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The Pentagon vs. America

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Posted on May 5, 2008
DoD / U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recites the oath of allegiance to University of Kentucky ROTC students during a visit to the campus.

By Scott Ritter

I recently heard from an anti-war student I met while I was speaking at a college in northern Vermont. The e-mail included the following query:

“I told you about how I wanted to build a career around social activism and making a difference. You told me that one of the most important things was to make myself reputable and give people a reason to listen to you. I think this is some of the best advice I’ve received. My issue however is that you mentioned joining the military as a way to do this and mentioned how that is how you fell into it. ... We talked extensively about all of our criticisms of the military currently and our foreign policy. ... What I don’t understand is, how can you [advise] someone who wants to make a difference with the flawed system, to join that flawed system?”

The question is a valid one. Throughout my travels in the United States, where I interact with people from progressive anti-war groups, I am often confronted with the seeming contradiction of my position. I rail against the war in Iraq (and the potential of war with Iran) and yet embrace, at times enthusiastically, the notion of military service. It gets even more difficult to absorb, at least on the surface, when I simultaneously advocate counter-recruitment as well as support for those who seek to join the armed services.

The notion that the military and citizens of conscience should be at odds is a critical problem for our nation. That confrontation only exacerbates the problems of the soldier and the citizen, and must be properly understood if it is to be defeated. Let us start by constructing a framework in which my positions can be better assessed.

First and foremost, I do not view military service as an obligation of citizenship. I do view military service as an act of good citizenship, but it can under no circumstance be used as a litmus test for patriotism. There are many ways in which one can serve his or her nation; the military is but one. I am a big believer in the all-volunteer military. For one thing, the professional fighting force is far more effective and efficient than any conscript force could ever be. 

There are those who argue that a draft would level the playing field, spreading the burdens and responsibilities associated with a standing military force more evenly among the population.  Those citizens whose lives would be impacted through war (namely those of draft age and their immediate relatives) would presumably be less inclined to support war. 

Conversely, the argument goes, with an all-volunteer professional force, the burden of sacrifice is limited to that segment of society which is engaged in the fighting, real or potential. Two points emerge: First, the majority of society not immediately impacted by the sacrifices of conflict will remain distant from the reality of war. Second, even when the costs of conflict become discernable to the withdrawn population, the fact that the sacrifice is being absorbed by those who willingly volunteered somehow lessens any moral outcry.

I will submit that these are valid observations, and indeed have been borne out in America’s response to the Iraq war tragedy. However, simply because something exists doesn’t make it right. The collective response to the Iraq war on the part of the American people is not a result of there not being a draft, but rather poor citizenship. An engaged citizenry would not only find sufficient qualified volunteers to fill the ranks of our military, but would also personally identify with all those who served so that the loss of one was felt by all. The fact that many Americans today view the all-volunteer force not so much as an extension of themselves, but more along the lines of a “legion” of professionals removed from society, illustrates the yawning gap that exists between we the people and those we ask to defend us. 

Narrowing this gap is not something that can be accomplished simply through legislation. Reinstating the draft is illusory in this regard. There is a more fundamental obstacle to the reunion of our society and those who take an oath in the military to uphold and defend the Constitution. Void of this bond, the inherent differences of civilian and military life will serve to drive a wedge between the two, regardless of whether the military force is drafted or volunteer. 

Lacking a common understanding of the foundational principles upon which the nation was built, a citizenry will grow to view military service as an imposition, as opposed to an obligation. Simply put, one cannot willingly defend that which one does not know and understand. The fundamental ignorance that exists in America today about the Constitution creates the conditions which foster the divide between citizen and soldier that permeates society today. America must take ownership of its military, not simply by footing the bill, but by assuming a moral responsibility for every aspect of military service. The vehicle for doing this has been well established through the Constitution: the legislative branch of government, the Congress, which serves to represent the will of the people. 

Congress, especially the House of Representatives, was never conceived of as separate and distinct from the people, but rather as one with the people, directly derived from their collective will via the electoral process. Unfortunately today, few Americans identify with Congress. An “us versus them” mentality pervades. This mentality creates the crack in the moral and social contract which exists regarding a citizenry and its military. Congress is responsible for maintaining the military. Congress is the branch of government mandated with the responsibility for declaring war. When the bond is strained between the people and Congress, the bond between citizen and soldier is broken. Congress, left to its own devices, will begin to view the military not as an extension of its constituents, but rather as a commodity to be traded and used in a highly politicized fashion. 

This is the reality we find ourselves in today (and indeed which has existed for some time). The 2006 midterm elections highlight this reality, where a strong anti-war sentiment upon the part of the voters resulted in a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Having assumed the mantle of legislative power, however, those who were elected on the coattails of anti-war sentiment were able to shun their anti-war constituents. They did so by taking full advantage of the reality that the anti-war movement was in fact not a movement at all, but rather a concept pushed forward by a disparate mass without much political viability. 


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By Michael Keenan, May 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

General Smedly Butler, self-described bully of three continents, once wrote that the “only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.” This current racket would be over in a heart beat.

Anyone willing to sponsor legislation to this effect and give it a go.

Capitialists(bad ones)tried to make him President in a White House coup but he turned them in. Thats what I call defending the Constitution.

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By targitted, May 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The feds and mil intel guys wasted a lotta’ time, energy, people and our money chasing nobodies, while 19 hijackers were never noticed.

Follow this link:

You make the call.

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By Charlie Jackson, May 9, 2008 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many justify joing the military to be an “honorable decision”.  But then, so did the members of the Nazi and all other regimes that went to war against defenseless people. Many of those who didn’t get killed, got rich.

While a person may have personal integrity or honor in serving one’s fellow man and woman, the U.S. military does neither. It only serves its members.

Ask yourself.  Would you do this if you weren’t being paid?

P.S. Scott has made quite a living from both his military service and the military consulting, punditry and books that he has written since, in addition to a military pension.  He even worked for Fox News.

Charlie Jackson
Texans for Peace

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By fattkidd, May 9, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Exactly the point I was trying to make in my first post. The whole concept of a professional military is unConstitutional. Washington warned us against maintaining large standing armies & said they would be abused.
Big Al, don’t soldiers & Marines also take an oath of loyalty to the President as their Commander in Chief? Wouldn’t that be unConstitutional as well? The reason I ask is that I got into a debate with a soldier once about their oaths & how they had a duty to disobey an order that was unConstitutional & he said they also took an oath to obey the President. That to me is unAmerican.
The bottom line is, the rulers/owners of this country KNOW that humans are incapable of resisting authority. There have been studies & experiments done at both the university & gov’t level to prove this. One Yale study, I believe, proved that humans beings will in fact torture another human being for no reason if a person in authority tells them they have to. They found a 100% compliance rate. The study I’m referring to was set up to have random people apply electrical shock to people in another room upon command or the person being shocked missing a trivia question or something. Of course, they weren’t really being shocked but the folks who were applying the electricity didn’t know that. They even ignored pleas of ‘help’ and ‘stop’ and ‘your killing me’ & stuff like that when the ‘scientists’ told them to continue.
So, imagine a soldier in the military trying to refuse an order they deem immoral or unlawful. They can’t. And, the ‘Powers That Be’ know it.
Take the case of the 82nd Airborne & National Guard soldiers disarming law abiding citizens in NOLA after Hurricaine Katrina. CLEARLY a violation of not only the Constitution but also Federal law (Posse Comitatus). But, the soldiers did what they were told & went door to door confiscating citizens’ guns without even giving them a receipt so that could later reclaim them. They were even ordered to ‘shoot to kill’ anyone who refused to comply. There’s video of one soldier being interviewed by local news as they were going door to door saying, ‘Man, we were just over in Iraq doing this very same thing! But, here we are in America. I just hope I don’t have to shoot anyone.’
This young man seemed like a nice, normal US citizen but was basically saying he was willing to kill another US citizen, you know, the ones he’s sworn to protect, if they didn’t comply with this unConstitutional order!
Can you say ‘brainwashed’?
Just goes to show, if and when the shit hits the fan, don’t count on the nice boy or girl who used to live next door or down the street who joined the military, to have any sympathy or loyalty to you or any other US citizen. They will do as they are told. They will even kill you if their C.O. tells them to.
Scary shit people. Scary times.

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By bigalsez, May 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter makes two points I want to take issue with regarding the intent and application of the U.S. Constitution and the military.  The first is that he advocates a professional, volunteer military.  The writers of the Constitution, however,  supported a universal militia of citizens (exemptions made for the prejudices and institutions of that period), not a professional, standing army of voluntees apart from the rest of society.  George Washington’s original military proposal precluded a professional army and made reference to the Swiss model of a national militia. That the U.S.  militia concept became subverted over time into what became the National Guard along side a standing professional army is in contradiction to the original intent.  Hence, Ritter falsely identifies the writers of the U.S. Constitution with his concept of a professional, standing military. Army
General Mcauley Palmer in the late 19th through mid-20th centuries constantly tried to implement such a militia proposal, but was marginalized.  His books are still well worth reading.

Second, Ritter says that the individual member of the armed forces swears to uphold the defense of the U.S. Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  This is part of his argument for urging people to join the military.  But it begs the question of what happens when the Constitution is violated by the Administration in power and no government body intervenes to redress the illegality.  Ritter says that the military does not uphold a particular Administration, especially one that violates constitutional provisions such as the Patriot Act or the war in Iraq.  But his only solution is to get soldiers not to violate certain norms when put in a situation where the mission itself is a result of a constitutional violation.  There is a more appropriate response in line with swearing to uphold the Constitution and that is what Lt. Ehren Watada did in light of the violation of the Constitution, certain international laws and U.S. military statutes—he refused to fight in Iraq.  This is the political act which Ritter cannot recommend, even though he supports such activities as counter-recruitment.  Such political acts are not not revolutionary acts per se, but attempts to redress constitutional violations from the position of those in the military.

BTW, I also served 6 years in the Marine Corps before becoming a military sociologist.

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By Expat, May 8, 2008 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

^ the signing bonuses; $$$$$?  Have you read that the standards have been dropped so low that they now allow convicted felons to sign up.  No longer need a high school diploma; and did I mention the money?  That was my question also, but now I understand.  Gang Bangers in Iraq.  The further problem is; look at whom will be returning with state of the art urban combat and advanced weapons/tactics training.  Inspiring, yes?

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By anambrose, May 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

I agree with most of what you said here. Here is what I have seen lately that makes it even more difficult to understand the complexity of these issues. I saw a Frontline documentary as well as the documentary called Carrier on PBS. It seems that our military has undergone a conversion to an evangelical type of faith since I served. It was somewhat apparent in the Frontline piece which follows an infantry unit deployed in Iraq. What I saw could not have happened in the Army I served in in ‘68/‘70. A mounted mechanized infantry squad was providing rolling convoy security for the myriad of private contractor semi’s traveling back and forth to the private contractor bases.That job was once done by military police units. Infantry whether straight leg or mechanized provided security for engineers to sweep the road for mines (IED’s) each day and actively patrol the likely routes to and from ambush sites as well as provide a ready reaction force should a convoy come under fire. No such mission was seen and it was a dangerous waste of taxpayer money as well as dangerous for the men and women on the line as the initiative is left to the bad guys. Bait on wheels. In the Carrier documentary I saw an entire carrier group deployed in the gulf in which not one bomb was dropped due to the changing mission on the ground. I wondered where were the direct ground tactical air support units like Apache helicopter gun ships and A-10’s that would normally support for troops in the field? Was it necessary to have a strategic asset like an entire floating aircraft wing providing tactical air cover under circumstances that ruled out their use? The one thing they both had in common was the continual reference to the typical right wing speak about clash of civilizations. The other thing in common was the difference in the speech of officers vs enlisted with the lower ranks more freely expressing doubts about the mission as well as the war while almost all of the officers seemed to either believe what they were told about Iraq being conflated with the War on Terror or were reduced to parroting the party line so they wouldn’t lose their flight status and ruin a career. I could see that religion was a comfort to some but it was disturbing to see how pervasive it has become especially on board ship where there was no escape from daily services. There were many christians, one jewish kid, and only a few muslims in a crew of 5000. How is that a cross section of our country? They have become so insulated it would not be a far stretch to see how some could be ordered to drop bombs right here at home and they would do it. That to me is the greatest danger we may yet face if we do not turn to some kind of draft or national service leavening the military culture with more civilian representation.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, May 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

My comment #538 was in reply to Sleeper, right under mine.  Non Credo taught me that I can’t preview a Reply or it will post as a new comment.  Thanks.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, May 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

How is it that G. W. Bush can assault the US Constitution with his illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq but the Americans fighting his cause there “believe in our constitution and the ideals held sacred within it?”

Our problem isn’t that “money drives our government and votes are bought.”  It’s that too many young Americans volunteer to be complicit in Bush’s illegal, immoral war in Iraq.

I find it surprising that anyone would enlist in the service, for any reason, given American leaders penchant for using our military to meddle in other’s political affairs or out and out invading and attacking. You’d sign up for four years feeling patriotic and wanting to ward off aggressors and, BINGO, your idiot CIC starts a war 10,000 miles away, tells you he’s spreading democracy (like you give a crap)it’s usually defended by those countries using terrorists or guerrillas—unconventional defense including hater insurgents—assuring that the war will go on for decades and upping your chances of coming home in a body bag. 

What will help stop this is a draft, then, following the orders to engage in yet another illegal war, draft resistance, evaders, conscientious objectors and a new wave of deserters, all with the public supporting such action.

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By voice of truth, May 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

It never ceases to amaze me how this site’s nutjobs can work the evil Jews into every story.

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By fattkidd, May 7, 2008 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Ritter, you fail to notice something in your article which suprises me given your knowledge of and reverence for the Constitution; The Constitution DOES NOT allow for a large standing army (nor Marine Corp). It only allows for a well-regulated, standing Navy for which to protect commerce/trade and well-regulated state miltias. Upon Congress declaring war, the President must then go to the governors of each state and ASK them to call up the militias. It’s then assumed that the state governors can say no if they deem the fight not in their self interest. If you read actual history, not the crap written in history text books, you’ll see that many times in the early history of this nation, governors and/or militias declined to take part in various wars/battles. The states thought of themselves as self-governing entities, republics, that had no duty or obligation to defend any other state. The Founding Fathers also warned and argued against having a large standing army for the simple reason that it would be too tempting for future presidents to abuse. They were right. So, instead of urging conscientous citizens to join the military, you should be advocating we get back the the Constitution and DISBAND the US Army and Marine Corps. You could argue that if the Founders had known of air travel, they would accept a standing air force. I’d go along with that. But, doing away with large standing armies would prevent the types of foreign incursions that have become so common over the last 150 yrs that people don’t even question them anymore. I’d also urge you and everyone else who reads this post to read ‘War Is A Racket’ by Maj. Gen Smedley Butler, U.S.M.C. - two time winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. In it, he describes a 30+ yr career in the Marine Corps as nothing more than being a gangster, a thug, for corporate America.
The last time the Army was called upon to defend this country from foreign invasion was during the War of 1812. Yet, we’ve been involved in hundreds of armed conflict around the world since. That should say something to any thinking person. The idea that the military has been co-opted by special interest should not be something new for Mr. Ritter. It is as it’s always been.

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By Charlie Jackson, May 7, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While Scott Ritter makes some valid observations the fact is that he, like other militarists, begins with an assumption that large and standing armies are essential for free and democratic citizenship.

The facts is quite opposite.  In both the U.S. and throughout history, standing armies have primarily been used to subjugate people (native peoples), military adventurism (Spanish-American war). Seldom have militaries been used for purely “defensive” purposes ... and certainly not today.

President James Madison perhaps said it best, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

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By Ivan, May 7, 2008 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Having your cake and eating it, too. A lesson in hypocritical thinking.

Tribalism (which includes—though it’s not restricted to—patriotism/nationalism) is the root of most evil. Military service is part of that. Therefore, there’s no justification for the glorification of soldiers.

Even less so when one considers that many (most? nearly all?) join military service for reasons that have NOTHING to do with the flag-waving ideals propagated by the establishment (military or otherwise).

Bombs have NEVER brought peace. The quicker people understand that, the better.

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By Rick, May 7, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree, the military is an instrument of the elite and special interest groups such as the Zionist since why spill their blood when they can get the naive gentiles to do it in the name of nationalism and freedom. War is a racket yet presently this country is in a genocidal occupation of sovereign countries, what else is new. The influence of the Marxist and Zionist Jews and their overall plan for world domination is little by little being exposed. I hope it accelerates since time is not on our side.

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By Sleeper, May 7, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

Thank God our military is made up of men and women who believe in our Constitution and the ideals held sacred within it.  Their willingness to risk everything is a quality that needs to be preserved.  Our problem is that money drives our government and votes are bought.

We need a mix of races, religions, and economic/social strata to fill those ranks.  This Unitary theory has been given credibility when its proponents have systematically removed any opposition from being able to criticize its flaws where those critisms matter.  We have intelligence that it not utilized to advise in a truthful manner, but rather to find tid-bits of misinformation and utilize them to deceive. 

Consentrations of wealth and power have a tendacy to create wars of conveinience.  Securing oil fields and ports of another nation is imperial aquisition nothing less.

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By James Bowen, May 7, 2008 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

You have recommended joining the military to thinking Americans, many of whom share your knowledge and your opinions. What should one of them do if they are ordered to Iraq? Go? Refuse? Desert? What would you do? Should we support such troops who knowingly participate in this willful destruction of innocents? Should we support those who refuse of desert?

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, May 7, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

I’m an avid supporter of only a volunteer Military. but I am against using Private profiteers to fill in. they ae motivated by Profits not Patriotism. they will work and allow their employees to die as long as it feeds the bottom line- what guarantee do we have they would not be willing to Work Agaisnt US if the Price is Right.
If we can not get enough support and able bodies to conduct a military action- then we should not be involved in one!
A American soldier would be more apt to assur the safety of his own fellow soldiers - from Combat to electrical installations. As every other aspect of Americna Life these corp Profiteers have infestated, they have no innate guiding morals and ethical Principles. -From the private banking firm of the ‘Federal Reserve’ to KBR who uses containated water and shotty electrical mechanism. somethings mus tbe left for real Citizens to do- who have more of a genuine invested interest- not just aprofit margin to consider

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By Allen Wood, May 6, 2008 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You have hit the nail on the head. Thanks for a great post! God Bless You. Please forgive me if you are not a believer.

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By Allen Wood, May 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is so nice to see that there are still some people in the United States of America that are still awake, and aware of what has happened, and what is happening to this formerly great country. I am sad to report that the country that I live in has no resemblance to the country envisioned by our founding fathers. I feel truly sorry for the young and un-informed people of this nation who’s future most likely includes a lengthy stay in a KBR built FEMA camp. With a future like that “DEATH MAY BE YOUR SANTA CLAUS”. May God Allmighty help us. Thanks for a comment that makes people think!

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By Deacon, May 6, 2008 at 7:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Here’s the RAW, GUT-WRENCHING truth:

Western civilization has been under assault
from two forces: ZIONIST JEWS and MARXIAN
JEWS, from the late 1800s forward.  And while
both camps are in conflict on many levels,
they both have in common the destruction
of Christian males’ civilization.

Zionist Jews’ machinations ought to be
obvious to you, such as using the U.S.
as a PROXY COMBATANT for defending


Oil is payoff for the West’s efforts at
providing PROXY COMBATANTS for
Israel—for protecting Israel from expanding,
encircling Islamic Arabism; a Jewish nation-
state having supporters throughout the West
willing to destroy the entirety of Western
civilization for Israel’s sake.

That’s the gut-wrenching truth of why
Western democracies are sacrificing
blood and treasury in the Middle East;
especially the U.S., which has enough
off-shore and on-land oil reserves to
last 300 years at her present rate of
consumption, and which reserves were
PURPOSELY capped and/or not drilled
because Israel’s supporters poured
millions of dollars into ENVIRONMENTAL
MOVEMENT groups’ coffers, to work at
keeping America from oil/energy
independence and tied to Israel’s
interests in the Middle East. 

That’s the truth you’ll NEVER see nor hear
reported in Western mainstream news media,
because Israel’s supporters control what’s
fit to be said or printed about why the
West wars with Islamic Arabism.


But you may not be fully aware that
Marxian Jews control America’s popular
culture and debauch it:

Magna Carta and Free Speech

Marxian Jews Evil Works

-and from Rabbi Daniel Lapin, one from
only a few of TRUTH-TELLING Jews:

“You’d have to be a recent immigrant from
Outer Mongolia not to know of the role
that people with Jewish names play in the
coarsening of our culture. Almost every
American knows this. It is just that most
gentiles are too polite to mention it.”
-Rabbi Daniel Lapin (2006)

Marxian Jews are the progressives – the
ARCHITECTS – of the West’s steep moral/
cultural decline:

Rush Limbaugh is a Kook


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By anon, May 6, 2008 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter, a freelance union rep for the petty-officer class of the US Military, who, for PR purposes, goes under the guise of a maverick moral apostle, with this amateurish piece exposes several interesting personal and political defects which effectively disembowel any merit his ‘analysis’ might otherwise have had:

1.False Premises
‘patriots serve the Nation’, ‘US-military is respectable career’, ‘Congress represents We The People’ – Instead of questioning political myth, Ritter regurgitates this shoddy ImperioCapitalist propaganda. No time to reflect that his band of hired-gun brothers serve both their own self-interest (gimme Middle-class existence) and the much larger one of keeping in the saddle the rapacious Ruling-Class which employs them.

2.Dishonest ‘Logic’ (Equivocation)
‘It takes only a few bad apples to spoil the lot, and our military today is full of bad apples, but it has not been corrupted’ – i.e. “How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”

3.Shallow Psyche
obdurately unwilling to admit he has ever been wrong in public pronouncements and/or used for injustice during his Desert Storm/UNSCOM adventures, Ritter locks himself into a descending mental spiral of self-justification, along the way inventing a fantastic new myth of the ‘intelligent, morally grounded soldier on the front line in Iraq, making the decisions about the use of force in the framework of an illegal and unjust occupation’, which angel of mercy is, of course, himself – and this is purest hypocrisy, given that he has publicly stated his personal willingness to impose the law of the jungle upon any Iraqi who would oppose him in that role.

4.Blame Victim
So deeply invested is Ritter in the ‘System’, he MUST avoid identifying the real culprits, and so by a few facile rhetorical leaps finds the disillusioned masses of citizens ‘guilty’ of ‘failure to believe’ the surreal clichés of ‘DeeMowKraSey’ he peddles, therefore, this unstable heretical rabble must be guilt-tripped back into faith by shouldering the blame for all ills – so repeat after Ritter, you civilians/citizens are apathetic, ineffectual and useless – geddit?

5.Preserve System
‘yes, it’s utterly corrupt, tyrannical and universally hated, but, despite the blindingly obvious need for a World Revolution to save the human race from the dark future spreading from USA (modern weapons + middle-age mentality), we must act nice and cooperatively to keep the cruel and despotic 1% self-professed ‘elite’ in control.’ - Eh, Why? And how will that help? ... Don’t ask Ritter, kids! Just join the military and be respected by the criminal deviants who fleece the taxpayer to finance your mercenary handiwork. Duh!


Sorry Ritter, nice try but no banana - this type of conformist crap (limited hangout, gatekeeping critique) just does not cut it anymore, and you are capable of much better than this ... be honest and stop projecting ... People on this Planet are starting to wake up to Reality ... so either slap yourself upside the head and join with us to achieve ‘System Reboot’ or just get the hell out of the way with your dog-eared little suitcase of books.

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By Mike Mann, May 6, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter must love drunks like Bush and Cheney who dodged the Nam draft and skipped out on military service or deserted yet love being war mongers as long as they or theirs are not involved in any way the same way Bush loves canceling out stem cell research since mommy and daddy dont have any diseases like Parkinsons or Alzheimers.
Ritter is full of it although it does sicken one to view MTV or modern shows and their hords of weirdo pervs or bands with tattoes all their their stinking bodies acting so cocky and arrogant.
Ritter fails to understand that America is in a sense the great satan and even when one joins the military to be a good citizen they are shipped off to some bogus screwed up war to kill poorly trained armed 3rd worlder religious fanatics by 2 cowardly yellow bellies like Bush and Cheney puppeted by the neoheb pharisees in Israel or Amerika.
We can only hope that once these 2 cowards get out of office in Jan 09 and dont have that billion in SS protection they will have justice served on them on one way or another as gas spikes to 5 bucks a gallon or more by then as the big oil crooks they protect sandbagging and lying for so long ran out of excuses and knows this is their chance to push gas prices to the moon before their saviors exit next yr. 
We know also that Wall St hebrews have pushed these prices to the moon also with their crooked speculation and they are all in bed with Bush and his big oil crooks.
We know the sub prime fiasco costing trillions was all related to the Bush war since heb Greenspan reduced rates to 50 yr lows allowing the lenders to tap into the irresponsible minorities who did the obvious with the foreclosures blaming the banks in typical style as victims.
It would have been easier for the gumint to just have bought them all homes for free like they did in New Orleans.
But we know everything bad has occured under Jorge Bush including him allowing 50 million illegals here before he pretended to build fence at GOP urging.
The GOPerv neoconned party of neoconned Lincoln has been a complete joke including the Demorats like Pelosi. The whole problem with America goes back to neocon slavery 400 yrs ago and Marxist King Abe.

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By disturbed_optimist, May 6, 2008 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First of all, any recruit that has an inkling of anti-war sentiment will not feel at home in the military, at all!! These types are disposed of( in a rather humiliating way in the eyes of other recruits as an example ) before their basic training is even over. Military basic training is one of the most carefully engineered psyops in existence. Constant stress, sleep deprivation, water deprivation, punishment for failure or success, standing, walking, running, shouting how they tell you to and when they tell you to, no time to think for yourself or be by yourself etc…Theres nothing voluntary about the military at all. So really, to all young people, if you think your going to join the military to stop this war please reconsider another route. War keeps the military in buisness.

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By Terry Thomas, May 6, 2008 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was interesting that you, Scott would give that advice to a vulnerable young mind—- but why support colonialism which is what our military enforces! I understand having a good defense for our country but for it to occupy other countries in order to protect our business community and their investments seems to be unfair to the international communities to me. It is the very reason we had a revolutionary war which was to avoid being controlled by a foreign power. The advice to college students asking them to join the military, especially those who are activist for peace, is like asking them to be brainwashed and join the protectors of the profiteering war lords of our system. I’m not totally against the military or making a profit but the laws are warped and out of sight to the ordinary citizens of the world making it easy for companies such as KBR and many others to make huge profits that are unfair. Our military is their tool to rape the planet with no resistance from defenseless counties. Labor laws are ignored. Environmental laws are ignored. Protection import and export taxes are put in place to create unfair business practices which actually enslave many people and many others to starve – an example is what’s happening in Haiti right now. Law in general is abused and flat out ignored when you have a huge military that is as large as the one we have. Defense is one thing but our huge military complex is out of control. No, the advice shouldn’t be to talk these young minds into becoming an enforcer for Halliburton and others who have no bid contract rip offs and who employ private mercenary armies like Black Water with the license to kill without punishment to do what ever it takes to get Exxon, Westinghouse, General Electric, AT&T;, McDonald or the thousands of other foreign investment companies want. People need to be a little more alert to what our boys in uniform are forced to do. There is no democracy in the military. Scott Ritter seems to understand that but advises as though he don’t. ???? What we need is for more young people like the one Scott advised to join up to the military to advise them to start a new revolution which might put limits on how much control or input a large company has on our defense system. We as a people need to take a look at what is going on and stop our military instead of helping it steal from the world. Our military shouldn’t be, as they keep saying it is, at Bush’s pleasure. We don’t need kids indoctrinated into a force for a dictator. Isn’t there better advice than to simply join up? I’m thinking that if this student joins up with the intension of changing the system from within she or he is going to be very sadly disappointed. 
Terry P Thomas

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By DarthMiffy, May 6, 2008 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When my father was 20 years old, he already was married with two tiny children, including myself. He had few job prospects as he was just a high school graduate. He joined the Air Force in order to provide for his family. Unfortunately, the USA was busy with Korea. His plane landed in Japan on the way to Korea, and he did everything he could to find a job in JAPAN in order to avoid going to Korea, and possibly getting killed. He succeeded. Our worst arguement of all time was over my support for draft resisters. It did not help when I pointed out he did all he could to avoid the war directly. I wanted to help those who felt the same.
My point is that he also justified his military service as someone who vehemently opposed warfare, and joined to be a resistant, internal voice. Twenty years later, he was part of the staff figuring out how many young victims (of my extant age) to call up for the Viet Nam draft. *Resist all you want.* When you are part of the machine, you will do what Your Overlords command. Resistance IS futile.

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By 911truthdotorg, May 5, 2008 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

But he doesn’t have the balls to say so.

Until he lays those cards on the table, he is nothing but another talking head who says nothing, as far as I’m concerned.

9/11 Truth will stop the war with Iran and the sham “global war on terror”.

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By tres, May 5, 2008 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

the military is an institution where a person as a human is only 2nd, 3rd or 4th consideration. You first and foremost duty is to follow orders.

What are you smoking?

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By colin2626262, May 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

You make some really good points.  Scott Ritter probabaly wouldn’t agree with you when you write, “I’m not sure what an effective war is or would be.”  He seems to think that an effective war is one in which young men (and women) join the armed forces out of a sense of patriotism, in order to protect the people of the United States and thereby uphold the ideals set forth in the Constitution.  Ritter believes military service is praiseworthy if the mission is praiseworthy, yet he goes a step further in insisting that the soldier must also be praiseworthy, a morally upright young person.  I think you would agree, based on your words, “the only efficient war is the war avoided,” that it’s actually impossible to have a moral war, as well as a moral person engaged in the bloody business of fighting a war.  I take your comments in the first paragraph, especially the analogy you give about cancer, to mean that all war is immoral, even the so-called moral wars, such as WWII, the fight against fascism.  That would make you a pacifist.  I’m not sure if you are, based on the second paragraph.

Certainly Scott Ritter is not a pacifist.  He puts a lot of value on a document written during the 18th century, thinking that the U.S. Constitution is somehow the giver of moral laws.  It’s not.  He shows disdain for what he calls religious zealots who read the Bible.  There are some Christians, or those that call themselves Christians, who see no problem with joining the military and fighting against what the U.S. government has termed terrorism or Islamic extremism.  9/11 was an act of terror, but Christians, true Christians, that is, those who follow the words of Christ, can’t possibly respond to an attack with another attack.  A true Christian would never have bombed or sent troops to other countries.  A true Christian is a love-zealot, someone who practices radical love, as enunciated in the Gospel of Matthew.  “If a man shall smite you on one cheek, I say to you, turn to him the other also.”  “Love your enemies.  Do good to those that hate you and despitefully use you.” 

As the Gospel teaches, anyone can love his or her friends, or in Scott Ritter’s language, his or country.  Even sinners love those who love them.  But if we don’t want to be sinners, we should love everyone, even our enemies.  With that in mind, why would anyone who wants to be moral, who wants to do what’s right, join the military?  We’re not citizens of the kingdom of the U.S.  We’re citizens of the kingdom of God.

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By Claus-Erik Hamle, May 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We ought not forget that the US killed about 6,000 citizens in Panama City in 1989 according to an investigative committee chaired by former Secretary of Justice Ramsey Clark. Nobody has been held accountible-yet.
To seek a First-Strike Capability is a crime against Humanity. What are they thinking in the Pentagon ? Do learn from Bob Aldridge !
According to Dr Bow Bowman, former chief of US Air Force Missile Defense, missile defense is the missing link to a First Strike. Dr Bob Bowman thinks missiles in Poland will be very useful to shoot down any surviving Russian missiles after a First Strike. Therefore the Russians will implement Launch On Warning. The terrible consequences of a mistake will be caused by the Pentagon´s drive for a disarming, unanswerable first-strike capability. Dr Bob Bowman agrees that the Pentagon will get disarming first-strike capability by 2011/12. Acc. to former Trident missile engineer Bob US Navy can track and destroy all enemy subs simultaneously. The main danger is Russian Launch On Warning because of US First-Strike Capability. Please read Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, “The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy”, 2006 March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. By 2011/12 the Pentagon will have achieved that the Russians have no choice but Launch On Warning. A First-Strike Capability inevitably leads to Nuclear War, probably by accident.

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By Bill Blackolive, May 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sott, stop it. This empire of military bases over the Earth is counter productive.

Have you seen Partiotsquestion9/11 lately?  You and a ton of reasonable people keep piling in there.  Check it out lately.  What remains is to get this into corporate media.  This is the big one, the reality. Everything changes from there, the war and all else.
Come together.

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By AB, May 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am anti-war, anti-Iraq War especially.
This week, I fell upon the same ideas as Ritter proposes in this article.
That a recruit who is interested in ending the war should be what the anti-war community is seeking.

That a soldier who would make honorable decisions is worth more than a flunky who wants to shoot someone, anyone.

With this article I have a way to bolster my argument with friends/family.

Thank you for writing this.

The Anti-war Democrat

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By RHONDA, May 5, 2008 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Although I appreciate and agree with much of your comments, my frustration with the House isn´t enough to look to the military for correction of the injustices about upholding the Constitution.  I would worry about anyone joining the military to make it a better place.  More likely, the military would silence them or kill them in some inscrutible fashion for trying to foment change.  Probably the worst apples in the military have the highest rank.

On the other hand if, as a civilian, I am the enemy of the military, which worries me, what am I to do?  No wonder citizens just shut out what is happening.  It´s scary to be a American lately.  I don´t want to be responsible for what´s going on in Iraq, Somalia and Gaza these days, but am I?  I vote, I write to Congress.  I don´t have any money to buy influence.  In fact, I´m old, disabled, and poor, which is scary enough in the US.

I do have hope that young people will be brave enough to fight the injustices that prevail.  I hope they have the intellectual ability and will to do so.

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By GDent, May 5, 2008 at 10:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You state:  I am a big believer in the all-volunteer military. For one thing, the professional fighting force is far more effective and efficient than any conscript force could ever be.

You seem to miss an important reason for the draft.  In my view, the draft is not about effectiveness and efficiency of making war.  War has never been an efficient use of money, materials or human skills.  There is no such thing as an efficient war.  The only efficient war is the war avoided.  I’m not sure what an effective war is or would be.  I guess if you win, it’s effective.  But if you destroy yourself and others in the process, I don’t know if that would be considered effective.  It’s like the process of killing a cancer that in turn kills the patient.  You can kill bugs in a greenhouse in the middle of winter by cutting off the heat for a few days.  Of course, you kill all the plants in the process.  Is the treatment effective?

Our forefathers designed a system of sovereign democracy and control of government actions by the people.  They knew most citizens want peace while most leaders want power, wealth, position and prestige.  To counter-balance the rush-to-war mentality of leaders with the peace and justice desires of the people there must be a way for people to speak truth to power, freely and openly.  How can a person who volunteers to submit himself and herself to the code of military justice and give up certain rights and privileges of citizenship rebel against what he or she sees, hears and experiences.  They can’t.  It is almost impossible for a volunteer to become a conscientious objector. Everyone will tell them: “You volunteered.  You are just a coward to complain now.”  Not many people can tolerate public psychological labels of disgrace and the bullying that goes with it.  Voices that should lead the people to avoid and end false, ego-centric and psychopathic decisions to go to war are effectively silenced.  We loose the forces of debate and discussion that should establish the real and legitimate integrity for a decision to go to war and stay in a war.  Volunteers in military service give up their power to bring reason and insight to balance the struggle between power and the integrity of a sovereign democracy.  Men and women drafted into the military are much freer to speak out against the intellectual and political reality they personally witness. And neither can the military mussel their parents, friends, or neighbors effectively.  The draft carries with it the freedom to speak publically against the government’s decision to go to war.  Where we use to talk about the GI grunt, we now talk about heroes and the nations pride and joy and those willing to place themselves in harm’s way.  We do great disservice to our sons and daughters by not being open and honest with them; by not sharing the protection of our national interests equally and proportionally.  The draft is an integral part of freedom of speech for the men and women serious about having a sovereign democracy.

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By samosamo, May 5, 2008 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

We have been warned about maintaining standing armies and that is part and parcel of the issues with the military. Right now, there is no telling how long we will have a full blown military harrassing the rest of the world. And then we help put these poor soldiers to rest when they decide to retire. A reason that the Roman Empire got really bogged down back at home trying to ‘retire’ the lifers whom had become too too many.
I for one am for a draft of sorts that if we ever got back to a time of non-militarism against the rest of the world. The draft would continue to be for civil service but could become militarily capable when needed. And the extent of service would be limited to such that there would hopefully be better control of military personnel from becoming too much of control freaks pushing their and the corporation’s own agendas.
This really shows how intelligent people can and do become disastrous and criminal leaders and from the military stand point, extremely dangerous.
But it is all predicated on the idea of gaining control of our corporate government and military which still seems an impossibility.
Still the most damning part of the article is the part of ‘fundamental ignorance’. The people love being ignorant. It is too inconvenient and uncomfortable to deal with real issues and especially real issues that just don’t seem to make it to the population. So much thanks for web sites like this that allow us to view what just is going on in our name, for now.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, May 5, 2008 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

I’m going to make this short.

When a government uses a phony reason for being, i.e., the spread of a flawed notion of democracy to the rest of the world in order to justify lies about its real reason for being, i.e., agressive American corporate imperialism, and restructures the Department of Defense into a Department of War, (while we’re not looking) continuing to lie, I see absolutely no justification/rationale for any young person signing on to be complicit.

I’m fed up with our bellicose leaders playing the guilt card to get people to sign on to their cause and our electorate playing it safe by tying yellow ribbons on trees in “support of our troops.”

Defense, yes; agression, no, and no lying, spinning, twisting, covering up, fabricating or any of the like to confuse and bewilder the electorate.  Iraq is tragic aggression by the US, period.  We’ve known that for years.  If you sign on, you suffer your own consequences.

Scott, as grandma concept says, “You need a nap.”

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By Tom Doff, May 5, 2008 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

I agree with Scott Ritter.

The rabid, unpatriotic, anti-American whackos in this country are not those who oppose the Iraq war, but the NeoConZionistas who started it, the Bush maladministration which has used it as an excuse to trample our civil and Constitutional rights, the demented ‘religious’ ‘leaders’, who think this country is an ‘Arm of ‘God’‘, and that we should wield the ‘Sword of ‘God’’ to destroy those ‘Heathens’ ‘Out There’.

The freaks in the DOD who think they are doing ‘god’s’ work when they send our troops out to destroy innocent children, women and men in Iraq could use a lot of therapy, also. Perhaps in an asylum like Guantanamo.

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