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Military Ethic

May 16, 1993

* Colman McCarthy's article ("Why Seek Equality With Warmongers?" May 6) seems more appropriate to column left field than Column Left. There are too many random blasts against the military to respond in a short letter, so I'll just respond to one of them: his denigration of the "military ethic."

The "military ethic" is not, as McCarthy claims, a betrayal of compassion, justice and empathy. If it were, the U.S. Marines would have used their firepower to turn Somalia into a charnel house. The essence of the military ethic is self-sacrifice: on behalf of one's fellow soldiers and, more distantly, on behalf of one's country. The servicemen (and women) who have killed and been killed in our names are not criminals or morally regressive, as McCarthy believes: They are mostly honorable people doing the job the rest of us have asked them to do.

PAUL POPEJOY

Los Angeles

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