Moral Autonomy and the Ethics of War

I know going into combat what's expected of me, what's right, what's wrong, what's legal and illegal according to the UCMJ, the ROE, specific command directives and international agreements and the moral code our country adheres to in war. I know an illegal order when I hear one and it's every soldier's duty to refuse to obey an illegal order. I also know that I'll unhesitatingly kill anybody who's trying to kill me or my squad mates, no matter what their age, sex or religion.

And as far politics or foreign policy goes, it is what it is and doesn't mean jack shit to the guys with rifles and frags; we're there for our brothers and it's not our job to decide the ethics or morality of the bigger political picture, or whether it'll pass the ethics test on some university campus.

A lot of people thought the war I fought in was illegal and immoral. That might have been their actual opinion...or quite possibly their way of rationalizing their cowardice.
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I 100% agree with @Gunz. @TrainerAsh , I'm wondering if maybe you and your friend are approaching this with the assumption that we are all a bunch of brain-washed idiots? You may not say that - but that seems to be how you are approaching this. I think you should continue this thread (and bring your friend in) in the hopes that maybe we can educate you on the realities of how the military works. I can relate to you a bit because I was also homeschooled and I grew up in a very religious Christian background. I had to wrestle with whether or not I was ready to kill people before joining in a time of war. I have also had to wrestle with getting orders to deploy to a war or combat theater that many Americans feel we have no business being in. I deployed to Afghanistan, and while I did not get into any firefights I did many foot patrols with Infantry Marines in highly kinetic AO's. I would also like to think that my team mates and I were rather smart. We were a Signals Intelligence unit full of a bunch of nerds like yourself. Especially the analysts. We had a Staff-Sergeant who had a degree from Dartmouth who was extremely intelligent and had a good head on his shoulders. I think you should sit down and pull up a chair, set your assumptions aside, and prepare to learn from those who live this life day in and day out.