The mistaken military mind

The New York Times quotes a Marine Major:

When critics of the war say their advocacy is on behalf of those of us risking our lives here, it’s a type of false patriotism. I believe that when Americans say they “support our troops,” it should include supporting our mission, not just sending us care packages. They don’t have to believe in the cause as I do; but they should not denigrate it. That only aids the enemy in defeating us strategically.

So, if the President decides to aid the Sudanese government in committing genocide, the American public should simply keep its collective mouth shut and support the mission? That’s ridiculous. Remember, most of the great atrocities committed by dozens of governments around the world have been committed by the militaries of those countries in obedience to their legitimate leaders.

One of the most common failings of the military mind is to believe that because unquestioning obedience is a military virtue, it is a civic virtue as well. Quite the opposite is true. And to argue that one is aiding the enemy simply by exercising one’s Constitutional rights to criticize one’s government is not only incorrect it is downright shameful. In fact, this is why it is unwise for the President to make use of our armed forces without first ensuring that he has gained the consent of the people by a Congressional declaration of war.

I am sure there are those who will be aghast that I should dare to criticize the words of a Marine risking his life in service to the country. To them, I must point out that the mere fact that one is fighting for one’s country does not automatically make one’s opinions correct, nor render them above all criticism.