Soldiery is not only an honorable profession but also a heroic occupation. To put it bluntly but rightly, soldiers put their limbs and lives on the line to serve and safeguard their countrymen, to protect and defend their country. The ultimate allegiance of soldiers belongs to the person from whom they come and who basically support them—and to the State that authorizes their official establishment and operative existence.
That is why a big socio-ethical question comes to fore when soldiers are made to obey unlawful commands, to execute orders against the lawful rights of the citizens, to do bloody agendas in furtherance of the self-interests of certain individuals simply to remain in power at all cost and by all means. It is on the occasion of such disturbing events that the soldiers themselves undermine their own rightful dignity and expected integrity. Maim
Those who agree to do such radically questionable agenda are not called soldiers but mercenaries. Such groups and individuals also have and fire guns. They too belong to a command. They kill and maim—for a price. They serve the special interests of certain characters definitely not on account of fidelity but due to fat fees. In short, mercenaries are in fact goons plus guns for hire.
It is a big pity and downright shame if honest-to-goodness soldiers would pitch in though but every now and then to do mercenary work. And this is precisely what is disturbing in the country these days. There is a prevailing perception—which is not necessarily true—that the hundreds of unceremonious executions of cause oriented persons and media practitioners without fear nor tear are work of certain soldiers.
Would that this sad perception is altogether wrong. Yet, such a sentiment would continue unless the present administration does something credible and realistic to stop the practically endless summary killings. The same feeling would continue to haunt good and real soldiers unless the national and local police authorities bring the killers before the bar of justice.
Vigilantes are a social curse—irrespective of whether they are silent criminals or covert soldiers.
16 June 2006