Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Two sides to every story April 11, 2009

Filed under: Anecdotal,military,Political — Addicted to Yarn @ 4:59 am
Tags: , , ,
Omaha Beach Cemetery

Omaha Beach Cemetery

I watched Saving Private Ryan yesterday. I watched it years ago when it first came out and haven’t watched it since because, quite frankly, it was incredibly disturbing. I don’t like seeing the insides of people on their outsides. I don’t like watching people die horribly. I don’t like to see men wasted and war wastes men.

We have a friend in Iraq right now. He volunteered for his current job. It’s the most dangerous job in the Air Force right now. He opted out of a mission a couple of weeks ago and the two guys who went instead were both killed. He had to identify their remains and guard them until they were evacuated. I don’t like that.

My husband is in the Air Force. He will probably deploy this year. I don’t like that. Many of my friends are spouses of military members. Their husbands also deploy as do the fathers of my daughter’s friends. I don’t like that. I don’t like my loved ones being placed in harm’s way, for any reason, no matter how noble.

But John Stuart Mill said something many years ago that I agree with, even though it means that my husband, my daughter’s father, my friends, my friends’ husbands and their kids’ father must all place themselves in mortal danger. He said:

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of men better than himself.”

I agree. There are things worth going to war about. There are things worth fighting for and against. There are things that are more important than my own personal safety and the personal safety of my loved ones. I agree with that. But I also agree with Jimmy Carter when he said:

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”

And that’s a fact.

So I am divided. On one hand, I absolutely believe that war is sometimes a necessary evil. On the other hand I believe absolutely that war is evil.

Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.

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6 Responses to “Two sides to every story”

  1. Anna Alvarez Says:

    Interesting perspective. When my brother called me and talked to me about that my first thought was to Thank God he had not died and then I realized how fragile life is. I work at a hospital and the same day I heard that story I went in and took care of a 30 something year old person who was just diagnosed with cancer. the patient had a good prognosis but you never know what your outcome is going to be. Wither it is war or walking out you door or driving in traffic life is fragile. Because an outcome can be bad doesn’t make it evil. The thing I think that makes war bad is the fact that there is evil usually involved but for someone to stand up and defend the right of liberty is a good and noble cause and is not evil. I think Jimmy Carter is wrong when he says war is evil. War is the tool of evil people at times but still a tool. When war is a result of an evil than the evil is wrong not the war. I am not saying I love war but I think it makes the sacrifices those make who fight wars for a noble cause less significant if we say what they are doing is evil.

  2. Lisa Says:

    I agree with Becky…as someone who has been there and seen war first hand, I can say it’s evil and I think that anyone who has lived through war will concur that it’s not a good thing, even if it’s necessary sometimes, and it’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t make it good, doesn’t make it easy and doesn’t make it heroic. War turns people into heros when it puts people in horrible situations and they have the opportunity to overcome and exemplify the virtues that we hold dear. That is heroic…Simply shooting a “bad guy” isn’t heroic, It’s the spirit involved that creates heroism. I should know, I’ve lived through it, and to be honest, I’m no hero…not even close, and what I did was an evil thing, even if it was necesary.

  3. Anna Alvarez Says:

    I think that I can see why you think that way but I am going to have to agree to disagree. I am very proud to know many people who serve that disagree with you as well including my brother who has been in it and has seen the ravages of war.

  4. Joe Says:

    Someone who is divided has a hard time making choices. Or at least this is the first thought on my mind when I read your blog. It’s not that most coins don’t have another side it’s that we choose the wrong coin to look at.

    If we only look at “war” and try and judge it upon its separate virtue from anything else we want to say its bad. But this is false as we always put something in the purpose of it. Since we try and say there is nothing virtuous about it we miss the point. It is not the war but the principles and powers behind it. If we take any war in history and look at the rulers and people behind it they started a campaign of blood. Is it the fault of the people that stand up for their right to live that are evil or the people that tried to take your life from you?

    Even if we change the individual circumstance my logic holds true, and this is the test of true reason and wisdom.

    So if one child threatens to slap another do we say nothing about it or laugh because we are certain they are kidding? It is about placing the responsibility on people for their actions. However this in it of itself implies that there is some truth outside of ourselves that dictates this. There is some sense of personal property or right to live that we are enforcing as if it is right or good.

    I would love to talk about this more but I have to teach a young man the ways and means of firearms. Hopefully he will continue to learn what it means to be a man and to stand up for his family knowing that his actions toward safety are good in it of themselves.

  5. […] military — ladyrebecca @ 5:46 am Tags: heroes, military, military wife, war I feel like a previous post has been misunderstood so I am going to attempt to clarify (or muddy up the waters so much no one […]


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