I got this article from an email from http://www.whtt.org/ I trust you will find it as enlightening as I have. It's a war vet's reasons why he joined the military in the first place.
Regarding the reasons that people join the army -don't forget economic. That was what forced me into the military.
I was raised in a former Marine's house, and had decided as a youth that I wanted nothing to do with the military. I had no desire to "serve my country", no sense of burning patriotism, certainly no desire to "die for freedom". I went to work the day I graduated high school, and for the next ten years struggled to attain some semblance of the "American Dream". My wife and I were married when I was 23, and we began our family shortly thereafter.
I joined the army when I was 27 years old. We had 2 small children, my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child, I was stuck in a dead end job working 60+ hours a week with no maternity insurance, and getting nowhere. The economy in Oklahoma in 1988 stunk, at least for me. I wanted only to feed my family and make a better life for us. I gambled that I would be able to do my time, get out and get a better job with the training I'd received. I didn't realize how much the deck had been stacked against that happening, given our government's eternal manipulation of foreign policy. 18 months into my enlistment I found myself in Saudi Arabia, an unwilling participant in "Operation Desert Shame".
I was not alone in my situation, I found quite a few men and women with similar stories, who had small children at home and poor prospects for supporting them on the economy as it was. Recall that during the Reagan / Bush years the economy was transformed from a manufacturing base to a service oriented economy, with disastrous results for hundreds of thousands of families. Many of those fathers and mothers were forced to strike the same deal with the same devil to support their families as I.
Desperate economic times enable the elite to man their armies. Desperate economic times permit the note-holding elite to gather even more wealth unto themselves, when they call the notes due and foreclose. Remember that many people lost all they had during the Depression, but the property they lost did not all simply vanish- it was transferred up the food chain. As long as Alan Greenspan can manipulate the economy to maintain a sufficient level of unemployment, some number of men will be desperate. As long as men are sufficiently desperate to support their families, they will sign up into the military. Fully half of the military was married when I was in (1989-1995), I don't know what the percentage is now, but doubt it has fallen.
I don't know what I would have done as an alternative to the situation I was in prior to the military. The position I hold today, I was able to attain from what I learned in the military and from independent study I was able to accomplish while in the military. But it was a high price to pay. It would have been far better had the government made available funds that I could have gotten the training I needed to better my lot without having had to sell my soul for 6 years and 9 days. I am grateful for having been able to retrieve it (my soul) after my enlistment was finally up.
Now I do everything I can to persuade young people to not bite on the military lure that is cast. The cost is too high, more that an 18-year-old can hope to comprehend.Keep on keepin' on.
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