President Bush said the following about the U.S. military in an address regarding Easter: “These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’.”
I have several responses to this.
1. Unlike the mythical Jesus, American soldiers do not arise from the dead.
2. The proper purpose of the U.S. military is not to give U.S. soldiers the opportunity to find heavenly bliss, but to achieve earthly security for the U.S. (including its soldiers).
3. To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur [actually, George Patton], Bush shouldn’t be trying to get U.S. soldiers to lay down their lives; he should be trying to get the other bastards (Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors) to lay down their lives.
4. The grain of truth to Bush’s statement is that a moral individual can put his or her life at risk, if there’s no better option, in order to save a loved one. And obviously soldiers put their lives at risk to protect their country, their loved ones, their way of life, and ultimately themselves. But the point of our nation’s foreign policy should be to limit as much as possible the threats and harms to American citizens — including soldiers. Bush’s statement amounts to a rationalization for needless deaths of American soldiers for goals other than national security. And no reference to mythology can hide Bush’s gross immorality on that point.