Wednesday Warp
Ugly Americans - Part 2

The American Warrior Culture

Back in November, I wrote about the Warrior Caste. The Warrior Culture and the Warrior Caste are subjects that obviously interest me. So here's something I found interesting and I think you'll appreciate it.

The following was sent to me via email. It's a well-written short essay about the Warrior Culture which embodies Honor, Courage, and Committment. I'll tell you more about the author at the end.

Defining Characteristics of the American Warrior Culture - What We Do

The intrinsic value of society, that social ethic that equates both emperors and peasants is the concept of honor. The vast majority of the social body does not in practice act on its principles; the vision, the romance, and the ideal of honor stand true with even the most disgraceful. Every man knows in his heart was is morally right, as it is prescribed to him either by his religion or his society. Honor is defined by deeming oneself subject to the reputation of righteousness and devoting ones actions accordingly. In history honor has been equated with chivalry, a romantic ideal of dignity in which a man subjugates his life to a pursuit of honor and noble action. Lost in time to the present vulgar society, the idea of chivalry, however mocked by cinema, politics, or American idols remains a prominent de facto pursuit of everyday morality within the warrior culture of the American society. The honorable deem their lives subject to the greater good of their society, if in course of their actions they act ethically. Every man respects the honorable, both the friend and the enemy. The life of an honorable man is in fact both hypocrisy and a battle. Every action is held to the subjective critique of his peers, as he attempts a noble life that is wrought with human errors. An honorable man is not necessarily humble, as he may be drawn to pursuits of power and command. However, an honorable man realizes his shortcomings and strives to strengthen himself for his path towards his goals. Human character may be defined in areas of compassion, humility, trust, loyalty among many other virtues. However, a man of honor is not necessarily bound to any one trait. Nor can these traits be universally applied to every situation, and thus the man be judged accordingly. An honorable warrior may be deceptive and cunning. Proud in his pursuits, an honorable man may separate himself from dishonorable allies. The reputation of the honorable is defined by those who are righteous.

That which stays the tide of fear is courage. Courageous action is a concept of freeing oneself from life, perusing a goal, and disregarding the known consequences. Readily available and widely known examples of courage are actions of battlefield bravery. The warrior is trained to see things in black and white, and views only two options: courage or cowardess. Courage is defined by what cowardess is not, and in that respect, it is important to know what cowardess is. The coward is self serving, desiring only what may gain him in his pursuit of personal satisfaction. In this, the coward nullifies his persuasion to honor and seeks his own gratification. Fear is a coward's friend. Fear tells a coward when to run and when to hide, while serving as a motive for survival. Courage is simply the opposite, as in some regards the courageous assimilate the concept of honor to meet their goals. John Stewart Mill wrote in 1859, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions ! of bette r men than himself." Written on the pursuit of libertate bellum, liberty by means of war, it is an elegant phrasing of the characteristics of courage, and that which is not. In the American warrior culture, courage is the defining principle of honor.

In modern American society, that characteristic which evades most and is exemplified by the few is commitment. Commitment, or loyalty to oath, whether by legality or by principle, is all but extinct to modern society. It is in this characteristic that the vast majority find most difficult to act upon in practice. It is by its definition binding, and in that regard, with termination to its agreement infinitely distant, many cannot comprehend its importance. Thus its action cannot be summed up as it is everlasting, but instead must be progressed through life by the honorable. Commitment is a characteristic of humanity, and that by which humanity is rarely defined. It is quite well that this principle is the weakest of the three, as it is dependent on the others for the maintenance of its purpose. Conversely, the maintenance of its purpose is the lifeline of honor and courage, as those who have no commitment cannot maintain their honor, and those who would cower without commitment will. It is for these that the distinctive principle of commitment stands out, for no man can pursue honor without commitment and no man can stand his ground courageously unless he is bound by his decision to maintain his honor.

These are the defining principles of life, for they transcend any and every thought, action, or motive. The American warrior culture holds these principles as the foundation for their ethos, as their actions decide how history will judge them. I am a warrior; I am a United States Marine. I go to war to maintain my honor and to build upon that which I believe in. There is no greater purpose in life than to be committed to that which I have defined, and I am proud to stand beside those that believe the same.

This essay was written by Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Michael Herring, 1/23 C co. 4MARDIV 0341, who will ship out in a few weeks for Iraq.

This essay is important for two reasons. It defines the Warrior Culture and it shows you the caliber of the American Marine.

Good Luck, Lance Corporal Herring, and thank you.