• SethRy
    152
    Our world is a war-ridden world. War, is a state of lawlessness — a disregard to the law. Therefore, there is no murder, and technically every other immoral action, in the duration of the war. Are Soldiers, of whom fuel the scope of war, responsible for immoral actions that occur without the central guidance of the law? Furthermore, are soldiers different people in different places? Should they be responsible, would they no longer be responsible if peace is acclaimed?

    By Soldier, I mean a person who have been involved into engagement of war. This may be clumsily defined, but I'll start from there.

    One man's Freedom fighter is another man's Terrorist.

    Now, if the morality and identity of a soldier is totally subjective, we would be the total arbiters of right and wrong (which shouldn't be a surprise). And that as an entirety, is every soldier entitled to respect of today's people, for attending war, despite of any immoral action they could've done?

  • WerMaat
    70
    Our world is a war-ridden world. War, is a state of lawlessness — a disregard to the law.SethRy
    Perhaps war is a state of chaos, or, one might argue, a state of injustice.
    But it's certainly not lawless, is it? Humans came up with a huge amount of "martial law", from warriors' codes of honour to the Geneva Conventions...

    Are Soldiers, of whom fuel the scope of war, responsible for immoral actions that occur without the central guidance of the law? Furthermore, are soldiers different people in different places? Should they be responsible, would they no longer be responsible if peace is acclaimed?SethRy
    I like the German answer to this problem. See here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Command_and_obedience_in_the_Bundeswehr

    In Germany, a soldier is a "citizen in uniform". He or she is part of chain of command, but in some situations has the right or even the duty to refuse a command:
    "Generally he has to obey.
    He may but need not obey if the order has obviously no legitimate aim (e. g. "clean my boots" in usual situations), violates the soldier's own human dignity (e. g. "run into the city and shout that you are a fool"), or is unconscionable (e. g. obliges the soldier to spend amounts of his own money above limits mentioned in directives).
    He must not obey if the order violates others' human dignity, international law or consists of a crime (including a misdemeanor). Otherwise, subordinates are guilty of their deeds if their criminal character was obvious to them."
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Our world is a war-ridden world. War, is a state of lawlessness — a disregard to the law.SethRy

    The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) would like a word with you.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    "Generally he has to obey.
    He may but need not obey if the order has obviously no legitimate aim (e. g. "clean my boots" in usual situations), violates the soldier's own human dignity (e. g. "run into the city and shout that you are a fool"), or is unconscionable (e. g. obliges the soldier to spend amounts of his own money above limits mentioned in directives).
    He must not obey if the order violates others' human dignity, international law or consists of a crime (including a misdemeanor). Otherwise, subordinates are guilty of their deeds if their criminal character was obvious to them."
    WerMaat

    So aside from learning knowledge how to kill the enemy AND survive at the same time, a German soldier is burdened with having to deal with and make accurate decisions on heavy theoretical legal, and philosophical choices related to soldiering.

    I daresay this demanding mental rigour would exceed the thinking capacity of most soldiers of most armies around the world.

    My source for this opinion was the previous post which I quoted.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    Perhaps war is a state of chaos, or, one might argue, a state of injustice.
    But it's certainly not lawless, is it? Humans came up with a huge amount of "martial law", from warriors' codes of honour to the Geneva Conventions...
    WerMaat

    The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) would like a word with you.Terrapin Station

    War has its own laws, but it ignores a great number of laws that civil societies in the western democratic societies enforce on individuals.

    War is not a complete state of lawlessness (it obeys physical laws, for instance, and it obeys obeying laws in the German army, apparently), but it is far less restricted by law than civil order without war.

    I have not performed research on this, for instance, counting the number of laws to be obeyed by an individual in a civil peace-time society, and counting the laws the war activity must obey. I appeal to the readers' own intuition to verify this claim by me.
  • SethRy
    152
    But it's certainly not lawless, is it? Humans came up with a huge amount of "martial law", from warriors' codes of honour to the Geneva Conventions...WerMaat

    The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) would like a word with you.Terrapin Station

    War is not a complete state of lawlessnessgod must be atheist

    Thank you for pointing that out, apologies for the mistake there.

    May I ask to each of you; regardless of being punished for violating a law, do they still deserve to be entitled respect? Knowing that, these people participated into war in full bravery and patriotism, willing to give out their lives for the sake of what they believe in.

    Although their moral responsibility might be grounded upon war-based laws, should they be respected for fighting for what they see as good?

    And from my meager understanding of the UCMJ, is this a globally-agreed code? Because throughout wars of enormous scopes, violation of these laws were prevalent — from torture and mass-killings of citizens. In addition, does punishment still occur despite the lack of evidence, conclusive or not?

    These questions all boil down to one main inquiry; do soldiers, as in every soldier, deserve respect? I established a discussion on morality, justice, and identity as I believe they contribute to the entitlement of all soldiers.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    do soldiers, as in every soldier, deserve respect?SethRy

    It's a hard question to decide, not only seeing the evidence laid up before us, but because some soldiers are baited to join the armed forces, some are conscripted, some are forced at gunpoint.

    But speaking for myself, from an empirical viewpoint of critical analysis, I am always courteous, respectful and sucky-sucky with someone who has a bigger gun than mine.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    So hello (Please do not mind the rather cringy name. I have no idea why I went with such a name when I first made this account.) and I will just state my say on this.
    These questions all boil down to one main inquiry; do soldiers, as in every soldier, deserve respect?SethRy

    Yes I do believe that every soldier and I mean every soldier should be respected. Why I believe so is simply the fact that every soldier has gone through war and may have lived to tell the tale. It does not seem so convincing but war can indeed take a toll on a soldier's mind a lot, which can lead to decisions from a soldier that I think most of us would consider "immoral" to say the least. An example of this would be PTSD, Shell shock, and a few others like CSR. However, excluding CSR, the rest happens to full effect after a war so this may be excluded. Yet the one thing war can do is change a person's morality if you ask me. You can send in the most patriotic, the smartest, and the most religious man you know, but in the end a bullet wouldn't care. Soldiers have to go through a hell that many of us would not simply comprehend. The sound of guns firing at every direction, the screams of men desperately calling for help, but only to die in the end under the bullets of agony, the fires of bombs and shells reigning terror in every corner and every street, and yet there is so much more than just that. These soldiers, regardless of where they stand, fight so hard and relentless in all they can do, only to capture five feet of ground, and repeat the same process before they die, or win the battle, only to fight another battle once more. The very essence of death lingers in every place a soldier goes, for in war, a bullet would never care. Yet against all the pain, against all the odds, these soldiers still fight on and on no matter what. Even if death and agony lingers about, these men delve deeper into the hearts of hell no matter how much ground they captured along the way. This will, this determination is what deserves all the respect we can give for a soldier no matter what side is he or she on because whether the soldier is a philosopher, a poet, or a writer, a bullet would never care.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    It makes a difference what kind of war we are talking about.

    There are a lot of wars around the world (quite a few long-running wars in various shit holes that have not risen to First World significance) where no one has set up any rules of engagement and where anything goes. It can be difficult to sort out soldier from civilian; beneficiary from benefactor; good from bad; perpetrator from victim.

    We have had Total War characterized by WWI & WWII--war as a great slaughter house. The enemies were great and evil enough to justify virtually any strategy, any weapon, any method--on all sides. So poison gas, fire bombing of cities, death squads, genocide, Total War, etc.

    Are Soldiers, of whom fuel the scope of war, responsible for immoral actions that occur without the central guidance of the law?SethRy

    Maybe wars in third world countries, those long low-grade conflicts, are driven by soldiers. But big wars conducted by First World nations are not driven by soldiers--certainly not conscripted ones. In the First World, war is diplomacy, economics, politics, foreign relations, and so forth conducted by alternative methods, and the driving forces in First World countries are the civilian, military, and industrial leaders. (See Eisenhower on the military-industrial complex.).
  • WerMaat
    70
    So aside from learning knowledge how to kill the enemy AND survive at the same time, a German soldier is burdened with having to deal with and make accurate decisions on heavy theoretical legal, and philosophical choices related to soldiering.god must be atheist

    Not quite. A citizen of any country is also expected to know and follow the law - even if you haven't studied law.
    A German soldier will not be punished if the criminal nature of an order was not apparent to him or her.

    Those rules were made after WWII, one of the many checks and safety nets to hopefully make another Nazi rule impossible: The right to refuse orders gives soldiers an out, if ordered to commit atrocities. The fact that they'll be made responsible is meant to further deter them from committing war crimes.
  • WerMaat
    70
    do soldiers, as in every soldier, deserve respect?SethRy

    No, they don't.
    It's humans, as in every human, who deserve respect.

    Why I believe so is simply the fact that every soldier has gone through war and may have lived to tell the tale. It does not seem so convincing but war can indeed take a toll on a soldier's mind a lot, which can lead to decisions from a soldier that I think most of us would consider "immoral" to say the leastMomokoBandori
    One: Not all soldiers have served in an actual war.
    Two: War takes a toll on all people touched by it.
    I would just give you an example I witnessed. There was a cute little girl, about 5 years old. She lived in a refugee camp where I volunteered and seemed to be all lively and happy, playing with the others. Then one day, somewhere in the city some fireworks went off.
    And suddenly she came running into the building, desperate, crying for her father, shouting "Yaty al harb, yaty al harb!" - "The war has come".
    Would you call her a soldier, too? I would not. But I admire her, because she survived.
  • god must be atheist
    574
    Not quite. A citizen of any country is also expected to know and follow the law - even if you haven't studied law.WerMaat

    In countries where English Common Law is the basis for legal issues, the citizens are expected to follow the law, but they are not expected to know the law. Nobody knows the law in its entirety in ECL countries.

    It's easier in Germany, where Napoleonic law and its derivatives comprise the system.
  • alcontali
    474
    He must not obey if the order violates others' human dignity, international law or consists of a crime (including a misdemeanor). Otherwise, subordinates are guilty of their deeds if their criminal character was obvious to them.WerMaat

    Ha, they blatantly copied that from the Charter of the International Military Tribunal - Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis ("London Agreement"). 8 August 1945:

    Article 8

    The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.


    Even though the point of view expressed in article 8 sounds absolutely sensible, it is still a case of retroactively fixing of law:

    An ex post facto law (corrupted from Latin: ex postfacto, lit. 'out of the aftermath') is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions that were committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the law.

    The Nuremberg tribunal happily used it to criminalize and prosecute behaviour from before 8 August 1945. That was very, very flawed. If was just a round of failed bug fixing.

    Furthermore, it is an utmost inconsistent view, because it denies the supremacy and sovereignty of Nazi politically-invented law using ... some other politically-invented law.

    Hence, that view is simply circular, and therefore, it absolutely does not solve the problem.

    Politically-invented morality is obviously bullshit, because as Albert Einstein so beautifully pointed out:

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

    Politically-invented morality has always been, and will always be, bullshit.

    For once, I have to agree with the Holy See and repeat his denunciation of politically-invented morality, as he did in "With Burning Concern" ("Mit brennender Sorge"):

    Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God.

    In other words, they have not fixed anything, and it is still the same bullshit. The London Agreement/Charter was a joke and the equally politically-invented Bundeswehr morality is also a stupid joke.

    Seriously, all of that does not deserve any respect whatsoever. I spit on it.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    One: Not all soldiers have served in an actual war.WerMaat

    Yes I admit that not all soldiers has seen war. However, it's not just the experience of war that deserves respect. The role of a soldier, the training they undergo, and the fact that each soldier serves their nation is all deeds worthy of respect.
    Two: War takes a toll on all people touched by it.
    I would just give you an example I witnessed. There was a cute little girl, about 5 years old. She lived in a refugee camp where I volunteered and seemed to be all lively and happy, playing with the others. Then one day, somewhere in the city some fireworks went off.
    And suddenly she came running into the building, desperate, crying for her father, shouting "Yaty al harb, yaty al harb!" - "The war has come".
    Would you call her a soldier, too? I would not. But I admire her, because she survived.
    WerMaat

    Yes it does take a toll on people too. However, I'm discussing about soldiers here and not civilians. Also no, I wouldn't call the little girl a soldier because she simply isn't part of a military organisation. She's just a victim. I do hope she's alright though.
  • S
    11.3k
    Are Soldiers, of whom fuel the scope of war, responsible for immoral actions that occur without the central guidance of the law? Furthermore, are soldiers different people in different places? Should they be responsible, would they no longer be responsible if peace is acclaimed?SethRy

    They're fully responsible for their own actions, including going to war and following orders.

    Now, if the morality and identity of a soldier is totally subjective, we would be the total arbiters of right and wrong (which shouldn't be a surprise). And that as an entirety, is every soldier entitled to respect of today's people, for attending war, despite of any immoral action they could've done?SethRy

    No, certainly not.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    No, certainly not.S

    Why so?
  • SethRy
    152
    They're fully responsible for their own actions, including going to war and following orders.S

    care to explain?
  • Possibility
    490
    Now, if the morality and identity of a soldier is totally subjective, we would be the total arbiters of right and wrong (which shouldn't be a surprise). And that as an entirety, is every soldier entitled to respect of today's people, for attending war, despite of any immoral action they could've done?SethRy

    When we evaluate the morality of a soldier’s actions, we position them according to our own current perspective of value. However, when a soldier acts, he/she positions those acts according to his/her perspective of value at the time.

    The situation of war is one in which a set or system of value that assumes power, influence or control based on its supposed universality is exposed as subjective, and therefore finite, fragile and/or false. It is as much a battle to resume the illusion of power, influence and control among its own ranks as it is a battle against an alternative set of values, people or places in the world.

    Soldiers are recruited particularly from among those who have little to no awareness of, connection to or collaboration with alternative values, people or places outside of the threatened value system, and therefore are positioned to view everything they encounter outside the system as a fundamental threat to existence as they know it. The entire discourse of war for a soldier further intensifies this equation: survival of the system is of the utmost significance.

    Once the war is over, all actions are morally positioned according to the prevailing value system, which resumes an illusion of universality or righteousness, and is given power, influence and control once again.

    BUT here’s what I think we need to recognise: each of us have freely given power, influence and control to these value systems, including the soldiers. Whatever reasons they may use to justify their actions, they chose to collaborate with the willful destruction or suppression of a human perspective that was not their own. They chose to disconnect from a part of humanity. And they chose to be ignorant or dismissive of any and all alternatives to a course of action laid out for them. If you have the courage to risk your life for others, then surely you have the courage to be responsible for the choices only you can make in any interaction to be aware, to connect and to collaborate.

    I respect any soldier’s decision to go to war, but they cannot then absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions in that war, regardless of the value system they subscribe to. Following orders is not an excuse to be ignorant. Sorry.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    Following orders is not an excuse to be ignorant.Possibility

    Unfortunately, as in nearly all domains of human experience, there will be ignorance and the ignorant. Even many mathematicians are ignorant of constitutional law, for example. Are soldiers, who as a plurality seem to come from poor and underprivileged communities with underperforming educational systems, to be held to the same standard as the physician in ethical concerns? I’m not sure.

    Furthermore, any American should feel gratitude to the all volunteer military for protecting our homeland. It is a great sacrifice. That said, soldiers are sent into questionable wars all the time. Politicians should be held to a higher ethical standard than the common GI.

    These are my thoughts on the subject.
  • Possibility
    490
    Unfortunately, as in nearly all domains of human experience, there will be ignorance and the ignorant. Even many mathematicians are ignorant of constitutional law, for example. Are soldiers, who as a plurality seem to come from poor and underprivileged communities with underperforming educational systems, to be held to the same standard as the physician in ethical concerns? I’m not sure.

    Furthermore, any American should feel gratitude to the all volunteer military for protecting our homeland. It is a great sacrifice. That said, soldiers are sent into questionable wars all the time. Politicians should be held to a higher ethical standard than the common GI.

    These are my thoughts on the subject.
    Noah Te Stroete

    A mathematician may have been ignorant of constitutional law, but they continue to be ignorant only if they choose not to be aware once the information is presented.

    I’m not talking about trust-laden ethical standards of physicians, though. I’m talking about the choice one makes to ‘protect our homeland’ by shooting dead a human being half a world away. I’m in no position to pass moral judgement myself - particularly against a soldier, whose situation is markedly different from my own. I haven’t, and would never, ask anyone to make that sacrifice for me - although I can at least appreciate the sentiment.

    But don’t tell me they can’t be held responsible for an ‘immoral act’ because they were ‘just following orders’. They don’t need an education to realise that they are interacting with a human being - they choose to acknowledge or ignore that information, to connect that information to their actions and to pull the trigger. At the end of the day it is their personal value system making those decisions and no one else.

    I’m not going to morally position a soldier’s actions, but many others will, rightly or wrongly. I’m saying that a soldier must be brave enough to hold themselves to account for the choices they make, and not hide behind authority. So I lean towards the German version of soldier’s rights and responsibilities as described by @WerMaat.

    I think when we give soldiers, politicians, police, business owners, priests, etc permission to shirk responsibility for their actions and hide behind an illusion of authority from some higher or universal power, influence or control, then we invite them to act without regard for the ethical standards to which we hold everyone else accountable.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k


    You present a good argument. However, in the field of battle, an order may feel more like coercion than a choice.
  • S
    11.3k
    Why so?MomokoBandori

    So a soldier goes to war, and he guns down some women and children, and rapes some of the women, but he's a soldier after all, so he's entitled to respect?

    No.

    Do you think you have some example where a soldier deserves respect in spite committing an immoral act?

    Care to explain?SethRy

    Not really, no. Why don't you explain your disagreement, instead? Assuming you do actually disagree.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    So a soldier goes to war, and he guns down some women and children, and rapes some of the women, but he's a soldier after all, so he's entitled to respect?

    No.

    Do you think you have some example where a soldier deserves respect in spite committing an immoral act?
    S

    A Nazi and a Japanese soldier is an example. But I don't hold them in high regards. I don't like them, but the thing I respect about them is them fighting for what they believe in. Even though it's cruel and even though they have been blinded by propaganda, they still fought in battlefields and they still fought against thousands of men. But that's the only thing that deserves respect among them. The rest of the deeds like rapes, torture, etc. Do not absolutely deserve respect at all.
  • S
    11.3k
    A Nazi and a Japanese soldier is an example. But I don't hold them in high regards. I don't like them, but the thing I respect about them is them fighting for what they believe in. Even though it's cruel and even though they have been blinded by propaganda, they still fought in battlefields and they still fought against thousands of men. But that's the only thing that deserves respect among them. The rest of the deeds like rapes, torture, etc. Do not absolutely deserve respect at all.MomokoBandori

    Fighting for what you believe in doesn't deserve respect at all without qualification. It entirely depends what you believe in, and even then, you should be judged on your actions over and above your beliefs. The Japanese soldiers who attacked Pearl Harbour and tortured prisoners of war in horrifying ways do not deserve respect. The Nazi soldiers who invaded Europe do not deserve respect. Isis soldiers do not deserve respect.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    Fighting for what you believe in doesn't deserve respect at all without qualification. It entirely depends what you believe in, and even then, you should be judged on your actions over and above your beliefs. The Japanese soldiers who attacked Pearl Harbour and tortured prisoners of war in horrifying ways do not deserve respect. The Nazi soldiers who invaded Europe do not deserve respect. Isis soldiers do not deserve respect.S

    Yet it's something to go against what the entire world disagrees with. If you were an ISIS soldier, you'd be hunted down across the entire globe. If you were a Nazi, no one would spare you and no one would give a damn about you. If you were a Japanese, you'd already have honor with the Bushido code, even though it was taken too far. It's very bold to against the world, and these men did it. It's something to consider.
  • Possibility
    490
    You present a good argument. However, in the field of battle, an order may feel more like coercion than a choice.Noah Te Stroete

    I understand that. In the field of battle you are continually under threat, yet a threat from your CO feels different to a threat from bullets or bombing. As I mentioned before, in the discourse of war, everything is pared down to a basic fight for survival, and I get that it would be so much easier to not think and simply follow orders. But you still make the choice to step out of the driver’s seat.

    When did we make it heroic to temporarily cease to be a human being and become the system? I cannot agree with this 20th century Hollywood ‘hero’ ideal of morally justifying a leave pass from civilised society in order to ‘right a wrong’. With the mental issues of returning soldiers, it should be painfully obvious that this ‘movie script’ expectation doesn’t reflect real experience.
  • WerMaat
    70
    It's easier in Germany, where Napoleonic law and its derivatives comprise the system.god must be atheist

    I don't think that this makes for a significant difference. The German BGB - Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, and StGB - Strafgesetzbbuch - are pretty huge and you need to be a specialist to know them well. And still every citizen is responsible if they break the law.

    The role of a soldier, the training they undergo, and the fact that each soldier serves their nation is all deeds worthy of respect.MomokoBandori
    I don't see how that would elevate the soldier to a higher status than any other key professions. A doctor, a politician, a policewoman, a sewage worker and the administrator of your local water treatment facility: All of them have the job to serve the public and make your life safe. The sewage worker is probably more important to your comfort and safety than the average soldier.

    Oh, wait, I can think of one difference: The other professions don't usually KILL people and destroy property and infrastructure.
    Having armies and soldiers at all, in any nation, is something I criticize. At the moment, they may be the lesser of two evils, but an evil nonetheless.
    War has been a plague to mankind for millenia, and I would love to see it eradicated. We should focus on peace, not war. On humankind, not on the single nation.
    Impossible, you might say... it's human nature, you might say. Well, humans do a lot of impossible things that go against their natural instincts - why not this one?

    A Nazi and a Japanese soldier is an example. But I don't hold them in high regards. I don't like them, but the thing I respect about them is them fighting for what they believe in.MomokoBandori
    Some of these Nazis are my great-grandfathers. I respect them as humans who tried to survive in a difficult situation, but I don't respect them for being soldiers.

    Fighting for what you believe in doesn't deserve respect at all without qualification. It entirely depends what you believe in, and even then, you should be judged on your actions over and above your beliefs.S
    Exactly, well said.

    I think when we give soldiers, politicians, police, business owners, priests, etc permission to shirk responsibility for their actions and hide behind an illusion of authority from some higher or universal power, influence or control, then we invite them to act without regard for the ethical standards to which we hold everyone else accountable.Possibility
    Absolutely.

    It's sadly rather easy manipulate people into committing horrible violence.
    The higher authority is one: "It's an order. It's not your responsibility, you're just doing what you have to do."
    Other popular manipulations are:
    "You need to protect your family/comrades/country/king..."
    "If you don't kill them first they will kill you"
    "It looks bad, but it's for the greater good"
    "We're just taking back what's rightfully ours"
    "You're a coward without honor if you don't do it"
    "They started it. It's their own fault, they shouldn't have provoked us!"
    (and yes, all of the above were used to push the Wehrmacht soldiers... that would be the average Nazi soldier)


    "Every soldier deserves respect"
    "Thank you for your service"
    Nice words...but these words, too, can all too easily be another thread in the above pattern of manipulations.
  • S
    11.3k
    Yet it's something to go against what the entire world disagrees with. If you were an ISIS soldier, you'd be hunted down across the entire globe. If you were a Nazi, no one would spare you and no one would give a damn about you. If you were a Japanese, you'd already have honor with the Bushido code, even though it was taken too far. It's very bold to against the world, and these men did it. It's something to consider.MomokoBandori

    I wouldn't become a soldier, full stop.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    I don't see how that would elevate the soldier to a higher status than any other key professions. A doctor, a politician, a policewoman, a sewage worker and the administrator of your local water treatment facility: All of them have the job to serve the public and make your life safe. The sewage worker is probably more important to your comfort and safety than the average soldier.WerMaat

    I never implied that soldiers are not the only people to be heavily respected. We have doctors who saved lives, politicians who actually are not corrupt, even office workers have a role that deserves respect. How much respect given depends on how you view. Also, never did I want to imply that soldiers have a higher standing than most professions.
    Oh, wait, I can think of one difference: The other professions don't usually KILL people and destroy property and infrastructure.WerMaat

    That's the cost of war. These men have to kill people in order to accomplish the objective.
    On humankind, not on the single nation.
    Impossible, you might say... it's human nature, you might say. Well, humans do a lot of impossible things that go against their natural instincts - why not this one?
    WerMaat

    It's possible. It's nice to see someone that believes that anything is possible. Most people wouldn't say it's possible, but like you said, if we can do some impossible shit, why can't we do this too? All it takes is everyone to believe in the one vision to progress through peace. How that is achieved is a different story.

    It's sadly rather easy manipulate people into committing horrible violence.WerMaat

    It's why I pity the Nazis and Japanese for being this so easily manipulated by a bunch of men with beliefs that are simply immoral by our standards. Some stand out like Franz Stigler or possibly Joseph Gangl, but lots of these men have to fight the wrong side of the war simply because they believed it was right.
  • WerMaat
    70
    That's the cost of war. These men have to kill people in order to accomplish the objective.MomokoBandori
    Yes, but is the objective worth the killing? Who as the right to decide that?
    And should not those that DO the killing have both choice and responsibility?

    but lots of these men have to fight the wrong side of the war simply because they believed it was right.MomokoBandori
    Wrong side? Is there ever a right side, in any war?
    Soldiers kill on both sides, and on both sides people suffer and die.
    And all to often, the political outcome is not really worth all the blood and pain after all. Look at Afghanistan, the country is still unstable after almost 2 decades of international military intervention.

    War is not the only instrument of political change. There ARE other ways, better ways, I'm glad we agree on that.

    I like those moments in history much better when a seemingly small thing suddenly turns things around. Take the opening of the borders between Eastern and Western Germany.
    In 1989, the SED (Eastern German) politicians were discussing to gradually lift traveling and emigration restrictions. But the new law was still under revision and discussion.Then, in a press conference on 9th November, Mr Schabowski of the SED announced that no visa would be needed any more to travel to West Berlin. And a journalist asked, eagerly: "And when will this new regulation be in force?" And Mr. Schabowski wasn't sure and said: "Well, as to my knowledge.. immediate"
    And in the same night tens of thousands of people streamed onto the streets, overran the border stations and literally started tearing down the Berlin Wall.
    In this night, the soldiers of the border control could have opened fire and used deadly force to keep the people back... it wouldn't have been the first time it happened. But their superiors were floundering and at some point Oberstleutnant Harald Jäger decided to take matters into his own hands. Rather than using violence to restore order, he commanded the border control forces to stop passport control, open the gates and let people through.
    Now, THIS is a person I respect, even though he was a soldier.
  • MomokoBandori
    7
    Yes, but is the objective worth the killing? Who as the right to decide that?WerMaat

    The superiors and politicians believe that. They are the ones who decide the battle and the results. But it's up to you to decide whether it was the right thing to do.

    And should not those that DO the killing have both choice and responsibility?WerMaat

    They are responsible of their actions, but it's justifiable if you ask me. This is war and both sides, soldiers or leaders, know that if they let up, they will lose possibly everything.

    Wrong side? Is there ever a right side, in any war?
    Soldiers kill on both sides, and on both sides people suffer and die.
    And all to often, the political outcome is not really worth all the blood and pain after all. Look at Afghanistan, the country is still unstable after almost 2 decades of international military intervention.
    WerMaat

    This is why war is almost always morally ambiguous. It is why there isn't really good and bad guys. The wars that have are not morally ambiguous would be WW2. Also, yes lots of the times, it isn't worth the effort like Afghanistan for example. However the reason why politicians still do what they do in war is because of their "interests". America in particular fought lots of wars not for the sake of morality, but for their interests. There are better way, but it's sad to see they still resort to violence when more peaceful ways can be utilised.

    War is not the only instrument of political change. There ARE other ways, better ways, I'm glad we agree on that.WerMaat

    Indeed we agree. War is to be always a last resort when all else fails. But nowadays, war is used for interests. It is the sad thing to be honest. But greed can do lots of things Herr @WerMaat

    I like those moments in history much better when a seemingly small thing suddenly turns things around. Take the opening of the borders between Eastern and Western Germany.
    In 1989, the SED (Eastern German) politicians were discussing to gradually lift traveling and emigration restrictions. But the new law was still under revision and discussion.Then, in a press conference on 9th November, Mr Schabowski of the SED announced that no visa would be needed any more to travel to West Berlin. And a journalist asked, eagerly: "And when will this new regulation be in force?" And Mr. Schabowski wasn't sure and said: "Well, as to my knowledge.. immediate"
    And in the same night tens of thousands of people streamed onto the streets, overran the border stations and literally started tearing down the Berlin Wall.
    In this night, the soldiers of the border control could have opened fire and used deadly force to keep the people back... it wouldn't have been the first time it happened. But their superiors were floundering and at some point Oberstleutnant Harald Jäger decided to take matters into his own hands. Rather than using violence to restore order, he commanded the border control forces to stop passport control, open the gates and let people through.
    Now, THIS is a person I respect, even though he was a soldier.
    WerMaat

    Many thanks for the info. I hope we can all be united one day to be honest. Even though I am interested in military history at times, I learnt over the course of the years about War and it's effects. We should avoid it at all costs if we can.
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