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“Wise Endurance” from “If I Die in a Combat Zone” Essay

A courageous man doesn’t run away. He remains at his post and fights for his country. Socrates said that courage is wise endurance. Though, some may argue that foolish endurance is more couragous than wise endurance. Someone who endures without knowledge is braver than someone who endures with knowledge. A man who endures war without the knowledge of fighting or weaponry is very courageous. Another may argue that a man who is confident without knowledge is more crazed than wise. Tim O’Brien points out that courage without wisdom is defective and also dangerous. O’Brien first sees the charge against the enemy as courageous, but maybe it’s crazy. It is hard to tell if someone is courageous, arrogant or foolish.

O’Brien describes Captain Johansen’s temperament as being different from the other soldiers. He was wise and just, and therefore, courageous and virtuous. O’Brien and teh other soldiers looked to Johansen as a reason to fight the war.

If a man is afraid that does not make him cowardly. Courage is the root of fear and confidence. All courage comes with knowledge that is aqcuired through experience. Knowledge is what makes a man act wise and calm when in fear. Courage is not the absence of fear and doubt. Courage is following the call in the midst of fear and doubt.

The man who charges without knowledge of was and the terrain is foolish. Decisions aren’t to be made simply on the basis of favorable or unfavorable circumstances. They are to be made on the basis of wise, well thought out options. Competence, character, commitment, confidence, and grace are all characteristics of courage.

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