Interview

Factors of War: Is war considered a social problem?

Interview Conducted: March 17th 8:00pm at the residence of Brian and Margo Hutchinson

Questions asked by interviewer: Hali Sorensen

Questions for Brian Hutchinson

  1. 1.    What is your current age, rank, job title in the U.S. Military? I am 25 years old. My rank is a PFC E3 which is a Private First Class. My job title used to be a 91 poppa heavy artillery mechanic. I worked outside as a MOS which is Military Occupational Specialty. I now work as a CBRNS which is a Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Equipment Specialist. This means I maintain up-keeping, train the company involved, and test levels on nuclear substances.
  2. 2.    How many times have you been deployed? If deployed, name all locations and length of time spent there. I have been deployed once in South Korea for one year in 2010.
  3. 3.    If deployed, please describe the treatment you received from that countries citizens and government. Did they appreciate you being there, or did they disagree with you being there? Please explain. Was the government similar or different to the structure of the U.S. government? Older citizens of South Korea treated U.S. soldiers with disrespect. They did not appreciate us being in their country. It was not our problem to deal with. The younger citizens treated us with respect and did appreciate the reason for us being in their country and supported it. We did receive higher hospitality than we do in the U.S. from my experience there. The government is a republic similar to the United States. Has checks and balances, three branches of government, a presidential elective system.
  4. 4.    Do you experience PTSD? If so, please explain your symptoms if comfortable answering this question. No. But I have friends who have been deployed to Afghanistan and have severe PTSD. They have nightmares and flashbacks and are in counseling, which in my opinion doesn’t help them. They cannot celebrate the Fourth of July either, firecrackers cause anxiety attacks.
  5. 5.    Do you feel like participating in the military has changed your life in any way? Positive effects? Negative effects? Yes, it has given me a different perspective on the Military in general. I have learned to respect the position not the man in the position. Authority is top power in the military, and you will learn to obey. If you don’t, consequences are harsh. It has given me discipline but also has shown me that I want to experience other job opportunities in life outside of the military.
  6. 6.    Do you agree with the U.S. military still having soldiers present in the Middle East and in Africa? Yes I agree, because you can’t just expect to pull out of a country while fighting the extremist in the country. We can’t leave the citizens in the country vulnerable to going back to the way the government was run before and risk the U.S. safety. We needs to get the government stable in these countries by showing force to the extremist groups. If we do not show force and we back down now, there will be serious repercussions for the U.S. in the future.
  7. 7.    What is your position on the cost of war? On the U.S. economy? How do you think society believes the cost of war effects the U.S. economy and or how society views the military’s position currently? The cost of war is outrageous. The amount the government spends on certain items for basic things is ridiculous. In result, society thinks the money the government is spending on war is going to some secret military operation and not to just needs of military equipment etc. Society just sees what the media exaggerates on in the cost of war. They do not see the entire truth about where and what the spending goes to. I think the society is split. Some believe the military is a great opportunity. Others believe it is a joke and we are just going to get killed if we join the service.
  8. 8.    A social issue can be defined as an issue relating to society’s perception of people’s personal lives. Different societies have different perceptions of what may be “normal” behavior in one society and may be considered not normal in another. Some societies believe these constructed norms are social issues that turn into social problems. Do you think that the current war situation in the Middle East and Africa has become a social problem? Or even war in general? Please explain your view. Certain stigmas apply. Certain areas of the U.S. see the war situation as different as other areas in the U.S. Therefore, the stigma changes. Political bias effects stigma. For example, left wing vs. right wing in politics. War itself doesn’t cause the social problem. The way society perceives the military to be like is skewed due to the exaggeration of the media and the few exceptions people meet in different cultures in different parts of the country. For example, all soldiers who are at Fort Riley are not drunken jerks who want to fight civilians. Some countries are against what the U.S. is trying to do with certain governments, make it more democratic. I would say that effects what norms are defined as, in different countries.

Questions for Margo Hutchinson

  1. 1.    What is your view on the U.S. military fighting within the last 12 years in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and other areas in the Middle East? It is ridiculous. I don’t believe it is fair that our troops are sitting in some of these countries still waiting. It is like we are sitting ducks waiting for something bad to happen and just kill us off. Not to mention, that our soldiers don’t even get treated well while being deployed. They do not even get breakfast in some cases (a lot of time depending on rank too).
  2. 2.    How old are you, what is your profession and how long have you and your husband been married? I am 25 years old I am a co-manager at a pizzeria. My husband and I have been married for a little over a year.
  3. 3.    What benefits do you receive being married to a soldier and are they adequate or not adequate? We receive full health insurance coverage including dental. Get allowance for cost of living expenses like rent, electricity, water. Allowance is determined according to rank. My husband receives $1,000 allowance a month for these expenses I just talked about. So yes, I would say it is adequate for us. Maybe not for some families that have lots of children, but I do not honestly know. We receive a food allowance also that covers both of us a month.
  4. 4.    Do you receive any negative responses like stereotypes for being a military wife? Yes or No? If no, do you think other military wives do? If so, why? No, I do not receive any negative stereotypes. However, I have friends that are younger than me and have lots of kids. They get stereotyped as an “army wife” who doesn’t work anywhere but part time and just takes care of the kids while her husband is deployed and is cheating on her. Those are the stereotypes I have heard from different kinds of people in Manhattan. I don’t personally believe in those stereotypes though.
  5. 5.    Have you noticed any change in mood or behavior related to your husband being in the military? Yes, him having a heavy workload and coming home stressed from it, stresses me out. Especially when I don’t know what he is talking about sometimes. It is hard for me to help him calm down when I am not familiar to all military terms. And when he is stressed, asking him to help me understand the military terms makes him more frustrated. So sometimes we have to be apart from each other when he comes home for an hour until he decompresses.
  6. 6.    Do you think being married to a soldier has changed your life in any way? Socially? Economically? Mentally? No, it has not changed my life socially. I am still socially acquainted with the same people I have always been with or meet new people easy. Economically, yes, I do have to share finances with another person, but him being part of the military makes money issues a little less frustrating. Mentally, yes, since I am not all that familiar with military lingo and current war news, it’s hard for me to relate with my husband sometimes.
  7. 7.    Have your political views changed since you have been married to a soldier? No, I’ve always been neutral and still continue to stay that way.
  8. 8.    A social issue can be defined as an issue relating to society’s perception of people’s personal lives. Different societies have different perceptions of what may be “normal” behavior in one society and may be considered not normal in another. Some societies believe these constructed norms are social issues that turn into social problems. Do you think that the current war situation in the Middle East and Africa has become a social problem? Or even war in general? Please explain your view. Yes, I think the war situation currently and in the past, is blown up negatively by the media. We do not always know what is true. The media also blows up certain cases in war situations that catch the public’s attention, but hide other situations that are important or is something that the government doesn’t want society to know. Maybe to stop panic of false belief, I don’t know? If media wants to take issues to a far extent to make people more aware of social issues or problems then why not give people correct accurate info. War would not be a social problem if society was aware of the correct information about war and the military.
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