From the January 2003 Idaho Observer:
The Myth of the Innocent Civilian
Are you a subject or a civilian? Each has its pros and cons. Subjects bear limited responsibility for the actions of their government but have limited personal freedom. Civilians, on the other hand, have an abundance of personal freedom but must assume responsibility for their their own actions and those of their government. So what are you -- a subject or a civilian?
The following are excerpts from a booklet by Harold Thomas called, The Myth of the Innocent Civilian. Thomas eloquently illustrates that a civilian cannot justify his actions by uttering the phrase, I was just doing my job. Civilians are responsible for everything they do. If a civilian is asked to do a job that is unethical, immoral, unjust or otherwise injurious to persons or their property, then it is incumbent upon him to refuse. Citizens are also obligated to ask questions and research their own answers because ignorance is no excuse of natural law. ~DWH
Every war seems to be precipitated by a set of circumstances that almost always seem absurd given the extent of death and suffering that follows. Historians (who get published) appear to marvel at this, too; but most seem to just accept it as if there is no explanation. Who dares to question how such absurdly insignificant circumstances erupt into mass violence which results in the deaths of millions? Who dares to note which people or entities have exploited, manipulated or even precipitated these circumstances?
Follow the money, so the saying goes. Who owned and/or financed the munitions factories that made war possible in the 20th Century? What were their personal and political connections? Does anyone seriously think that Hitler rose to power in a vacuum? Who bankrolled his rise to power? What were their names? Why are so few writers willing to name them? Why are their names not in the textbooks of our schoolchildren?
Does anyone think a bunch of penniless Russian potato farmers overthrew the czar in 1917? What are the names of the human beings who authorized foreign economic support for the Bolsheviks? Does no one know? Or are historians afraid to say? What was the agenda of the specific people who saw to it that the Bolsheviks had the resources to topple the Russian government? What organizations did they work for? Are these organizations still around? If they are still around, what is their agenda today? Sure, the czar may have been a monster, but what was the Soviet regime that replaced him? How many Russians died between 1917 and 1945 in the conflicts started and promoted by the Soviets? Nearly 100 million (of which Stalin alone may have murdered 30 million)? Did outside financial interests prop up the infant Soviet regime? Did those same financial interests pull the plug on the Soviet experiment some 80 years later when it had served its purpose and was no longer needed? What multinational bankers and industrialists had intimate dealings with the Soviets and the entire Red Block from 1917 into the 1980s? Is there a reason why we shouldn't know? Or shouldn't care?
Where do illiterate Moslem fanatics in a barren country with little indoor plumbing get modern weapons of war sufficient to actually do battle with the Russian Army? Who was supplying them with these weapons? Why were American and British military advisors involved? How were the Moslems coming up with the money to buy so many weapons? Do you know? Why don't you know? Why shouldn't your government be able to find out and let you know, what with the billions it spends on intelligence? Why won't your government tell you any of this? Why isn't this information readily available in public school textbooks? Why wouldn't this information be of critical importance to a people who profess to value truth and freedom?
As a subject, your responsibility in world events is to unquestioningly live or die at the whim of your masters. You have no say in how your governors regulate your life. If they send you to Iraq or Afghanistan to die, that is where you go. The reasons are not your concern. Your job is to die without questioning why. Innocence is bliss.
As a civilian your responsibility is to question everything and live or die according to your talents and your principles. You actively support or condemn the actions of those you have elected to represent your conscience in government. You will fight and die if necessary in defense of your closely held beliefs. Innocence does not exist.
I wish to thank Mr. Thomas for making the distinction so easy to understand. Ask the right questions. Follow your conscience. Be a civilian. ~DWH
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