Thursday, November 29, 2007

Work for the Army

A small note, I'm still having blogger problem. I decided I didn't like yesterday's post but I can't seem to delete it the screen freezes and then cuts the connection. The flower here is just to prove to myself that at least some photos will load - yesterda I wasn't able to load pictures. I'm mightily confused and am going to seek help ... within the next few weeks.

Today's thoughts are more political than usual. In my transcription work, a lot is done for advertising and PR companies making ads. Over the last couple of years there have been a few times I've transcribed shoots for a company making "Go Army" videos. Mostly they interview GIs, most of these guys and gals come off as very good people who care about what they're doing and feel they are learning a lot, and I don't doubt them. I would never urge anyone to join any of the armed forces, and wish -- I understand the futility -- armies didn't exist. I've transcribed ads for various things I would never urge people to use or buy. But working on several interviews a couple of themes have come up. I know many military enlistees are from parts of the country where there are few opportunities and they can gain more than a living from the military - if they manage to get out alive. One soldier said quite frankly he joined "because there were no jobs in Kansas." Another said he joined for the health insurance "because my wife is sick" and furthermore he chose to be a truck driver "because of the $30,000 bonus." These are not statements that will get in the ads. They are so out front, I have to like those guys.

The ones that bother me are the guys who chose dangerous positions -- scout is a favorite, it seem -- because they have been conditioned by video games and movies. One guy says "it's fun, like playing the video game, Ghost Recon." He's the one who defines the scout's job as "making sure we have an unfair advantage." But the chills start down my spine when someone says he wants to be among guys who "give fire and take fire," and it gets worse when he says it's "fun" and he can hardly believe he's got the good luck to be paid to ride in a Blackhawk helicopter and "blow things up." And this is because "it's just like the movies I always watched."

I hope the guy who's best experience was working in Baaquba building infrastructure, water systems, a school, a hospital, is more typical than the movie mad bomber. And I very much hope he is not deluded when he says he's sure his work has given the people a good feeling towards Americans.

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