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War and Morality

             Morality knows no home on the battlefield. The theater of war lends itself only to a survivalist mentality which necessitates that instinct often supercede rationality. Nature's ultimatum is the grim reality of warfare; that one must kill or be killed. General Taylor's assessment of the role of morality in war is indicative of this reality. He states that it is too dangerous for an officer or soldier to exercise any judgement concerning moral matters which might lead to the violation of orders. This might lead one to conclude that the realities of war show nothing of the morality of war. On the contrary, they tell whole heartedly of the function morality plays on the battlefield. Quite simply, that it has no function. It shows nothing of the morality of war because such a thing does not exist. Like searching for water in the desert, it is equally as futile to seek virtue amidst carnage and brutality. Forget for a moment about man's reasoning and motivation for war, and it becomes quite obvious that moral values have nothing to do with warfare itself (i.e. the actual fighting and killing). In combat situations these things are primitive and instinctual reactions to threats to our immediate well-being, imbedded in mankind's genetic makeup, and are quite different from the action of provoking war. When confronted with nature's ultimatum during combat, one does not have time to assess the moral implications of his actions. On the battlefield there is a real and immediate threat to his life and that of his comrades. Regardless of why the war is being fought, at that precise point in time when opposing forces engage one another, soldiers on either side have no other motivation to kill other than their own personal safety and that of their countrymen. In nature, the motivation to fight and kill is the same. Lions fight and kill to protect themselves and their harem. Why not question the morality of lions, or any other species for that matter, in these situations? Because they have no moral values, they act only on the instinct to survive, as does man during combat.

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