Human And Civil Rights In Armed Forces

2346 words - 10 pages

Issues with both Civil and Human rights have been a focal point of issue with each war the United States has engaged in; ranging from the introduction of a multi-racial army to a fighting force consisting of people of multiple sexual orientations, from combating crude surgical techniques and diseases to debating the actual ethical ideals of war. Although the army tends to lag on the acceptance on certain social issues, given a certain amount of time the Civil and Human rights of the United States’ armed forces are almost always met. Though the disadvantages of wartime are often overshadowed by the advantages: advancements in gender and race equality, as well as the advancement of technology, ...view middle of the document...

S. has engaged in. With higher estimates around 750,000 for both the North and the South and the casualties at nearly double that (Billings), the American Civil war is by far the most terribly gruesome war an American soldier could have fought in. Though their sacrifice was meaningful and is still appreciated, their right to life, given to them at birth, was undoubtedly violated. Some would argue that when one signs up to fight in war, their duty to selflessly defend their country overrides their right to life. However, this would imply that a soldier’s main duty is to die rather than protect. Furthermore, the right to life is the most basic and fundamental of all human rights, and a human’s right to life could never be devalued to the point of giving it up.
Although the death toll of the American civil war is astronomical, with the total count for both the North and the South at around 750,000, two thirds of the deaths in the civil war were a result of disease and infection. Diseases such as typhoid fever, dysentery, malaria, yellow fever, and many more ravaged the camps and killed hundreds at a time. In addition, because of the poor living conditions soldiers faced, infections were a common issue for even the slightest of cuts. And if the infection didn’t result in the death of the victim, amputation was usually inevitable. Furthermore, during the Civil War, the experience and training of doctors wasn’t well regulated on either side; with the Union only having 98 doctors and the Confederacy 24, both armies were willing to take anyone who considered himself a physician (Billings). With this came about an abundance of medical issues associated with the care of soldiers; not only was it nearly impossible for soldiers to avoid even slightly agreeable living conditions, but when sick the medical treatment for the soldiers was nearly nonexistent. Furthermore, the soldiers often had no choice over what treatment the doctors decided on. There are several reported cases where a soldier would point his rifle at his doctor in hopes of stopping him from performing any treatment. These kinds of poor conditions and medical treatment is in direct violation of the soldier’s human right to choose what happens to your body as well as decide what medical treatment you endure. The terrible conditions American Civil War soldiers were exposed to, arguably, would even boarder on torture.
With all the losses of human rights soldiers endured throughout the Civil War, arguably, their sacrifice was worth the single advancement to come from the war: the abolishment of slavery. It is no secret that disputes over race were what split the country and plunged it into war; however, it is hard to imagine what the present condition of the United States would be like had the Union soldiers had not succeeded. And although their right to life as well as their choice of treatment was greatly violated in the course of the war, considering the lives they have given back through...

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