4 reasons why American soldiers are as much victims as they are heroes

Note: I served in the U.S. Air Force from 2000-2007. My AFSC was 3C0X1 (Communications computer systems operator). My highest rank was E-5 (Staff Sergeant), and I received an honorable discharge.

1. Many soldiers are victims of economic oppression. 

Many soldiers didn’t join the military out of patriotism or the selfless desire to defend other people’s freedoms. Many soldiers joined the military for a job; they choose to lock themselves into a nearly unbreakable contract doing an extremely stressful and potentially fatal job because they were poor. They did a cost/benefit analysis of their options in life and came to the conclusion that the risk of dying outweighed the cost of trying to scrape through life in an economic system that shamelessly exploits the poor and limits upward mobility to those who can afford prohibitively expensive college degrees.  Any honest military recruiter can corroborate this…though any drill instructor will tell you that there are no honest recruiters.

A military recruiter will likely try to spin this sad fact of life by saying it just proves how great the military is because it saves poor people from a life of destitution, but the only reason the poor are running from a life of destitution is because the political leaders that the military defends are too corrupt and unqualified to create a system where everyone has an equal chance at success.

2.  The sole purpose of basic training is brainwashing. 

Military personnel have heard that basic training is brainwashing, but they tend to dismiss this accusation as subjective liberal propaganda. It’s neither subjective nor propaganda. It’s a verifiable fact.

Professor Margaret Singer summed up the definition of brainwashing this way, “Coercive psychological systems are behavioral change programs which use psychological force in a coercive way to cause the learning and adoption of an ideology or designated set of beliefs, ideas, attitudes, or behaviors. The essential strategy used by the operators of these programs is to systematically select, sequence and coordinate many different types of coercive influence, anxiety and stress-producing tactics over continuous periods of time. The techniques fall into seven main categories:

1. Techniques such as: Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills, excessive exact repetition of routine activities, sleep restriction and/or nutritional restriction.

2. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends are abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered.

3. Prohibit disconfirming information and non-supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An “in-group” language is usually constructed.

4. Make the person re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her life’s history and adopt a new version of causality.

5. Create a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the person to intense and frequent actions and situations which undermine the person’s confidence in himself and his judgment.

6. Create strong aversive emotional arousals in the subject by use of nonphysical punishments such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety and manipulation.

7. Intimidate the person with the force of group-sanctioned secular psychological threats.

These tactics of psychological force are applied to such a severe degree that the individual’s capacity to make informed or free choices becomes inhibited. The victims become unable to make the normal, wise or balanced decisions which they most likely or normally would have made, had they not been unknowingly manipulated by these coordinated technical processes.” Source

Every single statement about brainwashing made here is systematically incorporated into military basic training. Military basic training isn’t sort of like brainwashing; it’s the deliberate perfection of brain washing, and anyone who is brainwashed is a victim.

3. Soldiers are slaves.

When civilians sign up for the military they sign away most of the civil liberties guaranteed to everyone in the universal declaration of human rights. Many of those soon-to-be-soldiers weren’t aware of all the rights they were giving up until after they locked themselves into a legally binding contract. No military recruiter will tell you that you have to read the Uniform Code of Military Justice before enlisting.

Once you do sign your rights away you literally became the property of and wholly subject to the domination and influence of the U.S. government. That’s literally the definition of slavery. That’s not speaking metaphorically or bending words in any way. Soldiers are slaves. Period. Slavery is still legal in the “land of the free” because soldiers are slaves, and if living in bondage wasn’t unethical enough, the systematic brainwashing soldiers are subjected to manipulates them into loving and celebrating their slave-hood. So soldiers are mental slaves as well as legal slaves.

The fact that the military pays its slaves relatively well and are only subject to slavery for a few years doesn’t change the fact that they’re still slaves. Even if you disagree with the use of the term “slave,” the point remains that they still lose an inhumane, unjust and undignified amount of freedom when they join the military. Granted, some people actually enjoy this way of life, but even if they love and embrace it, that still doesn’t change the fact that they’re slaves and have lost civil rights that were supposed to be guaranteed to all human beings.

4. Soldiers don’t fight for the poor and oppressed. They fight for the rich and powerful.

Many soldiers sleep well at night believing they’re liberating the oppressed and protecting civilian’s freedoms even if they were once civilians who have now had their freedoms taken away from them and are now being oppressed.

To add to their peace of mind, the U.S. military has been involved in a number of humanitarian missions and will undoubtedly be involved in future humanitarian missions. So from a certain perspective, soldiers are at least inadvertent heroes…or they would be except for the fact that the U.S. military’s primary mission isn’t to liberate the oppressed, protect civilian’s freedoms or provide humanitarian aid.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the U.S. military is officially number one in serving mankind in airlift operations to flood victims, food supply, and rebuilding communities around the world. True as that may be, the U.S. military is currently number one in exporting war, destabilizing regions and killing civilians. A few token presents don’t make up for that fact.

It’s also arguable how much soldiers serve the American people. Every dollar spent on the military is a tax dollar not spent on education or social services. What do the American people get in return for spending all their taxes on fighting phantom enemies around the globe? They get crumbling schools and pot holes in their roads.

This would be justified if it kept Americans safe and secure at home, but look at Osama Bin Laden. He said himself that the September 11th terrorist attacks were in response to America meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. America’s response was to jump into the Middle East with both feet and grow roots. I’m not going to argue whether or not that was the right thing to do, but I will argue that the more bases the American military opens on foreign soil and the more people they kill the more it will piss off the rest of the world and make terrorist attacks more likely.

And since the military is bleeding the American tax payers out of vital civil services the military is creating ripe conditions for poverty back home, and with poverty comes crime and bloodshed. So even if the U.S. military kills every terrorist in the world it will come home to find a collapsed system where more and more houses have bars on the windows and the police are stretched thin dealing with violent crimes. Every soldier needs to seriously ask themselves if they’re really giving or taking more from the American tax payers.


Look past all the military propaganda about military patriotism, freedom and liberation. Analyze the events leading up to every major military action taken by the United States of America. Analyze the outcome of every major U.S.  military action and you’ll find very little evidence to back up the claim that the U.S. military’s primary mission is to protect freedom or anything else universally idealistic. What you will find is a consistent theme of war profiteering. Every time America goes to war the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…assuming the poor survive the collateral damage; there are millions who haven’t, and there are millions more who won’t if business continues as usual. If you’re skeptical about this claim (and you should be) then do your research. If you study the facts and not the propaganda you’ll find that everything said here is true.

So the question all of this leads up to is: If someone orders you to kill someone else and tells you it’s for a very, very, very good reason and you do it with the best of intentions but it turns out that you were lied to and actually killed an innocent person then does that make you a hero, a murderer or a victim? I know it doesn’t make you a hero. I don’t know if it makes you a murderer, but I do know that it makes you a victim.

However you felt about this blog, you’ll probably feel the same way about these:

30 responses to “4 reasons why American soldiers are as much victims as they are heroes

  • LanceCaptain

    I’d say it doesn’t make you a murderer, because murder is about intent. Someone up the line is a murderer, but having been deceived would protect you from the guilt of being a murderer. It doesn’t stop you from having done wrong, from having killed, but it does protect you from the evil inherent in the decision. That’s going to be small comfort later on.

    I was enlisted in the USMC for three years starting in 1980, making E4 as an 0331 (.30 cal machine gunner) before going through the Platoon Leaders’ Class and completing OCS. My eyesight went out, my flight contract was recinded, and my enlisted “fallback” contract expired all around the same time. I never got my DD-214 and frankly I’ve been uncertain about inquiring into it. I doubt that, if any irregularities were found in the course of my separation, that I would be treated as well as certain famous others have been.

    I left the infantry for the airwing because the brainwashing had worn off. I was blessed with good leaders at nearly all levels throughout my time. When I wrote my leadership essays in OCS, they were about my infantry CO (a Major) who more than once, with great grace and decorum, chewed out our Colonel. I got to be present for two of these glorious occasions during training ops, including one time when, as we came back from a near-fatal situation for 1/3 of our men that the Colonel was responsible for, the Major noticed the Colonel watching our return from the field from grandstands on our left, called column of fours and eyes right as we passed. He made us all proud and humiliated an incompetent superior at the same time… perfectly legally and in front of many, many witnesses.

    Leaders like Major (later Colonel) Murphy are rare, and I owe more to him than to the rest of the Corps combined.

    And I agree with your perspective.


  • Capt. Richard Barone

    Deep and true,,it takes balls to say it, more to write it,,keep up the honest work


  • bigdickwilly

    I was in the army for a few years and sadly alot of these points are valid. Seriously having grown men inspecting other grown mens barracks rooms and such. I have never seen such a pathetic excuse for NCO’s then where i was stationed. And u wonder why people get diganosed with PTSD who never deployed. Because instead of seeing combat during deployments. They were tortured more in garrison then in combat. Fucking sick freaks running that show. Wonder why the suicide rate is so high? The toxic leadership and lack of MWR is just a good start. Giving those profile NCO’s the whole day to sit on there fatasses and devise sick games to torture you with. AND you can’t do anything about it because a little square patch makes them more powerful then god. No beat ur fucking face.


  • mac

    You people are pathetic. Spoken like a true American who has never the the basement of daddies house. Tell you what. Lets Take a vacation and I’ll throw you to the wolves and as they are ass raping you, cutting your ears off, Shoving tree limbs in your vagina and beating you till your half dead, Ill just stand there and smile and see who you ask for help. I highly doubt its going to the be the person who paid your welfare check.


  • pmpguy44

    You have made a lengthy discussion/rant about the UCMJ, which I believe must stem from some issue you have experienced in the past. Indulge me for just a few seconds while I correct your view of the rules set forth in the UCMJ you seem to despise. First, all cultures & sub-cultures need rules to function, but with each rule created either by formal/informal methods, individual freedom is diminished. Having said this, without some framework that sets boundaries on what is/is not acceptable behavior on the part of all members within a specific culture, than the culture would devolve into chaos, via the absence of rules, resulting in the eventual implosion of the culture. The military is a sub-culture located and functioning within the context of a larger culture. All cultures (civilian & military) have official sections, but also unofficial sanctions that govern behavior. Now, sub-cultural rules are broken down even further, if we look within the “work place” where people work, most employers decide what is acceptable & unacceptable work place behaviors, to include rules employees must abide by, and agree to as a condition of employment, regardless of the individuals personal opinion of these rules. Boils down to this: Follow the rules within the UCMJ and just like any other workplace, you will be just fine. I personally think, “wise sloth” has a problem with authority in general, and not just within the confines of a military structure, but also cultural rules also. It would do “wise sloth” good to actually read the definition of the word “culture” before espousing ridiculous & intellectual “light weight” arguments which under even a mild amount of scrutiny fall completely apart. Because of time constraints, I am unable to systemically dismantle the rest of your blog posts, but a line by line obliteration of your arguments would be fun and frankly, not too difficult. If anyone would like to engage in discussion, I say (in the words of Pres. G.W. Bush) “Bring it on.”


  • Steph

    You’re completely correct! I got out of the military a year ago and I can’t seem to turn it off. I still catch myself looking for people with hands in their pockets and wearing their hats on inside… I try to remember who I was before basic training and its no one like who I am now. I feel so stoic towards everything, even the birth of my own child. I can literally just sit there and think of nothing. I lost my creativity and identity and can no longer get it back. It’s really disheartening. And 95% of the people I interacted with on the job said they joined because they couldn’t find a job anywhere else! It’s terrible. And all anyone does in the military is get drunk and sleep with other people’s spouses…. It’s disgusting! And I sat in on a couple court martials and they over charged the individuals. They also convicted them on little to no evidence. That’s not constitutional!


    • pmpguy44

      So Steph what was your pay grade and job? How long were you in for? What type of clearance. Please do tell so we can learn from your wisdom.


      • pmpguy44

        The military is not a democracy it’s a military dictatorship. If you were not smart enough to figure that out before you joined then you are a dumb ass & we are better off with you gone. That is if you really were in to begin with


  • pmpguy44

    Trust me, once was enough, but, because you are an “expert” on the military, please indulge the rest of us with a snap shop of your vast hands on experience.


  • pmpguy44

    I currently have 18 yrs. of service in the Army, deployed to the Middle East, earned a bachelor of science in management, and a MBA via the GI Bill. The Army has been a great career choice for me, but may not be for everyone. I have read your blogs post and find them to be highly offensive, distasteful, and utterly revolting. I don’t know what kind of experience’s you have had, but you have a serious chip on your shoulder and a giant cob up (fill in the blank). Bottom line up front: If you don’t want to join, that’s fine, but “if you cant get behind us, your more than welcome to stand in front of us.” Proud OIF veteran 2003-2005.

    SSG. *****
    Small Town, USA


  • Under Uncle Sam's Boots

    “War is old men talking and young men dying.” Ancient wisdom right there.

    You cannot fault the US government for wanting to make more money. Well actually you can, since governments nowadays exist solely for profit. There’s a reason politicians are called “crocodiles” in some places… but I digress. Point is, the US government is using its military in much the same way the Roman Empire did: for total dominance. Look what they are doing in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Philippines (which btw has the weakest military in S.E. Asia). They are trying to keep up the pretense that they are still a force to be reckoned with, when in truth, we have more to fear from the rising dragon that is China.

    Sincerely, a resident of a country that’s been under foreign domination for nearly four hundred fifty years (colonially from 1565-1946, economically since then).


  • CT

    This opinion and those sympathetic to it, have true signs of a lack of self-worth and serious envy verging on a jealous rage. Insecurities can do this. Don’t doubt your worthiness. Don’t feel that you are more worthy by dismissing or insulting those typically held in high regard by many. Each of us ARE entitled to our beliefs. AND we should be aware of what is going on within us that drives our feelings. Particularly, those feelings of resentment, jealousy, and envy. Envy, like pride, is very tricky, dangerous, and not what it seems on the surface. In fact, it can be the mirror image.

    Now, if the military did not protect you, who would? If the military did not offer training, financial compensation, benefits that sufficiently offset the risks in the minds of the new recruits, do you think we would still have a “draft free” military?

    Can the military be directed and “used” by the politicians? Sure it can. Does that make the men and women who make up our military less than heros? Is it the soldier’s fault who follows his superiors orders? If he or she did not, what kind of military would we have? By the way, if you truly are wise, what is your suggestion for replacing our military? World peace, right? O.K. you got a response from me, happy now?


  • duder

    finally, Ive been thinking this way but nowhere did i find anybody who really understood me. I’m often depressed and thaught about joining the army; for me it would mostly be an easy way out where I wouldnt have to go through the labor of thinking what to do for a living, and wouldnt have to wory about not living an hounourable life (as in die as a “hero”) I now see very clearly this isn’t the way. Anyway, in any scenario where I were to be drafted or anything, I still wouldnt really give a shit Just cause I guess I’m a aimless nihilist without a purpose. Anyway Im annoyed by the hole hero-treatment our “boys”get. Like military discounts and bitches only setteling for millitary boys. Makes me sick! FUCK THE NORM – FIGHT THE WAR.


  • TCookie

    I totally agree, im currently serving and im glad you were able to put into words how i feel! I sent this article to two of my close friends! Its been difficult because ive been able to maintain my individualism but have been looked down upon and shunned because of it, I have a little less than two years left and I cannot wait to get back into society and actually contribute and better myself as an individual. I definitely feel like a slave and I definitely was not aware of all of my freedoms i would be giving up by signing, the economy tanked after I received my college degree and i thought I would give it a shot, worse decision ever but atleast I know the truth now!


  • Brother George

    To be able to see it and say it the way it is….

    The real heroes are the ones who stand up and say;

    “you want me to what? Go to some God forsaken place that nobody has even heard of an get my legs blown off because you want to make money out of it…?
    Are you out of your friggin mind?”

    To the lady who’s whole family is military, I feel sorry for you, you’ve been suckered?
    How about we ask parents who’s kids came back with no legs? How do you think they feel about it?

    Just where do you get off sending our kids to get killed and maimed, lives ruined, because a bunch of greedy, power crazy, lunatic politicians think it’s a good idea.
    You wanna fight? Go do it yourself!
    Don’t send our kids to do your dirty work!

    And for what it’s worth, it’s a renown fact…. WAR = MONEY
    Forget any higher ideals….. WAR = MONEY….. period.


  • MagicChris

    the blog as well as the sheeple comment puts a smile on my face


  • Cynthia Angelo

    Excuse me, I am a soldiers wife and mother, and what you have said on this website is very offensive to me and most other soldiers. I can assure you wholeheartedly that my husband and my son enlisted in the Us Army not just to have a job. They are both dedicated soldiers!! My son enlisted before graduating high school knowing damn well he was going overseas straight out of AIT, and is now over there fighting to make your asses free too! Not all “poor” people join the military just to have a job. I myself come from a family of army soldiers, and still have nephews who have volunteered more than 3 times to go overseas, and now my son! You people should have more pride in this country, and the soldiers who fight for it! You should be ashamed!!


    • mjBellamy

      Ummm, your family dosen’t fight for anyones freedom or right for anything. You’re sadly misinformed. YOu should be ashamed for believing all the lies. Get a free will.


    • ZimDaggo_mabenji

      You are a delusional idiot. Try rereading the part where he describes the techniques of brainwashing. keep rereading until you get it.


    • m.delbrey

      lol, overly sensitive military wife. get a life. why dont you join the service before talking. im pretty sure your husband joined the military because you couldnt stop getting pregnant and now hes in a hole.


    • Mark

      I hear this ‘Fighting for our Freedom’ line all the time. Brainwashing. When was the last REAL threat to Freedom in the United States that we went to war over? Probably as far back as World War 2. We never fought the Soviet Union, the only other potential real threat. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? not fighting for freedom, fighting for money and brainwashing the American people.


    • Josh

      Cynthia, Your family isn’t fighting for anyone’s freedom. If we were we wouldn’t have had to make up a bunch of lies to invade Iraq. You family is fighting for various rich cronies’ pocketbooks.

      As a nation we have a horrible history of not fighting for the right reasons. If we gave a damn about freedom we wouldn’t impose our dictators on the rest of the world and support their genocides (i.e. Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Grenada, Nicaragua…I’d continue but it would be a very long list) while claiming to support democracy.

      If we gave a damn about humanity we would have started fighting some wars a lot sooner (Rwanda, Syria, Sudan) and WWII as Hitler was already slaughtering people long before Japan bombed our ass into doing anything. But we don’t fight for those type of virtues because we just don’t care.

      Your family doesn’t fight for anything other than money. That’s the only reason the United States ever fights for anything. And no hero ever fights for money.


  • Andrew

    These posts are brilliant. Iv’e been in the military for the past five years and have one left to go, and have been thinking these same things for a while now but could never put it into words as eloquently as you do. Not only are soldiers not heros, but this attitude is taking its toll on society with all the tax money wasted on the military budgets, but more importantly what is the youth interested in these days? Military shit.
    I think the indoctrination process begins for many long before they ever go to boot camp. How many kids these days want to be scientists, engineers, doctors ect. vs. those who want to be navy seals, spec ops and snipers. How many kids play call of duty or socom navy seals and fantasize about being one of them instead of working to cure cancer, discover the Higgs boson or find alternative reliable energy sources. In this society it is viewed as much cooler, and respected to run around with a gun and kill people over make real contributions to society. If a movie was made about the eradication of small pox and how it saved 500 million people, would anyone bother to go see it like they do all these war movies?

    I agree that some, or a lot join just to get a job due to being poor or dropping out of college, but many are also the conservative fundamentalist christians whose parents are flag waving “patriots” who get indoctrinated by military ideology long before they are in it. StaffSergeant proves this point exactly by throwing out the name liberal, which is a derogatory name to conservatives and anything they disagree with or isn’t consistent with their ideology is automatically “liberal”. I would say odds are that StaffSergeant is from Texas or in the bible belt (Jesusland) and was indoctrinated long before he ever joined the military.


  • Stark Reality

    Nice blog.


  • humanitarikim

    My boyfriend was in the Marines and honorably discharged as well. He feels the exact same way. He gets upset whenever people thank soldiers for their service, and wonders why they aren’t thanking the rest of us for our humanity and contribution to the economy and civilization.

    Good post!


    • Mark

      I often thank people for their various non-military services. And they say “I’m not in the military”. Thank you for not being in the military.


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