immigrants’ (non majorities) or are unfair to the ‘individual’ just so they can justify their ideals to others. Can we no longer handle an outcome where one side gained and one side didn’t? Sounds like someone hasn’t been reading their copy of Origin of Species that they so admire lately!

  2. Detracted says:

    Interesting article. I suppose that the concussions that I encountered while in would make me defective as well? I noticed one trend of the few suicides while I was overseas: they were smarter than average troops. I think that there are more factors. A good portion of these people never see combat.

  3. Ted Swanson says:

    I tell ya what, the hip kids aren’t even worthy of shining the soldiers’ boots. We should just throw the ungrateful to the wolves if that’s what they want so bad. Next time we go to Nosepickistan you guys can go first, I insist. They have a lot of good coffee shops there, you can meet up and have a chat with Al Qaeda.

  4. Jose says:

    Being cast aside like a bum after we have put our lives on the line for the people here and for our country. Those bastards should be licking our boots but that is okay their time will come soon enough.

    When they ask me to fight for them again i will just put down my rifle and tell them to do it themselves

    Great Post!

  5. RiverC says:

    It’s also a measure of impoverishment. Those who care for nothing beyond their own interests are functioning at the lowest level; at a level of survival. It sucks, but when you tear out all of the supports and structure of a society and atomize everyone, they will become more and more selfish.

    In fact, you will thereby create a condition in which being selfish will be objectively more virtuous than being altruistic or philanthropic. Another way to look at is, a drowning man can’t rescue another drowning man. The way to make selfishness into a virtue is to throw everyone overboard into a raging sea.

    Save or help someone else? You will drown too, and save no one.

    Such is the mental space of our era.

  6. MT says:

    I’ve never seen anyone villifying soldiers in current times. It did happen shortly after Vietnam, which was terriblem, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it now. What I see is that people have thanked soldiers they’ve never met for their sacrafice, some businesses offer discounts for soldiers returning from the war, and they do get scholarships for their higher educations.

    1. RingerXs says:

      There has been a polar shift in the liberal masses reference military apathy. This shift occurred when the current administration took office and announced the First Lady and Dr Biden would front military initiatives and take care of the military family. The herd followed and changed their tune; of course in accordance with the current doctrine of crowdist fashion. Not all, but obviously most have jumped on board. When we change out this current administration we will see the trendy “I do care” movement fade and the same old opinion from the left will return. I have been in the active military for over 25 years, that’s since Reagan, and have noticed a 180 degree shift, more than once. I also can state that this administration has done more than past administrations reference military and veteran care. And I am not a fan of the current crew.

      1. crow says:

        Thanks RX. That’s useful insight.

    2. RingerXs says:

      MT, The villains of the past are semi-silent today only due to the current environment. The old dissenters from days past are in hibernation waiting for the weather to change in order to emerge from their dark dismal place of slumber. When they do emerge, expect them to pounce on all “anti-whatever they think” opinions with the same passionate fervor from the past.

      p.s. I never received a scholarship! :)

  7. Christian in Hollyweird says:

    Great points. The problem is apathy. Over here in hipster central nobody seems to care one way or another. About anything.

    I’ve been thinking about volunteering to welcome home returning veterans for the past month, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Local communities need to come together to provide support. It’s disgusting the way some of the trendies and the government treats our veterans. The conditions in the VA hospitals are abysmal, claims for benefits take over a year to process, and DHS assumes returning vets are terrorists (Operation Vigilant Eagle). However, this assault only goes to show why we shouldn’t spill precious blood and treasure on wars that don’t serve our interests. We need these brave men on our borders stopping the real invasion of our nation not out in a third world hell-hole. Fighting Islamic terrorists in the Middle East while allowing mosques to be built on Ground Zero doesn’t really help our cause.

    1. RiverC says:

      And to make it worse, they’ve adapted the oath slightly, (or so I hear:)

      “I, ________________________, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States, paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State or country whatsoever; and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

      The old one, as far as I know, was

      “I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

      The hipster douches want to make sure you’re their slave while they’re screwing you.

      1. RingerXs says:

        Hum? Not sure this is quite right.

  8. james says:

    Perhaps if we didn’t insist on waging a global jihad in an effort to spread liberal democracy and our decadent anti culture there would not be this epidemic of suicides? Does Russia fight wars in the interest of other nations or its own? Does Israel give a damn if Syrian “rebels” i.e. Al Qaeda prevail or would they prefer to keep the devil they know? I have nothing but respect for our troops and that is why I oppose foreign intervention that does not directly support American interests. None of our wars since James Polk have. What if instead of “wilsonianism on steroids” making the “world safe for democracy” we had america first policies? Like protecting our border from a foreign nation invading by the millions and waging demographic terrorism upon white americans? Do you think Israel would invade Syria to install a democratic regime, protect their borders, and help their people while their nation fell to a foreign horde? Soldiers need a higher purpose like Blood and Soil not wars of “liberation”.

    1. Jane says:

      You explain things very well james. The only part I’d question is why (other than just not to offend) you would claim to have nothing but respect for troops who facilitate these wars that are counter to the interests of the nation. Many of the troops are non-white and the others will still be fighting to protect their buddies – inevitably requiring camaraderie across racial boundaries.

  9. Jane says:

    The soldiers are not going to war for some noble purpose. They are mercenaries. They are doing their job. Many are “recruited through poverty” as there is a shortage of employment.

    The soldiers just want to earn some money and/or imagine they can have an adventure that involves “blowing shit up”.

    They are fighting an “enemy” that need not be any threat to the “West” but becomes a source of increasing immigration through refugees and increased revenge terrorism.

    So basically, soldiers who support all of that are enemies of their own nation and should not be praised.

    1. crow says:

      You can make anything of anything if you try hard enough.
      It is as you say, for you. But is it as you say?

      1. Wild says:

        The last 2 paragraphs she wrote are quite true – I’ve found that most right-leaning commentators recognize that soldiers believe they are doing good for their nation and thus deserve praise for their pursuit of that, but the fact remains that this isn’t true in reality – and isn’t reality what we pursue here?

        This site often bashes liberals for refusing to believe things that run contrary to their emotional wishes and I think the same dysfunction is happening here on this subject – the fact is; these soldiers are off dying in other people’s wars on behest of another nation who has wishes that run contrary to ours.

        We can praise the fighting spirit, but we should certainly question the wisdom of their actions.

        1. crow says:

          You may wish to meet a liberal half-way, and this is natural.
          But a liberal will never do the same for you.
          Goodwill, to you, is goodwill.
          But to the liberal, it is an opening: a weakness to be exploited.

          1. It took me years to learn this. Never apologize, never retreat, never surrender.

        2. RiverC says:

          As soldiers, by definition, you cannot question the wisdom of most of their actions because they are not the source of them; a soldier who does not follow orders is by definition not a good solider unless those orders are so obviously heinous.

          If we say, well, a soldier should not be willing to drop bombs on a city, does that soldier know if that city is full of civilians or not? If you questioned your officer every time he told you to about face, you would all be dead long before you were able to use this information to prevent atrocity.

          It is not the soldiers’ actions I question; they are noble and for the most part, in and of themselves of good nature. I question the officers instead, particularly the officers that both need to know and do know the larger reality of what goes on and yet still rubber-stamp orders.

    2. MT says:

      The soldiers sign up because they want to better themselves and make a new and more promising path in life, and often to improve the prospects of their loved ones. Military service will often open up opportunities later in life. It sounds as if you’ve been indoctrinated by someone who misused your trust.

      1. Wild says:

        I think you and Jane are falling victim to the same problem: ascribing the same motivations to a diverse group of soldiers.

        Some soldiers are nothing more than thugs.

        Some are heroes who selflessly desire the best for their nation.

        I’m skeptical of people who say they’re one or the other.

        1. crow says:

          Indeed. Binary thinking is the problem of the age.
          But there is black, and white, and seven billion shades of grey.
          Equality be damned.

  10. Ted Swanson says:

    Thought experiment: what would it be like if instead of “thanks yous,” scholarships, and I-support-the-soldiers-but-not-the-war mentality, we took it much farther to the extreme? We utterly celebrated war and conflict; soldiers and military were held in highest regard; we did not second-guess every mistaken strategy.

    I would bet many things would work themselves out much better if this was the attitude taken. The standard argument is that if we celebrate war we become bloodthirsty, but I propose it is the inverse. If you want the right men in the right position to make the right decisions then make war prestigious. Virtuous men are motivated more by prestige than scholarships or money. Mercenaries go hand-in-hand with generally holding military in low regard and holding war as unsavory. Because there is no such thing as a perfect strategy, if we would let the military deal with its own blunders internally, they would be less likely to make the same mistake twice, because what causes mistakes is a mind conditioned to second-guessing itself.

    Does a mercenary military cause our low regard or does our low regard cause a mercenary military? If we unequivocally held military in high regard the mercenaries would have to compete against the more virtuous for their positions.

    1. crow says:

      Ha! Nice :)

    2. RiverC says:

      Not intending to insult anyone who is, but mercenaries are the typological male equivalent of the female prostitute. Men are born for conflict as women are born for childbearing. Those who sell that power for coin belittle their souls.

      Soldiers should be paid of course, but the mercenarization (‘zat a word?) of military service that has partially occurred is a bad trend. We have to work to earn our bread, how do you balance the line between being sold soldiering for money, and the soldier being justly compensated for his contribution to society? Is a soldier who joined the military to get paid the same sort of person as a hit man? If they are different, is it only by degree?

    3. I think this is the only healthy way to have any military presence. More like Weimar Germany than Sparta, perhaps, but still accepting and enthusiastic.

  11. Meow Mix says:

    Actually, you’re all wrong. Most of the military suicides are carried out by males between the ages of 18-30. Statistically worldwide most suicides are carried out by that same group. Note that many of the soldiers who killed themselves hadn’t even been to combat yet. The reason the story is so often in the headlines is because it would be bad press for the DoD to just point out the obvious statistical probability and call it a day, so now they have to fight this battle against suicide that is impossible to win.

    1. Interesting. Let’s dig into the data, if we can find it.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/health/suicide-rate-rises-sharply-in-us.html

      http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html#death-rates

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_States

      http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

      “In 2010, the highest suicide rate (18.6) was among people 45 to 64 years old. The second highest rate (17.6) occurred in those 85 years and older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2010, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 10.5″

      1. Meow Mix says:

        I stand corrected. I suppose I was looking at some older data because there were a couple articles on this issue.

          1. Interesting. I wonder what is right?

            My general experience of military people is that they have their act together more than others, at least if they’re voluntarily in the military and not viewing it as a paycheck.

            Here’s the approach in the article:

            The US active service military is some 1.5 million strong. The general suicide rate among all Americans is 12 per 100,000 per year. So, 15 x 12 would give us the expected number of suicides among active duty military: 180 per year. But that’s not quite right for a number of reasons: the most obvious being that they’re talking about “soldiers” not military. There’s some 600,000 (A note about numbers here. Getting the first digit and the number of digits correct is enough. Measuring the number of solders to the 6 th digit would just give a spurious sense of accuracy.) apparently, meaning that our expected number would be 6 x 12, or 72.

            I don’t know from what group the suicides come and how many this group numbers. I think the above is shaky at best and the number is probably much lower than this guy estimates. However, hard to tell without some kind of clearer assessment.

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