Originally Posted by Steve Smith
No, if I had meant to say that, I would have. I am only relating my opinions which are based my upon firsthand experiences. "Well fed" is a good thing, even for a military organization. .
I would agree, well fed is a good thing. but the IDF is really not that rich a military, and a lot of creature comforts have to go. I think that you would be truly amazed at some of the examples I could give you - not only of the type of things that were artificially introduced in training, but general limitations on creature comfort during deployment and training due to budgetary restrictions. for instance, it wasn't at all uncommon to heat water up in an ammo box and use it for a sponge bath, when we were deployed in the field, including in winter (and it snows in lebanon). it was very very common for us to eat cold field rations - and not the MRE's, think more like what US troops had in korea - a box with 5 cans of various meats and vegatables to share between several men, suplemented with a few loaves of bread, and the bread was never that fresh.
I can understand what you mean by morale, but the IDF operates on a totally different "morale" system
1. nobody stays in for more than 30 days, unless they are in jail. more commonly, you get home every 2-3 weeks. really, you can take a lot of shit if you know you are going to see your famimly and girlfriend in less than 2 weeks.
2. the officers and NCOs are in it with you
3. when you are home, or out, or even on the street getting a cup of coffee, you get a lot of respect. thing the US in wwii, or at least pre-vietnam. you get a lot of respect and leeway, and that builds morale.
4. what you do in the army will be with you the rest of your life. how many people know what you did in the army 20 years ago? in israel, pretty much everybody knows what every man did in the army, and immidiatly assign that a value - I have a friend how has been the CFO of two major corporations, has 4 kids and a great wife. you know what the first thing I think of when I think of him is? that he was in a whole lot of firefights 20 years ago? that is the first thing anybody thinks of. another friend - harvard fellow and UCLA PHD - but, more important, he was in a good recon unit 20 years ago. that is what builds morale in the IDF - knowing that you want to be where you are
5. and, of course, knowing that there is a good reason for what you are doing.