Skip to comments.A Morally-Confused Marine
Posted on 02/05/2013 9:09:58 AM PST by EveningStar
Last week, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by a Marine captain titled, "I Killed People in Afghanistan. Was I Right or Wrong?"
The column by Timothy Kudo, who is now a graduate student at New York University, is a fine example of the moral confusion leftism has wrought over the last half century. Captain Kudo's moral confusion may predate his graduate studies, but if so, it has surely been reinforced and strengthened at NYU.
(Excerpt) Read more at townhall.com ...
moral confusion leftism is the same as questioning the morality of something?
He may be confused and utterly unable to think logically or express himself clearly, but it’s not as if there is no possible moral dilemma for soldiers of the Afghan war. I should think, however, that he’d have wanted to work everything out morally before he signed up. We still have volunteer armed forces, right?
The most common translation of Ex. 20:13 is “You shall not commit murder.” Nothing in there about killing in self-defense or combat.
The Marine in question is confused. If he had any moral qualms about killing an enemy combatant, perhaps he should have remained a civilian.
From what I read of the article they don’t criticize him for questioning period but for apparantly questioning stupidly. The main dilemma is between killing being always wrong but in war necessary. The article has it that he’s confused because killing isn’t always wrong, duh.
Combat killing could easily be murder. It wasn’t for a long time after the decalogue that Just War Theory was developed. I agree, this person shouldn’t have signed up if he truly believes all killing is wrong.
The only thing about combat, is that the individuals that are in combat are not the one’s that decide there will be combat. If you leader is evil, does that make your combat ok?
You are absolutely correct. In addition, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have no moral dilemma with hiding behind and killing innocent women and children and killing American civilians that they capture—and theey would have had no moral compunctions about killing him if they had captured him.
Nothings worse that stupid confusion I guess. Collateral damage is ok, buyt it kills innocent women and children.
I wouldn’t go there if I were you. The U.S. has killed more innocent civilians than Al Quesa could ever dream of, and though we shy away from killing captives, most of the time we send robots or Seal Teams to assassinate people instead of capturing them, American citizens included. You must seek elsewhere to justify our side.
Something we really need to clarify in our minds is that “collateral damage” is often a completely inappropriate term. We kill civilians on purpose, for the same reason terrorists do: to scare people into doing what we want. What do you think “shock and awe” was, a fireworks display? Another thing, not all of us are sp cavalier about damage that truly is collateral. For instance, the FBI and ATF wanted to break into the Waco compound so bad that they were willing to torch innocent women and children to end the standoff. I don’t agree it was worth it.
“I held two seemingly contradictory beliefs: Killing is always wrong, but in war, it is necessary. How could something be both immoral and necessary?”
We will soon find the left has no problem with killing when it comes to those who disagree with them. They are against killing the enemies of America because it is their friends that are being killed. Given the opportunity to kill Conservatives they would do it by the train load.
If your Commander in Chief is an EVIL so and so...
Whatever you are called on to do serves an evil purpose..
Course this idiot probably voted for the evil SOB..
There are no “innocent civilians” among islamists.
I agree, not all killing is wrong...it’s actually relative in my view.
That’s just exactly the mindset motivating terrorists to commit mass murder.
If your “moral” understanding is that killing is ALWAYS wrong, then I think you already have a busted compass.
Having been in combat, there are moral questions which cross everyone’s mind, but if you don’t have a moral-underpinning based on your right to survival, then the rest of the questions and answers are already jaded.
More importantly, when you join the military, they USED to ask if you have a moral issue with shooting someone, etc... Do they not ask this anymore? Do officers not get asked this question?
Contrary to your implication, the difference is that the US didn’t TARGET innocent women and children, the US shot at strategic military targets (including during the “Shock & Awe” attacks).
The Islamist nut jobs specifically target women and children for MASS MURDER.
There is a significant difference between shooting at the soldier, but hitting a woman AND shooting at a woman to incite the soldier!
“the US didn’t TARGET innocent women and children”
That canard goes back before sophisticated aerial warfare (Sherman, for instance), only gained steam after it became easier to strike from a distance, and has always been thin as tissue paper. Firstly part of what makes targets “strategic” is the presence of civilians. We absolutely do kill innocents on purpose, to send a message. Also, when you say they just so happen to be next to strategically important targets you fall back into the Waco dilemma. Is it worth it? What makes My Mai a crime against humanity and Hiroshima a-okay? Nothing.
Which is to avoid entirely the phenomena of placing weapons inside churches, for example, or shielding your army behind innocent civilians, on my part. At some point it becomes the other side’s fault for putting its civilians in harm’s way. But there is a fundamental problem with modern warfare, with us dating from at least the Civil War. There was a time when militaries tried, at least, to restrict combat to combatants. There were obvious exceptions, for instance sieges of cities. But nothing like the wholesale slaughter of innocents we condemn to death and suffering almost without a thought.
My Mai = My Lai
Then we’d better have it out.
One side uses kids as cannon fodder and embankment and the other side protects them. Guess which side we are on.
“There was a time when militaries tried, at least, to restrict combat to combatants.”
When was that? Romans? Visigoths? Huns? The Crusades? Gengis Khan? The War of the Roses? The Reformation? French & Indian Wars? Revolution? Civil War? Indian Wars? WWI? WWII? Korea? The Congo? The various Arab/Israeli wars? Rhodesia?
Historically wars included rape, pillage, plunder, and murder, to the victor go the spoils, razed cities, slavery. The last couple of hundred years it is more genocide, strategic bombing, or collateral damage. However, I believe we (the USA) have made enormous progress in limiting civilian casualties through policy and technology in the last 30 years.
He did the right thing, but he’s not right. Prescription: stop watching television.
Rules of engagement fir ground troops is off topic. I remarked on our double standards for air as opposed to ground forces. For some reason the fact that you don’t have to look your victims in the eye turns murder into mere collateral damage. There isn’t any other means of explaining your condemnation of My Lai’s 300 or so deaths in caps in light of how you all but elide Hiroshima and its tens of thousands, maybe more than 100 thousand, deaths. Either it’s hypocrisy, or there’s some insane distinction I’ve not been told about.
I don’t get what you’re trying to say about the US never considering collateral innocents expendable, then saying Hiroshima’s population was big enough to sens a message. Well, which one was it? Do we not kill civilians on purpose, or do we kill civilians to send a message? I didn’t think it was possible still not to have learner, but the allies’ major aerial campaigns against the axis homelands were terror bombings. There isn’t any way to call it “strategic” bombing unless the strategy was to scare Germany and Japan by killing a lot of civilians.
“If we didn’t care about collateral damage...we would just literally bomb every city into submission”
No we wouldn’t. Unless you’re Genghis Kahn, and maybe not even him, you don’t go to war for the sake of wreaking the most destruction possible. Were that the case we’d have carpet bombed every enemy nation in every war with nukes since 1945. But we haven’t, because we fight wars with ends other than annihilation in mind.
The goal in Iraq and Afghanistan was to replace existing governments with new, fruendlier ones. Though it doesn’t seem to matter as much in medieval Afghanistan, bombing them out of civilization wouldn’t have prepared the ground well for PRO-US gubmints. There’s also public and world opinion to consider.
“When was that?”
Roughly speaking, the age of Enlightenment. Traditionally in European history from the renaissance to WWI, not counting the fiercely ideological struggles of the 30 Years Wat and tge French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, though compared to the 20th century they were monuments of restraint. It ended here in the US with the Civil War, and though not on the European continent between Europeans with the Boer War.
I don’t wish to be Pollyannaish and pretend they were all gentlemen, prone to calling a halt to an advance if a butterfly happened into their path. But this was the time of mercenary armies, when princes were seen to be fighting other princes, not nations against nations. This was also when international law was developed and people pretended to follow it.
Since then we’ve slid back into barbarism with: deliberate targeting of civilians, mass mobilization, unconditional surrender demands, forced starvation, forced relocation, war crimes trials, etc. You may say it was always thusly, citing Atolls the Hun or whomever jumps to mind. But it wasn’t. There was a time.
You place “to the victors go the spoils” somewhere in history, then leap forward to modern genocide, “strategic” bombing, and collateral damage. You pretend as if nothing happened inbetween. I call the era after and before barbarism civilized warfare. It stands in judgement of both your periods.
We haven’t made progress in restricting civilian casualties. We’ve merely stopped fighting total wars. That in itself could be seen as progress, but it wasn’t by choice. You mention technology, and that’s it, though perhaps not the way you mean it. Without nukes I’m sure there’s have been a WWIII.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.