My country, right or wrong!
My country, love it or leave it!
We’ll come back to these in a minute. First – let’s get some qualifications out of the way. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1966 and had to get my mother’s signature. I was too young. I didn’t have a draft card, not old enough. I didn’t get a draft card until after discharge. My kid brother was in the Air Force. My oldest son was 12 years in the Army. My daughter was 3 years in the Army – Tank Corps. Cutest little combat boots you ever saw. My youngest was 6 years in the Navy as a Marine Corps Medic. My Godson was 6 years Navy on the Nimitz. My father was Navy WWII. My uncle was Army Air Corp WWII, my grandfather was bird colonel, Army, WWII and 1st Lt. WWI. To my knowledge there has never been a member of my family that was drafted. Ever. We always volunteered. (My wife’s family has just as much service).
I think that the above should provide my blue ribbon credentials to the most skeptical and hard-line of right-wingers. Therefore, I will commence to bloviate. BTW – Bill O’Reilly did not invent this handy verb. It shows up in slang dictionaries of the 19th century and was very popular in the early part of the 20th century. (Damn – it’s hard to remember that we’re in the 21st!)
In R.A. Heinlein’s turgid opus (which is still too short) Time Enough for Love, in the Tale of the Lazy Man, or some such, we have a lazy hero who joins the military. I think I remember the character’s name as David. Anyway, to his horror, a war breaks out. Now the sentiment of the character is that an army should be so big and fierce and nasty that no one would think of attacking. This may be the best description that there ever was. It is the proper function of a good military to never have to shed blood. There is no peacenik in the world that hates war any more than a combat soldier who has actually been there. Only a few nutcases actually want war. Most of these nutcases haven’t actually been there before. A rational soldier wants peacetime duty, but is prepared to defend his beloved country with his life, if necessary. But only as a last resort. If the military has to kill and die, the politicians and diplomats have failed. Most would just like to do their duty and go home to their families.
The left likes to view the military as an outmoded and unnecessary expense. Said money would be better spent on the dole. Libs like to look out and see victims that can be helped by the government. Truth is, the dole doesn’t relieve poverty, it creates it. There is no way for any government to solve social problems. They can only make them worse. Anyway, lib congresses and administrations weaken the military and encourage the crazies of the world to poke at us. This, in turn, costs lives and money while we fumble for a response. Sounds a whole lot like Rome in the 6th century.
Now, back to the opening credits. My country, right of wrong! Not exactly. In the Corp (and all services), one of the first things that you are taught is the difference between a legal and an illegal order. You must not obey an illegal order! Ever. Period. There is also a chain of command procedure to protest even legal orders that are against your conscience – in other than combat conditions. If you disobey a legal order in combat you may be shot on the spot. There is no time for debate when the shooting is going on.
Generally, it is not the role of the individual soldier to determine the morality of a war. The President and the Congress have that role. The soldier must simply obey all legal orders. If ordered to torture, murder, rob, what ever, it must not be done, as these would be illegal orders. But, if you do disobey an order you better be right. With witnesses.
Similarly, as citizens, we may make our views known when we think that our country is heading into a morally incorrect position. And, indeed, we not only have the right to voice our views, we have the moral obligation to do so when we see things that are wrong. Now, since none of us is God and can see into another’s heart, the FFs decided that everyone, including the nuts, should have the blessing of free speech. There are some rare exceptions. The old shouting fire in a crowded theater is just the obvious example. Use your mind, you can think of others.
My country, right or wrong! Yes, true. But we must always be vigilant to insure that we stay right.
My country, love it or leave it! OK, this one I pretty much buy. But, as usual, I have to set terms. There is a difference between loving someone and approving of all of their actions. In Church terms, hate the sin; but – love the sinner. Now if you truly love this country and wish nothing but the best for it and all its citizens, feel free to stay and criticize constructively. Your contributions are valuable, even if you are silly enough to disagree with me (What a preposterous notion). But don’t whine, it doesn’t become you.
Contrariwise – it you do not love this country and wish the continuation of its people and existence – leave. Go away. If you hate us, go where we are not. If you wish to piss in your own cereal – do so. But don’t try to piss in mine. I might just react in a way that will be unpleasing to you. If you are anything other than scum, some other country that shares your values will take you gladly. If no other country will have you, perhaps you might want to reevaluate you life and your opinions. If no other country shares your values – is everyone in the world out of step but you?
Post-thought. When I got out of the Corps and back on the street, we were being called baby-killers and spat upon. I never knew any combat soldier that killed babies deliberately. The very nasty lib feminist activists who were willing to crucify us for defending our ally (we had treaties) were the ones who firmly advocated and practiced, after Roe v. Wade, abortion. Who is the baby killer?