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I've been thinking about the archetypes we use to describe soldiers in the modern and historical sense. I am reminded of those old GI Joe cartoons and the stories of GIs after the war that handed out candy bars to the destitute native children. I am reminded of the soldiers on both sides of trench warfare who chose to have a holiday cease fire and share a cup of tea. I am reminded of nobles who lead their soldiers into battle and fight for their religious beliefs, their land, or their ethics. The brave soldier, the defender of the homeland, the man who fights for his country because he wants to preserve his way of life. I am reminded of these many scenarios, but also reminded of varying contrasts. There are those soldiers such as in the dynastic Chinese armies that move like robots mechanically obeying orders despite the attrition or foolishness of the orders. I am reminded of the Napoleonic and Revolutionary wars in which armies lined up to fire muskets and became sitting ducks and how it seems their training is no less robotic than the dynastic armies of centuries past. I think about Guerrilla Warfare, and the Tactics of Berserkers and megaviolent killing machines. I contemplate these and the contrast with idealized Paladins or soldiers who try to protect the innocent, try to avoid killing women and children, try to avoid bombing schools and churches and hospitals, and how that contrasts with colonels who board up villagers in churches and burn them all alive.

I think about the Spartan soldiers, and then the Roman soldiers with shaven heads, and contrast that with the Celts, or Native tribes will long hair and war paint. I try to see through this mess of what defines a soldier, and I come to the conclusion that a soldier does not have to be a mindless killing machine. They do not have to be a berserk blood thirsty maniac. They do not have to be a suicidal automaton worried about their families or lives because an order seems too insane or too evil to carry through. It seems to me such a thing as a good soldier can exist. That the idea of the soldier is one who struggles, but not necessarily someone who's only purpose is in killing and destroying. I think the idea of a soldier is to kill and destroy that which threatens the life and beauty around them, to represent a final solemn sense of resolution, to draw the line and say 'come no further'. I personally believe that the ideal ethic of a soldier is one with good intentions, and the bravery to see them through.

What kind of soldier do you see as ideal, ethically? Historical comparisons or examples being viable.
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

American soldiers during the American Revolution - good.
American soldiers after the American Revolution - bad.

I guess we can say ww2 was an exception.
False Dichotomy
American soldiers during the American Revolution - good.
American soldiers after the American Revolution - bad.

I guess we can say ww2 was an exception.


I think there were many good soldiers during some of the wars, and different wars had different concentrations. I mean, you've got your Sgt. York from WWI, and you've got the good GIs after victory, but there's also those bad ones. I don't think my focus is on the individual morality of Joe or Sam soldier, but rather, the general ethics that are used to raise and train them. I mean you have ma pa baseball apple pie and don't sell the farm high school sweetheart on one side, and then you have the sociopath cannibal blood painted face baby killing mad bomber/sniper torture chamber types on the other end.

All it takes to be a war hero is to make the right choices. All it takes to come home is to survive. There's got to be plenty of situations where a person can both survive and make the right choices. Where those are incompatible, that's what Taps and the life insurance is for.

I mean, come on, people are already shooting at you, and bad people are dying just as fast as the good, so why not be good?
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Michael Noire
False Dichotomy
American soldiers during the American Revolution - good.
American soldiers after the American Revolution - bad.

I guess we can say ww2 was an exception.


I think there were many good soldiers during some of the wars, and different wars had different concentrations. I mean, you've got your Sgt. York from WWI, and you've got the good GIs after victory, but there's also those bad ones. I don't think my focus is on the individual morality of Joe or Sam soldier, but rather, the general ethics that are used to raise and train them. I mean you have ma pa baseball apple pie and don't sell the farm high school sweetheart on one side, and then you have the sociopath cannibal blood painted face baby killing mad bomber/sniper torture chamber types on the other end.

All it takes to be a war hero is to make the right choices. All it takes to come home is to survive. There's got to be plenty of situations where a person can both survive and make the right choices. Where those are incompatible, that's what Taps and the life insurance is for.

I mean, come on, people are already shooting at you, and bad people are dying just as fast as the good, so why not be good?
There are no good people.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

Truth, justice, the correct way of doing things.

You don't blame the soldiers of Germany because they were being tricked, and many felt as if they had no choice; when they learned the truth, many despised their leaders.


You despite the SS and Hitler etc.

The SS = bad.


U.S. = Good.

Weschershmict = okay.


The objective of the soldier is to fight for what's right.

Since self defense is often a scenario of this, you are easily justified. The problem of life is when you have to kill to stop someone.


There are two types of enemies; those who deserve to die, and those who need to die. A crazy person; it's not their fault they're crazy. They didn't' wake up and choose to be crazy; but they need to be taken down, because they're a threat. Or child soldiers; they didn't choose to fight, or be brainwashed, so brainwashed they have a chance to escape and they can't even think to do it, so riled up they can barely stop.

The Bastards are the one's who went around enslaving them and brainwashing them; hell, half the terrorists are probably just brainwashed kids. Korean commandos are raised from the age of 2. The objective is to stop these horrible things from going on. There are martyrs on both sides. But when you over-all stop the oppression and violence, you're doing the right thing.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Michael Noire
False Dichotomy
American soldiers during the American Revolution - good.
American soldiers after the American Revolution - bad.

I guess we can say ww2 was an exception.


I think there were many good soldiers during some of the wars, and different wars had different concentrations. I mean, you've got your Sgt. York from WWI, and you've got the good GIs after victory, but there's also those bad ones. I don't think my focus is on the individual morality of Joe or Sam soldier, but rather, the general ethics that are used to raise and train them. I mean you have ma pa baseball apple pie and don't sell the farm high school sweetheart on one side, and then you have the sociopath cannibal blood painted face baby killing mad bomber/sniper torture chamber types on the other end.

All it takes to be a war hero is to make the right choices. All it takes to come home is to survive. There's got to be plenty of situations where a person can both survive and make the right choices. Where those are incompatible, that's what Taps and the life insurance is for.

I mean, come on, people are already shooting at you, and bad people are dying just as fast as the good, so why not be good?
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
And no one is either.
there is such a thing as just war,

it may be rare, and it may be hard to sort out who can make a good prisoner, who can defect, and who needs a bullet in the head, but it does exist

but likewise, we must not assume all war is just. In fact, I would guess many wars, if not the vast majority are unjust.

War should be waged to maximize freedom and minimize suffering.

I personally associate freedom with life, so torturing people to death is a pretty good motive for war in my book.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Worth more than anyone else.
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Worth more than anyone else.


All people are equal.

A person doesn't need to be "worth more" to be good.


That's a silly assertion.

Since we could all be equal at something, say equally good at physics, but that relative to knowledge on physics we could be bad, good etc. our relative capabilities are irrelevant. xp
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
There are no good people.


Perfect =/= Good.
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Worth more than anyone else.


All people are equal.

A person doesn't need to be "worth more" to be good.


That's a silly assertion.

Since we could all be equal at something, say equally good at physics, but that relative to knowledge on physics we could be bad, good etc. our relative capabilities are irrelevant. xp
If you had the ability to save the life of either 1 law abiding citizen, or 2 serial rapists, the other side will die, who would you save?
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Worth more than anyone else.


All people are equal.

A person doesn't need to be "worth more" to be good.


That's a silly assertion.

Since we could all be equal at something, say equally good at physics, but that relative to knowledge on physics we could be bad, good etc. our relative capabilities are irrelevant. xp
If you had the ability to save the life of either 1 law abiding citizen, or 2 serial rapists, the other side will die, who would you save?


Well obviously the innocent person.

It's the right thing to do. xp
Aporeia's avatar

Obsessive Sage

Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
And no one is either.


Right, right, according to what definition would you define "good"? xp
Worth more than anyone else.


All people are equal.

A person doesn't need to be "worth more" to be good.


That's a silly assertion.

Since we could all be equal at something, say equally good at physics, but that relative to knowledge on physics we could be bad, good etc. our relative capabilities are irrelevant. xp
If you had the ability to save the life of either 1 law abiding citizen, or 2 serial rapists, the other side will die, who would you save?


Well obviously the innocent person.

It's the right thing to do. xp
So its the right thing to let two people die so that one can live?
Suicidesoldier#1's avatar

Fanatical Zealot

False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Suicidesoldier#1
False Dichotomy
Worth more than anyone else.


All people are equal.

A person doesn't need to be "worth more" to be good.


That's a silly assertion.

Since we could all be equal at something, say equally good at physics, but that relative to knowledge on physics we could be bad, good etc. our relative capabilities are irrelevant. xp
If you had the ability to save the life of either 1 law abiding citizen, or 2 serial rapists, the other side will die, who would you save?


Well obviously the innocent person.

It's the right thing to do. xp
So its the right thing to let two people die so that one can live?


It's the right thing to help the person who deserves it the most.

As horrific and terrible as it is for any loss of life to occur, if the instigator is at fault, they brought it on themselves; it's not like I wake up in the morning and think about wanting to hurt people or kill people.


But if a person brings it on themselves by doing something horrific and awful, like rape or murder, or presumably threatening or hurting another person?

They give the other person no choice.


In the end, the sad reality is that I don't really have a choice.

If a person tries to kill me or someone else, or does something equally horrific, it's their will, not mine, and if they're going to choose to die or do it, then that's their issue.

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