Friday, November 03, 2006

The Psychological Contract With The American Soldier

A gaijin blogger makes the following comments from the heart of the Empire of the Rising Sun :

"Should Japan be attacked. No problem. Don't sweat it. We've plenty of American troops to send to their deaths for you. This is basically what Condoleezza Rice told Foreign Minister Aso today. It is important that the US renew and reaffirm its promise (treaty obligations) to defend Japan to America's last drop of blood while asking no commitment from Japan in return. I guess that is what the US government assumes young American men and women are raised for---to be killed fighting another country's war."

The American soldier fights because he "has a job to do". He goes where Uncle Sam (his employer) tells him to go to "get the job done".

That's it.

It's an employment contract.

In exchange, the G.I gets a college education, a steady paycheck, lots of benefits, and a pension after 20 years in service.

Death is just an occupational hazard which his employer undertakes to minimize in the only way he can -- by maintaining overwhelming military superiority.

But, not even the mighty Uncle Sam holds all the cards in his hands, so occupational hazards can sometimes get a bit more annoying and a bit less acceptable.

"We never even got a clear promise this time that Japan would not go nuclear. Uncle Sucker rides again."

Ah, well governments have been known to make secret agreements, you know. They are usually not in the habit of revealing all especially when it comes to foreign relations.

"(...) One can bet that few Japanese think that defending the US would be worth even one Japanese life, but again and again I talk to people (Japanese and American) who believe that America has some moral obligation to send its men and women to die for Japan. That would be interesting to explain to a mother in Iowa why her son died fighting for a country (Japan) in which many don't even believe their own troops should die for.Japan however, is a uniquely peaceful people and country (easy to say since the US has provided a military for Japan for 60 years)."

Well, what other country or fighting man has the same psychological contract ? Perhaps no other except maybe Britain.

Citizens of most nations in this world fight for more abstract concepts like honour .

Or if they are being less high-minded they fight for self-preservation.

Only Americans fight for the sake of "doing a job" like working in a factory or in an office.

And if you're doing a job you do what your employer tells you to do and go where your employer tells you to go - to Japan or Iraq or maybe even Iran.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, click HERE for an eminently balanced and fair review on the Kerry botched joke affair.

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