13 questions to ask a soldier?

  1. How old are you?
  2. If your dad had made more money, would you be in the army?
  3. What is a patriot?
  4. When is killing murder?
  5. Who did you vote for?
  6. What does the average Iraqi child know that Bush doesn’t?
  7. Do you trust the generals?
  8. How do you define – valor, glory, and fear?
  9. What do you have in common with the enemy?
  10. Will you ever explain your actions to your children?
  11. What does an anti-war activist not know about “service”?
  12. What do you not know about peace and stability?
  13. In your life, how many books have you read?

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31 responses to “13 questions to ask a soldier?

  1. Pingback: 10 More Questions to Ask A Soldier… « 1 One Poet 4 Man

  2. renaissanceguy

    Well, to be totally honest with you, some of your questions seem flippant and even disrespectful. I know they are just “questions” but they seem to imply a lot of opposition and hostility toward military people. Am I reading them incorrectly?

  3. I missed this … I was going to say outrage, but I’ll put it down to ignorance. And I don’t particularly mean that in a nasty way.
    I mean, you exist in a world where you don’t face invasion or military carnage – and no, terrorism isn’t military carnage. It’s crime.
    Rather, you live in a world of freedom of expression, of thought, and you use that metaphorical pen to express your thoughts.
    But that metaphorical pen writes with the blood of those who fell in earning your freedoms – and I will celebrate them this Sunday – Remembrance Sunday in the UK.
    Ask your questions of politicians who cause vile wars such as Iraq. Not the poor bloody cannon fodder who have to live it.

  4. Anthony,

    Your response presumes that the only blood that flows through my pen is metaphorical, that I or members of my family have spilled no blood to earn our freedom – that my expressions lack credentials.

    You presume much…too much.


  5. RG – There is a bit of flippancy in the questions – but no actual judgment – these questions were meant to elicit thinking frames – I don’t really think there is a right or wrong way to answer them, only a reporting of an individuals experience…

    It would be great for Americans to hear real life answers to these questions from the soldies who are fighting in Iraq.

    The idea was to pierce the veil so to speak.

    Each of the following three groups have assumptions about the experience of war.

    Soldiers (about those who do not support their actions)

    I hear and read a lot about what the first 2 groups think and almost nothing about what the soldier thinks, and I am curious if the opinions of liberals and conservatives would change in any way if they could read or hear what the soldier has to say.

    Thanks RG


  6. renaissanceguy

    I understand.

  7. Poetman,
    I don’t normally post a comment longer than a post, but I think this is a special situation. First of all, whether I disagree with you or not is irrelevant to the fact that I’d defend your right to pose these questions. That is what it is all about. But that also requires response.
    You say I presume too much. Okay. I post under my own name, you know what I look like, if you read my blog you can find out all sorts of things about me. In the main, the internet is not like this. We don’t really know who is behind the words. Hence, we have no choice but to understand through those words. And judging by those words, you have little understanding of these issues.
    The questions themselves come across in a particular way, whether this was your intention or not. Hence, your words about presumptions do not count.
    You don’t seem to have a broad enough definition of politics in asking your question base. To me politics goes from left to right, including, as broad groups, communist, socialist, liberal, apolitical, conservative and fascist.
    You particularly fail to understand in asking the questions of soldiers in the first place. Those who have experienced the total horror of war try not to think about it. They remember enough in their nightmares. As for wanting their opinions, in the main, they don’t have them. Believe me, you do not want soldiers with opinions. It is too dangerous.
    Your question in the later post about why did you join is particularly crass. In times of peace, with no war on the horizon, the question is relevant. But do you really think the tens of thousands who have joined up since 2003 think in this way, and just dismiss what they see in Iraq? Do you think they don’t realise it is happening, or discount it?
    There’s more to it than that.
    The question about reading books is disgusting. The implication is that soldiers are idiots. There is a broad spectrum of life in the forces, but in the main they are not.
    As for when is killing murder, that is a question that can only be asked in a comfy, peaceful, civilian environment. When in the field, you are part of a team with no time to think. Do you really think they could do it if it was different?
    So, okay, you’ve got a response, but even then, not from someone who’s experienced it first hand, but, I think, does understand. Mission accomplished.
    Feel proud.

  8. I concede to being ignorant of much Anthony.
    I thank you for your response.
    I disagree with parts of it and I agree with parts of it.
    I have no wish to be right.
    I want to learn what soldiers and others think.

    I wish that I could put my real name and photo on this blog
    but for a host of reasons I cannot. I proably will address that
    at some point, but not now.

    I am never proud to anger, or hurt another – that is not my style.

    You have been a soldier maybe not a war time soldier, but a soldier still
    and your points have meaning to me and to others.

    I have no wish to counter them one by one, that was never the intention
    of this post.


  9. Hi Poetman,
    Don’t think pressured to place your name or photo. That’s a minor point. I just choose to – I was simply saying without it, we can only go on a blogger’s words, so maybe sometimes we get things wrong because of this.
    I am neither angered or hurt – I simply respond to people how I consider they are responding to me. There is nothing personal in this. It’s just debate – free speech.
    Overall, I like your blog, even though sometimes I’m not sure I understand you. But they are worthwhile visits. And …
    … as someone who often played a soldier once said: ‘I’ll be back’. 🙂

  10. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  11. Thanks for coming…and you don’t need to agree to participate…

  12. How old are you?

    If your dad had made more money, would you be in the army?
    My father is a doctor (Family Practice). He makes roughly $200,000 a year. My mother is a retired lawyer. We live in the countryside of Montana in a house worth over $5 million.

    What is a patriot?
    Someone who does what he knows is right, even when his country disagrees.

    When is killing murder?
    When the person isn’t trying to kill you.

    Who did you vote for?
    I’m voting for Obama.

    What does the average Iraqi child know that Bush doesn’t?
    The way his country should be.

    Do you trust the generals?

    How do you define – valor, glory, and fear?
    Valor is risking your life for another.
    Glory is something you don’t get for valor.
    Fear is the realization that you might die.

    What do you have in common with the enemy?
    We both think we’re fighting for our country, when really, we’re just fighting for petty causes.

    Will you ever explain your actions to your children?

    What does an anti-war activist not know about “service”?
    That the majority of the soldiers hate their job. That they don’t trust their leaders, because they are uneducated and rash. That if we had the chance to leave Iraq, and even the military, without punishment of law – we would.

    What do you not know about peace and stability?
    Everything, as I’ve never lived in a world with peace and stability. To rephrase an age old quote, “To War Is To Human”.

    In your life, how many books have you read?
    Countless. I was an AP English student in High School; my sister is an English major who graduated from Princeton. I myself was going to attend Law School, but decided to “fight” for my country. What a mistake that was.

    Would you like to know what the average infantryman does each day? He sits in a basement and stares at the wall. He has no freedoms, and is surrounded by the poor and uneducated. Feel free to email me: ElevenBangBang@Gmail.com with any questions you may have.

  13. You know, it’s funny how quickly civilians usually get an opinion about Iraq, when they have no idea what’s going on. I Googled for “Ask a soldier a question” and found your site. It’s nice to have people ask us what we think. Trust me, 1Poet4Man, I am educated. If you ask anybody in my unit, they will defend the fact that my biggest problem in the enlisted military is dealing with the uneducated.
    Your common soldiers is that who dropped out of school, but realized he couldn’t get a job. So, with the help of his Army recruiter, he got his GED so he could get money and survive. Instead, he spends all of his money on 50″ Plasma televisions and goes into debt. This is why you always hear rumors and stories of “Sleezy” car companies and military-friendly credit cards. They’re not “Sleezy”, they’re just capitalizing on the poor and uneducated! Honestly, I don’t blame them. I know how to manage my money. I have a $28,000 truck that I make payments on, and still have plenty of money for food, entertainment, and savings. And no, I didn’t get any help from my parents.
    Your common soldier lacks the problem solving skills of a 12th grader. This is why military equipment is so easy to use. and has pperational directions on everything. Lefty-Loosy, Righty-Tighty? They just don’t understand.
    The common soldier is, like I stated earlier, poor. Coming from a poor family they lack both the social skills and morals of your average, middle-class family. This why they abuse the civilians in Iraq… they just don’t know any better. If an Iraqi man can’t understand to put his hands up, instead of trying to bridge that gap, they punch him in the face and laugh about it afterwards… America isn’t evil, we just recruit the lowest of society into our military ranks.

  14. Why is the divorce rate in the military so high? Is it because of long deployments? No. You might not know this, but soldiers get paid more for being married, and they are allowed to live off post, and out of the barracks. So what do they do? They go out into the town to the bars, and other social gathering places, and they meet a woman who is also poor, and uneducated. After about a week of sex, they get married so all of their problems can be solved. Most of the time, they both sleep around with other people, and neither care. Then, when the soldier gets deployed his wife obviously cheats on him – why not? Usually she’ll find somebody with a higher income – or she just matures and realizes the relationship that she’s in – and the soldier comes home to divorce papers in his face.

  15. What about the leadership? You know, I have this theory that’s proven time and time again… so it’s pretty much a fact. The dumber the person is, the longer they stay in the military. This is why it’s so difficult for me, a smart, educated Private in the military. Not only do I have to deal with other Privates who come from low-income and uneducated families, I have to deal with those same people who are now SGTs, and even Sgt. Majors. I’ve realized that the dumbest people in the military are usually the higher enlisted echelon. The officers are pretty good, obviously.

    My immediate leader can’t even pass his PT test in a year and a half. 60 pushups, 60 situps, and run 2 miles in 16 minutes. Is that so hard? He SHOULD be kicked out of the military, but since the Army needs soldiers SO bad, he stays, and I pay for it. I don’t trust him with my life in Iraq, and I never will.

  16. More will come. Please publish my comments, as the world NEEDS the unbiased truth.

  17. Pingback: A Soldier Responds « 1 One Poet 4 Man

  18. Is any truth unbiased………..I think not. I find the repeated use of the word dumb here very offensive, as is this:
    ‘The common soldier is, like I stated earlier, poor. Coming from a poor family they lack both the social skills and morals of your average, middle-class family. This why they abuse the civilians in Iraq… they just don’t know any better’

    I am no supporter of armies or of war, I am left wing, but I don’t care for elitist crap either. If the poor are uneducated it is down to government, spend less on war more on education. Low morals know no boundaries……….I grew up in a working class, urban environment and many of the children I went to school with were from very deprived backgrounds, they are a fuck of a lot more moral than a lot of the middle to upper class educated types I’ve come across since.

  19. PFC Richardson

    I am talking about the typical soldier, not the typical civilian. The typical civilian who is poor and uneducated, who has good morals, is a completely different person than the same person enlisted in the military. I am talking about the group as a whole, in the military. The person who lacks those skills necessary to survive in the civilian world.

  20. PFC Richardson

    And I agree, we should spend more money on education than we should on war. Instead of building schools, hospitals, and giving free health care to the United States, we’re giving it to a country that we single-handedly destroyed.

  21. PFC Richardson

    I am in no means an elitist, but it is what it is. I make less money than you, and live in conditions that most people would would describe as “slum”. I live and work in the basement of a run-down building from the 70’s, with furniture that’s taken from dumpsters. And I’m content with that. It’s the way of life that I’ve chosen to live.

  22. I am talking about the group as a whole, in the military. The person who lacks those skills necessary to survive in the civilian world.

    Do they lack the skills going in or is it the organisation? Any army is about destruction of self to create a larger unit that does not think for itself, perhaps that is where something is lost……I haven’t walked in your shoes, the prospect is too awful, and I shouldn’t have fired off angrily last night (but working class = low morality is something I’ve heard for as long as I can remember and enrages me).

  23. I like the questions Poet Man.

    Anyone could be tricked into a war.

  24. Re:PFC Richardson

    I am amazed that you talk down about other soldiers so harshly and publicly. You should be ashamed for generalizing that your fellow soldiers joined because they couldn’t make it in the civilian world. These soldiers will be the ones saving you when you are shot or you them. Everyone joins the army for different reasons. Just cause you don’t see eye to eye with someone in the military doesn’t make them uneducated. As an 11C myself, I know it is hard to deal with people. Yes there are a few people who aren’t very bright. But that’s a few. Furthermore, as a PFC, how can you say anything about those higher in rank than you? You haven’t been put in a position of responsibility of other soldiers like they have. SM’s have to act they way they do for a reason. Just cause you don’t like it in the army doesn’t mean you should give us all a bad name. Moral demise of fellow soldiers and leadership… You should be ashamed.

  25. PFC Richardson please change your regard of enlisted military. The poor and uneducated in the military are less moral than the poor and uneducated in civilian life? That is the complete opposite. If you’re a criminal you can’t even get into military right now so what does that imply? I was in college and had a decent job, paying my way through on my own dollar and hard work. I decided to go into Air Force officer training while in college and when I couldn’t afford going to school anymore I decided to enlist. You pretty much just said people who aren’t “priveledged” like you are immoral. I’d consider your kind of thinking immoral, especially when you can’t possibly be the kind of leader you will ever need to be.

  26. PFC richardson- you said you chose the military over going to law school and that it was a mistake. obviously you are in the military for the wrong reasons, all the soldiers and marines i know joined because they want to make a difference and fight for this country, and they NEVER regret it. and thats how i beleive it should be.

  27. PFC Richardson has the right to sy the things he wants. what ever happened to freedom of speech? and i agree with the stuff he has said. for the people who have dropped out of school can get a job so the turn to the military. so therefore i believe they are in the military for the wrong reasons. jsut because you couldnt finish school doesnt mean you have t go to the military thats what a lot of soldiers blieve nowadays. yes i am grateful for what they are all doing for our country but i would prefer them be educated before defending something that most of them dont even reaize what it is theya re fighting for. i know this may all seem so ignorant as most of you have been saying but try to look at it from his shoes he is in. hes gone through more than more than half of us ever will in a life time. he has most likely seen his best friend shot. you most likely wont. so give him some credit for actually wanting non mlitary people to understand his point of view in the military. and i dont believe he is in the military for the wrong reason. he decided not to go to law school because he would rather defend his county so we could all live and be free but none of you want to accept that.

  28. This was dumb. I feel dumber for having read it, and I only made it to 7. Thank you.

  29. Please people never ask us how old we are, would we be in the army if are dads made more money (some of us don’t have dads in are lives) and ill answer now if we trust the generals some do and some don’t! And also please never ask us why we do it or if we like it or if we get scared!!! You should be abled to answer if we get scared on your own but I have had many people ask me “do you miss your family, do you get scared, do you fear death, are you happy when you go home, are you sad when you leave” and those are not from kids but from adults

  30. This unique posting, “13 questions to ask a soldier? | 1 One Poet 4 Man” indicates the fact that
    u really comprehend just what exactly u are communicating about!
    I really fully approve. Thanks a lot ,Peter

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