Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Discussions regarding actual culture and history of Earth.
Post Reply
Squall
greek
greek
Posts: 583
Joined: Thu 28 Nov 2013, 14:47

Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Squall » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 03:48

Most cultures have the concept of wars and reasons to start a war.
The real question is about the soldiers. Since they may die during a war, they should refuse to go to the war because dead people will not live to get the benefits of the victory.


EDIT: I know about the brainwashing used in the specific case of jihadists. I would like to know a generic answer.
English is not my native language. Sorry for any mistakes or lack of knowledge when I discuss this language.
:bra: :mrgreen: | :uk: [:D] | :esp: [:)] | :epo: [:|] | :lat: [:S] | :jpn: [:'(]
User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 5997
Joined: Sun 20 Oct 2013, 01:57
Location: Tom-ʾEzru lit Yat-Vṛḵažu

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Ahzoh » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 04:13

Nationalism... obedience to an authority... often, it's because they fight for their families, especially against an invader, or they fight because they are the invader and the chances of reaping the rewards outweighs the risk of death.
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image ʾEšd Yatvṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]
User avatar
kilenc
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri 27 Mar 2015, 23:14
Location: louisville
Contact:

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by kilenc » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 04:35

ahzoh's mostly right: nationalism / propaganda that makes soldiers into heroes.

but its also important to remember, that throughout history many soldiers are very reluctant to go to war: drafting and slavery forced (and may still force) many apathetic youths to fight in wars. in america, drafting was heavily opposed in vietnam, where many soldiers didnt care at all about the war they were fighting.

so, while some soldiers go to war for higher purposes, throughout history many (and, probably, most) have been forced or have gone to war for simpler means (like escaping imprisonment, earning money, etc).
eventually ill work out a good conlang :)
Keenir
runic
runic
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue 22 May 2012, 02:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Keenir » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 05:45

Squall wrote:Most cultures have the concept of wars and reasons to start a war.
The real question is about the soldiers. Since they may die during a war, they should refuse to go to the war because dead people will not live to get the benefits of the victory.
Nationalism and drafting are reasons, yes. But there's also...
* tradition (if everyone in your family has done military service, you probably will sign up)
* ethics (if you can't stomach what the enemy is doing, you'll probably sign up)
* to avenge (Indian-Settler wars, WW1, etc)
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799
User avatar
gestaltist
roman
roman
Posts: 1453
Joined: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 11:23

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by gestaltist » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 09:42

Before WWI and the horrors of modern warfare, war was often seen in a somewhat romantic light: as an adventure, a way to gain honor and glory, and (often) riches.

The 20th century changed all that. War has just become too horrible. If it were 1815, you probably wouldn’t even think of asking this question.
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2828
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by elemtilas » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 10:52

gestaltist wrote:Before WWI and the horrors of modern warfare, war was often seen in a somewhat romantic light: as an adventure, a way to gain honor and glory, and (often) riches.

The 20th century changed all that. War has just become too horrible. If it were 1815, you probably wouldn’t even think of asking this question.
Were it 1815, there are very many social questions we just wouldn't be asking -- the concepts just aren't on the social radar yet.

But I think you whack the nail right on the head with those two words that seem to so perversely imbue warfare with a shade of wholesomeness: honour and glory.

My sheer destruction is certain. Three times and four times happy those Danaans were who died then in wide Troy land, bringing favor to the sons of Atreus, as I wish I too had died at that time and met my destiny on the day when the greatest number of Trojans threw their bronze-headed weapons over me, over the body of perished Achilles, and I would have had my rites and the Acheans given me glory. Now it is by a dismal death I must be taken. --- Homer

I would only disagree by sliding the horrible factor back to the 1860s rather than the 1910s, but suffice to say that the advance of technology has pretty much put paid the notion that warfare is honorable, personal and a grand adventure!
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
pittmirg
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon 13 Sep 2010, 11:04

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by pittmirg » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 12:27

I would also add that the whole matter looks pretty different from the point of view of ex-colonialist/imperialist nations/'world's policemen' (like much of Western Europe or the US) than it does from the point of view of the historically less lucky nations (e.g. much of Europe east of Germany). In the latter case, a lost war could realistically mean cultural and even physical extermination, abject poverty, loss of dear national treasures, attempted eradication of the language...
if you can't decline it or conjugate it, piss on it.
alynnidalar
roman
roman
Posts: 922
Joined: Sun 17 Aug 2014, 02:22
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by alynnidalar » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 15:19

To get money for college?

OK, that's a bit facetious, even if I do know a few people who've joined the US military largely for just that reason.

I suppose for some people, they have some sort of desire to be part of something bigger and grander than just carrying out their simple life. For others, they might feel like they have no prospects, they don't know what to do with themselves, and thus the military appeals to them, because then they will have a definite goal, and somebody else will be responsible for telling them what to do.

For some, I suppose, they just like fighting, and the military not only gives them the opportunity to do so, but expects them to.

I suspect most people who join the military don't actually seriously consider the possibility that they could die. That's a thing that happens to other people. (and usually, more people don't die in a military than do die (or else you're doing it very, very wrong), so the odds are in your favor to survive anyway, right?)

And, of course, we can't ignore that especially in modern militaries, a lot of people aren't infantry on the front lines. For years, women who joined the American military did so knowing that their odds of seeing combat were extremely low, so the "you might die" factor was surely even less relevant. And obviously support personnel often aren't directly involved in fighting either, or at least would have a reasonable expectation that they wouldn't see much of it.
User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 3948
Joined: Tue 14 Aug 2012, 18:32

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 18:28

We actually have a whole course about it at my university, because if you think very rationally, agressive war makes no sense. Your costs are very likely to be higher than your benefit. I will tell you, when I've finished the course.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :fra: 4 :esp: 4 :ind:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]
User avatar
Xonen
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1390
Joined: Sat 15 May 2010, 23:25

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Xonen » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 18:35

kilenc wrote:its also important to remember, that throughout history many soldiers are very reluctant to go to war: drafting and slavery forced (and may still force) many apathetic youths to fight in wars.
This. You may die in the war, but you will die if you're hanged for treason. With the added bonus of going to hell to suffer for all of eternity.

Also, peer pressure. Even in societies where draft-dodgers aren't simply executed, it can still be considered an extremely cowardly and shameful thing to do. And the immediate threat of losing face in the eyes of your society may well seem much more pressing than the hypothetical notion of possibly dying in some foreign land months from now. Especially since a lot of people would prefer death over living in shame, anyway (and particularly in cultures which place a higher value on personal honor than ours currently does).
User avatar
Egerius
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2396
Joined: Thu 12 Sep 2013, 20:29
Location: Not Rodentèrra
Contact:

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Egerius » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:14

Xonen wrote:Also, peer pressure. Even in societies where draft-dodgers aren't simply executed, it can still be considered an extremely cowardly and shameful thing to do.
I wouldn't go to war - I wouldn't be drafted, anyway, but if things changed and the military drafted folks regardless of (slight) physical anomalies, I'd friggin' leave for Poland or Britain.
Languages of Rodentèrra: Buonavallese, Saselvan Argemontese; Wīlandisċ Taulkeisch; More on the road.
Conlang embryo of TELES: Proto-Avesto-Umbric ~> Proto-Umbric
New blog: http://argentiusbonavalensis.tumblr.com
Tanni
greek
greek
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 01:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Tanni » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:29

Xonen wrote:
kilenc wrote:its also important to remember, that throughout history many soldiers are very reluctant to go to war: drafting and slavery forced (and may still force) many apathetic youths to fight in wars.
This. You may die in the war, but you will die if you're hanged for treason. With the added bonus of going to hell to suffer for all of eternity.
Do you think that god punishes people according to silly human categories? This is the typical misuse of the concept of god. Think of the 5th commandment. What's the point in not being allowed to kill to defend yourself in certain societies but to be allowed to kill for a state e. g. like nazi germany? What if your state and the enemy state both frighten their youth with that ''added bonus''?
Also, peer pressure. Even in societies where draft-dodgers aren't simply executed, it can still be considered an extremely cowardly and shameful thing to do. And the immediate threat of losing face in the eyes of your society may well seem much more pressing than the hypothetical notion of possibly dying in some foreign land months from now. Especially since a lot of people would prefer death over living in shame, anyway (and particularly in cultures which place a higher value on personal honor than ours currently does).
Yes, peer pressure is an issue. But it's an issue because your peers are forced to participate in a war, and not because they want (of course, there are always some who are eager to participate). It's an issue because they are too cowardly to refuse military service, especially if their fathers prepare a war of aggression. If that would be done by a whole generation (regardless how you'd call it) wars wouldn't simply take place. If we want to have peace, we need to abolish the ways of thinking you show us. -- And after the war, provided you survived it, you will suffer for what you've done during war time for the rest of your life -- with the added bonus of going to hell because you've killed people? 5th commandment isn't a conditional statement like ''Thou shalt not kill, barring in war times!'' or ''Thou shalt not kill, barring for your state!''.

What's the point in killing people in your age you otherwise could be befriended with, just because your fathers say that's your enemy? This reasoning can be done on both sides. The fathers just misuse their children in sending them into a war! That's even much more worse than sexual child abuse. This is mortual child abuse! And I don't see it as a question of personal honour to participate in a war, especially in a war of aggression. To participate in such a war is dishonourable, and to do everything you can to not paritcipate is honourable.
Last edited by Tanni on Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:47, edited 2 times in total.
My neurochemistry has fucked my impulse control, now I'm diagnosed OOD = oppositional opinion disorder, one of the most deadly diseases in totalitarian states, but can be cured in the free world.
Tanni
greek
greek
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 01:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Tanni » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:34

Egerius wrote:
Xonen wrote:Also, peer pressure. Even in societies where draft-dodgers aren't simply executed, it can still be considered an extremely cowardly and shameful thing to do.
I wouldn't go to war - I wouldn't be drafted, anyway, but if things changed and the military drafted folks regardless of (slight) physical anomalies, I'd friggin' leave for Poland or Britain.
Those who left to West Berlin for conscientious objection were punished after reunion.
My neurochemistry has fucked my impulse control, now I'm diagnosed OOD = oppositional opinion disorder, one of the most deadly diseases in totalitarian states, but can be cured in the free world.
User avatar
Xonen
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1390
Joined: Sat 15 May 2010, 23:25

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Xonen » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:37

Read my post again, this time without the assumption that I'm presenting my own views. [:S] It doesn't really matter what I believe, as long as whoever's being drafted buys the reasons they're given.
Tanni
greek
greek
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu 12 Aug 2010, 01:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Tanni » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 19:55

Xonen wrote:Read my post again, this time without the assumption that I'm presenting my own views. [:S] It doesn't really matter what I believe, as long as whoever's being drafted buys the reasons they're given.
Yes, you're right, Xonen, see the ''you'' as a reference to a general reader, not you in person.
My neurochemistry has fucked my impulse control, now I'm diagnosed OOD = oppositional opinion disorder, one of the most deadly diseases in totalitarian states, but can be cured in the free world.
pittmirg
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon 13 Sep 2010, 11:04

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by pittmirg » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 21:05

alynnidalar wrote:
For some, I suppose, they just like fighting, and the military not only gives them the opportunity to do so, but expects them to.
Yup. What do you guys think the annoying night-speeding bïkërz, whizzing car park drifters and all kinds of adrenaline-addicted extreme sports crazies subconsciously seek replacement for? Two first groups I'd turn into ISIS mortar fodder.
if you can't decline it or conjugate it, piss on it.
Keenir
runic
runic
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue 22 May 2012, 02:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Keenir » Wed 17 Jun 2015, 22:38

Tanni wrote:Do you think that god punishes people according to silly human categories? This is the typical misuse of the concept of god. Think of the 5th commandment.
okay - what does "thou shalt not murder" have to do with war?
What's the point in not being allowed to kill to defend yourself in certain societies but to be allowed to kill for a state e. g. like nazi germany? What if your state and the enemy state both frighten their youth with that ''added bonus''?
:roll: a stopped clock is right eventually.
And after the war, provided you survived it, you will suffer for what you've done during war time for the rest of your life -- with the added bonus of going to hell because you've killed people? 5th commandment isn't a conditional statement like ''Thou shalt not kill, barring in war times!'' or ''Thou shalt not kill, barring for your state!''.
you're confusing your translations; its You shall not murder...not kill.
What's the point in killing people in your age you otherwise could be befriended with, just because your fathers say that's your enemy?
How many people in your own neighborhood/province/state/nation are you friends with? Why are foreigners more worthy of your friendship than your co-nationals?
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799
User avatar
Xonen
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1390
Joined: Sat 15 May 2010, 23:25

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Xonen » Thu 18 Jun 2015, 00:20

Keenir wrote:you're confusing your translations; its You shall not murder...not kill.
Well, the most well-known translation in English is certainly "thou shalt not kill". However, you're right in that the Bible, and the Old Testament in particular, most certainly does not categorically forbid all killing.
Wikipedia wrote:The Hebrew verb רצח (r-ṣ-ḥ, also transliterated retzach, ratzákh, ratsakh etc.) is the word in the original text that is translated as "murder" or "kill", but it has a wider range of meanings, generally describing destructive activity, including meanings "to break, to dash to pieces" as well as "to slay, kill, murder".

According to the Priestly Code of the Book of Numbers, killing anyone outside the context of war with a weapon, or in unarmed combat, is considered retzach,[3] but if the killing is accidental, the accused must not leave the city, or he will be considered guilty of intentional murder.[4] The Bible never uses the word retzach in conjunction with war.[5][6] [emphasis mine]

[...]

The Bible often praises the exploits of soldiers against enemies in legitimate battle. One of David’s mighty men is credited with killing eight hundred men with the spear,[36] and Abishai is credited with killing three hundred men.[37] Of course, David himself is portrayed as a hero for killing Goliath in battle.[38]

The 613 Mitzvot extend the notion of lawful killing to the nations that inhabited the Promised Land, commanding to exterminate them completely. Deuteronomy 20:10-18 establishes rules on killing civilians in warfare:
  • the population of cities outside of the Promised Land, if they surrender, should be made tributaries and left alive (20:10-11)
  • those cities outside of the Promised Land that resist should be besieged, and once they fall, the male population should be exterminated, but the women and children should be left alive (20:12-15)
  • of those cities that were within the Promised Land, however, the population should be exterminated entirely (20:16-18), specifically "the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites" (20:16-18). Deuteronomy 25:19 further commands the extermination of the Amalekites.
And of course, there are long lists of crimes that warrant the death penalty in the OT - although it can perhaps be argued that Jesus abolished it with all that talk about forgiveness and casting the first stone and whatnot. Still, I wouldn't exactly call the Bible a handbook for pacifism.
Keenir
runic
runic
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue 22 May 2012, 02:05

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Keenir » Thu 18 Jun 2015, 04:44

Creyeditor wrote:We actually have a whole course about it at my university, because if you think very rationally, agressive war makes no sense. Your costs are very likely to be higher than your benefit. I will tell you, when I've finished the course.
I think I see the problem. :)
Humans aren't always rational. And when they are, they tend to rationalize things, whether or not those things make sense.
elemtilas wrote:
gestaltist wrote:Before WWI and the horrors of modern warfare, war was often seen in a somewhat romantic light: as an adventure, a way to gain honor and glory, and (often) riches.

The 20th century changed all that. War has just become too horrible. If it were 1815, you probably wouldn’t even think of asking this question.
But I think you whack the nail right on the head with those two words that seem to so perversely imbue warfare with a shade of wholesomeness: honour and glory.

My sheer destruction is certain. Three times and four times happy those Danaans were who died then in wide Troy land, bringing favor to the sons of Atreus, as I wish I too had died at that time and met my destiny on the day when the greatest number of Trojans threw their bronze-headed weapons over me, over the body of perished Achilles, and I would have had my rites and the Acheans given me glory. Now it is by a dismal death I must be taken. --- Homer
ah, the Classical Greeks, coiners of the phrase "count no man lucky/fortunate, until he is dead."
I would only disagree by sliding the horrible factor back to the 1860s rather than the 1910s, but suffice to say that the advance of technology has pretty much put paid the notion that warfare is honorable, personal and a grand adventure!
Not really - people still think like that. Look at the reaction to 9-11 in the US: it was no small number of people who (re)enlisted in the military, because they saw the Towers go down, and took the attack personally. (and-or wanted to personally deal out some revenge)
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799
Khemehekis
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sat 14 Aug 2010, 08:36
Location: California über alles

Re: Why do soldiers risk their lives in wars?

Post by Khemehekis » Thu 18 Jun 2015, 05:04

Keenir wrote:
Not really - people still think like that. Look at the reaction to 9-11 in the US: it was no small number of people who (re)enlisted in the military, because they saw the Towers go down, and took the attack personally. (and-or wanted to personally deal out some revenge)
Now, I've always read that military enlistments didn't budge after 9/11 . . .
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 55,000 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!
Post Reply