08 April 2009
Mean People in the Army, Theory One
Mean people are attracted to the Army.
Our culture is replete with images of hardened men. The tough guy is still highly-admired, and a prototypical Soldier is one who looks serious, almost menacing, and emotionless.
To be sure, our military wants to portray to the public the image of a Soldier who is ready to help, assisting the downtrodden more like a Peace Corps worker, armed with not much more than a smile and a helping hand. Yet, in recruiting and one gets an entirely different portrait. The American Soldier is a professional warrior.
He must be ready and willing to kill in the name of country. Even of there are many jobs in the Armed Forces that will never require the use of deadly force, everyone is trained to use it. And it takes a certain meanness to be able to do this.
Applicants know this. New recruits often know exactly that they might face one day, and the fact of it attracts the kind of person that can handle it. In some cases Soldiers aren't made of the kind of mettle that a killer needs, and they often fulfil their contracts honorably and get out. Who stays? The killers. The mean ones.
Thus, the Army is an organization with a decidedly meaner profile than almost any other. Shouldn't it be?