Is It Okay To Kill?

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Is it okay to kill? I don’t mean a bug in your house, a snake in your garage, or a deer in the woods. Deer tastes good; you may not know if that snake in your garage is poisonous; and bugs are home invaders.

I mean is it okay to kill a man, a human being, a person? Again, I don’t mean someone trying to kill you, rob your business, rape your wife, harm your children, or break into your house. Killing someone might be perfectly justified in those circumstances if it involves defense against aggression.

Specifically, is it okay to kill someone who has not threatened or committed violence or aggression against you, your family, your friends, your neighborhood, anyone you know, or any American you don’t know?

No? Then –

  • What if he is not an American?
  • What if he lives thousands of miles away from America?
  • What if he adheres to a religion that is different from that of most Americans?
  • What if he is a darker color than most Americans?
  • What if he speaks a language that most Americans don’t understand?
  • What if he has habits that seem peculiar to most Americans?
  • What if he holds to a political ideology that doesn’t resemble America’s?
  • What if he smells different than most Americans?

Does someone having one or more of these characteristics alone mean it is okay to kill him?

Another no? Then –

  • What if the U.S. government says he is a terrorist?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is an insurgent?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is a communist?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is an extremist?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is a potential threat?
  • What if the U.S. government says he hates our freedoms?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is the enemy?
  • What if the U.S. government says he is a bad guy?

Does the U.S. government merely saying any of these things make it okay to kill him?

No again? Then –

  • What if the U.S. government says it is a matter of national security?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is in the national interest?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is of strategic concern?
  • What if the U.S. government says it has secret information that makes it necessary?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is part of the president’s grand strategic vision?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is essential to maintaining hegemony?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is just a part of fighting terrorism?
  • What if the U.S. government says it is important to foreign policy objectives?

Does the U.S. government merely saying any of these things make it okay to kill him?

Still no? Then –

  • What if the U.S. military gives you a nice uniform?
  • What if the U.S. military gives you a gun and ammunition?
  • What if the U.S. military pays for your college education?
  • What if the U.S. military provides you with free medical and dental care?
  • What if the U.S. military offers you citizenship in exchange for service?
  • What if the U.S. military gives you an enlistment bonus?
  • What if the U.S. military gives you generous combat pay?
  • What if the U.S. military assists you with repaying your student loans?
  • What if the U.S. military offers you liberal retirement benefits?

Does the U.S. military doing any of these things make it okay to kill him?

Of course not? Then –

  • Why are some so quick to make apologies for U.S. military personnel who kill for the state in unjust wars?
  • Why are some so quick to excuse U.S. military personnel who kill while not defending the United States?
  • Why are some so quick to justify U.S. military personnel who kill people thousands of miles away that are no threat to the United States?
  • Why are some so quick to defend U.S. military personnel who kill people that resent and resist being invaded, bombed, occupied, or “liberated”?
  • Why are some so quick to blame the government, the politicians, and the defense contractors and exempt the U.S. military personnel who do the actual killing?

For years now I have heard the excuses. But what are these apologists, excusers, justifiers, defenders, and exempters really saying?

  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you can’t find a job.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you can’t make it in college.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are economically disadvantaged.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if your father was in the military.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are patriotic.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are ignorant.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are poor.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are uneducated.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you have no resources available.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you think you are doing the right thing.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you were raised to never question the military.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you were never taught otherwise.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you are just obeying orders.
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you think you are avenging 9/11?
  • It is okay to kill for the U.S. government in an unjust war if you think you are defending our freedoms.

I have been given every one of these excuses at least ten times. The first part of the excuse is generally omitted, but why should it be? Is not this exactly what people are saying?

None of this means that the despicable creatures in the U.S. government who send American boys to war, and the equally loathsome creatures outside of the U.S. government who cheer them on, are not to be condemned as well. But those aren’t the people that are applauded in airportscalled heroes, and thanked for their service.

But why is it that these excuses only seem to be valid for American soldiers? Why is it that soldiers from other countries aren’t lauded as heroes for killing Americans if they offer up one of the excuses that are commonly used to justify killings carried out by American soldiers?

Some agree with everything I have said thus far, but think that if soldiers are draftees then it changes everything. I know this is the case because they write and tell me. I have written about the culpability of drafted soldiers in my article “Murder Is Still Murder.” But again, why is it that it is only drafted American soldiers who can kill with impunity? I don’t think that apologists for draftees realize what they are saying. To excuse the actions of soldiers because they were drafted is to say that the state can somehow sanctify murder.

Although the U.S. military is looking for a few good men to unjustly kill for the state, it is not okay to kill, even if the military advertises itself as a global force for good.

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