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Help, go to Iraq or med school?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MarathonMan, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. MarathonMan

    MarathonMan only 26.2 to go . . .
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    Hey all, I've applied to med school a couple of times and found that my 28R mcat wasn't enough to get me into med school. As it is, I gotta retake the MCAT to get in. I also recently got back from studying Arabic in Egypt for a long time (couple years) and I've been recruited to go to Iraq to work with the US military as an interpreter and get paid 6 figures. Lately I've been really lacking motivation to study for the MCAT and really don't know if I wanna retry, maybe later, but now I just want to go abroad again. However, i know there are a lot of moral issues regarding working for the Army in Iraq (via a private contractor), not to mention physical dangers. My question is, what would you do in my situation? Do you think it's right for a person to support the military there given the current situation? If not why? if so, why? Would you take this opportunity or just say the heck with it and apply to med school. Thanks so much for any advice!
     
  2. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    going to Iraq will really put your priorities into perspective.

    why shouldn't you? danger. boredom. heat. fear. there's nothing nice about Iraq, other than gaining experience that few in your position will ever have.
     
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  3. chad5871

    Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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  4. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    For the love of all that is Holy in every religion ever invented, DO NOT GO TO IRAQ!!! You will be treated like **** there as an interpreter. Believe me, the six figure income just isn't worth it. You are less protected and not seen as a member of whatever unit you are helping out. Take it from a soldier who was there for an entire year and making ~2k a month. It sucks balls!!!
     
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  5. tinypun2

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    haha, this reminds me of the johns hopkins vs. southern illinois thread
     
  6. spicedmanna

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    Given a choice between retaking the MCAT or going overseas to a war zone, where there is potential for loss of life and/or limb...ummm...let's see: I'm would endure the pain that is the MCAT, if I were hellbent on sticking with US allopathic schools.
     
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  7. Wanna_B_Scutty

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    6 figures ain't worth nothin' if you're not around to spend/donate them.

    Stick with doctoring. You'll still make 6 figs, but you'll live to enjoy them. :thumbup:
     
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  8. Chuckwalla

    Chuckwalla Junior Member
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    You got to be kidding. Go to Iraq or become a doctor? Being a doctor definetly has its minuses but nothing like Iraq. Once you sign that dotted line the Army owns you and all you are is a translating bag of organs.
     
  9. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    Goes to show why some are interested in the military and many aren't. Just because it's not for you doesn't mean it's not for him.
     
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  10. dutchman

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    I know medicine is rough these days, but has it gotten that bad to where someone might prefer to go to Iraq?
     
  11. DaBeav

    DaBeav Procrastinator
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    I say it depends on the length of time you have to commit to Iraq. I am all about following the path that makes you feel most alive (cheesy i know and insert sarcastic remark about being alive in Iraq)...but anyways, it sounds like you are more into the idea of headed to Iraq. It's an experience that is unique and it gives you time to decide where you are headed, and if it comes down to it, I'm sure you will get questions about it in interviews. You never know what may come out of it, and I don't know if you being a translator would be looked down on for "helping/supporting the armed forces." I would sure hope not...I think the disdain is mostly pointed in the direction of political figures who will remain nameless...
     
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  12. MedicFL

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    I took last summer off to go do contract work in IRAQ, I made enough money to finish my Undergrad on easy street. I would say do it you only get some chances once in a life time, and maybe by the time you get back medicine wont be what you want to do and you resolve will only be stronger. Mine was I came back in a better situation than when I left and now I have the time and money to bring my stats up and follow my dream. Just be careful who you work for over there!!
     
  13. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    I still say don't do it. Going to Iraq certainly helped me grow as a person, but I still wouldn't go back just for a six figure income. It's just not worth the price that you could pay.
     
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  14. BeatrixKiddo

    BeatrixKiddo Guest

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    Iraq.
     
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  15. bodhisattva

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    Sure, go to Iraq if you've got the balls to essentially sign your own execution order.
     
  16. Falco2525

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    I have to say that I have so much respect for the military..I could never do what they do...it honestly fits some people well...most it doesnt ...decide based on that
     
  17. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    I feel that it should be pointed out that the OP would be a civilian contractor over there, who works with the military. The OP wouldn't actually be a soldier. Some people might not see much of a difference, but there is a huge difference. The OP will not be treated the same and will be at the mercy of whatever the army wants from him. Granted it is possible that they will go over there and not be bothered. However, it is a pretty fair assumption that as an interpreter the army will have a great need for their skills.
     
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  18. PepperMD

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    I only got a minor flesh wound when I took the MCAT.
     
  19. cgscribe

    cgscribe Member
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    Did you apply to both D.O. and M.D.? It doesn't seem that your 28 mcat would keep you out if you applied to both. But, if you really aren't sure about medical school, you probably shouldn't go. At the same time, I don't know if any job in the Middle East is a good idea.
     
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  20. FenderHM

    FenderHM Where there's a will...
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    i know studying for and taking the mcat sucks, but its not that bad... you'd prob decide to take it again eventually, so just do it and dont go to a war-torn occupied country where americans are hated by many people with guns
     
  21. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this
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    lol, go to Iraq if you want to, but buy a good insurance policy (that'll cover death due to a war) before you go.

    Seriously, you probably couldn't pay me 7 figures to get me to go to Iraq to translate for people. People there will probably hate you even more than they hate the soldiers since they'll think you're some kind of traitor, lol. And you'll probably end up seeing things you never really wanted to see.

    Do what you will but, I'll wait it out for my six-figure income, because at least that way I'll have a better chance of actually being around to spend the money. Jeez.

    And this isn't to say that I wouldn't go to war if there was good reason, but purposely walking into a warzone of doom where you'll be perceived as an enemy, when you have absolutely no reason to be there and am already ambivalent about the morals of the war yourself...that's about the stupidest thing you can possibly do.

    Not everyone who gets wounded dies either. Unless you're ready to take the (quite large) chance that you'll come back missing a limb or two, or a couple of senses...
     
  22. Doctor~Detroit

    Doctor~Detroit this poll sux!!!
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    yeah, i'm sick of all these "versus" threads . . .
     
  23. Chrissy

    Chrissy Senior Member
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    I have no intention of starting anything bad here, but some of these responses are truly disgusting....This is not a political forum and surely never needs to be, but telling someone not to go to Iraq for some of the reasons posted is very wrong in my opinion. I would never join the military or want any of my loved ones to go to war...however, if they wanted to I would have nothing but unconditional respect and support for them. I know this is off topic here, but everytime I hear of someone voluntarily going to Iraq or joining any faction of the military it makes me incredibly proud. I thank God everyday that there are so many people who do this. In addition, doing something like this really says something about a person. The OP has the option of putting his/her life in danger in the name of our free country (regardless of why-the military does this no matter where they are or why they're there in my opinion) or fulfilling the common dream of everyone on this forum....and they're seriously considering doing the former. To the OP I say you do what you feel you should. If that means going to Iraq then you are a better person than most of us; not foolish.
     
  24. Doctor~Detroit

    Doctor~Detroit this poll sux!!!
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    well, we're talking about serving in a particular war, so i think it's appropriate to be political. my political opinion since invasion was announced is that this war was a horrible idea that will mostly do bad things for this country. (i believe i better served my country by protesting on the streets before it began, to show the world via cnn that not all americans are saber-rattling bullies like the current admin).
    so i think armybound has given the best reason to go to *this* war, that it would be an outstanding growth experience that relatively few others would attain. so the op would be a "better person" in the sense that they're done something few had the courage to do, but i don't think it is in doing something of benefit to this country. one could *maybe* argue that they are a better person for having the *intention* of serving their country, but i don't buy this. if the government tells me we need to kill all the arctic penguins in order to create a safe future for the world, that doesn't mean i'm serving my country by believing what they say and clubbing penguins.
     
  25. DrDrew

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    Maybe the title of this should be changed to...


    Paper Cut VS Gun Shot/IED Injury

    Oh wait, the MCAT is electronic, so I guess you could spill your water and get electrocuted??

    I vote Iraq :thumbdown: ....MCAT:thumbup:
     
  26. Pemberley

    Pemberley Senior Member
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    If this is really how you feel, don't go there.

    A sense of mission -- to oppose terrorism and promote democracy -- would be a good reason to go. I'm not getting that feel from your post. It's not a sure death sentence like some posters here have claimed, but it is also not safe and not cushy.

    Money is a bad reason to go.
     
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  27. Packamylase

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    Does this "6 figures" mean $120,000 or $300,000? I suggest that you go if it's the latter.

    You only live once and 300,000 would be a nice purse to bring home. OTOH, $100,000 wouldn't do it for me since you're putting off medical school for 1-2 years so that's 100-200k that you're putting off as well.

    Also, with a 28 MCAT score, you could get in somewhere. I scored the same and I highly recommend that you apply to osteopathic programs. I don't know what state you're from, but there are some good ones throughout the country.

    Good Luck with the decision.
     
  28. Chrissy

    Chrissy Senior Member
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    "well, we're talking about serving in a particular war, so i think it's appropriate to be political. my political opinion since invasion was announced is that this war was a horrible idea that will mostly do bad things for this country. (i believe i better served my country by protesting on the streets before it began, to show the world via cnn that not all americans are saber-rattling bullies like the current admin).
    so i think armybound has given the best reason to go to *this* war, that it would be an outstanding growth experience that relatively few others would attain. so the op would be a "better person" in the sense that they're done something few had the courage to do, but i don't think it is in doing something of benefit to this country. one could *maybe* argue that they are a better person for having the *intention* of serving their country, but i don't buy this. if the government tells me we need to kill all the arctic penguins in order to create a safe future for the world, that doesn't mean i'm serving my country by believing what they say and clubbing penguins."


    It's pretty obvious we have a difference of opinion on this so no hard feelings, but I think this attitude is the worst result of this war....i feel the same way you do about "this" war, but in my opinion, that has nothing to do with intention or justification to serve in the military. It's a tragedy that this whole thing has turned into "wow, people who join the military are foolish because they dont see why they're really there and are just servants of the far right" attitude.....i believe that implication is wrong, but you imply that's how you feel. Of course the two of us will be fine because neither of us would ever serve, but the attitude that military personnel have an inherent choice to pick "what" war they fight in actually undermines the founding of our military 200+ years ago. Not to go back to the basics, but before anyone joins the military you sign a contract saying you will obey and follow the orders of the commander in chief. If you disagree with the current president for getting into that a particular war as most do, then don't join in the middle of such a war because you know where you'll end up....so that is a valid justification if the OP decides not to become involved....however, if you join the military at any point in time you go in knowing that you might do plenty of things you don't agree with because you are no longer in control....i think the problem here is no one thought it would ever come to this....
     
  29. 8744

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    Iraq or an osteopathic medical school?

    Iraq, hands down.

    Seriously though, I don't know what "moral issues" the OP has with working with the Military. It's not a perfect institution but it's a good deal more respectable and honorable than the medical profession.
     
  30. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Jeeze, folks really are having a tough time getting their heads around the fact that the OP is not talking about joining the military. He's talking about working as a private contractor for the military.

    All politics aside, there's a huge difference between joining the military and serving for $2K/month and contracting for them as a civilian for $10K/month. Serving the military vs. serving Halliburton. Not the same level of patriotism between the two.

    MarathonMan- If you're for the war and don't mind the physical dangers, go make bank. If you're against the war, the paycheck doesn't justify supporting it.
     
  31. BarrySanders

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    the military is not more respectable and honorable than the medical profession
     
  32. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    my opinion vs your opinion, which is more important?
     
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  33. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    There are lots of scumbags and losers in both medicine and the military. Folks of dubious morals who are doing what could have been a noble job for all the wrong reasons.

    Professions aren't honorable. People are.
     
  34. OP
    OP
    MarathonMan

    MarathonMan only 26.2 to go . . .
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    Ok, first of all, I would NOT be joining the military here, as some of the above posters clarified (thanks!:)). Instead I would be working for a PRIVATE CONTRACTOR, meaning, they hire me and pay me but I work for the US military on a military base in IRaq (the Green Zone, for example). This is why I would get paid so much, otherwise the military pays squat. But here are some reasons I'd like to go 1, my Arabic by the end would be phenomenal and I'd have a heck of a lot of translator experience to have a good job in the states when i get back and reapply to med school. 2, the money would get me out of debt, 3, damn I love adventure 4, I'd be able to help the Iraqi people understand the intentions of the US military, filtered through my eyes. I went to Egypt to learn arabic to be able to eventually help refugees in the states as a doctor (and also in africa through docs without borders). Now I see an opportunity for an all-encompassing experience (service, adventure, money, resume builder), and I'm weighing it with the physical dangers and potential moral conflicts. Personally, i was against the war from the start, but now I'm realize, ok, we're there, so what now. Obviously they need translators cuz they're just not able to find many reliable ones who don't end up double-crossing them in the end. Also, regarding the danger, I would be on a military base at all times, not going out into the war. How do I know this? first, this is what the company told me, and secondly because I don't speak Iraqi, I speak Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian dialect. They would understand me (egyptian and MSA are universal) but I wouldn't understand every word of theirs. Thus, I'd be pretty useless in the field. Also, there is NO contracted amount of time i have to stay. I can stay a month, or a year, or two years. So, i figure, i'd go, and if after a couple weeks I didn't like it, i'd leave. Anyways, you're probably thinking that it sounds like I've made a decision to go, but i'm still feeling that the danger issue is my number one problem right now. Ok, i've rambled. thoughts?
     
  35. OncoCaP

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    It sounds like you are confused and frustrated, and, in that case, I would choose (c) Neither one. There are plenty of options besides what you have listed here. Explore other options. Open a coffee shop. Work in a research lab. Teach school. Drive a truck and see the country. Take some time off and travel. The options are really endless. Take up mountain climbing or skydiving if you want adventure. Spend the night on a street in East LA or a ghetto of your choice if want adventure but don't sign up for something that you haven't checked out thoroughly yourself. Don't paint yourself into a box like this.

    If you truly are interested in Iraq, maybe you should visit the place and check it out for yourself before you commit? $2000 bucks or whatever it takes to go there would be a worthy investment if you are going to put your life on the line.

    There is a reason they would pay you a lot of money to do there, and it isn't because they just love your face or don't know what to do with that money. The reason you are being offered a lot of money is because (a) it is very dangerous and few people want to do this work and (b) there are few people with the skills who want to put their life on the line in this way.
     
  36. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Most, if not all, folks who are against the war are still obviously supportive of the troops.

    But in the eyes of some who are against the war, people who go to war zones as private contractors for reasons of profit are viewed as carpetbaggers and morally questionable opportunists.

    I'm just saying that not everyone you meet on the interview trail will necessarily see a $100K private contractor job in Iraq as a big plus. For some it will be a big minus.
     
  37. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    It certainly sounds like you have given this a lot of thought, which is just about the best thing you could do. All your reasons are very sound, except for that last reason I think. I'm not saying that you can't go over there and do a lot of good, but the amount of good you do is going to be oershadowed by the state of things and the U.S. military presence. It's going to be very hard to let the Iraqi people know the intentions of the U.S. by staying on base all the time. Furthermore, what more can you tell them that they haven't been told already? We've been over there for ~4 years now. The Iraqi people just don't want to listen to us, they don't want us there. That about as basic as it gets.
    Now, staying on base all the time sounds like a pretty good thing, but that depends entirely on which base you're going too. The green zone still gets mortared as do many other bases. Now the chances of one of these actually hitting you is very small, but it still could happen. If you have made up your mind to go, then I would make damn sure that you aren't going to be going outside on missions with platoons and make damn sure that you don't have to stay there a set period of time. Get it in writing.
     
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  38. KaraKiz

    KaraKiz I'm Ron Burgundy?
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    Word to your momma's momma.
     
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  39. aggiesarah2007

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    Just a thought... but if you go, which as everyone has said can be good and bad, what happens, God forbid, if you do get hurt? you're non military so you will have NONE (i assume) of the benefits that wounded soldiers get. So that's something to think about. military bases get bombed too. Nothing is sacred there it seems
     
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  40. NightDoctor

    NightDoctor New Member
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    is this a joke or something? Iraq, of course...
     
  41. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing
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    I was deployed to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for 14 months, and we treated many private contractors. I don't know if someone ended up getting a big bill or not, but the care they recieved in the field and at our facility was excellent (well, the care at Landstuhl was excellent-the care in the field is care in a combat zone after all).

    I agree with the advice to get it in writing, and if you go I would bring enough money to buy a plane ticket home just in case. I would also advise you to be prepared to answer all kinds of questions in interviews about your views and recommendations for the war.
     
  42. TM2006

    TM2006 Member
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    intentions of the US military? hmm...

    "attach electrodes to left or right testicle?"

    have fun in occupied iraq.
     
  43. OP
    OP
    MarathonMan

    MarathonMan only 26.2 to go . . .
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    You know, I really appreciate your guys' comments when you're seriously trying to give me good advice and whatnot. But seriously, I don't need the judgmental snide, sarcastic comments. IF you disagree with the war or think I'm a carpetbagger or whatnot, that's fine, but why not try asking yourself before you reply if what you're going to contribute to my honest dilemma is really meant to help or simply to make yourself feel better about not being involved in the war, or not getting killed, or being better than me because your azz is perfect and have everything laid out in front of you no problem. Well, I'm sorry, i thought this was a forum for mature individuals committed to helping each other out through some tough times and difficult decisions to make. Seriously, keep your judging and snippy, school girl, remarks to yourself, please. I'm trying to be a good human, here, and one who needs some direction, so have some compassion. And to those of you who replied with advice seeking to genuinely lead me to a resolution, I whole-heartedly appreciate it, whether you are for or against my going. Thanks all!
     
  44. bodhisattva

    10+ Year Member

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    I'm sorry if my comment about signing your own execution order seemed snippy, but I made it because of stories like this and this.

    After weighing all the pros and cons, you still want to go to Iraq, then more power to you. I wish you the best.
     
  45. soonerfan77

    soonerfan77 Rather be golfin'
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    The experience you gain will inevitably separate you from the rest of the field when you get back, and you will come back. Don't listen to all the negative feedback you get off SDN. Most of these guys have no idea how it is going over there. They get their info from the MSM(mainstream media), who is collectively pushing a bush-bashing agenda. Pray about it, and if you have peace about the decision, make that decision and never look back. If you don't go, you are no less of a man, and if you do go, you will be part of the solution that is making this country safe. God Bless you and all us SDN'ers will be praying for your safe return. :cool:
     
  46. soonerfan77

    soonerfan77 Rather be golfin'
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    The fact that you cannot separate the intentions of the military from the immaturity of a few bad apples should exclude you from speaking. But you have the right to say whatever you want, now don't you? You also have the right to be dead-wrong everytime you open your f*****g mouth. The guy asked for advice not you dumb**s comments. :cool:
     
  47. kylek044

    2+ Year Member

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    Lets just think for a minute.
    Bush is refusing to send the troops home.
    The House wants to cut funding.
    Bush is still refusing to send the troops home.
    The troops will be in Iraq without adequate funding.
    Is that where you want to be?

    Leaving ALL politics and party-allegiances aside, going to Iraq right now is probably not a great idea.
     
  48. soonerfan77

    soonerfan77 Rather be golfin'
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    I know you said to leave all politics aside, but the lack of truth is a justified interjection.
    Not the HOUSE but the DEMOCRATS want to cut the funding. :cool:
     
  49. TM2006

    TM2006 Member
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    aww...the midwest! Where would we be without you?

    the intention of any military is to kill. I don't know why a person who is trying to become a physician, aka heal, would ever want to be part of such organization unless to actually practice medicine.

    I am sorry OP if you don't consider facts about what you're going to get yourself into as advice. just my two cents
     
  50. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I will have to disagree with that assessment. The intention of any military is not to kill, but to conquer. Killing just happens to be a means to an end. Take it from a guy who is trying to be a physician and is part of that organization. :)
     
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