I know we have a lot of militia pilots reading this forum, many of whom believe passionately in the justice of their cause. Without wanting to invite the usual unproductive finger pointing, I’d be interested to hear perspectives from all four militias.
Is it just a job and you don’t really care who is paying?
How do you reconcile profiting from these conflicts with not wanting to fuel them (given they are, by agreement, not wars for national survival)?
For me it started when Ichoriya fell to the Triglavians and the Caldari Militia had an internal meltdown over it. This in combination with the number of systems we lost to the Triglavians made Khross-haan very sad, and since he figured that he had contributed to it somehow by not being around to help when it happened, he took the tea shortly afterwards. I had been lobbying for permission to enlist to help him out for some time, and after he died I went into mourning for about half a year. Not necessarily because death is an inherently negative or unnatural thing, but because to me, his death was a reflection of the suffering my people had to endure during the Triglavian invasions and it’s aftermath. When I was done ruminating over everything that had happened, I decided that the only way to prevent such harm from occurring again was to be willing and able to meet any threat with deadly force before it could be done.
Eventually a militia pilot passed me some recordings of debriefings from Caldari PoWs who had been rescued from Federal stations by the navy, and what I heard angered me so much that I redoubled my lobbying efforts. Eventually my family and my handler from corporate cautiously gave their assent and I joined the Caldari Militia just in time to help in the great push that saw us take control of the whole warzone in YC123. After that I held Deven for a bit, because people said it would be a staging point for a siege on Fliet, which prompted me to promise to hold it. In the end people got distracted and went elsewhere so I just ended up holding it for a few months, which kept the enemy out of the Citadel. After that I heard about Agoze, so I moved in there to help hold it. After that, the Serthoulde campaign began and I moved into Mercomesier until the Navy achieved all it’s objectives.
To me it was never about the money. If it was, I would not have been defending systems for the entirety of my militia career. Most people can tell you that the pay for doing so is negligible at best. For me it was about helping others, and keeping the enemy away from Black Rise and the Citadel by tying their forces up elsewhere. I am still just doing exactly that, whilst seeking to improve my own skills as a pilot, as well as my certification levels with different kinds of hardware.
I haven’t officially enlisted in the militia yet but I plan to.
The short answer is that the situation in Placid highlights for me the atrocities of the CEMWPA and how it keeps the systems and peoples in the warzone in a constant state of instability and turmoil.
As I see it, the options are stay out of and let whatever happens happen or I can get involved and do my part to try and secure the borders of the Federation against all incursion and try to build some form of stability in the area. I realize I’m only one pilot and hardly an impressive one, but I’d rather say I tried and failed than never tried at all.
So uh, before getting paid by The State I was out shooting both Imperial and Republic capsuleers. All of it is a proxy for shooting at CONCORD, given that shooting them is a fool’s errand, but the root of many continuing festering problems affecting my capsuleer and baseliner friends alike. The “forever wars” are just a meatgrinder to shove lives into.
CONCORD imposes such a tight-fisted regime of command and control over both the Empires and capsuleers. Their fleets just show up and get to incur sovereignty violations everywhere in Empire space. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one that notices. I’m very glad the Thukkers took a look at the CONCORD Republic and said “no thanks”. I hope the Caldari takeover of the Syndicate constellation doesn’t lead to CONCORD putting their filthy dirty stinkin’ fleets and corruptible officers out there, and instead begins the freeing of the Caldari from the horrible CONCORD State shackles.
Y’know how there’s many “loyal” capsuleers to their Empire, yet they tolerate CONCORD meddling and buy into the social status score, just shows how brainwashed the lot of them are.
A free Thukker’s spirit never dies, unlike a certain Yulai CONCORD Bureau station.
As a child I lived under the auspices of Caldari Bulk Distribution. Over the course of my schooling it was determined that I had an aptitude for two things: Deductive reasoning and violence. Naturally these traits landed me in Spacelane Patrol where the line between police official and soldier is very thin. Both involve gathering intelligence on your enemy and using it to apply force in a productive manner. War involves a lot more force and a lot more death, but the basic structure remains the same.
Do I care who is paying? Of course. My loyalties are to my people and my history. If my guns weren’t aimed at the Federation they’d be turned against pirates and drug distributors. Even in a state of international peace there is always a struggle to keep the peace. As far as I’m concerned the only difference is the rules of engagement.
I find foreign perspectives on business so strange sometimes.
You seem to believe there is a sharp divide between being compensated and acting for ideals. We do not see it that way. Anything worth doing deserves pay, and a person who performs a worthy service without considering his bottom line is a fool.
Business is not something we do for a few hours each day, laboring for leaders we despise merely to make enough credits to pay our bills. We do not work merely so we can run away as soon as the bell rings to amuse ourselves and achieve Gallente “self-expression”.
A Caldari lives for the good of the company. If the company does well, he does well also. We are proud of our corporation and its ideals, and a Caldari lives with them even when he is not engaged in labor - or he will not keep his employment long.
In fairness I, and for that matter my clan, consider the divide between civilians and soldiers to be something unnatural and foreign. When the Amarr came they did not discriminate based on the profession of their victims. Everyone should be capable of fighting. To save our kin in chains, to protect our kin who are free, and to keep oneself out of chains. To reject the path of the warrior is to depend on others to guarantee your freedom.
Thank you for putting this thread up, Captain Menkalinan. Although I do not believe that one should be compelled to write their raisins for fighting in the conflict to justify their involvement on this august forum, I am more than willing to explain my personal position as to how I reconcile my own participation and compensation for said participation.
I do not believe that participation in its own right makes you a warmonger. Any individual choosing Federal Service in the Federal Combined Armed Forces (FEDCAF), of which the Defence Union is part of, understands and values peace above the ravages of war. Those such as I, having chosen to be part of the Federation and to take up arms in its defence upon being asked to do so, rather than being forced into combat through expectation or coercion. I respect that they gave me the choice to do so, knowing full well my history within the Cordon and past deeds in my regrettable service to the State and Empire.
I don’t support the continuation of hostilities as I value the benefits of peacetime over that of wartime, but I also refuse to stand idly aside to leave the Empire and the State operating unchecked in Federal and Republican territory, committing acts of odious barbarity upon both our citizens. That is why I continue to serve tours of duty chartered with the Defence Union, as I cannot abide the covetous attitude that those we face possess towards those we have a duty to protect.
So no, participation does not make one a warmonger by default. One’s attitude and beliefs define one’s character, not solely by their participation in a conflict which has demanded so much of so many over the years that it has been waged. That I am compensated by the Federation for my work as part of the Defence Union is merely their method of payment for services rendered, not a reward for supporting militarist ideologies.
Thank you to all those who have responded with such personal accounts (and amazing lack of finger pointing).
One theme that all the answers above seem to have in common is a desire to protect. Identifying that common ground, however narrow, is valuable even if all it does is help make some other threads on this board more constructive.
As Idama Adhrit Vaakpati said of Duureanta‘s Khuska Conflict, “Peace is not something you wish for; It is something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”
I generally fight in the war, because it is my Duty, it is my Profession, it is what I have been trained and grown for. I return my debt of living to the State by eliminating those, who threaten the State. Any profits I get from the war effort I use exclusively for the war effort. I have even reposessed several hostile ships, for example, some gallente were leaving their ships when I was tackling them - and now it was treated just as an asset that is used against the Gallente Federation.
Those who participate in wars just for the payment I consider mere mercs, and mercs aren’t any better in my eyes than pirates.
As for warmongering - does protecting what you love can be considered a warmongering? Does fighting for your homeworld, that has been for 200 years occupied by the ancient enemy could be considered as warmongering?
Warmongers are those who support the Gallente Federation, who wages war to keep our Home Planet under their boot and who want to capture our freshly colonized region - Black Rise. Warmongers are also those who serve the Minmatar Republic, for they are the guys who started current set of wars back in YC110 and their main reason of waging a war against Empire is banal bullying - they disagree with Imperial penal system and treatment of debtors of Empire, thus they commit a violence in attempt to change that, despite it’s really not their business.
I will preface this by stating I am perhaps speaking out of turn on behalf of the Crusade.
At its core, the Crusade is borne from a desire to unite all of creation under the Empire in service to God in order that creation may be spared the wrath of God.
It is not a desire to conquer, enslave or destroy; these things are merely methods by which the Reclaiming is exercised. It is a desire to save as many as possible from wrath; in light of eternity, any temporal cost is acceptable.
Former Crusader here. First I fought for revenge, next I fought for the Reclaiming for quite a while. There was a time I fought for money (for the State Protectorate and the 24th Imperial Crusade). The last few times I fought for fun, comradery, and to improve my skills. Now, years later, I simply hate that the fight still exists and I actively avoid participating.
I am certainly not the 24th Imperial Crusade’s spokesman, so I can only speak for myself.
National survival is one thing, and the Empire will ever survive. It is for the purity of the Bleak Lands that I have dedicated myself, to assist those being poisoned by incorrectly perceived expressions of Divine Purpose in finding their way back to Truth.
As a warrior, I have long been wary of what would happen if I did not find a noble purpose. To kill for the sake of killing is a road many capsuleers have traveled. It is the road to emptiness, the road to an eternity of haunting the living until they regret ever making us into what we are. Yet, I am a warrior, and have no idea who I would be if war ever ceased.
In the 24th Imperial Crusade, I find both war and purpose. It is where my quest for a noble purpose finds its fulfillment. Those who live on the worlds of the Bleak Lands need someone to defend their futures from the perversion of Truth. They need the Truth to be rescued, proclaimed, and made sacred. My guns will ever shine light upon that Truth, again and again and again, so long as clones continue to receive my memories and convictions.
No, being a soldier does not make you a warmonger. Being a soldier means that you have taken a path not taken by many. A path of self-sacrifice to ensure those who stayed behind lived in safety and freedom.
Even if an entire society are soldiers, the society is not a warmongering nation, unless the society constantly attacks other nations.