Gentlemen, I want to address you specifically, but in the world today it does apply to your sisters. 41 years ago on this day, December 4, 1974, I joined the US Air Force. The reason I went in is as a form of escape. I had little to no desire to go to college as what I had been exposed to in the academic world was dull and uninspiring. I wanted to learn, but school was not the place to do so. Therefore, my dad signed on my behalf, since I was under age, and I escaped into the Air Force.
A bit of history
The Vietnam War in 1973 was the Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan/etc. of 2014. The Paris Peace Accords were signed in early 1973 that mostly ended the US involvement, and I joined the Air Force at the end of that year. The Fall of Saigon wasn’t until 1975 which is in reality the end of the war. Since I was “in” since 1973 I am considered a “Vietnam Era Veteran”, even though I never went there. The closest thing I ever saw to war was when I was in Germany and were literally under attack from the Baader-Meinhof Gang, a militant group not fond of America. There was talk of actually issuing us guns, but that never became reality.
For the bulk of 1974 I was at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Then I went to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, and served in the Combat Operations Center. What you saw dramatized in movies of the time was a big room with large screens on the wall and a cadre of generals sitting in the back running a war. That was the room next to where I worked and was only in it twice. I was in another large room that was the dividing line between the secure classified data and the unsecure communications world. We had 100+ crypto machines that were the state of the art in those days, and a bunch that were already very old. We had direct links between us and numerous nuclear missile silos all around the western part of the US. We had a daily call to the Operation Looking Glass plane that was in the air at that time to verify communications. You might consider a study of Operation Looking Glass, euphemistically known as the doomsday plane, as it is still in place today.
A friend applied to be part of the crypto team at the White House and got it. We spoke once after he had been there a while and it inspired me to think about other places. In 1976 I decided that it would be good to see if I could take an opportunity to go to Europe while in the Air Force, so I put in a “dream sheet”. It took only a week or two and I was giving the opportunity to go to Germany to be on an installation team, but I would have to add another year to my 4 year commitment. I took it joyfully. In 1976 I arrived in Germany and for the next two years was able to travel to England, Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Greece, and Italy. I spent 6 months at the rebuilding of the Boerfink bunker (SOC-3), which is a massive 4 story underground bunker. I did work at “Elephant Cages” in England and Crete, which are football field size groups of antenna used then to listen to foreign radio, most often the Soviet Union. I spent a bit of time in Holland at a cave that is so long that during World War II, both sides occupied different parts of the same cave.
I give you my personal history for completeness sake. Since I am your dad, I thought you might be interested. My dad did not share much about his history with me. My dad, your grandfather served in the US Army in Europe during World War II. My mom, your grandmother, a German, also served as some sort of administrative staff for the Nazis in Poland. They got together after the war, and the rest should be obvious.
It is common for a dad to encourage his sons about how he served in the military, how it is patriotic, and desire for his sons to do the same. I will not do that. I will do the exact opposite.
The Lord is clearly sovereign. I used the military as an escape, not patriotic duty. However, the Lord did not leave me naive, but slowly and steadily opened my eyes to Him and His ways. I am convinced today that the military is simply national thuggery and a rejection of God. While I am glad I never had to take up arms while in the Air Force, I was still a part of the group that has done vile and disgusting things, and even more so this day. I repent of my previous deeds and will not promote anyone, especially my sons, to serve in that way. 1st Samuel 8 is a fundamental passage that gives you the basis for my stand.
For you the question of the military is in the future. To whatever degree I can, it is my desire to instill in you a love of the Lord and obedience to Him before obedience to the state. I do believe I am a patriot and have become more so now than the past. However, just like so many words, “patriot” has multiple meanings. Often it connotes the love of the institution of the country and a stand for its ways. With that definition, I am NOT a patriot. The original definition, “fellow countryman”, is what I embrace, and do so wholeheartedly. This is to fulfill “love your neighbor as yourself” in a clear way.
On the use of words, be careful when you see the English word “nation” in the Bible. It is typically from the Greek “ethnos”, where we get the word “ethnic”. The word “nation” connotes a political body, but in reality the Scripture typically uses it as a people group. That is why Matthew 24:7, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” is not redundant, since “nation” and “kingdom”, which is the political entity, are different.
U.S. Military History
Look at history to see how militaries are used. More than war, one of the greatest killers of mankind is democide, death inflicted by your own government. With the breakdown of the Posse Comitatus Act the door is open for the US Military to be used directly for democide. Do you think that the US is above that? Look at our history.
In the recent “actions” in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, we have killed over a million non-combatant men, women, and children. However we look the other way since some are “terrorists” or “Islamists”, or as our former Secretary of State infamously put it: “we think the price is worth it”. During the Vietnam era we again killed over a million non-combatant men, women, and children. But again these were the “Cong” so we could look the other way. Let’s not forget the firebombing of cities in Germany during World War II, then again these were “Nazis”. The firebombing of Tokyo and other major cities alone killed over a million non-combatant men, women, and children. The war was won and Japan pursued surrender, but we delayed so we could conduct what was called “the experiment” and we dropped two atomic bombs to kill another 100,000+ more. But then again, these were “Japs”.
A frank look at our own history shows that we do what has been done repeatedly in history. We find an enemy, give them a name so we can think of them as less than us, and kill. This is what the military is used for. Do you want to be a part of that?
It is vital when looking at the military to separate the institution from the individuals. A number of the individuals are as foul as can be and will frequently gain leadership positions. However, many serve with a heart to defend their country and way of life. They do not see themselves as aggressors but defenders. They deserve honor and respect for their motivation. I suggest they were, and continue to be, used and abused by the state. It is the state, and particularly the leadership of the state, who is responsible. The foot soldier, the pawn, is still due honor.
When we look at political leaders in history, such as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, we see great violence and death. Most of the dead are within their own countries. The number of deaths they caused outside of their countries in similar to what was authorized by Presidents Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, Bush, Obama, and others. In all cases the leader was not going against the will of their own people, but acting on behalf of them. There may be a lot of lying and deception, but it remains the prevailing will.
We promote in the media, and unfortunately in the institutional church, the idea that we are “defending our freedom”, “promoting democracy”, or “fighting terrorism”. The reality is that war is good for our economy. The US defense industry is the largest in the world and thrives when there are lots of wars going on. The heroin industry, brought to you by Bayer, is massive. The US military openly protects the crops in Afghanistan and the CIA is the marketing arm, just as they were in Vietnam. This is more to line our pockets than to defend anything.
The idea that we need a strong military is looking at the world and not at the Lord. Luke 22:38 is worthy of study: ‘And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”’ If we are truly trusting in the Lord, then do we need aircraft carriers, or is a weapon per family enough? Perhaps a modern paraphrase of Psalm 20:7 is “Some trust in F-22 Raptors and some in Predator drones, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
Let me repeat that the military is simply national thuggery and a rejection of the Lord. Please do not be lured in to a job out of patriotic duty. It is the Lord and the Lord alone where your protection comes from and your primary duty resides.
It is my desire to point you to things that I have done or others have done and suggest what was right, what was wrong, and why. The why is very important! I fully acknowledge that all I can do is suggest. You are free and independent men. You have the choice to follow what is right or wrong. You have the choice to follow the Lord or reject Him. You have a choice to follow an impotent flashy version of god that is so prevalent today, or count the cost and follow the Lord. To follow the Lord with your whole heart will cost you dearly. Those that suggest otherwise are deceived or liars. Follow the Lord. Trust in Him. Pay the price.
With love from your dad.
Perhaps a good analogy is if some man offers you a lollypop to get in the car with him, do you go?