What separates war from murder?

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by richmondgator81, May 13, 2014.

  1. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    As I see it, the only thing that separates killing someone within the context of war and murder is that war is government sanctioned and approved murder which makes it "lawful" and therefore, by definition, not murder.

    Does the distinction matter to you? In all circumstances of war or only certain ones? Do you think that because war is government approved and sponsored, that this should absolve a soldier from the moral weight that comes with ending another person's life?

    I find very little to distinguish the two aside from that word "lawful".
  2. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Since I agree with it, and it is said there better than I can articulate it myself, I'll quote excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2302-2317.

    Emphasis added.
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  3. LittleBlueLW
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    LittleBlueLW Premium Member

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    Probably ought to ask our Commander In Chief. Like right before ordering a drone strike.

    As for the burden of the soldier, you might touch on some very sensitive nerves there. Tough one.
  4. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    So if it has the blessing of the Catholic Church, you're ok with it?

    That's the key for you?
  5. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    Iraq invades Kuwait in an act of war - the Iraqi government gives the go ahead - Iraqi soliders begin lawfully killing Kuwaiti people under order from their government. Are those Iraqi soldiers really just committing murder in your eyes or are they absolved because they are under orders?
  6. MichiGator2002
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    Here's a thought -- why don't you read 2309 again. Pretend Barack Obama came up with it over breakfast. Tell me what you see there that strikes you as immoral, irrational, or unreasonable.

    If you took anything I quoted as an endorsement of "just following orders" as a defense, I was giving you faaaaar too much credit before.
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  7. LittleBlueLW
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    LittleBlueLW Premium Member

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    So its ok if a gun brandishing burglar kicks in your front door and kills your family. You gonna take that or kill him and protect your family?
  8. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    I read it again and it appears to be an EXTREMELY subjective list if criteria.
  9. DeanMeadGator
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    DeanMeadGator '63 Gator VIP Member

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    I know that many soldiers feel guilt for doing what they had to do in war. Many were drafted to serve in the war in 'Nam. Would it have been moral to run away after being required to join, thereby endangering those who did not run away? Would it be moral to kill in order to prevent another from being killed? Would it be moral to kill another in order to save the life of a fellow solider gravely wounded and begging to live?

    What of police officers who are required to shoot others in the line of duty? Must they be absolved from the "moral weight of ending another person's life." If one must kill to protect their wife and children, must they be absolved?

    Which is less moral - (1) old men sending young men to fight and die or (2) having to fight and kill others to avoid being killed and having fellow soldiers killed?
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  10. busigator96
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    Don't forget those old men profit greatly.
  11. BastogneGator
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    I would say intent matters; taking human life cannot always be qualified as murder. Self defense and lawful warfare are obviously different than murder. In self defense the intent was to protect yourself. Generally speaking you did not cause the action from which you must defend yourself. War is just an extension of international politics. War is the result of competing national interests or retaliation against a state actor or non-state actor for a breach of international law. Would killing members of Boko Harroum be murder after they kidnapped 250 girls? I do believe that a "murder" can occur during times of war. There is a significant amount of legislation (law of land warfare, law of armed conflict) that distinguishes between the two.
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  12. LittleBlueLW
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    Dean that second quote aint mine. I agree it's a tough distinction for some to wrap their heads around and for those that have to take another life to protect their own or others, can be a tough burden to carry unless they are truly convinced that what they have done is justifiable.
  13. RayGator
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    One could also ask what separates abortion from murder? And it is government approved. When the process is completed, what once was alive, is now dead.
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  14. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    So you make a distinction for war but not abortion? It's ok if the government approves killing in one instance but not in another?


    Can a soldier that is just following orders be considered a murderer? What if that soldier is fighting on behalf of another country - not the US? Perhaps a country you don't like whose policies you don't support. Is it murder when those soldiers kill other people "in the service of their country"?

    At what point can personal responsibility be assigned to a soldier and at what point does the excuse "I was just following orders" become unacceptable (if ever)?
  15. BastogneGator
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    Responsibility is assigned to a soldier if he/she kills someone that is not part of his or her duty. Killing another uniformed soldier, killing an uniformed combatant, killing a civilian who displays hostile action or intent are all permissible. Obviously in warfare civilians are killed. While not to be considered collateral damage callously if unintentional I don't think a soldier should be punished. Soldiers have the moral responsibility to only follow lawful orders however they do not get to interpret what is lawful outside such cases as killing civilians purposefully etc. Soldiers do not get to decide if a war sanctioned by congress or an emergency response sanctioned by the POTUS is lawful.

    I think this standard applies to all Soldiers regardless of what nation they fight for. It gets more convoluted when you start dealing with non-state actors.
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  16. BastogneGator
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    Do you feel that a state is ever justified in going to war?
  17. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    "Would it have been moral to run away after being required to join, thereby endangering those who did not run away?"

    Certainly not. But given the alternative - lawfully murdering people by order of the government for a cause in which I wholeheartedly disagree (or die trying to), I'd take the former as the lesser of two evils.
  18. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    "Soldiers do not get to decide if a war sanctioned by congress or an emergency response sanctioned by the POTUS is lawful. "

    What do they get to decide?
  19. WESGATORS
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    Not all killing in a "war" is "murder." Necessarily, some killing will be viewed differently by different parties as to whether or not the action was morally justifiable or not. Whether something is legal or not does not necessarily coincide with whether or not it is moral.

    Go GATORS!
    ,WESGATORS
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  20. richmondgator81
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    richmondgator81 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I do. I also think that in many circumstances, war and killing to eliminate an imminent threat is a necessary evil for a greater, longer lasting peace. It's not just black and white.

    But I also am 100% ok with abortion in the first trimester. Again, something that isn't black and white. We draw arbitrary lines in the sand about what is "civilized" and "lawful" murder and what is not in many facets of our society.

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