Whose God?

In an earlier post, Slater raised the issue of integrity in the recent cashiering of MG Haight. One comment went so far as to push the canard that a person who cheats on their spouse can’t be trusted to lead soldiers in peace and war. History doesn’t support that in fact, but the philosophy behind the outrage and the comment have great merit because of their grounding in Christian belief and how it limits soldiers from falling into depravity in war:

1. All men are created equal, and those who are raised to leadership take on greater responsibility to lead a moral life publicly and privately. A person who is publicly moral and privately immoral lacks integrity. Like a boat, a lack of integrity in the hull eventually sinks the boat and everyone who trusted in it by riding in it. Soldiers expect their officers to be right when ordered to commit violence.

2. In marriage there is the promise to become one person, forsaking all others for all time. This means adultery is a sin against one’s own self in both its parts and subsidiary constituents: husband and wife, and children. A commander so divided finds it impossible to maintain unity of command of himself and thereby loses the ability to know the rights and wrongs that create good order and discipline in himself and his men.

These are considered Judeo-Christian values, firmly grounded in both testaments. They have worked for a few millenia, and are credited with America’s success as an experiment in self-liberty,  ever straining to be practitioners of Beatitudinally-compliant social justice, and for being raised above all the other nations for a time. America became the most lethal country since Genghis Khan’s Hordes swept Eurasia into his empire. To reign ourselves in, we created Bible-based tools to set boundaries on our behavior.

We abide by the Geneva Convention. We go out of our way to avoid collateral damage, and to promote a culture of self-liberty even as we’re about the business of killing every single bad guy in the region. We disapprove of urinating on corpses and raping and pillaging and take action when those crimes are discovered. The adherence to these ethics helped make America extremely successful militarily.

All that success lead to an excess of pride, which is known to be a precursor to catastrophic failure. Pride in this case leads to abandoning what worked before for new ideas, most of which were born thousands of years ago, but new nonetheless. An Air Force Major is under a misconduct investigation for the crime of having an open Bible on his desk. Christianity, before seen as a temporizing influence, is a crime when practiced in the USAF. Already, marriage is redefined and criticism is criminalized. Gender is redefined and criticism is criminalized. To bring up Christianity is to be accused of violating the Church-State boundary.

To sum up to this point: to behave according to Christian teachings is purely a private matter and this practice can not, must not inform the behavior of the Military Service Member in the conduct of duty. People who claim wisdom and are hip to the times agree on this point nodding sagely in padded seats far from the pointy end of the bayonet and the 18-year old who must kill.

In this new ethic, as it is being applied today, what exactly is MG Haight guilty of? He is being judged according to millenias-old rules, however newly codified in our UCMJ, which are based on a faith that is impermissable in the conduct of military service.

Let’s apply this philosophy more broadly. Shoplifting from the PX? Rape of children? Lynch mobbing? Occupy Wallstreet? The Horror of Rotherham? Ted Bundy? How is any of this criminal in this brave new world?

In combat, the killing of bad guys is our business, so how is this guy defined as bad? He’s just a dude doing his thing, and certainly not interfering with the Labor Day sales at the mall. What parameters frame our judgement of his actions? #BadGuyLivesMatter! If killing a bad guy is ordered, why not kill all those children and women he’s surrounded himself with? “Thou shalt not commit murder” with the imperative of ‘shall not’ belongs to forbidden religions. One can make a thousand arguments against murder, but a joe in combat isn’t educated enough or have the time to review the rules of to kill or not. The only argument I can see with any integrity with our governing philosophy of anti-JudeoChristianity and the reality of warfare is that murder is 100% A-Okay. That’s who we are today.

Where does it stop? How depraved must our military become before we ourselves have to be destroyed like rabid dogs? Today it’s a crime to read a Bible at your desk in the USAF. Is the Army the same way? The Marines? For those whose business is killing others in the name of the State, where do they turn for moral instruction? Where do they learn about the limits when the source code is forbidden to be applied?

I close by restating the questions above: should MG Haight be put out of the Army, or promoted to LTG for following the very modern and accepted ethic? He did his duty. Whose God guides us when hope in man is abandoned? How will the Keydets be instructed when lying, cheating, stealing, and toleration of these action are how we do business as commissioned officers and voters?

About DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
This entry was posted in Air Force, Army, VMI. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Whose God?

  1. slater says:

    I’ve had a bible on my desk since February.

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  2. vmijpp says:

    Brilliant, and well-said. A frequent reader and sometime commenter asked me to pass along that this post is, “some of the most instructive and reflective commentary on the topic I have heard in many years. How refreshing and uplifting! This is the kind of straightforward logic that needs to be spoken aloud, to our citizens, over and over again.”

    Amen on that.

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  3. slater says:

    Although, Dave. It doesn’t matter where the laws we submit ourselves to are derived from. What matters is that we submitted ourselves, and therefore MG Haight and any like him deserve the whole thing, and that is a dishonorable discharge.

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    • DaveO says:

      Yes, where the rules come from do matter. You express what is known as Rules-based Ethics: the rule applies to all in all situations. In this system of ethics, the source of the rule is paramount. Some religions celebrate human sacrifice, while others promote the dehumanization of people. The Soviets practiced rule-based ethics to horrific effect: to dissent is to cause harm, therefor the killing of the dissenter is Good. Their murderers are heroes, while we venerate the Angel of Marye’s Heights. The source code matters.

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    • CooperEP '04 says:

      Why would the potential punishment be different for an O-8 than anyone in uniform? The rules should be applied equally to all just like when we all were in Corps of Cadets based on the conditions of the case. Otherwise, how can it be justified that the process is fair and impartial?

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  4. DaveO says:

    Cooper, you make a fair point. The answer to how is the view of right and wrong as “shades of gray.” Now for the denizens of Daniels’s Den, I don’t mean a certain book, even though the ethic is tortuous. In the case of this Haight-crime, a Major General has done more for our Nation and its Army than a Lieutenant. Another shade of gray is that the general support more impotant VIP. When everuthing is gray, you get the Army Value of “different spanks for different ranks.”

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