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The Retaliation Factor

As of yet, I've not managed to find anyone who shares the opinion I'm writing about here. Maybe somebody on this site will agree with me (fingers crossed).

I am a pacifist, and thus do not think war is the solution. In any discussion on this topic I've had with other people, the criticism they always give me is:

"What if someone shoots at you, endangering your life. Will you not shoot back to protect it?"

The honest truth is that yes, I probably would shoot back; most would. But the point I try to make is that if the person shooting at you did not shoot at you, you wouldn't have to fire back. Makes sense, yes? If one person doesn't try to harm another, no one will have to retaliate. Therefore no one will die or be injured by the hands of another.

It's this view point that makes me feel soldiers are not heroes. By joining the war, you are fueling the vicious cycle of revenge/retaliation. I am well aware that it must take real guts to be on the battlefield, I'm not trying to take away from the trauma of it all, but to qualify as a hero you have to save lives, not shoot someone from a different country because your country says it's what you should be doing.

My opinion on this seems to offend a lot of people who've had family die in wars, and if I've offended you then I'm sorry; it was not intended.

redbusyellowbus redbusyellowbus 16-18, F 15 Responses Mar 7, 2008

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I'd give my right arm to live in a world like that.
But sadly history shows time and time again that the only way to have peace is to prepare for war.

But I have hope maybe one day the globe will be educated well enough to abandon warfare I just know that day is not today.

I agree 100%.

I have not ever felt like a hero until you said saving lives. The only men and women that I ever call a hero are the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice. I know that I helped to save the lives of several Americans but there were alot of people involved in saving those lives so I do not feel like a hero but I am proud that I can say I did help in saving some lives.

I am not in favor of violenceo of any kind. However, when people are threatened, one has 2 choices; defend those in peril, or do nothing. Soldiers choose to sacrifice their family lives, jobs, health,and, many times, their lives, to protect and maintain the lifestyles of their countries' citizens. I consider this heroic. It is very important to me to live life on my terms, I realize many people cannot do so. Much of this is a result of other people doing nothing.

Roscoe...I really teared up at your comment. I am intrigued to hear more about your story if you wrote one. I had no idea all of that happened...wow...Every little bit and piece of what happened to you. I'm so amazed that you would stop in the middle of war zones to help people out...even someone you shot. It really puts more than just violence into the picture. I'm glad there's someone like you who survived and came back alive. The world needs more people who think that way even in a combat zone.<br />
<br />
...I'm sorry if I'm totally hijacking this thread because I understand what the author means. But I'm also moved by the comments said as well. It really puts a well rounded view in all different areas.

21butterfly, I know from experiencing it on my end that there is going to be some very STRONG opposition. Keep your head up! That's definitely expected so it shouldn't come as a surprise. To each their own. I don't want to fall into that kind of passionate intolerance on either side (for or against). It's hard not letting it get to you and realize that there are reasons why people feel that way too. Not to take it personally.<br><br />
But I read how proud you are of your achievements. And you should keep that strong in your heart throughout your career in the military. As long as your heart is in the right place, you will get through the tough times. It'll be worth it.<br><br />
Sometimes when you believe in something, you might not have many people standing behind you unless it's to push you over. Don't feel bad for what you've chosen and are proud to do in your life. Few people go out and do something they really can take pride in as well as help others. But please be safe! xoxo!

I didn't read the comments after the tenth one. they are better.. now i dont feel so bad that i am proud to have gotten this far, although i still have a long way to go. some people, join not to kill, but, in my case, to find themselves, and hope to get what they are missing. at the same time, helping their family in whatever ways they can. Because when i do this, being a soldier and helping my family, they won't have to do it. My sisters and brothers won't have to enlist. They'll be able to get better opportunities in life. And i have had families die in the war, others who are still in it, and the rest that i have met have no regrets. So not all of us consider ourselves heroes, i certainly don't, but consider ourselves lucky to get an opportunity to give back to our families and our countries.

Yes everybody are entitled to their opinions. but there are sum harsh comments on this. I've jst joined the Army active duty. Why? For my family.. but this, well, now im asking myself, 'what am i then?'..

Thank you Roscoe. I'm lucky to know him. He is a very interesting dichotomy if I must say so myself. He even likes chicken and waffles...lol! Wink!

I am willing to take a moment to listen to all sides. I am not offended. I respect your opinion. My husband served with the Marines in Iraq during 2003. You were making a point and did not have intentions to offend.<br><br />
I do think getting a job title doesn't make you a hero. It's your actions and intent. War is not limited to just picking up a gun and shooting. In a way, I am agreeing with you...picking up a gun and shooting someone doesn't make you a hero. But many soldiers out there in Iraq now are not even firing rounds. Killing someone is not a requirement so not all soldiers shoot or harm someone. Many can go through 20 plus years of never having the need to fire a round. Some have the job I would not want to have, the job in a war zone where you do something with out carrying a weapon like communications and such. Some are military priests for war zones, etc. Gosh, that must be so scary to do that. I was offered a few times to join the USO (as a performer in the military in hot zones) but I couldn't carry a weapon. I declined. Mostly because the areas they were scheduled would have been no where near my husband when he was doing his tour of duty. Plus I would come home at least six months later than when he would come home.<br><br />
There are some that are abusing that power to have a weapon which is a shame. So not all are heroes, but a few have proven so. The majority of which never get medals or even acknowledgment. They just do it because they think it is right. <br><br />
My dad's that kind of man. He didn't want the parades or medals. He just wanted to do what was right even if no one was looking. He wanted to help anyone and everyone he could even during Vietnam. That's not to say he didn't see the awful bloody side because he did. But he still believed in protecting and defending. There are still stories going on about him..and my husband during his time in Iraq. Neither man really sought out any attention for what they did. <br><br />
Many are doing their job well and few are going above and beyond the call of duty for their fellow man no matter what race or creed.<br><br />
I also feel on that note that honor and courage is earned, not just given with a job. The whole military system doesn't hand you a hero status. They train you for it.<br><br />
Believe you me, I've met different generations of vets and those in active duty that are actually pacifists too. My husband is a pacifist, more so than me. He has no idea how much respect I have for him. How good hearted he is and was during that time. They are some of the most extremely skilled and most of that is fueled not by their need to retaliate but their need to finish the wars that people start in the most humanitarian way. You can send people out to be brutal and inhumane with intent to murder anything that moves but that's not the point of boot camp and training. It's not a perfect system but I can only hope that the system improves one day to where we don't have to see brutal wars or massive amounts of people dying through violence someday...I really hope for that.

are you ******* kidding me?!!?!?! just by signing up they are doing more then any of yall are doing that alone makes them heroes & who are you to take that away from them! my fiance is a marine as well & has already been to iraq & he is a hero & so are all the other men & women in the service! if you dont support war thats one thing but to not stand behind the people who are protecting YOUR freedom & are dying for it its horrible! you have no idea what they go through! & rom you are a hero & thank you for all you do for our country! :)

Rom,I have to say you're the naive one. Most Iraqis don't support Al-Qa'eda.Al-Qa'eda weren't in Iraq(except the Kurdish north which Saddam didn't control) until the US invasion let them in. Most of the people you're fighting are Iraqi-and it's their country. Nobody's forgetting 3000 people were murdered on 9/11,but US bombing in Afghanistan killed that many by January 2002,and as for Iraq...God only knows how many civilians have died there "at least 250,000" said one US source in a good position to know. Most reliable estimates say US forces have killed "about 30%" of those. You do the math-if you have the stomach for it. Soldiers,like anybody else,are defined by their actions. "By their fruit shall ye know them". They can be heroes.They can also be war criminals.

No, you are not all heroes.

Your point of view is niave. There is always some one who will try and gain power through violence. I am an american soldier deployed in iraq. I dont like killing people but the the organization these people support killed thousands of people on september 11th. You said if some one shot at you you would shoot back..... I do it every day so you dont have to. the shots already been taken and me and my fellow soldiers are doing what has to be done we are all heros

I'm not sure I agree or totally disagree here. I will comment though that I think not all soldiers are heroes. The ones who never ever see combat shouldnt get as much credit as someone who has. The ones who actually "fight" for us deserve all the recognition in the world. The ones who dont ... are just in the military to me. Does that make sense??