Tag Archives: Military Oppression

5 Ways The UCMJ Treats Troops Unethically

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.

Many American civilians don’t fully understand that military service members fall under a completely separate legal jurisdiction than civilians. This legal code is known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The existence of the UCMJ isn’t necessarily a sinister thing. In a lot of ways, pointing out that civilians and troops fall under different legal codes is like saying people who work for McDonalds and people who work for Burger King have different employee handbooks. The military is a bureaucratic institution that exists to accomplish a specific purpose just like the United States Post Office. Neither could operate without some kind of guidelines that outline the operating procedures for how they accomplish their purpose.

 

 

This sounds reasonable on paper, but the UCMJ redefines the basic human rights of the people who fall under its jurisdiction in ways that are considered unethical and unconstitutional. It’s literally illegal to treat civilians the same way troops are treated under the UCMJ. Here are five ways the UCMJ treats the troops unethically:

 

1. Bad Conduct and Dishonorable Discharges

There’s effectively no difference between a bad conduct/dishonorable discharge and a felony conviction. No other place of employment has the ability to punish dissenting employees with prison time and felony convictions for not obeying their boss at work. However, the military reserves this right because the UCMJ gives it that right, which is like saying the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true.

Just like how the Bible causes its followers to carry around the burden of the threat of Hell in their minds every time they commit the most innocent, victimless sin, the troops carry around the burden of the threat of a dishonorable discharge with them all the time, everywhere they go. This is tolerable if you don’t think about it, but once you realize that the rest of your life will be unceremoniously destroyed if you decide not to do a jumping jack when you’re ordered to or you decide not to button up your shirt when you’re ordered to and persist in refusing to do so after repeated orders you’ll come to realize that your life isn’t your own, and your personhood isn’t important to the military. You’re a slave whose worth is measured by your willingness to conform, and you’ll be unceremoniously thrown out onto the street and made an example out of the moment it’s convenient for the military.

You can find ways to justify this, but it’s a legal fact that McDonald’s couldn’t do this to its employees because that would be grossly unethical. So let’s be clear that in justifying the existence of bad conduct/dishonorable discharges we are in effect justifying second-class citizenship for the troops; they have less protection under the law and can be treated worse than other people and we’re fine with this.

 

2. Institutionalized Victimhood/Subjugation

Imagine if you had to salute teachers, police officers, doctors or politicians any time you pass them in the street. Imagine if you had to address everyone who gets paid more than you as “Sir or Ma’am.” Imagine if you had to deliver these gestures of submission to people you don’t work with and don’t know. Or imagine if you had to offer these gestures of submission to individuals who you knew for a fact were dumber than you and had less moral character than you.

Now imagine if I told you that you had to salute all these people and address them with a superior title because you respected them….well, that and the fact that if you don’t then you’ll be demoted, fired, go to jail and/or receive a felony conviction on your permanent employment record that you can’t hide from future prospective employers….but the fear of permanent destitution isn’t why you salute them. You salute them because you respect them…even if you don’t know them or you know for a fact that one of those individuals is a scum bag.

What if I told you that you had to respect these people because they were white, or older than you, or joined the company before you or went to school a little longer than you? In a world where “all men are created equal” does it matter what reason someone tells you to subjugate yourself to another person, especially when the order to subjugate yourself comes with the threat of destitution?

Mandatory gestures of subjugation are reprehensible and illegal in every walk of life except the military, and in that case, insult is added to injury by training the troops to glorify participation in their own subjugation. Military training teaches you that the way to be the perfect human is to be the perfect victim or abuser, depending on which side of the caste system your rank places you in relation to the human being standing in front of you.

Again, I understand that there are reasons for the military caste system and for saluting, but those reasons merely justify the exact same level of institutionalized victimhood and subjugation that was imposed on Negro slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Just like with Negro slavery, many honest, well-intentioned people used similar reasons to justify the institutionalized victimhood and subjugation of those slaves, and the worst part is that from one narrow point of view they were right. If you ignore the inherent value of human beings and only look at the well-being of a nation from the standpoint of its economic and political strength, then a caste system looks justifiable. So feel free to argue that the troops need to or deserve to be held to a lower standard of ethical treatment than the civilian population. Just understand that when you do that, saying “Support the Troops” is as meaningful as saying “Support the Slaves.”

 

3. Inhumane Training Methods

Have you ever wondered why police officers, firemen, lawyers, CEOs or politicians don’t go through military basic training? After all, the commercials say that military training will turn you into a superhuman. If military basic training is such a powerful tool for raising human beings to their full potential then why doesn’t everyone or at least the most powerful people in the world go through basic training?

The answer is because military training doesn’t raise you to your full potential. It uses time-tested brainwashing techniques to break you down mentally and replace your values and beliefs with those that will ensure you shut down your capacity to reason and question. It indoctrinates you to willfully subjugate yourself to external control and kill without question.

Public and private organizations alike regularly produce literature condemning the training techniques used in military basic training. However, these techniques are only condemned when cults use them, not when the military does. I strongly urge you to put this claim to the test. Go look in any brainwashing textbook, and compare those methods to military basic training. Military basic training is copied word-for-word from brainwashing textbooks. This isn’t a subjective opinion you can disagree with for your own subjective reasons. This is a cut-and-dry, verifiable fact.

 

 

Another way you can put this theory to the test is to set up your own basic training camp. Hire ex-basic training instructors to train a group of psychology students using the exact same training manuals and techniques used in military basic training. Then invite the American Psychological Association to monitor your training program for any ethical violations. Your experiment would be shut down before it finished if not before it started.

This raises the question, why the double standards? Why have we taken one group of people and exempted them from the same protections we guarantee everyone else? And does it even matter if there’s a reason? What’s our freedom worth if it’s bought with the blood of slaves and can be taken away from us by our own government with the flick of a pen? Are we even worth protecting if we agree to strip our fellow man of their humanity?

 

4. Pushing the Limits of Contractual Obligation

We justify exempting troops from the same rights and protections every other human being is entitled to because the troops signed a contract and took an oath. Actually, this statement is only half true. In the case of a draft the troops don’t have a choice. They have to take the oath or go to jail. In that case, the government gets to throw all the rights and protections guaranteed by the constitution out the window at its own discretion. In other words, the government can suspend the constitution at will like it did in the Vietnam War (or as the Vietnamese call it, The American War) when there was zero threat to the American public and the troops were sent in (many against their will) to protect American business’s access to the South East Asian economy against the will of the majority of the Vietnamese (and all of the Cambodian) people…but I digress.

The draft sets a precedent that the government can throw out the constitution at will and it doesn’t need airtight justification to do so. It can also throw out the constitution if it can get a person to sign a piece of paper waiving their rights. Before you start screaming, “The troops knew what they were getting into before they signed up!” go visit a military recruiter and tell them you want to sign up for the military. They’ll put a piece of paper and a pen in front of you and pressure you to sign it as fast as possible.

If you ask them the hard questions about the U.C.M.J. they’ll make excuses and dodge the subjects. They’ll reassure you everything is on the level and promise you anything they can to get you to sign that paper so they can meet their recruitment quota. They’ll even flat out lie to you. Any honest basic training instructor will tell you that military recruiters are synonymous with dishonesty.

To military apologists this is all just nit-picking; the bottom line is the troops signed a contract that’s more legally binding than the constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I suppose, from a purely technical standpoint that’s legally valid. But if that’s the case then what the hell are we doing here? If I can just give you a $3,000 kicker bonus and promise to pay for your pregnant wife’s upcoming hospital bills (that you can’t afford because you work for McDonald’s) in exchange for all your civil liberties then why have civil liberties in the first place? The issue here isn’t whether or not it’s illegal to strip human beings of their civil liberties. The question is whether or not it should be legal. The answer is no. It shouldn’t, because as the military says, “A threat to liberty anywhere is a threat to liberty everywhere.”

 

5. Loss of civil liberties

Many of the laws in the UCMJ are inoffensive and inarguable. For example, Article 128 of the UCMJ deals with assault. Of course, we don’t want people assaulting each other. Article 120 deals with rape, and that’s great too. Nobody should be raped. So I agree with that, but the fact that there are some reasonable lines in the UCMJ doesn’t prove that they’re all reasonable, practical or just. Look at Articles 133 and 134, which say,

Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” and “Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

If those statements sound borderline meaningless, that’s because they are. They were designed as catchall laws to allow the military to incriminate and punish the troops for any reason it subjectively decides. Michelle Manhart was discharged for posing nude in Playboy magazine because it brought discredit on the military. Others have been reprimanded and discharged for moonlighting as strippers even though they kept their daytime job in the military a secret. You’ll go to jail and/or get a dishonorable discharge for publicly speaking your mind about morally questionable things your employer (who won’t let you quit) is doing. You can be demoted at work for cussing at a minor at a grocery store.

You might not have a problem with this, but let’s just be clear about the precedent we’re setting here. The military enforces subjective cultural taboos, and retains broad discretion in its ability to destroy the lives of its service members for not conforming to the military’s narrow perception of morality. Imagine if you were a member of a church, and your pastor found out you cheated on your wife. Then he told your boss and you got demoted at work. Imagine if you got fired at work for marching in a gay pride parade over the weekend. Imagine if you were sentenced to life in prison for whistle-blowing human rights abuses committed by your employer. Would that be fair? Would that be just? No, but that’s everyday life for the troops. The human beings are so un-free that they’re subject to laws that basically say anything you do can be illegal if your boss wants it to. That’s literally the opposite of freedom. That’s totalitarian control over the life of a human being, and there’s no dignity in that.

All of the extraordinary rules/regulations in the UCMJ are supposedly justified because they ensure good order and discipline, but never forget that this good order and discipline comes at the cost of respect for human dignity and equality. These measures aren’t necessary to maintain good order and discipline in the civilian population because civilian employers don’t have the same mission as the military. The military’s mission is to kill people and blow things up without asking why.

This is an unnatural mission that human instincts, common sense, and reason-based morality cannot accept. As a result, the military must use invasive techniques to break its members’ minds and bind them in an unnatural psychological state against their will if/when necessary. If the military can’t break the mind of a troop it will tattoo “failure to conform” on their forehead and throw them in the gutter and make an example of them to scare the remaining troops into submission. To the military, the perfect hero is the perfect slave, and all their benefits and perks are just golden handcuffs. Putting bigger golden handcuffs on the slaves is a hollow way to support them. Refusing to allow open, honest discussion about what the troops are dying/killing for is a hollow way to support them. If you really, truly care about the troops, the best way you can support them is to end the UCMJ and give the troops their rights, their dignity and their freedom back.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
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4 Reasons Soldiers Are As Much Victims As 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.

 

Comic of a soldier in uniform and a college student in graduation robes. The soldier is saying, "I figured it's easier to find a war than a job these days."

"College is so expensive that most poor people can't go unless they join the military. Then, if they make it through alive, they get to come home and earn a degree. It's like 'The Hunger Games," except instead of winning fame and wealth, you end up with a shitty office job." Cate Gary

 

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 brainwashing, 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 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 potholes 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 taxpayers 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 taxpayers.

 

 

Conclusion:

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.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Military Mind Control
Military Philosophy
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

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