Main Mildly Military Discussion

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01:04:04 AM Aug 12th 2016
Massive case of thread mode and wiki-arguing-with-itself. Needs to be seriously cleaned up before putting back on the page.

  • The Barrayan military floats in and out of this as the plot requires in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga books. Justified in that the protagonist is a high-up member of the military caste in his culture, son of a famous military figure (and formerly planetary Regent and then Prime Minister), grandson of a possibly even MORE famous military figure, and foster brother to the Emperor, so yeah, he can pull strings all night long without running out of them (and the other "military" group he runs around with is a bunch of mercenaries, so no one EXPECTS them to have standards, although they have more than you'd think. Most of the time.) Then subverted in Memory where the protagonist pushes his luck with the military once too often (and way too far), and lands in a world of shit for it. Though even there, it is pointed out to him that without his family connections and track record, he'd probably be in military jail for the rest of his life, if not executed, for the stunt he pulled.
    • Also justified in that the protagonist's vastly powerful family connections still could not preserve his conventional military career, and that all the other Barrayaran military who lack such connections don't get away with much of anything.
    • The fact that the protagonist in question is a covert operations specialist working for Imperial Security with a three-step chain of command (The Emperor -> Head of Imperial Security -> him) further justifies this. Of his two other superiors since the Academy, one was dangerously insane enough to justify outright mutiny and the other had little interest in receiving reasoned briefings when concerned with the missing Emperor (which meant he had to be thrown in a brig while said Emperor was rescued).
    • There is also that most of the time, the protagonist's behavior could be justified by regulations being circumvented for the purpose of achieving a (significant) net gain for his side. What gets him cashiered in Memory is his unsuccessful attempt to cover up a gross act of negligence on his part that almost killed (and did temporarily maim) another officer, for no one's benefit save the protagonist's. At which point his commanding officer proceeded to drop thirteen years' worth of unpaid karma on the protagonist all at once. However, the protagonist didn't get what he deserved. He was officially given a medical discharge, and retained all his pension and veteran's benefits.
    • Shortly after meeting her, Aral Vorkosigan tells his future wife Captain Cordelia Naismith, of the Betan Astronomical Survey, that near as he can tell, ranks within the BAS doesn't seem to indicate much more than pay-grade.
    • Cordelia never saw a Betan Expeditionary Force uniform until after the war was over, and was amused to see everyone wearing them in the theatrical reenactment.
    • Understandable in the BAS, but even in the Barryaran forces, from a militaristic culture with centuries of tradition, rank is somewhat confused. Mile's cousin Ivan, for instance, is promoted to Captain after ten years. But what kind of captain? He works for admirals, so it would seem to be a naval rank, but he progresses from ensign (navy) to lieutenant (both) to captain, without any other pay grades in between. As well, he still answers to majors, an army rank. In an earlier book, Mile's father Aral speaks of making captain, which meant he commanded a ship... As far as can be determined, the entire rank structure goes enlisted> maybe a sergeant or two> ensign> lieutenant> captain> general/admiral, with a few odd majors and colonels thrown in for a little variety.
    • Also, in Mile's first adventure, he sees a newly minted ensign on a ship doing some random tech scut work. For those familiar with the real-life Navy, such work would be done by a trained enlisted tech, not an officer.
    • In an essay about how she got started in writing, Bujold tells that the idea for the first book, "Shards of Honor," began as a work of Star Trek fan fiction, with a female Starfleet officer meeting and falling in love with a Klingon captain. Once you think of it in terms of Starfleet, it makes much more sense.
02:38:39 AM Jan 21st 2014
edited by
Deleted the following Natter that violated Example Indentation from the Aliens examples.

  • Justified in that Ripley was brought along because of her previous experience with the xenomorph. Hicks (and by extension the other surviving Marines) are listening to her because knows what she's doing, even if she has no military rank.
05:47:54 AM Aug 2nd 2013
edited by
Calling the spanish militias mildly military based on the fact that they had elected officers seems small minded. Especially considering other vastly more successful forces did it, including the Union army during the american civil war and the french army during the revolution, the red army during the civil war to a lesser degree. There's quite a few other reasons to describe them as such, although even then as mentioned in the WW2/Vietnam section, only the most absurd of martinets expects frontline forces to exhibit inspection passing discipline.

Also the idea that they voted on every last thing is nonsense of the first order. Not even the anarchist forces did that when on the battlefield.

>Orders from the rear such as an advance were followed only after each unit voted. People would not follow an order they did not understand, even in battle. It seems that only idealism kept them in line at all.

Thus this line goes.
11:17:45 AM Oct 10th 2012
Removed the Stand Alone Complex example, since it is at most an aversion. The old text, for posterity:

Subverted in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Section Nine are True Companions, and will joke around sometimes, but there is a definite pecking order. The Major can and will pull rank whenever she feels her natural leadership abilities aren't enough, and the other members will always comply, though sometimes grudgingly. And nobody argues with Aramaki, ever, even if his only "real" authority is having created Section 9. On the rare occasion this trope is played straight, it's justified in that Section Nine is a small black ops team and gets a lot more leeway than the regular military.
06:17:00 AM Aug 24th 2012
edited by DonaldthePotholer
Removed the Top Gun example:

In Top Gun, Maverick commits cashier-worthy violations over and over and ends up getting sent to the eponymous school for it. And not just things that are strictly military rules, but rules that are there for the safety of everyone, such as not buzzing the tower. These actions would get him grounded and transferred somewhere that's not as nice as an elite school.

As I said previously in the archived discussion, Maverick almost was Reassigned to Antarctica. He lost his qualifications for section leader three times and had been grounded twice by his CO. The only reason why Maverick was sent to Top Gun was because the CO's former pick had just quit, and Maverick was the only other guy eligible:
Cmdr. "Stinger" Jordan: You guys were number two, Cougar was number one. Cougar lost it-turned in his wings. You guys are number one. But you remember one thing: if you screw up, just this much [only a half-centimeter between his fingers], you'll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!
Basically, there's a reason why his callsign is Maverick
11:17:16 PM Feb 18th 2012
Removed: This turned not to be the case; Force is not an actual military conflict.
02:08:10 PM Mar 29th 2011
Too specific example, this is why I add it here, not on main page: Libyan rebels are VERY mildly military. Result? They cannot do anything without less than thorought coalition bombing of anything that stand in their way. And they run away when enemy do as little as farting in general direction of rebels.
08:56:21 AM Feb 14th 2011
Re: the new Battlestar Galactica. Is there a real-world military that has or had a ritual permitting enlisted men to beat the crap out staff officers in front of the troops, or was that solely creative license?
11:51:07 AM Feb 14th 2011
I think in the episode the way it happened, this would be permitted. Boxing smokers were common when I was in the Marine Corps. They were usually planned events, not like in the episode with rules that allow you to walk in the ring to challenge someone you don't like.

I remember being deployed to the field in a joint exercise with the French military. My unit sent another guy and me to a field site where we joined a few dozen other Marines from various units. The guy in charge of the small detachment was a gunnery sergeant. On the first day, he expressed the "five-minute rule," and stated that if someone had a problem with someone else, you could request five minutes alone with him. The reasoning was that you would go in a room and work it out and someone of higher rank would not be an ass for fear of being called out by someone junior. The workload was demanding and tensions got pretty high, so a few people did request their five minutes. No actual fights ever broke out, but if they did, that gunny would have been in deep doo-doo.

Now that I think about it, that same gunny had this broom stick that he had taped a small knife (like a four-inch paring knife) on the end. One day, I woke up to the sound of a guy yelling in pain trying to get away from the gunny stabbing him in the ass cheek with this knife, not very hard, but enough to cut his pants and a few times, he drew blood.

With all that said, I'm thinking you could get away with a lot, as long as it's not blatant. A boxing match that's monitored would probably be okay.
02:44:44 AM Jan 14th 2011
  • Israeli soldiers do often act like uniformed civilians off duty, but discipline is much more strict while actively serving, at least for combat units. Its just that in such a small country and with universal conscription, they get a lot of off time, usually to go home for a weekend or holiday—that is, unless intel says they need to be on alert. During these off days, they are essentially uniformed civilians (this typically does wonders for morale). Though discipline is much laxer for none combat units, and considering that your average modern army needs a hell of a lot of logistical and bureaucratic support, a lot of the IDF's undeserved reputation for lack of professionalism comes from people mistaking desk jockeys for combatants.
    • It is not that undeserved, the IDF has some of the most lax discipline standards of any western alinged army, though oddly the bootcamp is one of the most brutal.
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