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Two bits,
Four bits,
Six bits,
A dollar,
Everyone for God,
Stand up and holler.

Two bits,
Four bits,
Six bits,
A dollar,
Stuff your conscience,
And become a follower.

Two bits,
Four bits,
Six bits,
A dollar,
Grab a rifle,
And shoot for the collar.

Two bits,
Four bits,
Six bits,
A dollar,
Killing is good,
So go on out and slaughter!

G. Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.

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The following comments are for "The United Statesí Military Chaplainís Cheer Song"
by dougsoderstrom

As a service member I'm not sure what I think about this. I certainly don't consider myself a follower. In fact, I think the reason I've not gained as much rank as others that have been in for the same amount of time I have is because I'm not afraid to buck the system. I believe it is possible to be a free-thinker and still serve my country.

While I don't get on with some of the blind hero-worship I've seen directed at Military members by a great deal of the public at large, I do feel that perhaps the boys and girls in green deserve more than being sneered at.

This is just my opinion; please take it in the spirit it is intended, just the observations of one writer to another. You were obviously looking for the content to be looked at and commented on and not for it to be looked at strictly on poetic merit.

My views on the military and how it is being used in this day and age by our government may surprise you and one day, when I am no longer subject to the UCMJ, I will probably write a very long opinion piece about those views. However, I do not blame the young men and women in our services for the mistakes of a government they can't control.

Again, these are just my thoughts and not meant to attack or be offensive in any way. Perhaps I have completely missed the point of this piece. I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: January 23, 2010 )

First of all..... Thanks for taking the time to read my piece. And I take no offense at all, since your comments are sincere, honest, and forthright.

The purpose of my poem is to point out that many chaplains (as commissioned officers in the United States military) have a problem counseling conscientious objectors who are seeking a way out of the military as a result of the objectors having come to a belief that it is wrong to kill another human being (according to their own conscience). Many chaplains as officers (some of them fundamentalist/Baptist Christians) have never dealt with the problem of killing for one's country "as a sin" (since they have been taught that it is not a sin) thus making it very difficult for them to commnicate with conscientious objectors.............. THUS MY POEM AS A FORM OF SATIRE.

The best to you....... Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: January 23, 2010 )

your piece
Hi Doug:

If this piece was posted to generate dialogue, more than likely you'll get it.

I doubt most soldiers enlist for the pleasure of the kill. Most enlist because they believe in serving their country. Some enlist for the benefits. And I'm sure there are many other reasons . . . but killing is probably way, way towards the bottom.

You wrote this: "The purpose of my poem is to point out that many chaplains (as commissioned officers in the United States military) have a problem counseling conscientious objectors who are seeking a way out of the military as a result of the objectors having come to a belief that it is wrong to kill another human being (according to their own conscience)."

Coming from a military family (my grandfather was Navy and we lived with him the first 6 years of my life), I've thought often about conscientious objectors over the year. If there was a mandatory draft, I'm sure we'd have lots of these people in the military. As it stands, those who join do so out of their own free will, and surely they must realize that somewhere during their military career, they might have to take a life or two.

As the author of this piece, what do you think changes their mind midway through?


( Posted by: ochanilele [Member] On: January 24, 2010 )

Ahhh, so I did misinterpret this piece. Fair enough then. I thank you for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate your open-minded approach to my comment. I agree with you that there is an inconsistency there in the Chaplin Corps. As a Christian and a soldier I'm ashamed to say that while it has crossed my mind about how I could rationalize "Thou shalt not kill" with being a soldier in a combat zone, I've never given it a whole lot of thought. I'll be very interested to hear your reply to Stuarts comment. You've given something to think about. Thank you for sharing this and again, thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment.

Much Love,


( Posted by: HeRoCoMpLeX [Member] On: January 24, 2010 )

..two,three, four what are we fighting for - I don't give a damn let's got to Vietnam. An almost clever poem, one dimensional, slogan-istic, and simplistic. My heart agrees but it is still more complex an issue than this represents. It does evoke response - so maybe you did succeed.

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: January 24, 2010 )

Iím not sure

that even the bluntest instrument in military high-command would couch recruitment (or drilling) in the language of ďKilling is good,/ So go on out and slaughterĒ. that might be the gist, but I donít think thatís ever the rhetoric, and itís the rhetoric thatís important, right? when getting people to join up in the first place. talk instead about God and love of country and preserving a way of life you believe to be good and just. I donít doubt that this is what motivates a lot of people joining the armed forces, but it doesnít have a lot to do with the reality of fighting, of having to kill another human being. at the end of the day God, goodness, patriotism, justice are only words, and however fervently you may believe in those things, if the practical application of such is taking a life, then youíre going to be given pause...

the military (and unoffical paramilitary groups) might train a person to the peak of physical readiness to take life, but little is done to equip individuals with the psychological necessities theyíd need to cope (if you ever can truly cope) with such. under those circumstances, I donít think itís surprising that so many have a change of heart. I think itís frankly amazing that more donít...

thought-provoking poem. sŪochŠn.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: January 25, 2010 )

That's a good question.

Being that I never served in the military, although I came very close to doing so back during the time of the Viet Nam War in 1964, I probably don't know for sure, and can only do my best to try to figure out what would cause a voluteer soldier to become a conscientious objector once in the military service. However, I am quite sure that there are many reasons for such changes.

I would suspect that at least one reason why some of the younger soldiers become conscientious objectors is that their values structures have not yet been formed when they entered in the service. Then upon dealing with such things as the death of a buddy, having to kill a child, an older person, killing someone by mistake, killing a comrade, seeing a buddies' head blown off, having to deal with death for the first time in one's life, for the first time trying to figure out if killing justfies why one is there fighting in a war, etc., etc, etc. Can you see how perhaps many young people enter military service rather nonchalantly not having really thought things out, but after a "few experiences" grow up "pretty damn fast!" And as a result perhaps become legitimate conscientious objectors, individuals who "in their heart" truely believe that it would be wrong for them to take the life of another human being, whereas before they volunteered "such a thinking process" would not have been possible.

Does that make sense to you? Does that help to answer your question?

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: January 26, 2010 )

Auld MiseryGuts
You are probably right. And I think that a lot of folks have to do a whole lot of rationalizing (make a whole lot of use of a whole lot of defense mechanisms) in order to justify the killing of other human beings in order to go on with the living of their lives....... especially for those who refer to themselves as Christians. However, built into the Christian faith (especially the fundamentalist portion of the Christian faith) are all kinds of "ways out" many of them including referring to the Old Testament which refers to killing which they then use as a "spiritualy sanctioned" way of justifying killing! I could go on and on and on, but I will stop here!

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: January 26, 2010 )

I trying to figure out what captured me the most the poem or the conversation that came of it. Either way its definately an attention getter.

( Posted by: dburke [Member] On: January 26, 2010 )

Either way that's good. Thanks for reading my piece........ Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: January 26, 2010 )

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