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My relationship to military service:

Displaying poll results.
I've been in the U.S. military, no longer am.
  3043 votes / 11%
I am currently in the U.S. military.
  530 votes / 1%
I've been in the (non-U.S.) military, but no longer am.
  1991 votes / 7%
I am currently in the (non-U.S.) military
174 votes / 0%
I have never been in the military.
  16322 votes / 59%
I am an army of one.
  5585 votes / 20%
27645 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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My relationship to military service:

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  • Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:35PM (#41981809)

    Where is the option: I have been bombed by the US military? How about twice?

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:52PM (#41982053)
    missing options:
    .
    ( ) -- Halliburton / KBR / Blackwater contractor
    ( ) -- Conscientious objector
    ( ) -- I'm still hiding out in Canada!
    ( ) -- Deferral for college, wink-wink
    ( ) -- I'm a holder of political office, and I got my son into the National Guard, he didn't have to show up, and then he became president.
    ( ) -- Sir, Cowboy Neil is my drill instructor, Sir!
  • Waning Conscription (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iskender (1040286) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:55PM (#41982093)

    Some decades back the "past non-US military" option would have been a lot larger in a poll like this. But since then most European countries have phased out conscription, meaning it's no longer the norm for men.

    Interestingly some have said this reduced gun crime in the past: when someone teaches you at the start of adulthood that guns kill and then teaches you how to kill only when ordered to kill you're less likely to use guns for your own purposes. I don't really believe it but it's an interesting viewpoint.

    Another interesting thing is that a generation back you could probably have given an AK-47 to a random European male and there would have been a greater than 50% chance that he could use it. And by use I mean not just firing, but more like a rudimentary load-set to single fire-take aim-fire routine. Would it ever have repelled the Soviet Union? Probably not, but on the other hand tens of millions of riflemen can in principle do anything. It's good we never had to find out.

  • by darnkitten (1533263) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:01PM (#41982183)
    Military family - grew up on and around bases, Father retired enlisted, majority of siblings served in one way or another. Me, they didn't need.
  • by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:28PM (#41982535)

    Yeah, I managed to avoid conscription when I was 18 by simply acting sufficiently disinterested. Apparently there is a point at which even the (Swedish) army just sort of gives up on any hopes of turning you into a soldier.

    Mostly I just didn't see the point in wasting a whole year running around in the woods when I could go straight to college.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:37PM (#41982659) Homepage
    It is possible.This guy did [wikipedia.org] and for bonus points he managed to survive both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:18PM (#41983177)

    That about sums up the US government's attitude towards "collateral damage" (voluntary manslaughter to those who accept reality), and underscores the reason why the US government "allows" it to happen (makes it happen to those who accept reality). Most of you probably aren't aware that the US government actually has a quota on civilian deaths -- if the number is less than 30 (if I remember correctly), they don't even need to call their superiors to "sign off" on it. If the number is greater than 30, they call the boss and the boss decides whether "it's worth it" to continue (to the US government obviously, not the victims) -- if the PR risk is low enough, they simply continue.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kittenman (971447) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:49PM (#41985145)

    Why is it that whenever NATO does something wrong it is only the US that is blamed..whether they had a presence or not.

    Because:
    1) NATO is mainly made up of US military (correct me if wrong but the impression is that the States have a bigger military than other country's - so by percentages, most soldiers/sailors/airmen tend to be US service personnel
    2) Where the US military go, the US media follow - and the world sees it.
    3) The US is not a signatory to an international treaty that requires military incidents where people other than a legitimate target (my phrasing) to be tried by an international judge/jury in The Hague, Holland.

    I was going to add that the US military is seen as being a little 'free and easy' with bombs, etc. I was in Italy when a NZ observer (and others) was killed by a US aircraft dropping bombs ahead of the target, When I mentioned that to my Italian workmates, they mentioned that a few years back, an F14 pilot had bailed out of his aircraft while being close to a ski-run in the north of Italy. The pilot was ok. The F14 sliced through a cable-car cable on the way to the earth and about a dozen people died from the fall.

    The rest of the world also gets coverage of all the college rampages, workplace shootings, etc that the US have. Our impression - rightly or wrongly - is that the US is a little over-relaxed about guns.

  • by DaChesserCat (594136) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:01PM (#41985881) Journal
    You have to be careful which one you sign up with.

    I spent 4 years in Uncle Sam's Air Farce. I lived in a dormitory, not a tent. I slept on a bed, not on a cot. I handled an M-16 a whopping total of 4 days of those 4 years. I spent those 4 years working on fighter jets (F-16, to be more specific) and was able to pass the exams for an FAA Airframe Mechanic's License when I got out.

    I used my VA benefits to pay for expenses while I finished off a B.S. CompSci, after I got out.

    Finished college over a decade ago. Making plenty more than I would've if I'd stayed in, or had never finished college.

    If I'd joined the Army, I would've spent more time in a tent, more time on a cot, more time eating really lousy food. Just because I served my country doesn't mean I felt the need to do it the hard way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:55PM (#41987497)

    You're absolutely right. Mandatory service was a reality for many of us. Heck, I remember the air siren testing in case the Soviets decided to invade. interesting times.

    I actually ended up serving in two branches for two different nations, neither one US and both NATO members. Technically I would also been able to serve for a third country since I was born there (but did not receive citizenship), which was also a NATO member.

    In the country of my parent's birth, I had to do my mandatory service. Since I was accepted for University they reduced my term to weeks from several months. We then emigrated shortly after. My older brother had to serve for a lot longer than me.

    In my current country, I joined the reserve in order to help with tuition. Armed forces are completely voluntary.
    I have dual-citizenship in both.
    When I worked briefly in the country of my birth a few years back, I actually ended up working with the military in converting a few systems purchased from my employer.

  • by KalAl (1391649) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:42PM (#41987873) Homepage
    Not sure I follow the logic of your argument that veterans make better legislators.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:56PM (#41987981)

    "The rest of the world also gets coverage of all the college rampages, workplace shootings, etc that the US have. Our impression - rightly or wrongly - is that the US is a little over-relaxed about guns."

    I don't know where you are from, but I have studied the subject. One of the reasons the U.S. is perceived to have such a high crime rate is that in most other countries crimes are reported differently.

    In England, for example (and maybe all GB, I don't know) a death by gunfire is not labeled as a "homicide" unless someone is tried and convicted for the murder. Here, it is listed as a "homicide" regardless of whether the shooter is caught. And given the conviction rate for major crimes, that alone could affect the "homicide rate" as much as maybe 50%.

    So even the "official" numbers can be very misleading.

    Another difference is that unlike some other countries, we splash our dirty laundry all over the front page.

    A third difference is our ridiculous drug laws. The vast majority of shootings in this country are between rival criminals, and the vast majority of those are drug-related. It isn't everyday citizens shooting their neighbors. It's one drug dealer ripping off another.

    Further, there is no -- read: none, not a whit, not one iota -- of statistical evidence that gun ownership in the U.S. has any effect on the crime, or even homicide, rate. On the contrary: exactly the opposite is true. It may not be obvious, but the crime rate in the U.S. has been dropping significantly and steadily for 30 years now. During that entire time, per-capita gun ownership has gone steadily UP. And so have concealed carry permits.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:07PM (#41988067)
    ... For Operation Shock and Awe. I figure that means I did my part. (Took out pretty much 100% of their offensive capabilities in one day, with very little collateral damage.)

    But I did not -- and would not -- have anything to do with occupation. That is a different story altogether, and had nothing to do with their "offensive capabilities".

    Hell, if I'd been told the truth (i.e., that their actual "offensive capabilities" against the United States pretty much amounted to little more than peashooters), I would have had nothing to do with it from the start. We were all lied to. And we're still being lied to.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:31AM (#41989703)

    I think it's this sort of thing that's at the heart of people's hatred of the US military, even amongst the US' allies, the fact that even when the US military does do wrong there's no accountability. I've no idea why that's even the case, why any organisation would want to cover up incompetence because that only encourages people to continue to be incompetence because there's no penalty for fucking up.

    We similarly had an incident here in the UK where a number of British soldiers were killed/injured by two retarded A10 pilots who strafed their convoy (apparently telling the difference between the union jack and the iraqi flag is a bit beyond US military training) in Iraq and as is standard in the UK we hold enquiries when these types of incidents happen to find out what went wrong, in part to give the families closure, and in part to learn from our mistakes. As part of the inquiry we requested the footage from the aircraft from America, but of course no, they closed ranks, wouldn't give the pilots name and so on and so forth.

    Thankfully, someone with some understanding of why accountability matters leaked the video regardless and it was all sorted, but the fact that the American response to accidently killing their own allies is "Fuck off we don't care" rather "Shit, we're really sorry, we'll do everything we can to figure out what went wrong" means it's hard to have any sympathy for the US military when they get blown up by IEDs trigged by nothing more than pissed off civilians and so forth - the hatred they create for themselves is entirely their own doing.

    Similarly in Iraq, numerous incidents of rape and murder went unpunished by US soldiers - I can't comprehend why you'd ever allow that. That makes the US soldiers akin to the Japenese soldiers that raped Nanking in my eyes, if you want to play the good guy you don't just go into a country and arbitrarily rape and murder people with little or no punishment.

    It's shocking how many Americans will also then defend this sort of thing, as if they're oblivious to the fact that in defending it they only create more hatred of their nation and create an even bigger army of extremists abroad that will be out trying to kill them at every opportunity. No one's saying that accidents don't happen, but don't just fucking sweep them under the carpet, actually investigate to see what went wrong, whether anyone was at fault, and try and right the wrongs with your allies by bringing closure and learning from the mistake, and if someone was at fault, then bring them to justice, don't let them get away with it, because in doing that, the US has effectively legalised murder/rape by it's soldiers which isn't a good place to be.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kirth (183) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:55AM (#41990223) Homepage

    As a swiss citizen (we've got a lot of guns, but tend not to use them), I don't think you're over-relaxed about guns. I think you're rather obsessed with them, but over-relaxed in the USE of guns ;)

  • by tilante (2547392) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:32AM (#41991211)

    Heinlein has some great thoughts on conscription, and on 100% conscription. (For a militaristic guy, he really hated the draft) And I can see his point and even agree with him to an extent. There are advantages in the all volunteer force.

    that said, I can see the other side of the coin too, the benefits of mandatory service. Though in my view, such service would not have to be military, or even be at the federal level. I would include the Peace Corps, local police and fire departments,

    ... which is just the way it was in Starship Troopers (the book). To become a citizen required doing two years of government service - but that service didn't have to be military. You could be police, fire, an inspector for some government agency, or even a postal worker and earn your citizenship. (There was only a single world government, and it wasn't clear whether there were federal and non-federal levels, but the actual requirement is stated as "government service".)

    Now, because humanity had a major war going on, joining the military was the easiest route to getting your government service in... but it wasn't the only.

  • by Darth_brooks (180756) <clipper377@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:55AM (#41991427) Homepage

    The 10,000ft view of that particular POV is this;

    -Military service gives you a bullshit tolerance that's considerably higher than that of the average person.

    -You gain a much better understanding of how to be a cog in a machine. Right now, we have a legislative body full of "mavericks" and "rebels" who couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were on the bottom, mostly because working *with* someone else is perceived as a sign of weakness. You understand that whether you're a big cog or a little cog, none of you get anything done alone.

    -The "we oughta bomb them fuckers" mentality gets tempered somewhat by service. To a legislator that didn't serve, actions like Grenda are considered 'saber rattling' and 'showing force.' To someone who served, Grenda is "that place where that guy from basic was killed. Man, what was his name? His sister was super hot and I think his Dad was the guy I talked to at graduation who served with my Uncle..." Different perspectives.

    It's a blanket statement to say that they're somehow "better" qualified. Veterans can be total fuckheads as well (Hi there, Randy! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Cunningham [wikipedia.org] ), and they can be ideologically polluted tools who spout nothing but party lines, but the general rule is that at least there *some* baseline for those folks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:17AM (#41992293)
    Glad you enjoyed your service. Mine was a pathetic, political cluster-fark. I signed up because I was in a location where the 2 major employers in the area had just collapsed (Eastman Kodak and Xerox). I was broke and unemployed and refused to move back in with the parents.
    I scored nearly perfect on the "placement" tests; and was offered a special assignment in a "technically advanced information gathering unit". I was looking forward to cool toys, a chance to travel, and doing something useful. Instead I ended up stateside in a large city in a unit where people went in and never came out.The internal politics in the unit -- which was 10 years past its prime, was desperately looking for a relevant future, and which senior NCOs ruthlessly culled the incoming recruits for small minded policy nazis -- let's just say it was a very depressing situation. The unit was over-weight in senior NCOs and could not keep new recruits past the 4 year mark. I rebelled and barely lasted past 2 years. A decade later I heard most of the unit was RIFed and the tasking sold to a civilian contractor. (Don't ask; can't tell).

    I learned how to spot and avoid policy nazis. Was this useful to my country?
  • Re:Really people? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:29AM (#41992471)

    No, it is not. Please stop abusing that word to describe things that are not slavery. Slavery is a well-defined concept that does not apply here. I'm not saying it isn't bad or evil, just that it is not slavery. You don't become someone's property, your children don't become someone's property. It has a limited term, there are ways to leave, there are limits to what they can do to you and a million other differences.

    Your "well-defined" definition of slavery appears to be based specifically on the US system of African slave trade and exploitation, which is among the most extreme and horrific implementations of slavery in human history. However, slavery has appeared in many other forms, where there is no obvious racial "marker" to permanently deny humanhood to the enslaved population. When considering patterns of conquest and slavery in other societies, from Native American tribes to the Roman empire, the attributes that you ascribe to "not slavery" are often present. Slaves might be able to own property, buy their freedom, be freed/integrated into society after a fixed term of service, have free children, etc. The US military is certainly not as bad as the African slave trade, but shares key attributes (such as totalizing control of where a person lives, what their work is, who they can associate with, etc.) with many other historical social relations that have been termed "slavery." Whether you "become someone's property" is a matter of semantics --- while US military conscription is not codified under "property law," there is little practical difference between "having to obey the commands of your overlord because you are property" and "having to obey the commands of your overlord because you are subordinate" --- in either case, you are a tool for someone else's ends.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeRobe (207552) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:32PM (#41993155) Homepage

    Therefore No crime of war perpetrated by the US military can ever be trialed by an independant court

    Actually the US can always re-sign and ratify the Rome statute, after which it will be possible to be tried for war crimes. As I understand it, they have problems with suspicion that American citizens who are brought to trial at the Hague may not receive due process, including a jury trial.

    The US signed the Rome Statute at first under Clinton (but didn't ratify it), then the Bush administration revoked the signature (which would mean they really don't have to even pretend to abide by it). Now the current administration is showing signs of being interested in the ICC again, but they haven't directly stated that they want to sign or ratify it. It seems like a thin line the current administration is walking - they want other countries to be held accountable at the Hague, but not themselves quite yet. Maybe once the government isn't at war, they'll be more likely to ratify it (since war crimes prior to ratification can't be prosecuted).

    I disagree with the statement that the US has perpetrated more crimes of war and crimes against humanity than any other nation. Although the US is by no means a saint, Sudan, Rwanda, Egypt, Syria, Cambodia, Iraq, North Korea, China, and others have had their share of crimes against humanity in the past 70 years, including genocide in some cases, without trial in an international court. Iraq 1 and 2, Kosovo, Vietnam, etc. aren't by their nature war crimes. War crimes do happen in every war, and I personally think people who commit them should be held accountable by the Hague (including Americans). But to say that the US as a whole has committed more crimes against humanity than, say Rwanda where 800,000 people were killed in 1994, or the Kmer Rouge which killed 1.7 million Cambodians in the late 1970's, is nonsense.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:28AM (#42000065) Journal
    That's not -or has not always been- true. I remember a case (must have been in the 1980s) when an American soldier in Germany was arrested and accused of murder and rape by domestic police. The U.S. rather surprisingly didn't make any effort to get him out. It was pretty obvious that he was guilty and the guy insisted on being tried in the USA - don't ask me why. German authorities agreed, he got hs trial in the USA and was sentenced to death. In Germany he'd have got 15 years, 20 at max.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

 



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