Monday, July 20, 2009

Warrior's Dilemma, 3

Continued from "Warrior's Dilemma, 2"

I have presented Hans to you for your consideration. Now, I'd like you to meet his younger brother, Georg (pronounced GEY-org).

Georg also sees himself as a warrior. He's younger, though, and does not carry a lot of the personal baggage (lust for revenge) that weighs Hans down.

He knows from family discussions that Hitler is leading them down a path to war that is immoral and unjust. Nevertheless, He feels that he has always been called to military service.

He eventually enlists and is accepted into the elite Waffen SS. He inwardly responds to the call to battle and wants front-line duty.

Here's the question:

If he lines up sights on another mother's son and pulls the trigger, is he guilty of murder?

Continued in "Warrior's Dilemma, 4"


dlr said...

I guess it all comes down to the definition of "murder" now doesn't it?

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

If Georg saw the true nature of Hitler's schemes as you say he did, then he is completely responsible for his own actions. As dlr said, you can debate the definition of murder all you want, but what it comes down to is that it is very, very wrong.

Called to military service? First, sometimes we "feel" something that isn't true. Second, does that mean he has to enlist in the German army? (Becoming part of the ersatz, or resistance fighters, sounds like a military "career" to me.)


Gravelbelly said...

Here's the Westminster Larger Catechism's statement on the matter:

The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the UNJUST TAKING AWAY THE LIFE of any . . . . (Emphasis added)

Is this right? If it is, may we conclude that a person who knowingly and deliberately participates in an unjust war is a party to murder?

I'm just asking.

Stephen Boyd said...

I believe that he would be a murderer, by the Biblical definition, and secondly, by the quote mentioned by Gravelbelly from the Westminster Confession (You stole my thunder!) ;)

In the scenario you provided, though, I guess there would be a difference depending on who he's shooting at.There's obviously a difference between a frightened 10 year old Jewish boy and a battle hardened GI who's gonna shoot you if you don't shoot first. The second situation is grey because it probably could be argued in favor of self defense.
I think there were some German soldiers, like Staufenberg (?), who were tricked into fighting for Hitler and later said:

"I am a soldier and I fight for my country. But this is not my country".

Randall Gerard said...

It all hinges on the nature of the war. Is it being fought to defend, or is it being fought to extend? Would I be furthering my country's territorial lusts, at the expense of someone else, or am I defending my home?

Obviously, Germany had legitimate grievances because of Versaille. But taking France, Belgium, Poland etc., probably wasn't the best way to address those grievances. In the Bible, a man is justified if he kills someone breaking into his home. But that's about the only time he is justified in taking life. Therefore I conclude that defensive warfare is not murder, but self-defense.

The trouble with warriors is that they are easily stirred up to ply their trade. And the first casualty of any war is the truth. Governments often lure warriors into unjust warfare by 'spinning' the truth. Propaganda happens. Warriors, unfortunately, don't always have a good built-in B.S. detector. So, when a man gets sucked into an unjust war, he may very well commit murder in order to stay alive, but I believe the government who sent him will be even more culpable then he.

A good rule of thumb is: If the action is on your own soil, you're probably justified in participating. If it's not, don't.

Gravelbelly said...

I haven't addressed the issue of what constitutes a "just war" (not yet, anyway). But I think we're on the same wavelength here.

Thanks for your contribution.

Angela said...

"Staufenberg (?)" Two f's Mr. Boyd.
Great stuff Gravelbelly!

Gravelbelly said...

Thanks, Angela. Always glad to hear from the shield maidens.

Although some might think it very un-patriocentric of me, I welcome not only your proof-reading skills, but also anything you may want to contribute to the substance of the discussion.