The Purpose of the Military is to Kill People and Break Things

In order to do that effectively, it was perfectly appropriate to make use of all resources, including human resources, as much as possible.  So it was perfectly appropriate  to get rid of stupid color, ethnic and gender barriers that hindered that mission.

It is not, however, perfectly appropriate to replace one stupid ideology with another by sending women into combat and by making the military a laboratory in which our troops are forced to waste their time being compelled offer not merely tolerance but fake celebration of homosex to people whose sexual behavior is nobody’s business but their own.  This detracts from the central function of the military every bit as much as the brain dead dogmas of the past.  And it does so not because it is has anything to do with the mission of the military (much less something “critical” to the mission of the military), but because our troops are the one demographic under the absolute despotic rule of our Ruling Class and are therefore forced to knuckle under to the social engineering that they would, if they could, subject everybody to.  For our Ruling Class, tolerance is not enough.  You.  MUST. Approve!

  • Roki

    I get your hyperbolic point in the post title, but it rather undermines the good arguments you make elsewhere about the evils of torture, unjust war, and consequentialism.

    If the purpose of the military really were to kill people and break things, then to hell with it.

    The purpose of the military, insofar as it is good and just, must be something more like: to oppose violence with force, and to defend innocent lives even at the cost of their (our?) own. Perhaps there’s a place for righteous wrath in there somewhere. I’m sure we can find a slogan that’s equally muscular, and equally pithy, but that also has the virtue of being fully true.

  • NG

    Any military planner or officer could tell you that the TASK of the military is to kill people and break things. The PURPOSE is the defend the republic and the lives, freedom and property of its citizens.

    • JM1001

      The PURPOSE is the defend the republic and the lives, freedom and property of its citizens.

      Well, not always. In times of war, yes. But the Founding Fathers considered standing armies in peacetime to be a constant threat to the republic, freedom, and the citizenry.

    • Roki

      I can appreciate this distinction.

      I’m still not sure if “killing people and breaking things” is ever, in and of itself, a goal or end or final cause worthy of honor. The distinctions in Just War Theory and the presumptions of the good in moral discernment are deep and complex. I am no pacifist, and I have no desire to be a rigorist (though I might play one for the sake of a debate); yet I have difficulty with the justifications of Just War Theory for directly targeting enemy soldiers. And to say something like, “The soldier has to shoot to kill, lest he be killed himself, or worse, his position overrun” seems to open the door to consequentialism.

      I say this not to object to JWT or the stated allowance of war by the Church; much less to cast any shadow on the honor of those who put their lives in harms’ way for my freedom. All these are wiser than I. Rather, I just am airing my own intellectual difficulty understanding the logic of it all.

      Further, I don’t want to hijack Mark’s post with a rabbit trail distracting from his main point. So I’ll simply say, thank you for the distinction, and leave it there.

  • Stu

    This on par with former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, stating that the primary mission of the Navy was “diversity.” What a load of shit. And it is that sort of mentality that convinced me to hang up my spurs right at 20 years.

    And Mark’s characterization of the purpose of the military is absolutely spot on and should be inculcated into the skull of every politician who would deign to one day be CINC. The military should be seen as a “red guarded” switch that you only invoke after much discernment. Problem is, we have wrapped up its purpose into more loftier ideals that calling on them to solve every problem has become the answer because quite simply, we get the job done. (And sadly it is that same attitude that made us completely defenseless against political correctness).

    A little while ago, I was up at Arlington Cemetery. It’s a special place for me. Both of my grandfathers are buried there as is my uncle, and infant daughter that we lost and a good number of buds who were killed during the attack on the Pentagon. It will be my final resting place as well. I always make a point of going to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (and Audie Murphy who is near by) which is a habit my father instilled in me. As I watched the changing of the guard my eye caught view of the Capitol and I reflected upon the men who serve in that building (and the WH) and the men whose graves were below me. I realized that I feel much more loyalty to those who also served than I do for our senior leadership.

  • kenofken

    So in a military that allegedly defends the values of our Constitution, non-white straight males deserve dignity and respect while serving, but ONLY because they’re efficient cogs in a killing machine. Under the presumption that gays and women are less productive killers, they don’t rate the same consideration because it would only detract from the bottom line.

    If you can say that and walk a line, you have no beef at all with the ruling class besides a few decimal places in your net worth, and they could fix that easily enough and make you one of their key strategists and moral theoreticians.

    I mean, wow. We didn’t owe black Americans or Native Americans or Japanese Americans or women any respect in uniform or opportunity to prove themselves based on anything organic about who we are or what we stand for as a country. Their inclusion just happened to comport with our need to kill at certain times. Had they not, or if there was the slightest doubt they could not, they should have been relegated to menial tasks, or reservations, or internment camps, or whatever else they seemed suited for. To do otherwise would have been sentimental “social engineering” and a misappropriation of resources. Any Roman Caesar or Khmer commander would be proud of us.

    Our troops ARE one demographic. They’re called Americans, and they’re owed the respect which underlies the concept of diversity by fact of that alone. Given that they’re volunteering to fight, die, and perhaps suffer a lifetime of disability for the rest of us, that respect should be a baseline of what WE owe them.

    If our command structure truly can’t manage to cultivate and demand an atmosphere of respect and still maintain combat readiness, they’re unfit for command. If we think it’s too much trouble to demand that atmosphere of respect, and believe that soldier’s dignity is a commodity to be earned by their efficiency in killing for their overlord, we deserve the gulag state we are going to get.

    • SteveP

      Squealer says “homogeneity is diversity!”

    • Carlos_Perera

      Heck of a big straw man you knocked down there, kenofken. Mark Shea’s post stated nothing to justify your feverish interpretation of it . . . and nothing in his previous blog posts suggests that he thinks along the tendentious lines you sketch in your comment. You might want to clean thoroughly the filter through which your mind perceives reality.

  • Elmwood

    Yep, kill people and break things is exactly the point of the US military (unfortunately).

    Though one could also argue the point of the military should be to defend, protect and help the the innocent, and not necessarily to kill and break things, which is ultimately an evil but perhaps a necessary one at times.

    Modern warfare, with its disastrous collateral damage and massive loss of innocent life, means that wars are seldom, if never justified morally. With the US military playing its role in the culture of death, why should we be surprised if it also endorses the lifestyle.

    I always enjoyed that story in WWI during Xmas when the Germans and French/Allies put down their arms and stopped the madness and got to know one another for a few days. But of course the generals at that time were horrified at the notion that they didn’t try to kill one another after Xmas and had to force them to start fighting again.

    I wonder if the “support the troops” sloganeering all to common today in politics is really an attempt to squash any critical thought about the evils of modern warfare. It’s like we worship war in our culture, especially war memorials, when they should be seen as reminders of the evils of war like the concentration camps in Germany are reminders of the evils of Nazism.

    The bad news in all of this is that most wars that the US has fought in were not just, and therefore to die in one is that much more tragic and stupid.

    No to war!
    War is not always inevitable.
    It is always a defeat for humanity.
    International law, honest dialogue, solidarity between states,
    the noble exercise of diplomacy:
    These are methods worthy of individuals and nations in resolving their differences.”
    St. John Paul II

    • B.E. Ward

      This story was also told in the relatively recent film Joyeux Noel.

    • Stu

      Actually, modern warfare has reduced collateral damage.

      • Elmwood

        I think of anything post industrial revolution as modern, in which case today’s military would be inherently more destructive collaterally than during the middle ages and the time of St. Augustine when just war doctrine was first envisioned.

        IMO, war is almost never just because it’s more collaterally destructive than in the past. i think the CCC section of just war is somewhat vague compared to our most recent pope’s statements against waging war.

        The most ridiculous catholic pro-hawkish defense of war can be found by Catholic Answers. They make is sound if the president is GOP, the war is automatically just. Don’t question it. it’s a pathetic POS used to defend US war and the industrial military complex.

        it’s interesting to me that the catechism according to the council of trent says only when wars are just, combatants do not sin when they kill. at some point, everyone directly participating in a unjust war bears the sin of it. that’s why nobody cares about all the dead nazis–they always sinned when they killed, we sometimes didn’t.

        • Stu

          Well again, no. See above.

          I think you may be off in your use of the term “collateral.”

      • kenofken

        Iraqis might beg to differ with you. Modern warfare completely shatters the physical and civic infrastructures of countries.

        • Stu

          Well….no. And, the topic is collateral damage.

          Modern warfare seeks to hit critical nodes that make the war “over” before it starts. Thus the use of highly accurate munitions that almost always hits exactly where they are intended to impact after a very rigorous targeting cycle that seeks to minimize collateral damage and hit the target once to avoid having to make another attempt. We don’t carpet bomb or raze entire towns as a matter of course. Instead, the goal is to use a few well placed munitions in places that shutdown defenses but are able to be restored quickly after the territory is taken (if it even is).

          I can say from personal experience during both OEF and OIF that we take great effort to minimize collateral damage.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    A retired officer once said to me: Sure, the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things, but civilians turn out to be a lot more bloodthirsty than the military.

    • Stu

      Pretty much.

  • Dave G.

    Gender barriers? I remember when the military allowed women in combat, folks on this and other Catholic blogs had fits. Is it OK now? If it is, that could say something about the rest of the post’s content

    • Stu

      The gradual introduction of women into roles closer to the fighting has been a failure. But you will never have the military report back that it has failed.


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