Paul Elisha: Reluctant Warriors
As the shadow of a doomsday triad looms over the coming first week in November, this WW-II combat-veteran-turned-commentator is compelled to dwell on an over-riding truth, that any military commanders who have seen war’s effects on the bodies, minds and spirits of combatants must – ever after – become reluctant warriors. This does not make them more timorous or less diligent in carrying out the savage and frightful actions that combat leadership compels; it does, though, constrain them from committing those they command to needless or foolhardy slaughter.
When nations or factions are prodded into warfare by belligerence that overpowers prudence or principle, there are always some who seize such times as perverse possibilities for heedless heroics, which inevitably hurl others toward the madness of mayhem and murder. The singular victories delivered by such unbridled paranoia are not worth their ultimate cost, in human lives lost or irreparably shattered.
This veteran has served both with demonic demagogues and serenely heroic but humane commanders, for whom every entrusted life was sacred.
Those who pursue profligate paths to personal glory seem to find it easy to consign others to the costliest contributions--- their very lives. Like the caring commanders I’ve known, for whom such indifference is anathema, we must always be skeptic and unwilling confederates.
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