There are a lot of things that you can only understand from being in the military. The US and UK are superpowers (I’ve been corrected. The UK is not in fact a superpower even though my mind still sees them that way). That means that we have access to a lot of cool fucking toys. Besides knowing how to employ some massive firepower that can literally wipe countries off the map and leave only a pile of ashes behind, there are some philosophical things that you get exposed to that you can’t find anywhere else.
I’m not talking about you and your friend from middle school loyalty. Sure y’all may have each others backs. Hell, you may even die for one another if it comes down to it. But while you may have friends that would die for you I have friends that would kill for me. We’re a fucking gang. Ain’t no two ways about it. Have you ever seen the movie called The Town? If not let me break a scene down for you.
“I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people,” Ben Affleck says.
His brother looks him in the eyes. The wheels are spinning as he tries to puzzle it all together. Then he decides it doesn’t matter and asks, “Whose car we gonna take?”
That right there is something that most civilians will never have or understand. I’m not a good guy. I’m working on it, but if one of my buddies called me up this very minute to go do some wet work I would be out the door in 5 minutes or less.
Compared to the majority of civilians (I’m not going to use a blanket statement because there are some enlightened souls out there) the military personnel from the UK and US know what the rest of the world is really like. I’m not trying to be snooty or put myself on a pedestal, but you can’t understand how shitty the rest of the world is until you’ve been thrown in the middle of it.
There’s a sort of epiphany that shatters your mind when you step foot in a country like Afghanistan. In the countryside they still build their houses out of hay, mud, and shit. They don’t have running water or electricity. There are still people that live like nomads riding camels around the desert foraging for their food. You know that the year is 2011 or whatever time you find yourself over there, but it’s like fucking time traveling.
I bring this up because the citizens of the UK and US (including myself now) are a bunch of spoiled brats complaining that they got the wrong color iPhone while people are struggling to find food and shelter in the rest of the world. We bitch about traffic, but there are warlords rampaging across plains decapitating people. It’s the perspective that we’ve got it pretty fucking good when we go home.
I’ve seen Roland Bartetzko mention this a few times and he’s absolutely right. When the US and UK personnel get into the thick of it, are pinned down, and surrounded on all sides, we don’t freak out. Why? Because we know we’re one call on the radio away from blasting the enemy back into the fucking Stone Age.
Helicopters, jets, battleships, laser-guided missiles, and more toys than you could ever imagine are a thumb click and a few well-placed words away. You should really see a Hellfire Missile go off. I have and it’s a biblical amount of force. If you’ve never heard of a JDAM… well, it’s kind of like Old Testament God reaching down and smiting the ground. You can’t stand up to that.
Then there are so damn many of us that reinforcements are never far away either. You best believe that if someone gets the call for QRF (Quick Reaction Force) they’re gonna hustle and be mad when they get there. Once again back to the gang mentality. We may talk shit back and forth between units, but if someone from the outside decides to mess with us we all come down on you like a hammer. We can mess with each other, but you can’t.
This comes in many forms, but the main point I want to address is that the UK and US don’t draft or force anyone into service. It’s 100% volunteer. Let that sink in for a second. Don’t worry I’ll wait.
Our entire military’s are made up of young men and women that signed up knowing full well that we would be sent to war. We want to go to war. What’s the point of all that training if you don’t get to use it? We’re bloodthirsty. It’s the only way you can accurately describe the mentality of a bunch of teenagers that signed up specifically for the infantry. Most logical people try to keep themselves out of harm’s way. Not us.
We know that we’re Imperialists/Hegemonists/Conquerors/(Insert your choice word here). Most of us know that the reasons for the wars we are in are murky at best. It doesn’t matter. We’ve grown up on war. The denizens of Afghanistan and Iraq are our enemies. Going into our service branches and killing our country’s enemies is honorable where we come from. Don’t believe me? Go down into the Bible Belt of America and try that soldiers are ‘baby killers’ crap and see how fast you get shut down. I’ll give you 5 minutes before Lynyrd Skynyrd starts blasting out of the countryside and a horde of angry rednecks makes you disappear.
These are a few things that can only be truly grasped by military personnel in the UK or US. I hope this answer shed some light on the subject for you.