the values held by a large percentage of American youth and those required for effective military service is probably larger today than ever before." 19
There remains, however, at least one thing that such a young man or woman responds to, today as in the past. He or she recognizes a man of integrity and can be inspired to trust such a man. This trust can serve to close the gap between the values of the soldier and his commander, for trust creates a sympathetic attitude and a propensity to obey. If you trust someone, you give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to doing what he tells you to. Thus, the soldier of a democracy can remain a moral agent, ultimately responsible for his actions, and can at the same time obey the orders of a person he trusts, on the presumption that the orders are legally and morally correct. This is a presumption that all Americans would like to be able to make about the military commander, and it is one which they are justified in making if the commander is a man of integrity.
This picture of the military places a heavy responsibility (some would say burden) on all those in positions of command, commissioned and noncommissioned officers alike. But this is no more than ought to be expected of those in such positions in the military service of a democracy. The military life has long been considered a life of sacrifice, not a life of personal gain. It is essential that the emphasis remain on the former in developing a professional soldier. Given this perspective, and with the humility and wisdom characteristic of the soldier-scholar of Plato's Republic, the modern American soldier can revise Himmler's phrase and write his own epitaph: "My loyalty is my honor"—my loyalty resides in a man of integrity, to whom I give my trust.
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Publication information: Book title: War, Morality, and the Military Profession. Contributors: Malham M. Wakin - Author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1986. Page number: 178.
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