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The Morals Of War Essay

978 words - 4 pages

There is an old saying, "All is fair in love and war." This saying is around because during times of war, countries are more concerned with being victorious than with being moral in their actions. If a country were to attempt to be moral, they may lose to a country that will stop at nothing to win. On the personal level of the soldiers, morals are even more difficult to possess. A soldier not only lacks the ability to make major decisions about the war, but he also is unable to make his own decisions about what to do. It is because of this that in a properly structured military one cannot keep their own personal morals.
It is important to stress the meaning of the word "can" and "can not" in this essay. When it is said one can not keep their morals, it does not mean that he or she can not try. In the story "Guest of the Nation" by Frank O'Connor, a man was asked if he would do what he thought was right knowing he would be shot He replied that he would even if it meant being shot twenty times over. Yes, this means that he could attempt to keep his own personal morals but would die for doing so. Because of this it is understood that one could always try to keep their morals, but in a time of war keeping ones personal morals while continuing to fight in the war is impossible.
In "The Guest of the Nation" the men doing the killings felt that it was their duty and that their own personal morals did not matter. This concept of duty comes up often in two situations. The first is like is shown in this story. A person is posed with a moral decision in which what they feel is the right thing to do can not be done because of what needs to be done. Doing what needs to be done is considered to be duty. The second situation is when the right thing to do will bring harm to the person performing an action. Duty is one of the easiest ways to see the morals of war. If soldiers face the first situation more often than they face the second, then they live in a less moral military. If solders face the second situation more often, they have a moral military. In a moral military it is possible to have morals, but not personal morals. This is because just like was mentioned earlier, the soldiers are not making their own decisions and if they do attempt to make personal choices they may be removed from the war. Because of this if their morals are any different from that of the military; they cannot have personal morals. If their morals are the same then they are group morals and not personal morals.
During World War I, there was a battle in which the 77th Division was supposed to push into the middle of...

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