General Question

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41 Answers

Upward's avatar

Because Jesus said to kill others? No
Because God says we should… No
Because that way men can use god fearing people to do their dirty work.

Mangus's avatar

In part, because the state is understood to have a monopoly on force. Killing by soldiers or the criminal justice system are both seen as the state killing, not individuals.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

In a socially acceptable way it is murder.

jacksonRice's avatar

@mangus: but i don’t understand why the state killing isn’t murder. why is it legal? why do we have things like the geneva convention, which say “this is okay, it is okay to kill people like this, it is okay to take these people hostage; this is not okay, it is not okay to do this to people, or to kill them like this, in this magnitude” ? why aren’t soldiers socially considered murderers?

please forgive any offense. none intended, i assure you.

aaronou's avatar

Butt then the question would be why would it not be considered murder for the state to kill, whether that be through war or any other means? In fact, I believer there are many that would ask why capital punishment is not likened to that of murder.

This question could actually be approached from two different spectrums. On one hand, we could debate the civil reasons of how one could argue that under the terms of war, killing is not technically murder. On the other hand, we could discuss the philosophical dilemma of war and murder and treat the two no differently. If you honestly think about it, war is perhaps one of the greatest perplexities that humankind has crafted. At this point in history, war may become occasionally inevitable, as with maybe that Allied response during WWII, but this does not take away from the fact that the roots of war itself are rather arbitrary.

ezraglenn's avatar

Murder strikes me as something full of intention, something meditated, calculated, driven by passion. While war may share some of these characteristics, it certainly isn’t equatable.
For Example:
A soldier at war may never kill someone, and may even be in the army for lack of other options, financial reasons, or what have you. So s/he isn’t killing anyone, and even if s/he was, it would be for a greater cause s/e may not even believe in, more along the lines of assassination, but again, without the passion a murder requires.

I suppose this doesn’t address what the question may be implying, which is that war should be considered murder by an army of another nation or army. No one is perfect.

Randy's avatar

My question is why does everyone think that we should all get along? Sometimes there is reason to fight. Even the animals fight eachother over certain disagreements and power struggles. I’m not saying its ok to fight of kill over anything, but sometimes communication doesn’t work.

Now, to answer the question. War is about winning some kind of victory for a large group. Take two countries as the example. Because its better for the country as a whole, its morally accepted to be ok to kill the enemy. As far as criminals and the death penelty goes, its thought that the country/state as a whole will be “safer” by putting the person to death.

tinyfaery's avatar

Killing is killing. Murder, on the other hand, depends on how one defines the term. Just because its war, or the “state”, doesn’t preclude that the individual who does the killing is not culpable. No matter how you rationalize it, killing is wrong.

ebenezer's avatar

War is like two big macho posturing beings playing chicken. It seems that when we go to war we pretend like we are in a position of self-defense… But hey, it doesn’t seem to take much to get that ball rolling.

marinelife's avatar

I think the answer to your question is that human beings are not yet sufficiently evolved to see that war and killing in war are wrong and to make them unacceptable.

TrenchMouth's avatar

When war is justly warranted it is either we or they. It is a factor of priority. When you murder you remove yourself from the community, when you kill in war you are part of a community.

These are not my original sentiments but I subscribe to them.

Mangus's avatar

@tinyfaery: to be clear, I agree. I was merely aiming at the standing rubric for this discussion–what the accepted explanation seems to be.

@Trenchmouth, that’s the best differentiation I’ve seen. Not your original sentiments? Do you know the attributed source? My immediate reaction, though, is this: that sense of community is in so many cases very false. The reality is that a small strata of society is benefiting from the war, while groups outside that strata are bearing the overwhelming costs. If the society has dramatic class divisions, then it’s a bit problematic to talk about “a community”.

St.George's avatar

It is murder. Try explaining war to a 5 year old, you’ll find that it’s impossible to justify in an acceptable way.

Randy's avatar

I disagree. When I was 5ish, I knew what war ment and that people died, but I still l knew that it wasnt ok for a normal person (civilian) to go killing people. I knew they would go to jail. Now, I didn’t know much about it as far as details go, but I knew the basis of what’s accecptable and what isn’t.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

I agree with Randy, my brother just turned 5 and my cousin is in Baghdad doing “nothing exciting” as he puts it, but my brother knows that my cousin is killing people and even can name some of the guns in his pictures he brought back from his first tour. When he has a cap gun he knows it not real, but he still knows not to point it at himself or another person or animal.

delirium's avatar

randy? You say that even animals fight… But do you consider humans to be animals? (I simply ask because I find that most people who trust war are also the people who consider a person to be better than an ‘animal’)

Randy's avatar

As far as the defination of animal and the animal kingdom goes, yes. We are animals. I do believe that we have a deeper more intellectual thought process though.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that conflict isnt a good thing, and should be avoided when possisble, but there are times when it just can’t be avoided.

PupnTaco's avatar

It’s a tradition. ‘twas always thus.

Knotmyday's avatar

Members of my family have fought and died in every American conflict since the Revolutionary War, some in several conflicts waged before the Declaration was signed.

During the Civil War (which, for better or worse was an ideological conflict) the Ohio/Illinois side fought the Texas/Tennessee side, no doubt killing and maiming each other. Afterward, both sides joined together and rebuilt a nation, and some of them mated. Hence- me. Were my family, although unarguably ideological killers, murderers?

Legally, no. They were soldiers.

The movie Sergeant York poses an interesting internal conflict study, when a pacifist man is conscripted into service in WWI. His conflict is resolved in a firefight, where he dispatches German soldiers so that his men can survive. Is Sergeant York, a conscientious objector at a time when the term wasn’t even part of the lexicon, a mass murderer because he killed an entire platoon of men- that other men might live?

The only positive thing about all the wars I mentioned (and the endemic violent death thereof) is that they resulted, to varying extents, in a country where people have the freedom to express differing points of view about the nature of war and the men and women involved in them.

Such as the point of view of the placard-waving people who spat and threw things at my wounded uncle, as he was carried from the plane following his tour of duty in Vietnam.

And the point of view of my grandmother and grandfather, who cared for him for the six months before he could walk again.

Zaku's avatar

War isn’t murder because states say what war and murder (and execution) are, and states tend to kill or imprison people who resist (and/or define them as terrorists or outlaws…).

TrenchMouth's avatar

@Mangus: I agree with your initial thoughts on that definition, but I think it is important to point out that the ‘community’ can be a number of things, but foremost it is the young men and women actually participating in the war. It can also be a large population of people at home who feel a strong connection to those actually doing the fighting. It is a tough definition to nail down, but the source of my thoughts on this are drawn from a number of places. Not the least of which is War and Existence by Michael Gelven. It isn’t always a page turner but it is worth the effort.

St.George's avatar

@ Randy I didn’t mean that a 5 year-old couldn’t understand war, but as a person trying to explain war to a 5 year-old, the whole concept comes out sounding rather inane.

Randy's avatar

I’m not sure what you mean. If a 5 year old knows about it, it would have had to been explained to them. Maybe I’m just reading what your saying, wrong.

St.George's avatar

War, in terms that a 5 year-old could understand, sounds inane. Is that better? Sheesh, I’m an English major, you’d think I could get my point across. Guess not.

susanc's avatar

Randy, you’re not addressing the moral question, only the legal question.

Randy's avatar

I believe your asking if it’s morally ok
to kill people during war. I can’t really answer this because everyone has a different set of morals. In my opinion, anytime someone wants to kill someone than there is a problem somewhere. During war times though, soldiers arn’t really given an option. It’s kill or be killed.

susanc's avatar

Exactly! In your opinion, anytime someone wants to kill someone there is a problem somewhere. That seems to really answer the original question, I think. So, what is the
nature of the problem? Is it the same problem always, or
are there lots of possibilities? Is war one of the possibilities?

Randy's avatar

I think that there is a lot of possibilities. For example. Country 1 decides it needs more land. They war with surrounding countries to get land. Country 2 fights back on a defensive front so they don’t loose their land and wind up dead, a slave, or just part of country 1.

Then you have country 1 wants certain group(s) wiped out. Then country 2 fights for survival.

Also, country 3 is allied with country 2 so country 4 (country 1’s ally) fights country 3 to so 3 can’t help 2 and so 1 will continue to ally with them.

I realize its kinda confusing. There are other reasons as well, I’m sure. Actually, now that I’m thinking on it, it usually all stems from some sort of greed. Someone has something that another wants. I’d say that’s at least 90% of why war happens, so there ya go. I’d say greed is usually the cause.

susanc's avatar

Greed makes wars?

What makes murders?

Randy's avatar

People killing innocent people?

tinyfaery's avatar

The inability to cope with overwhelming emotions. Acting out is the primary coping skill for those who have problems with emotion regulation. Just to put my 2¢ in :)

margeryred's avatar

I think it is the same way as a Police Officer who is forced to kill to save their own lives or preserve the lives of others…

A lot of countries that go to war, whether we think they are right or not, feel as though their cause is going to preserve their livelihood or will prevent their countrymen from being slaughtered by the other. Sort of a preemptive strike at times… or a desperate means of survival depending on the circumstances.

On the surface this seems really different from the USA going over to Afghanistan and Iraq… but I guess if they are killing our people (9/11 and developing nuclear weapons for future attacks) it may not be different…

Just a footnote: Murder and homicide are different… When a police officer kills someone in the line of duty the autopsy report still says homicide, the courts decide if it was justified… So do you think we employ this same theory to war as a whole?

Truefire's avatar

I agree with margeryred.

Zaku's avatar

Minor footnote then if Iraq actually wasn’t behind 9/11 nor was it developing nuclear weapons for future attacks?

XrayGirl's avatar

well, it is…I guess, and so is self defense…I will NOT allow anyone to kill me without trying to kill them first….so what is your point?

watchman220's avatar

War is killing because you disagree with each other. Two parties willingly and forcefully contend with one another to the death in battle. That is war.

Murder is the taking of a life from someone who did not volunteer their life for such a risk or reality.

If you break laws…then you should know what you are getting into…if the state has a death penalty for killing people…and you kill someone…well…duh, you should be ready to pay the price.

If you go to war…you know you are fighting to the death possibly. Kill or be killed.

bea2345's avatar

Technically, war is not murder, (at least for the soldiers who are obeying lawful orders). But I cannot help thinking of a cartoon showing a decorated general at the gates of Heaven, being interviewed by St. Peter. The caption says, “What part of Thou shalt not kill don’t you understand?”

flutherother's avatar

Because it takes away, or appears to take away individual responsibility. I think we do have an individual responsibility even in war but nearly all of us are cowards at heart and will go where we are sent and kill when asked.

nana098's avatar

i want to join the milerty and im christian is that bad i mean we are killg for the good david killed goliath and others

mcsnazzy's avatar

War is defending ones country and as an act of self defense, if you must murder to prevent death of your people, then is is socially acceptable.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Self defense on a national scale.

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