Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Baby Killers, Great and Small

Michael Totten discussed a Venezuelan anecdote that points out a problem with Class Warfare, and was roundly denounced for doing so.

"The robber than gave her a look of scorn as he said "The President is right when he says that you rich people have so many possessions that you do not care if you lose one. Well, I am going to take something from you that you do care about it." With that he put the gun to the three year old's head, and blew his brains out."

The key problem with his example is not that it is anecdotal and horrific; the problem is that it is irrefutable. If you accept that the story is true, you have to abandon class warfare and jihad as acceptable practices. The essential reality fracture that occurs in the socialist mind is the abandonment of responsibility that is implicit in a call for chaos. Accepting that a call for revolution gives license to infanticide is too much for the abstract intellectual.

One of the best things that my father ever did is make sure that I knew that joining the military meant that I would be responsible for killing children. Once he knew that I had accepted that moral responsibility he respected me as a serviceman. Nobody told my father that being a Marine meant that he would end up killing kids in Korea. When I ended up enforcing the UN blockade of Haiti, I accepted responsibility for the children who died as a result. I surely did not love all the consequences of my choice, and I really hate Aristede for squandering the opportunity that my infanticide provided. The consolation that I have is that I did not starve children to death for hatred or the thrill of violent vengeance or a blind belief in the probity of the United Nations.

The next year, when my enlistment was up, I left the Navy for a variety of reasons. Some of them have to be inconclusiveness and ineffectiveness of the sieges of Iraq and Haiti. Some of them have to be the despicable internal gamesmanship inspired by a declining military budget. Not a few of them have to do with wanting to get in a healthy relationship with a woman and get married; not really an option available to me with another two years of sea duty before a shore rotation. But I didn't leave because my philosophy was broken by the reality that violent coercion hurts people. I knew that going in.

I also knew that abandoning responsibility and allowing dictator's free reign invites genocide. People in uniform don't get to look at socialist protesters and call them "Baby Killers", but the historical fact is that both are. The difference is that people in the free world's militaries only kill children in small batches, and never as part of doctrine. In the immediate past, the free world, led by the United States, has made extraordinary strides to reduce inadvertent slaughter. The moral argument against war has suffered terribly with the development of precision weaponry and professional armed forces; invasion by the West has become substantially less cruel than Socialist or Islamist governance.

Benjamin Franklin could not conceive of a bad peace or a good war, but he also could not conceive of a concentration camp. The simple and irrefutable truth is that socialism and class warfare is responsible for orders of magnitude more corpses than the militaries of the free world, and that's counting Verdun, Dresden, Hiroshima, My Lai, Abu Gharib, and everything in between. The kind of despicable behavior accepted by class warriors is abhorrent to the professional national soldier, although political troops are notoriously less constrained. Socialist government and successful class war has killed more than all the weapons of mass destruction combined.

I figured this out intellectually twenty years ago when I joined and ten years ago experientially when I intercepted ships off Haiti. We are all responsible for infanticide because there is only so much that can be done to stop the slaughter of innocents. My decision to join the Navy was predicated on the belief that by doing so I could effect some change that would reduce the slaughter greater than I could elsewhere. I honestly believe to this day that I did more in the Navy than I could have by protesting or participating in any pacifist relief organization. The absolute lack of effectiveness of pacifist organizations in Africa alone points out to me the validity of this decision. Civilized behavior is the most certain safeguard of innocent lives that exists, and the US military has done more to enforce civilized behavior than anyone else in the history of the world.

Michael Totten's assertion was attacked, because it cannot be accepted without abandoning socialist principles. Murdered children are inconvenient for the academic revolutionary.

One more thing, all of the above is also true for fundamentalist religious warfare, with the possible exception of absolute body count. Hopefully we can maintain that distinction.
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