Philip C. Clarke criticizes Bill Clinton for having opposed American policy in Vietnam (``Clinton's war protest was ill-advised,' Oct. 16). Clarke defends our involvement in the conflict by pointing out, ``There was a positive side to the war effort that rarely if ever made the news.'
Using that type of defense, I could point to this nation's former institution of slavery as healthy for allowing us to take advantage of human resources to ensure growth and development in America.Regardless of whether it yields positive results (economic improvements, democratic ideals, self-preservation, etc.), war is inherently negative in terms of basic morality. War always includes killing, the ultimate act of disrespect toward human life. By Machiavellian principles, the end may justify the means - but if this includes sacrificing one's soul, are the gains ultimately worth the sacrifice?
Clarke suggests blind support of American policies. He questions Clinton for encouraging ``others to 'pick and choose' whether to support or to oppose our nation's call to duty,' but fails to address our country's policy of ``picking and choosing' where to intervene with our compassionate assistance and defense of helpless peoples.
As a final consideration, if Christians can support war (killing) despite the commandment, ``Thou shall not kill...(except when)...,' then can Americans not oppose U.S. involvement in war without being unpatriotic?\ Seymour Hardy Floyd\ Chapel Hill