There are a million things that I would change in the military, and most people with a higher rank would just yell at me saying that I do not understand how things work, as the elders do... but these are the same people who hate being questioned and cannot back up their decisions with logical reason... and because of their position... they do not need to.
It does cause problems sometimes, I for one crave a further understanding of the world and how it works at all times; my journey of discovery will only end in death.
Take for instance a simple order, "do not sling your weapon on your back with the barrel pointing up." Now when I was given the order I did so, as is my duty, but then I asked the young Sergeant "Why?" The single question that every parent hates, but I assure you my methods are sound... you see I already knew why we sling our weapons pointing down, (though I was unaware we were to do so at our location also), we do so because in Afghanistan we want the people to like us, and launching a round that could possibly go a mile and wound someone would be bad PR. Knowing that tidbit of information can reveal more information about why my commander makes the decisions in the way that they are made. From this one order we can assume that public relations are more important than soldier lives (a bullet ricocheting off the ground is more likely to kill than one shot into the air) so it drives home how important relations with the locals are. Is knowing this information important and life changing? No, but knowing the reasoning behind my leaders decision making process allows me to peek inside their mind, helping me grow as a leader, and with that better understanding I can better predict how my leaders would want me to act in any given situation. Is it life changing? No, but does it make me a better soldier? Yes.
DISCLAMER: For the love of whatever you hold dear, do not ask "why?" in a firefight... that is just retarded.
But this brings me to something that I do not understand. For those of you who do not know, the army is more than your employer... they are your landlord, doctor, and cultural authority. Today we will talk specifically the landlord responsibility.
Why does the organizational level of my room matter? I understand inspecting the rooms of the troops, but for things that are, oh, I don't know important? like the black mold, or the rust colored and bleach flavored water, the ceiling peeling off, and electricity not working. You know, concerns that are relevant that should be addressed. But why... why does the orange peel in the trash and clutter on my desk matter? It's my DESK, it has stuff on it, that is it's job. Why does my bed need to be made? Why do I need to organize my magazines? Why do I need to do my laundry that is just one days worth of clothing... Stupid concerns that honestly have no bearing on what is important: Work Performance, health, and happiness.
Now, I am sure a veteran Sergeant Major will chime in telling me to shut up and do what my leaders say, and some other NCOs as well. They will seek to explain this as maintaining discipline amongst the troops... to which I have several things to say:
1- So the discipline of married soldiers is irrelevant? I have never once heard of a married person getting their house inspected. Married individuals even have the option of living off base, and once there the military has NO ability to require an inspection. Meanwhile the single soldiers are forced to live in a shithole with their bosses noses all in their business. This argument, is flawed.
2- What the hell is discipline and why is it so important? Honestly! You would think it is some form of gold in how much it is sought after, but what is it really? Is it the ability to do what you are told? No, that is obedience. Is it the ability to perform a set of actions without being told over and over? No, that is memory. Well what is it? From where I am sitting discipline is the ability to dominate your lower brain with your higher brain. "WTF Kale, what does that EVEN MEAN?!" Well Ill tell you, let a mosquito bite you, and do not scratch it... Take a medical Pulse Ox (shows how much O2 is in your blood) put it on your finger, and hold your breath until it get's to 75%... Be in a firefight, and don't run.
In all of those situations your primitive power brain, your "instincts" are telling you one thing "scratch," "breathe," "stay alive," but you overpower the urge and fight through it. That is discipline, taking control of your own damn body. Overpowering the urge to flee from a firefight, that takes a lot of discipline... that is why it is important to the army.
But how do you build discipline? The military tries many ways, Drill and ceremony are one, and it was rather effective, making your bed and bothering you if you are unlucky enough to live in the dreaded post housing are another, and honestly it could be replaced with better methods. Who is the most disciplined group of people on the planet? Surely they would know how to do such things! But that would be the military right? They are super disciplined! I am inclined to disagree, the military in general are about as disciplined as a dance troupe. They train in routines, and repeat, one just does more improvisation, and has lives on the line... and has gotten shot at before so they are somewhat used to that thing... But no, as far as I know the most disciplined group of people in the world are Tibetan monks. When you dominate your lower brain so much that you can beat your own heart and increase your metabolism so much your skin makes steam rise from wet sheets... just wow. Maybe they would teach the militaries of the world a thing or two? Probably not.
I do not think that the military would really want that level of discipline... I think a level that lets you stay calm in a firefight, and when wounded would be enough. Everything after that is training in repetition and choreography...
Just like the dancers.