Mercenary or Patriot?

Mercenary or Patriot?

© David Burton 2010

An American Patriot

One who serves or works merely for monetary gain; a hireling.
A professional soldier hired for service in a foreign army.
(Ref. 1)

One who loves, supports, and defends one's country.
(Ref. 1)

     Recently, a relative of mine accused our all-volunteer military of being nothing but mercenaries. Since he felt that our men and women serving in the military were mercenaries and only serving to make a buck, he felt little compassion for the hardships they and their families were enduring in the ongoing war against worldwide Islamic terrorism. When they were wounded, maimed or killed that was too bad, but they knew what the risks were when they signed up and, being mercenaries they deserved nothing more than the “generous” pay they were receiving.

     My relative apparently echoed the thoughts of many of his liberal, politically correct cohorts. Like most of his ivory tower ensconced compatriots, I doubt if he ever met, yet alone seriously talked with any members of our armed forces. He certainly had no understanding of what motivated these men and women to volunteer to protect all of us, at the risk of their own lives. The hardships they and their families were enduring were a totally alien concept. This attitude toward the military is apparently prevalent in our ivory tower institutions of higher learning and in the liberal establishments on the East and West coasts of our country. Go to the Midwest, the South or anywhere else other than the east and west coasts and see what people say about the military.

     Over the course of working some forty years in this country’s defense industry, I met with a number our military. Some of them I got to know personally. I can honestly say that not one member of the military whom I met over that period of time was serving with the sole objective of making money. The members of the military that I met were decent, patriotic Americans who were more than proud to serve their country at the risk of their own lives.

     While our military was defending this country, where were the people who have accused them of being store-bought mercenaries? Were these people avoiding road-side ambushes in Iraq or were they sitting in safe and warm ivory-tower universities? Were they fighting sandstorms in some Mideast dessert or were they vacationing in Florida and Hawaii? Were they demonstrating their love of country by volunteering to fight against global terrorists or were they just complaining about those who doing the dirty work in their stead?

     Our military critics use the word "Mercenary" as a pejorative because, to politically correct know-nothings, being a mercenary is bad. Therefore, in order to say that America's armed services are bad and full of nasty people, they say that they are 'mercenaries' to indicate that they're so bad that what they're saying can't be questioned. It's the same thing as using the word 'Nazis' to describe conservatives. These people citizens wouldn't know a mercenary from a true patriot.

     Here are a few quotes from some real patriots, Americans that have actually served their country (Ref. 2):

     “Are there some soldiers in our Army that could be considered mercenary? Yeah, there are some. But most of us, while we like to get paid, don't do it necessarily for the money (because, to be honest, it's not all THAT great compared to what we would make if we really WERE mercenaries). I joined up because I have a deep love of this country and felt a sense of obligation to give back. I'm sure if you asked a bunch of soldiers why they're in uniform, most would give 'patriotism' or 'obligation' as one of the reasons they joined up.”

     “I enlisted in the Navy just before the Gulf of Tonkin incident. I did so because I owed my country a debt of patriotism, not for the sub-minimum wage I received.”

     “I could be making more money then I am right now if I wanted to give up some of the perks of my current position (like only having to work 40 hours a week normally.) Some things are more important then money.”

     “I believe in the mission and want to give something back to my country and my state.”

     “I have noticed a disconnect with many of my civilian peers - only in that they cannot understand the experiences and even, in some cases the mindset that I had (and to some extent still have) as an active duty serviceman (still less can many of them understand my viewpoint as an infantryman). This is not to say that they don't have the same political or moral viewpoint, just that my experiences in the military are vastly different from almost all of theirs for the simple reason that most, if not all of them, did not serve.”

     A Military paper several years ago said that we would reach a point where civilians would no longer feel connected to their country and would not have a personal stake in the outcome of whatever they wished to believe. Others would do the fighting for them. They would no longer feel responsible for their beliefs. Well, we now have the best trained, best qualified, best equipped military in history and the average American is no longer a part of the process. Too many of these civilians sit in front of their televisions in their comfortable homes and cast aspersions on the men and women who have volunteered to protect and defend them. They themselves don’t have the intestinal fortitude to go out and fight for their rights. The paper never questioned the patriotism or bravery or dedication of our troops – it certainly raised questions about the patriotism, bravery and dedication of those sit-at-home Americans who have nothing better to do than call our service people names and perpetually complain about them. These people who sit comfortably in their chairs during the day and sleep safely at night are disconnected from reality.

     Calling America's military of today "mercenary" means that the American Revolution was fought entirely by mercenary troops - after all, they were all paid volunteers. It's a no-win situation for the military with these liberals. According to these liberals, those in the military are either forced to serve their country against their will if they are conscripted or, they're only in it for monetary gain if they volunteer.

     The United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today's volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits that is certainly not always commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify.

     Eric Jones graduated from Northeastern University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In late October of 2009, as a Marine Corps captain, Eric was killed while piloting a helicopter in Afghanistan. (Ref. 3) Some would have the chutzpah to say he got what he deserved since he was only a mercenary. I would say that he, along with all the rest of the military that are putting their lives on the line every day, are patriots who deserve better than to be disparaged by smug academic hacks and pacifist liberals.

     The men and women that are part of America’s military serve in the armed forces of the United States, not that of some foreign power. These are men and women who love, support, and defend ours country. And, yes, the men and women that are part of America’s military do get paid for protecting us. But, every working American also gets paid for his or her labor and most never have to dodge bullets or avoid suicide bombers.

     According to the definition of a mercenary - One who serves or works merely for monetary gain; a hireling; A professional soldier hired for service in a foreign army - and that of a patriot - One who loves, supports, and defends one's country - you tell me if those in our military are mercenaries or patriots.

  1. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
  2. Black five, Blackfive;, 9 September 2007.
  3. An untimely death in Afghanistan, Northeastern University Alumni Magazine, Page 9, Fall 2009.


  07 January 2010 {Article 70; Whatever_15}    
Go back to the top of the page