Taking Orders vs Making Choices

Much has been said in various parts of the blogosphere about the Daily Kos 'controversy'. I have no intention to rehash the main points. However, one aspect that has been largely overlooked caught my eye. From the original post:

Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly.


That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

So performing actions because you are taking orders, i.e., having someone else make moral choices for you, is okay.

But trying to evaluate your life, trying to make it better, and making your own choices, is undeserving of compassion in death.

This says something about the person who wrote it.

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I wonder if the people so

I wonder if the people so outraged over Kos' insensitivity raised so much as a peep when Andrew Sullivan called troops "servants" whose job is to take orders from civilians like him, who will never see combat. Or when Brit Hume told Americans upset over the casualty rate to "get over it." Or when Ann Coulter mocked Max Cleland for the clumsiness that cost him three limbs.

I think their hearts bleed for Americans overseas only when it is rhetorically useful. When the antiwar side tries to make use of outrage over casualties, the prowar people go from being outraged to seeing it as just the cannon fodder's job, in nothing flat.

Kevin, I think Sullivan's

Kevin, I think Sullivan's point was that soldiers in a volunteer army commanded ultimately by democratically elected govts were "servants".

I suspect the Daily Kos was

I suspect the Daily Kos was trying to reflect the sentiments of Herbert Spencer who said:
?When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don?t care if they are shot themselves.?

That being said it's more than just a little pressumptive to claim to know and judge the motives of thousands of individual soldiers. If Kos doesn't feel sympathy I can understand that. It's the attempt to qualify that sentiment that creates the problem. As you said, why is taking orders a motive deserving of sympathy in death while making a profit is not?

I believe Herbert Spencer actually argued against both.

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