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Old January 3rd, 2018, 03:58 PM   #51
Joined: Jan 2011
From: Indiana, USA
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Originally Posted by Wallach View Post
What is the difference between killing a civilian to save ten of your buddies, and killing 200,000 civilians to save a 1,000,000?
999,990 buddies?
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 04:31 PM   #52

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Here's the law of land warfare -

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Old January 3rd, 2018, 06:13 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by MasPuster View Post
That "certain understanding" means that soldiers not taking or shooting prisoners committed warcrimes. The "understanding" was probably more not to talk about it.

That part of the Geneva convention is in use since around 1929, so there is no "kind of", its pretty clear.
We might, however, understand the motivation of these soldiers.

I guess the secret is to kill them before they surrender. It's not like in the days of chivalry when you could capture a knight and he would promise to put down his arms. If you take the surrender of an enemy combatant when you are behind enemy lines, (legally) you have two choices: take them with you or release them. Taking them with you is very risky as they will likely raise the alarm or try and grab a gun first chancevthey get, likewise releasing them they will run to the nearest phone. The chances are that if you take prisoners it is likely to lead to the failure of your mission and the capture/death of you and your colleagues. Even if you make it back to friendly lines, I'm not sure if you would be sent on another mission?

I find it hard to believe that any soldier would be convicted of a war crime under such circumstances; there surely must have been lots of instances in WW2 where raids behind enemy lined meant that taking prisoners was impracticable and letting them go impossible (unless you were to fail your mission).
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Old January 4th, 2018, 01:22 AM   #54

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Alleged 'days of chivalry' were far more brutal than most things since.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 02:15 AM   #55

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Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
What is a smaller scale version of Hiroshima?
Mai Lai.
Not the same. No actual resistance or enemy or military value in a peasant village.

And in any bombing if the target has military value, such as a factory or army barracks then civilians while not the target are an unpleasant side effect.
Shooting a baby in the head is of no military advantage.
They had no real way of knowing whether the village was VC before clearing it and they were suspecting it was VC. Would you find it merrited if the village did house some VC? You'll have to explain how that works, then. It's either merrited to target civilians in pursuit of military advantage or it's not, regardless of whether that military advantage is actually gained because that's something you can never be certain of.

Also, nuking a baby in the head is of no military advantage either.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 02:18 AM   #56
Joined: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by paranoid marvin View Post
If you take the surrender of an enemy combatant when you are behind enemy lines, (legally) you have two choices: take them with you or release them. ...

I find it hard to believe that any soldier would be convicted of a war crime under such circumstances;
I am not sure wether any such cases where ever tried. Most armies tend to be very protective of their soldiers, even in cases that are way less complicated.

In the above case - the moralic dilemma of course also pops up if you do not stumble above a surrendering soldier, but a civilian. De jure there is probably no difference, as once an enemy soldier shows his intention to surrender, he is entitled to protection. If you are allowed to kill a prisoner to enhance your protection, why not an enemy civilian - or a neutral/friendly civilian? A child? If that is the collateral damage it takes to succeed...

The law certainly is not practical - if, on the other side, if it would allow for "circumstances", that would become the base excuse for each and any massacre. Its like the legal stand on torture - if you could save the world by just threatening to beat a terrorist prisoner (lets assume you know he will break down that easy, and has the knowledge you need), you are still not allowed to do so and are legally bound to let the world go down. A juristically clear case - and don't we all hope the police officer in question will do the right thing?
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