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Guest Post: If You Haven’t Served, Then...Your Opinion Still Matters


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four comments


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First off, I love this guest post. I don’t think it helps when military people pretend like there is a divide between those who served and those who haven’t in public debates. Especially about something as heinous as torture.

As our links above show, Michael C and I have fallen victim to this. We regularly receive comments from people who complain that we don’t know what we’re talking about, because we haven’t served. Which is funny, because Michael C did serve.

That, for me, highlights the insanity of this debate.

Being honest, I’m not sure the civli/mil divide is as large as many people think, and Michael C and I will be exploring that in the future.


“If You Haven’t Served, Then…Your Opinion Still Matters”

Opinions matter little outside the voting booth. Yet the arguments, reasoning and facts brought forward by a person are independent of the personal background. They draw their weight from reality, not from a CV.

Soldiers live in a world of hierarchy and authority. Authority in a military bureaucracy stems from formal sources, it’s very much unlike in academics where ‘authority’ stems from recognition. Maybe this plays into the issue.

I’ve also noticed that the ‘you are not a vet’ argument rarely seems to be used against the interests of the serving soldiers. The “chickenhawk” accusation appears to be the sole exception.
Maybe it’s just one ‘tribe’ defending its interests (budget, prestige etc.) against other ‘tribes’ of the society and it resorts to dirty rhetoric whenever the facts are not supportive enough for this defence.

I do have an air force background, but I almost never mention it because, honestly, it didn’t give me much more than an understanding for how a rotten, lazy and lobotomised armed bureaucracy may work on the inside. This experience ranges from individuals to service-wide regulations and mythology. My true military training about weapons, fieldcraft, command etc. was a negligible experience by comparison.


Let me know if anyone is having problem submitting comments,. The last three comments we received were blank.


To echo, SO’s comment, it’s funny because most soldiers and marines have no actual experience with interrogation, so it isn’t clear how “having served” gives them more credibility. I’ve found that politicians could make this same argument, and it’s disastrous on its face.

Great guest post.