succumbing to peer pressure

Sunday, April 11, 2004

As usual, atrios is more succesfully articulate than I:

"Like Jim, I have immense sympathy for the troops - even those (hopefully few) who may be guilty of committing horrible unnecessary atrocities. In their situation I can imagine my behavior could be atrocious as well. I have no sympathy for the people who wrongly put them there, or for their cowardly non-enlisting supporters. They put these men and women in an impossible situation. One should not be surprised by their reactions.

War- any war - is about weighing the costs against the benefits. The moral calculus for different people will vary, as we have different beliefs about threats and consequences, and different weights placed on our deaths vs. their deaths, on military vs. civilian casualties, on the overall cost, etc... But, no matter what the benefits of "success" are (what that is I don't even know), as the situation and perception about the actual costs - in lives and in money - change, it's perfectly rational for peoples' perceptions about this adventure change. To not change your mind in the face of changing facts is the insane thing. To believe that "winning" is all-important, even once we've lost any sense of what that means, is a belief which simply sacrifices more lives to spare some fragile egos.

Pointing out that it was a mistake to send these people to their deaths does not dishonor them - it rightly dishonors the civilian leaders who sent them there. These people served their country when asked, even if their civilian leaders can be faulted."


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