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Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Honor is a Lost Attribute for the Soldier of a Modern Army
It is a horrible statement of modern civilization’s lack of progress that we conduct warfare with tools and weapons that kill non-combatants by overwhelming ratios to soldiers killed. Great dishonor is carried by those who use this type of warfare, not excluding my own nation; the United States. In Lebanon the Israeli’s are conducting just such an offense against the people of Lebanon, in their goal of ridding that nation of Hezbollah armed militia. Sure, they say they had no intention of hurting civilians. But consider, if there is a way to conduct the battles without killing civilians, and they chose to fight in another manner of their choice, then it is not intention that is horrible, it is knowledge of consequences and the willingness to accept those outcomes that forces the moral burden upon them.
In the case of the Israeli and Lebanese/Hezbollah conflict, it is reasonable to expect that if the enemy is amongst the civilian population, that many civilians would die and be wounded, as has happened. As their reward for war the Israelis have seen but a fraction of dead Hezbollah fighters compared to innocent and unarmed civilians.
Every industrialized nation that has ever developed and shared or sold advanced weaponry is in part responsible for this type of warfare. We knew from the aerial bombardments of World War II and of Vietnam, that you can’t kill Gorilla Warfare targets with large, loud, foot falls, such as our bombs, artillery, missiles and airborne craft. With these expensive weapons we achieve the goal of killing more enemy with less loss of life on our side. Usually – in theory. How can any nation be expected to chose not to use the most effective weapons they have?
When the bombing is over the foot soldiers usually always discover the enemy lies in wait, sometimes miraculously unharmed. But the poor who could not flee, are dead or wounded and walk their neighborhoods in a daze, crushed humans bodies still intact, minds destroyed, family missing.
A war against Gorilla tactic requires the opposition to meet them at eye level. Face to face with their targets, a soldier can more easily see that he or she is shooting at an armed person and not a civilian running for cover or hiding. A great many civilians would survive this type of warfare. Unlike a bombing from the skies, knowing that the ground shooting is getting closer, non-combatants could run in the proper direction away, and save their own lives. But the loss on the side of the uniformed and well equipped opposition would be higher, their casualties far greater than if their choice were those expensive “stand-off,” weapons. Snipers, land mines, traps and ambushes would wait for the opposition as they crept through the urban streets discriminately, walking on veritable pins and needles.
As casualties mount for both sides, the opposition force that chose to go in on foot, rather than launch a faceless battle of one-sided technology launching, will see that there is a cost for honor. Their bravery on the ground is unparalleled. The result at battle’s end is very few dead and wounded civilians.
Honor is a lost trait among the industrialized armies of today. Sure recruiters say “honor,” a lot, in their commercials, but where has it gone to? Is there honor in an attack toward an area where civilians are likely to be? No. Honor is not only following orders or completing some test of your ability. Honor is felt within the self and is pure. Honor needs no verbal recognition from peers or superiors – it is that strong. The best example of this revered human trait is warfare, on the ground warfare, eyes meet eyes, and faces strained with the exertion of strength, swords of contention clashing as sweat is flying and fear is just beneath, put aside, for honor to be won.