I would like essays. Preferably more than a rant. Any topic, any length, your choice. Please don't give me anything else, as I will have no choice but to dispose of it while driving on the highway late at night, and I hate littering.
“Derek Seidman: A lot of pundits argue that the soldiers made a conscious decision to serve their country, and that they need to live up to this responsibility and not criticize what they're being made to do--it is, after all, the duty they signed up for. What do you say to this?
Stan Goff: Horseshit! This is a big, smelly red herring. They made a conscious decision alright, but not in a vacuum. The decision was to join the military. But they were weighing their real options in the real world when they made that decision, working off of limited information, limited experience, Madison Avenue "Army of One" sales pitches, and an economy that offers most people a glorious career in serial shit retail jobs. That's the reason rich frat boys like George Bush often don't do military service. They have more options. The lack of options is a real thing that can't be erased with a lot of abstracted, two-dimensional, libertarian, we-are-all-free-agents nonsense.
And joining the military is a contractual agreement that is circumscribed by law, not some holy vow to surrender your brain. How is occupying Iraq "serving" the United States? Unless we can define what the United States is, it's pure demagogy. They were not ordered to Iraq by the United States. They were ordered to Iraq by the Bush administration. That's why this volunteer military thing is a red herring. The decision didn't come from the troops. It came from the political establishment. Whether they are "volunteer" or conscript doesn't change that.
The question of criticism while on active duty is a very nuanced legal question, but I would counsel those on active duty to be cautious, or at least know what you're getting into if you speak out. The military can always retaliate, even when you are within your legal rights.”