The moral decision
one makes about going to war
, or going to war and not shooting other people, or whatever, should be made before one reaches the field of combat. Going into battle, I would have wanted my squadmen to respond automatically to the commands I would give them, and not sit down and ponder their meaning
- not because I want blind obedience but because I want to live
. Actually reaching a situation in which your friends expect you to shoot and then not doing it is much worse than never getting there, from any point of view you take.
The real problem is people usually don't make a moral decision at all - they just act. The soldiers who served with me were sometimes highly motivated, sometimes motivated solely by fear of punishment and sometimes apathetic, but they were all conscripted… Most of them just tried to be reasonably good soldiers 'cause that's what they were being judged as at the time, and most tried to have as painless a time as possible. Most people morally react, at their best, and usually do not take a stand.
Military training is meant to do many things, and one of them is to get the soldier used to obeying orders. The fear of your DI or squad leader, often coupled with a certain amount of respect, is almost always present in combat units, and is enough to get the soldier to do some unpleasant things. Honor, as described by people around you, and a kind of comradeship that arises in hard situations and small groups, are usually enough to make sure you charge. The automatic training is mostly there to make sure you do it properly.