War is a catastrophic event, a stain on the fabric of human history. War is a time period of great shame for humans, a time period when humans commit atrocious acts in the heat of battle and the light of victory. War is like a parasite, leeching off us, stealing human lives, and leaving behind nothing but the husk of what we once were. When our minds have cleared after the war has rendered us drunk, we often start to point figures, someone has to be thrown under the bus for such destruction and the actions of everyone else.
In most armies, there is a hierarchy of command beginning with a general, religious leader, political leader, etc. at the top and going all the way down to the peasant, foot soldier, private, new recruit, etc. In war when all rational thought is often abandoned, people often don’t realize the weight of their actions. The generals/leaders are the ones that often give out the orders to commit atrocious crimes such as during World War II when Hitler called for the extermination of the Jewish population and other undesirables. Even though the soldiers would be the ones doing the dirty work, the soldiers will be listening to the higher command. Some might say the soldiers might be at fault because they didn’t refuse the orders of the superiors.
I believe this is an choice of whether to put your own life over the life of another or to put your life under another. If the soldier were to disobey, he would be putting his own life at risk while possibly saving the life of the victim. Currently, superiors are often the ones blamed such as after the end of WWII, the major leaders of the Nazi regime were tried for war crimes, however the average soldier was not tried. Whether or not the soldiers are at fault is a subjective matter I stated before you have to figure out whether it is more humane t put the soldier’s life over the victim or the victim’s life over the soldiers.
Personally I believe that the soldiers are not at fault as they are “simply doing their job”, if they were to refuse the orders of a superior, it would cost them and possibly their families dearly. Even if they were to refuse the order, another soldier could possibly step in and do the order instead which still ends up with the victim hurt but now adds the rebellious soldier to the victims. Even though I don’t look badly upon soldiers who do follow the orders of their superiors, the ones who don’t due to moral reasons really stand out to me. I remember reading this story about this German soldier who helped out this Jewish man in a concentration camp by sneaking him a potato a day, as a result the Jewish man lived and his grandson was therefore able to live.