Thursday, March 15, 2007

Love and war

Even as Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, marine general Peter Pace is entitled to have his own set of morals.
We are so fortunate to live in countries where we have that freedom: a very important aspect of democracy.

The morals of a person can have different origins.
Some people develop a set of morals themselves, some people base themselves on books like the Bible or the Koran and find their morals in there.
Peter Pace’s opinion that homosexuality and adultery is immoral stems from the Bible.
Although Peter Pace has been educated at West Point, his mind has not been trained enough obviously to understand that one can never claim that homosexuality and adultery is immoral.
One can claim only that homosexuality and adultery is not acceptable to one’s personal set of morals.
Which leaves open that it might be acceptable to someone else’s set of morals.
What is true for one person might not be true for another person.
What is white for one person might be black for another.
The way to guard a democracy and live in harmony with each other is to always respect this principle.
Acknowledge each other’s set of morals.
And never impose one’s set of morals on others.

If one does this, one will follow what the American and European democracies are fighting now in Afghanistan.
The Taliban had established there a fundamental Islamic State.
The Afghans had to live according to the Sharia: a set of morals originating from the Koran.
Consequently, there was no freedom, no democracy.
Afghanistan had become a theocratic dictatorship.

This principle, that it is not acceptable to impose a set of morals coming from religion on others, is not respected when Marine General Peter Pace imposes his set of personal morals upon the military personnel he is responsible for.

It is a good thing that Marine General Peter Pace has now expressed regret for his remarks.
We don’t want Generals to tell us what is moral and immoral.
But we must hope that Marine General Peter Pace understands now that he should not mix up anymore his personal issues with his professional activities.
Gay advocacy groups had asked for an apology, which they didn’t get and this is right.
One doesn’t need to apologise for a personal opinion as long as it is not breaking the laws.
But one should regret to have mixed personal opinion into the professional position and refrain of it in the future.
This Marine General Peter Pace has openly been doing and we salute him for that.

However, we may wonder why Marine General Peter Pace brought these things of adultery and homosexuality up to begin with.
In the American army homosexuality is not an issue.
There is a policy, and whether we like that policy or not, the army has a way to deal with this aspect of human beings.
We must realise that Marine General Peter Pace intentionally wished to talk about homosexuality and adultery.
He could have declared it in the interview a “non-issue”.
Somehow it must have been on his mind in a disturbing way.

Homosexuality and adultery, two aspects of our reality totally unrelated, except that in both emotions and sexuality are important.
Labelling it immoral is to eliminate it from one’s life.
But why would a person wish to eliminate something from one’s life if it is not an issue?
If one is 100 % certain to be heterosexual, that person has no need whatsoever to even think about homosexuality.
Same for adultery. If one is in a harmonious relationship, adultery doesn’t even come to mind.
To choose to condemn issues which are potentially not issues is admitting they actually are issues in one’s personal life.

Military people like Marine General Peter Pace are in the business of violence.
To organise violence, emotions must not get in the way.
One can try to eliminate them.
But they appear anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely said, Michel.