Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Trigger Pullers

I was half-watching C-Span, when I heard a man identified as Arnold Punaro, chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves telling David Chu, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, that the aggregate military forces need to figure out how to turn more of the non-combatant personnel into "trigger pullers." The way he said it, and repeated it, implied that the non-trigger pullers are not as productive as the personnel who direct live rounds down range at enemy targets.

The trigger puller has in the past been referred to as the "trigger man" in other contexts, and the term was not complimentary. "Hit man" is close kin, if not synonymous.

The trigger puller's job is to aim a weapon at another person and use it to kill them. So, to sum up, we need to make the military more efficient by putting more people into the job of killing our designated enemy du jour.

When enemies were enemies and friends were friends it at least had a certain industrialized, conveyor belt logic. Aim and fire. Aim and fire. Advance. Retreat. Fight, win, lose. Every dead enemy made the world a better place. Every loss from our own forces was a tragic, heroic sacrifice, but it definitely advanced the cause of world peace, because we were wiping out the bad guys.

Nothing is that cut and dried anymore, if it ever really was. If I were going to risk death for a cause I would certainly want it to be for something as undeniably good as a future of peace and prosperity in which all the people who were still left could flourish without fear. We would defeat the forces of evil by blasting them to perdition with our own savage weapons of mass destruction. It isn't bad, if you're good. It's only bad when they do it.

The problem is that no one can tell me that the people we're shooting at now won't be standing beside us, aiming at someone else in a different conflict. We're asking people to give "the last full measure of devotion" for the latest theory in political science, or for some temporary gain, so that our breeders might have a bit more time to crank out a few more of our kind before the next large-scale conflict demands that we send them into the maw of warfare.

At least be honest. Tell the world that human nature really is savage, and that we will always and forever live in cycles of killing, until we are wiped from the face of the planet. Admit that we will never accept each other's cultures for the long haul. Kids, we need you to grow big and strong and smart so you can be good fighters. You may die, but if you fought well we will sing your praises. If you believe our religion, you will look down on us from your heavenly cloud and feel great joy at what you were able to obtain for us by slaughtering our enemies .

We need triger pullers, man. We need trigger pullers.

No comments: