This guy has an IQ of 89, drives a pickup, chews tobacco, and hunts marine vegetation in his spare time.
you've all seen them; pictures of soldiers with camo face paint, ominously pointing the muzzle of their weapon at an unseen enemy just off-camera. only posters recruiting for special ops teams can pull this off effectively, but for some reason everyone who enlists seems to want to emulate the feelings these snapshots evoke. whether their job in the army is 'Bullet Sponge' as some infantryman like to call themselves or one of the lower REMF's (Rear-Echelon Mother...), everyone is entitled to take badass pictures of themselves.
i am as guilty of this as anyone, though my army posturing days ground to a halt half a decade ago. everyone knows that i have guns. everyone knows that i wear a uniform. why beat it into people's gray matter? the reason is simple: as a collective, the army has to uphold it's image. if my friends back home see pictures of me flexing for the camera while holding a military firearm, they naturally assume that death and destruction are the first two words in my job description. no one in the military wants the job i have here. it is not glamorous and will never give someone a chance to earn a medal of honor. i'm content with that, but some of the guys here on their first deployment will return home lacking a single story that would ever end up in a book or made-for-TV movie.
facts aside, we are still a hardcore group of combat veterans. we need to propegate visions of bayonetting our way through entrenched insurgents in the people at home. the best way to do to that is through photography. if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of a soldier sans smile holding a gun is worth a thousand blogs. since no one knows exactly what is going on behind the camera, your mind runs wild: 'is he about to take an Al Queda stronghold wearing nothing but a wifebeater?' 'did his roommate just finish off his multigrain tostitos?' 'when is the next episode of 30 Rock going to be available for download?'
the blame (there is no culprit here, i just feel like pointing fingers) rests squarely on the shoulders of civilians. since civilians arent connected with the military, they will eat up any scrap of information no matter how ridiculous. if i said that the army was running operations in britain to knock off overzealous Tea and Crumpet Barons, you would be surprised that you hadnt read about it in the newspaper. if i mentioned casually that i was air-dropped into the persian gulf and brought to shore by Navy seals (the animals, not the badasses), you would think that my job is pretty nifty. i'm not saying there is anything wrong with this, and admit that a lot of things that we do in the army are really cool (explosions never get old to me as long as i am safe. you haven't lived until you've felt the concussion of high-explosive rounds being fired at a rate of 10 per second). i am also not trying to tell you that there is such a thing as a worthless mission or silly job in the army (yes i am). just know that things are not always what they are made out to be, especially if the Army is involved.
recap: flex, pose, lie, when IS the next episode of 30 rock coming out, i want trained seals.