I look across this wonderful meeting of so many Catholics, and after talking on a site about the Pill, finally found the courage to ask about what I have done in ground combat I suppose you’d call it, in that people have told me the killing I did was “defending your country” but no, they were defending their country… the old CSA expression “because you’re here.” They were not Jihadists or Al-Qaeda or whatever, just boys who did not want us there. My poor priest, he had a hard time answering this at Reconciliation. I suppose I was protecting my brothers, but in my pointed little head I cannot defend it. You tell me, if anyone else has the answer. I know there are a few real grunts out there.
yah, what is this stuff?
The OP has raised legitimate questions.
I’m not a grunt (got a brother enlisted in the AF but he’s not directly in combat, though is in a combat zone often), but this is my best take on the issue.
Defending your country is one valid motivation for violence - if your country should be defended. If your country is relatively blameless, and others invade, then it is right and just to defend your country.
But if you knew that your country was in the process of orchestrating unprovoked attacks against others, then your country needs to be stopped. And if no one from within can or will do it, then people from without must. And trying to stop them from doing so would be unjust. This doesn’t mean that if the invading force must be viewed as all benevolent, or shouldn’t be resisted if they start to do wrong, only that if my country is engaged in terrorism, others have a right to come in and stop it.
But of course there will be people fighting for this country that sponsors terrorism who don’t know or don’t care what their country is doing, and only, as you say, “want the foreigners out.” This is tragic, because we can all see why they would see things that way. It’s one thing to say that country A has a right to come in and stop country B from killing innocents, but we all know that the citizens of country B won’t like this, and will resist. Otherwise blameless people will fight to stop country A from doing something it has a right to do, and what’s worse we can understand why they would.
If it turned out that the US had been staging terrorism against the Chinese, for example, and they couldn’t convince us to stop, and if our normal government processes failed to stop it (unlikely, as the threat of a Chinese invasion would probably push democracy to stop any such acts, but if it didn’t), then China would have a right to use military force to stop it. But how would we feel if the Chinese invaded our country, even if they had a just cause, and even if they took care not to unduly damage our infrastructure or society, and didn’t really want to take over the government?
But that just makes it sad. It doesn’t really change anything except to make it more heart wrenching. Enemy soldiers are, for the most part, people who think they’re doing what is best for their country.
The only way to view such engagements is as tragic necessities. In such cases as our presence in the middle east, our presence really is justified. There really is a reason for us to be there. It really does need to be done.
But then there are these people, mostly blameless, who don’t want us there and will fight to keep us out. And our soldiers have to defend themselves. That this means the deaths of such people who, absent our reason to be over there in the first place, would just be considered patriots is a sad and tragic thing, but given their actions it’s necessary.
It’s reasons like this that war should be avoided. Every soldier on every side is a person, but if there is a just reason for the war and if it is unavoidable, then such deaths are tragic necessities. It may help to try to look at it from the broader perspective - not because it makes the deaths less tragic, but because there is all the difference in the world between saying that you are fighting people who are justly defending their country, and that you are seeking peace and an end to state caused violence, with the tragic deaths of the people who, understandably but misguidedly, are trying to stop you as an unintended and undesired consequence.
I also recommend reading a bit about just war theory here.
I believe a spam-post got deleted from the mods or something.
I suspect that there was a spam post which a mod deleted.
IMHO, the last moral war was WWII and that was the last time our country (USA) was under direct attack. Except perhaps the war on terrorism.
Corea and Viet Nam were fought defending one dictator against another dictator, and as I see it personally were not moral wars.