Supporting the Troops

20 09 2010

I’m a fan of the band Otep, an alternative metal band with an angry lesbian singer who goes by the name, Otep Shamaya. They have several songs I’m not so keen on and a bunch that I absolutely love. I’m also not so keen on the fact that Ms. Otep gets dramatic and preachy on stage, on their albums, and on the internet. At one point, back when myspace was relevant, I deleted the band from my friends list because I got tired of the constant barrage of political bulletins they posted. I assume it’s all her, but I don’t really know. Today I saw this from Otep on facebook: “If we have money to pay “contractors” like Blackwater, we have the money to give our Soldiers a RAISE.”

1. There is no reason to put the term “contractors” in quotes.

2. We don’t have the money to pay them. In case you haven’t noticed, the US government is running a major budget deficit, contributing to a massive debt that cannot realistically be repaid.

3. Contractors like Blackwater are in it for the money, clearly. It’s a racket. So are soldiers who voluntarily enlist knowing they’ll be sent to fight a bullshit war. They just lack the experience to get the better paying gig.

4. US soldiers get paid pretty well, especially on hot deployments, and especially considering the lack of work experience and skill that most go in with.

5. Soldiers are enablers. They allow the assholes in charge to do the horrible things they wish to do. If it weren’t for the volunteers, the ruling elite would have a lot more difficulty in achieving their awful goals.

I spent four years in the US Army, and don’t see why I deserve any respect for living off of taxpayers for all that time while I provided nothing in return. I hate bring this up because I hate the positive reaction it gets. I don’t regret it or feel bad about it, but I’m not proud of it either. There’s really nothing to be proud of. Playing war and driving humvees was fun for me, but it was of no benefit to taxpayers. I’m glad I never went anywhere hot and never had to kill or witness violent death. Having grown up in a society sprinkled with jobless, homeless, and mentally ill Vietnam vets, it kills me to know the process that created such men is at it again. I really think we’d be better off if fewer wounded combat vets survived. Several years ago, when I first realized that this was going on with a group of young men that are almost all younger than me, I teared up and I don’t do that.

I can’t support these guys and highly discourage others from doing so and from joining the military at all.