The Line

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In ancient Sparta, a man’s worth was measured by how effectively he could end another’s life. And yet, as in many other cultures based on war, murder was strictly prohibited. In today’s society too, a soldier can kill a thousand and is glorified, honored, and even revered for the lives he has taken. A murderer in the same country however, is scorned and hated and viewed as having committed an appalling sin: taking the life of another.
Where is the line that separates those who murder from those who protect? A man I respect immensely who used to be in the U.S. Military once said to me, “My job was to kill. And I was good at it.” Some would say that his job was to protect and maybe they’re right. But who is to say which life is more important? Soldiers on both sides of a war have families, friends, pets, and other possessions. If every person’s life taken overseas saved another’s’ in one’s home country, is it justifiable?
Everyone has their own opinions on these matters, and it is not my place to say whether they are right or wrong. There is one thing, however, that that selfsame man told me that I can condemn with a clear conscience. He said to me, “I was the perfect soldier. I didn’t think about the future, because for me, there wasn’t one. There was only what I was commanded to do.” People should never give themselves over utterly and unthinkingly to any cause. No one should have the right or ability to so completely command another’s actions so as to override their moral standards, because when their usefulness has been used up, they are the ones who will have to deal with what they did.





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