[[quoteright:238:[[VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Join_the_Alpha_Section_7746.png]]]] [[caption-width-right:238:[[ExactWords "We're here for you."]] ]]

->'''Narrator''': Democracy and humanitarianism have always been hallmarks of the British Army--\\
'''Sergeant-Major''': ''RUBBISH!''
-->-- ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife''

The military (Army, Navy, Air Force, whatever) is portrayed as being evil, misguided, or just plain warmongers. They're eager to commit to [[NukeEm massive attacks]] which would leave massive casualties on all sides, including civilian, chalking it up to "necessary losses" or some other such excuse.

Furthermore, they pay no attention to the infinitely wiser and more moral civilian experts, who are in the right and are vindicated in the end when they fix the military's screw-ups.

Note: this trope is ''not'' when a heroic army is struggling against an obviously evil one (like, for instance, most UsefulNotes/WorldWarII stories that pit the Allies against the Axis), but rather when the military as an institution (regardless of factional allegiance) is portrayed in a negative light.

This trope is a relative of AncientConspiracy, GovernmentConspiracy, and NukeEm, and is often the mirror image of ScienceIsBad, unless the science in question was a military research project to begin with. It is often commanded by GeneralRipper, and formed of [[SociopathicSoldier Sociopathic Soldiers]]. This Army will sometimes, in relatively rare circumstances, make use of [[WeHaveReserves Human Wave Tactics]] ... rare because while civilians are cheap and expendable, good soldiers are not. At least, to the Army.

If a RealLife military is portrayed in this light, expect the film ''not'' to be BackedByThePentagon. For right or wrong, most institutions generally prefer to not be party to their own disparagement. This trope can also be a BerserkButton for those who have served in the military, especially if it was the one being portrayed as evil in a work. As of late, PrivateMilitaryContractors are becoming a popular alternative in fiction, allowing a writer to employ this trope's usual conventions without offending any real-life armed services in the process.

Ironically, it has been remarked by several commentators that in the RealLife United States, the rulers and high-ranking officials who have been in the military often have ''less'' warlike policies than other politicians with the same political beliefs. This has been explained by the fact it is easier to send an army to war when you don't really know what an army is than when they are your old colleagues.

An increasingly common variant of this trope draws on DemocracyIsBad; Soldiers ''try'' to do their job, which most of them view as "[[OccupiersOutOfOurCountry defend my home from threats]]" as opposed to "[[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill smash the enemy at all costs]]". They may have incomplete information or bad judgment, but most of them want to do the Right Thing, and are willing to [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice themselves to that end at the drop of a hat]]. They just run smack dab into SturgeonsLaw--for every superior that is AFatherToHisMen, an OfficerAndAGentleman or even just a plain old ReasonableAuthorityFigure, there are dozens if not hundreds of {{General Ripper}}s, {{General Failure}}s and/or [[TheNeidermeyer Neidermeyers]] looking to pull a fast one--[[JustFollowingOrders and as soldiers they are supposed to obey all of them.]] This is sometimes called "Hate The War, Love The Soldier".

Finally, there's the counter to the prior argument; being a soldier doesn't make you a robot, and that means they still deserve all the hate they get when they cross the line--JustFollowingOrders is ''not'' a justification for committing crimes.

Historically, the English-speaking world has been highly suspicious of ''standing'' armies, especially as opposed to local citizen militias. Standing armies were seen as the tool of distant and oppressive centralizing despots, while local militias defend the rights of the people. As a result, Britain subjected the Army to very tight budgetary scrutiny and tended to keep it small and largely overseas; the US did much the same thing upon independence. This is part of why Britain has a Royal Navy, but not a Royal Army. Eventually, both Britain and the US were forced by the circumstances of history to adopt the conventional model of large standing armies; however, while suspicion of the military has all but disappeared, traces of the old attitude remain in the form of the US protection of the "right to bear arms", and the tradition in both countries of organized, state-supported but locally-controlled militias lives on in the form of [[HomeGuard the National Guard in the US and the Territorial Army (now renamed the Army Reserve) in Britain]], as well as the British tradition of tying military units to specific locations. Also historically, people on the rest of the world may well see militaries in this light due to the many, many, MANY military dictatorships that were set up in the interwar period in Europe and in Latin America before and during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. Turns out setting up a DayOfTheJackboot in your own country isn't good PR.

See also WarIsHell and RapePillageAndBurn. The (mostly) opposite of StrawCivilian (but also expect the use of this Trope on ScientistVsSoldier stories to turn a military man into an iron-clad strawman). Not to be confused with [[FacelessGoons the army of]] [[{{Mooks}} Team Evil]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* This trope is an extremely common in post-war Japan. The sad truth is that it was TruthInTelevision during Japan's imperialist age, and as a result Japan neutered its military and constitutionally forbade offensive warfare. Most Anime and Manga reflect this mentality by portraying the government in general and military in particular in an extremely negative light.
* In all adaptations of ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'', most of the Area 88 mercenaries are greedy, amoral men who have no qualms about fighting in Asran's bloody civil war. Similarly, the anti-government forces are shown slaughtering Bedouin civilians in the manga.
** Downplayed with the pro-monarchy soldiers at Area 85, who are depicted as patriots.
* Ralph's motivation in ''Anime/StrainStrategicArmoredInfantry'' comes from his viewing the Union as an Evil Army. [[spoiler:[[PoweredByAForsakenChild Part of his concern is justified]], but by the time you find that out, you also realize that he doesn't just hate the Union -- he hates [[MisanthropeSupreme everyone]].]]
* Subverted by ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', while High Command is full of GeneralRipper types, the generals that remained uncorrupted are moved to dead end positions in the East, or North. The soldiers themselves are honorable, brave men who only wanted to protect the civilians but are instead forced to kill them. The general result is that as soon as the soldiers find out the truth they quickly join the resistance group within the military.
** It still kinda makes you feel weird when you realize that ''every one'' of those goofy soldiers who work with Ed participated in the Ishval Genocide, and have individually killed more innocent people than most of us will ever even ''know by name''. And that's just the rank and file -- [[PersonOfMassDestruction State Alchemists]] such Mustang and Armstrong have personally torched and crushed several ''thousand'' people each.
*** And were left with serious emotional scarring. WarIsHell, and this war seemed pointless.
*** So just like the rank and file Nazi soldier they are not so subtle expies of.
*** Rather subtle as far as Nazis go. They're actually supposed to be expies of Japanese Imperial Soldiers, with the Ishvalans being Ainu expies. The similarities with the Germans are cosmetic as far as the European-expy countries go, and because Japan and Germany were both Axis Powers.
* The army of which the protagonists are part of in ''Anime/PumpkinScissors'' is this. The war that tore the continent apart has been over for a while, but there's no shortage of corruption and decadence that it's a wonder Alice can still be the WideEyedIdealist that she is.
* The Allied Federation in ''Anime/EurekaSeven''.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'':
** The Red Ribbon Army is stated to be the most powerful army on the planet (with even the rest of the world's armies paling in comparison), and want to TakeOverTheWorld. Every one of their officers is an amoral killer at best and a cackling monster at worst. Their villainy ''is'' lessened somewhat by how eccentric and incompetent said officers can be, though.
** Then there's the Frieza Force, who are effectively the Red Ribbon Army on a cosmic scale, and with several more levels of competence. Controlling 70% of the universe unopposed, the leaders and generals are not only remorseless killers, but among the strongest fighters in the universe.
* The military in ''Anime/GenesisOfAquarion'' performs some pretty nasty experiments on Dark Angels they capture.
* The Golan/God Land/God's Army in ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar''.
* Major Aohi of the National Defense Ministry and the JSDF from Manga/DeadmanWonderland. To better clarify, Major Aohi is the one secretly funding the titular prison and is perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to psycho prison warden's Tamki's illegal actions in exchange for the production of an army of obedient disposable super-soldiers, [[spoiler:the Forgeries]].
-->'''Tamaki''': What an awfully anachronistic idea. Turning criminals into disposable soldiers. [[ArmiesAreevil Typical military inefficiency]]. But... who cares as long as we get research funding.
* The JSDF and the JGSDF in Anime/GhostInTheShellArise are shown to be pretty damn shady. True, they're in rather awkward situation (and financial black hole), what with the grand reorganization and mass downsizing after the war, but it's not really a justification for putting their cyborgs into debt peonage, engaging in illegal arms deals, street murder, covert foreign interventions, general corruption and whatnot.
* The JSSDF in ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion End of Evangelion]]'', although to be fair, the JSSDF were more like misguided than evil. The only reason that they [[spoiler: attacked NERV was because SEELE had manipulated them into doing it, and they all died when SEELE initiated Third Impact]]. Although their take-no-prisoners attitude does cause one to call their morality into question.
* The [[TheEmpire Britannian Military]] from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' qualify. They have soldiers who have deliberately killed civilians in several notable instances, they're willing to purge entire districts if a member of the Royal Family orders it, the Royal Guard willingly tries to kill a student for simply [[HeKnowsTooMuch getting caught up in the whole mess]], and they're notoriously bigoted towards conquered subjects. Granted, the whole society is like that, but the military are the ones conquering and killing them. One faction in particular, the Purists, are completely against Honorary Britannians joining the army and have no problems with framing people for murder in order to reap the political benefits.
* Subverted with ''Anime/YomigaeruSoraRescueWings'' where the main characters are all JASDF soldiers and portrayed entirely as heroes and rescuers. Quite very much the shining exception that proves the rule...
* Subverted as well with ''Manga/{{Zipang}}'' - the portrayals of the 1940s era soldiery is somewhat sympathetic, though the upper officers strongly tends in this way [[TruthInTelevision for good reason.]] Subverted by the Mirai's crew. Also notable is that the Americans are also portrayed as sympathetic and tenacious in spite of the superior firepower of the ''Mirai'', avoiding the all-too-easy pitfall of turning alternate history into a revenge fantasy.
* Played pretty straight in ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'': the Last Battalion and the Vatican Army are unquestionably evil. The later so much that father Anderson [[spoiler:ends up killing Maxwell]].
** Subverted with the Wild Geese. They are all around good guys and lost souls, but will kill for whatever employer who offers coin.
* In ''Anime/ClockworkPlanet'' the Army is willing to let 20 million people die than reveal their mistake, and then bring in the Meister Guild who they brought in with no time or information to the problem just to use them as {{Scapegoat}}s. Even when the mistake is fixed they still try to destroy the city and everyone in it to cover up this mistake.
* ''Anime/AfterWarGundamX'' does this in a franchise that usually doesn't (usually it's more "Armies are flawed"). The protagonists are part of a group that's roughly analogous to pirates, and the organized forces in the show are usually misled (Fort Severn's defense militia under the secretly genocidal Nomoa Long) or outright awful (like the New Earth Federation, which casually reignites an ethnic conflict to get their way). Roybea Roy opts to [[TenMinuteRetirement leave the ship]] rather than work with a standing national army.

* Many, many [[BMovie B-grade monster movies]] from the 1950's and 60's, and many more in the 90's and 2000's.
** Especially any Film/SyfyChannelOriginalMovie. Even if there's no real logical reason the American military would be involved in the slightest, they will ''find'' a way to take an antagonistic role. One had them with a secret base near Stonehenge just so they could pounce on any poor, innocent unsuspecting scientists who happened to be around when weird stuff started.
* In the MadeForTVMovie ''Locusts'', GeneralRipper wants to use VX nerve gas to wipe out the locust swarms, despite their hovering over heavily populated areas.
* Inverted in ''Film/InTheLoop''. The sociopathic Secretary of State is opposed by FourStarBadass General "Flintstone" Miller.
--->'''Miller:''' This is the trouble with civilians wanting to go to war - once you've been there, you never want to go again unless you absolutely have to. ({{Beat}}) It's like France.
* Parodied in the film ''Film/MarsAttacks!'' where General Decker's warmongering instincts ("We have to strike now, sir! Annihilate! Kill! Kill! Kill!") prove to be entirely well founded.
* Played out on a small scale in ''Film/ItCameFromOuterSpace'' (1953) with the sheriff who wants to go in with a posse and the amateur astronomer who's willing to trust that the aliens are telling the truth. It does however subvert this trope in that both aliens and humans are paranoid about the others intentions, yet in reality both are reasonable -- the humans just want their friends (who are being held hostage by the aliens) returned unharmed, while the aliens just want to repair their spaceship so they can leave Earth.
* The Creator/IrwinAllen disaster film ''Film/TheSwarm'' (1978) attempts this, with the military wanting to use pesticides that would damage the environment while Creator/MichaelCaine keeps suggesting other methods. Unfortunately the threat of the killer bees is so over-hyped (at one stage they cause the [[FailsafeFailure explosion of a nuclear power plant]]) that Caine's continuing refusal is hard to justify.
* The military branch of the RDA (Resources Development Administration) in Creator/JamesCameron's ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' ("Give us more time and a peaceful solution is possible." "There is no time!") It was mentioned once in the first part of the movie these guys aren't properly military, more like very well equipped PrivateMilitaryContractors (although they are stated to be ex-Marines in the intro).
** Note, said ex-Marines seem to be disabled (like the protagonists) or dishonorably discharged (everyone else, even Quaritch).
* In ''Film/ShortCircuit'', NOVA Labs keeps a standing army for any... malfunctions. They're portrayed as dumb and trigger-happy, and the lead NOVA scientist fires the head of the army at the end of the movie. On [[StrawmanHasAPoint the other hand]], Number 5 was, as far as anyone knew, a [[AIIsACrapshoot robotic war machine gone rogue]] and potentially hazardous. So one can excuse Captain Skroeder being eager to pull out all the stops to eliminate the potential threat (and PR disaster).
* This trope tends to pop up frequently in the works of Creator/GeorgeARomero.
** One of the best known examples is ''Film/TheCrazies1973'', where the soldiers are idiotic and trigger-happy (not that the armed civilians resisting them were much better though), threaten a scientist with violence when he asks for better facilities, and apparently don't even know the faces of their own men (a scientist that manages to develop a cure is put in a quarantine area while trying to deliver said cure). [[Film/TheCrazies2010 The remake]] implies that most of the ground forces dont even know what their mission IS, and were literally pulled out of the missions they had been trained for to go on a black ops mission at home.
** ''Film/DayOfTheDead1985'' had this in spades, with Captain Rhodes being portrayed as an AxCrazy and cowardly scumbag, Steel and Rickles as violent, crude thugs, Miguel as a barely functioning wreck, and the other soldiers as apathetic stoners. Played with slightly in that its clear they (like the rest of the cast) have been driven slowly insane by the Zombie Apocalypse and isolation, and many of them have humanising moments.
** ''Film/LandOfTheDead'' saw them treated slightly better and they try to protect the poor folks outside Fiddler's Green along with the rich people inside. Both examples have the military as incompetent more than evil
* ''Film/{{Evolution}}'' features a GeneralRipper who wants to [[KillItWithFire napalm the aliens]] and gets mad when [[IgnoredExpert scientists]] get in his way.
** [[TooDumbToLive And ignores them when they try to warn him that fire will just make things worse]].
* The US Air Force in ''Film/{{Super 8}}''. Their is to recapture the escaped cargo from the train, but they go to many length to make sure it's caught in secret, such as [[spoiler:torturing the former scientist who freed the alien]], and [[spoiler:starting a wildfire so that the entire town evacuates and lets the Air Force occupy the place]].
* Creator/ChristopherEccleston's unit in ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'' at first appear to be the saviors of humanity against the {{Technically Living Zombie}}s. They turn out to have some evil plans of their own, especially in regards to the women.
* In ''Film/CubeZero'', the army consists only of brainwashed {{super soldier}}s who work for the evil government behind the Cube.
* In ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', all military characters are portrayed in a very unflattering light.
* Played with in ''Film/{{Chappie}}''. Tetravaal, a PrivateMilitaryContractor is largely neutral, and the South African paramilitary police force doesn't want Moore's overly destructive robot, instead being happy to rely on the multi-purpose Scouts. [[BigBad Vincent Moore]] however, is an AxCrazy ex-Special Forces operator, who carries a gun to work and causes the worst crime spree riot that South Africa has ever seen (by shutting down the Scouts) so he can force people to accept his idea to demonstrate what his robot can do.
* ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'': Starfleet is usually "good" because its primary function is exploration, and its only forays into military activity are morally acceptable, like evac or defensive combat. They get a lot more questionable (and the crew gets more squeamish) as the Enterprise is gradually pushed into more military actions, like a Black Ops strike on John Harrison.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequel trilogy, the Republic initially does not have a military. ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' has Senator Padme Amidala fighting a "Military Creation Act" and being targeted by assassins for it. The creation of the Republic's clone army is ultimately a ploy by Chancellor Palpatine to [[PlayingBothSides manipulate both sides of the war]] and get the Senate to vote him more power. The clones themselves are mostly decent people but that didn't matter once Palpatine [[ManchurianAgent forced]] them to [[Film/RevengeOfTheSith kill all the Jedi.]] By the time of ''Film/ANewHope'', this trope is in full effect.
* The Ottoman army, headed by Mehmed, serves as the main antagonistic force in ''Film/DraculaUntold''. Contrarily, if Vlad even has an army, it is never seen.
* The Military that took [[spoiler:the apes as slaves]] in ''Film/WarForThePlanetOfTheApes'' lead by the SociopathicSoldier of the Colonel. The movie has been compare to films like ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' and ''Film/TheBridgeOnTheRiverKwai'' due to this. The great performances of Creator/AndySerkis and Creator/WoodyHarrelson certainly helped.
* In ''Film/{{Bats}}'', it turns out that the only bunch of people crazy enough to fund Dr. [=McCabe=]'s research was the U.S Government searching for a bio-weapon to unleash on their enemies. The government agent that tells so (to the lieutenant in charge of the detachment sent to hunt the bats) even does it with a matter-of-factly "yeah, we did it".

* Inverted in Creator/TomClancy's work. Being in the military is usually a reliable sign that a character is good - sometimes this is taken to ridiculous extremes, where a character who is introduced only for one scene is given a service background simply to make them slightly more sympathetic.
* [[TheEmpire Mijak's]] army in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' which was originally just for dueling warlords but formed into '''one''' army under '''one''' warlord to [[WorldDomination conquer all]].
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/TheStand'', the military is portrayed as being willing to gun down civilians with no compunction. In the Complete and Uncut edition, one group of heroes encounters a group of ex-soldiers who've banded together as a rape gang.
** The first point is somewhat justified, though - having a disease like Captain Trips going around would make anyone paranoid, especially when it's causing civilization to collapse around them.
* ''Literature/SlaughterhouseFive'' contains a depiction of a strawman general espousing the bombing of Dresden as a victory of military planning and ingenuity. This also seems to be Kurt Vonnegut's opinion of the military in general.
** ''Slaughterhouse-Five'' can also be considered a vicious deconstruction of the belief, at the time of the novel's writing, that the Allies were righteous, just and committed no atrocities, unlike the Nazis. Vonnegut was a POW being held by the Nazis at the time and was forced to participate in the cleanup in Dresden.
* While the Literature/{{Animorphs}} novels play with the idea of AlwaysChaoticEvil races, the Yeerk Empire, the primary antagonists, are ''highly'' militaristic, and the Andalite military is full of proud ColonelKilgore types and brutal {{General Ripper}}s. The final book even notes that, upon meeting Andalite civilians for the first time, they are much kinder and humbler than the stereotypical racist, sexist, ableist "arrogant Andalite" they'd previously encountered.
* Works by Creator/EricFlint:
** In ''Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo'', the [[UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar Catholic army]] at the Battle of the Crapper is portrayed as a combination of murderous and violently lecherous criminals, and slave soldiers who defect almost right away. In contrast, the Poles in ''1635: The Eastern Front'' are a WorthyOpponent.
** Likewise, the Malwa army in ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'' is composed of enslaved peasants herded around by steppe savages. But the Malwa vassels, the Kushans and Rajputs are honorable as well as effective warriors.
* The ''Literature/InDeath'' series: Creator/NoraRoberts seems to believe in this trope. Just check out ''Purity in Death'', ''Survivor in Death'', and ''Creation in Death'' if you want proof!
* ''Literature/{{MARZENA}}'': Wether you are part of the C-Section, the IJS or the Transhuman Army, the chances are good that you will find yourself surrounded with so much evil that [[WhatIsEvil evil itself will stop existing]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}} Goes Forth'' subverts this: Armies are ''not'' evil ''per se'', the men who lead them on the other side...
* The Initiative in Season 4 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Under Creator/RussellTDavies, and spinoffs ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' and ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' (also both under RTD) occasionally veered into this, particularly in Torchwood such as in the Children of Earth miniseries where they were depicted rounding up children to be fed to alien drug dealers. The level of demonisation was usually tied with the level of Anvilicious political messages. However, in most of their appearances the British (and UNIT) military forces are depicted fairly positively either aiding the Doctor or combating the various alien incursions. It's implied that the Doctor has grown to hate soldiers due to his own actions during the Time War, and he is proven wrong about soldiers more than he is proven right.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'':
** SubvertedTrope. The U.S. Armed Forces (naval service in particular) is portrayed, save for a few bad apples, [[{{Eagleland}} as the very finest America has ever offered to the world]]. In fact, it's implied to be the only place in America where a person can be fairly judged without any prejudice.
** JAG wasn't BackedByThePentagon for the first two seasons because the Navy, following the Tailhook incident and the controversy of introducing females on combat ships and fighter planes, were in a hyper-sensitive mode and didn't want to be associated with a TV-show dramatizing crimes committed in the service.
** Played straight with the [[PoliceAreUseless Royal Ulster Constabulary]] in an episode taking place in [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles Northern Ireland]], mostly so that the IRA could be portrayed as heroic freedom fighters. [[SarcasmMode For some strange reason]] this line of reasoning was not used Post 9/11 with regards to US forces and various Islamic terrorist groups with similar claims of being "freedom fighters".
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Everyone knows what happens when the militia comes to call. The episode "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E3NoQuarter No Quarter]]" has Miles saying that you don't fight the Monroe militia...[[spoiler: he says this because he was the one who trained them that way]].
* ''Series/StargateSG1'': Even though it paints the Air Force is a rather better light, there are still times where, despite General Hammond's best efforts, the SGC receives orders to do some morally lacking tasks, such as [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything mining a rare mineral out from under a group of Native Americans on another planet]]. Usually, these orders come from [[CIAEvilFBIGood the National Intelligence Department]] [[spoiler:or their [[CorruptCorporateExecutive bosses]] in the [[GovernmentConspiracy Committee]]]].
* ''Series/StargateUniverse'': Divides the characters into military and civilians, who are constantly at each other's throats. And both of the leaders are {{Jerkass}}es.
* In ''Series/{{Helix}}'' Major Balleseros is ostensibly the USAMRIID[=/=]Army Corps of Engineers liaison to a CDC rapid response team that's been dispatched to ResearchInc to contain an outbreak of TheVirus. But Balleseros' cryptic conversations with Arctic Biosystems' lead scientist Dr. Hatake and blatant sabotage of some of the CDC's efforts imply the SyntheticPlague from which the virus originated is government-funded, and he's been sent to help keep it secret at any cost. In spite of this, he's out of the loop enough to be taken aback when he witnesses various disturbing happenings at the base, including stumbling onto a group of frozen monkey corpses in the artic snow.
* An episode of the TimeTravel series ''Series/SevenDays'' revolved around a nuclear exchange started at a U.S facility which launched its missiles after a tense international incident led to them losing contact with Washington. Its implied by the scenes set at the base before the time travel jump that the hawkish military commander, one of two officials at the base with the key needed for launch, had started the exchange. Its then subverted when the main character discovers that it was his counterpart, the liberal civilian official, who had suffered a minor breakdown and enforced the launch in a fit of paranoia.
** Another episode plays this straight, with a GeneralRipper leading a coup against the President with an amassed army of soldiers loyal to him, with the main character having to go back and take him down at his HQ before the attack can launch.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* As per the TagLine of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' ("In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war."), military action is standard as opposed to special circumstances where this trope will usually be used. This mostly removes any other options for any side from the [[CycleOfRevenge vicious cycle the galaxy is in]], leaving combatants relatively grey ''at best''. ''Every army'' in this game is an example of this trope. Even the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Tau]], [[WeHaveReserves Imperial Guard]] and some of the [[GoodIsNotNice less]] [[PayEvilUntoEvil zealous]] [[SuperSoldier Space Marine]] chapters. You know, the armies usually referred to as "[[BlackAndGrayMorality the good guys]]" of the setting. And ''then'' there's the ''"evil" factions''... The Dark Eldar are an unholy mix of TheFairFolk, SpacePirate and CombatSadomasochist who [[RapePillageAndBurn raid remote planets and installations]] to take captives for [[FateWorseThanDeath slaves, playthings and to harvest our souls for their consumption]]. Then, there's the [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orks]], {{Blood Knight}}s who think nothing of rampaging across the galaxy and slaughtering anyone foolish or brave enough to stand in the their way. Oh, and the [[TheLegionsOfHell forces of Chaos]]... well, the less said about them, the better.
** Surprisingly enough for the setting, the Imperial Guard mostly ''avert'' this trope (yeah, you heard) because generally speaking your average Imperial Guardsman is just a normal human soldier doing his duty to protect the Imperium. Occasionally the bureaucratic and theocratic elements - civilian rather than military - like [[ObstructiveBureaucrat the Administratum]] and [[ChurchMilitant the Ecclesiarchy]] (the organisations that direct the Guard) sometimes fall under tyranny, but it's not universal. In other words, the Guard are usually treated as the victims of those running the show, as a way [[AudienceSurrogate for the reader to experience]] [[DarkerAndEdgier the full weight of the grim darkness]]. Of course it all depends on who is in charge of the regiment focused on when it comes to the Guard being evil.
*** Played with in that there are Imperial Guard regiments like the [[DeathSeeker Death Korps of Krieg]] and the [[ArmyOfThievesAndWhores Salvar Chem Dogs]] that have some pretty dark themes and are consequently filled with some pretty nasty characters. And then you have to consider [[GeneralRipper how bloodthirsty and amoral some of the upper brass can be]].
** The Imperial Army during the Great Crusade played this straighter than the Guard, since its mission was conquest rather than survival. It's hard to ignore the fact that in the course of fulfilling the ostensibly noble goal of reuniting humanity and making it a galactic superpower the Imperial Army destroyed hundreds of human worlds who wouldn't comply. They also enacted campaigns of xenocide as well. Even worse, this was when humanity was at its prime, meaning they were all but unstoppable.
* The Praetorian Ministry of ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'' is a faction of the AncientConspiracy called the Seers of the Throne who invoke this trope to scare Sleepers ({{Muggles}}) away from Awakening as a Mage. After all, when war becomes atrocity, seeking enlightenment is the last thing on anyone's mind.

* This seems to be a tradition in the various ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' toy lines. Robot characters who turn into military vehicles such as tanks and fighter planes are typically Decepticons, in contrast with the heroic Autobots who have mostly civilian vehicle modes. Autobots with military vehicle modes do exist, but they are not common.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The army of TheEmpire in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' is made out to be this, but it goes even further when their soldiers start to speak while you travel the castle in the first level. They all speak in [[CreepyMonotone a monotone, in a sort of stuttered, robotic fashion]], and at times show single-minded obsession for a certain goal. This is the result of the BigBad [[MindControl mind-controlling]] them all into being her servants.
* In ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Days of Ruin'', the New Rubinelle Army is seen as this. While the IDS Army is [[SendInTheClones an army of clone soldiers]], there is absolutely no redeemable CO nor soldier within the ranks of the NRA. Greyfield's an [[GeneralFailure incompetent]] [[GeneralRipper butcher]], Waylon [[SmugSnake only cares about his own well-being]] and Davis is a [[DirtyCoward cowardly sycophant]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''
** The intro for the original ''Fallout'' game springs immediately to mind. An American soldier is seen murdering a man (almost certainly a Canadian P.O.W) execution-style while his buddy laughs, before [[BlackComedy waving for the cameraman]], ''in an ad for U.S War Bonds''.
** The two you'll run into a lot are [[VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}} Talon Company]] and the [[VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}} Gunners]]. They have their delusions of being an elite crew of pseudo-military mercenaries, but through their ruthless behaviour, they're in reality just a murdering, thieving band of {{Jerkass}} Raiders with better equipment. They'll happily wipe out whole towns if it means a job (or sometimes ''[[RapePillageAndBurn just for the sheer hell of it]]''), they never take prisoners (and conversely never surrender), and they can't be reasoned with. The Gunners aren't even above slavery, trying to buy a child from the [[PlayerCharacter Sole Survivor]] during a quest to return the kid to his parents - if you refuse, they come back and demand the kid ''and'' his parents be handed to them as property.
** [[ZigZaggingTrope Zig-Zagged]] with the Brotherhood of Steel. They had their start as a military unit that went rogue just before the bombs fell when they discovered what the [[MadScientist scientists]] under their care were performing inhumane experiments, founding the group in order to preserve old world technology, prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, and destroying the results of such abuses of science and technology (such as Super Mutants). While a noble goal, they are ultimately indifferent to the goings-on in the Wasteland, preferring to remain politically neutral and stepping in only when events force their hand. However, as the games progress, they get progressively more militant and aggressive in carrying out their mandate. For the West Coast chapter, the growing friction between themselves and the increasingly expansionist New California Republic saw them enter into a war that was devastating for both sides, and left them as little more than a shadow of their former self. The East Coast chapter tried their hand at helping the people of the Capitol Wasteland, and for a time this was working out. Then ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' reveals that [[KnightTemplar a more militant faction]] of the Brotherhood took over the organization and became the ''de facto'' governing body of the Capitol Wasteland, and eventually launch a crusade into the Commonwealth to defeat the Institute, under the reasoning they are protecting the Commonwealth and the wider world while simultaneously strong-arming settlers, showing complete disdain for all forms of mutant (such as sentient Ghouls) and killing any Synths they come across, including the ones who just want to escape the Institute and live peaceful lives.
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'', the surviving scientists are overjoyed by the arriving United States Hazardous Environment Combat Unit... who immediately commence a savage purge of the facility of everything that moves, alien or human. This gets [[ExaggeratedTrope double ridiculous]] when you play ''as'' one of the Marines in an expansion pack and despite the fact that you never go rogue, a taskforce of government Black Ops agents try to kill you, even though that's what you're supposed to be doing. This is explained by the fact that the HECU failed to contain the alien invasion, and eventually retreated altogether, so Black Ops moved in with orders to [[NukeEm destroy everything, including remaining witnesses and Army stragglers]].
* The ur'Guard of ''VideoGame/{{Lusternia}}'', who emphasise discipline, unity and [[MyCountryRightOrWrong absolute obedience]] over piddling matters like "compassion" or "[[OurLichesAreDifferent living]]".
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', the [[SemperFi United States Marines]] are presented as {{Punch Clock Villain}}s whose primary goal is to contain the Infection. Meanwhile, the Blackwatch organization controlling the occupation are the ''real'' villains, and have no qualms with massacring civilians and nuking Manhattan. Their BadassCreed even goes so far as to point out that "nothing is sacred" and "we will burn our own to hold the red line." To be fair, despite their gung ho appearances, Blackwatch ''is'' [[TheExtremistWasRight right]]. Only the random fluke that [[spoiler:a particular strain of the Blacklight virus that thinks is Alex Mercer]] is not bent on destroying all humans (though it is an unrepentant murderer, it doesn't want to destroy the city) makes them villains. The rest of Blacklight is an unstoppable plague bent on destroying humanity and Blackwatch are the sole thing that can stop it, as far as they know. What makes Blackwatch monsters is their willingness to experiment on people (which started this whole mess). The marines, while presented as most definitely gung oh, are almost shown sympathetically, being used as meat shields by Blackwatch, ([[spoiler:ultimately left on Manhattan when Blackwatch plans to nuke the island]], and being woefully unprepared and uninformed about what they are facing.
** In addition, [[MeaningfulName Blackwatch's]] reason for creating such virus in the first place was [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain to make biological weapons capable of targeting specific minorities]]. Once that caused the Hope incident, Blackwatch switched over to their current practice of shooting first, performing autopsies, and never asking questions.
** This attitude doesn't work well when a shapeshifter is your enemy. When impersonating a Blackwatch member Alex can freely kill anyone without suspicion so long as he loudly announces that he thinks it's him in disguise and can call Blackwatch airstrikes on their own men and bases because of this attitude.
** They get ''worse'' in the sequel. Heller can collect audio logs left by Blackwatch soldiers and every single one is a recording of some kind of puppy-kicking evil perpetrated by them. It's like sociopathy is a required personality trait for joining Blackwatch.
* The majority of the antagonists of ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' are members of the Gebler Special Forces, the state army of the [[TheEmpire Sacred Empire of Solaris]]. Some of their highlights include: Staging a suicide attack on the power plant of an enemy capital knowing full well it would kill thousands of innocent civilians. Menacing women and children with 30 foot tall HumongousMecha. Attacking a pacifist nation with virtually no standing army of its own. And sicking a gigantic autonomous weapon on the capital of a recently liberated puppet state in order to eradicate it. Interestingly enough, every member of Gebler eventually [[HeelFaceTurn Heel Face Turns]] except for two: [[spoiler:Vanderkaum and Miang. Vanderkaum is an idiot and dies early on in the game, and Miang is actually the BigBad]].
* In ''VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil'' you have the Alpha Section, a shady group who always seems to [[TheCavalryArrivesLate arrive too late]] to be any good to anyone. And for some reason they've set up barriers all around Hillys. And they don't seem to be doing anything to stop all the recent [[GovernmentConspiracy abductions]]. This is inverted by Hillys' regular army though, who actually ''are'' good and decent, but are being done away with by the Alpha Section.
* Used in ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' games. The protagonists in each game are members of highly specialized military forces and are decidedly the good guys (F.E.A.R. team in the first game and Delta Force in the second). The soldiers that they fight, however, are either cloned killing machines in the case of the Replicas, or [[MoralEventHorizon irredeemably evil]] corporate mercenaries.
* Many ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games have this, starting with the [[TheEmpire Palamecian Empire]] soldiers in Final Fantasy II, the Red Wings in FFIV, the Imperial Army in FFVI, the Shinra army and {{S|uperSoldier}}OLDIER in FFVII, the Galbadian army in FFVIII and PSICOM in FFXIII. All of these engage in various atrocities including razing population centres, terrorizing civilians, deforestation, theft and pillaging, scorched earth tactics, abuse of prisoners of war, summary execution and general acts of oppression. Interestingly, the regular Shinra soldiers and the Galbadian army share almost identical uniforms including the 3 eyed visor helmets despite being in different universes.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' and ''[[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood Brotherhood]]'', provide us with the Borgia army which happens to be the ''official'' army. The good guys Ezio can ally with are the ''Condottieri'' and ''Merccenari''.
** ''[[Videogame/AssassinsCreedRevelations Revelations]]'' subverts this with the Ottoman Army - whilst they will still (try to) kill you and bully the citizens of Konstantiniyye, they are serving the lawful authority and hate the Templars. [[spoiler: After you kill their commander, it is revealed that he was good all along]]. Played straight with the Byzantine Army.
* ''VideoGame/DeadRising'', featuring the standard "scary guys with assault rifles and gas masks who try to kill you to cover up everything" depiction of the U.S. Military that appears in countless other works such as VideoGame/{{Prototype}}, ''VideoGame/HalfLife'', VideoGame/TheCrazies, etc.
* The Subspace Army from ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl''.
** [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] with the Ancient Minister and his R.O.B. Squad. While they do side with the Subspace Army initially, it becomes clear as the plot is revealed that [[spoiler:they are being forced into doing so. The villains (Ganondorf, Bowser, and Wario) under the guidance of Tabuu, have essentially enslaved them, and the Ancient Minister joins the heroes as R.O.B. for the rest of the game, essentially making him and his kind Tragic [[AntiVillain Anti-Villains]]]].
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'' featured an ''insanely'' corrupt private military, the Garlyle Forces, which are comman by a infectee of the bug-like Big Bad. The Forces were set up to protect archaeologists as they excavated ruins, but they wound up stockpiling all of the excavated technology for themselves. They've also suppressed information, most notably that there is no "End of the World", and are busy making mischief in defenseless foreign lands. A bunch of tools all around. They do [[HeelFaceTurn turn face]] near the end of the game, but only after the mad General has slaughtered many of them.
* In ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', the imperial armada is the tool of conquest for Empress Teodora. Unfortunately, the armada is led by a highly-charismatic Grand Admiral who tires of taking orders. He eventually proposes a coup, and nearly all of his lieutenants greenlight the plan without hesitation. (One abstainer is ThrownFromTheZeppelin, and another runs home to tell the Empress and become a Grand Admiral himself.) Said plan entails blowing their home kingdom to smithereens, just to show the rest of Arcadia that they're more powerful than even the Empress.
* In ''VideoGame/MetalWalker'', this happens in the backstory. In contrast to the peaceful Professor Eriko, Professor Xenon wanted to use Cores for military purposes. Cue an explosion and a ruined landscape.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2'', New Team Plasma has changed its outfit from KnightTemplar style to paramilitary, with what looks like body armour and military style berets. Obviously, they're not very nice.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'': InUniverse, the Utilitarian sect has this opinion and does not support [=SolForce=] or condone its adherents enlisting. On its part, [=SolForce=] is quietly patronising of their disdain.
* The Khadaganian army from ''VideoGame/EvilIslands'' definitely falls here.
* ''BeyondTwoSouls'' has this in the form of the US government. Despite multiple experiments that have shown that the Infraworld (the game's term for the spirit world) has inhabitants that are actively malicious and will kill anyone they can get their hands on and no one can stop them, for some reason the military thinks it's a ''good idea to try and conquer it.''
* The Pigmask Army in ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'' serves as the antagonist group of the game. While a lot of them seem to be decent people when they're off-duty, the goals they're working toward are anything but moral. However, it's implied that they might not actually even be aware of what it is that their leader is trying to ultimately accomplish, that is, [[spoiler: destroying the world]].
* Every organized armed force is depicted negatively in ''Videogame/TheLastOfUs'', including the US Army before the apocalypse, the FEDRA soldiers after it, and the Firefly resistance forces fighting against them.
* ''VideoGame/TheThing2002'': Unsurprisingly, the U.S. army wants to weaponize the Thing. Colonel Whitely event shoots Dr. Faraday when he objects, though it's implied that he was already infected by that point.
* Earthgov in the ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' series tends to lean towards this and MilitariesAreUseless. Pretty much every time they get involved, they try to kill Isaac Clarke or his allies and proceed to actively make the situation ''worse.'' The only real aversion in this is John Carver in ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3'' who proves to be a stalwart ally despite some initial (and understandable) friction between him and Isaac.
* In the early ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' titles, [[ASpaceMarineIsYou Doomguy]]'s backstory has him [[DefiedTrope defying this trope]] by beating his commanding officer to a bloody pulp for ordering him to shoot civilians. Even in the game itself, the Union Aerospace Corporation's mishaps, which cause the demons to invade Mars' moons and later Earth, happen more by accident than by their ambition getting the better of themselves. Even in ''VideoGame/Doom3'', the UAC is somewhat amoral, but still above the actions performed by the demons and by BigBad [[MadScientist Malcolm Betruger]]. Played straight though in ''VideoGame/Doom2016'' where they have degenerated into a borderline cult of evil in their attempt to find a new power source to save Earth from its energy crisis, and most of them have since been [[KarmicDeath killed]] or transformed by the Lazarus Wave.

* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', General Ironwood brings a portion of the Atlas Military with him as security for the Vytal Festival in Beacon Academy. Since the actions of the series BigBad are becoming noticeable, he feels that this is a sign of protection that will detour aggressors. BigGood Ozpin states that a guardian is a symbol of protection, while an army is a symbol of conflict. The masses will be on edge, wonder what threat a force so large is meant to fight, and their negativity will in turn [[EmotionEater attract the]] [[TheHeartless Grimm]].

* Got a massive LampshadeHanging in [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=971212 this]] ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' strip.
-->'''General:''' There are basically two divisions in the collective we call "The Military." There is the heroic military, as represented in most of your early war movies, and the conspiratorial military (filled with subterfuge and deception), as represented in bad sci-fi films and ''Series/TheXFiles''.
-->'''Zoe:''' And you would be from ...
-->'''General:''' General Mayhem! Pleased ta meetcha!
* ARES in the ''Webcomic/DeviantUniverse''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' does this many times for humor, normally involving Captain Zapp Brannigan, but it all goes wrong, leaving the gang to sort things out. This also happens in the movie ''Beast with a Billion Backs''. Of course, Zapp isn't so much evil as a narcissistic, incompetent MilesGloriosus, who doesn't understand the consequences of his behavior. Still applies though.