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From /SupportingOurTroops

(PeterTaylor) Surely one can support the troops without supporting the government that's giving them orders?
How?  I can give orders, if I like.  Here we go, I want all wikizens to firebomb Milton Keynes.  A worthy aim - the place is a pit of despair and mocks cows.  Now, is it me or you is at fault if you go and do it?  As far as I know, international law agrees with me on this example (although not specifically naming milton keynes) - "I was following orders" is not an excuse.  Now, this is not to say that the politicians should be deposed and imprisoned as well - but they're politicians.  They're supposed to be evil and corrupt.

Are you saying that every soldier should fully investigate the background reasoning and all possible consequences of every order he is given before he agrees to go and do it, so that he can decide whether he feels happy about following this particular order or not?  If that were the case, there would be no moral people in armies at all!  You can't always decide whether the order you were given is right or wrong - there isn't enough time or information.  Soldiers are trained to make quick decisions and to follow orders by default, unless there are obvious issues with them.  Anything else would endanger lives to a huge extent.
There are also issues with being a small cog in a big machine.  Even if you disagree with what the machine's doing, you can still make sure that the part you have been asked to play is carried out with no moral objections whatsoever.  More often that you'd have thought.
(PeterTaylor) Or, indeed, you may see the machine as doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, disagree with the machine, but carry out your part in good conscience.

(definately good to move to non-threaded given the edit conflicts)
Vitenka [These] are all fair points.  But I disagree that there is no time.  Yes, when someone is rushing toward you and you have a gun, killing them befor you can discover whether or not they are armed is excusable.  But firing the first shot, in a calculated attempt to try and kill the leadership...  That's something a little bit different.
If it had worked, you'd have to admire it in a cold way.  It's the kind of decision a machine could make "Kill forty, now, without warning, to avert the killing of four thousand" type of logic.  But it's still cold and inhuman and - basically - wrong.

The point about leaders is very well made.  I suppose the populous is at fault for not pushing the issue as far as I might have done (complex blame type pronouns needed I think) but the leaders are definitely at fault.

But so are the people who loaded and fired those missiles and piloted those planes.

Whether it is worth a few moral people supressing their morals in order to get into the army and bring out intelligence is another issue - and one that skirts rather close to an 'us and them' mentality.

As to overly black and white - no.  The issue is black and black.  But I cannot see how the war option is a better one than not going to war.  Both sides in a fight are in the wrong.

Interesting question:  What would be needed to justify this war in your eyes?  At this point, with the lack of trust I have in the leaders on all sides, I'm not sure anything would do.  But certainly every excuse given for war so far has rung hollow - especially the "He might support terrorists" one.

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Last edited March 20, 2003 10:14 pm (viewing revision 3, which is the newest) (diff)