Monday, September 2, 2019

Quickies: Do We Need Such Men?

     “We are the sin eaters. It means that we take the moral excrement we find in this equation and we bury it down deep inside of us, so that the rest of our cause can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible, and absolutely necessary.” – Colonel Eric Byer, played by Edward Norton in The Bourne Legacy

     The Bourne Legacy wasn’t well received critically, but it did well even so, in part because of the all-star cast. For me, the quote above is the keystone to the rest of the story. It was uttered after a “black op” reaped the lives of a number of innocents along with its intended target. Colonel Byer says it to Aaron Cross, a super-agent who’d been part of the operation and who’d only just learned of the unintended casualties.

     The underlying thesis is plain: the most morally stainless society will still need men willing to do things others would regard as morally indefensible, to protect the rest and to keep clean the hands of those overtly in power. Jim Butcher also uses this as a motif in his “Harry Dresden” novels. The notion is horrifying...yet a great many people would agree with it, albeit grudgingly.

     Myself? I don’t know. I do know that the current milieu, in which spree shooters and suicide bombers can reap countless lives before anyone knows what they’re about, is more challenging than any previous era in American history. Moreover, I expect matters to get worse before they get better. The advance of technology will bring us ever more effective methods of swiftly killing large numbers of unaware persons. With governments everywhere taking the lead in directing and funding all scientific research and technological development, you can bet your last dollar on it.

     Is the only imaginable counter to such threats a cadre of men willing to kill innocents if and when they must do so to eliminate their intended target? And what about this opinion of torture, from legendary NHL coach and broadcaster Don Cherry:

     “If hooking up one rag-head terrorist prisoner's testicles to a car battery to get the truth out of the lying little camel shagger will save just one Canadian life, then I have only three things to say: Red is positive, black is negative, and make sure his nuts are wet.”

     Are Byer and Cherry’s sentiments morally justifiable? I don’t want to say yes...but it’s getting harder, day by day and atrocity by atrocity, to say no with any degree of firmness.


Tracy Coyle said...

Evil exists and it is not challenged by outpourings of love. It is challenged on the field it chooses to play on and it uses whatever is available to hamper anyone or anything it opposes.

The willingness to confront evil, to challenge it, to take it on and defeat it requires doing so on ITS battleground. And yes, no human is perfect in their confrontation with evil.

A similar sentiment was raised in Serenity (the movie) when the assassin justified his killing of innocents: when the quarry goes to ground, eliminate any safe ground.

Those of us that are amoral yet not evil understand both the need and loss such efforts often entail.

It allows those who are 'more moral', more 'loving' to rest comfortably...

...while the rest of us pick up a rifle and stand the wall...

Obama's boyfriend said...

To those who question the morality of such tactics I ask, is it morally defensible to allow a terrorist with knowledge that could kill thousands to remain in-peace because you don't wish to soil your hands with questionable tactics?

I say you are hiding behind a shied that doesn't exist and that the hotest place in hell is reserved for you, because if your family were at risk you'd grab that car battery and turn it to full.

If I am in error convince me.

By the way, I've served overseas for over thirty years on four continents. So turn the other cheek messages are reserved for those who really like to have their facial features altered. I would remind you Christ told his followers to get swords. He didn't have turning the other cheek in mind when he said that nor when he redecorated the money lenders quarters.