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  #1  
Old 09-27-2019, 04:46 AM
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Do you believe it's immoral to willingly enlist in the military?


If you think it would depends on the military then you could use the US Military and the IDF as examples.

Last edited by CatRummage; 09-27-2019 at 04:47 AM.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:15 AM
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For me, personally? Yes, for any military - but orders of magnitude more so for the two example militaries given.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:22 AM
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No.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:27 AM
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Absolutely not.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:28 AM
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No.

In Canada, our military does much more than combat missions serving as peacekeepers, trainers, emergency responders, etc.. both domestically and internationally.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:34 AM
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I willingly joined the Canadian Armed Forces, so generally speaking, no. It could be immoral depending on the army. It would have been immoral to willingly join the Waffen SS.

Last edited by BeepKillBeep; 09-27-2019 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:41 AM
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No.

In Canada, our military does much more than combat missions serving as peacekeepers, trainers, emergency responders, etc.. both domestically and internationally.
I'm with Sparky.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:08 AM
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Yes. Unless the martians are invading.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:13 AM
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Nope
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:20 AM
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The responses may surprise the OP, but there are a number of left-leaning veterans on this board.
Service taught many people about the need for teamwork. Service overseas taught many about empathy, seeing other people as people in different circumstances.

And then there are the Marines...
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:25 AM
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Not at all. There are times when I wish I had joined to learn skills of self-discipline that I lacked.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:34 AM
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You may want to take in to consideration that this board skews older, so most were no longer on active duty by 9/11.
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  #13  
Old 09-27-2019, 07:37 AM
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No. And even though I’m not a huge statist, the older I get, the more I think a year or 3 of mandatory service would be beneficial.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:40 AM
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No. The act of enlistment in and of itself is value neutral(*). The morality of stepping forward and joining the ranks is dependent on other factors, internal and external, such as the individual's motivation and the legitimacy of the state, the government and the mission.

(*so it isn't per se a mark of great virtue either)

Last edited by JRDelirious; 09-27-2019 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:57 AM
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No. The nation needs a military, somebody has to do it. I consider being a soldier neither more nor less honorable than any other occupation. I think those who hold zero respect for the troops and those who can't stop gushing about them both have the wrong take on it.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:25 AM
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In general, I'd say no, although I think it does depend on the individual's motivation and the circumstances of the enlistment.

I mean, if you're joining the Marines during wartime because it's the most likely place that you'll actually get to kill someone, then yeah, immoral. If you're joining up in peacetime or in a war that threatens the US because you feel some kind of community service urge, and feel that defending one's home and hearth is the way to do it, then no. If you're joining up for the GI Bill and/or to raise your economic status, then I'd generally say no (do we really expect some kid born into grinding poverty to NOT join the military to try and raise out of that because it might be immoral? Seems to me that it's the least bad of a bunch of bad options.)
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:29 AM
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:29 AM
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No, the military serves a vital purpose in democracies, and service can be an honorable and important choice. And for practical purposes a stint in the military can mature a person, teach them skills, and prepare them for a career elsewhere.

There can be countries where enlisting is much more questionable, but not for the examples you gave.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:49 AM
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No. The nation needs a military, somebody has to do it. I consider being a soldier neither more nor less honorable than any other occupation. I think those who hold zero respect for the troops and those who can't stop gushing about them both have the wrong take on it.
This.

Also, I think very few choices are purely moral or immoral, and so I hesitate to make a statement in pure agreement or disagreement with the question in the OP.

I do think, though, that many/most of our current military operations fall on the side of more immoral than not, and so people who are choosing to participate in the military as a career choice are volunteering to do immoral work.

Does that make them immoral people? Maybe? Yes and no?

There is a weird thing with military enlistment, because kind of part of the deal is that you don't get to choose what you do. In order to have a functioning army, we need members who will shoot at the whims of their politicians (theoretically filtered through robust and well-intentioned decision-making). So do we blame those people for doing, on the macro level, the job we need them to do?
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:56 AM
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Absolutely not. Why would it be immoral?
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:58 AM
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Absolutely not. Why would it be immoral?
The shooting, killing and the whatnot.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:31 AM
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I would not be comfortable making a blanket characterization of "immoral", but neither would I posit that the mere act of enlisting and serving necessarily merits any more respect.

Certainly some (many? most?) in the military serve admirably for fine reasons. But at least some do so because the pay/benefits are their best option. They look to what they can get from it, more than what they can contribute.

Also, to some extent I feel that voluntarily enlisting at a time that your government is pursuing unjust military actions IS immoral, because if people did not volunteer, the government would be limited in its ability to wage war.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:32 AM
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If you think it would depends on the military then you could use the US Military and the IDF as examples.
No.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:35 AM
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The shooting, killing and the whatnot.
How about the wars avoided through strength? You might not have noticed, but the world is particularly peaceful (well, for humans anyway ) in the last 50 or so years...especially compared to the 50 or so that preceded it. So, I'd say that, morally, it's better to have folks willing to enlist in the military than not, over all. Even with the several debatable moral things the US has done in that time.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:45 AM
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How about the wars avoided through strength? You might not have noticed, but the world is particularly peaceful (well, for humans anyway ) in the last 50 or so years...especially compared to the 50 or so that preceded it. So, I'd say that, morally, it's better to have folks willing to enlist in the military than not, over all. Even with the several debatable moral things the US has done in that time.
I'm not arguing the absolute morality or lack thereof of the military. See my first post for more on that.

I was just responding directly to Annoyed, who couldn't even come up with one reason any person might think the military is immoral. I was helping them with their lack of imagination.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:47 AM
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I'm not arguing the absolute morality or lack thereof of the military. See my first post for more on that.

I was just responding directly to Annoyed, who couldn't even come up with one reason any person might think the military is immoral. I was helping them with their lack of imagination.
Ok, my bad. Sorry about that.
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  #27  
Old 09-27-2019, 09:52 AM
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In most cases, no - not anymore than it would be to be a police officer. The only case it would be immoral would be if it's something like the Nazi Wehrmacht.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:57 AM
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I served willingly. I'd do it again.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:01 AM
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To me it's a question of the motivation not the act itself which is a/im/moral, and further still, the motivation of the heart, not the though process of the head. In this example I would say that one can not judge morality by that act - and it's not even close, so it is indeterminate, it is more like asking to judging the morality of ordering a big mac as opposed to the morality of plowing your car into a group of people (which also can be moral under certain conditions).

This is what I feel the reason that Jesus removed the curse of the law, as the law was against us. Meaning our acts were judged by man regardless of where our heart was but God judges the heart, not the act.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:05 AM
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I'm not arguing the absolute morality or lack thereof of the military. See my first post for more on that.

I was just responding directly to Annoyed, who couldn't even come up with one reason any person might think the military is immoral. I was helping them with their lack of imagination.
It’s just such a weird question I had no idea what to make of it.

No I do not think it’s immoral and under certain circumstances I do not think “shooting and killing” is immoral either.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:45 AM
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I willingly joined the Canadian Armed Forces, so generally speaking, no. It could be immoral depending on the army. It would have been immoral to willingly join the Waffen SS.
Nope. Willingly serving in uniform as we speak.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:27 AM
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No. The nation needs a military, somebody has to do it. I consider being a soldier neither more nor less honorable than any other occupation. I think those who hold zero respect for the troops and those who can't stop gushing about them both have the wrong take on it.
This pretty much sums up how I feel. Joining isn't a moral or immoral act and either can be performed while in service just like any job. Our country has gone way over board in felating the troops as a way to over compensate for Vietnam and I'm sick of that but it doesn't effect the morality of joining.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:49 AM
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I can see both sides of it.
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  #34  
Old 09-27-2019, 11:52 AM
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I would never, ever join the military. And I don't think that joining the military is a good thing, or that military service is noble or praiseworthy, or that the members of the current military should be lauded for how they protected us from the British or the confederacy. I don't think that the military deserves credit for our freedoms, such as they are.

That said, I don't think that it's immoral to join the military. Doing so is a risk - it puts you in the hands of others and makes you their tool. You might be used for evil - but you might be used for good. You might be used well or you might be used carelessly. You might be put in situations where the moral thing to do would be to refuse to obey orders, but there are many situations where we need soldiers who will obey orders, even when they don't fully understand what's going on.

So while I'm not sure that joining the military is quite value-neutral, it's close enough that other considerations would dominate the decision - do you need something the military offers, is it your best source of training/money given your circumstances. If your motivations for joining the military are along these lines it can be a good idea.

If your motivations for joining are that you think it's a noble calling or praiseworthy, I think you're misguided. If your motivations are that you think it's macho or fun, I think you're stupid. But about the only way it would be immoral is if you got into it because you literally want to kill people.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:59 AM
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I would never, ever join the military. And I don't think that joining the military is a good thing, or that military service is noble or praiseworthy, or that the members of the current military should be lauded for how they protected us from the British or the confederacy. I don't think that the military deserves credit for our freedoms, such as they are.
I agree about the current members, but as institutions, they're the armed force that put the teeth in the Emancipation Proclamation and Declaration of Independence, to name the most obvious examples. So in some sense, they are directly responsible for some of our greatest freedoms.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:09 PM
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... Joining isn't a moral or immoral act and either can be performed while in service just like any job. Our country has gone way over board in felating the troops as a way to over compensate for Vietnam and I'm sick of that but it doesn't effect the morality of joining.
I'm surprised at how seldom I see sentiment similar to the portion I BOLDED, and with which I wholeheartedly agree. Not saying I expect it would be the majority point of view, but I'd expect to see it at least somewhat more frequently than I do.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:10 PM
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Regardless of what you think of Israel's Palestine policy, I'm not sure how being a member of the IDF could be immoral. First, it's a conscript force, and second, I think we can all agree that Israel wouldn't exist without it.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:18 PM
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I go back to the "define moral" argument. To me, morality is adherence to perceived rules and therefore relative. What is moral to thee is not moral to me. I do not accept that there are "inherent" universal morals.

So, no, I do not believe it's immoral to willingly enlist in the military.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:21 PM
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It depends. There's no one answer, and not even one answer for one military. I do not believe the relative morality of joining the US Army is the same today as it was on December 15, 1941.

I do agree - quietly, because I am Canadian - that the USA has gone a little overboard in the deification of the soldier. That's starting to pop up in Canada too. I do not wish to be thanked for my service; I volunteered, and I accepted a paycheck. It was a job.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:29 PM
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If you think it would depends on the military then you could use the US Military and the IDF as examples.
I think, like the IDF, it should be required service for all those who qualify. For those who do not, other forms of mandatory civic service would also be very useful and character building.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:48 PM
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I agree about the current members, but as institutions, they're the armed force that put the teeth in the Emancipation Proclamation and Declaration of Independence, to name the most obvious examples. So in some sense, they are directly responsible for some of our greatest freedoms.
I do not believe that there was any meaningful continuity between the continental army and the modern US army.

As for the Emancipation Proclamation, I feel that it can be debated whether the union army was fighting against slavery, but let's pretend I lost that argument and we agree that they were. The current US military is only responsible for that in the same way I'm responsible for my grandfather getting his first job. Which is to say, not any sense I don't consider laughable.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:50 PM
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I think, like the IDF, it should be required service for all those who qualify. For those who do not, other forms of mandatory civic service would also be very useful and character building.
I don't think the structure of my character is sufficient justification to forcibly press me into service. Feel free to argue that somebody's got to do the work and you don't mind pressganginging people to accomplish it, but don't pretend you're doing me a favor in the process.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:52 PM
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:54 PM
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Not in those examples.

Was it immoral to join the Wehrmacht? It's hard to say no since they were an enemy and aggressors and had an awful national leader doing awful things.

On the other hand, I think all countries have a right to self-defense.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:35 PM
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I do not believe that there was any meaningful continuity between the continental army and the modern US army.

As for the Emancipation Proclamation, I feel that it can be debated whether the union army was fighting against slavery, but let's pretend I lost that argument and we agree that they were. The current US military is only responsible for that in the same way I'm responsible for my grandfather getting his first job. Which is to say, not any sense I don't consider laughable.
I'm not so sure continuity matters; my point in both cases is that politicians can proclaim what they want, but frequently (too frequently), it takes armed force to make those things be effective. The Emancipation Proclamation was just so many words, without the Union Army defeating the Confederate Army so that it could be enforced, regardless of why the Union Army was fighting. Same thing for the Declaration of Independence and the Continental Army.

That's what the concept that war is an extension of politics is about.

Last edited by bump; 09-27-2019 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:40 PM
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If you think your military is used immorally then quite obviously it's immoral to join it. I think a lot of people ignore that with "what about the good stuff?" And while killing other people may be morally defensible in certain circumstances, joining the military is giving someone else authority over that decision. That can only be justified by assuming they will make better moral decisions than yourself.
  #47  
Old 09-27-2019, 02:42 PM
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Absolutely not.
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  #48  
Old 09-27-2019, 03:28 PM
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I'm not so sure continuity matters; my point in both cases is that politicians can proclaim what they want, but frequently (too frequently), it takes armed force to make those things be effective. The Emancipation Proclamation was just so many words, without the Union Army defeating the Confederate Army so that it could be enforced, regardless of why the Union Army was fighting. Same thing for the Declaration of Independence and the Continental Army.

That's what the concept that war is an extension of politics is about.
Well, continuity matters if we're talking about whether the US Army can be credited with winning our independence from the British, which I thought was what we were talking about. A lack of continuity would mean it would make as much sense to for the NFL to claim the credit.

And even with continuity, it comes off like a fifty year old man bragging about his high school football career. After a certain point, if you have to dig back centuries to find things you're proud of, you don't have anything to be proud of.

(Not that the army lacking proud accomplishments makes joining it immoral, mind you.)
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Old 09-27-2019, 03:30 PM
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If your country is moral, it's military will be also. I just got out the reserves after nearly 30 years, got a congratulatory letter from Justin Trudeau himself.


Well, he signed it.




Well, a staff member may have used a machine to sign it for him.
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Old 09-27-2019, 04:27 PM
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