Military Ethics in Society

Swift, Richard
Publisher:  Project Ploughshares
Year Published:  1978  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX819

This paper is part of a kit on "militarism" which is to be published soon by Project Ploughshares. It begins by outlining the traditional role of the military, namely, that of defending society against outside aggression. The paper then refers to a new source of socialism. Accordingly, much of the opposition to those in power is seen to come from subversive elements.

Abstract:  This paper is part of a kit on "militarism" which is to be published soon by Project Ploughshares.
It begins by outlining the traditional role of the military, namely, that of defending society against outside aggression. The paper then refers to a new source of socialism. Accordingly, much of the opposition to those in power is seen to come from subversive elements.
Governments, through the military and police, have become increasingly pre-occupied with "national security," regarding any form of dissent as unnatural. National security becomes a rationale for exercising social control over a nation's citizens rather than guarding boundaries or safeguarding democratic political structures. In the process the military tend to take an ever greater role in the politics and government of the society.
The author notes that this tendency is growing internationally. It finds most severe expression in certain Latin American and other third-world countries where the military governments have appropriated all forms of political power. These regimes, using the political tool of the "doctrine of national security," judge all policies on their contribution to the ideological war against socialism. Movements seeking the redistribution of wealth and power are seen as the greatest threats. To maintain their rule, these governments rely on political terrorism - arrests, torture, murder and censorship.
The implementation of the War Measures Act (Quebec 1970) and the recent revelations of illegal RCMP activities are dramatic examples of the expansion of national security and military forces in the domestic political life of Canada. The author therefore concludes that we need to delineate what is the proper role for the military in Canadian society. Dissent should be distinguished from subversion and national security from national defense. Military means should be disassociated from internal economic and political problems since they provide only coercive and repressive solutions.



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