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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:19 PM
Original message
I'm just stunned.
I was home for Thanksgiving.
42 people, a lot of love.
And then my 21 year old cousin, 5 months from college graduation, takes me aside to tell me that he's joining the Army.

When I expressed my dismay, he got a bit upset. Told me that he was going to be serving his country, and this was his decision. I told him that of course it was his decision, but is he really making an informed choice - WHAT about this war is serving his country?

What really gets me is that his father did two tours in Vietnam.
When I interviewed him for a paper in college, he said that when he joined up, he believed in what he was doing, and about 6 months before he got to go home, he knew what was going on was wrong. I cannot believe he hasn't talked to his very intelligent (and far more useful back at home) son about this.

We left it with my telling my cousin that I would of course send him packages (I already do it for strangers, why not family?), but I also begged him to study what was going on with this war before he joins up.

What in the world would convince a kid that NOW is the time to join the Army???
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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. He wants to serve his country. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately
the country is being run by shithead chicken hawks.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. No, there is nothing wrong with that.
And I wish our country had something worth serving for these days.
However, when they're letting just about ANYONE into the Army, because the need for cannon fodder is so pressing, I have a hard time thinking of it as something honorable...
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kas125 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #10
25. If what he wants is to serve his country, maybe you could

suggest AmeriCorps to him? That's still a way to serve the country without joining the military, so maybe that could be an option.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. Instead of finishing college or after?
If it's after, at least he can be an officer. If he is throwing away 3 1/2 years of college, well, that's just stupid.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. After.
I don't know about the officer thing - how big a difference would that make?
(ie, would he be safer?)
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thepurpose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. I would like to think your cousin is joining because he believes in his country and this country is
much more than this war against terror. We have gone adrift before, but we have righted ourselves. Lets hope we have one more righting in us and your cousin comes through this all in one sound piece.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. I agree with you.
This country is so much more than the war on terror.
But right now, that's the focus of those in charge, isn't it?

If the righting comes after he's gotten himself killed, hurt, or just psychologically screwed up for the rest of his life, what good will that do? (Not to mention the thousands this has already happened to...)
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Didereaux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. Bad grades? not a slam, its not uncommon reason.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. I wish.
Nope, good grades, smart kid.
Worked as a firefighter while in school, wants to be a history teacher.
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Didereaux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:53 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. uhoh he got bonked on the head firefighting...bonk him again they say that works! ;)
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. You answered your own question in your post.
What really gets me is that his father did two tours in Vietnam.


Never underestimeate the desire of the child to emulate/live up to the example of the parent.

Paw went to a stupid war; well, I will, too....
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. I was...
.. thinking the same thing. :)
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and-justice-for-all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. You should educate him on this issue yourself...
He will more then likely turn to the wrong sources and become even more misinformed.

My grandfather, WWII vet, is disgusted by the Iraq invasion and agrees that there is no glory, valor or victory to be had from the Iraq invasion. He was rather disturbed when one of our relatives decided to join the army and my grandmother even voiced dissent. They do not like Bush either, at all and neither does my dad.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
7. He is should wait to enlist until well after the war has finished eating up lives.
The war seems like it will outlast the Bush presidency.
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shaniqua6392 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. My nephew did the same thing last year.
He was only 19 and had college totally paid for. We could not convince him to stay. The recruiters were working on him for his last two years of high school. We did not know anything about it until right before he signed up. He was convinced that it was the right decision. Now that he has been in the Army for a while, he knows he has made a mistake. He just told us that he will not reenlist. What a joke since he signed up for five years and still has 3 1/2 to go! Plus 3 in the reserves. God how it makes us sick. We begged and pleaded. Told him about the war, Bush, etc. I think he was just on the threshold of adulthood, starting out in life, etc. and it was overwhelming. He chickened out and opted for the life where you are told what to do and when to do it. Thankfully, he is a prison guard and did not qualify for the MP position and has been to Gitmo and now Leavenworth. So far there is no hint he will go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Good luck with your cousin. He will be in my thoughts and prayers as are all of our troops.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:34 PM
Response to Original message
9. Would you feel differently
If there wasn't a rediculous war going on? The military is being used in a poor way by G-Dubs but that doesn't mean the military is a bad thing. People join for a variety of reasons and serving the country (remember, he will be serving the country, not the president) ranks pretty high.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Absolutely.
But this war IS going on, the armed forces are desperate for recruits, and reason after reason for this war have fallen by the wayside.

I admire anyone who wants to serve their country, but I do not think that what the armed forces are being called on to do right now is that.

(Incidentally, I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Navy. My father joined up, and it probably saved his life. Got him out of his bad neighborhood, gave him discipline and direction, and helped him become the very successful businessman he is today.)
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. Keep in mind that joining the army
doesn't mean a trip to the sandbox. I completely understand your worry here. No one wants to see their loved ones put in that situation. One thing to remember is that it can be very hard to talk people in their late teens/early twenties out of things.

One thing I'd suggest is that you (if you haven't) mention some alternatives to him, like joining Americorps instead. As someone who spent five years in the Army, I certainly wouldn't recommend joining the military to any of my family members or friends right now, but I hope, that if he ultimately decides to join up, that you'll support his decision. Remember that supporting the military does not mean tacit support for the toolbags currently in charge of it.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
15. I had a friend who was going in.
He had already talked to a recruiter, and was going into the rangers - and had already shaved his head. But he hadn't signed anything yet.

I went over to his place with a copy of The Ground Truth, and we watched it together.

He's not enlisting now.
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kimmylavin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Hmm...
Maybe I'll get him that for Christmas...
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. Does he live in your area?
Do you have to wait for Christmas? It's not a very Christmassy sort of gift, but it is a good one for sitting around and watching with a person. Our local library has a copy, so I'm guessing you could borrow a copy where you are at as well.
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Captain Angry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
18. Did your cousin have a lot of opportunities where they live?
Is he married?

Is he in debt?

Is he in a situation that makes him think that serving the country is the only way out of the problems he's in?

I just wonder if he's choosing this direction for other reasons.

I wish more people could find other ways than carrying a gun to serve the country.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. Has he been keeping up with how well this country serves
our veterans?

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Union Thug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
22. "Serving his country" Hate to say it, but in my opinion, those who
join today's military are serving corporate interests. The country isn't being served by wars of aggression and control of energy resources. But the wealthy are.
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tularetom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
24. My nephew's kid joined the Marines to prove to his dad
that he was a tough guy. You know what? The dad (a real asshole even if he is my late sister's kid) could not give less of a shit.

The kid is supposed to come home either just before or right after the first of the year. His dad plans a big fishing trip and refuses to cancel if his kid comes home at the same time. We had a big thanksgiving family thing too and this jerk almost ruined the whole thing.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. The Coast Gaurd?
That would be serving the country.
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