Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Military Philosophy and Pacifism, Part 2

While my solder friend finishes his contribution to this series, here's an entry from Mike McGeehon - Quaker, Pacifist, and school teacher.  If you would like an entry all to yourself, please send it to me!

What is your religious affiliation, if any?
I am a member of the Society of Friends (Quaker).
Politically, what are the issues that are most important to you?
I think my politics are pretty much wrapped in my personal religious beliefs: that violence is the weapon of the weak; that all people are equal; that integrity is important; and that we are all in this together, so what does the greatest good for all of humanity.
Do you have a political party affiliation?
I would be a member of the Liberal Democrats in Great Britain, but unfortunately they do not exist here. I am a registered democrat, leaning towards Pacific Green.
Please describe your involvement in the military, if any
My family has a rich military history (as many poor families do). I personally have never been a member of a military branch.

What do you think the function of the military should be (ideally, not based on any current situations)?
In an ideal world, we would have no need for any standing armies, because we would be able to resolve our differences in a civilized manner through negotiation and mutual best interest. Talk about idealism!
In what situations, if any, is it acceptable for our military to set foot on foreign soil?
Honestly? I don’t really think there is a reason for us to set foot on Foreign soil militarily. I do not believe in just war; I do not believe that you can bring peace through force.
In what situations is it acceptable to kill foreign soldiers?
Do you mean for me personally? It’s never acceptable. Even in self defense, which I would participate in reluctantly but honestly, I don’t think there’s a morally acceptable reason to kill anyone.
In any current military conflicts, do you think the people that are dying as a result of war have anything to do with the decisions that led to the war?
In some ways, yes they do. They are complicit with whatever cause has led them to military action. But are they wholly complicit? Not necessarily. A lot of kids end up dead because of an idealistic belief that they are serving their country when they enter an army, when often they are serving their country’s interests (that’s a very different thing).
Morally, what does it say about a country if a conflict has to be resolved through violence?
It says that they have not looked for the long, slow, difficult and ultimately stronger resolution of conflict through diplomacy, dialogue, and resolution. This takes YEARS, and absolutely goes against human nature (we are designed to kill. Look at our forward facing eyes, our tool making abilities, our strategic based minds). But I’m an idealist, and think that diplomacy is always the best way.
What do you think about pacifist ideology?
I think it is naive, utopian, and ultimately probably foolish. But it’s the tent that I have raised for myself.
Do you make a distinction between violence by a group (like the military), and violence conducted by an individual on a personal level?
A group affects far more people.
Anything else you want to say?
Please note that I know how idealistic and foolish my point of view seems. I know in the real world war is going to happen. As I said above, we are built for violence, all the way to the DNA level. But I truly do believe that violence is wrong, even when I revel in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment