We all have mixed feelings about the possibility of joining the conflict in Syria, but has anyone asked service members what they think? A few troops are protesting strikes in Syria via the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page. Soldiers from the various branches have posted photos of themselves holding signs saying variations on "I didn't join the Army to fight for al Qaeda rebels in a Syrian civil war." They're holding the signs over their faces to conceal their identities.
Some are saying that the protest shows "contempt toward officials," an offense punishable by court-martial. Others think the dissent is just plain inappropriate.
I can understand why members of the military would be concerned about the military strikes. It's their lives on the line, after all. We should consider this every time we consider military action. And soldiers should have some sort of forum to raise questions and concerns.
As with just about every other military conflict the U.S. has been involved with since the beginning, there are clearly some very disconcerting risks in attacking Syria. We have to balance those risks against the risks of not taking any action at all; keep in mind that an unstable Middle East will have a ripple effect on us.
But I have to agree with another soldier who posted a counter-sign, not covering his face, reading:
You don't join to say "I refuse," you don't join to hide your face, you don't join to push your ideology, you join to serve. Now quit making signs and get the fuck back to work.
Oof. He has a point. Signing up for the military means signing up to serve your country, even if you don't agree with the decisions your government makes. It's a harsh truth. Sorry, there's no check box for "will serve unless I don't agree with the military action." Imagine what would happen if service members actually did have that option.
What do you think service members should do if they personally oppose a certain military action?
Image via Armed Forces Tea Party/Facebook