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.