--- Brian D Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >From: CurtAdams@aol.com
> >It would if they had actually been cowardly. But
> >they obviously
> >weren't, and saying they were just makes us look
> >like kooks.
> Murdering innocent civilians is a definition of
> cowardly (and
> criminal) in any soldiers book, and should be in
> anyones book.
Several factors define cowardice or bravery. As Brian
notes above, killing the defenseless and "innocent" is
seen as cowardly. Putting one's own life at risk, on
the other hand, or knowingly and deliberately facing
certain death while maintaining your resolve and
composure, is seen as courageous. So the recent
attacks can be characterised either way, which is
emotionally convenient for the various parties
Then there is the use of the term cowardly as a pure
insult, such as "Your mother wears combat boots"
(though these days that's considered stylish) a
nonsensical assertion where the truth or falsity is
irrelevant, the deliberate insult everything.
Also interesting is how the ultra-rationality required
in the conduct of war often conflicts with, and always
subordinates the "value" considerations of cowardice
or bravery. Destroying the enemy as efficiently and
cheaply and safely as possible is pretty much the
hallmark of military professionalism. Attacking from
ambush, from safety, from out of range, with
overmatched force (the more the better); using the
element of surprise, the cover of darkness, the
enemy's unpreparedness, confusion, ignorance, or
weaknesses of any sort, including any value-based
rigidity about what constitutes the "proper or
ethical" conduct of war--this is the military gold
In short, fighting dirty or "cowardly" is consummate
soldiering, and fighting fair is either insanity or
criminal incompetence. Ugly business, war, no
winners, just survivors.
Best, Jeff Davis
"Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:11 MDT