States are nothing more than aggregations of individuals and, as such, have the same moral rights and obligations as individuals. International law agrees that the head of state – the President, in the case of the United States – has the right and obligation to protect the lives and property of his citizens wherever they may happen to be in the world. Indeed, heads of state may act to provide such protections without declaring war. In fact, such acts are not considered to be war.
Thus, if the state has the same right to self-protection as do individuals, do the individuals have the right to empower the state to indenture them in service to kill? Simply, yes. “We the people” surrendered a portion of our individual rights to form a government for the purpose of “providing for the common defense.” We gave them that right “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” We surrendered our right to refuse such service so that we could survive both individually and as a nation.
Well, we were called and most of us went. Some went more readily than others. We went happily in the early days of the war, prepared to hold the line on Communism. Later, when American resolve began to flag, we went reluctantly. Still, most of us answered the call. Others, like Mrs. Keys' son either went to Canada or went to jail. Interestingly, these latter citizens had alternative forms of service available to them as conscientious objectors, but some refused to serve even in this limited capacity. They preferred to enjoy their liberty without making the sacrifice. Even worse, they damned those who made the sacrifice on their behalf. Theirs was hubris of epic proportions.