Hamilton Nolan, liberal writer of Deadspin, The Concourse, which features articles on politics from a liberal perspective, stated that anyone who wants to join the military under Trump should not join.
More than half of troops surveyed in the latest Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families poll said they have an unfavorable opinion of Obama, Nolan ignored those facts and decided to tell would-be recruits to just stay home, leaving our nation’s security at risk.
We all know that pacifists, socialists, and flag-burners would advise you never to join the U.S. military, ever. Forget that for a moment. Even if you consider yourself a good patriot, do not join the U.S. military now.
By joining the military, you place yourself at the service of the U.S. president. That’s the deal. You agree that, if ordered, you will go out and kill people you have never met, and risk being killed yourself. You do not get a say in these decisions. You do not get to examine the facts and decide whether the violence you are being asked to perpetrate or support is right or wrong. When you join, you have already made that decision: whatever your commander in chief decides that you should do, you will do, up to and including killing and dying. We often speak of military service being performed “for your country,” but it is more accurate to say it is being performed for the president’s wishes. When and where the president decides it is time for you to go, you go.
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Now, look at the president we have today. Think about him. Not about whether or not you voted for him, or whether you like or dislike his political opponents. Think about him, and his personality, and the way he talks, and the way he acts, and the way he operates. I will try to describe him in ways that I think everyone can agree on: He is extremely reactive to criticism. He tends to lash out at those he sees as enemies. He does not care a great deal about the norms governing how a president is expected to act, which have been developed over long periods of time. He is belligerent. He is not afraid to challenge or insult foreign nations and adversaries of all sorts, regardless of diplomatic concerns. He is unconcerned with nuance. And he is unpredictable.
Yes, very unpredictable. An aggressive, belligerent, unpredictable man, sensitive to criticism, unafraid of consequences, operating with great power in a dangerous and complicated world. This man is now the commander in chief of the U.S. military. This is the man that you will hold your life in his hands when you join the armed services.
If you want to help America right now, help Americans. Volunteer in your community. Don’t put yourself in the service of someone who might let you down.
Nolan’s editorial caught the attention of Adrian Bonenberger of Task and Purpose, news and culture site geared toward the next great generation of American veterans who said that what Nolan proposes is completely wrong.
With all due respect to the author, Hamilton Nolan, he got this one wrong. The premise here seems to be that what the president says goes. That’s not quite right. Although Trump can order the military more or less where he pleases, Congress can exercise the power of the purse to stop him. It hasn’t been overly willing to exercise that power in recent years, but it does often act as a deterrent to more reckless, larger scale activities — for instance, the invasion of Iraq, which was only done with a bipartisan authorization from Congress.
Nolan also ignores one key argument against his request for people to avoid military service, which at least one of the commenters on his thread pointed out: Not joining the military means you won’t have any say in what happens there.
The logic trail goes something like this: You, the empathetic, ethically minded citizen would prefer not to serve in the military because of Trump, or war, or any other ostensibly prudent reason to avoid service. In this way, the military becomes illogical, apathetic, and unethical, and one has nobody to blame but oneself.
Finally, while Nolan concludes his request by offering that people serve in the community, I’d counter that these days; military service is community service of the highest order. All of the volunteer opportunities Nolan proposes are great, but are also routinely accomplished in and by the armed forces. Furthermore, a lack of community volunteers does not have the same cultural or strategic ramifications as a lack of middle-class soldiers, sergeants, or officers.
In a social milieu characterized by cynicism and lack of trust in public institutions, the military is one of the few organizations that still enjoy a relatively stable degree of faith and confidence. That makes it a good place to invest one’s time and energy — and not a system to abandon lightly. If people take Nolan’s advice and bail on the military, our way of life will be threatened and endangered in a way he never intended, and in a way no president could affect or achieve on his own.
It’s bad enough that liberals, anarchists, and Socialists want to destroy this nation with riots and disobedience and now, a liberal wants citizens to not even think about protecting this nation and ignoring the highest honor of any nation and that is to serve their nation.
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