Wednesday, November 12, 2003

sociology and the military

a sociologist and ex-military person posted a question to a sociology list about the apparent incompatibility of sociology and the military; my response:

I was going to respond yesterday, but couldn’t quite formulate my thoughts in time. I had been thinking about my small tear for awhile, so that was easier to post.

I don’t want to add too much more to what has been said as I appreciate everyone’s perspective and their input. I am grateful to be part of a group that has discussions like this on a list (and I hope we have more).

In brief, I agree with what some others have said, which in my words is, “if it involves people, it involves sociology” so I see no disconnect between the military (i.e., people in groups with institutional structures) and sociology. I think most, if not all, would agree with this.

I can’t say I am opposed to the military as that would mean I am opposed to people, which I am not. I guess if I am “opposed” to anything having to do with something called “the military” it is the seeming need to have one in the first place. It appears that I am na├»ve enough to think that if we spent the same amount of time, effort, and money to create some institutional arrangement that would dramatically increase the likelihood of more peaceful interaction and cooperation among people, we could possibly make “the military” obsolete. I do like to think that big, I think that is what our current world situation calls for. I heard someone say that what we need is a “Manhattan Project” on poverty – similarly, a “Manhattan Project” on peace and cooperation. I just can’t imagine that with all of that talent that exists in this world that we can’t come up with something that is more conducive to life and human thriving than what we have going on right now. I guess that is why I am a member of this organization.

RE: treatment of veterans in our country…I think that most “negative” reactions to veterans is due to ignorance on the part of the person being negative. That doesn’t make it right, but at least it allows for some learning to take place. I think that gov’t “ignorance” of veterans is inexcusable, however. The notion of charging veterans in the hospital $8 a day for their food is unconscionable. If anything, veterans should be getting more benefits for free, not less. Talk about being “unpatriotic” and duplicitous!

Okay, time to go now, rant coming on…


(son of a WWII vet, whom, as family history has it, had an appointment to West Point yet was unable to get in due to poor eyesight; the grandson of a German Kriegsmarine who fought on “the wrong” side in WWI but who had enough sense to leave Germany after the war and tried to convince other family members to leave when Hitler came to power and was later questioned by the FBI because his last name was “Hess”; and the brother to three Vietnam era men who, for different reasons, were not drafted – much to our mother’s delight as she was readying their flight to Canada if they were)

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