John Livingston News

Moral Certitude

“I can forgive you for killing my children, but I can never forgive you for making me kill yours” Golda Meir

I have spent over 26 years in the military on active duty, in the reserves, and as an instructor of surgeons and physicians around the world. I was never at “the tip of the spear” and was only in harm’s way twice. People in the JAG Corps, supply, military intelligence, and medical corps, serve our warriors every day and it is our privilege to do so. But claiming a warrior’s valor and courage should be the purview of the warrior. Warriors need staff support to fight but sitting behind the lines and claiming valor is a clandestine act of courage. Every time someone like Pete Buttigieg “went over the wire”—he never trained for such duty, he put Marines in harm’s way because they had to keep an extra eye on the outsider in the platoon. Same thing with the stories about Bo Biden. Thank you for your service Bo but you were never at the tip of the spear and for your family to claim such valor is false. And by the way when warriors train—flying a jet or helicopter in peace time is an act of courage and should be respected as such. Live fire training in the field is a similar everyday function that soldiers, and Marines do that should be respected. Jogging around the hospital compound to stay in shape is something many in the health care field do in the military, but it is not an act of “courage on the field”. Those who have served in battalion aid stations and field hospitals in war time and have been in harm’s way I put in the category of “warrior hero”. My billet with Marine Recon was at Camp Lejeune and was in peace time and I was never deployed to a war zone. I am not a hero…

The events leading up to our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the subsequent “Bladensburg Retreat” have been commented on ad nauseum over the past week. I would like to take a different approach and try to explain why in the end we were unable to prevail. Many factors that involve military expertise and an understanding of the milieu of international relations I claim to have little knowledge about, but they need to be reviewed. In my most humble opinion at the root of our problem in our military leadership and with our President has been a lack of MORAL CERTITUDE. Our soldiers, and sailors and Marines have never lacked in their convictions. They have never wavered in the belief that what they are doing is right, moral, and virtuous. Our leaders and politicians and today captains of industry have demonstrated an evolving lack of commitment to the values that have given to us as a people the certainty that protecting ourselves is not only a responsibility but a duty. Warriors are for the most part the most moral and virtuous people I have ever met. To many people the reality of war, killing to protect oneself and one’s tribe and country seems to create a conflict in their hearts that results in an eventual loss of MORAL CERTITUDE.

As I have stated in previous articles, I am not an apologetic or a religious. I am a Catholic lay person. I will use Christian and Natural Law as a bases for my argument about a just confrontation with evil. Citations will be from the Catholic Catechism.

The 5th Commandment ‘THOU SHALT NOT KILL” defines all human life as sacred because “God alone is responsible for the creative act of life”. Cat#2258. The Old Law—Old Testament, New Law—The teachings of Jesus, and the Natural Law Theory tell us “That the innocent murder of an innocent person is a grave sin contrary to the dignity of life” Cat2261. The legitimate defense is not an exception to the 5th Commandment if the intended effect is the preservation of one’s own life or the life of another. Murder is illegitimate always. Killing may be necessary and may be a responsibility. “One who defends his or her life or the life of another, with lethal force is not guilty of murder provided the use of force is proportionate” Cat#2264. In fact, legitimate defense is not only a right, but a duty. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For that reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have a right to use arms to repeal aggressors” Cat2265.

After 9/11 we had every moral right—in fact an obligation to protect ourselves. Self-protection and vengeance are often confused. Law enforcement, those in the military fighting terrorists or a totalitarian enemy, a father or mother protecting their children need to know in no uncertain terms—with certitude, that the protection of a life that they are responsible for is an absolute duty. The virtues of prudence and temperance were never expected to be used as an excuse for not being courageous. Courage in defending oneself and family is the ultimate virtue. Without courage the other virtues wouldn’t exist. As a Christian I believe there is a connection through one’s heart facilitated by the Holy Spirit, that demands the unselfish acts that are required to protect the greatest of God’s Blessings—Liberty. At its very core liberty exists so man can, in an unfettered fashion, exercise his own God given “Free will”.

We had every right to go after terrorists. Nation building was another issue, and it had nothing to do with protecting ourselves. We had a moral obligation to protect our friends in Afghanistan and to protect and secure the futures of their families. We failed miserably in our withdrawal, our retreat, and the ensuing rout. Our President and our military leadership are to blame. Those serving under them deserve better. They remain heroes to me and should be heroes in the hearts and minds of all Americans.

One last thing our sclerotic military leadership forgot. A war isn’t ever over till the other fellow stops fighting. The Taliban never stopped fighting. They had to be destroyed and our military leaders and politicians lacked the moral certitude to win—except for Donald Trump.

MAGA “Fight Like Hell” “Win Baby Win” Al Davis

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