Offensive statements in a My Turn? Count on it!

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, April 24, 2006

While I agree with Karl Schoeppe's opinion ("Truth in recruiting? Don't count on it!," April 10) that the decision to join the military should not be made lightly, I found the acrimony of his My Turn toward the military distressing. Comparing Junior ROTC with fascism might be just a bit wounding to World War II veterans that fought in Italy. Suggesting that joining the military is committing to "such a grave decision" is somewhat offensive to veterans who remember "serving" as a positive experience. Nevertheless, it is overtly insulting to say that the military is "built on abuse" and it makes people into animals. I had very close friends in the Marine Corps who were human. I currently have friends - still human - who are veterans.

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While the media will headline opinions from disgruntled veterans, many others will say that their stint was a great experience. For those of us who came from poverty, the military presented opportunities. Before my military service, I had no way to pay for college. I had no real sense of integrity, self-discipline, leadership or initiative. I have also seen people from inner city gangs and abusive situations turn their lives around by joining the military. In the business field and many professions veterans are in high demand and (demographically) get high performance reviews.

I strongly agree with Mr. Schoeppe's recommendation to talk to a veteran who has been over in the Middle East or Afghanistan. Our experiences are very different than what the media and Internet have presented. We don't need to sell a headline and can tell you from firsthand experience the good, the bad and the ugly. Although it worked for many of us, it might not be the right choice for you. While the military is no rose garden, it's not the dehumanizing war machine that Mr. Schoeppe has envisioned. It actually does build productive members of society.

Michael Heiman

Juneau



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