Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sin-Eaters



Something that's been bothering me is an attitude I've been seeing lately. There are a lot of people in this country who, though perfectly willing to accept the good results of military action, are also unwilling either to serve in the military or to support the troops in any way (or in any way beyond lip service). The military is a job too dirty or declasse for them. When extreme pacifism is put into this package, things get worse. Soldiers are not just seen as of some lower class of people, they are also seen as having a lower standard of ethics.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that people like this can't tell the difference between "soldiers should be folks who, if need be, can hunt and kill people without being disabled by it" and "soldiers should be psychopaths".

Now, most people in the military don't let this bad attitude stop them from doing good service. Some emphasize the honor and love inherent in doing for those who wouldn't do anything for them. Some reach for continuity, as repaying the deeds of the past and building for the future. Still others see themselves as the "sheepdogs" that stand between peaceful sheep and violent wolves. But there are some who seem a little too fond of the idea that they are there to do dirty jobs, to sacrifice themselves and even their own souls for what others will not do.

This last is just buying into the idiots' point of view, albeit from the opposite side. The point of having citizen soldiers is the same point as having citizen police -- they do only those things which their fellow citizens would also do, if they had to. If a job is too declasse or dirty for you to do, it's also too dirty for you to hire anyone else to do.

I readily acknowledge that there are jobs that require more skill or physical strength or even courage than I have. I'm perfectly willing to let other people do those things. But I don't want soldiers to have lower standards of ethics or morals than mine -- I think they should have higher ones (at least where their profession is concerned), because their job is dangerous and deals with ethical problems in a very direct way.

If people have blood on their hands in self defense or just war, then they've done nothing wrong. Their souls are clean. But if people have blood on their hands from committing injustice, they're not serving their country or the military profession very well. You can't do a bad thing for a good reason and expect it to turn out well.

I don't want anyone to think their job is to commit sins to save me from dirtying my soul. If a job is too sinful for me to do, nobody should be doing it.

I realize this is a very simple point of view. But there are some things we can't let get too complicated.

1 Comments:

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Fr. Larry Gearhart said…

    I think you may have touched a nerve, here. Of all the duplicity in our society, this ranks right up there. Thanks for putting this so well and having the courage to say it.

     

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