Are people really shocked that soldiers execute wounded enemies?

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http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/uk-marine-convicted-murdering-afghan-helmand-20827845
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24870699

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not arguing that what he did was right. In fact, I think it was wrong, and a disgrace to the British armed forces. However:

What really bugs me is that people say they are "shocked" that this happened. Is that really true? It doesn't seem shocking at all to me that someone who's recently lost friends to the enemy was in no mood to take prisoners. "Disgusted" or "disappointed" seem like better terms to me. Maybe I'm a cynical bastard, but when somebody says that they are "shocked" that a soldier summarily executed an enemy I think they sound really naive. Isn't the notion that it's not ok to finish off the enemy wounded a relatively new concept in the history of warfare?

Shocked, no

Frankly, given the stresses a soldier is under while on the battlefied, this kind of thing, and far worse, would be normal behavior if it were not for the rigorous training they are given.

well, when you are portrait as the good guy, bringing "freedom and stability to a country", you are suppost to do good guy stuff, that means: no raping, murdering civis or killing wounded enemies, meaning: not doing something your enemies will do( you know those guy you went to great lengths to demonise)

I don't think it is unreasonable to believe and demand that a whole group of soldiers should be able to follow the laws of war, since following them is a great part of basic training. The thing is, this guy most likely wasn't all alone on a field somewhere with a potential PoW, but was most likely operating with his squad and platoon and it falls upon all of those guys to make sure that the individual follow the laws of war.

It doesn't shock me that much either. As Heronblade said if it wasn't for training and military codes of conduct It would be normal behaviour for soldiers to execute enemy combatants- especially if they were guerilla fighters. I fear though they'll have to make an example of solider A to discourage other soldiers from executing wounded Taliban. It's highly likely that there have been dozens of undocumented cases of similar executions that will never become known.

I doubt many people are shocked. The news casters may tell you they are shocked, thats their job. 'Shocked' is a great word for propaganda, it implies something is very overwhelming, convenient when you want to draw attention and blow out of proportion.

As far as soldiers doing 'immoral' acts... If you want to train someone to kill, strip away their respect for life, including their own lives. With experiments done by nazi scientists during WW2 and MKultra governments have a better idea then ever on how to degrade and brainwash.

A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

Karthak:

What really bugs me is that people say they are "shocked" that this happened. Is that really true? It doesn't seem shocking at all to me that someone who's recently lost friends to the enemy was in no mood to take prisoners. "Disgusted" or "disappointed" seem like better terms to me. Maybe I'm a cynical bastard, but when somebody says that they are "shocked" that a soldier summarily executed an enemy I think they sound really naive. Isn't the notion that it's not ok to finish off the enemy wounded a relatively new concept in the history of warfare?

That NATO forces are poorly trained and uncivilized with a thirst for blood for anyone who isn't white Christians should come as a shock to no-one. The imperialist hordes are a plague upon humanity, and it is commendable that the media exposes this. I should note however that it is entirely possible to train soldiers to be more than animals.

Soviet Steve:

That NATO forces are poorly trained and uncivilized with a thirst for blood for anyone who isn't white Christians should come as a shock to no-one. The imperialist hordes are a plague upon humanity, and it is commendable that the media exposes this. I should note however that it is entirely possible to train soldiers to be more than animals.

I'm sorry, but I genuinely cannot tell if this post is serious or not.

Yeah, being "shocked" at this means you've been avoiding paying attention. This was wrong, but it is not something we should have thought doesn't happen.

Xan Krieger:
A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

Yeah, no. They are supposed to bring him to a hospital, for various reasons. Not just to show they are better than the enemy, that guy would have been interrogated.

Xan Krieger:
A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

That's why you have POW camps, to take wounded enemies back to receive treatment and to be held so they can't take up arms against you. I mean what did you think that the only two options were "kill on the spot" and "let go to fight us again?"

Karthak:

What really bugs me is that people say they are "shocked" that this happened. Is that really true? It doesn't seem shocking at all to me that someone who's recently lost friends to the enemy was in no mood to take prisoners. "Disgusted" or "disappointed" seem like better terms to me. Maybe I'm a cynical bastard, but when somebody says that they are "shocked" that a soldier summarily executed an enemy I think they sound really naive. Isn't the notion that it's not ok to finish off the enemy wounded a relatively new concept in the history of warfare?

You're pretty much spot on here. It is on balance no more "shocking" that well-trained soldiers will occasionally murder captured/disabled enemy combatants than anyone murders anyone else. On the other hand, to express these occurrences as merely "disappointing" suits neither politicians who need to stress how much they disapprove to minimise the fallout, nor does it suit the hyperbole that media utilises in order to try to make people excited about news.

Undoubtedly, however, there are some tender souls who find it genuinely perplexing the troops they are constantly told have the highest standards and are to be honoured and admired occasionally do something utterly despicable.

The positive I think we can take from this and be proud of, is at least it is pretty rare and the responsible party was duly prosecuted. Countless other militaries aren't so bothered.

Soviet Steve:
That NATO forces are poorly trained and uncivilized with a thirst for blood for anyone who isn't white Christians should come as a shock to no-one. The imperialist hordes are a plague upon humanity, and it is commendable that the media exposes this. I should note however that it is entirely possible to train soldiers to be more than animals.

Just in case this is serious: What military would you provide as an example of soldiers that were significantly less 'animalistic' (by your definition) than NATO then?

OT, it's horrible, the guy should be punished because summary execution shouldn't be how we conduct war anymore. But it's not shocking that this kind of thing happens - or if it is shocking, it's only because the media doesn't often report on military deficiencies because it's seen as unpatriotic (especially this time of year, especially today in fact).

They done goofed is all I can say.

If you're going to go and do something like this, there are much better and semi-legal ways of doing so. Even dumber is that the idiots kept the helmet camera footage.

Shaoken:

Xan Krieger:
A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

That's why you have POW camps, to take wounded enemies back to receive treatment and to be held so they can't take up arms against you. I mean what did you think that the only two options were "kill on the spot" and "let go to fight us again?"

The problem there is then is costs money to feed the guy and maintain the camp. Seems like a waste of money when wars already cost a ton.

Shaoken:

Xan Krieger:
A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

That's why you have POW camps, to take wounded enemies back to receive treatment and to be held so they can't take up arms against you. I mean what did you think that the only two options were "kill on the spot" and "let go to fight us again?"

Well, there are practical benefits as well. you can exchange the wounded soldiers for some of your own that are captured, plus by giving the wounded soldier back you drain the enemy of their resources as they have to take care of him.

Unfortunately, none of these apply to insurgents. Keeping wounded insurgents is a drain on your resources, and you will harbor resentment inside your own forces as they will most likely not appreciate helping those that are trying their darnest to kill them.

Not that im advocating for executions, but im merely putting it out there that you are arguing to put a massive burden on one side with no practical reason for them to do so.

Not saying I agree with executing the wounded, but I don't see it as being that bad. That wounded enemy, begging for his life, was trying to murder you just now. I seriously doubt he had a "life altering experience" in the last 10 seconds. If he were still healthy and armed, he would still be trying to kill you.

I kind of understand "take no prisoners" mentality. Think of it like this. When you do or say something horrible to someone and an authority figure (e.g. parent/teacher) forces you to apologize, that apology isn't genuine. Its something you were forced to do and wouldn't be doing if you could help it. I look at enemy surrender the same way, assuming said enemy is only surrendering because he realizes he is beaten or at a disadvantage.

I "know" an IDF combat soldier. We're not taught to murder injured foes. First is the welfare of our own, then comes the enemy. If possible the wounded enemy combatants are cared for and hospitalized. Some of you guys have some weird disconnected notions of war.

Had I been the soldier who lost his friend, the worst I could have done was letting him die on his own, ignoring him entirely. I understand where the rage came from.

Well, "No quarter" is explicitly forbidden by one of the Hague conventions (if anyone gives a damn about international agreements and stuff).

Plus, it's a waste killing someone you could interrogate. You can still kill them after that, if you really are so hell bent on taking lives.

TheIronRuler:

Had I been the soldier who lost his friend, the worst I could have done was letting him die on his own, ignoring him entirely. I understand where the rage came from.

That's crueler in my mind. Perhaps not as cold so long as you're not there to listen to him scream, but certainly more painful.

It's hard to tell with just audio. It's not like you heard him make a sound. As far as we know, he could have already been dead like the soldier said. Even if he wasn't if he just sat there and took a bullet without making a sound, he was likely well on his way in the first place.

The court can make a judgement, but we honestly can't because we don't have the necessary information and likely never will given the fact that this video won't be released for fear of it being used as propaganda.

Considering the audio given from the BBC and a similar case where a Danish soldier was accused of murdering an enemy combatant, whom had sustained a fatal set of injuries. I'd er on the side of caution here. It's wholly possible 'Marine A' finished off an enemy who was beyond saving. It has been noted that the Afghan prisoner was wounded by fire from a gunship; so I would suggested that this is a very real possibility.

i think a lot of people here learned warfare watching hearts and minds operations of the vietnam war. you do not give your enemy propaganda to work with, this is that propaganda

Ryotknife:

Shaoken:

Xan Krieger:
A wounded enemy may recover to fight you again so it's best to just kill them. The guy didn't do anything wrong, in fact he may have saved lives. Better to end the fight the first time than risk the enemy recovering and going for round 2.

That's why you have POW camps, to take wounded enemies back to receive treatment and to be held so they can't take up arms against you. I mean what did you think that the only two options were "kill on the spot" and "let go to fight us again?"

Well, there are practical benefits as well. you can exchange the wounded soldiers for some of your own that are captured, plus by giving the wounded soldier back you drain the enemy of their resources as they have to take care of him.

Unfortunately, none of these apply to insurgents. Keeping wounded insurgents is a drain on your resources, and you will harbor resentment inside your own forces as they will most likely not appreciate helping those that are trying their darnest to kill them.

Not that im advocating for executions, but im merely putting it out there that you are arguing to put a massive burden on one side with no practical reason for them to do so.

There is one; if you offer these mercies to a side who will never return them (insurgents), it convinces other armies you may face in future to extend you the same courtesy, since they have reasonable expectations that you will do the right thing by them in the same situation.

It's a long shot, but at the end of the day you don't treat them as they deserve to be treated, you treat them as you would want to be treated.

Ryotknife:

Not that im advocating for executions, but im merely putting it out there that you are arguing to put a massive burden on one side with no practical reason for them to do so.

If the enemy knows you take no prisoners every fight will be a fight to the very last man who, knowing hes gonna die anyway and considering the nature of the enemy, will be more likely to employ suicide tactics if he knows he is defeated. This might cost more lives than it saves since when the enemy will now never surrender. If you give the enemy the option to surrender and know they wont be harmed fights can end sooner and troops can be in less danger.

There is no discussion about whether or not you ought to take POWs. It's already established law for a armies. A curtousy to not kill the enemy when he's down, so the same won't be done with your own brothers. War is real, has real people and is happening in the world every second of ever day

TheIronRuler:
There is no discussion about whether or not you ought to take POWs. It's already established law for a armies. A curtousy to not kill the enemy when he's down, so the same won't be done with your own brothers. War is real, has real people and is happening in the world every second of ever day

But there can be a discussion about it. POWs take up food and water that could be better used by your own soldiers, also they require guards to watch them. It's an unneeded drain on resources. Sure interrogate them but afterwards they're kinda useless. If you try to put them to work they're liable to sabotage you. What can you really do with them that's worth the cost of keeping them?

Okay let's clear up something. It's not executing. To execute someone is to kill them as punishment for a crime. And you need to give them a trial before you can do that.

Xan Krieger:

TheIronRuler:
There is no discussion about whether or not you ought to take POWs. It's already established law for a armies. A curtousy to not kill the enemy when he's down, so the same won't be done with your own brothers. War is real, has real people and is happening in the world every second of ever day

But there can be a discussion about it. POWs take up food and water that could be better used by your own soldiers, also they require guards to watch them. It's an unneeded drain on resources. Sure interrogate them but afterwards they're kinda useless. If you try to put them to work they're liable to sabotage you. What can you really do with them that's worth the cost of keeping them?

.
What is more important in war than your humanity? Acting like muderous bastards will surely alienate the rest of the world from your cause in the conflict.

The allies kept their prisoners in Africa even though it seemed imposibble. Crossing the line became a strategy for keeping guard over the prisoners.

What good is there to prisoners in a jail? they're only a drain on your resources, but its more humane than executions.

I'm not shocked that this happened - I'm shocked that it doesn't happen more often than it does. This sort of thing, while morally wrong, is a common thing in warfare. Read books on WWII - allied and axis soldiers killed POWs all the time. Axis tended to do it more than the allies, but the allies did it. Very often when German or Japanese soldiers were captured after a fighit, they'd "mysteriously" die while being transported back behind the front line. It was NOT a rare thing, especially when it came to Japanese soldiers who surrendered (and not many Japanese soldiers surrendered). Of course, the Japanese did even worse things to their POWs, so I'm not saying the Americans were worse than the Japanese, but I am saying that in war, soldiers can do bad, bad things. Anyone who has ever read anything on military history will tell you that the execution of POWs and the wounded was not rare and still occurs to this day.

Again - it doesn't excuse what happened. But to be shocked by it is to show ignorance about how bad soldiers can be - that's why they have Military Police. If all soldiers were as honorable as we are taught to believe, they wouldn't need an MP force would they?

TheIronRuler:

Xan Krieger:

TheIronRuler:
There is no discussion about whether or not you ought to take POWs. It's already established law for a armies. A curtousy to not kill the enemy when he's down, so the same won't be done with your own brothers. War is real, has real people and is happening in the world every second of ever day

But there can be a discussion about it. POWs take up food and water that could be better used by your own soldiers, also they require guards to watch them. It's an unneeded drain on resources. Sure interrogate them but afterwards they're kinda useless. If you try to put them to work they're liable to sabotage you. What can you really do with them that's worth the cost of keeping them?

.
What is more important in war than your humanity? Acting like muderous bastards will surely alienate the rest of the world from your cause in the conflict.

The allies kept their prisoners in Africa even though it seemed imposibble. Crossing the line became a strategy for keeping guard over the prisoners.

What good is there to prisoners in a jail? they're only a drain on your resources, but its more humane than executions.

Prisoners break laws and are punished in accordance to the severity of their crimes (in an ideal world at least). Totally different from depleting the enemy's manpower while not putting an uneeded drain on your own resources.

Xan Krieger:

TheIronRuler:
There is no discussion about whether or not you ought to take POWs. It's already established law for a armies. A curtousy to not kill the enemy when he's down, so the same won't be done with your own brothers. War is real, has real people and is happening in the world every second of ever day

But there can be a discussion about it. POWs take up food and water that could be better used by your own soldiers, also they require guards to watch them. It's an unneeded drain on resources. Sure interrogate them but afterwards they're kinda useless. If you try to put them to work they're liable to sabotage you. What can you really do with them that's worth the cost of keeping them?

Well, a significant number of combatants on the losing side in a battle or war often surrender anyway. As soon as word gets out that you aren't accepting surrender, you'll have to kill every last one of them, who'll now also be motivated by pure survival as well as whatever cause they were fighting for in the first place.
An example that sticks with me is from one of the 'Forgotten Voices' books in which a WWII veteran describes how, during a firefight, one of his comrades panicked and shot a surrendering German, meaning that the entire remaining force (who'd previously been disorganised and surrendering one or two at a time for hours) then fought to the death because they didn't feel that they could surrender.

Even on a strategic level it makes a difference - it accounts for some of the difference between the Normandy campaign and the Eastern Front, for example.

No, I'm not surprised...and I don't blame him for doing it.

This idea that we should capture wounded terrorists is such weird concept to me.

These people don't value lives, and if they get out of jail they'll just go back to randomly murdering folks.

I am not terribly shocked and dont blame him either. Guy was a terrorist, got what he deserved.

Desert Punk:
I am not terribly shocked and dont blame him either. Guy was a terrorist, got what he deserved.

What exactly made him a terrorist?

TekMoney:

Desert Punk:
I am not terribly shocked and dont blame him either. Guy was a terrorist, got what he deserved.

What exactly made him a terrorist?

Would you prefer the term 'Insurgent' he was a non government affiliated combatant.

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