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Thread: Veterans with bad attitudes

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Veterans with bad attitudes

    “Thank you for your service.”

    That is a phrase often spoken to those (at least in the U.S. here) who have served in the military, especially those who have fought in battles and risked their lives. However, I have plenty of mixed sentiments regarding that.

    1. Plenty of people did not volunteer to join the military for any kind of noble purpose or defense of others. They did so because their life was at a low point and they had no other options, or they were drafted into a war despite attempting to avoid it, etc. So their motivations were not charitable, and perhaps were selfish, even if their actions still coincidentally benefited me. Should I really bother expressing gratitude to them?
    2. Many veterans develop very ugly personas. They can be arrogant, jerks, bullying, etc. They will have horrible political, social, and ethical views fueled in part by their alpha-male machismo attitudes. They exploit the rest of us who have not served in the military (raises hand), by effectively treating us as inferior to them.

    How do you interact with veterans who fit the above descriptions? There are some in my family and plenty more encountered online who behave as such. Their ugly personalities may be the result of numerous factors, some related to their military experiences (PTSD?) and others that are entirely unrelated. It is still difficult to navigate through conversations with such fiercely combative people. I have conflicting feelings towards them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian63 View Post
    “Thank you for your service.”

    That is a phrase often spoken to those (at least in the U.S. here) who have served in the military, especially those who have fought in battles and risked their lives. However, I have plenty of mixed sentiments regarding that.

    1. Plenty of people did not volunteer to join the military for any kind of noble purpose or defense of others. They did so because their life was at a low point and they had no other options, or they were drafted into a war despite attempting to avoid it, etc. So their motivations were not charitable, and perhaps were selfish, even if their actions still coincidentally benefited me. Should I really bother expressing gratitude to them?
    2. Many veterans develop very ugly personas. They can be arrogant, jerks, bullying, etc. They will have horrible political, social, and ethical views fueled in part by their alpha-male machismo attitudes. They exploit the rest of us who have not served in the military (raises hand), by effectively treating us as inferior to them.

    How do you interact with veterans who fit the above descriptions? There are some in my family and plenty more encountered online who behave as such. Their ugly personalities may be the result of numerous factors, some related to their military experiences (PTSD?) and others that are entirely unrelated. It is still difficult to navigate through conversations with such fiercely combative people. I have conflicting feelings towards them.
    I'm a veteran myself, so I can usually pull that out and then talk about how they just want to play 'Vietnam Wars' pity party shit and then describing that behavior (my life is worse than your life I was in 'nam), and how it is merely masturbatory. If it's more "I'm tough I was in the army", I can always roll out the veritable parade of shit bags, racists, and violent bullies I knew from my service.

    The answer here may be to bring a veteran who isn't a shitty person.

    Edit: Oh, and if they bring in PTSD I suggest they look up MAPS and check out their MDMA trials.

    One thing to remember: any veteran who talks about the shit they wound up in, unbidden, is a piece of shit. We don't talk about it and you shouldn't ask outside of asking as family in somber and private settings. Avoid them. This is one of the brightest red flags that exist in regards to veterans. I will note an exception here insofar as some may discuss it from the perspective of the shame and pain it makes them feel.

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    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
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    Don't worry about interacting with them. Instead, challenge a status quo that preys on impoverished young people to risk their lives for an education, a job that pays more than minimum wage, decent benefits, and useful experience, and the same status quo that reinforces aggression, entitlement, and authoritarianism, while at the same time sacrificing idealized young men to a stupid patriarchal social framework.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

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    I don't thank anonymous for anonymous acts. Hero, sociopath?

    There is an unhealthy default worship for anonymous people that are in or were in the military.

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    We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Eh. We made a choice.

    Whether you approve of the choice, or the reason for the choice, or the personal developments typically associated with the consequences of the choice, consider that enough of us made the choice such that they didn't bring back the draft.

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    Veteran Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Eh. We made a choice.

    Whether you approve of the choice, or the reason for the choice, or the personal developments typically associated with the consequences of the choice, consider that enough of us made the choice such that they didn't bring back the draft.
    Pretty much. The reasons are wide and varied. Some because they wish to murder people, some because they wish to save people, and many just because they didn't see much else staring at them from the double-barrel of life.

    It's good that some volunteered so we aren't all volun-told, but the only persons for whom any honor is deserved for this choice are exactly the people who will not seek it, and who would argue that it is no honor for the cost was too high.

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    Whenever I encounter the "thank you for your service" comment, I try to be gracious about it and remember that the person is simply expressing some genuine appreciation.

    I don't figure it's my place to say what I'm thinking, which is a mixture of, "Well, that's nice, but I really didn't do it for you," "Thank you for your service" has become a meaningless auto-response like "Have a Nice Day," and a slight irritation that the Republican party has so thoroughly hijacked military service appreciation that it somehow "taints" an expression of it to some degree. This is all internal, though.

    Externally, I always smile and thank the person for their acknowledgement-- usually adding a humorous aside like "Oh, it was my pleasure. Most of the time, haha." One of my standard responses was, "Thank YOU for being a taxpayer all those years--we had some pretty expensive toys back in the day, haha."

    I don't need to hear it, and don't even particularly want to, but I never make a person sorry they said it. Mentally, I usually remind myself that in a very tangible way I'm "accepting" this appreciation on behalf of service members I knew, or for that matter didn't know, who aren't around to hear it for themselves...which is another reason to accept it graciously and move on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian63 View Post
    “Thank you for your service.”

    That is a phrase often spoken to those (at least in the U.S. here) who have served in the military, especially those who have fought in battles and risked their lives. However, I have plenty of mixed sentiments regarding that.

    1. Plenty of people did not volunteer to join the military for any kind of noble purpose or defense of others. They did so because their life was at a low point and they had no other options, or they were drafted into a war despite attempting to avoid it, etc. So their motivations were not charitable, and perhaps were selfish, even if their actions still coincidentally benefited me. Should I really bother expressing gratitude to them?
    2. Many veterans develop very ugly personas. They can be arrogant, jerks, bullying, etc. They will have horrible political, social, and ethical views fueled in part by their alpha-male machismo attitudes. They exploit the rest of us who have not served in the military (raises hand), by effectively treating us as inferior to them.

    How do you interact with veterans who fit the above descriptions? There are some in my family and plenty more encountered online who behave as such. Their ugly personalities may be the result of numerous factors, some related to their military experiences (PTSD?) and others that are entirely unrelated. It is still difficult to navigate through conversations with such fiercely combative people. I have conflicting feelings towards them.
    So, you're saying that when you thank some service members for the their service, that some of them treat you bad? Some of them are arrogant and/or bullying? I'm a veteran. I've never run into this type of veteran before. I'm sure that there are some out there. To me, Trump is incredibly arrogant. He's a jerk and a bully. But he never served a day in his life! I've met plenty of people who would meet your description above that were not veterans.

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    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    I have family members who are veterans, and who are also assholes. Complete MAGA idiots too. Have encountered plenty of strangers online who have that personality too (but I do not know them personally at all).

    Those ones I have not thanked for their service. Partly because it is very superficial, a matter of routine to say. Like saying "please" or "thank you" to a stranger. If they really did act honorably, then me merely saying that phrase does not do enough to express my gratitude. If they served for selfish reasons, then I really do not care about thanking them. It is very hard to figure out what the appropriate amount of gratitude I should express is for different people and at different times. The whole exchange is awkward.

    Also, if people are now assholes and bullies, then I care less about any time they have served in the military years ago. That does not morally excuse them to be a jackass now.

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