Saturday, October 10, 2009
on Morality and Marines
"I had rather lived a day as a lion than a hundred years as a dog." -Major Zembiec aka "The Lion of Fallujah"
The nation that draws a line of demarcation between their thinkers and fighters risks having the fighting done by fools and the thinking done by cowards... -- Sir WF Butler
"We'd promise you sleep deprivation, mental torment, and muscles so sore you'll puke, but we don't like to sugar-coat things."
-USMC Recruiting Poster
"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats" --B. C. Forbes
"A Marine is someone you don't need to push but rather, hold back." -- LBJ
MY THOUGHTS: Military service is ultimately a moral commitment. Duty is animated by morality. Both involve our struggle to live ourlives and know ourselves through the eyes and expectations of our communities. It involves we-intentions. Marine's being trained will often by instructed that "Marines always...." or "Marines don't do that." Here we see the moral enjoiner: to step outside of our bottomless appetites and commit to stepping outside of ourselves and looking for that overlapping part of our being that we share with our brothers and sisters. How do you get a man to step out into gunfire in the exectution of a mission? If courage is the trait of willingly confronting danger in the pursuit of mission accomplishment, if courage is not the abesence of fear but the mastery of it, then courage is bred from unselfishness. Our identites are not set in stone, they are malleable and we can come to construct our perception of our own identities differently over time. This tells us that unselfishness breeds courage. The courageous man is he whom will risk his own well-being because he has assumed the burden of duty: he lives in the overlapping, shared part of himself that fuses him with his country and Corps: knowing that his own well-being is actually inseperable from that of his community.