This one can be titled in various ways, “a soldier’s morality”, “why don’t soldiers kill their own” and many others, the reason being that because a soldier is in the field of warfare the morality shifts a bit in relation to murder, and the other obvious reasons. I’ve always thought about why don’t soldiers just shoot their commanders in the head, or rather more specifically militia, what’s stopping them from taking over each other? What’s so different about them that they have a separate court of “justice”? Now exploring this dimension leads to a few other questions about the state of a soldier.
To begin with the dictionary definition – probably one of those dictionary definitions that is quite congruent with the reality – “job” simply means a paid position of regular employment. So a job comprises of it being paid and categorically is a regular employment. Now, just like any other job, to be thinking of becoming a soldier one has had to have an idea of what exactly do they wish to gain from years of physically gruesome training – money? No. Becoming a soldier is one of the least paying jobs in relation to regular employment classification of manners. Let me explain; firstly there are even drafts in army, meaning you’ll just be picked up to go and sacrifice your life out of nowhere, second, being a soldier mostly has you being physically tough and all you do is follow orders of those who are deemed to have more brains than you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that soldiers are dimwits but there’s a strong emphasis on physical power and obviously so, third, you’ll literally be a pawn, a useful one perhaps, but a pawn, fourthly that the sole idea of someone becoming a soldier is in most cases a reflection of their economical struggles. The reasons also depend on the country itself, for example in the US 42% of voluntary soldiers joined the US army for the sole reason of adventure i.e. exploring new places. A significant number of soldiers (32%) called military benefits a major motivation for enlisting: health care, active-duty tuition assistance, and post-service support structures like the GI Bill. Military service is a “lifeline” for some Americans, as researchers note, citing one single mother who joined “just because I had my son and I needed the benefits, I guess you could say.”
Now with just like any job, aside from personal reasons for the enlisting, the “company” itself has a goal, and the person joining it directly or indirectly serves that purpose. That purpose with every country is the same; “honour” with all the movies made on the honour of “serving the country” – like no one else does and that military is where you serve the country – being a soldier gives a sense of “glory.”
Now that honour; what exactly is that? Killing? Yes. So technically killing is justified in the army with the boundaries laid out and the extent of which are called war crimes. Most people think that army personnel are protecting them, which is such a phoney illusion, most of them wouldn’t even have looked at the army if they had the choice, all the training, the separation from family, blown-up limbs, for the people? No, for themselves and their family, the “serving of nation” is a blanket for trauma, weighted by the metal-given prominence that they wear with “honour.”
The reason why soldiers don’t kill their own is because they’ll be put in trail, given death sentence, their family will lose the benefits, the salary will be ditched and the surname a shame. There is one other reason, that the “serving of country” is pounded in their brain, all they know is an idea of something called “my country” they image a deity, without realising that they country consists of people with an idea of where the nation should be headed and they aren’t “serving the nation” but the masters’ idea of the nation.
It’s literally the same with militia with the difference that their idea of serving consists of no “benefits” or salary is most cases, it is purely the service of masters’ idea. In a way they are the ones who actually care for what they believe in, for good or bad reasons, just like Bose was called a terrorist when he made the army filled with people who were there for no salary, no medals, but just service through blood, literally. This also means that when the service itself wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for military drafts and economy, the “honour” becomes shallow, because that’s just a bi-product.
In a job, when you’re told to do something that is out of line, let’s say you’re an accountant and you’re told to spy on a client’s history, you deem it wrong (hopefully) and wouldn’t do it (I hope). So, a job comprises of free-will, although in military the authority is far more potent and weighted, if you’re told to kill and you defy it as you deem the order wrong and or immoral, you’ll be put to trail most probably. This fear of trail, right here is why “I’m just following orders” becomes the get out of jail free card ironically, it skips your conscience when you shift the entire blame, for the action you deemed immoral and still did, to your superior who commanded you to do it. And, the entire scheme is deemed as “in service of the nation.”
The existence of war crimes themselves is a proof of boundaries in military, that a soldier can’t or rather mustn’t defy under the shadow of “just doing what they’re told.” Because just like the accountant, the morals exist, so does blame, so does conscience. To give you an example, the ideals, of master Hitler, so to speak, were obvious and thus the soldiers had an obvious morality. The soldiers, rather camp guards in Holocaust used to take shifts and be “considerate” to other guards for that they used to sometimes take others’ shifts to take the “hard work” on themselves, the hard work being making the Jews work hard till they die. And they found solitude in this overtime, for that their service comprised of such ideals. Just like the Holocaust camp guard can’t get away with the weak phrase “I was just doing what I was ordered” the modern day military can’t either, because the morals are universal.