Thursday, May 12, 2005

Duty and its faces

On the telly recently I watched with a certain morbid fascination as the widow of a soldier killed in Iraq commented on his valor and husbandry while footage of his 'good-bye' video rolled. Apparently, he'd had a foreboding that he would not be coming home and had, therefore, made the tape. From what I could gather, the tape had been made in secret and this surprised me enormously. I was surprised he had not discussed his foreboding with her and wondered if he, indeed, owed her a duty to inform her about this as his spouse. Of course, I realize there is no right or wrong answer here, but feel it is worth considering whether one's sense of duty to one's country trumps one's duty to family, spouse, lover, children, etc.

As I pondered this question, another question popped into my head that was based in part on the caliber of the British Army soldiers who patrolled Northern Ireland in the seventies as I was growing up. I wondered how many young American servicemen and women sign up under the guise of duty to their country in order to extricate themselves from horrid domestic circumstances or such. For example, it's fact that the majority of recruits come from the less well off echelons of American society and, therefore, many sign up to take advantage of educational opportunities afforded by the armed services. My understanding is that Jessica Lynch was one such person. But, how many of these people are actually signing up or keen to return to duty so they can escape a bad marriage, a bad parental relationship, impoverished circumstances, or the monotony of life in bleak villages and towns? Maybe there are none; maybe there's only a handful. Either way, my gut-feel is that research would unearth interesting answers.

[technorati: , , , ]

No comments: