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My relationship to military service:

Displaying poll results.
I've been in the U.S. military, no longer am.
  3043 votes / 11%
I am currently in the U.S. military.
  530 votes / 1%
I've been in the (non-U.S.) military, but no longer am.
  1991 votes / 7%
I am currently in the (non-U.S.) military
174 votes / 0%
I have never been in the military.
  16322 votes / 59%
I am an army of one.
  5585 votes / 20%
27645 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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My relationship to military service:

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  • by vswee (2040690) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:37PM (#41981841) Journal
    I've got no interest in joining the military. There are so many more productive and useful things to do with my time... Like browse slashdot for example
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:43PM (#41981935)

    I guess that's a positive thing.

    Freedom certainly isn't free, but no modern Western military is protecting it.

  • Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:50PM (#41982027)
    Yeah, I know we bitch about missing options all the time, but how about non-combatant service (civilian employment or government contractors)? I know they get shit for not being on the front lines but they're just as important in keeping those that are safe.
  • by Whorhay (1319089) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:53PM (#41982883)

    I did six years as an enlistee and overall I think I got more out of it than I lost.

    I've actually wondered whether or not 100% mandatory conscription into military/civil service wouldn't do the US some good. I'm not talking about everyone being forced to be a soldier or some such. But I think giving everyone a more personal connection to the actual business of war and humanitarian aid would quite possibly help calm the national fervor that has led to some of our more recent military escapades.

    And there isn't any good reason that such a thing couldn't be combined with obtaining a higher education. I knew a number of guys that spent most of their enlistment attending colleges classes in the evenings.

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @02:54PM (#41982895) Journal

    Presently, the numbers are much worse. Only .45% of the U.S. population has served in the military since 2001.

    To make matters worse, the number of veterans in Congress is at an all-time low since WWII. [] A Congress full of people like John McCain and Daniel Inouye could actually get things done, instead of this pointless bickering. Plus, Inouye is a complete badass. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @03:10PM (#41983077)

    One of my biggest regrets in general is not being able to serve (chronic anxiety 4-F-ed me.)

    However, one of the things I do champion is a military/civilian draft for a number of reasons. Not to force nationalism down people's throats, but to provide a win/win for people:

    1: There are a lot of areas in the US where people's only routes of success are the big house or six feet under. Having a draft would at least give them a chance at somewhere else in the US.

    2: The government needs to be able to rapidly haul people for emergency work. Take a disaster like Sandy, having people just a flight away to help with everything from restoring power to getting an IT structure going so emergency crews can communicate would help in mitigations.

    3: It would give work to some people who might never be able to get hired on because their community just has no jobs available, period. Chicago and Detroit come to mind -- if someone can make a reasonable living, they wouldn't be on the streets hoping their 9mm will win a gunfight against some other gangbanger setting foot on their turf.

    4: Getting people moving and paid means an economy, which is good for business in general.

    5: As Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam have shown us, just "shock and awe" won't win jack. You need boots on the ground inch by inch for a victory. You also don't win wars by making fortified structures and letting the enemy surround you. The Brits learned this in colonial times. Having the manpower to actually deal with an invasion does two things: It gets a justified war done, and because so many people have their lives on the line, a combat theater that is not justified will result in people actively taking a role and stopping it, unlike Iraq where few Americans had a stake in how the conflict went.

    6: It would give employers people to train that have proven themselves. No H-1Bs needed.

    7: It would give families a stake in what wars are being fought. No "oh, that's just some putz who couldn't find a job so he enlisted" crap. Everyone's sons/daughters might be on those front lines. Which means that a conflict better be a justified one.

  • by landofcleve (1959610) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @03:27PM (#41983283)

    To the tune of The Old Gray Mare:

    I may never march in the infantry
    Ride in the cavalry
    Shoot the artillery
    I may never fly o'er the enemy
    But I'm in the Lord's army!
    Yes Sir!

    I'm in the Lord's army!
    Yes sir!
    I'm in the Lord's army!
    Yes sir!

    I may never march in the infantry
    Ride in the cavalry
    Shoot the artillery
    I may never fly o'er the enemy
    But I'm in the Lord's army!
    Yes sir!

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:03PM (#41983717)

    Sure, because running around in the woods practicing how to repel a soviet invasion that was unlikely to happen since the USSR had already imploded on itself was much more useful for society than going to college...

    Also, I didn't refuse to serve, I was simply very clear on my lack of interest and they chose to let me off the hook (technically up until we got rid of conscription they could've decided to reverse that decision and even now if a war pops up they can bring conscription back and make me go through Grundläggande Militärutbildning).

  • Re:Missing option (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @04:27PM (#41984009)

    Why is it that whenever NATO does something wrong it is only the US that is blamed..whether they had a presence or not.

  • Re:Didn't want me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:24PM (#41984817) Homepage
    I wonder why the military doesn't recruit people for non-combat rolls. At least as I'm aware, it doesn't happen. Sure if you got some sort of medical condition, they won't send you, but why not let people sign up to help in other ways, with the stipulation that they will not be sent into combat. I probably wouldn't have minded helping out my country's military (not the US, we're pretty peaceful) but don't really think that I'd be all the useful in a combat situation. I know a couple other people, even those with degrees in computer science and similar and they all had to do tours in Afghanistan or Somalia or other similar places. I think they'd be able to get a lot more/better people doing important non-combat roles if they just let them join up as non-combat.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:44PM (#41985095) Homepage
    "Collateral damage" is the way wars used to be won. You killed enemy soldiers, of course, but you also killed vast numbers of civilians. Only when one side no longer has the will to fight can the war be considered over.

    Nowadays wars go on forever because nobody wants to even hurt a civilian. Even after the fighting stops countries still consider themselves to be at war. That breeds new wars.
  • by darnkitten (1533263) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:06PM (#41985309)

    which is how I voted, but:

    someone in a military family has a distinctly different relation to the military (and often to the surrounding community and to society at large) than does an equivalent person in a civilian family. Certain rules&regs apply to families of military personnel and certain privileges apply to them as well. I recall going through a checkpoint to go to school, or having to carry my ID going to the pool or the beach, because I had to go back through the main gate to get back home. I remember dreading my father being transferred, and feeling both sad and guiltily relieved when he was sent overseas by himself, because it meant that I wouldn't have to leave my friends and home again. On the other hand, unlike most citizens of the US, I had free medical care - until my father retired. And really cool parades. And hands-on time in a tank.

    Even today, when I doubt I could adjust to military life, I find some aspects of the civilian world irrationally chaotic. I tear up when I see a "missing man" flight overhead, or a military funeral. I even miss the sound of "Colours" at sunset.

    My life is no longer bound up with the military, but my memories and emotions still inextricably tie me to it, and I greatly appreciate those who serve.

  • by Onuma (947856) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:21PM (#41986097)
    I spent 8 years in the US Army. I love the service; I learned some really valuable skills to include survival, combat, navigation, telecom and lots more. Spent 2 years overseas -- one hostile environment, one not. Almost got blown up a couple of times, lost a few buddies in the process. One way to look at it is that the military is similar to the largest fraternity you can imagine; people of all types share a common bond of brotherhood that spans generations.
    I left the Army a couple of years ago and I'm doing well as a civilian. I'd do it all over again if I had to choose.

    Serving is something which can only be truly understood by those who have served. Judging from the polling results (and slashdot snark in general), a minority of people here have been in some form of service or another. The rest, whether they once desired to serve or not, just don't "get it". The people I've met are great, the memories we've had are unforgettable (for good or ill), and the places and cultures I've experienced are vastly different and unique. That's a whole lot of experience I gained which I never could have gotten as a college student or anything else. The choice is always an individual thing, at least in the USA, but there's nothing wrong with NOT donning a uniform and volunteering to fight.

    To my brothers- and sisters-in-arms: thank you for your service. You have my respect.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:02PM (#41987555)

    2 reasons :

      A] NATO is essentially following US orders. The reason why a lot of european political parties in different countries have been opposed to the participation of their military in NATO. (Although to my knowledge only France has withdrawn from NATO and only for 30 years, they are back)

      B] The United States of America as other great democracies such as China, Russia, Saddam hussein's Irak, Iran, Israel and North Korea, doesn't recognize the authority of the La Hague international Penal Court. Therefore No crime of war perpetrated by the US military can ever be trialed by an independant court.

      cf : Vietnam, Kosovo, Irak 1 and 2, the contras, etc etc.. I'm not going to start listing the CIA black Ops it would take days.

      The truth is mathematically simple : the US military is responsible for more civilian deaths since 1945 than any other military forces, and the number of crimes of war and crimes against humanity they perpetrated far surpasses any other nation. Yet they are the self-appointed judge of what is right and human on the planet, and have been for 70 years. Kind of makes me think of the bible : Satan kills 10 person in the whole book, God 2 millions and something. But God is good and love and satan is bad. Because fuck logic, right ?

  • Really people? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dark_requiem (806308) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @11:13PM (#41988111)
    OK, mod this how you like, but having just read this entire thread, I am appalled that it seems to have deteriorated into a discussion of the supposed benefits to society to ENSLAVE people for a portion of their lives and force them to participate in organized butchery (or the support thereof). And yes, it is slavery. Just because your government passes a law and says it's for your own good doesn't change the fact that an unwilling participant in any such scheme is most definitely a slave.

    And apart from that, I find it appalling that a seeming majority of people think military service is some kind of noble endeavor. The biggest nations and military alliances aren't fending off invasions of their homes. They ARE the invaders. They go to foreign lands, meet exciting new people and MURDER them. Usually on the flimsiest pretexts. "I was following orders" is not an excuse for killing someone. "They shot at me first" isn't an excuse when YOU are the invader. That's akin to a burglar claiming self-defense in shooting a homeowner who tried to defend his property. "I joined to do good and defend my country but a bad president started a bad war" is NEVER an excuse. You chose to join knowing that could happen (and based on, oh, say all of US history, you should have known it was damn likely), and when it comes right down to it, you choose to fire a weapon and take a life. Military service is NOT noble, it's despicable. Whatever the intentions, the soldiers make possible the wholesale slaughter of foreign peoples. Until people stop glorifying the trained attack dogs of the state, and stop making excuses for their actions, governments will have a plentiful source of cannon fodder and bullet sponges to continue invading and slaughtering.
  • Re:Missing option (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:51AM (#41989317)

    ...the crime rate in the U.S. has been dropping significantly and steadily for 30 years now. During that entire time, per-capita gun ownership has gone steadily UP. And so have concealed carry permits.

    Also in that time the percentage of homes with internet connections have increasing significantly, along with the average connection speed. Therefore it's clear that buying a gun gives you fast internet. That's statistics, that is.

    ...I can't help but think I'm forgetting something. Something about corals and causes? I don't know, some big words like those anyway.

  • Re:Really people? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:51AM (#41989781) Homepage Journal

    And yes, it is slavery.

    No, it is not. Please stop abusing that word to describe things that are not slavery. Slavery is a well-defined concept that does not apply here. I'm not saying it isn't bad or evil, just that it is not slavery. You don't become someone's property, your children don't become someone's property. It has a limited term, there are ways to leave, there are limits to what they can do to you and a million other differences.

    Until people stop glorifying the trained attack dogs of the state, and stop making excuses for their actions, governments will have a plentiful source of cannon fodder and bullet sponges to continue invading and slaughtering.

    Which is exactly why it is glorified. Without the glory, nobody sane would do it.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:47AM (#41990471) Homepage Journal

    That's because nobody else considers those countries a threat. If you guys want to start modern day Crusades, you can damn well do it yourselves.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:33PM (#41992521)

    Sooo... Some bureaucrat high-ranking officer makes the decision to not turn over a soldier's name after some incident and that justifies some lowly private having his legs blown off by an IED.

    Nice logic there. Why don't you just say that war is dirty and bad things happen and the US isn't Superman and whatever side-line opinions you have about it are probably ill-informed and poorly constructed?

  • Re:Missing option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tao (10867) on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:46AM (#41999943) Homepage

    Americans do not allow their soldiers and airmen to be tried in foreign countries because of politics never allowing a fair trial.

    Yeah, I guess the US policy of simply not having trials at all and just detaining "enemy combatants" indefinitely without any legal hearings is much more fair.

  • Re:Missing option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JohnnyComeLately (725958) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:35AM (#42001587) Homepage Journal
    You're preaching to an audience that won't believe you. Look at the stats. Something like only 1% in right now and a small number in previously, so they'll believe nearly anything they're fed. I know under Gen McChrystal it got to epic silly-inducing levels with the top-down pressure to NOT go kinetic. Literally, every single bomb air dropped was documented and upchanneled to the minutia detail. Who (nationality) dropped it? Why? Where did it drop? What was around it? Did it even touch a civilian building? etc etc etc. Yet, you read all these comments and we use F-14s as cable car lawn darts, haphazardly kill Brits, and kick puppies (we even import them in case we run low). And, I'l sure some Wiki-Warrior will cut and paste some article written by a guy who was here 5 days, stayed behind the wire, and quote it as gospel-fact. If you learned anything in the military it has to be at least these two principles: Most people sit around and complain about stuff they know nothing about (military, overseas, the government,etc) and second, the media is horrible at representing the reality of a situation.

    -Written from Afghanistan

  • Re:Missing option (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:54PM (#42002641)

    You're living in a dream world, one where war is waged by people who don't protect themselves against people who shoot at them from behind civilians, and live among civilians.

    The examples you used from WWII are ones of horrific destruction, and yet they pale in comparison to the sheer scale of the conflict that they were in. I guess if you want to pretend that the US military has ever pretended to be a humanitarian NGO, you might have a point, but honestly, you're telling a boxer that he's more violent than other boxers because he threw bigger punches.

    However, within the scope of what military forces do, they can be more or less honorable, and more or less concerned with the lives of civilians. The US military is more concerned with civilian casualties, but they remain a military force, and so if you apply the Florence Nightingale approach to judging them, they will always come up short. They are also in so many places that if you compare them to militaries that have had no scope for operations, they will also look worse. It's easy to look bad when you have fought for a long time in many places for many reasons.

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