As you may have noticed, I’ve returned to blogging for the time being. I’ve regained a bit of my mental energy and am nearing the end of my tour in Afghanistan, headed back to see my wife and kids in Germany. I feel good–strong–though still ready to breath the air of a functioning country.
Currently I’m reading Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL who was involved in Operation Red Wings, in Afghanistan, 2005. Red Wings resulted in the largest single-day loss of American life in Operation Enduring Freedom.
In the book, Luttrell recalls his training at Coronado Beach, BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolitions School). Needless to say, the training is brutal, particularly Hell Week. Luttrell makes an enlightening observation in the chapter covering Hell Week. He says that the instructors not only tried to make the training incredibly difficult in order to weed out the physically weak, but that they also tried to offend the trainees’ sense of justice. The instructors wanted to see who would continue even when the world was going places it shouldn’t go, even when people were assaulting the Tao, as C.S. Lewis may call it. This struck me, because in my time in the Army, it has never been the physically rugged efforts required of Soldiers, or long hours, or even the dangers of being in a war zone that made it difficult. It was the times my sense of Justice was offended. A 12-mile forced ruck march sounds like fun to me but a Non-Commissioned Officer breaking a rule makes me want to hit him in the kneecaps with a crowbar. a senior Soldier speaking down to lower-enlisted Soldiers drives me up the wall; it’s completely unecessary and rooted in the same psychology that 4th grade bullies have.
After reading this, it occured to me how easy it is to try to walk away when Justice is not done. Instead of standing and fighting, instinct sometimes tells us that we should move on and find Justice somewhere else. But we’ll never find it unless we fight for it.
We should not accept injustice nor should we ignore abuses of power in high places. We should continue to do what is right and drive on, calling out weasels, sycophants, power-mongers, and slackers wherever we find them.