I believe that we need to consider the Soldier doing a job he or she has committed to do, not unlike any other job. They do their jobs with dignity, integrity, loyalty, dedication and some the ultimate sacrifice. We must hold their service in high esteem, regardless of the politics behind their missions and whether or not we agree with those politics.
A good first step is to keep a sense of humility about your own conclusions about war. Soldiers have “misgivings” too. Not every war is right, and not every war is wrong. Most wars have a lot of both elements. So, a humble attitude opens all of us to the possibility that there is no easy answer, no easy conclusion, and that we therefore should focus on the person–the servicemember–rather than on the war and his/her decision to serve.
For clarity, allow me to better liken the Soldier’s effort to any other “job.” If my friend works at Penn State, I will continue to be her friend in the wake of recent events that demonstrate certain leadership there did not choose wisely. Her mission of educating students is still a noble one, even if leadership did not make a decision with which anyone would support that works there – students, alumni, etc.
If my friend works for BP, I will continue to support her in her job and not blame her for the failings of that company or its leadership to protect the environment or handle the situation that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Her own personal mission for that company is still noble and worthy of respect.
If my friend works for a pharmaceutical company that had a product approved that ultimately killed people, I will not hold her accountable for the actions of others associated with or leading that product’s push to approval. She still did her job with integrity and care.
Therefore, regardless of our missions in life, we cannot necessarily control those that lead us or the decisions that are made at higher levels. We can do what we believe is “right” in our sphere of influence when warranted and certainly bring to light internally, or even externally to the point of whistle-blowing, something that is not ethical. Or, we can choose to leave a work environment and conscientiously object to continuing to support that organization’s mission as directed if we do not agree with it. However, whatever we decide, as long as we do our “jobs” with dignity, integrity, loyalty and dedication, we are worthy of respect and consideration.
Fighting war is hell, and a tough job often with the ultimate sacrifice. However, in my work experience, I have seen the impact of some pretty tough jobs right here on our soil… including loss of life, burns over most of the body, debilitating injuries, chronic illness. We all fight different wars as Americans aimed to give our families a better life – freedom, education, opportunity, the pursuit of happiness. We all fight for the American dream… on a range of battlefields. We all deserve respect and should give respect to each other when we serve with integrity and honor towards this end. We should all care for each other, regardless of who or how we serve in this great nation.