Armed Forces: Powers of Influence.

It’s disgraceful how the armed forces try to recruit. I was 16 when the army came to our school and made it seem like so much fun. I would be earning loads of money and getting to learn how to shoot guns, throw grenades, and blow up bridges… I was so close to joining, I went to interviews, did a BARB test, all that was left was the medical/fitness test. The ones closest to me urged me not to do it, pleaded with me to rationalize with the whole concept of war, and eventually I realized that it wasn’t, what deep down, my heart was telling me I wanted to do. That was 11 years ago, now I see them trying to recruit with adverts that make it look no different than playing the latest war simulator. If I was 15-16 now I would probably be close to joining again.

What 16 year old isn’t going to want to do what they do in a virtual world on a games console every day but for real? Why aren’t there any ads for becoming something that benefits the community instead of ads to promote careers destroying them? I understand our country needs defense and I have respect for all non-corrupt soldier’s that have probably dreamed of doing what they do since being young. My point is this: it should be a career choice that doesn’t get extra marketing, and shouldn’t be able to use quite frankly disgusting psychological recruitment techniques that are designed to attract the young, lost and vulnerable. If a person wants to join the armed forces he will, if a person wants to be a joiner he will, and some people will know exactly this from a young age, the same with any profession.

Some people don’t realize what they want till they are in their 20s, 30s or even 40s. These are their targets, easy targets too. Lost teenagers who do nothing but play Call of Duty all day, then on comes an advert with a jet flying, bombs being loaded, an empty seat on a helicopter with a piece of paper on it that reads “you.” It’s obvious to me and many others but not to those teens they are trapping into a life they didn’t know they didn’t want until it was too late.

I know it is impossible to stop but I urge any teen in the situation I just described to just sit back and think hard about what it is you actually want to do? Instead of being blinded by gun fire and rocket smoke. It is not all tanks and helicopters, you will see families destroyed, you will be part of exploiting impoverished communities – although this may not be to your knowledge at the time, and you will not have “loads of money” my friend joined the Royal Marines and although they said ” you won’t need your wages, you must pay for accommodation and food and the rest builds up in your bank” as was said to me, the reality was all that “extra money” they took for kit and stuff like that and you need a lot of gear for all different situations. Do your research see what you are actually signing up for it is not all fun and games.

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  1. This is a great piece. Thankfully, when I was young joining the forces were never really on the agenda for me or the people I hung around with. But I’ve often had similar thoughts to those you express above. Remember that the state isn’t always benevolent to the individual. It looks after itself first, no matter what the cuddly BBC may tell you. Once they used to press gang young men into the Navy. What you describe above is the 21st century psychological equivalent.

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    • I should say also – as I say elsewhere on my blog, I’m nearly a pacifist but not quite. There are sometimes when one needs to fight. At times like that I’m glad that there are people willing to risk their lives to help others. For me, the occasions which necessitate fighting are extremely rare, however. But yes I think yours is sound advice to young men.

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      • Thanks for the comment. And I feel the same, I’m glad there are people willing to risk there lives. War can be avoidable though but that is a completly different discussion so I will leave it there… David Swanson makes a compelling argument for the abolition of war in his book ‘war no more’ which I urge anyone to read who hasn’t already. Anyway thanks for your comment and I look forward to reading more of your work.

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  2. Another point is how quickly the military will turn their backs on you. My husband was medically discharged du to lung damage and that was it. No compensation no medical benefits, nothing. He was just put on a plane home and left to pick up the pieces on his own.

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