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View Diary: Heroism, or, Why We Soldiers Fight, Even Now (14 comments)

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  •  Sorry if I was unclear (6+ / 0-)

    "We" is "we, in the service." Ultimately, we fight for each other. In a nutshell, that's it.

    There's one more kid that will never go to school Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool. - Neil Young

    by Oregon guy on Tue May 30, 2006 at 05:04:35 PM PDT

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    •  This was a strong premise after WWII.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oregon guy, bustacap, kilo50

      But sometimes when we fight for each other, we lose sight that we also are fighting for the country.

      This was truly a heroic effort- personal risk, innocent victim, happy ending.  Unfortunately, some people will circle the wagons for Haditha and continue to fight for each other by keeping thier silence.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Tue May 30, 2006 at 05:45:47 PM PDT

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      •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        April Follies, bustacap, murrayewv, llbear

        The shadows of morality are lengthened by warfare. Which is why all wars are immoral, and why they should be avoided at all costs.

        If we start with the premise that "there are no good wars," we will be better able to decide which ones we will actually fight.

        Because I don't think the human race will ever stop fighting.

        There's one more kid that will never go to school - Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool. - Neil Young

        by Oregon guy on Tue May 30, 2006 at 05:49:13 PM PDT

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        •  No they are not. (0+ / 0-)

          World War II was not immoral.

          But I guess rather than fighting, you would have preferred everyone just lay down, allowed the Nazi tanks to roll over them--and we could have a Nazi-dominated Europe today. It could so easily have happened. If there hadn't been fighting on two fronts--in the East and int he West--Germany could have won. Let's see--Jews all dead, any mental "defectives' killed, homosexuals killed, gypsies killed, anyone like you who dared to dissent killed...what a lovely world.

          Britain was a  on its last legs during the Battle of Britain.  It needed lend lease and it needed and infusion of new blood. Had Hitler actually gone ahead with his planned Invasion--Operation Sea lion--we might live Ina Avery different world today.

          Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.  PLEASE do some reading before you make yourself look silly

          These quick one-liners sound oh so clever, but reveal a paucity of knowledge that is frightening. If you didn't score your way through calss, sue your high school history teacher. If you took history in college, and are still this naive--sue HIM or HER too,

          I wish we could all so easily dismiss war as evil and immoral as easy as you do--but some of us have great uncles who liberated the death camps, or have seen the tattoos on the wrists of concentration camp survivors and talked to them about their experiences--and we know that WW II was about as just and moral a war as it gets from our side.

          I can only hope you are really, really young.  Because then there is hope. If you're over 30, and you rent a complete pacificist ( meaning you;d die before lifting a hand in defense, AND you'd let your loved ones die before defensing them violently), then you are either amazingly uneducated or hopelessly naive.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Tue May 30, 2006 at 06:04:36 PM PDT

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          •  Again (5+ / 0-)

            War is immoral... by removing the moral taboo against killing other human beings which is present in all peacetime human societies is gives vent to every human passion which causes suffering.

            I am most explicitly NOT a pacifist. I carry a rifle, know how to use it, and would use it against anyone as necessary to accomplish my mission and protect my fellow Soldiers.

            But as a matter of philosophy, I know that killing is wrong. And if I should ever have to kill, I will have sinned. Period. That is my personal belief.

            Justice does not involve killing. I am also opposed to the death penalty for similar reasons.

            Sometimes the shades of grey favor one side over the other: Republican Spain, the democracies in WWII, South Korea, Kuwait in 1991, other cases here and there are justifiable wars. They aren't just.

            There's one more kid that will never go to school - Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool. - Neil Young

            by Oregon guy on Tue May 30, 2006 at 06:16:06 PM PDT

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            •  I am opposed to the death penalty also (0+ / 0-)

              But as a Wiccan I believe firmly that doing no harm requires me to DEFEND others.

              War is never good, But it CAN be moral and just, The alternative, after diplomacy fails, is standing around watching while wholesale slaughter goes on.  Defending the defenseless is  NEVER a shade of gray.  It is a moral imperative.

              Not to have taken arms against Hitler would have been one of the greatest evils the world has ever known. I firmly believe we waited far too long as a country.

              ANd I am Wiccan, and don't believe in sin.  I do bleive that the amount of harm yoau re allwoed to do is jsut the amount needed to prevent greater harm from being done.

              As I said, NO ONE in their right mind would say war is ever good--but soemtiems it is just.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Tue May 30, 2006 at 07:57:00 PM PDT

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              •  So I think we're kind of arguing about wording (0+ / 0-)

                And perspective.

                The problem is that the moral imperative of protecting the defenseless rapidly runs smack-dab into the brick wall of doing harm while effecting the cure.

                An example - I cited to in another comment - the Vietnam war. We sent troops to Vietnam to protect what we saw as an innocent Vietnamese republic from invasion by the Stalinist North.

                Now, a few years of involvement with the Diem crime family disabused us of the notion that Vietnam was a democracy. But we were in, and committed.

                We tried being "moral" in our rules of engagement of the conflict (ie. not sending troops north of the DMZ) but then proceeded to carpet-bomb the North's urban centers and the Ho Chi Minh trail by which the N Vietnamese shipped supplies and personnel into the South.

                Gradually we found ourselves using Cambodian territory and Thai airfields to support the conflict, with the connivance of the local rulers in those nations.

                The Chinese responded by supporting the Khmer Rouge, who seized power in that sad country. Shortly thereafter, millions were murdered.

                The Vietnamese "cleaned up" that particular mess by invading and occupying Cambodia in 1979. That said, Cambodia is still a mess and far from democratic. Neither is Vietnam a democracy, but many observers believe that the regime in place now is an improvement on our erstwhile allies from 1956-1975.

                Whom did we protect?

                I don't really know.

                Again, I'm not saying that some cases of aggression are not more clear-cut (Germany-Czechoslovakia 1938) but once you decide to pull a trigger, you ake yourself the hostage to all manner of evil and misfortune. Winston Churchill had something to say about that.

                Even the "righteous" war of WWII spawned much evil from the "good guys." Think Manzanar, Dresden, Tokyo firebombing, Monte Cassino, a steadfast refusal to take military action against the concentration camps even after we had learned of their existence... to say nothing of the litany of evil from our "allies" on the Eastern front: Katyn forest, SMERSH, the Gulag, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

                I'm not a pacifist in the sense that Gandhi was... but I don't think he was wrong morally. The fact to my mind is that we live in a very flawed world and we do the best that we can.

                The ultimate reason why I say things as strongly as I have is rooted in one of my original comments - that we need to rope off the concept of warfare as never being wholly good so as to always give pause to our leaders prior to embarking upon it as a course of action. It is all well and good to mouth platitudes about warfare being an option of last resort... George Bush said such things in 2003. So have aggressors throughout mankind's history. Hence my belief that if we think of war as never being wholly good or moral - we can reduce the likelihood of wars of choice being presented to us as wars of necessity.

                As someone who has to deal with the reality of a war of choice on a regular basis, this is important to me.

                There's one more kid that will never go to school - Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool. - Neil Young

                by Oregon guy on Tue May 30, 2006 at 08:43:11 PM PDT

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                •  Just doesn't mean good. (0+ / 0-)

                  Justice can be very harsh.

                  And while I have never been in war--I know its consequences.  I;ve been writing about Married tot he Military--what it's like to live with a soldier, sailor or Marine-as a spouse--and I have two more dairies to go--one design with the Reserve and Guard, one with Wounded Warriors. I am married to one.

                  The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                  by irishwitch on Wed May 31, 2006 at 09:34:04 AM PDT

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