Why is it okay to kill a soldier and not a civilian in war? Is this the principal of double effect or is there more to the answer? Thank you.
As a retiree from the military, I would say a lot has to do with the putting on a uniform and swearing an oath to visit death and destruction on the enemies of Her Majesty (as ordered), and being trained in tactics and the use of arms for that very purpose.
It’s like it’s OK for a Vancouver Canuck to bodycheck a Montreal Canadien on the ice during play in a Montreal-Vancouver game. He cannot, however, do the same to a Habs fan in the stands (no matter how hard he is cheering).
And a more honorable profession can hardly be found! But I guess my question comes down to asking what changes in the, I dunno, moral status of a soldier that makes it okay to kill them but not civilians?
A soldier can’t just kill another soldier simply because he is on the other side of the war. Murder can happen on the battlefield as well. Soldiers are not able to just kill every soldier they see, but they can kill to protect themselves and their fellow soldiers and their country. My husband is a soldier. He runs the risk of being tried for war crimes if he doesn’t follow the rules set forth by the military and the Geneva Convention. He risks his soul if he kills simply for the sake of killing. Even though our enemies don’t follow the same moral standards we do won’t excuse my husband if he stoops to their ways of behaving. They don’t follow the Geneva Convention but that fact won’t help my husband out legally if he chooses not to. Two wrongs will never make things right.
Civilians normally are just caught in the middle. Most are not seeking any fight. They don’t normally pose a threat to soldiers. There is usually little chance a soldier would find himself in a do or die situation at the hands of an innocent civilian. I truly believe if a soldier did, self defense would morally be allowed. God allows for us to defend ourselves even if our self defense efforts result in death.