Saturday, January 07, 2006

Moral Equivalence

Let's say a group of people hostile to you and your nation murder several of your citizens in cold blood. These citizens are not soldiers, politicians, industrialist or the like. Let's say they are athletes who traveled to another nation to compete peacefully and foster greater understanding among peoples and nations. Now let's say for whatever reason you are sick and tired of having your citizens murdered and you endeavor to find out who did it, when you find them what do you do with them? You kill them. Does that make you like them? No it does not. If you murdered their innocent athletes it would, but killing murderers is not murder, it's justice.
There was a time when Steven Spielberg understood this. In Saving Private Ryan when despite their better judgement the Rangers suffered the German soldier Steamboat Willie to live, later he is seen killing the same Rangers who spared him. Cpl. Upham who was unable to fight before now kills the surrendering Steamboat Willie in cold blood. Moral of the story, war is not a game. Leave your school yard notions of fair play in the school yard or Hollywood. Hand rubbing, the wearing of colored ribbons and pseudo moral posturing may make you feel good or get you laid in Amherst or Berkeley but it's irresponsible in a world where war is not a game.

Robert Kaplan's Book Warrior Politics is a worthy read if you are interested in the subject.


Dexter said...

Isn't this the point of Munich? I would say he understands justice. The more ludicrous message of Saving Private Ryan was the wasting a squad of Rangers to save one man simply because the rest of his brothers died. What point does that serve? Perversion of the Sullivan Brothers sacrifice.

zaphod said...

Well I haven't seen Munich yet so I'm somewhat hesitant to comment. Just going by dexter's comment here... if Speilberg's point is moral equivalence, then he doesn't understand justice.