Another “It’s not my fault”


This time I reference a soldier, doing an honorable thing, for a wrong reason.

Soldiers are, as a group, honorable. In my opinion, almost as strong as Marines; I think the Air Force has a long way to go and I haven’t a strong opinion about the other uniformed services. That’s why this story bothers me.

For years I’ve been quietly but firmly stating an opinion that soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are not our “kids”. Yes, each is someone’s child, but these are adults – people who have chosen their life path of their own will. A few days ago I ranted about parents who refuse to respect that role.

Then I look at the standard enlistment contract.  It’s here.  It states, page 2, very clearly what to expect.  If we are at war, or go to war while you’re in service, your enlistment may continue until six months after the end of hostilities. You can be called back.  This is a contract you sign, then you raise your right hand and swear an oath to the same.

Are people permitted to change their minds?  Of course they are.  And they don’t have to like it.  Nothing in this contract says you will like it.  It says you will do it.  Change your mind while you’re in?  No problem.  Work the system if you must, find a way to do something else within the military if you must (within the system), and leave when you can.  But while you’re there, live up to your end of the contract.

Is it a fair contract?  No.  But you knew that when you signed – it’s in just about as clear language as any government document I’ve ever seen.

So stand up for your buddies, Mr. Knappenberger.  But don’t do it in a uniform – you aren’t a representative of that uniform any more, since you chose to leave.  And don’t let them play “victim” either.  Each one of them signed the contract just as you did.

Don’t like the war.  I don’t blame you.  But as I said before, there’s nothing there that says you have to like it.

Be adults; live up to your obligations, then move on to other roles if you so choose.

Published in: on August 29, 2007 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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