I'll jump right to the point.
I was looking over some old nodes and one came mind, the The Soldier's Creed. Softlinked to it are things like disgraceful and brainwashed. I know I've beaten this horse to the marrow but I always feel compelled to put my thoughts down on this.
To me it is so utterly obvious that powerful countries need standing militaries to act as both a deterrent for agression, (see North Korea), a tool for intervention (what should be Sudan), and at times, the means with which to force another entity into submission for one reason or another. It's obviously a necessary tool in this world, being that without it, you might as well resort to setting yourself on fire like a monk.
I still fail to understand why these standing militaries receive so much ridicule for being uniform and conformist. That is the very essence of a military, wherein from uniformity comes discipline. Stripping a man down to nothing, and reforming him as a tool is practically to oldest profession, besides prostitution. Humans have been killing each other since they were developed enough to bang rocks together and carve pictures into stone.
Uniformity and conformity, call it brainwashing if you'd like, is absolutely essential to a military. If not, you have what is reffered to as "too many chiefs, not enough indians". Beyond the obvious ignorance of the statement itself is a simple wisdom that is inherrent to the military. A soldier must be a follower before he can lead, therefore he must conform before he is aloud to shine for his individual strong points. He has to master what's called the critical tasks before he moves on to more complicated things. It's not because he is dumb or slow, but because others are. Therefore he must prove the ability to surpass those basic obstacles before moving on. That's why civilians must go to Basic Combat Training before doing anything else. They must prove they can run, jump, march, and shoot before they can do things like Airborne, Ranger, or Special Forces. They must prove the ability to understand what a ground soldier must do before they are given the priviledge of commanding (officer) or leading (Noncommissioned officer) soldiers or other troops in any capacity.
I remember someone telling me that they were frantic because I told them a soldier doesn't need to be able to think for himself. And I don't mean that person is stripped of humanity, and has become a robot. But it is that soldier's first duty to simply follow orders. Yes, some orders are unlawful, and that's why the soldier's Uniform Code of Military Justice does not punish a soldier for disobeying an unlawful order. It is the most basic of means to form a powerful military. All soldiers are interchangeable, compatible, trained and proficient on all basic tasks and drills and all on the same page, so therefore some measure of conformity is required. The part many civilians fail to understand is the so-called "chest-beating". A soldier feels pride in the things he or she has achieved, because it is by no means easy. Basic Training is by no means hard, but it all comes down to that individuals determination to overcome the obstacles in their way. It's not something for everyone, and those soldiers that have gone on to larger and harder obstacles have every right to beat their chest.
Basically, it is the civilian's duty as a member of society to go about their lives and contribute in some way, whether that be by working at Wal-Mart or heading a corporation. Some people go teach basketball at the boys club, or donate money to Greenpeace. Whatever they do, they should vote, because that is the one time when the people should get together and make a decision. It is the soldier's duty to withstand the storm in stoic silence and do what he is told. All soldier's have someone telling them what to do, no matter what rank. If you don't agree with it, then it's not for you, but I still don't understand the ridicule.