Brothers in Arms?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by OldRedCap, Feb 2, 2007.

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  1. This is from a member of the National Guard in America. How many British Army guys recognise his motivation and share this outlook? Are British Forces and US Forces brothers under the skin?

    Why am I in the Army? Why am I in the infantry? Why am I alone? What’s the meaning of it all, blah blah blah. I always tell people that if there is only one thing that they remember about me, remember this phrase: Only slaves are happy. My tenth grade English teacher, Mr. Wood, told me this, paraphrasing Tolstoy or Doestoevesky, I forget which. I know that this is an obviously cynical and depressing thing to tell people, but it’s an idea that I think I’ve pondered more than just about anything else in my life. This corporeal dispensation we call mortality is all about choice, about volition. This is how we define freedom, the ability to have choice. But oddly, choice is what causes us so much pain. How often have you heard someone say, “I had no choice?” expressing an apparent release from accountability? Only once circumstance dictates how we must choose, do we seem to be happy. We seem to spend so much time passively making decisions, usually just wandering down the path of least resistance, until we no longer have any meaningful choice other than survival. I’ve literally gotten to the point where I have had no food before I’ve put my mind to earning money. Who hasn’t “chosen” to waste time with friends rather than work on a term paper until there’s one day left and you have eighteen pages to write. Ask any student, it’s amazing what can be done with a deadline, five hours till sunrise and No-Doze. When it gets to this point, you do what you have to because you have no choice, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Granted there are people that may “choose” to blow the paper off altogether, fail the class, get kicked out of school and then ultimately find that they have “chosen” to spend all the money they earn working at the local diner on beer and weed.
    I’m no better than anyone else. I chose to enlist. I chose to re-enlist. Hell, I volunteered to go to Iraq. Why would I do such a thing? I have a few answers of varying honesty. Mostly I want to expand my human experience and this is an easy way to experience some of the most extreme limits of mortality. I want to contribute to something bigger and more meaningful than myself. I want to give back to my country. I want to physically contribute something positive to solving a problem rather than acting like I can solve all the world’s problems from my couch. I love the guys I work with and I love the comraderie. I want money for school. I want to kill someone just so people will shut up and stop asking me if I have. Regardless of the reasons, I’m here and overall I have been very happy with the time that I’ve served. I’m to the point now that I can’t imagine my life without being a soldier. I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the military in general, it’s completely counter to my personality. I don’t know a damned thing about military history, I don’t own any military regalia aside from a book bag with Airborne wings embroidered on it, I have zero military t-shirts. I’d be lying if I said that the Army isn’t a big part of who I am, but I’d like to think that it’s really not. It’s not who I am, it’s not truly a part of my identity, it’s just something I do. Then this begs the question of “who am I”, or what really is the basis of identity? Like anyone, I guess I’m just trying to find myself.
    See what I mean? Give an infantryman too much time off and he starts to ask, “What am I doing here?” and then he posts poorly thought out quasi-philosophical blog entries. I was much more content freezing my balls off riding in that Humvee, a happy slave