Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

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Did you like the movie?

Yes, Perfect!
1
17%
It was good!
1
17%
It wasn't bad...
1
17%
Stupid movie!
2
33%
No, I didn't like it!
1
17%
 
Total votes: 6

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Raistlin Majere
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Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#1 Post by Raistlin Majere » 17 Mar 2010 10:30

Yesterday, I went to the cinema to watch the "best movie" Hurt Locker..

Really disappointing. It was nothing but a propaganda to get soldiers to go to Iraq. Image

The whole point of the movie was that American Soldiers go to Iraq only to disarm bombs (not for killing or money), the stupid soldiers fight each other and drink to have fun, how boring normal life is..... Everyone come on! Let's join the army! It's much more fun than having a wife and kids... It's nice not to know whether you'll die the other day. Image

I didn't like it. I think that the producers and those that gave them the oscar were directed by the government to get more soldiers... I cannot explain it otherwise (of course a wise man said that "don't try to explain with conspiracies, things that can be easily explained by human stupidity")


It also had a stupid scene, where a bomb goes off and a kid plays with a kite on the roof of a building as if nothing has happend.. No wonder why it took a Director oscar... Image

Did any of you watch it?
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#2 Post by Andreas » 17 Mar 2010 12:31

No. But I'd like to. I really enjoyed the US propaganda in The Unit, so I might enjoy this one aswell :mrgreen:

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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#3 Post by Daijin » 17 Mar 2010 12:50

Raistlin Majere wrote: The whole point of the movie was that American Soldiers go to Iraq only to disarm bombs
Now, that's a shocking insight considering that this is a movie about an American bomb squad. A bomb squad disarming bombs? Pure American war propaganda! Since we all know that the only things US-soldiers are doing in Iraq are murdering, raping and eating babies.

I liked the movie, and I honestly think that calling it propaganda which is meant to make Americans enlist for the army is a really stupid thing to say.

A very interesting aspect was the parallel characterization of the two very different team leaders. One is a responsible, sensible and nice guy - the kind of guy you'd want as your neighbour. The other one comes close to a sociopath who is unable to enjoy life and the love of his family. Now, guess who's depicted as the technically better soldier and what this says about war and serving in the army.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#4 Post by t.a.j. » 17 Mar 2010 13:40

Since we all know that the only things US-soldiers are doing in Iraq are murdering, raping and eating babies.
Even giving that list of things makes you guilty of propaganda. It's a devious spin to put "eating babies" (which nobody does and clearly says "silly and not true" at the climatic end point of a list of very real and actual activities. It puts murdering and raping (which are more or less central parts to what soldiers are doing in war) on par with a silly monster fantasy like "eating babies" making the claim that they are as unreal and clearly just overblown negative propaganda by USA-hating leftist-liberal enemies of liberty would ever suggest that indeed, USAmerican soldiers are as much a murdering and raping gang of violent apes as any other soldiers at war are.

The reality is: Soldiers at war murder people and, more rarely, they rape people. They almost never eat babies, and if they do, its because the are baby eating people and not because they are soldiers. This goes for USAmerican soldiers in Iraq, German soldiers in Afghanistan and everyone else, too.

As a side-note, I haven't seen the movie, but it seems strange indeed to blame a movie about a bomb squad for focusing on bomb squad work.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#5 Post by Belgarion » 17 Mar 2010 14:10

The movie was clearly not a propaganda to make people enlist for the army, but it failed due to its factual errors like what real bomb squads do and what they don't do. In the movie, they are portrayed like fantastic creatures who can do anything, and reading the reactions of some real Iraq war veterans, the characteristics of squad bombs and what's been going on in there is not like in the movie.

So for me, it was an exciting and technically well made movie, but the contents is just another subject.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#6 Post by Raistlin Majere » 17 Mar 2010 14:18

The movie is not just focusing on the bomb squad. It is showing only the bomb squad.
The whole picture appears to focus on the saving-people-from-bombs. Based on an actual war, a movie cannot skip the ugly part of the status in Iraq. They even present a laboratory full of bomb material with a dead body of a child, inside which they have placed a bomb. Well I have heard of kamikazee which put the bombs on them while they are alive, but I never heard of killing a child to put a bomb in it.... It's just stupid.
Belgarion wrote:So for me, it was an exciting and technically well made movie, but the contents is just another subject.
This is what propaganda is... It pretends to speak for the real war in Iraq, and instead it makes things look better than they actually are, and referring only to what's convenient to them.

(when you see the movie, please focus on the end of the movie... for those who didn't get the message during the movie, they have the 4 last minutes which explain to you that going to war is better than having a family)
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#7 Post by Sentinel » 17 Mar 2010 14:33

Raistlin Majere wrote:The movie is not just focusing on the bomb squad. It is showing only the bomb squad
Then again, what do you exactly expect from a movie about a bomb squad? Focusing on, and thus mainly showing the characters of a special military/police unit has been done before, like Band of Brothers. Does it make it in any way a propaganda series, just because they are focusing on the guys of the Easy Company?
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#8 Post by Daijin » 17 Mar 2010 14:55

t.a.j. wrote:
Since we all know that the only things US-soldiers are doing in Iraq are murdering, raping and eating babies.
Even giving that list of things makes you guilty of propaganda. It's a devious spin to put "eating babies" (which nobody does and clearly says "silly and not true" at the climatic end point of a list of very real and actual activities. It puts murdering and raping (which are more or less central parts to what soldiers are doing in war) on par with a silly monster fantasy like "eating babies"
What you call "devious spin" I call sarcasm - and a quite obvious one, so I doubt it's neccessary to warn the other stupid readers of this discussion of my deviousness. I agree that my post was polemic. It was meant to be, very clearly so. But calling it propaganda when someone writes a sarcastic comment in a heavy metal internet forum is a little hysterical, don't you think?

I don't even agree with you that murdering and raping are more or less central parts of what soldiers are doing in war (neither does international law by the way). Killing other combattants during war is by definition no murder and no crime. Killing civillians on pupose is (with the exception of self defense). And raping is always a crime. Claiming that murdering and raping is a central part of the actions of the US-army in Iraq is a serious accusation that implies that most of the soldiers are criminals. Thus, I consider the sarcastical exaggeration of the "baby eating" appropriate to point out my criticism.
By the way, I don't doubt that murder and rape are committed by US-soldiers in Iraq.
making the claim that they are as unreal and clearly just overblown negative propaganda by USA-hating leftist-liberal enemies of liberty
Wait a minute, weren't you the one accusing me of using unfair and devious rhetorics just a few lines above? Funny.

I consider myself a liberal, by the way.
would ever suggest that indeed, USAmerican soldiers are as much a murdering and raping gang of violent apes as any other soldiers at war are.
Why consider historical facts when you can easily pass moral judgement? ...
So, supposed a robot wants to kill all the humans that makes him "a radical".
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#9 Post by Daijin » 17 Mar 2010 15:14

Raistlin Majere wrote:The movie is not just focusing on the bomb squad. It is showing only the bomb squad.
Unbelievable! Well, last time I checked the movie wasn't titled "Iraq - the movie".
The whole picture appears to focus on the saving-people-from-bombs. Based on an actual war, a movie cannot skip the ugly part of the status in Iraq.
Says who? Is every war movie that doesn't show the whole picture of the war automatically propaganda?
Well I have heard of kamikazee which put the bombs on them while they are alive, but I never heard of killing a child to put a bomb in it.... It's just stupid.
And because you've never heard of it, it can't be true? Terrorists already kidnapped mentally challanged women from mental institutions, strapped explosives to their bodies and made them detonate on marketplaces by remote triggering devices. But using corpses to hide bombs is totally unrealistic and stupid? By the way, it's only the protagonist that assumes the boy was killed in order to put a bomb into his corpse. You never know how the boy died.
for those who didn't get the message during the movie, they have the 4 last minutes which explain to you that going to war is better than having a family)
A very extreme interpretation and totally different to the one I had when I saw the movie. What I saw was a seriously troubled guy - as a said, close to being a sociopath - who is unable to reintegrate into civil life after his experiences in war and who can't even get any joy from his family. The only thing that's left to him is war, and so he goes back to Iraq.
You're right that the movie doesn't judge him as a bad man for this. But if you consider that (depicting a psychological phenomenon without condemning the person) as propaganda, I don't think further discussions about this topic are sensible.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#10 Post by Skyclad » 17 Mar 2010 20:13

Wait? You mean this movie doesn't have wizards in it?
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#11 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Mar 2010 03:18

Daijin wrote: What you call "devious spin" I call sarcasm - and a quite obvious one, so I doubt it's neccessary to warn the other stupid readers of this discussion of my deviousness. I agree that my post was polemic. It was meant to be, very clearly so. But calling it propaganda when someone writes a sarcastic comment in a heavy metal internet forum is a little hysterical, don't you think?
I just don't agree that rape and murder should ever be taken that lightly.
I don't even agree with you that murdering and raping are more or less central parts of what soldiers are doing in war (neither does international law by the way).
International Law is in part a reaction to precisely that face of the reality of war.
Killing other combattants during war is by definition no murder and no crime. Killing civillians on pupose is (with the exception of self defense).

Dropping bombs or mortar shells on anyone, whatsoever qualifies as murder in my book. And while war may be a continuous case of self defense from the point of view of a soldier (how would I know, I am no soldier), soldiers act in the name and employment of organizations, private individuals or political bodies who hope to profit from their actions. And killing someone for profit, even the profit of another, also qualifies as murder in my book.
And raping is always a crime.
While rape is always wrong, it is only a crime if it happens within a social context, which considers it a crime.
Claiming that murdering and raping is a central part of the actions of the US-army in Iraq is a serious accusation that implies that most of the soldiers are criminals.
Indeed. Murder is more central, rape is considerably less certain, but in general, being a soldier is morally wrong. "Crime" on the other hand is a category of law, not of morals.
Thus, I consider the sarcastical exaggeration of the "baby eating" appropriate to point out my criticism.
By the way, I don't doubt that murder and rape are committed by US-soldiers in Iraq.
Good. Now all I say beyond what you agreed on is that in war, this always tends to happen.
Wait a minute, weren't you the one accusing me of using unfair and devious rhetorics just a few lines above? Funny.
Yeah. Weren't you claiming to just be sarcastic? Case in point.
There is still a difference between my use of rhetoric (as it were) and yours.
I consider myself a liberal, by the way.
In the USAmerican or european sense?

Why consider historical facts when you can easily pass moral judgement? ...
Training people to kill people is morally wrong. Killing people is prima facie morally wrong. Raping people is morally wrong. Ordering people to kill people is morally wrong. Apart from my particular choice of words, I do not see how that moral judgment is problematic or in any way mitigated by any historical facts whatsoever. If your point is that soldiers are usually as much victims of a situation and institution which pressure them into acting immoral, then you are certainly right, being a soldier is a dehumanizing thing that no one should have to suffer. It does not make killing people ok, though.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#12 Post by Cerbere » 18 Mar 2010 06:16

So basically you're saying all war is bad and soldiers are murderers and rapists? Wow I don't even know how to argue with people that think that way.

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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#13 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Mar 2010 09:55

I'm saying that all war is bad and that in war, a good number of soldiers become murderers and a certain, smaller number become rapist.

You could argue that not all war is bad and that like the war against Hitler, the war against Terror is a just war. And I would say that fighting the Nazis is certainly mitigating circumstances for many things done during war and is mitigating circumstance for bringing about a war situation to begin with. So is being attacked by an enemy who will treat your people very badly. Waging war against Nazi Germany also yielded some very good results for almost everyone still alive and prevented very bad results, too. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq offer those kinds of mitigating circumstances. Hussein surely was an ass, but what happened afterwards was really worse. And I'm not even gonna start talking about dropping cluster bombs on sheep herders.

You could argue that killing enemy combatants in war is not murder, because war counts as special circumstances. I would answer that a) "enemy" is a very vague description, often forced upon some people for political reasons, b) the distinction between civilian and combatant is problematic. Everyone is at some point a civilian and could be at some point a combatant. In war, unlike in wrestling matches, colorful uniforms and a ring are not always present. c) murder is killing a person for base reasons or in a malicious, cruel or perfidious way. Commonly the later is the case in war. The former is usually the case for political leaders who instigate war. And d) war counts a special circumstances in one way: often an individual soldier ends up in self-defense situations, where they have to kill or be killed. Being a soldier sucks. But those who put him there to begin with usually do so for base reasons and for many of their own troops, they could have just pulled the trigger themselves instead of sending them to the front.
But merely war by itself does not justify murder, nor does it make the killing of someone less of a murder.

And if you wanted to argue that raping enemy combatants is not rape or that soldiers never or even only very rarely rape, then I would consider you silly and probably in need of an education or some behavior therapy. But luckily you said neither.

So there you go, I hope I have been able to inspire some ways to argue with people like me without misrepresenting their position.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#14 Post by Daijin » 18 Mar 2010 10:06

t.a.j. wrote: I just don't agree that rape and murder should ever be taken that lightly.
I would never argue about that.
Dropping bombs or mortar shells on anyone, whatsoever qualifies as murder in my book. And while war may be a continuous case of self defense from the point of view of a soldier (how would I know, I am no soldier), soldiers act in the name and employment of organizations, private individuals or political bodies who hope to profit from their actions. And killing someone for profit, even the profit of another, also qualifies as murder in my book.
Thanks to our legal system that has clear definition for crimes and that doesn't ask you personally what you consider as murder and what you don't (which I'm very glad for since that's what having laws is actually all about) I can simply say: You're wrong. Soldiers are not murderers. Tucholsky could write that as often as he wants. It doesn't make it any more true. Now, that you morally condemn soldierhood in its totallity is another thing.
Indeed. Murder is more central, rape is considerably less certain, but in general, being a soldier is morally wrong. "Crime" on the other hand is a category of law, not of morals.
You say that as if this moral judgement was unchallengeable, as if there's still room for discussion in the courtroom but not under an ethical aspect. The opposite is true. Legally the case is clear. Ethically philosophers argue about that question for more than 2000 years now. Well, you seem to have arrived at the conclusion of it. Congratulations. But there are very good arguments against your judgement that being a soldier is morally wrong, so don't do as if this was more than your personal opinion.
Good. Now all I say beyond what you agreed on is that in war, this always tends to happen.
Another point we agree upon.
In the USAmerican or european sense?
A little of both. It's difficult for me to put my political convinction into one word.
t.a.j. wrote:
daijin wrote:
Why consider historical facts when you can easily pass moral judgement? ...
Training people to kill people is morally wrong. Killing people is prima facie morally wrong. Raping people is morally wrong. Ordering people to kill people is morally wrong. Apart from my particular choice of words, I do not see how that moral judgment is problematic or in any way mitigated by any historical facts whatsoever. If your point is that soldiers are usually as much victims of a situation and institution which pressure them into acting immoral, then you are certainly right, being a soldier is a dehumanizing thing that no one should have to suffer. It does not make killing people ok, though.
Yeah, it's that simple. Why did and do philosophers discuss about that for thousands of years when it comes down to a simple "Killing people is morally wrong". Because it's naive and not even ethical. You can always imagine situations where killing somebody is morally required, where it es even immoral to not kill. But you don't have to imagine those situations, you can simply open your next history book which should be full of situations like that. Radical pacifism, meaning the total refusal of any sorts of violence, is a deeply immoral convinction. It means that you're willing to sacrifice any other value for the value of peaceableness, including the dignity and life of others.

So, no, my point is not that soldiers are pressured against their will into acting immoral. In most armies of democratic states nobody forced them to become soldiers. No, my point is that being a soldier can be neither immoral nor dehumanizing.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#15 Post by t.a.j. » 18 Mar 2010 12:05

Daijin wrote: Thanks to our legal system that has clear definition for crimes and that doesn't ask you personally what you consider as murder and what you don't (which I'm very glad for since that's what having laws is actually all about) I can simply say: You're wrong. Soldiers are not murderers. Tucholsky could write that as often as he wants. It doesn't make it any more true. Now, that you morally condemn soldierhood in its totallity is another thing.
The point is not in making a legal argument, but a moral one. The legal system is subject to more than just moral demands. For one thing, there is practicality. For another there are the political and economic interests of elites. The ideal is to have a law that is wholly just and only concerned with what is right, but that is rather unlikely to ever happen and as these things go, I think we have rather ok law. In particular, German law defines murder by qualities to be examplified by the act: malicious intent, base reasons, cruelty, perfidiousness. It does not simply say "Murder is unlawful killing". Which is problematic for the very simple reason that in the next paragraph the law could say that killing Jews or women is never against the law. Thus, when I say "murder" I mean an intentional act of killing someone directly or indirectly (e.g. by giving orders) out of base motives or in cruel or perfidious ways. Which happens often enough in war. That courts should find their own nation's soldiers to be in moral better standing than they actually are is hardly surprising, but also doesn't mean much. And, here I repeat myself:
What I did not say was:
If you are a soldier, then you are a murderer.
What I did say was:
(1) Being a soldier puts you in a position where you very likely can become a murderer.
(2) That is because in war, lot's of murders happen and as a soldier, your role is to participate in war with a weapon in hand.
(Conclusion 1) Rule of Prudence: If you do not want to become a murderer, you should avoid becoming a soldier.
(3) War, as it leads to destruction, murder, rape and other unwholesome things is a bad thing.
(4) Participating, initiating, furthering, provoking or otherwise bringing about or prolonging a bad thing is a bad action.
(5) Soldiers participate in war qua being soldiers.
(Conclusion 2)Moral consequence: Therefore being, rather becoming a soldier is a bad action.
You say that as if this moral judgement was unchallengeable, as if there's still room for discussion in the courtroom but not under an ethical aspect. The opposite is true. Legally the case is clear.
We are arguing about it, are we not? Establishing propositions and providing arguments for them. It is my considered, reflected, reasonable, philosophically informed ethical judgment and I am willing to defend it. If you in general accept that there are moral truths, that is sentences of the form x is wrong can be true, then you should find nothing strange or surprising about me defending some moral statement as true.
Ethically philosophers argue about that question for more than 2000 years now. Well, you seem to have arrived at the conclusion of it. Congratulations. But there are very good arguments against your judgement that being a soldier is morally wrong, so don't do as if this was more than your personal opinion.
This is fallacious. Everything I say is per definition my personal opinion. Some things I say are more than mere opinions, they are the result of careful reflection, weighing of options, considerations, research. I have made some effort to be logically consistent and philosophically coherent in those opinions. I have not just found them lying in a newspaper or shouted during a demonstration. I have, in short, done my epistemic duty to the best that my abilities and my time and energy allow. Those opinions I defend with some vigor. Not because I like to be right and love passing moral judgment on lesser men, though I admittedly do like to be right, but because I think that they are true and I believe that I have very good reason to think so.

Secondly, you do not want me to present you with "more than 2000 years" worth of ethical philosophy on the matter of killing (and as an aside, almost all of it does say that killing people is prima facie wrong) and you do not have the right to expect that. This is not a philosophical paper, this is a discussion on the BG forum. No one (maybe except Joost ;)) wants to see technical details, symbolic logic and in depth analysis here. I given an opinion and if asked for it, I given arguments as to why I hold that opinion. If you have good counterarguments, you are welcome to present them, I will read them and if I find them convincing by the best of my epistemic judgment, than I will be persuaded by them. That is what doing philosophy, and in my opinion being an an educated intellectual is all about.

Which takes me to my third objection: If there are that many good arguments against my position, present them and we can discuss them. As is to be see above, I do not mind offering some possible counter-arguments against my position myself, but since I both hold that position and know those argument, those are not going to be arguments that persuade me. And neither, I believe, should they persuade you.
A little of both. It's difficult for me to put my political convinction into one word.
That we have in common. I have opinions on issues. I do not have a party line or an ism.
t.a.j. wrote: Yeah, it's that simple.
It is that simple. Where it gets complicated is how we should behave towards moral wrong. And I am not even sure whether or not that is itself a moral question or merely one of prudence.
Why did and do philosophers discuss about that for thousands of years when it comes down to a simple "Killing people is morally wrong".
In six years of studying philosophy (mostly theoretical philosophy, admittedly), I have not read nor heard of a single philosopher who did not agree that killing people is prima facie wrong. Almost everyone of them also agrees that there are mitigating circumstances (self-defense is by far most common) and there is a lot of disagreement whether mitigating circumstance make a prima facie wrong action not be wrong anymore, or just less wrong or just entice us to not punish the agent for his still wrong action and probably a whole zoo of other options.
Because it's naive and not even ethical. You can always imagine situations where killing somebody is morally required, where it es even immoral to not kill.
Such situations would count as mitigating circumstance. I hold that killing carries negative moral weight even in situations where every option other than killing would carry even more negative moral weight. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing an evil. Sometimes choosing to perform a bad action is a good action, because all other options are even worse.
But the moral blame travels upwards: how is it that someone even ended up in that situation, could anyone have done anything about it? In our example: could not have the war been prevented? Could not have the soldier not taken up arms and gone to battle?
But you don't have to imagine those situations, you can simply open your next history book which should be full of situations like that.
I deeply disagree with this. Almost every instance I know of violence and war in history was, from an ethical point of view wrong. This starts with Sargon building his empire in the ancient middle east 4000 years ago and does not end in Iraq. Sometimes people were in mitigating circumstances where to the best of their knowledge fighting against an attacker or oppressor was the right thing to do. And if they acted not out of pride, nationalism, fear of losing power and influence or other base reasons, those would be the most mitigating circumstances. But in the large book of history or armed conflict between larger groups, such things seem to have been the rarest of the rare. Leaders have waged war out of the doctrines of a childish warrior culture, out of greed, hunger for power, religious fanaticism, pride, sheer bloodlust or just the dream of empire. And soldiers have followed them for many more reasons.
Killing is sometimes justified as the best of a set of bad options, but this almost always only happens on the level of individual human actions and more often than not because someone in power or even something as abstract as a culture or society wrongly brought a situation about where no option not in including killing is live.
Radical pacifism, meaning the total refusal of any sorts of violence, is a deeply immoral convinction. It means that you're willing to sacrifice any other value for the value of peaceableness, including the dignity and life of others.
I did not refuse all sort of violence. I was specifically talking about war, murder and more generally killing. Other kinds of violence, that need some specific treatment of their own are incarceration, behavior modification, economic and social sanctions, structural violence and so on.
Sometimes war might be the best out of a set of bad options, thought this I think is rare and usually only happens because someone else has already chosen to act wrongly. Some individual murders during a war will be mitigated by circumstances, but the bringing about of those circumstances is itself a morally wrong action. Some moral wrongs can only be averted by committing moral wrongs, but that does not make those wrongs any less wrong. That is in the end the deepest moral connection that we have: by living as social beings, we are not merely individual moral agents, but by being part of a social structure, we affect the moral options and choices of others, that we often do not know or even have heard of. By being part of a capitalist economic structure, we participate in enticing, sometimes forcing managers to behave wrongly. Our moral reach and responsibility does not end with what we can see before our eyes.
The weighty moral questions are not whether or not you should push a fat man before a trolley car to save five happy and innocent children with a bright future, but what kind of society we should live in.
So, no, my point is not that soldiers are pressured against their will into acting immoral. In most armies of democratic states nobody forced them to become soldiers. No, my point is that being a soldier can be neither immoral nor dehumanizing.
With all the drills and training to kill and follow orders I am doubtful about that not being dehumanizing in some relevant way. But I am less than certain of that. Well. I gave my argument for why I take becoming a soldier to be a morally bad action above, so I'm not going to repeat it here. And if people would just freely sign up to kill people when they decide to become soldiers, so much the worse. But mostly people become soldiers because of family tradition, state propaganda, economic need, because they dig the tech or because they like the cameradery, and in general not because they want to kill. But no matter why they do it, they still set themselves up to quite likely become murderers.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#16 Post by Desert_Storm » 22 Mar 2010 17:14

I think the main problem is that you say that your "killing is wrong" statement is an axiomatic truth, where I think it can't be axiomatic. For there are circumstances that clearly justify a homicide (you say so yourself). Also, you state that you do not refuse violence per se. As Daijin said, if you refuse to kill in any situation, you are morally quite questionable. Your argumentation becomes contradictory, when you say:
Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing an evil.
And in the very next sentence:
Sometimes choosing to perform a bad action is a good action, because all other options are even worse
I don't want to discuss this in the war scenario yet, because with a war condition, many other problems arise. So let's take an example a little more simple, say some raging madman with a gun who is about to kill your neighbors with you standing next to them.
If you choose your first statement as a general rule, you won't be able to do anything against it without becoming morally questionable. Even though you say that it might be the lesser evil, you shouldn't do it then because it's quite clear that none of us wants to act morally wrong - if that wasn't the case, we probably wouldn't discuss this matter here.
If you choose the second statement as a general rule, things suddenly look very different. Of course, a homicide is still an unpleasant thing, but in this circumstances, and only in this circumstances, you are able to commit one without acting morally wrong. You might even say doing nothing would be morally wrong then, depending on other factors more or less. Of course when you are able to stop this guy without killing him, it's even better. But if you haven't any other options left, it would be still better to kill him than to do nothing. There are even factors that would oblige you to kill him if you could save the family, one being for example if you were a cop. Now I don't really think that we have to argue over this main point, that killing can be justified, since in some sentences you said so yourself, like in the one quoted above. My conclusion here is: If something can be justified (and therefore "right") in some instances, in cannot be always wrong -> It can't be an axiomatic truth that killing is wrong. We are still free to say though, that in the vast majority of all possible circumstances, it's the wrong thing to do (what I think you and I would say), but that's a huge difference.
Now in a war situation, thing become much more difficult to judge, because the facts - based on which we want to make our judgment - become more numerous and complicated, and we ofttimes can't even evaluate if they're actual facts to begin with, as here propaganda kicks in. In western countries we are often "fortunate" enough to see both sides of it, but that makes neither side really more credible. However, there are times where it's quite clear that certain borders have been crossed in a way that we can't stay morally clean without interacting, and in certain, not in all, circumstances, this interaction involves acts of war, and yes, I'm going to take WW2 as an example here once again. You are free to say "such things seem to have been the rarest of the rare" now, as I'm not in the position to evaluate that. I just think WW2 makes the perfect example here because of the absolute urgency to stop Hitler from what he was doing, and that seemingly war was the only option left. Once again, if you make yourself a rule that says that killing is wrong right away, Soldiers from all over the world who didn't refuse to go to war against Hitler were morally wrong or very questionable. I then say that knowing what happens, to whatever extent, and not being willing to interfere, makes you morally guilty. After all, soldiers going to war then didn't do that in an act of pure enjoyment and euphoria - that was rather the case in WW1. People had experienced war, whether the soldiers themselves or their parents, and there were few left who considered it to be fun. After all, war is a very unpleasant and bad thing, and I think we all agree here (though I'm not actually sure about what Cerbere was talking about).
So that leaves us with the pacifists in WW2. Considering the fact that one can't tolerate Hitlers actions anymore, why should your neighbor go and enter the dehumanizing and unpleasant state that is war, while you stay at home, probably get his job when he dies, enjoy your life without being parted from family and friends, and all that while taking in account that he isn't more at fault for Hitlers action than you are? And not enough with that, enough of those pacifists judged the soldiers as morally bad people, while profiting from the safety that they died for. I'm not intending to sound romantic here if anyone should get the impression, war is a horrible thing.
And yes, if everybody would have been pacifistic, the war wouldn't have started in the first place. But there never was a time and most probably there never will be one where everybody will be a pacifist, so being one means more or less cutting of the branch you're sitting on (I have no idea if this proverb even exists in English). Look at it that way: Only not-totalitarian states allow their citizens to be pacifists. So living in such a state, you are as a pacifist either in the minority or in the majority. If you are in the minority, you don't really make a difference, since your state will still be able to enter a war, therefore the only consequence is that other are doing the dirty work. If you happen to be able to convince enough people that your pacifism is the right thing so you make the majority, it would unable your state to enter war. That means, if your state than would be attacked by a totalitarian state (which isn't really unlikely for such a state to do, especially if the other state isn't capable of defending itself), it would be the end of one non-totalitarian state (which is a quite bad thing), and thus the end of a large number of pacifists, for in the next war they won't have a choice. The second consequence has to be a bad thing to in the eyes of a pacifist, so practically, by being a pacifist you make either no difference, or you make the difference that will someday lead to the complete vanishing of pacifism itself. In my opinion, the only thing one could do in such a WW2 situation without having to kill people (if that is really such a great moral problem in this circumstances) would be to join the red cross or a similar organisation, like e. g. Stefan Zweig did. Then again, millions of red cross people wouldn't have stopped Hitler, but for some individuals it may have been the best thing to do in such a situation.
Now this is by no means a pro war argument, since I consider war to be one of the worst things that can possibly happen. I'm just saying that there are some other things that are even worse. Yes, WW2 is an extreme situation and hopefully won't happen again today or tomorrow. But it is not unlikely that it will happen some day, and looking around at what's going on in the world, do you and I really have reason to believe that this century is going to be better than the last one?
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#17 Post by Daijin » 22 Mar 2010 19:34

I'm glad that desert storm said much of what I wanted to say. During the last days I was hoping to find some time to write my reply but then I realized it would take me just too much time, more than I'm willing to invest.

Anyway, to go on with the examples: it doesn't even have to be a war. A regular genocide should suffice. Take Rwanda. One people decided to kill another people inside the borders of one state, so it was no matter of defending a country against an aggressor. There has been a moral obligation to intervene - by force. By failing to do so the UN is partly to blame for the genocide. The commander of the UN forces in Rwanda wrote a book about this (after he tried to kill himself a few times because he couldn't live with the guilt):
Roméo Dallaire, Brent Beardsley: Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. 2003. The accusation is clearer in the German title: Handschlag mit dem Teufel: Die Mitschuld der Weltgemeinschaft am Völkermord in Ruanda. 2007


As I said before, a soldier killing another combattant in conflict is not committing murder - neither legally nor morally. Of course, there is murder in war, like the killing of unarmed civillians. But that doesn't automatically render the profession of a soldier immoral or evil.

Secondly, you do not want me to present you with "more than 2000 years" worth of ethical philosophy on the matter of killing (and as an aside, almost all of it does say that killing people is prima facie wrong) and you do not have the right to expect that.
I was referring to the the controversy about bellum iustim which never came to an end. Even today there are philosophers who argue that there are indeed justified wars and thus there is justified killing. Just one example: Wilfried Hinsch, Dieter Janssen: Menschenrechte militärisch schützen. Ein Plädoyer für humanitäre Interventionen. 2006.
t.a.j. wrote: It is that simple. Where it gets complicated is how we should behave towards moral wrong. And I am not even sure whether or not that is itself a moral question or merely one of prudence.
Here is where we disagree. Killing is not always morally wrong.
Desert storm gave a few examples, including WWII. Do you know the book/movie "Blindness" (Stadt der Blinden)? It gives another example where killing is neccessary and the only moral decission. Since I don't want to spoil you the movie/book I won't get into details.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#18 Post by t.a.j. » 24 Mar 2010 01:14

I'm too busy to reply in depth now. But I want to point out that there is a difference between:
(1) Killing is always wrong.
(2) Killing is always prima facie wrong.

If (1) is true, there is not situation in which killing is not wrong, which can happen if (2) is true and not (1). So simply put, what I say is that if an action A is a killing of someone and you know nothing else about A, then you should judge A as wrong. Further things you may learn about A might change that judgment.
Furthermore, choosing to perform a wrong action and performing a wrong action are two different actions and there is no inherent contradiction in one being wrong and the other right. Thus I hold that the moral value of an action does not necessarily transmit to actions that causally precede it. Just consider the actions "inventing general relativity" and "dropping the atomic bomb". Which does not say that there are no cases where moral values are transmitted to causally preceding actions, just that this is not so in all cases.
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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#19 Post by ra me nivar » 28 Mar 2010 12:07

If you give me permission I'm going to skip the dicussion that arose later (anyway I agree which each word that t.a.j. -who seems damn hot, by the way he writes: I like this dude- wrote) and focus on the movie.

I loved it hardly and couldn't agree more with the Oscar's Bigelow got. I just think that you, Raistlin, just didn't got the movie at all.

The narrative structure of the movie places its point of view in a subjetive third person, quite close to a first person point of view: it follows the actions of the main character, and skips everyone you seem to miss for a quite coherent reason that gives a lot of points to the movie. It doesn't talk about anything but bombs because the main character couldn't care less about anything else. It doesn't show a single judgment because he gives a shit about it.

Despite it, reality is complex and the movie gets it, and if you consider it propaganda then you should start paying attention to the details. For example think on the brief apparition of Ralph Fiennes and his squad: what are them, mercs, CIA agents? The protagonist don't even ask because it's the same for them. But you have them here, treating the couple of prisoners they got like they handle them. Quite dirty for a propaganda movie, isn't it?

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Re: Hurt Locker - what a stupid movie!

#20 Post by West Virginia Mule » 05 Apr 2010 07:01

I didn't watch it. Movies about war make me sad.

Real war, however, makes me happy.
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