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Somber advice from a retired Special Forces sergeant on joining the military

Bob Goff is a retired US Army special forces sergeant who served in eight different overseas combat operations – alphabetically, they were Colombia, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Somalia, and Vietnam. Five different times he raised his right hand to take an oath to defend the US Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

However, in none of those countries did he meet a single person who was opposed to the US Constitution, or even to its principles.

Instead, he found himself fighting to defend the interests of American transnational corporations and to maintain American military and political supremacy around the world.

He has a short YouTube interview, which you can see here:

I thought his talk was of enough use to be transcribed, so I’ve done that. I had never heard of him before, but apparently after serving in Vietnam, he became quite disillusioned with the goals and purposes of American military adventures overseas and became and continued to be quite an activist, even as he continued to serve, off and on, mostly in the Special Forces branch of the army. He has even written several books and is apparently now some sort of a Christian socialist.

Here are some of his books, which you can look up:

  1. Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century 
  2. Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church
  3.  Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the U.S. Invasion of Haiti
  4. Sex & War
  5. Energy War: Exterminism for the 21st Century

I transcribed his interview here:


Advice from Stan Goff, US Army Special Forces veteran, for those considering joining the military

My transcription of what he said (with most of the ‘um’s and ‘you know’s edited out, and a phrase or two inserted in brackets for clarity)

I say this to my own kids. I’ve got one in the Army and I’ve got another one thinking about it. I know it’s a tough economic choice today. I know the jobs such and I know school is too expensive for a lot of people. I know they make it [military service] attractive but you have to  continue to remember what it is that they are doing. That organization [US military] does not exist to give you money for school. That organization exists to assert the political will of the United Sates government against other people by force of arms, and what they do is not like it’s portrayed in the movies. They’re not sending you out there to be a hero. They’re sending you out there to be a bully. They’re not sending you out there to be a hero. That’s not what it’s really about. It’s never been about that.. It’s never been about that, you know. The fact that some people fight back and put you in danger is also part of the equation, but it’s not [inaudible] …

The Iraqis never presented any threat to this country and if we leave, those Iraqis don’t present any threat to this country after we leave. Why put yourself into the position to go over there and be forced by circumstances not of your choosing to take the life of another human being who’s a total stranger? Because they’re not some evil caricature like you’ve seen on film and all that stuff. They are people. They have mothers, they have fathers, they have sisters, they have brothers, they have children. You know, there’s people who live them just like there are people that love you.

And those people grieve when they lose them, just like people grieve if they lose you.

That’s maybe not as dramatic and as exciting and clear cut and easy to understand as a sort of simple binary world of good and evil that you get painted for. But that’s not the way the real world is. And in the real world, again, you have to live with the consequences of your decisions for the rest of your life.

Think hard.

You know, I served in eight conflict areas, and I raised my right arm eight times, no, I raised my hand five times in the course of my career, and took an oath, and that oath was to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. I went to eight conflict areas and I never met a single person who was an enemy of the United States Constitution. Not one. No enemies of the Constitution.

I did spend a lot of time going out there again and becoming a political instrument for trans-national corporations and to preserve American military and political supremacy around the world, but that’s not in the oath! That’s not in the oath!

There wasn’t anybody threatening the Constitution in Vietnam, there was nobody threatening the Constitution in Grenada, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Somalia, [or] Haiti. I went to all of those places, and I never met anybody that was a threat to the Constitution, or the principles of the Constitution for tha matter. I just met people, you know. I met people and they put me in circumstances where I had to do a lot of things that I wish I didn’t have in my head right now.



Published in: on May 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm  Comments (1)  
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