Thursday, July 13, 2006

Two widely differing views of values for service personnel.

Suppose for a moment that you were taking your family to a crowded street fair where there turned out to be a violently angry drunk. Suppose cops were dispatched to deal with the threat.

Keeping in mind that your children are in the midst, what kind of instructions would you want the chief of police to give the cops? How about, "Rule Number One is for you [the cop] to come home alive." Or, how about, "The last thing we want to do is create a situation where you have to fear that every time you pull the trigger, there is going to be a review"? Regardless of what the cops on the ground did, you'd probably be incensed if those were the instructions.

No, you'd probably hope that the cop were told to put the protection of innocent civilian life as a higher priority than his or her own safety. Indeed, if a cop were to be mortally injured while defending kids, I cannot imagine a leftist who wouldn't shed a tear. It's probably the case where John 15:13 most directly applies:
" Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Such a value system of selfless protection of the community seems to be espoused in this "Army Values Card" which someone had posted to their flickr photostream. The gentleman who did so was even honest enough to say he couldn't see himself living up to half these values. How many of us sitting in comfortable suburbia can say we do. The road of valor is a tough and narrow one.

Army Values Card, originally uploaded by jasoneppink.

Contrast this value system with that espoused by an Army legal person specifically in response to accusations of Army personnel killing civilians. In an NPR story, Anatomy of a Shooting: A Civilian's Death in Iraq Maj. John Dunlap, the chief law officer for the 256th Army Division, is quoted:
"Soldiers were called upon to make decisions on a daily basis in snap seconds," Dunlap said. "And we did not want to create an environment where soldiers thought they were going to be second-guessed and prosecuted for making decisions that would save their life. Rule number one is to come home alive."
If this were a police chief talking about cops patrolling our neighborhoods, even where they occasionally get into gunfights with bad guys, we'd be incensed, BECAUSE WE ALL PLACE A VALUE ON THE LIVES OF THE CHILDREN AROUND US.

If however, we do not place such a high value on the lives of the locals around our soldiers, if we just want to get them home, then it's a more tolerable philosophy.

But it's a deadly philosophy. It endangers the lives of the next Army service personnel to walk by, because you've ticked off the locals. It endangers the lives of civilians in the US, as it makes terrorist recruitment all the easier to do. Maybe we should't cut and run but continuing to run this war with a redneck value system is endangering us all, and helping the Iraqis none. It is a philosophy which revokes the sentiments of John 15:13.

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