Is It Moral to Volunteer for the US Armed Services?

I volunteered to serve in the United States Air Force and do not regret the decision.  During my time as an Intelligence Analyst, my unit was involved in Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  I saw some extraordinary things and the DOD paid for college and grad school.

However, since I left active duty in 1997 I have come to a better understanding of what “Just War” involves, and our nation’s history of nearly non-stop war….for land, wealth and control.  It began with our rebellion against a Christian monarch in England because 3% taxes were unreasonable.  Today most of us pay several times that just in sales taxes…and 10 times that in income taxes in support of a anti-Christian state which persecutes us.

Rarely has the United States fought a defensive war, and even if that prerequisite is ignored, our means have almost always been unjust (such as with the intentional fire-bombing of German civilians or the atomic bombing of Japanese civilians).

Having abandoned our own constitutional republic for a corporatist mobocracy, today we seem to be fighting offensive actions designed to force secular democracy on others.  This wouldn’t even satisfy the neo-conservative principles I once believed in, and that many on the right still cling to as if they were taught by Christ Himself.  Trump’s recent bombing of Syria brought out the worst in the Right, most of whom applauded the decision, but none of whom could explain why it is good that we helped create, fund, arm and train ISIS, and bomb their enemies (who have a history of protecting Christians from Islamic persecution, and who, BTW, have done nothing to the United States).

When I explain to those who advocate for these offensive wars that we are actually guilty of far worse than what they claim the enemy has done to us, hysteria ensues.  And yet it is undeniable (even the Pentagon admits this), we have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children since Muslim terrorists killed 2,977 people on 9/11.

None of these people did anything to us, and yet we killed them.  They pose absolutely no threat to us at all.  We killed them for a political objective.  How then are we different from the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11?  How are we not, in fact, far worse?  And….we’re not done yet.  There is no end in sight, in fact.

Another rarely discussed point is the cost to our own soldiers, and their families.  Thousands have died, tens of thousands more suffer from grievous physical and mental wounds, and more than 100,000 have committed suicide since 9/11.  For what?  As a people we are less free than ever, bankrupt and the threat from Islamic terror remains (who can be surprised given the number of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters we have killed).

As as consequence of my study of the question over the last 20 years, I have gradually discouraged my sons and other potential recruits from volunteering for military service.  I have a long list of reasons, of which the likelihood of participating in immoral wars is just the first.

Whether you agree or not with the Just War Doctrine, I encourage you to read this provocative article.

How to Lose Friends and Arguments Quickly and Easily

It is rare I find myself in a discussion of any seriousness without someone resorting to personal attacks, ridicule and simple name-calling. I do not think the guilty parties recognize how bad this is for themselves, and their ideas.
First, when you engage in one of these activities, you are showing the entire audience-not just the person you are attacking, but everyone who will ever read those words-that you are either ignorant on the matter at hand, and unable to articulate an argument, or of such poor character that you cannot resist the temptation to attack the person, rather than their idea. You get pleasure from insulting them, but care not for advancement of truth.

This never reflects well on you, or your argument. It also plants the idea in the mind of your audience that perhaps people who believe like you all suffer from a weak and/or corrupt mind. This is not a fair observation, but it is a likely one. If you want to advance truth, you care more about effective persuasion than hurting your interlocutor.

Secondly, the personal attack represents a violent approach that, on the surface, suggests you are incapable of argumentation, and thus, must resort to violence to get your way. In other words, you are a bully. If you don’t know the difference between a bully, and someone who is simply strong, then you might be guilty of this. A bully rules through fear and force. A strong man rules through power. There is a difference between power and force.
Third, if you resort to these behaviors, you are showing yourself to lack self-discipline. If you are not in control of the words you write or speak, you are not in control of your mind, and thus you are proving yourself unworthy of participation in the conversation. It is simply verbal diarrhea. Who needs that?
These are principles every child should know by the age of reason. They may not be easy to conform to, but they should be accepted as reasonable guidelines for behavior.  Teach your children and those you influence, and if the requirements for civilized, mature conversation are out of your reach, just abstain from conversations that prove too much for you.  None of us are above falling into these errors, but we can at least hold these virtues above ourselves and strive to acquire them.

How to Lose Weight Consistently Without Starving

On January 1st, I decided it was time to address the issue of my weight gain over the last three years.  The cause of my weight gain was simple (I stopped running, stopped lifting, and ate and drank everything I wanted), so the solution was simple also.

In six weeks I’ve lost approximately 15 pounds and dropped two pant sizes.  My BP has dropped from, shall we say, “Go to the ER”, to ‘high normal’.  I still eat almost everything I want.  If I got serious I could lose another 15 pounds in 30 days, but because of my lifestyle choices, the number of birthdays we celebrate and various other excuses, I will probably take 60 days to lose the next 15 pounds, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve done this before and it works, so I have confidence and patience.    It helps that my Wife usually prepares my meals for me.  It doesn’t help that my children enjoy surprising me with martinis they’ve made for me to see whether I can tell if it was shaken or stirred.

My point is:  this works.  I did it before to lose 60 lbs successfully.  Go off the plan, and I can put it back on.

Here is the summary:

  1. Eat the Slow Carb nutrition plan made famous by Tim Ferris.  You’re never hungry and you have the energy to perform at a Father of 13 level.
  2. Exercise aggressively for 45 minutes six days a week using the Clay Manley method (that’s Clay below).  Don’t worry, if you are mobile you can do this.
  3. Get eight hours of sleep every night.  Nap if the sleep quality is poor.

Now, the truth is that I have not done any of these things strictly and I am still losing weight.  I still drink booze and eat pizza.  I have only exercised six times per week one time-on average it’s 3-5 times.  I am doing pretty well on the sleeping part-for most of my adult life I have averaged about 6 hours, so this is a big change.  If the Wife and Baby are not getting along and my sleep is short or of poor quality, I take a nap in the afternoon.

In coming posts I will detail exactly what I’m doing, because it’s a proven method, and I believe anyone can do it long term.   You can drop the weight pretty quickly, beat type 2 diabetes if your blood sugar is an issue, and almost certainly fix your blood pressure problems as well.

Stay tuned for a detailed overview of why eating on the Slow Carb nutrition plan is so great.