A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, Pres. to curb the military, including a fair sampling of the Senate. He names Senators Clifford P. Case and Walter F. Mondale, who have questioned the need for more aircraft carriers, Mike Mansfield and Stuart Symington, who wonder about the size of our troop levels in Europe, Charles E. Goodell, who proposed withdrawal of our troops from Vietnam by December 1, 1970, and myself people who would in effect, he wrote, “so weaken this nation’s defenses as to place the United States in the greatest jeopardy in its history.” Captain Hanks also came to the conclusion that, “while the threat from without remains, we now face an equally potent challenge from within . . . In concentrating on the main task of the past thirty years the external threat some of us may have forgotten that we solemnly swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” \(The United States is to be protected against efforts of those who would place her in peril through apathy, ignorance, or malice we of the military , cannot stand idly, silently by and watch it done. Our oath of office will not permit it.” AREAL HOPE in the fight against military influence, I believe, rests with our young. War is abhorrent to them even though it seemingly is not to many of us who have lived with slaughter for the past thirty years and who have made an apparent accommodation to the threat of nuclear destruction. The young remain unpersuaded that man is brought upon this Earth solely to find his way to the grave. There is among them a vigorous affirmation of life, a love of life that is hopeful and adventurous, if not confident of the future. The anti-life philosophy of militarism offends their minds and hearts. An observation so widely cited that it is almost an axiom is that no one hates war more than the professional soldier. I think Alexis de Tocqueville was closer to the mark when he wrote in his Democracy in America in 1835: … all the ambitious minds in a democractic army ardently long for war, because war makes vacancies [for promotion] available and at last allows violations of the rule of seniority, which is the one privilege natural to a democracy. We thus arrive at the strange conclusion that of all armies those which long for war most ardently are the democratic ones, but that of all peoples those most deeply attached to peace are the democratic nations. And the most extraordinary thing about the whole matter is that it is equality which is responsible for both these contradictory results. Beyond the ambition of which de Tocqueville wrote, there is even more danger to our democracy from the dehumanizing kind of war we are fighting in Indochina. It produces among the military an insensitivity to life hard for the civilian to comprehend. We have fought many wars before, but none since our Revolution has lasted as long as the present one. Officers and noncoms go back to Southeast Asia for second and third tours of duty, to engage in second and third `By and large, the young of today are life affirmers; they have new ideas and new perspectives which warrant our respectful attention.’ rounds of killing. Such long immersion in violence of the kind peculiar to this war cannot but brutalize many of those who go through it. One example of such brutalization can be found in Seymour M. Hersh’s book Mylai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath: One brigade commander ran a contest to celebrate his unit’s 10,000th enemy kill. The winning GI received a week’s pass to stay in the colonel’s personal quarters. Many battalions staged contests among their rifle companies for the highest score in enemy kills, with the winning unit getting additional time for passes. I can recall nothing during World War II that equals in callousness a statement that Hersh attributes to one colonel, the son of a famous general: “I do like to see the arms and legs fly.” Horrifying words, but no more so than “body count,” “free-fire zone,” and other cuphemisms the military use to camouflage their deadly business. PERHAPS THERE is something in the theory advanced by psychologist Erich Fromm, in his book The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil, that in men there are polar attitudes toward life: in his Ethics epitomized the spirit of the biophile: ” ‘A freeman thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a dedication not of death but of life.’ ” The necrophile, on the other hand, has values precisely the reverse, for death, not life, excites and satisfies him. Fromm goes on to say that the necrophile, by extension in modern society, might be labeled Homo mechanicus who has more pride in, and is more fascinated by, devices that can kill millions of people across a distance of several thousands of miles within minutes than he is frightened and depressed by the possibility of such mass destruction .. . If more people became aware of the difference between love of life and love of death, if they became aware that they themselves are already far gone in the direction of indifference or of necrophilia, this shock alone could produce new and healthy reactions … Many might see through the pious rationalizations of the death lovers and change their admiration for them to disgust. Beyond this, our hypothesis would suggest one thing to those concerned with peace and survival: that every effort must be made to weaken the attraction of death and to strengthen the attraction of life. Why not declare that there is only one truly dangerous subversion, the subversion of life?Why do not those who represent the traditions of religion and humanism speak up and say that there is no deadlier sin than love of death and contempt for life? These are the kinds of questions the young are asking not only those who demonstrate and dissent but those, too, who go unwillingly aboard the jet aircraft that fly daily from the West Coast to Saigon. A very few young people have resorted to criminal violence, but only a few. The supposition that they represent an entire generation is a hysterical invention of people like Spiro Agnew, people who seem to have lost faith in America. By and large, the young of today are life affirmers; they have new ideas and new perspectives, which warrant our respectful attention. However, the task of strengthening the “attraction of life,” the core of the American optimism that built this country, is in the hands of those no longer young. It is my generation who must halt, and then turn back the incursions the military have made in our civilian system. These incursions have subverted or muffled civilian voices within the Executive branch, weakened the Constitutional role and responsibility of the Congress, and laid on the public an economic and psychological burden that could be disastrous.
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.