Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Question of Fairness

I hear the word unfair a lot. I work in a school and to kids lots of things are unfair. How four square is played by their peers is a big one. Homework is another. The word unfair reaches my ear at least once a day usually.

Recently I have heard deployment referred to as "unfair". This really got me to thinking...Unfair as opposed to what???

Unfair as opposed to civilians who do not have to deploy? Well, sure, but the fact of the matter is that if you CHOOSE(and it is a choice) to join the military(and I will be focusing on Army as that is my life), you can expect to be deployed. The purpose of the army is to defend the country. That means going somewhere to fight. Right now it is in another country(and let's keep it that way!). If you join the army and think you will not be deployed, then you are living in ignorance. I have heard people say they recruiter assured them that with their MOS they would not have to deploy, but that is either a lie or just plain ignorance. The majority of soldiers deploy. Even soldiers who have been in for years and years and never had to deploy are finding that now they deploy. It is a fact of army life. a sucky, part, but a necessary part.

There was an insistence though that the fact of the matter was that it was unfair that someone was deploying. So let's look at how this is unfair and the alternatives.

I hear a lot that it is unfair to children for one(or sometimes both) of their parents to be deployed. In the case of both parents, yes that is unfair and the alternative would be staggered deployments. However, the majority is only one parent deployed. So, if this is unfair, the alternative would be that no soldiers with children should deploy, only childless soldiers. Is that any more fair? No.

Spouses complain that it is unfair for their spouse to deploy. So, should only unmarried soldiers deploy? Well, some soldiers are in committed relationships and it is unfair to their significant other. So, then should we only deploy single soldiers(with no kids, of course)? Is that fair? No.

I don't really think you can characterize deployment as being ufair because there is not anything contrary to make it fair. Except not joining the military.

There are plenty of things about the Army that can be unfair(believe me, I have encountered quite a few), but I really do not believe that deployment is one of them. It is just a way of army life and you deal with it.


Jessica said...

Wonderfully put. I hear so much complaining, too. I'm sure it's terrible to be deployed and experience wars. I could never do it, but that's why I never joined the military. I think you said it perfect. Joining the military is a choice and you know what you are getting into.

Carrie said...

...I agree with most of this. Signing on for military service means signing on for the risk of deployment. That's something we all know.

But...I think a lot of times the spouses that say it's not fair that they be without their husband/wife are ones that married AFTER their parter joined the military. I know I for one feel this way sometimes. I wasn't included in my fiance's decision to join AT ALL. I make due, and I get by, and I try not to complain too terribley much, but it DOES feel unfair sometimes. I chose HIM. He's the one that chose the Army. I didn't get the chance to discuss the decision with him like some wives.

However, my saying it's unfair is directed more towards him than the Army itself. I can't blame the Army for his decision to join.

Also, I think you're dead right that the REAL unfair case is that of children with two deployed parents. Something should really be done about that. The deployments could at least be staggered so that the child has at least one parent at home.

Quite a thought provoking post you have here. And very well put. :) You have an excellent attitude about Army life.

Robyn :) said...

It is unfair if your partner makes the decision to join without you. I knew before I even started dating my husband that it was his dream to join the army, so it was never an issue for me.

The first person I heard mention it was unfair was a soldier themself so they knew. Also a parent. The person that agreed, I do not know. I tend to think they weren't military and were just agreeing for moral support.

PixieDust said...

Can I just say how brave you must be for going through all this. It is amazing to read about these things. In South Africa where I live no Caucasian would want to join the army, but that is all due to the fact that this really is a messed up country we live in.