Soldiers are civilians, too.

With the little bit of free time I’ve had this summer, I’ve been organizing files on my computer. In the process, I’ve been reading through some projects I’ve had shelved. The following paragraph is an excerpt from a larger project — on belief acquisition — and I thought it should stand on its own as Just a thought.

What some people forget is that, like it or not, the military is social. It’s embedded in a polity, and it’s just one of many familiar social and political institutions therein. There exists no impenetrable wall with soldiers on one side and civilians on the other. A soldier moves from a theater of war to a movie theatre with the alacrity of a wardrobe change. We don’t live in Sparta. Babies don’t pop out of the womb wearing combat boots. Some people’s kids become soldiers, and soldiers have kids – just like real people. And though some people revile the military and profess to oppose all it stands for,[1]the military exemplifies and reifies many of the values common people hold dear: honour, courage, strength, and fidelity. In fact, these values are sought in any occupation. Job descriptions usually don’t read: Wanted: feeble, mousey, back-stabbing thief. No, we’re looking for an honest, reliable team-player.

[1]Gatehouse, John.  “Life during wartime: We’re all witnesses to war.” Macleans. Online article. October 25, 2014.“[W]e remain slightly suspicious of the motives of people who volunteer to serve in the army, navy, or air force, as if there is something nobler – and more Canadian – in playing defence than being on the offensive.”

Categories: Ponderings

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