• AdminGuru

    Just started to read through some of this and will follow up with more thoughts later but I have one comment off the bat.

    Caste System? Really? Real caste systems are born into or forced upon someone and people have no chance of escape, there is also no room for movement within them to a different class. How can you call a voluntarily entered contract with an expiration and room for progression a caste system? Please go buy a dictionary and then read up on the history of a little country known as India to gain a little world perspective. Also, don’t compare forced jumping jacks to slavery, that is a little childish and a little more than a reach. It does not upset me how insulting/comical that is to the military as much as how it perverts what the term actually means and is disrespectful to anyone who has actually endured it.

  • AdminGuru

    Here we go, I read the whole text and have a few comments:

    First off I won’t spend my whole time arguing facts but will point out one discrepancy, “What you will find is a consistent theme of war profiteering. Every time America goes to war the rich get richer and the poor get poorer…”, ever heard of the boom after WWII? Yeah, the previously lower class veterans developed into a prosperous working class who could afford homes and supporting larger families, it was called the baby boom, just pointing that out.

    I will say that every soldier, or at least myself and all the other self respecting Marines I know and consider my brothers would deny an unlawful order if we felt a moral conflict. That oath of enlistment you tried to so easily break down was sworn to God and most of us answer to him first before anyone “with a pin on their collar” as you so nicely put it.

    I can’t speak on the Air Force mentality or training as I have not and will never be an Airman but I think you underestimate the moral compass and intestinal fortitude of your fellow service members, especially those in other branches. I do not send this out as an insult to your branch of service because let’s face it, we all know that kind of bickering is useless and every branch has a purpose as well as dedicated personnel. I simply mean that the military trains its members and gives them the tools to be a killer but does not make them one. That CHOICE is still theirs. I, along with countless others, would shoot a superior before shooting an innocent civilian because that is the kind of independent thinking, “do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do” mentality I have that just so happens to be in line with the supposed ethos of my military branch. For you to say that they may follow orders out of cowardice or fear of reprimand when they don’t agree with them is insulting to the very core values the services try to instill from day one. I suppose it could happen but my leadership has never tried to instill that kind of weakness in me or lack of reasoning.

    I do not agree with everything the military or the US government does but I still believe in the good intent of my senior leaders in my branch of service and in the steady moral compass of my brothers in arms. I have buried far too many Marines who died in combat for what they believed to be a noble cause, while serving said cause in an honorable manner to let you belittle their efforts or question their incentives. The Marine Corps despite all its flaws, of which there are many, does not develop the sheep that you paint a picture of. We train killers to win America’s wars. I am sorry if you don’t believe these are America’s wars but they are started and continued by the politicians we elect along with the corporations the people continue to support.

    On some topics I am in agreement with you. At the end of the day, your average American doesn’t do anything to effect change because they are too blind or too lazy and that needs to change. All this doesn’t mean our military system is broken however, it is effective but misused. If a group of children keeps hitting each other with a hammers, the answer to the solution is not to take away all the hammers, the answer is to give them something useful to do with them or with their time. I guess that is another way of saying, the troops don’t kill innocent people or wage ungodly wars, America does it, using them as a tool, and no one cares as long as they don’t have to do more than buy a yellow ribbon bumper sticker and put a flag up on their front porch.


      I doubt you’ll find Mr. Haan on this site. We’ve shared his book – with his permission of course – but it’s unlikely he’ll be on here to defend himself.

      You make some decent points, but I’d like to dispute your claim that troops will disobey an unlawful/immoral order.

      While it is quite likely that many marines would disobey an order if they felt a moral conflict. The trouble with this is that much of military training is designed to dehumanize other people and negate the possibility of a soldier/marine feeling a moral conflict. Further the “do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do” mentality, receives barely a passing glance when compared to the “instant obedience to orders” mentality. “Instant obedience to orders” is what is really being instilled in troops from day one, while “refusing unlawful orders” receives barely so much as a courtesy nod. In fact, I feel very safe in saying that any infantryman (or other combat MOS) I ever met, would’ve killed any civilian out there, so long as one of their superiors told them that he was a “bad guy”.

      I realize that comparing the U.S. to the Nazi’s is overused and in some cases unwarranted, but having read several psychological studies of the Nazi’s and top Nazi officials, as well as the Stanford Prison experiment, and the Abu Ghraib abuses, and having compared them to my own experiences, there are some definite parallels that cannot be ignored.

      Lastly, I’ll agree that plenty of people join the military believing that they’re doing the right thing, and I’m sure plenty of them died in combat still believing that, but that is not sufficient evidence to declare their actions to actually be correct.

      Safety and Peace

      • Travis Haan

        Mr. Haan here. I’m the author of this document, and I regularly get hate mail about my critiques of the military. Experience has taught me to never try to argue or try to defend myself on this issue anymore. Running this site you’ve seen your share of arguments I’m sure, and they rarely end up with one side conceding to the other.

        The problem is (as I say in “The Reality of The United States Military” that the military systematically brainwashes its recruits to instinctively defend their chain of command to the death. Hard core military members would no sooner doubt the righteousness of their organization and their cause than a hard core Christian or Muslim would doubt the righteousness of their holy book or their religious leaders. Arguing with someone already programmed to defend their organization and their cause to the death is an exercise in futility. The best you can hope for is to plant a seed of an idea in their mind that will bloom later.

        I said what I had to say. The words are out there for people to listen to. It’s up to them whether they’re going to approach it with an open mind or a closed mind. It does amaze me though that throughout the whole book I really, really tried to be clear about the fact that the point of the book isn’t to insult troops but to point out how inhumanely the military treats the troops, and the point keeps flying over some people’s heads. I’ve been thinking about changing the title of the book to “You Can Support the UCMU or the Troops but not Both.” If you or anyone else can help me figure out a way to make it more clear that I’m defending the troops and not attacking them then I could sure use the advice.

        • S.

          The good thing about addressing even the most bizarre comments is that sometimes they make for a good example or make for good opportunity to touch on a specific topic. Who cares if the person you are responding to will never consider your argument. There are thousands upon thousands of others who will read it who will. Basically, trolls that don’t take the time to fully read or understand what this site or this book are about are used as fuel for the information engine so to speak.

          With that said, I don’t think you need to rename the book or even try to be more clear about your intentions. You did a pretty good job already. Like I said before, some people really don’t want to take the time to read the whole thing before they make a judgement, so their comments end up being way off topic and quite mean. But this is the internet, where attention spans peak at 30 seconds.

          I do think, that you should continue to do humanity a solid and keep writing when you can.

        • NINJA_PUNCH

          Mr. Haan, Nice to meet you, such as it is. Of course arguing with the intent of convincing a “hard core military member” is rather fruitless, but you also must remember that there numerous people who come on this site to help make a decision about whether to join the military or not. If they read both the initial argument and my refutation, it gives them a chance to decide which argument makes more sense, and allows them to make a more informed decision.

          Safety and Peace

    • S.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the whole thing before posting your opinion of the book.

  • hjmg817

    Hey man I just read well part of this book. Its pretty spot on, some things I might not agree, but spot on.

  • Father Thyme

    The word “hero” stems etymologically from an arsonist named “Herostratus,” who on July 21, 356 BCE, while seeking notoriety, burned down the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. His name has become a metonym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous. wikipedia.org/wiki/Herostratus

    • Hero
      • Father Thyme

        See James Bowman’s article “From Heroes to Herostratus.”
        The New Criterion. New York, April 18, 2001

        The above article is cited in: Terrorism for Self-glorification: The Herostratos Syndrome By Albert Borowitz (Kent State University Press, Jan 1, 2005)

        There is a connection, even if connotation differs from original, as happens with words.

        • Hero

          You’re saying that the word “hero” itself etymologically came from the name of an attention seeker. I am merely saying that is not the case.

          • Father Thyme

            Arsonists and bombers are recognition-craving heroes, if this crime classification manual is correct.

            Chapter 11 Arson/Bombing
            212 Attention seeking
            213 Recognition (hero)

            Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crime, Third Edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2013) p. 277

            “I’ll be watching you!” –Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Full Metal Jacket, 1987)

          • Etymology is in Linguistics

            Did you even read the links? The word “hero” in the English language ETYMOLOGICALLY ultimately comes from the Ancient Greek word “ἥρως”. Etymology is part of the field of linguistics, and you argued in your thread starting comment that “hero” ETYMOLOGICALLY comes from a Greek attention-seeker’s name.

            You don’t have to like the word or the Marine Corps, but don’t conflate linguistics with contemporary politics and law, like you’re doing now.

            Whatever I’m done with this site. You’re just as bad as the Marines as this site claims, making this much bigger than a simple etymology correction. And I’ve already read all I’ve needed to read on this site.

          • Father Thyme

            Not a “Hero” anymore?

            “I got your name! I got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers! I will teach you!” –Gunnery Sergeant Hartman

            At least you’re learning.

  • usmcbegone

    Cult of Dusty- Do Not join the Military
    Some wisdom from an intelligent Southern Redneck!