Friday, January 11, 2008

The military and social advancement

There are actually a surprising number of people in the Northwest who are very cool who spent some time in the military in their early twenties. And the economic pressures for people to join the military are well known. But although the people who have done this are largely, but not totally, cool, at least in the circles I run in (which might be biased beyond belief), the reason that this avenue exists in the first place is because the U.S. is an Empire.

Look at it this way: what prestige except nostalgia does a person get by being a career French soldier? Or a Swiss one? France no longer has an empire and so the French army only meddles in the affairs of its former colonies under the table, as it were. Beyond that it's just for self defense. And you can't make a glorious career out of a purely defensive system. The idea of the U.S. army as a way to get out of poverty etc... is only made real by the fact that we're everywhere around the world, have bases in many countries for no obvious reason (infringing on their sovereignty), and constantly perform policing actions when we're not actually fighting wars of aggression. Our Army, Navy, and Air Force, don't sit around all day in the states doing nothing, and the Marines were created solely as an elite force for rapid deployment.

If we didn't have bases around the world, if we didn't appoint ourselves as cops of the world, constantly interfering in other countries' business, there wouldn't be the opportunities for social advancement that the armed forces currently present. A career in the military these days is made possible as a viable option due to the imperialist nature of the United States.

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