20070811

Love and War and Hate. . . . and Love

I don't recommend military service for anyone until he or she learns to love him or herself as well, and in fact understand that people can love each other. It's odd to say, but in my opinion, being a good soldier in any branch in any military in the world means understanding love, having love for people and perhaps being in love in general.

The worst thing in the world is a soldier with no heart.

Under no circumstances would I ever want to have to tell some one's mother "Your son is dead, it's probably my fault." In that way understanding that someone is loved by someone, and understanding that if you were to love someone in the same way, you wouldn't want to hear of their demise and further more you wouldn't want to inflict that feeling on anyone else. Understanding love in this way makes you a better soldier and war-fighter.

I've seen lots of angry young men, like myself to be sure, join the military. I'm almost certain they'll become of one of those people who throws lives away because they will have learned so much about the military there wouldn't be room to learn about love until much later.

If this hypothetical trooper does learn about love, his or her heart will become heavy with the regret of the lives he threw away. The widows, widowers and orphans he made in addition to many more disabled veterans, will weigh very heavily on his shoulders.

Sound terrible? It is. The possibility of a soldier with no love in his heart taking my place is also the only reason I can think of to get up in the lacerating cold or the choking heat and run two miles, do push-ups, do sit-ups and go to the firing ranges. Because I don't like the other options.

Indeed The Marine Corps Guide to Small Wars calls for "the utmost compassion when dealing with the native, non-hostile population."

This, as far as I can tell flies in the face of how Marines are perceived, indeed not just by the populace but by Marines themselves.

There is far more need for Marines who are family men who miss their wives then there is for devil-may-care Jarheads who could care less about what throat gets slit, including their own.

A wild man on the battlefield isn't what any military needs; but a soldier capable of understanding what sacrifice is, not just so that can make a sacrifice, but so they know when not to? That's something that not only the military needs, but also society at large.

1 comment:

Jennifer Sardam said...

This is pretty insightful. I know that when I joined the military, I expected to have to be completely emotionless to fit in, esp. in basic training. But, what you say is true -- I have seen more emotional highs and lows in the military than anywhere else. When you are faced with the possibility that you might have to one day make the ultimate sacrifice, or when you're smack dab in the middle of the aftermath of those lives lost and ravaged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction in New Orleans... you realize that you feel more than you ever thought you could, on a scale that you never thought you would. And, when you get a salute from a young child, a thanks from an elderly war veteran, or are blown away by the bear hugs, smiles and greetings of a seemingly endless line of bodies - a.k.a. the Maine Troop Greeters in Bangor, Maine's tiny airport -- you know that you must understand love to have the heart of a Soldier.