The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85161   Message #1580470
Posted By: Charmion
10-Oct-05 - 05:19 PM
Thread Name: BS: How low can you go?
Subject: RE: BS: How low can you go?
Tsk, tsk, there you go again with those assumptions.

I actually grew up in a navy family, and the effect it had on me was not fascination with guns and war, but awareness that service in the armed forces was a reliable way to learn a useful trade. My Dad was a radar operator, and his stories about the war concerned learning an unusual occupation, doing a very important and responsible job, and going to fascinating places -- I particularly liked hearing about his pet chameleon and the mango trees in Mombasa. In 1972, when I graduated from high school and needed a job, I joined the Canadian Forces because it offered complete occupational training in all kinds of trades that I didn't have a hope of getting into in civvy street, and the same wage scale for women as it did for men -- benefits offered by no other employer known to me.

I wanted to be a radio operator, and their question was not "Whyever would a cute little thing like you want to work shift in a comms centre?" but "Would you please fill out this application for security clearance, miss?" I ended up as a medic, which is how I came to work in a hospital in Germany. All Canadian Forces medical personnel are trained in their obligations under the Geneva Convention, specifically that they are non-combatants under a powerful obligation to treat all casualties without regard to nationality.

There is an important military caste in Canada and the United States, and many its members have hoisted themselves out of the lumpen proletariat by joining up and climbing the rank ladder. Check the statistics on black representation among the senior non-commissioned cadre of the American armed forces; you will find that black people are a disproportionately high percentage of warrant officers and senior sergeants. The Canadian Forces is how an awful lot of Maritimers and Newfoundlanders "went down the road" without having to sling hash or work construction in Toronto, or head for the oil fields.

Military education benefits are responsible for the enlargement of all Canadian universities and the very existence of some -- chances are you attended one of them. They are also largely responsible for the bringing working-class students into universities and colleges across North America. Canada has no veterans' education benefit today (which is why I graduated with a student loan), but during the late 1940s thousands and thousands of Canadian ex-servicemen earned degrees and high school diplomas with Department of Veterans' Affairs funding.