The Ethics of War

July 11, 2010
By goldmansharone GOLD, Boulder, Colorado
goldmansharone GOLD, Boulder, Colorado
13 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people
What a miserable thing life is: you're living in clover, only the clover isn't good enough.
You'll never shine if you don't glow.
Selfishness is a horrible trait.

It is an extreme irony that while any sane person on Earth yearns for peace, it is the thing that is near impossible to achieve. With shootings, attacks and bombardments happening at this very moment -battles that have been going on for years- a wakeup call brings many to realize that worldwide peace is a galaxy away. I sometimes feel as though nothing can be done to fully end the years of hatred that have accumulated into a never ending cycle of war and battle. And with peace hardly an option, countries have changed their focuses as to how best to attack their enemy, not how to see eye-to-eye with them.
Which leads me to this question. Have you ever thought: Is personal defense of your country more important than the innocent lives that could be slaughtered while trying to protect your nation? Are the lives of your nation worth more than those of another nation, simply because you are part of it? The thoughts and questions I am about to write are highly controversial, but I am not enforcing an opinion or trying to manipulate people to see my way, which is, ultimately, undecided.
Let’s say, for example, your country is being attacked by another. You think you know that the launch point of the people who are attacking you is a few miles off of a public park. Eighty percent sure, do you risk sending a counter-attack and killing innocent people who have nothing to do with terrorist who are initiating the bombardments? Or do you let the terrorists continue what they are doing, for the safety of the other civilians?
When I was ten, a war broke out between Israel and Lebanon. I lived in Israel for a few years, but I was still far away from the border. I was scared nevertheless. I was most worried for my country, and for my soldiers. It was hard not to be biased to my own nation. Although I think Israel handled the war fairly, I wonder what it would have been like to be a Lebanese child, who was biased to Lebanon.
It was an intense controversy: Israel attacked the Hezbollah- a terrorist organization- who used human shields; who set up their launch points in hospitals and schools. If we were not to attempt to kill them, they would only try to send more missiles. But Israel’s counter-attacks would likely kill innocent Lebanese civilians as well, because the Hezbollah placed their launch points in these public places.
I am relating this to Israel because that is the place I have had war-experience in. But this isn’t just a controversial topic in the Middle East. Any country that wants a good reputation will ensure civilians that they are doing all they can to combat their enemy and their enemy only. Unfortunately, this is near to impossible. So what do you do?
Luckily, I don’t have to decide. And I really don’t want to. I know what it feels like to fear for my life or the lives of my loved ones, so any conclusion I come up with will contradict my other beliefs. Of course I would want my army to do all they can to protect me. But at the expense of innocent people? Of children, with hopes and futures? Children like me?
My point is, it isn’t all black and white. And no army is perfect. At the end of the day, people will do whatever they can to survive… and it may hurt others. Since this flawed world is all we’ve got, I strongly believe in the importance of aiding soldiers and families in war zones. There are tons of ways to help, from donating money to your own army, or clothes and toys to families in refugee camps.
We can spend years contemplating the ethics and morals of war, or we can reach out to those in immediate danger. The skepticism can wait until later, for calmer and more relaxed times. The time to help is- and always has been- now.

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