When facing a dangerous enemy, a good leader takes every possible precaution, but avoids hate. Gratuitous animosity is an indefensible political ploy, not good leadership. Hitler was an expert at harnessing the political power of hate and fear, and he used that power to change the world. But when people are driven by hate and fear, they make mean and ugly decisions, so their new world is meaner and uglier than the old one. All he wanted was unquestioned obedience. He used hate and fear to make his own people unable to think for themselves. A good leader wants followers thinking for themselves and working together. He wants to know if anyone has a better idea. The "axis of evil" speech is an example of gratuitous animosity used to grow hate among followers, and fear among adversaries.

Leaders are responsible for the attitude of their followers. A hateful attitude is very contagious, and horribly destructive. A responsible leader avoids hate, even when it's well deserved. A truly evil enemy expects hate in return. Promoting hate could even be his objective. Hate consumes tremendous emotional energy, it disables all other feelings, and it prevents people from thinking for themselves. Avoiding hate confuses an enemy, and it helps your own people keep their sensibility. Courage has a humble and loving quality, from knowing the sacrifice of others up close and personal. It is not compatible with hate. You must turn away from hate before you can feel courage. Be aware that people can change. When others turn away from hate and feel courage, it's often a very sudden and complete change, as if they just discovered heaven, and just realized they were in hell before.

When you fill your heart with the sacrifice of others, you feel courage. It feels as if you, or at least they, belong in heaven and you feel compelled to act as if you belong in heaven too. When you fill your heart with hate for your enemy, it feels as if you are in hell with them, and you feel compelled to act as if you belong in hell too. Both these attitudes are very contagious, and it has a profound effect on everyone around you.

As a young Naval Officer, I convinced about 200 Marines to turn away from hating their enemy. It was dangerous, but worth the effort. They were angry, and spent their time fighting each other and telling horrible stories about torture and killing people. When there were death threats, two of the youngest Marines decided on their own to spend the first night protecting me from the other Marines. It made me feel humble, watching those two young Marines sitting there with their rifles, all night. They looked very determined. Maybe it made the older Marines feel humble too. Older guys can have lots of emotion "invested" in hate. A Marine Colonel Chaplain said his people were scared of these guys. Later, two Marine Colonels said I accomplished in six days what a team of experts had been unable to accomplish for six months, and that these guys now wanted to follow me anywhere. In between, these guys spent hours crying and hugging each other. Feelings about the sacrifice of others, up close and personal, had been held back for years. They now said they were NOT tough guys, they had courage, and courage comes from the heart. By the way, these guys were much tougher with courage than before, and they were cheerful.

While the personification of evil makes a great scapegoat, every evil I have seen has been human in origin, and men of courage have no use for scapegoats. In the submarine, when I was working near dangerous radiation, several guys would crowd around, so I had to look over their shoulders to see. I just thought it was strange at the time, but they were acting as a shield. It was just one more sacrifice lovingly given. When evil comes, their desire is to pay the price, and move forward. With increasing numbers of very young men eagerly willing to pay the price, it's hard for evil to persist. Many old, tough, guys have a change of heart and beg forgiveness. Tony said he was determined to pay the price for every bad thing every damn one of us has ever done. It's hard to explain, but it's like forgiveness on steroids. It makes everyone even more eager to sacrifice themselves, like Tony, and feel like they are already in heaven.

Since the first good man gave his life, just to save mine, I am immune from hate. It was so simple, really, and unexpected. He just said "I can't let you do it (the job) because you're the only guy onboard with good ideas. We still need you, if this one doesn't work." He arranged for two more guys to be there, just to drag me away. Afterward, he was offered strong medications for pain, for sleep, even for death. He refused them all, just so he could tell me he was still really happy he did it (the job), before he died. He said I taught him about "love". I would have called it "courage". Minutes later, he was dead. He was EM1 Anthony B. Nelson. To us, "Tony". You only have to read Ernie Pyle, or Theodore White, or Winston Churchill, to find such uncommon courage was a common virtue in earlier generations. Men of courage are always cheerful, and help each other, even in the most horrible of conditions.

I learned this from seven UDT/Seals who were determined to pay the price for every bad thing they had done, and 68 UDT/Seals who flew in from around the world to help.

Tony had said I would tell him exactly what he needed to hear before he died. In the end, he became hateful and angry at Washington experts who caused our problems in the submarine. He was inconsolable. When nothing else worked, I told him heaven does not allow hate. If he prefers hell, they have more than enough. I did not want him taking hate there either. That was when he suddenly started crying and talking about happiness and love. Attitude really does make a big difference.

That's what I remember from my horrible experiences.   Not hate.

In the hope it might someday be useful, I wrote everything down.   See  start .

For an extra page about derision and a new Navy doctor  Click  here .

Or go back to  hazing .