Morality In War

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Situations of war are complex affairs that are difficult to regulate, analyze, and understand. Often during war, individuals and groups face situational pressure to perform actions and make decisions that would otherwise be morally unjustifiable. Many people hold the view that killing during war is not morally wrong, because during war morality seems to shift and what was before wrong becomes allowed and often celebrated. However, while certain types of killing can be morally justified during wartime, some types of killing remain wrong. In this paper, I will argue that the intentional killing of innocents in wartime is wrong, because war invites certain moral boundaries and killing innocent people violates these boundaries. First, I will discuss…show more content…
Thomas Nagel brings up the point that many people have an “natural conception of the distinction between fighting clean and fighting dirty” (Nagel 125). This distinction extends to war as well. It is intuitive that during wartime, warring parties should not be able to go to extreme lengths to further their cause. Though morality does shift during wartime, there are certain boundaries that cannot be crossed by the groups at war. What exactly these boundaries are, and how to enforce them, is a source of controversy. Proponents of Just War Theory, such as John Rawls, believe that “in the conduct of war, a democratic society must carefully distinguish three groups: the states’ leaders and officials, its soldiers, and its civilian population” (Rawls 114), and there exist international laws and statues that provide heavy protection to civilians during wartime. As a result of this human intuition to fight fair, civilians have certain moral rights during wartime, despite any uncertainty around the logistics of these moral rights. The intentional killing of innocents during wartime violates these rights and oversteps the moral boundaries of…show more content…
In a combat situation, a civilian has an extremely slim chance of survival. Firstly, they do not have military-grade weapons at their disposal, nor did they go through boot camp to attain peak physical fitness. In addition, civilians do not possess the tactical or experiential knowledge necessary to navigate a dangerous wartime situation. They are also not psychologically prepared to deal with the stress of a combat situation. Before entering warfare, soldiers are trained on how to use their weapons and how to best navigate a dangerous combat situation. They expect to have to use this knowledge, and they are prepared to fight. Civilians do not expect to have to fight, nor do they hold the same degree of preparation. This lack of training is especially relevant for civilians such as military doctors and nurses, who are directly involved in combat situations, assisting soldiers. Even though they are assisting the soldiers that pose a direct harm to others, they themselves pose no immediate threat and so their lives receive moral protection as any other innocent. The intentional killing of innocents during wartime violates moral boundaries of war because civilians are not prepared to fight and do not have anywhere near the same level of preparedness for war as a
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