Can a good soldier be a good man? 69 replies

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Young_Pioneer

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#1 11 years ago

A good soldier has to obey orders. If his commander orders him to attack a town he has to follow the order.

What if he knows that attacking this city means killing many innocent civilians?

Can he question the order? Or does he have to do what he is trained to do: kill those people?

If he follows the order: Is he a good soldier but a bad man? If he refuses to follow the order: is he a bad soldier but a good man?

What do you think? Can a good soldier be a good man? Discuss.




PsychoGerman

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#2 11 years ago

Well in that situation, if he follows the order he is a good soldier but a bad man, and vice versa. Simply because you are trained to follow orders does not mean you are forced to follow them no matter what. Your reposiblity to be a good human being comes before your responsibility, as a soldier, to follow orders. Personally i would rather have the humiliation of a court martial and a dishonorable discharge than live the rest of my life with the knowledge that i killed innocent people.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#3 11 years ago

The poll is a bit biased as not every soldier necessarily comes into a situation where he or she is forced to kill innocents. There is however a chance of that happening if you are send into combat, so I voted "no" as I believe that killing people is wrong.

Edit: "Yes"-option added to the poll.




B.F. Pierce

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#4 11 years ago

Or does he have to do what he is trained to do: kill those people

You aren't trained to kill civilians, you're trained to kill the enemy while avoiding killing civilians.

So in this case, in order to be a bad man he'd have to be a bad soldier, by say leveling the place with artillery instead of going in with men.




Young_Pioneer

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#5 11 years ago

So you would have not attacked any Iraqi city as a soldier? You would have refused your commander's order?




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#6 11 years ago
B.F. Pierce;3553133 So in this case, in order to be a bad man he'd have to be a bad soldier, by say leveling the place with artillery instead of going in with men.

That's exactly the problem western soldiers face today in Iraq or Afhganistan. Terrorists/insurgents use civilians as shields and often airstrikes are used to take them out as the US/Nato tries to avoid casualties. It is also often difficult to distinguish between civilians and terrorists.




PsychoGerman

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#7 11 years ago
Young_Pioneer;3553141So you would have not attacked any Iraqi city as a soldier? You would have refused your commander's order?

You know they don't go in and say "hey, i think there are insurgents in the city, lets blow the *&^% out of everyone." They do (except in rare cases) try to avoid killing innocents. Its not encouraged and certainly not a common occurence, especially intentionally, and i would appreciate it if you stopped slanting your questions to try and obtain the answer you want.




B.F. Pierce

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#8 11 years ago

Yeah insurgency and fighting non-oraganized armies is a pain as far as the not killing civies goes.

I don't really fault the US/Nato policy, since they're doing all they can to make civilian deaths (and troop losses as well) in conflicts as low as possible.

Fact is civilians are going to die, it's one of those side effects of playing with explosives, but they have better chances in this day in age than say 30 years ago.




Karst

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#9 11 years ago
B.F. Pierce;3553153Fact is civilians are going to die, it's one of those side effects of playing with explosives, but they have better chances in this day in age than say 30 years ago.

Correct me if i'm wrong but i believe the amount of civilian casualties compared to military casualties has gone up continuously, WW2 was the first conflict with more of the former, and since then the ratio has gotten worse.




Guest

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#10 11 years ago

Soldiers are not required to follow an order if that order is considered against the rules of war. But as for the question of killing civllians, what is a civillian? During WWII there were tons of civillian casualties but those "civillians" were also serving in factories helping your enemy. Are they still civillians then? Personally I think a civllian is only those who offer no physical support to the enemy at all, and therefor those who give aid to the enemy or support them in factories and such are no longer civllians.