U.S. Army Recruiting Soldiers to Fight for God

My friend Mikey Weinstein writes about an outrageous poster being used by the Army to recruit members for the special forces, telling them that they would be “on a mission for God and country.” Here’s a picture of the poster being used outside an Army recruiting station:

armysign

Mikey writes:

There it was; an in-your-face, proselytizing, U.S. Army officially-approved (goarmy.com) recruiting poster on prominent display at an Armed Forces Career Center in Phoenix, Arizona. That outrageously ghastly graphic encapsulates precisely that which we’ve been ceaselessly calling the attention of the American people to for all this time. The poster astoundingly displays the shoulder tabs of the U.S. Special Forces (i.e. Green Berets), Rangers and Airborne troopers accompanied by the seethingly sectarian slogan “ON A MISSION FOR BOTH GOD AND COUNTRY.”

(Wait a damn minute. Phoenix? Arizona? Army Special Forces? “Mission For……God”? My first thoughts were of Pat Tillman.)

Excuse me? “GOD and country?” Ahem, well, just WHOSE “god” might that be, U.S. Army?…

Even the Pope himself has decried on multiple occasions the reprehensible, medieval idea that one can kill in God’s name – even going so far as to say that the concept, “simply, is blasphemy”. Yet here we have the most lethal killing machine devised in the history of humankind proudly extolling the virtue of what can only be described as “Holy Wars.”

This unconstitutional catastrophe comes at a time, no less, when world leaders as diverse as Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu are marching together, arm in arm, in Paris and uniting behind the values of secular respect, religious tolerance, freedom of the press and all related basic civil rights. However, this incomprehensibly STUPID, and brazenly sectarian poster of American religious dominance at Marine Corps Recruiting Substation Paradise Valley universally destroys any credibility that the United States government is wholly devoted to these very basic democratic and human values.

Get this U.S. Army and get it well: The United States armed forces may surely fight and kill “for Country” and our legitimate national security interests. But our troops do NOT fight and kill for ANYONE’S “God” or related supernatural deity. In the preparation of this Op Ed, I exposed a number of senior active duty U.S. military leaders to the photo of this poster, including several active duty chaplains. To a man and woman, they were collectively ALL aghast that it was actually real and being used to lure young Americans into the Army’s special forces.

I just have to wonder who the hell approved that sign. Whoever it is should be demoted immediately and removed from any decision making authority.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • wyobio

    Umm, this is a poorly done photoshop, Ed. Sorry to break it to you – but you’ve been fooled.

    See how the board is ‘floating’ over the sidewalk? No shading around the legs or below the board?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1159674804 robertbaden

    Gott Mit Uns!

  • http://www.patrickmackie.co.uk Patrick

    @1 wyobio – I can see shadows – particularly the right-most leg – and at an angle which is consistent with the shadow on the left, given that it’s cast by a canted leg. Is there other evidence of this being faked?

  • jbrock

    Even the Pope himself has decried on multiple occasions the reprehensible, medieval idea that one can kill in God’s name – even going so far as to say that the concept, “simply, is blasphemy”.

    Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, the obvious target demographics here, will consider this a feature, not a bug. IME and FWIW, Evangelicals generally classify Catholicism as a non-Christian religion and many Fundamentalists believe that the Pope is the Antichrist.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    If you look at the larger picture on Daily Kos, there is a very clear shadow from the building on the left. It indicates that the sun is to the left of the picture. There should be a shadow on the right side of the sign (and underneath it) and there isn’t one. The shadow of the sign makes it look like the sun is to the right of the image.

  • raven

    I’m generally skeptical of photoshop claims.

    But that sign looks like it was photoshopped in. It looks like it is floating rather than on the ground.

    It doesn’t mean it isn’t a real sign though. We need further info. It just means it isn’t where it says it is. I’m wondering if Google or Snopes has anything on veracity.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    ArtK #5:

    If you look at the larger picture on Daily Kos, there is a very clear shadow from the building on the left.

    There is a clear shadow, but it is not clear what object casts the shadow.

    I don’t see anything inconsistent with the sun shining from over the viewer’s right shoulder, and the sign casting a short shadow that is for mostly hidden behind it. IOW, I don’t think it is ‘shopped.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi
  • eidolon

    I was going to agree that this is a Photoshop job, but looking at the daily Kos image, the shadow of the small bush far right in the frame is parallel to the shadow of the board. Then I found this:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/15/1358065/-Validity-of-Mission-of-God-Recruiting-Poster-Confirmed

    Looks like it’s s’posed to be GOD’S Army.

  • raven

    I found other photos via Google. Of the sign only. It’s been around for a while.

    I suspect it is a real sign but the photo above on Dispatches is a photoshop.

    It’s not conclusive data though. Just likely.

  • D. C. Sessions

    If that’s the station on Cactus Road (which is what it looks like), if it’s still there I can confirm it today.

  • sinned34

    ArtK @6:

    Look at the picture on DailyKOS: you can see that there is a roof that sticks out past the front of the recruiting office. Given that the shadow from that roof lines up almost exactly with the base of the recruiting office, the sun is most definitely behind the right shoulder of the photo taker. The shadow from the sign almost lines up exactly with the front legs, but you can see there is a small amount of shadow just below the front bottom edge of the sign. Also, you can see the shadow on the visible rear leg. You can see the white line of the concrete through the shadow in both spots. It certainly doesn’t look like a photoshop to me, though it still could be.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Deus Vull’t!!!!!!

  • raven

    It’s real according to the link at #9.

    It’s been digitally cleaned up according to the photographer which is why it is so sharp and looks somewhat unreal.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    See how the back leg appears to be bracketed? It’s not. That’s the shadow.

  • Alverant

    The United States armed forces may surely fight and kill “for Country” and our legitimate national security interests.

    Don’t sell them short, Mikey. They also fight and kill for illegitimate national security interests like they way we prop up dictatorships during the Cold War and avoided bombing the facilities of US companies that were in Nazi Germany during WWII.

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Ahem, well, just WHOSE “god” might that be, U.S. Army?…

    We already know that America’s real god is The Almighty Dollar. So I guess it fits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000263140906 Donovan

    All the shadows in the larger image are consistent. Look at the shadow from the shrubbery. The building shadow is coming from a different, out of shot building, as is necessary to cast that shadow. It may be a Photoshop or a hoax. Obviously we must be willing to accept that possibility. But the shadows do not support that claim.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    … which just goes to show why I’m not an image interpretation expert. Ah well.

  • Cuttlefish

    Hmmmph. I was looking for something I had written which I thought was appropriate (turns out I was wrong, it was about the chaplain issue), called “For God And For Country (But Mostly For God)”. My version is here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2011/10/28/for-god-and-for-country-but-mostly-for-god/

    But the top search result was at the MRFF. Unattributed to me. Just… there. http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2011/10/for-god-and-for-country-but-mostly-for-god/

    Again, Hmph.

  • Childermass

    “It’s been digitally cleaned up according to the photographer which is why it is so sharp and looks somewhat unreal.”

    Which is a good reason not to clean up photos.

  • dhall

    #8 Modusoperandi – thank you for that link. Interesting article and great development.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    dhall “#8 Modusoperandi – thank you for that link. Interesting article and great development.”

    No problem. I found it all by myself with no help from anybody!*

     

    * h/t Digby

  • lordshipmayhem

    From the Army Times, posted 4:22 PM today:

    A poster with the phrase “On a mission for both God and country” on display outside a Phoenix recruiting station was removed Friday morning, an Army Recruiting Command spokesman said, hours after the unapproved display was brought to the command’s attention.

    So yes, it seems this is not a phony Photoshopped image.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Unapproved display my ass.

    Some officer approved it. Some officer thought it was a good idea and worth the money. Just because Superior Officer X didn’t approve it doesn’t mean jack.

    Did Officer X delegate authority to make up new graphics? Of course.

    Did someone upon whom that authority devolved know about the sign before it was made? Sure as hell.

    Did that someone review the language as required to duly exercise their delegated duty? Possibly not. That person could have been in dereliction.

    But would it matter if that officer was in dereliction? No. The person who wanted to make the sign – the officer with authority or someone else – thought it was a good idea, and either the officer signed off on the language or the officer didn’t care enough to bother while clearly tolerating fucked up recruiting tactics or this never would have gone from a phrase occasionally slipped into conversation to a printed graphic.

  • Crudely Wrott

    Photoshop. No shadow where at least some should be.*

    If I were to ignore the part beyond “On A Mission” the sign would read correctly. Trouble is, and I’ll just bet that the makers noticed too, that is just a bit too close to “On An Ism”. So, grudgingly, I cut ’em some slack for adding the misguided filler. But just this once.

    *my opinion as an amateur photographer shooting outdoor closeups mostly in strong sunlight. perhaps the final print has brightness too high and contrast a bit low? naaah. it’s a knock up.

  • Holms

    All the people claiming this to be a photoshop due to shadows seem to be missing the fact that the poster does have a visible shadow. The angle of the sun is a little awkward I’ll grant, being almost perfectly behind the photographer, but it is visible if you look at the poster leg towards the right of frame. This shadow is consistent with the shadow being cast by the little shrub in the larger picture (follow the link), and consistent with the shadow to the left, provided there is some sort of column or similar vertical brickwork just out of frame to the left.

    #20

    But the top search result was at the MRFF. Unattributed to me.

    With the recent Avicenna debacle, this leaves a sour taste. I wonder if the local slymepitters will mount a crusade against the MRFF? That would be the consistent thing to do; otherwise, it might seem that they are not interested in the ethics of blog writing so much as simply looking for fuel for their FTB fixation. I’m sure they’ll get right on it because they’re so principled and all…

    >_>

  • dingojack

    ‘Both X and Y’?

    Boolean redundancy.

    Dingo

  • anubisprime

    Childermass @ 21

    Which is a good reason not to clean up photos.

    It does fuck up the point somewhat, what is the idea behind displaying an image when the image does not look plainly look like the image that is under discussion.

    It does muddy the water to be a hopeless ‘factoid’ in the argument.

    It might indeed be what it purports to be, fine, but unfortunately when it reaches the stage of something akin to the Apollo photos on the moon being poured over to determine which way the shadows actually lie then there is a problem.

    Not impressive and not helpful, because it is not damned apparent there will be apologists that claim the Atheist legions are barking at shadows themselves.

  • dingojack

    From the issue of Army Times, as mentioned by lordshipmayhem (#24), still thinking ‘photoshop’?!?

    Dingo

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    “It’s been digitally cleaned up according to the photographer which is why it is so sharp and looks somewhat unreal.”

    Which is a good reason not to clean up photos.

    Was going to say, of course it’s been through photoshop or lightroom. Those are effectively the darkrooms of today. We can’t adjust chemistry and time for film processing and printing with digital images, so those choices are made with photoshop. Of course, far more is possible now, so a photo we might not have been able to get because of lighting problems can be compensated for in photoshop. It looks to me like the photographer wanted to make sure the poster and the building sign were clear and did some sloppy layering and excessive sharpening and levels work. It’s surprisingly poor quality for a person paid to get the shot.

  • John Pieret

    In (small) defense of the Army as a whole, I went to army.com, as advised by by Mikey, to look for anything connecting “God” and “Country” and the only things I found involved the Chaplain Corps. The Chaplain Corps, as argued by Madison, might be inappropriate, but it is hardly surprising that it would make such a connection.

    As a personal story, I was in the Army JAG Corps in the early 1970s and saw that Vietnam-era recruiting was the most career-destroying assignment anyone could be assigned to. Good soldiers and officers who had served 18 years or more were being “RIFed” (Reduction in Forces) and discharged without pensions and medical benefits because they didn’t meet their “quotas.” Although I had to clean up the mess that bad recruiting practices left behind (career criminals, mentally ill or challenged soldiers, etc.), I always felt sympathy for the recruiters. I hope that such a situation no longer exists, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

    Based on what I’ve seen here, this was an idiot decision by some local “middle-management.” Should they be punished? … of course! Should it go up the chain of command? … yes, but less for the violation of the separation of church and state than to insure that recruiters are not being subjected to unrealistic and career-threatening pressures.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    See how the board is ‘floating’ over the sidewalk? No shading around the legs or below the board?

    Except that there are shadows around the legs. And the Army Times is reporting that this poster is real, and has a pic from another angle showing that it isn’t ‘floating’ over the sidewalk. But other than that, you are exactly right!

  • my2cents

    This is just another example of the military proselytizing to it’s members. Honestly this poster is not even an that bad compared to the laundry list of things they did to make anyone who is not a Christian feel unwelcome in the US military. I am a veteran and it started as early as basic training and continued throughout my entire career. Check out the MRFF http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org if you would like more information.