But what is your life really worth?
Well, according to the United States military, in 1991, if you served in the Gulf War, your life was worth $150 a month. Yes, it’s true! American military personnel received just $150 a month in Danger Pay. When an acquaintance of mine showed me her pay stub from her time in service, I was both shocked and appalled (as opposed to ‘shock & awe’). $150? That’s nuts!
As an aside, my friend said her platoon was out on patrol one night when they encountered an Iraqi platoon. Both sides were so surprised and terrified, nobody fired a shot! She said she has never been so scared in her life!
Now, this issue of $150 (the pay has gone up slightly since) is not an indictment against the US armed forces. Certainly not! There are far too many places on earth where a life is worth far less … like the price of a bullet! Rather, it is a call for peace!
For any country to send its young men and women off to war for a measly $150 a month, or any other amount, is insanity (particularly when you consider what we pay someone to throw a baseball or what we pay a CEO to take a hike). Certainly they must be worth more to us living than they are dead or maimed.
If you’re still not sold on the senselessness of war and the value we put on human life, consider this; more than three times as many American soldiers who served in Vietnam committed suicide after returning home than were actually killed during the war. The same was true in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
And yet we still wage war!
Are we so enamoured with the ideal of war and so devoid of compassion, that we believe this is acceptable? Is this really how we want life to be characterized? Gosh, I sure hope not!
Every year we honour those who have served with special ceremonies, but perhaps some day our focus will shift to peace and kindness so that there will be no more need for anyone to serve or sacrifice in this manner, especially for so little.
Have an awesomely worthy day!
If you found this post meaningful, you might also want to read painted brave, a poem inspired by misguided thinking and The insanity of war: lessons from pat tillman’s unnecessary death.