Fri Sep 5th, 2008 at 06:01:52 PM EST
This is something I had already longer in mind, but the fact, that the only not completely insane speaches at the republican convention were about McCain's status as POW and the recent discussion initiated by Maryscott OConnor, trigger the decision to write this:
I do not at all think military service per se something which is honourable.
One of my great-grandfathers (father of the mother of my mother) was on the eastern fron in WW II.
From what he has told, I can only assess, he was a coward. He got lost from his battle group, luckily, because it saved his live. Later he hided between dead bodies, for not being shot. When he was prisoner of war, he cooperated with the Russians, as good as he could. He failed his 'duty' to shoot as many Russians as possible pretty completely and cared mostly for his own live.
Would it have been more honourable if he would have functioned the way he should have functioned? Would it have been more honourable to die for an insane idea of world domination?
In the village where one of my grandfathers lived as child, there was a man, who emigrated to the USA, when the NAZIs took power. When WW II started, this man volunteered in the US army, and was in the group of soldiers, which reached first the village, where he once lived.
He helped the villagers, and convinced his co-soldiers that most of the people in the village were no NAZIs.
This man has fought, but against his own country. Wouldn't it have been its 'honourable' duty to fight for 'his' country, even when it was wrong on all counts?
During WW II the German army had a huge number of deserters. More than 20,000 were charged as treasenors. Thousands of them were put to death for that.
Who is the 'war hero'? Those who fought until their last drop of blood, or those who risked their death for not fighting an unjustice war of annihilation?
I don't want to equalise WW II and the Vietnam war. But isn't it, that today in hindsight most people say, this war was wrong? And wasn't it, that already during the war, many Americans understood that this was a wrong war?
I don't condemn Vietnam war veterans, but can they count as heros as having done an honourable service to their country, when they were stubborn and willing to sacrifice for the wrong cause?
I say NO.