The consequences of this unique milestone in American history are many -- the rise of a new warrior class, the declining number of Americans in public life with the sobering experience of war, the fading ideal of public service as a civic responsibility. But above all, I think, is a perilous shrinking of common ground, the shared values and knowledge and beliefs that have shaped the way Americans think about war. Without it, how will soldiers and civilians ever see this war and its outcome in the same way?
We are all responsible for our own actions. When a superior orders you to do something wrong, you should not do it.
Or, in the words of the Nuremberg Principles: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."
"No, but they do make enlistment decisions. And I hold them fully responsible for those decisions"
The real reason that Rolling Stone was able to quote so many highly placed military people's disdain for members of the Obama administration is because the military sees itself as more moral and better -- and certainly more conservative -- than the types who serve in civilian roles today, especially within a Democratic administration...
With the end of conscription, especially for the large segments of society who chose not to serve, military duty ceased to be something one did for a greater good -- what the British call "doing one's bit." Military service was no longer seen as a part of citizenship, seamlessly connected to other duties like paying taxes, respecting the rule of law, serving on a jury or voting. Now it was just another "lifestyle choice"...
New recruits are increasingly second generation military. This is especially so in the officer class, a nation within a nation. We now have a military "class." And face it they don't trust or like the people outside that class who tell them what to do but with no skin in the game.
... Then, it seemed, there approached from the northward
A senior soul-flame
Of the like filmy hue:
And he met them and spake: "Is it you,
O my men?" Said they, "Aye! We bear homeward and hearthward
To list to our fame!"
"I've flown there before you," he said then:
"Your households are well;
But--your kin linger less
On your glory arid war-mightiness
Than on dearer things."--"Dearer?" cried these from the dead then,
"Of what do they tell?"
"Some mothers muse sadly, and murmur
Your doings as boys -
Recall the quaint ways
Of your babyhood's innocent days.
Some pray that, ere dying, your faith had grown firmer,
And higher your joys.
"A father broods: 'Would I had set him
To some humble trade,
And so slacked his high fire,
And his passionate martial desire;
Had told him no stories to woo him and whet him
To this due crusade!" ...
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