Thursday, March 15, 2007

Three Hundred Paces

Earlier this week, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace indicated that he felt that homosexuality was immoral, and that openly gay individuals should not be permitted to serve in the military. This remark ignited the typical red/blue firestorm in both the formal media and the blogosphere.

General Pace was clearly speaking from a conservative Catholics standpoint about the expectations of Biblical morality. Without getting into the whole "is killing moral" and Just War morass too deeply, one wonders if General Pace grasps how rigorously applying Biblical norms of morality to our military would impact enlistment.

What about, for instance, the consistently repeated Biblical injunctions against drunkenness and fooling around with foreign women? I don't endorse these things myself, but from my own observations and reading about military life, a broad adherence to those standards would probably require us to discharge two or three divisions worth from the regular army and retire at least two aircraft carrier battle groups, not to mention retraining thousands of recruiters.

Of course, we could always emulate Sparta, the greatest and most focused warrior-nation the Western world has ever known, whose exploits are currently packing the multiplexes. Those Spartans didn't drink, nor did they fool around with women. They were the hardest of the hard core, who lived and breathed war from the moment they were born.

Then again, there is that little issue of their building esprit de corps through culturally mandated pederasty. Again, not something I'd encourage, but if General Pace had banned...well, you know...from the Spartan army, the defense of the Thermopylae pass might have been left to Laertes "Stinky Larry" Papandraiou, and I'm not sure he could have held off Xerxes mighty army for more than six or seven seconds. Kiss western civilization goodbye.

We're such an odd little species.