I work with adolescents as part of my general practice and in the last couple of months I have had 3 or 4 young people say that they are thinking about joining the military. As a therapist I am ethically bound not to let my personal values interfere with my client's right to self determination, but I want to tell them about the high rates of PTSD, substance abuse, rape, and suicide among the military.
The military trains people to kill often civilian populations which goes against our human instinct to preserve life. The United States government has been involved in my lifetime in immoral wars that the Popes and other religious leaders have declared immoral. The moral and ethical conflicts which participating in the military places young people in can be soul damaging.
I wish young people were better informed. I wish they were not so naive and innocent. I wish they were not so gullible and susceptible to recruiting propaganda. In my professional role it is not appropriate for me to do counter recruiting, but in my private life I share my thought and values where appropriate.
Is it mentally healthy for 17, 18, 19 year old kids to sign up for the military to be trained to kill? I have my doubts. That's why so many of our soldiers are on anti-depressants and wind up with life long psychiatric disabilities. I watched my generation go through this and now a whole new generation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
This article is the first in a series of articles I will be posting on this blog categorized as "militarism".
Army of None, Counter Recruitment, Olympia Washington. Video lasts 4:29