General Question

Myndecho's avatar

Do you think soldiers are heroic?

Asked by Myndecho (948points) May 8th, 2009

Is it just me who thinks they’re not. They have picked a profession were they have to kill other people most likely just like them. They have both put them selves in a tribal mentality position.
I’m not saying they are not nice people etc, but I would be disappointed if I had a child in the army or I was in the army.

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29 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I would imagine that some are heroic and others are not. For many, this choice of profession is the only way to escape poverty. And of these, some may have an opportunity for bravery. I don’t think anyone really knows how they will react in the face of serious danger until they are actually there—and some may give their lives for others, while some may run like the wind in the other direction.

justwannaknow's avatar

YES!!!! Some one has to protect our country and its intrests REGARDLESS Where and what they do. Police and firefighters are considerd heros and it if thier chosen profession (and they are). Thay are just doing thier jobs too. What is heroic to you,A multi-million dollar ball player making a touch down?

Myndecho's avatar

The difference between police, fire fighters and soldiers are that police and fire fighters jobs does not entail killing people, I know the police do something but it is prevented at all costs.

A heroic person to me is someone who saves another persons life when they are not required to do so.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

I don’t think being a soldier is inherently heroic, especially since “hero” is a term that everybody seems to be throwing around recklessly these days. But I definitely don’t think armed service disqualifies you from heroism. It all depends on whether or not you believe violence is ever necessary, and on what country you live in. Take the U.S.—I think voluntarily giving up your freedom for the chance to defend your country or even just serve your country is a highly heroic thing to do. This is not to say that soldiers do not occasionally or even frequently do non-heroic things. There is an inherent quality of heroism in certain actions. If you grow up in a poor neighborhood and choose the Army over a life in menial labor or gangs, that is a heroic decision. If you give up a good, upper-middle-class life to join the Army, that is perhaps even more heroic. It is an oversimplification to say that “they have picked a profession where they have to kill other people.” There are many other factors involved in military service, and, although armies frequently make all kinds of horrific gigantic mistakes, the goal of military action is only to kill people who, well, deserve it. The military has to exist, and they do all kinds of great things besides killing people—a big part of the Pentagon’s mission is humanitarian aid. You join the military to serve the people in your country who value their freedom. To put your life at risk and to give up your freedom to protect the lives and freedoms of your countrymen is the ultimate kind of heroism.

@Myndecho, where I’m from, cops kill people all the time. Some deserve it, some don’t. It’s probably easier to argue that firefighters are the ultimate heroes… but all this means is that there are different varieties of heroism. You can kill and still be a hero.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Having presence of mind and putting others’ well being ahead of your own when the shit hits the fan is pretty admirable.

Ivan's avatar

Not by default. People are heroic if they do heroic things. This is true regardless of their profession. If you are asking whether or not a soldier’s duty is heroic, I would say no.

Garebo's avatar

Well, if this country went into civil war, wouldn’t you become a soldier, or hold allegiance too some entity to preserve your way of life and family? I know I would.
Yes, a hero is someone that is willing to sacrifice his life for others. I am no military dude, I have met many, but I do know that men in battle do incredible things to protect the lives of others at their own sacrifice.

Myndecho's avatar

I would rather die myself than kill other people.

Yes, a hero is someone that is willing to sacrifice his life for others. One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.

but I do know that men in battle do incredible things to protect the lives of others at their own sacrifice. Just take Iraq or example many more Innocent people die than the people who went to war knowing they may die.

Garebo's avatar

I always said if I had to go to war, I would expect not to come back, or not go.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@Myndecho, would you rather die than kill your attacker in self-defense?

StellarAirman's avatar

The vast majority of military members are not out killing people every day. There are hundreds of other duties in the military than going out sniping people all day. There are medical people in the military, accountants, personnellists, intel people, maintenance people, etc etc. It is very possible to be in the military and never kill anyone. Being in the military does not automatically make you a hero, but it is an admirable profession and it is putting your country before yourself and by military members serving the country and protecting it it gives you the freedom to question them and their motives, and the government. Less than 1% of the population has ever served in the military. Some people in the military don’t want to kill anyone either, but we have to do what we have to do at times. Your own opinion of killing others may change when you are having rockets shot at you indiscriminately in Iraq.

Myndecho's avatar

War is closer to stanley milgram’s experiment than if I got attacked. You assume that the opposition in war (the soldiers) have done anything wrong, they are people just like me and you who normally have joined for the same reasons.

Just to add people keep saying these people are putting there country before they’re own lives, that maybe technical correct everyone I know that has joined the army has done so because he has no other opinion or his intention wasn’t to fight for his country, thuogh like I said he/she is.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

I’m not talking about war. I am responding to “I would rather die myself than kill other people.” I am talking about killing. And some would argue that the intentionality behind going to war doesn’t really matter… nobody joins the U.S. Army because they “have no other option.” We have a volunteer army and the rationale that it is the only option for the poor is unsound. It is not “technically correct”... it is a fact. You fight for your nation’s army, regardless of your reasons, and you are automatically putting your country’s values (and, perhaps, survival) above your own.

justwannaknow's avatar

@quarkquarkquark In reality war is not about dying for your country, It is about the other guy dying for his country.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, many of them are. Killing is a last resort. Soldiers can also take prisoners. I think it would have been heroic if the UN had mandated the international military in 1994 to invade Rwanda and stop the genocide. Almost one million people died because there were no heroic soldiers to intervene.

And what about the heroic American soldiers who liberated the non-Nazi Germans from the oppressive Nazi regime?

ragingloli's avatar

An hero saves lives at the risk of his own, without being mandated to do so.
A soldier’s main purpose is to end lives and being a tool for politicians.
When a soldier disobeys orders to save a child or other person, or even an enemy soldier, than he may be called an hero.
But the soldier in general, no, they are not heroes.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@ragingloli, I have a problem with this statement.

“A soldier’s main purpose is to end lives and being a tool for politicians.”

This betrays a certain kind of naivete on your part; the statement mirrors a cliched and hackneyed way of thinking seen in armchair activists around the globe. The reason some people use this particular rhetoric is because it is simultaneously true and highly misleading—you can’t argue with it, soldiers do indeed kill people, and they often do so at the behest of politicians. But you come close to completely denying soldiers a purpose. There is a not-so-well-known George Orwell quote, perhaps unknown because it doesn’t fit with the antigovernment stereotype people hold of the man:

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

When you slip into extreme rhetoric, you deny yourself the right to hold a logical discussion. The U.S. Army is not made of of mindless killing machines, no matter how much you would like to think of yourself as better than them. These are some of the most organized and resourceful men and women on the planet, and they are that way because they are trained to be. No military sends simple killers out on the battlefield, and rarely are they sent out for the bare purpose of taking human life. Your oversimplification of what it means to be in combat and what it means to be a soldier annoys me.

hiiiii's avatar

You just have to remember the people our soldiers fight are normally other soldiers or people fighting for the same reasons. The Nazi were just soldiers fighting for their country who killed millions of innocent people and soldiers but we killed many innocent people and Nazi solders too. If no one joined the army then their wouldn’t be a war in the first place.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

…in a perfect world. By my definition the Nazi soldiers also displayed heroism, despite the fact that they were evil heartless bastards who all deserved to die.

mattbrowne's avatar

@hiiiii and @quarkquarkquark – I think your comments regarding Nazis and the Third Reich need some clarification.

Not all soldiers were Nazis (the majority was not).
Not all Nazis were soldiers.

A Nazi is a supporter of Nazism, an ideology which can be characterized by anti-parliamentarism, racism, eugenics, antisemitism, anti-communism, and totalitarianism. It’s one of the most perverse ideologies ever invented by human beings.

Many Nazis were members of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party led by Adolf Hitler, while others voted for them when there were still elections (the maximum of votes was 43,9% in 1933).

So the statement ‘the Nazi were just soldiers fighting for their country’ is not precise. When talking about ‘Nazi soldiers’ you refer to parts of the German army in WWII.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

My point remains the same

Myndecho's avatar

But matt the Nazi were just one example I could use anyone we were against.

justwannaknow's avatar

@hiiiii To think there would be no war if there were no soldiers is totally assinine. It is not the soldiers that decide who and where they will fight it is YOUR elected officials. The soldiers are just following orders.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Myndecho – Sure, but many non-Nazi German WWII soldiers feel offended when there’s no distinction. No big deal to me. I was born after WWII. Just wanted to point this out.

Ganyon's avatar

If they do heroic deeds and their cause is just

Zen_Again's avatar

Depends on the situation. If obeying the laws and fighting for their country’s democracy, freedom or very existence, in some cases, then yes. Sad, reluctant battle-weary heroes who wish they could just hang up their boots and go home.

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