Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I Forgive World War II Soldiers For Having Sex
I have a little blog housekeeping to take care of, to tidy up, and I guess today's as good a time as any to get it done. Of course I'm referring to my two posts on World War II soldiers and sex and the fact that I never had what I consider a necessary third when there's two. If you've got one and two, I believe you need three. It's why you often hear of a trilogy but seldom a duology. Because everyone thinks the same thing.
The first part was "Did World War II Soldiers Have Sex?" And the second was "Should World War II Soldiers Have Had Sex?" These were both written toward the beginning of January. I'm not going to look back to refresh my memory about what I wrote then. I think I can recall it. The first part examines the issue, asking a question that would have an inevitable yes answer. The second looks at it from a judgmental angle, Should they have done what they did in having had sex? I believe I was somewhat lenient on that, although I seem to recall I would've excluded sex if it had meant ending the war sooner. First things first...
For the third part, I want to do a Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis kind of thing, to synthesize the issues once and for all. My point of view on doing that will end in forgiveness for each and every soldier (or sailor) who yielded to temptation, tasted carnal fruit, or was otherwise sexually activity. Note, I'm excluding from judgment the realm of sexual thought or temptation, purely that, because even the best of us have been swayed in our thoughts toward the things of lust. Offering forgiveness will not be a matter of condoning their behavior by any means, but will be tied in with the basic issue being, at this late remove, moot.
Forgiveness comes easily for me, to tell the truth, whether the underlying issue is moot or not. I've had people lie to me and I know it's a lie. I've had people help themselves to things they had no business taking, like pop from my refrigerator, and I've said nothing about it. And different ones have hurt my feelings with the things they've said or done, yet I try my best to let bygones be bygones, to forgive and forget. The key difference in those things, though, is that they haven't involved world war and the freedom of the world. But if I'm going to err when it comes to our lusting soldiers, it's going to be erring on the side of mercy.
I mentioned the late remove we are from the actual deeds. World War II was by and large restricted to a period of time in the 1940s plus a brief time at the tail end of 1939. That's a long time ago. Many of the principals from that time are now deceased or have aged to the point that they could no longer cut the mustard even were it offered them. What happened in the past, the distant past, is a fact they can't change, so really, at this late date, why even bring it up?
I know, the argument against that is that no one would ever be held responsible for anything, because time will pass. But note, that's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying the passing of time itself means anything, although we have laws having to do with a statute of limitations, so the point is enshrined in legal custom. It's the passing of so much time that I'm referring to. If we would have taken on these horny rascals, say, in 1970, when most of them were going out for steaks and drinks and dancing with women perhaps not their wives, things might have been different. But time has passed.
Another reason I might want to overlook the whole thing is based on something I'd call "The Biological Imperative." And who hasn't experienced that? As far as I know, virtually everyone is subject to the same biological drives. I'm excluding, obviously, people without hormones, those missing too many chromosomes, those with the mental capacity of babies as well as babies themselves, and priests who have taken a vow. It's the rest of us I have in mind, the rest of us who are instinct-driven and acted upon by forces beyond our conscious control, the rest of us, who wouldn't be able to stifle our sex drive if we had a nail gun in our pants.
All that said, What about our World War II soldier? He had the heaviest responsibility on his shoulders, the liberty of the world. That's heavy. And something's going to manifest in his life to compensate or counter that. His duty being enormous, his lust will be equal or worse. He's got the biological imperative, like all of us, but he's got so much more. The wonder of the whole thing is that they were able to do anything but have sex. It could have been nothing but sex, in which case we'd still be fighting the war ... or not. By now, the rest of us would be in bed somewhere, thinking we were leaving the fighting to our buddies, who themselves would be in bed somewhere thinking the same thing!
So do our World War II soldiers deserve our scorn? No, I think clearly not, because they did get the job done, while having a good time on the side. And most of them came home, settled down, and had a very happy life. They didn't suffer the lingering after effects of sex. I don't know if that's completely true in every case, but I had a few uncles who came home from the war who appeared to be happily married, and they seemed to be fairly typical guys to me.
In closing, then, putting this series away lest I need to write another three, I feel it's all for the best to forgive our World War II soldiers for having had sex. And to let them be, to let them live out the rest of their days with a conscience as clear as it can be. Speaking for myself, I personally forgive them.