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Daily Connect: Happy Veterans Day?

Today is Veterans Day. I come from a long line of veterans. My brother served recently in Iraq for the Marines, while we grew up in an Air Force family where moving every 3-4 years was commonplace (hello Oklahoma! hello California! hello South Carolina!). And both of my grandfathers served as representative members of the “best generation” (one was a cartographer for the Army during WWII, while the other was stationed in Hawaii in the Marine Corps).

The military, of course, is a country’s primary means of defense and is, in essence, a specialized institution of war. War, of course, is hell. And hell entails quite a bit of suffering. As a pragmatic pacifist (in situations of extreme and immanent existential threat, violence can be an ethical option), I find my feelings about the military to be a mixture of awe, respect, and repulsion. How to dialog the two truths that “it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail” and “the just wage war on the wicked because they have to”? Although certainly a habitual clinging to a security derived from soldiers and steel can dangerously overvalue the virtue of strength in the maintenance of order, when it comes to the protection of others, the presence of force does seem indispensable for the continuance of life on this oh so tragically beautiful earth. And so. Today I leave you with a fascinating blog I stumbled upon when looking up the Buddha’s teachings on war, the ethics of being a soldier and the necessity of an army for competent statecraft (breaking news: good kings require good armies): Buddhist Military Sangha. So yes. Happy Veterans Day. 

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Comments

I have the biggest for these

I have the biggest for these veterans for they have spent their whole life fighting for the country. MasterPlaques.com

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