That's the thing with rationalizations, justifications, and excuses. The sole purpose is to prevent you from being accountable for what you are ACTUALLY doing. My grandpa stabbed some German boys in the throat with a bayonet in WWII, presumably in the name of defending freedom. Nobody gave him a hard time about it, but it was something he personally couldn't forgive himself for. The samaurai kills as an act of loyalty to his Lord, presumably in the name of duty and honor; or in the case of ronin, simply as a means to earn a stipend. To them, they are perfectly content with the atrocities they committed, even when their victims and onlookers view them as cold-blooded murderers. Is this moral relativity? Yes, it certainly is.
The moment you allow the possibility for someone to excuse or justify an act of killing, words and actions will be twisted and bent to serve individual needs. You are right George. Peace (i.e. nonviolence) is a crystal clear principle.
At the root level killing and justification and morality lay with the individual. In your Grandfather's case he had to deal with his own situation, define his own feelings, perspectives, and morality around it. I am sorry that he could not accept or forgive himself for it. That is a terrible thing to have to face your whole life.
I hope that as a leader I have equipped my Soldiers to make the right decisions on a personal level for themselves so they do not have to struggle with this same pain.
I personally don't need revisionism or excuses to justify any actions I have taken in the past. For me, and I am thankful, my situations have always been clear. I observed conditions and situations in which the only way to resolve it was through the use of force. It was to prevent a greater harm from occcuring. I was not proud or happy with my actions, nor did I take joy or rejoice in them. It simply was necessary and yes, there is and was pain and suffering involved. Always is any time you deal wth conflict. there is no twisting nor did or does it serve an need. maybe it does serve a need actually. A need to have peace and security in the world. So yeah I guess you are right there.
Nonviolence. A wonderful ideal. I try and practice it as much as possible. However, I go back to my original statement of hypocracy. It is a hypocrite that preaches the virtues and ideals of non-violence while condemming the acts of those that provide him the space and ability to be non-violent while keeping the very violence that the non-violent idealist speaks of at bay.
As the Dali Lama says. A great ideal, but unfortunately we have violence in our world and we must seek hard to find ways to deal with that violence. He even recognizes that it is not possible to avoid violence. As he says...we must pray for those that have to face it to do so with the most compassionate and thoughtful and skillful ways as possible.
Nonviolence is not so crystal clear. yes, in theory it is clear. Violence is wrong. That is crystal clear. However, we have violence in the world and we must deal with it.
Roger, I'd be curious to what actions you take or have taking to face real violence. Are you a guy like Ghandi or the guy in Tianamin Square? A guy that is or has willing to take a truely and noble stand against violence in a non-violent manner. A guy willing and capable to put it on the line, to risk all to say STOP. Those are the real heros in the world.
Unfortunately, those indivduals are rare and even rarer are the politics and poplulation that recognizes their efforts that prevents it from being a waste of time or a waste of life. That's the irony of this whole thing. If it works you are a hero . If it doesn't then you are simply a stupid idealist.
And, there is always the risk that your actions cause more violence. Many non-violent acts have actually caused revolutions and created more violence!
so, in practice....non-violence is not so crystal clear or.....non-violent.