Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

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Ned
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Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:57 pm

I have never been in any army, so I don’t have a personal experience.

The assumption though is that, once you are in the army, you have to follow orders, regardless weather you agree with the ethical nature of the orders or not.

In a sense you suspended your own personal morality and placed it into the hands of people all over on the chain of command: from your immediate superior in the army to the president and the congress itself.

We know from history that horribly unethical decisions have been made on this chain, over and over and, you, as a soldier, have to carry them out, no matter how unethical and downright evil those decisions and orders were.

My question to those who volunteered to the army is the following:

How can you live with this exposure of having to perform potentially evil and unethical duties, just because you suspended your right to protest.

How can you live with this – does it ever bother you?

Did you ever have an instant when you regretted joining the army that forced you to do things you would have never done by your own volition (like firing white phosphorus shells at civilians - including children - in Fellujah)?

ETA:

From Wikipedia:
Quote:On November 15, 2005, Dept. of Defense spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable confirmed to the BBC that white phosphorus had been used as an incendiary antipersonnel weapon in Fallujah

John K
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by John K » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:16 pm

You could ask this question to any profession. You could even ask al-Qaeda or al-Shabaab this question. The oath of enlistment (US) includes words to the effect ...obey the lawful orders of those appointed over you. A glaring example of "lawful orders" going horribly wrong is what happened in Germany during National Socialism. They simply changed the laws to accommodate their agenda. Your question is much to general.

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:29 pm

John K wrote:You could ask this question to any profession.
In any other profession you can quit when you disagree with the orders.

Once you enlisted, you are stuck (never mind the stop-loss practice).

You do what you are told or else.
John K wrote:...in Germany during National Socialism. They simply changed the laws to accommodate their agenda
Or in every state when the existing laws were too 'restrictive', like due process, innocent until proven guilty, no cruel and unusual punishment, etc.

Often they don't even bother to change the laws, just simply ignore them (by renaming prisoners of war as "Enemy Combatant").
Last edited by Ned on Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John K
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by John K » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:32 pm

Ned wrote: In any other profession you can quit when you disagree with the orders. Once you enlisted, you are stuck (never mind the stop-loss practice). You do what you are told or else.
Then don't sign the contract.

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:36 pm

John K wrote:Then don't sign the contract.
That's exactly what this thread is about.

Raising awareness in ethical people that volunteering for the military might force them into unethical actions.

Impenitent
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Impenitent » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:56 pm

obey the leviathan or learn to defend yourself...

-Imp

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:28 pm

Wild Dogs

I saw a pack of wild dogs
on TV, the other day,
they brought down a gazelle,
didn’t kill it outright but
started feeding,
tearing out chunks of its flesh,
still alive.

It’s the gazelle
that shocked me most:
head slightly raised,
just watching them,
with almost an interest.

I didn’t see hatred,
outrage or moral indignation
in those sad eyes,
I saw only pain,
acceptance,
fast fading light.

Not the gazelle,,
nor the wild dogs
knew about evil.
The dogs had to eat
what they could find,
they were hungry,
had pups to feed.

And then I knew:
for carnivores
life is just survival,
by hunting, killing, devouring,
by sheer force or deception…
…they have no choice…

…we do.

thedoc
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by thedoc » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:25 pm

Ned wrote:Wild Dogs
I saw a pack of wild dogs
on TV, the other day,
they brought down a gazelle,
didn’t kill it outright but
started feeding,
tearing out chunks of its flesh,
still alive.

It’s the gazelle
that shocked me most:

You shouldn't have been shocked unless you grew up on the Disney version of nature.

The objective of the wild dogs is the same as any predator, and that is to eat, killing is not their purpose. In nature there are no cold blooded killers, that is the province of man. Man does have one redeeming quality, in hunting there is a great deal of emphasis on a quick clean kill, and avoiding a wounded animal dying slowly.

John K
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by John K » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:26 pm

Ned wrote: Raising awareness in ethical people that volunteering for the military might force them into unethical actions.
The qualifier "might" suggests that unethical action doesn't accompany military service by necessity.

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:34 pm

John K wrote:
Ned wrote: Raising awareness in ethical people that volunteering for the military might force them into unethical actions.
The qualifier "might" suggests that unethical action doesn't accompany military service by necessity.
I used the word 'might' on purpose.

However, as history demonstrates (if you study it deep enough), unethical actions happen most of the time.

You have to look at the big picture and see what you were a part of, even when you think that you participated in a 'just' war.

You have to follow the cause-and-effect chain back to where it started (maybe dozens or even hundreds of years before) and examine where it eventually lead.

Then you can evaluate if your actions were ethical.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by The Voice of Time » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:38 pm

Ned wrote:In a sense you suspended your own personal morality and placed it into the hands of people all over on the chain of command: from your immediate superior in the army to the president and the congress itself.

We know from history that horribly unethical decisions have been made on this chain, over and over and, you, as a soldier, have to carry them out, no matter how unethical and downright evil those decisions and orders were.
This is not true. If you commit atrocities during war you'll be held accountable in most modern states regardless of whether you followed orders or not. This kind of mentality you mention there is from the last century, like WW2, Korea War and Vietnam, or alternatively the remnant of some socially retarded state.

There are legal and illegal orders, and if your officer is insane for instance you might very well be excused from refusing to follow orders. When you enter an army you are first of all expected to defend your country, and if your orders clearly contradict with that or the orders are strictly in violation of the ideals of your country you might be excused. In modern countries any refusal to follow orders is met with military court, and if you have a good reason to not follow orders you will be excused or face relatively trivial consequences.

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:40 pm

VoT, my friend, what planet do you live on? :roll:

Have you heard about Abu Gharib?

Or about the massacre at Fallujah?

I suggest you Google them and see how many responsible (all the way to the top) were prosecuted.

John K
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by John K » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:59 pm

Ned wrote: Have you heard about Abu Gharib? Or about the massacre at Fallujah?
Would you compare Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz? Fallujah to Nanking?

Ned
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Ned » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:06 am

Ask the individual victims and take a poll.

What's your point?

John K
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by John K » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:14 am

Ned wrote:Ask the individual victims and take a poll.
No, I'm asking you.

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