Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How To Be Brave

John Derbyshire at the VERY right-wing Corner is angry at the British sailors and marines who are currently held by Iran. Derbyshire wants them to be heros and heroines and to refuse to do anything but die valiantly:

Once again, it's me and Ralph Peters on the same wavelength, deploring the cowardice of the British sailors and marines kidnapped by Iran. When it happened, I said I hoped the ones who'd shamed their country would be court-martialed on return to Blighty, and given dishonorable discharges after a couple years breaking rocks in the Outer Hebrides (which, believe me—I've been there—have a LOT of rocks). Now, I confess, I wouldn't shed a tear if some worse fate befell them.

The only coherent response I get to these sentiments is: "How do you know what they've been through? How would YOU stand up?" To which the obvious reply is the one Dr. Johnson gave in some similar case: "I may criticize a carpenter who makes me a bad table, though I cannot make a table myself. It is not my job to make tables." It is the job of a Royal Marine to fight, and if necessary suffer and die, for his country. They know that when they go in. It's what they are told! I nurse a quiet hope that if put to the test, I would stand up as well as any Marine. Whether or not I would, however, is irrelevant. Whether or not I could stand up well to torture, I expect Marines to.

Valor and death are being outsourced, too, but the right to feel brave and patriotic isn't. I should note that Derbyshire himself comes from Britain.