Sorry Refuge :)
(I can get you a good price on desert boots) ;)
Let me try and offer a different option over the murderer and misguided soldier.
Olympic athletes train their whole lives to go to the olympics. Test themselves. Challange themselves. See how well they perform under pressure. See how they do. They could spend 10 years training. (How young does China start training their athletes?).
Remove the ethical/moral angle for a moment [Because quite frankly I think holding the Olympics in China given their history of human rights abuse was BRUTAL. I don't think Canada should have sent ANYONE there, anyways]
Like professional athletes, soldiers train and train and train. The chance to deploy on an actual mission can really attract a lot of soldiers. Their not war mongers, they just want todo what they are trained to do. They want to put their skills to use, they want to test themselves. It's what their trained and conditioned for. In a perhaps dangerous way, it is alsoa way to see who shouldn;t be in themilitary ie people refusing to do their job.
Some soldiers I'm sure want to deploy for the wrong reasons. Their assholes who get off on the idea of hurting or shooting someone. (In my experiences these guys are the loudest but usually the most 'full of shit')
We find the same unhealthy attitudes from police officers wanting to abuse their authority (how many times haveyou been dicked around by a cop on a power trip? How about coaches being inappropiate. These people are everywhere)
Still I think most soldiers who DO volunteer for deployments or look forward to going overseas do so because it is a chance to get out and do their job, be the professional soldiers they are. Like a validation. This doesn't have to be in a war fighting enivronment but for combat arms soldiers being actively engaged in a combatzone is the only real time they will be performing their job to it's fullest extent.
The 'they killed my brother so I joined the Taliban' answer given to Graeme makes sense. If someone indiscriminately killed my family I'd try and get back at them too. The issue with that answer though is that the Taliban are just as guilty if not more of killing local Afghan's family members but we only seem to hear about people joining the Taliban out of retributuon. I wonder why that is. Not only are locals hit by Taliban Mortars and IEDs but murdered too for associating with ISAF. One really has to feel for the locals who are between a rock and a hard place.
I think the US will be here a long time. The base they are building is very large, said to rival (ultimately) the Khandahar airfield. I wonder if they will all be combat troops or willhe Americans employ more CIMIC, OMLT and other reconstruction teams.
I think in the past it was easy to get compliance (for lack of a better word) Do what we want or we'll kill you. And they would listen. (The Taliban did this and were largely successful at creating a peaceful albeit violent rule. We can't do that. We ask them to, if they say no we offer them money. The smart ones realize how to capitalize on this. I'm not saying we should threaten them with violence, that should never be an option toget someone to work with you but I really wonder how effective using money is especially considering the greed factor.
I wouldn't depend on the UN for anything really. In theory I think the UN is great but in practice when countries aren't offloading their problem soldiers/officers, I think all the politics and too many hands in the pot ruin any ad all effectiveness they might have.