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A branch of the U.S. Military saved my life

by grateful Monday, Sep. 26, 2005 at 2:32 AM

What if the military only did positive things? Would it still be a military?

I am anti-war, anti-military. I think that we may not succeed in abolishing war until we abolish the institution of the military. And yet...my life was saved once by a branch of the United States MIlitary: the U.S. Coast Guard.

I nearly drowned in the Santa Barbara Channel, and it was the Coast Guard that fished me out, braving killer waves. Not only that, but they were thoroughly professional, solicitous of my every need and comfort, and, dare I say it, caring (in a no-nonsense professional way). They immediately saved me from hypothermia by giving me a hot shower, dry clothes and hot tea and hot soup. They let me stay in the galley and chatted with me, sometimes calling me "sir" even though I didn't deserve it, and generally treated me like a king even though it had been my own stupid foolhardiness that had led to the emergency.

Of course, it is true that every branch of the military, including the more warlike ones, has saved some civilian's life somewhere, sometime. If it were me, I wonder if i would feel as warmly toward those other branches as I do toward the Coast Guard. Or perhaps I would honor their life-saving activities while still condemning their life-taking activities.

It is true that military culture can sometimes lead to undesirable qualities, such as conformity, blind obedience to authority and even habitual brutality. However, we should be honest with ourselves and admit that other military qualities are positive: duty, loyalty, service, sacrifice, courtesy and professionalism. If there were no military, would it be possible to foster such qualities in so many young people by other means? If you removed weapons and war from the equation, you might well find some of the finest men and women in the world.

P.S. My two companions on that ill-fated day (who are both fine) are both military veterans, and both left-wing critics of Bush and the Iraq War.
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 21 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
military qualities Meyer London Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 4:24 PM
Good for them. Sheepdog Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 7:44 PM
Ha! Tramp Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2005 at 9:38 PM
Coast Guard Meyer London Thursday, Sep. 29, 2005 at 1:06 PM
memo to Tramp (Fresca) Meyer London Thursday, Sep. 29, 2005 at 1:42 PM
Memo to Meyer Tramp Thursday, Sep. 29, 2005 at 8:58 PM
advice to the tramp Meyer London Thursday, Sep. 29, 2005 at 9:06 PM
The USCG in New Orleans? still grateful Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 5:19 AM
"Does anybody have the link?" Hex Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 5:33 AM
So, I take it your answer would be no? yes, still Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 8:06 AM
they wanted to bring in fuel IS Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 9:43 AM
"Stay on topic, please" Hex Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 12:38 PM
similar reports of FEMA blocking rescue IS Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 12:49 PM
armed forces Meyer London Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 2:56 PM
who needs a military? IS Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 3:05 PM
Meyer London: No Moral Compass Tramp Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 3:58 PM
now now Mom Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 4:56 PM
special Ralph Kroger Friday, Sep. 30, 2005 at 5:27 PM
Hex: "I'm doing all the digging" disappointed with immature threads Tuesday, Oct. 04, 2005 at 4:25 AM
once again do your own digging Hex Tuesday, Oct. 04, 2005 at 9:53 AM
a branch of the military nearly killed me Tell me about it. Tuesday, Oct. 04, 2005 at 3:47 PM
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