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I think he said it to Melfi, but surely he realizes the difference between a gangster and soldier. What cause does he think he is fighting for? He must know that the people he preys upon actually do useful work and that he and his fellow thugs not only don't contribute but actually destroy society -- the waste management scams hurt everyone, even him and his family.

Is it implied that Tony is trying to convince himself or does he (and I guess other members of LCN) really believe they are fighting for some just cause and if so, what is the cause?

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A soldier, or soldato is a first-level Mafia member. And yes, like Military soldiers, they do whatever their higher ranking boss tells them to. So, on some level, Tony has always been a soldier. And soldiers sometimes take out bad guys, and sometimes take out civilians. You'll note that Tony and other Mafiosa sometimes use Military jargon like "surgical strike" and "collateral damage". Once a soldier, always a soldier, no matter what your rank.

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  • Then they would be guilty of war crimes. You don't need a 130+ IQ (measured, I hear) to know this.
    – releseabe
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 17:47
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    @releseabe - If you could tell me that civilians never died in a war, you'd have a fair argument. But they do. I don't think the Mafia typically call for hits on purely civilians, though. If they're not made, then they're associates in some manner. And their "fight" isn't for the betterment of society, just as our Military's fight isn't always for the betterment of the World. Sometimes it's purely about money. That whole, "Let's give Democracy to Iran" thing wasn't really about trying to bring Democracy to an age old system, it was about oil. Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 17:54
  • I am saying that there is literally no mafia activity except, one can plausibly argue, drugs/gambling/prostitution (all between consenting adults if that is true, if the girls are not coerced, if the drugs are sold to adults) that are not "war crimes" -- it is not just murders: union activities, "waste management", extortion, busting out of businesses, clearly benefit no one but the "soldier" and hurt the community. Truck hijackings? No very soldierly.
    – releseabe
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 17:59
  • @releseabe - I agree that it's not "soldierly", compared to actual Military soldiers. I guess it's just a different type of war. Think of it as, each "family" is its own country, that consists of nothing but Mafia members. They fight other families (countries) over control of resources, and the main end goal of all families is to become as rich as possible. Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 18:09
  • @releseabe if it's not a type of war, then why do we refer to some of it as: "the war on drugs"? Because people do get hurt, lives are ruined, people do die, & where a military & gangs collide is in "organization" & strategy -- It's why it's also refereed to as "organized crime". Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 18:29

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