Can an ethical individual take part in a war?
Turning this question around in my mind, trying to think of it in a critical manner, and researching others' thoughts on the matter, I have concluded that there cannot be a true and valid answer to this question.
To take part in a war in which you will be in battle leads to killing, violence, the end of life. To take life, I believe that you must make the subject subhuman. In saying this, I mean that human beings are unable to kill just anyone. Now there are exceptions in that people with certain psychological problems may find it easier than others to kill. In this conversation, I am excluding those individuals as they are the exception. Normal minded human beings cannot take human life under normal circumstances. They must view the subject in a manner that is subhuman. In Vietnam, the term "gook" was popular.
In portraying these people as something other than human, it is easier to kill them. No longer are they people, cousins, fathers, sons, mothers; now they are only the "gooks." The term "nigger" was also very popular in making African Americans less than human in order to punish, harm, and destroy them. This de-humanization has not only been used against races but also against people with preferences that are not viewed as the norm. "Fags" and "dykes" has been used to de-humanize homosexuals and make it easier for the rest of society to slander and attack these people.
To question whether or not an ethical person could use these derogatory and de-humanizing terms in order to ease the decision to taking part in a war, is complicated at best. I believe that warfare could have a great ethical value precisely because war has the unique...