War, Morality, and the Military Profession

By Malham M. Wakin | Go to book overview

7 The Military in the Service of the State

Sir John Winthrop Hackett

This paper by Lt.-General Sir John Winthrop Hackett was delivered as the Harmon Memorial Lecture at the United States Air Force Academy in October 1970. Hackett pursues the theme here that the relationship between the military and the state in the twentieth century must be analyzed in terms of the nature of war and peace in this century. He suggests that previous American conceptions of the nature of war and the role of the military in the state were anti-Clausewitzian, but the structure of war from the Korean conflict on has required a different view. He points up the various consequences that ensued in World War II as a result of differing philosophies regarding war and politics. He maintains that the world situation today is such that total war must not be allowed to occur but that limited wars will continue to occur; war and peace will once more coexist. He reflects on the controversy between MacArthur and Truman, reaffirming the principle of civilian control of the military and making a number of astute observations about the proper placement of loyalty. He describes the ethical strains that military professionals must encounter and offers important reflections on the role that moral qualities play in the very function of the military.

—M.M.W.

I am much honored by the invitation to address this distinguished gathering tonight, and my wife and I are deeply indebted to our hosts for their hospitality and for the opportunity to visit this beautiful and remarkable place. My topic tonight is one upon which much

Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated and the author.

-104-

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