Conscience in War Essay

Conscience in War Essay

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You’re in an unstable bunker that goes to only the top of your shoulders. You’re in Iraq, a land you have studied yet still feel as unfamiliar with as a never-ending desert. Your drill sergeant is screaming at you to fire at your enemies. You freeze. This was not what you remember signing up for. You came to this foreign land because you wanted to defend yourself and because you love America. When aiming at stationary targets not firing back, you felt in control. You didn’t really think about what you are doing then. Now, though, when looking through your scope at the “enemies”, you cannot differentiate them from you. Army sergeants have attempted to teach you to bypass the moral process of killing, but you are unable to easily do this like many of your comrades.
While your hand is still trembling back on forth on your rifle and your sergeant’s screams are getting louder, you start to reflect on what you are doing. Shooting to kill the opposing side would be thought of by most as patriotic and simply the defense of human rights. You are completely in favor of those two. However, the thought of actually taking the life of someone else makes you nauseous. This feeling permeates deeper and deeper inside of you and how you will reach this decision is tearing you apart.
Do you listen to your superiors or to your conscience? All of a sudden, it hits you. If you cannot follow yourself and your own ideals, then you stand for nothing. The well-formed conscience should be the final arbiter of your actions because you need to live with what you have done, even if it comes with an extremely negative view from others. Being forced into excessive work duties and treated with hostility by peers is not worse than losing yoursel...


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...ision. That shows great determination and self-belief, which not everyone can claim to have when they forget about their own presumptions.
Consciences are often ignored when imposing figures stand in the way or consequences seem too daunting. Knowing who you really are, though, is something that should never be taken for granted. Some people might stop reasonably thinking and end up losing themselves. They might never realize that their conscience is being ignored until it is too late. When you’re holding that rifle in Iraq, you might be unable to process your thoughts and will ultimately act hastily. In order to help avoid that impetuousness, it is important to think things through ahead of time. Doing what you believe in, even if unpopular, should take you where you need to be. Money and fame mean nothing if they come at the expense of your individualism.

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