Letter to my COSubmitted by bronko on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 19:42
*To the DP: Thanks to many on here who unknowingly have helped persuade me in this direction. I plan on presenting the following letter outlining my thoughts and convictions to my CO in the coming days and would appreciate any feedback you may have on it. Anything I should change/delete/add? Thanks*
To Whom It May Concern:
As a disclaimer, I wish to inform the reader that at this point, I have in no way made any decisions regarding my career as a Marine. This is simply to formulate my thoughts, create a discussion, and possibly consider future alternatives to my current path in the Marine Corps. It is somehow fitting (ironic?) that I begin writing this on the 238th Marine Corps birthday and continue it throughout Veteran’s Day and the entire month blindly honoring veterans.
I remember October 13, 2004 like it was yesterday. I remember sitting tall at the recruiter’s office as I signed into the Delayed Entry Program having recently convinced my parents that it was a good idea. I was excited to serve my country.
I remember July 5, 2005 like it was yesterday. I remember the formal swearing in ceremony at the MEPS station where I gave the famous oath that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I remember saying, “So help me God,” turning around, and seeing tears flowing down my mother’s face and a huge smile on my father’s face. I remember spending those last moments with my girlfriend (now wife) and my parents. I remember the goodbyes as I left for 13 weeks of basic training. I remember sitting on the plane studying rank structure so I would be as prepared as possible.
I remember September 29, 2005 like it was yesterday. I remember as Drill Instructor SSgt Baehr marched in front of me and handed me my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, signifying that I was officially a United States Marine. I remember trying my best to hold back tears, and although I failed, I did better than some. I remember seeing my family for the first time in 13 weeks.
I was proud.
I was a Marine.
I was a warrior.
I was a defender of the nation.
Since that time, my love for the Marine Corps grew immensely. I spent hours on my uniform preparing for inspections. I studied my knowledge and was one of the few Marines I knew that legitimately took the knowledge test and did well. I was promoted quickly and I would like to think that I was respected as a Marine. I loved telling others I was a Marine and would take every opportunity to put myself into a position to be thanked for my service.
Unfortunately, my increasing love for the Marine Corps had a negative affect on my morality. I recall a conversation with a friend that I hadn’t seen for awhile in which he asked me what I would still like to do in the Corps. I replied to him that I was disappointed that I hadn’t killed anyone yet.
…disappointed that I hadn’t killed anyone….
Looking back, I question how I could have possibly been so dark. How had my humanity dropped to the level that I had a life goal of ending another human’s life?
I guess its just part of the culture. Killing is celebrated in the Marine Corps and referred to as “getting some.” Running cadences often refer to killing in lighthearted and humorous (to them) ways. The word “kill” can replace a multitude of words in a Marine’s vocabulary without batting an eye towards its implications. General Mattis claimed that it’s “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.” Indeed, killing is part of the culture, and understandably so, but I am no longer part of that culture.
The only morally justified killing is in self-defense. The big lie in the military is that we are used for “defending our freedoms.” Exactly what freedoms were North Korea and Vietnam threatening? Iraq? Afghanistan? Libya? Yemen? Pakistan?
Here’s a better question: What exactly did nearly 3.5 million (since WWII – the last congressionally declared war) service members die for?
The only freedoms that have been lost have come from the hands of our own government. The Patriot Act, NDAA, our unlimited and secret surveillance state, our ever growing police state, have all been put in place by our own government in the name of “National Security” against the boogieman “terrorists.” I gave an oath to support and defend the Constitution, while our own government that I am employed by is the one that is attacking it.
I joined in order to “defend freedoms,” but I have become aware that I am doing no such thing. I am being used as a pawn in unconstitutional, inhumane, and immoral “wars” that I believe to be based solely around money. (1Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…)
Major General Smedley Butler is often honored in the Marine Corps for his heroic actions, which earned him two Medals of Honor. Unsurprisingly, I failed to see his book “War is a Racket” on the Commandant’s reading list, and no one ever mentions his life after retirement.
Six quotes from “War is a Racket:”
“War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
“My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.”
“There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.”
“I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service…And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.”
“Our boys were sent off to die with beautiful ideals painted in front of them. No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason they were marching off to kill and die.”
“Modern wars are maneuvered and engineered into existence in order to generate obscene profits for behind-the-scenes corporate manipulators whose sons and daughters never serve or die in those wars.”
After learning these things and researching for myself the purpose of war, the damage of war, and the lies that surround war entirely, I find it impossible to remain proud that I am part of the military system.
“Thank you for your service.” These words mean absolutely nothing to me, because I know that the civilian that just told me that believes the lie that America would be doomed without this country being the policemen of the world. I no longer believe this lie. If history is going to speak kindly regarding America, the military must be used for defense only.
“Happy Veteran’s Day.” Again, these words are worthless to me and have been said far too often. What are we celebrating again? Those who served? In order for one to serve, one must be served, so who is the recipient of our service. Is it the American citizens, who want to live quiet and peaceful lives, (1 Timothy 2:2 – “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”) or is it for military contractors and politicians in their endeavor for greedy gain. I would argue that it is the latter. So thank you veterans for fighting and putting your life on the line for governmental corruption. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger admitted, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”
I am quite aware that this may foster the belief that I am unpatriotic or hate my country. I assure you that this cannot be further from the truth, depending on your definition of patriotism. Ron Paul wrote in his book Liberty Defined that “there was a time when a willingness to criticize one’s own government when it was wrong was the very definition of patriotism.” In the military, under the UCMJ, I am unable to do this. My free speech, my ability to criticize, has been made unlawful.
“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.” – Malcom X
I also understand that this may cause you to think I am a coward. A coward hides behind others’ transgressions and blames higher ups. “I was just following orders” are the words of a coward, one who will not take responsibility for his own actions. It is a glorified version of the Milgram Experiment – “I am not responsible because someone told me to do it.” Cowardly. Some may say that they are not just following orders, and they still believe in the military system and our current justification for war. That is on them.
As a human, and as a Christian who has finally understood that Americans are not God’s chosen people and do not have his eternal blessing to control the entire world, I must speak up about my personal convictions.
Laurence Vance, in his book “War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the follies of Christian Militarism,” begins with this:
“If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, and the warfare state with its suppression of civil liberties, imperial presidency, government propaganda, and interventionist foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace.”
As a believer of Christ and his teaching, I have no place in the Marine Corps.
Because of these personal and internal convictions that I have presented (along with many others), I am consciously forced to find my way out of the Marine Corps in any feasible manner. I am not 100% clear on my options, which is why I have presented this letter to discuss those options.
This letter does not come easily. I am internally torn due to potential consequences and hardships, but my conviction remains steadfast and I know this is what I must do.