Military Minds

Capitalist Exploits's picture

Originally posted at

By Chris Tell

Years back, while returning home from a night out on the town in London, I found myself on the “underground” in a carriage packed full of late night revelers. Into my carriage stepped a large brute of a man who immediately began threatening and harassing anyone close to him. Stoned, drunk or simply a troubled soul, I have no idea, but what was clear to me was that he was extremely aggressive and potentially a dangerous individual.

His vehemence was first directed at a young couple who he had decided “looked at him wrong.” According to the oaf, he was indeed willing to kill the couple for their offence. In addition to focusing on this couple, he turned his rage on a young Indian man to his right. He violently shoved the man into the doors and continued ranting at all and sundry.

Looking around I found that the passengers on the train had all become intently focused on their shoelaces. Upset, stunned, and terrified at what was taking place I tried to take stock of the situation. Simmering in the back of my mind was the story I had read some weeks prior where a group of youths, who after boarding a city bus full of passengers, proceeded to cause havoc, threatening passengers. One passenger told them to behave themselves only to be violently attacked resulting in his eye being gouged out of its socket. Yep, in full view of a bus load of passengers… none of whom did a thing to stop a couple of half wits from tearing a man’s eye out. Even though it was a long time ago now I managed to find the story here.

Edging closer to the unruly oaf I waited until the doors of the carriage opened at the next station, and as the “beep beep beep” of closing doors sounded I stepped forward and with all my might shoved the man from the train onto the platform. The doors shut behind him and the tube left the station. Now, let me be clear. I did this not because I was feeling macho. Au contraire, I did it because I was terrified. I was ill prepared to take the man on, should he confront me and instead decided to whimp out on a full- scale attack, which seemed imminent, either on myself or a fellow passenger. Instead, I chose the somewhat more cowardly approach of shoving him from the train as the doors were closing. I certainly had zero intention of getting into a brawl with the man. I liked my eyes and was quite enjoying life thank you very much.

A burst of applause rose in the carriage as relief swept through. I recall being mad as hell, mad at the brute but just as mad at the carriage full of passengers who were content to sit by complicitly and watch such abuse take place. What chance did the thug have against an entire carriage of people who do not accept his behavior? None. In short a truly frightening thought if you ever find yourself in danger in a public place. Clearly if you think you’re safe amongst crowds you’re deluding yourself. In a very graphic and heart-wrenching youtube clip I found the same thing, where male staff at a MacDonalds in Baltimore stand by actually video taping two black girls beating a white girl to a pulp, actually causing her to have a seizure!

Minutes after this event on the “underground” I got chatting to one of the passengers on the carriage. As it turned out he, along with no less than 5 of his friends, all of whom were on the same carriage and had been within metres of the event, were on a break from their postings in Bosnia. Yes, they were all young British military. Now ask yourself, if you were to be harassed on a train, or anywhere public for that matter, would you not believe that a group of 5 young, strong men with skills in combat would be the perfect “bystanders” to have around? Apparently not.

In a roundabout way this brings me to the topic on my mind. I never thought too much of that incident until David reminded me of it. It caused me to think about the military. Now I must confess to having a certain aversion for military types. It may be a bias or prejudice, but I am simply puzzled by the psyche of an adult human being that willingly adheres to rules and acts that are frankly absurd. I simply can’t imagine standing in front of my boss each morning to have him inspect my clothing to see if I’ve managed to dress myself correctly. Zipper up soldier? yessir, shoelaces tied soldier? yessir. It defies belief. Further I can’t imagine working in an organization that thrives on quashing free-thinking and questioning in favour of “yessir.”

Colonel: We have an important mission soldier. You are to take a team of men and eliminate those people over there soldier.

Soldier: But sir, who are they exactly and what makes killing them a good idea sir? I’d like to please see some factual evidence to support your theory that this exercise is an intelligent, well thought out one, after all I’m risking my life on this judgement call.

Can you imagine the response?

In the military, questioning the status quo or ones superiors while refusing to partake in actions that often go against the common sense of the individual, or against ones own ethics, results in a dismissal or court marshal. When the same thing happens in a vibrant private business the result is innovation, productivity gains, or possibly seeking a new job. The important aspect however is that alternatives exist for the individual.

A structure that inhibits intelligent and rational thinking in favour of looking to a god-like creature for instructions seems inherently dangerous to me. I see nothing heroic or honorable in blindly following kill orders, regardless of who is being killed. Don’t get me wrong I have respect for the physical abilities of these men, but they are in fact just hired killers too lazy or stupid to consider their actions.

To my way of thinking, an intelligent adult would not put up with an environment where clear and utter nonsense is routinely taken as truth; or, acts of war are enacted because someone heard voices. “What sir? God told you sir? Yes sir, no problem sir. Right away.”

I fully comprehend and understand that most of the military policies and procedures are “designed” to keep the soldiers alive in a combat situation. Discipline, following orders, team building, etc are “exercises” that train the soldier to engage in behaviours that will keep them alive when the proverbial “shit hits the fan.” My argument is that they would be even more likely to stay alive if they weren’t involved in the first place!

Thinking back to those soldiers on the “underground” that night, were they in need of instructions? Did it require an authority figure to say “soldiers stop that man?” I mean it’s hard to imagine that five young army guys didn’t have the capabilities to deal with a single unarmed thug on a public train. If a little guy like me with my skinny legs could stop him then they sure as heck could have.

Maybe I’m completely wrong on this, but I’m inherently suspicious of anyone that clamors for rigid conformity, hierarchical structures, places absurd value on shiny metal badges and ribbons, and is willing to chant silly slogans without first having drunk a half dozen beers. Imagine replacing the current Silicon Valley populace with military types. I’m willing to bet that we would experience a stupendous collapse of innovation. Yet these people are given powers and “toys” that clearly far exceed their abilities to responsibly weild them, while at the same time peoples very lives the world over are affected by their decisions.

I’m told that the camaraderie within the military is beneficial, but I also have to question this. As an analogy, a gang of playground bullies has camaraderie. Individual members typically can and do conduct themselves despicably, but since they are “part of the gang” and “one of us” the individuals within the gang will put up with behavior that would otherwise be considered poor form, causing individuals to be ostracized. Group think no?

In contrast when I choose my friends I choose them based on their behaviors, thoughts and deeds. This comes well before considering their membership to any organisation or group. I’m free to exclude them from my personal network where they fail to meet my value criteria. Not so in the military. “You’re either with us or against us” – George Bush. Hardly a thinking man’s realm.

Should the U.S. really be puzzled that it has unending and unwinnable wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and who knows where next?

The former two wars were meant to be short operations where the world’s most formidable fighting force, with their whiz bang technology would decimate the destitute impoverished peasants. Over a decade later and nobody has an intelligent answer as to what it is all about. Libya looks set to follow the same pattern. I have to wonder whether these wars would ever have originated if we replaced the military with Silicon Valley types.

Before sending me any hate mail, consider the mindset I’ve discussed. I have nothing per se against anyone from the military, but I have to question the mindset that allows one to devote their life in such a thoughtless fashion, especially considering the history of the military, and this goes for any military in any country. I’m not picking any sides here. I further realise that an army full of free-thinking individualists would be akin to herding cats, which is to say… impossible. What is required for a “successful army” is a lot of mindless impressionable teenagers, still incapable of objective thinking and disobedience. Is it any wonder the recruitment stations are typically located in low socioeconomic areas?

What value do armies, wars and conflict add to the human experience? Sure, some conflicts are unavoidable, but most are clearly “created” to fulfill some political (or worse) agenda. By participating in this behaviour we validate it.

Side thought: In his excellent book “The Lucifer Effect” Dr. Phillip Zimbardo delves into the depths of the human psyche with the military as his focal point. This is the same Dr. Phillip Zimbardo who first conducted the now famous Stanford County prison experiment. You can see a presentation here for a glimpse of the studies conducted and the results produced.

As youngsters we may have all enjoyed the “romantic” idea of being Rambo, but the reality is anything but that. I have a dear friend who is a pilot for the British Navy. He had no intention of being Rambo, but rather wanted only to play with the toys that the military get to play with. Flying harriers, helicopter gunships, that sort of thing. Activities that are far too expensive for the average man to afford. Unfortunately for him he is neck deep in the horrors of the Afghan war. He tells me when he signed up there was no war taking place and certainly never signed up for one, while additionally admitting to a dislike for the conformity. This was overshadowed by his really, really wanting to play with the toys.

What a heavy price to pay.


“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” – Henry Kissinger

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beaglebog's picture

Note from a progressive ... the Standing Army is  “an engine of oppression.”

                                                                                 Thomas Jefferson   

TyrannoSoros Wrecks's picture

I notice the progressives hate the military but they sure seem to love any "rebel" group that pops up anywhere in the world no matter how evil and barbaric they are.
If they renamed the Defense Department the Rebels for Democracy Department and continued to do the exact same thing they do now, the progressives (and the Zero Hedge progressives who masquarade as libertarians) would all be like "dude they're for democracy and shit, we need to make sure they are fully funded."

strannick's picture

Funny, when I think of brain dead dimwits incapable of critical thinking, I would firstly imagine a bunch of liberal arts progressives, all nasally droning along to the same sliver of ideological cant  they're too cowardly to question, before I would think of the military. 

TyrannoSoros Wrecks's picture

Ok, so you say the military are a bunch of brainwashed robots who can't think for themselves.
What about the other 99% of the population stumbling about in the mall banging away on their iDoohikey oblivious to all but what the teevee show tells them is true? Are those people great thinkers and problem solvers because they were never subjected to military training?

foxenburg's picture

"Don’t get me wrong I have respect for the physical abilities of these men, but they are in fact just hired killers too lazy or stupid to consider their actions."


It's funny you should write that as I'd never previously considered my dad, flying his torpedo bomber into withering fire at 25' until the day he inevitably got shot down in flames, as doing it because he was too lazy or stupid to consider his actions.


Stupid, facile article.

AchtungAffen's picture

"The military is just a tool. But it's a tool that'd do better not existing" - Admiral Yang Wen-Li

rustymason's picture

"I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me."

rsnoble's picture

I live in a military town.  Most of them are gov't suckasses and believe the whole 9-11 narrative etc.  Meatheads.

cfosnock's picture

The last time I looked using your definition I would say 90% of the population are Meatheads. Why are you picking on the military for holding the same popular belief that you don't agree with?

pashley1411's picture

Props for the post on the absurdity of comparing remfs to combat troops.

Its the bureaucractic mind, not the military mind, you need to worry about, in both its public-sector and boot-licking private-sector forms.   The "banality of evil" comes not from Nazi party members in torch-parades, but from good German bureaucrats filling out transportation forms precisely.    

cfosnock's picture

Interesting but worthless article. First their is a distinction between combat troops and rear echelon troops, and it is apparent that the author does not know that and has concluded that all solders are trained for combat. Most solders are just office workers with uniforms that get  to to shoot a gun twice a year to pass their qualifications. It is evident that the author does not know anything about the military nor does he mention the simple fact that we are not in a military dictatorship, and it is the democratically elected officials that send men into combat.

In other words nobody cares about these wars because the general populace is not affected nor concerned about the loss of life, and just like in the train the much larger civilian population is looking at their shoe laces indifferent to the suffering caused by the politicians they elected, but just like the author they are secretly hoping the military will step up and save them from the bullies so they will not have to step up to the plate.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

Ditto, author doesn't know jack shit about the military or "military types".  Many retire out of the military and go on to lead very successful businesses.  Critical thinking is actually taught and honed especially in the officer ranks.  And you are correct, not all are trained to be Rambo but there are doctors, nurses, engineers, logisticians, you name it.  People shouldn't write about something they haven't a fucking clue about...

beaglebog's picture

That's interesting, smallergov.


In the UK, a disproportionate amount of ex-soldiers end up in jail.

Secunda's picture

I seriously doubt any of this actually went down. This smells of being made up.

Reader1's picture

If you weren't in the military, it's rather hard to speak about the military and its mindset.  Just because they dress alike does not mean they all think alike.

What you're really speaking about is human nature.  Conformity is demanded by society and reinforced by our media.  Just look at kids-they immediately identify and destroy any non-comformity.  People are generally all conformists, even when they "rebel" by growing long hair, getting tattoos, or piercings.  Even their "alternative" views are in conformity-announcing you hate conservatives and Rush Limbaugh is hardly original on any college campus today.  Even folks who pretend they believe in individuality really don't seem to practice it much.  I once met a German who told me he was amazed by how much Americans babble about independence and liberty and the right to do what you want and then promptly do everything together in groups.  Have you ever noticed how many people are afraid to be alone?  I've worked with idiots who actually couldnt' be left alone-they couldn't function alone and needed at least one other person around to do even the most basic work.  Most people are herd animals, creatures of habit, and we're all hardwired to do things pretty much the same and it's reinforced by our culture.  We don't hurt people, fight, steal, lie, take the last cookie, always hold the door open, always say please, use your turn signals.  (There have been police chases where the driver still used his turn signal at every turn.)  When someone, like that bully you wrote about, comes along, it's a huge shock for the herd.  It's never going to change, either.  There will always be wolves, sheep, and guard dogs. 

In this day and age, with all the stupidity revealed and the sheep ignoring it willfully, I'm not sure the guard dogs shouldn't leave the sheep to the wolves and take care of their own. 


RocketmanBob's picture

...but I have to question the mindset that allows one to devote their life in such a thoughtless fashion, especially considering the history of the military, and this goes for any military in any country.

But, you know, you're not picking any sides here...

Friend, as you willingly admitted in the beginning, your bias is strong indeed; so strong that it can't avoid, or even see the irony, in claiming objectivity while making this kind of generalization in your summation.

There are bad apples in every bunch, and perhaps these young fellows wanted to avoid the repurcussions that any military personnel can expect to come with potential adverse involvement with civilian lawbreaking. I can't be sure, because I wasn't there...

Generalizing based on an episode is painting with a broad brush indeed. And, I can tell you based on years of experience in Naval Aviation that critical thinking is a highly valued component in mission success; you confuse thinking with a priori questioning of purpose, at least in my humble opinion.

With Regards

Widowmaker's picture

"perhaps these young fellows wanted to avoid the repurcussions that any military personnel can expect to come with potential adverse involvement with civilian lawbreaking."

You are full of shit.  

Free passes on fighting, in any country.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

Right on rocketman.  tried to +1 you but you started with italics...

williambanzai7's picture

I have a different question for the crowd, how do you explain a subway platform full of onlookers standing by while a lunatic throws an Asian father in front of an oncoming subway. One of those onlookers, a professional photographer, was too busy taking snapshots to try and help the man.

I doubt that had anything to do with the so called "military mindset" and more to do with the "culture of me."

There are uncommon people who are immediately willing to put their lives at risk to save others in an emergency. Many of them don't even know until it actually happens and then decline to be called heroes. 

Others know that they are putting themselves at risk at the outset. Many of those people, who do so every day professionally as emergency services personnel are former military.

So my short conclusion after reading this entire thread is: Bull Shit, there are assholes and cowards in every crowd.

And I am no afficionado of the military industrial complex as my Memorial Day post will verify.

Fryolator's picture

Dude just wants to brag about pushing a guy off a train.  The rest is filler.

It was a good thing to do and he deserves credit.  Good job, sir!

Catullus's picture

I was an officer in the Navy. Not a very good one. I was out first chance I got. Everyone I went to school with is out except the pilots. Half the people who signed up for flight school washed out or didn't start the actual school for 2 years.

I think you're looking at this only on the surface. How could you be this emboddiment of protection and security and let something like a drunken asshole intimidate people on a train? Easy. Mind your own business.

But you already identified what most people already know in the military. You pushing the guy off the train wasn't bravery. It was just a reaction. You didn't want the guy to turn on you. I was never in combat (thank god), but I'm told it a combination sheer terror and just trying to survive. And everyone is terrified. It's not about being "green". Every NCO and officer is terrified.

So be a little forgiving when someone in the military avoids a fight. It's sometimes the only really good thought they have.

lakecity55's picture

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, author, but as a former soldier I cannot agree with you, even though you have some good points.

If you had served, you would have a better understanding.

Carry on.

HardAssets's picture

I come from a military family and served myself. IMO the author mistook the lack of reaction by the soldiers he saw to the military mindset. I wasnt there, and didn't see what took place. But for all we know, those troops could have been new clerks or cooks. And, if they were experienced combat troops - maybe their assessment of when to take action & what type of action, was different than yours as a civilian.The more highly skilled and experienced you are, the more you can take your time in choosing when & how to act.

The writer did make some good points, however. There are many different reasons that people choose to serve in the military. Some do so for purely economic reasons. But there are quite a few in the military who are romantics. They want to serve. They want to defend 'king, flag & country'. They may be very well trained and good in their jobs, but their vision and experience is very limited in scope. Many of them tend to be 'action orientated, hands on' types & those who respect authority & tradition - - - Two time Medal of Honor winner U.S. Marine Corps general Smedley Butler said it wasn't until he left the military that he was able to see how he had been used as a tool for private business interests. Like many other specialists, few military people understand finance and banking. And these two areas are of primary importance in how the world is run. Those in the military may be thinking they're 'defending their country', when they are really providing protection to criminals that ruined that country and are using the military to suppress the very citizens they thought they were defending.

Kissingers comment that those in the military were mere pawns to be used in global politics is a reflection of how many of these psycho-path/socio-path 'leaders' view them. Within the last few months recordings were released of President Johnson talking about how Nixon was trying to convince the North Vietnamese to not go ahead with negotiations to end that war. Nixon promised the North Vietnamese that they would get a better deal if he were elected. Nixon didn't give a damn about the troops, just his presidential prospects. And Johnson had lied to get into that war using the fake Gulf of Tonkin 'attack' on US Navy warships as the excuse. All this has now been made public and can be easily verified. How many service men lost their lives because of the power lust of these two politicians ?  How many lost husbands and fathers because of this ? How many millions of people were killed in SE Asia ? (And now China makes many of the  goods we buy, & Vietnam is a major trading partner. What was that war all about anyway ?  Who benefited from it ? )

Like other citizens, people in the military need to take the blinders off.

newworldorder's picture

thank you for your comment.

There is an aspect to this article and many post comments that the military mind is somehow the perpetrator instead of the victim, in so far as the alleged choise one has in not joining in the first place. Somehow, the responsibility that citizens and political leaders have to the military by not wasting their lives is never acknowledged. Lets blame the troops or the military for the things that go wrong, but the citezens hands are "always clean." We as citizens never sent the troops to commit less than honorable service. Its all the troops fault or the politicians.

We as citizens, would not get off of our butts, take to the streets, protest, kick politicians out of office by electing new ones. Instead we rely on "other peoples children" to (pick your own label here,) protect democracy, protect american interests, enforce treaty obligations, keep the commerce lanes open, etc. No skin in the game for most of the US population as it has abbrogated their  responsibilites to those that serve.

And then writers come to a place like ZH to vent their vepid, un educated opinions, devoid of any real time experiences with the military other than picking out quotes from the internet. Walk a mile in someones shoes once in a while, before sharing their precious opinions.

Racer's picture

The more people around you  the less likely it is for anyone to do anything.

fortune114's picture

Maybe I’m completely wrong on this,...


Yes, pretty much.  After reading your article it is clear that you don't actually know or understand how the military functions.  There are plenty of good documentaries you can watch with embedded reporters these days.  There are also plenty of good books to read written by soldiers.  I understand that you have a hard time accepting that a soldier could write a good book.

Lordflin's picture

Leaving aside for the moment that the upper ranks of the American military have been infiltrated by the same vermin so ubiquitous to modern society... put out the lights and all the dark things slither out from under the rocks... The fact is that it is not the military that favors wars... but rather those who will not have to fight them but instead stand to profit...

And the thought of quaking in fear while some barbarian rampages on a train frankly makes me sick... Barbarians don't frighten me... Haven't since I was five years old and the neighborhood bully came after me... I was forced to fight even though I was, in your words, terrified... I ended up knocking him down whereupon I sat on him and forced him to eat grass.. He became better behaved after that and I learned a lesson about bullies... he was in fact even more frightened than I was...

I will tell you what frightens me... The large number of spineless, wimpish men our Western societies are producing that will do absolutely anything
to feel safe, while hiding behind a veneer of intellectualism... You sir, are the real threat...

HardAssets's picture

Lordflin - this is off topic, but some have suggested that this is the reason why 'anti bullying' & 'zero tolerance' is pushed so energetically in the schools. (They even have 'verbal bullying' as a classification now. Don't people know that 'sticks & stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me' ?)  There are many valuable lessons to be learned by being fed up enough to fight back when confronted by a bully. He may get a few hits in, but youre likely to do the same to him. And, its likely that he won't be so anxious to pick on you again. And some bullies learn that maybe its not such a good idea to pick on others.

These are lessons on courage, right vs wrong, independence, being resilient, working things out for yourselves, and self confidence.

So, of course, the school 'authorities' must eliminate that.


newworldorder's picture

BRAVO - Well said.  +1000


Orwell was right's picture

Hmmm....I believe this article would have been more effective had a different anecdote been chosen to make the point.     While I agree the "military mindset" clearly has some flaws....the author's attempt to tie his perceptions of why the soldiers didn't react in this specific situation to 'mindset' a chasm too far to leap successfully.   

For starters, no one knows these soldiers intent....they may have in fact come to someone's aid had the situation moved beyond trash talk to real violence.   Secondly, as has been pointed out in other posts, military personnel are heavily counseled about 'staying out of trouble' in the civilian realm.      Last but not least, the rest of the author's points come from purely civilian situations where people "watched" instead of "helped".     A different approach to the story would have eliminated these distractions.    

As it stands, I see very little in this article that makes anything clearer.  

...(a bit more editing before submission seems to be in order)....

ebworthen's picture

This would explain why the rank and file of the U.S. Military haven't acted to defend the Constitution, and why a General is in charge of the NSA violently raping the 4th amendment.

El Viejo's picture

+1  However, this is not the first time it has been done in this country. Lincoln during the Civil War  and FDR during WWII come to mind.

ebworthen's picture

Not the first time, but where are the Patriots defending the Constitution?

Where are the armed services in defending the real people in America, the citizens, the responsible, the true Patriots?

HardAssets's picture

Ron Paul - with a foreign policy of non intervention - got more campaign donations from active miltary people than the candidates from both parties combined. Yet the civilian populace voted for O and Romney. And you blame the military for the destruction of the Constitution ?

The founders studied history. They knew the dangers of military dictatorship from examples that included Cesaer and Cromwell. One reason they formed the Continental Army and put it under George Washington, with authority from the civilian Continental Congress, was because of this recognized danger.

General and flag officers (admirals) at the highest levels, tend to be politicians.  There are a lot of good people in the lower ranks. No one can predict what they will do if they are ordered against the American people. And, I'd imagine theyre not tipping their hand before its necessary.

Its a helluva situation.

Stud Duck's picture

I got a nice scar on my right lower lip from stepping in on a large bully trying to pick a fight with two small guys. Of course after that big SOB kicked me in the face and I came back to reality from seeing stars ect, I had to be pulled off him by three guys, while I was chicking him to death, trting to bite his nose off and has accomplished gouging his right ey from its cocket.

I was just 14 years then, summer before HS. the news spread qick to the upper class boys that my size was decieving, and the guy I gouged the eye out of was some sort of bad ass from across the river, but now has a bit of his nose missing and a eyed that did not work!

When I got home with my split lips, my old man really laid into me for fighting , even to help two small guys, He then later was told by other kids what I did and why, he commented, only fight when you are forced too, I replied, "I did not even know the boys that the big guy was picking on, but  he was wrong for what he was doing, My fathers response was. "that kind of thinking is going to get you killed, there is alway going to be sheep type people that won;t stand up for themselves,!

A few years later I recieve a bad spin number for refusing to shoot old men, women and children ! Still think I was right, Would do it again even with what I know now!

El Viejo's picture

German machine-gunners laughed hysterically while mowing down women and children. You can overcome conscience with training and totalitarian dominance, but it is still there.

Mi Naem's picture

"Now I must confess to having a certain aversion for military types. It may be a bias or prejudice, but I am simply puzzled..."  Nice try Chris, but I think the above statement is the most revealing insight you've posted. 

Many in service to the military would not behave like the cowards on your subway car that night. 

Many will defend us against the Blue Helmets (rather than being among the Blues) when that time comes.  And, more would do so if not for the various "crises" propagated by a powerful subset who deceive most of the people most of the time. 

scottm's picture

A huge part of military training is knowing when to use force appropriately. As in not using it on the train because (a) one could be arrested by civil authority [lots of extra paperwork] and (b) force wasn't warrented in that situation.

And colonels do not normally talk to soldiers, except to motivate and encourage; that's what senior enlisted do. Misguided people tend to think that the military is all about "when I say jump, you say 'how high?'" -- it couldn't be farther from the truth. Military leadership focuses on making teams work effectively. If you have to resort to direct orders, you already lost your ability to lead a team effectively. And questioning why action is necessary leads to chaos, especially when the adversary really wants to kill you too -- better them before you.

Sure, the military has hierarchy and a respect for hierarchy because that's proven to be effective for coordinating action. But having respect for hierarchy doesn't translate into inability to think critically.

Full Disclosure: I am a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Reserve.

otto skorzeny's picture

Military and police will be the LAST ones drawing a paycheck on Uncle Sam's account- and that is how you get men to follow ANY order.

Dark Space's picture

Good article, but for every 5 military guys unwilling to get involved and protect those who are weaker around them, I'll show you 5,000 who would gladly take the initiative and shut the bad guy down. What you describe is the exact opposite of all the military men I grew up around, and currently am friends with - they're very aware of what's going on around them, they're the first to take initiative to correct a situation or protect someone else, and they're the most prepared and independent-thinking group of people I know.

Also, although I might have done something similar to the guy on the train, you committed common assault and battery (by UK standards) on the guy and could've spent some time in the pokey. If he had slipped under the train or simply hit his head to hard the charges could've been worse. Better to be sure you have a self defense claim - "hey, stop threatening me and the other passengers - you're out of line", then stab him in the throat with your umbrella when he responds in a threatening manner. You're not going to knock a guy out with a few punches like in the movie, so kicking him out the door makes sense too, but after establishing self-defense, you need to incapacitate him with severe prejudice - ripping out an eyeball or destroying a knee is a good start usually.

Reader1's picture

Good point-The UK seems likely to protect that poor yute's civil rights to be free from violence committed by vigilante bullies like the author.  I wouldn't trust the authorities to see it as anything but an unprovoked attack by some kind of racist/sexist/bigoted/homophobic/anti-immigrant/religious crazy/conservative/right-wing wacko.  

Better to pull out your iPhone, record the violence, and post it to youtube as a viral video and talk smack about how you could take him if he wasn't such a biyatch.

el Gallinazo's picture

Well, now that the average commenter here has vented his spleen on the guest writer, the question still remains, "What will the average enlisted man do, when he is soon to be given illegal orders by the clown-in-chief against the American population?  And why will they behave that way?"  And I include the paramilitary, which unfortunately comprises the neo Gestapo (TSA) and much of the local police.  It seems almost inevitable that we are soon to find out.  What percentage will follow the Oathkeeper ideal -  the true patriots?

As the quote at the bottom of the piece demonstrates, the military of all countries are tools designed, shaped, and to be used by their psychopathic leaders and top minions.

“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” – Henry Kissinger

May we hope that this leading psychopath of the American experience is incorrect.  Time will tell.


scottm's picture

There is a well defined difference between a lawful and unlawful order. Moreover, every situation, whether military commanders like it or not (mostly not), has rules of engagement, which include whether deadly force of arms is permitted (i.e., shooting).

I am actually very confident that were the US military establishment asked to turn on the US population, there would be significant pushback and outright refusal. Seriously. Ever hear of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 that specifically prohibits this?


Hedgetard55's picture

Douchebag clearly never spent a day in the military.

otto skorzeny's picture

Yeah- only real men join the military to risk life and limb for some banker or politician scumbags that could give 2 shits about them. Hoo-Rah.

Pants McPants's picture

Excellent article, and an accurate depiction of today's military.

Sadly, however, criticizing ANY military personnel is the polititcal third rail - I fear for the hate mail you'll receive.

Great work on the tube, BTW.  Can't say I would have had the same amount of courage, but hats off to you.

The Wedge's picture

Far to many words to say war, death and destruction are not positive human experiences. Is it really a profound revelation that if you switched military types with silicon valley yippsters you would see a decline in innovation? Really?

"My argument is that they would be even more likely to stay alive if they weren’t involved in the first place"!

Pure brilliance, no one has ever thought of that. So don't get involved with the military and bullies on trains. Wonder what the author would have wrote had he miss-timed the doors on the train and got the snot beat out of him. Or if the British soldiers got up and defended the gentleman.

"I’m not picking any sides here".

Of course you are picking sides. Don't be obtuse. You're words drip with condescension and contradiction.

"I further realize that an army full of free-thinking individualists would be akin to herding cats, which is to say… impossible. What is required for a “successful army” is a lot of mindless impressionable teenagers, still incapable of objective thinking and disobedience. Is it any wonder the recruitment stations are typically located in low socioeconomic areas"?

More brilliance. Can't have "individuals" in the army and they're all poor dumb dumbs. But he was able to summon the courage to deal with a bully on a train and recounts the story of how no one stopped a young transsexual from getting beaten in a McDonald's until the person began to have a seizure. And the soldier shouldn't get involved with the military in the first place but is too stupid to avoid it.

And I have written too many words to describe elitist, bourgeois drivel.

GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Th real problems lies in how the officer corps will react to illegal orders from Comrade Obama.

For example, "Capture and pacify Goobertown, North Carolina, conduct house to house searches; seize firearms and disarm the local population."

I believe 50% or more of the USA's officer corps would obey this unlawful order.

Most regular officers are careerists and yes men.