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Killing Civilians In War

PetersSmith
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6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law. In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer, regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else. If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

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YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.
Tsar of DDO
PetersSmith
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6/19/2016 5:35:12 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
I think you're out of your depth.

I don't know why you're saying "this is wrong" to everything. This is based on the Hague Rulings and the Geneva Convention. It's Just War theory, specifically the "The Ethics of War and Peace" by Nigel Dower and "Jus in Bello" of Just War by Douglas Lackey. Next time don't just say "this is wrong" because you don't like me.
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Axonly
Posts: 1,802
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6/19/2016 5:51:43 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.

Looks like someone has a grudge.
Meh!
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:51:43 AM, Axonly wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.

Looks like someone has a grudge.

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.
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Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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6/19/2016 7:29:41 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I have actually killed a person who was undoubtedly a piece of crap. It was an accident and the death was actually their fault. A bunch of drug addicts stole a pick-up truck. They took the stolen pick-up truck and tried to steal a tractor from a Lowes hardware store. An employee caught them and tried to lock them in with a gate, they powered through the gate and it cut their brake lines. 3 people were in the truck cabin, but one was in the bed of the truck. They pulled in front of me while I was going 60 mph. The guy in the bed of the truck flew over 4 lanes of traffic, and I watched him writhe, he was in an unnatural position and dying in front of my very eyes. His friends had took off on foot, and abandoned him to die, alone.

I couldn't believe even facing some serious charges, somebody would just leave their friend to die and not stay with him to provide some comfort in his final moments.

I lived with very hard guilt. Still do. What if I did this or that. After the incident I did not sleep hardly at all for like a month. I had irrational thoughts that I would be charged with manslaughter, I was scared his family would seek revenge and try to kill me.

It did me severe emotional harm to accidentally kill somebody who was a career criminal and a drug addict. If I accidentally killed an innocent person, I think I might just kill myself, hell I felt like it then.

The guy I accidentally killed may not have been that good of a person, but he had a family who loved him very much and was feeling more pain than I was.
Wylted
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6/19/2016 7:31:36 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I'm not even going to answer your other question, sorry. I think I need some combat experience to grasp what the answer could be fully.
PetersSmith
Posts: 5,844
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6/20/2016 1:13:05 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
No one?
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
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"Don't believe everything you read on the internet just because there's a picture with a quote next to it."
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Guide to the Polls Section: http://www.debate.org...
Emmarie
Posts: 1,907
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6/20/2016 2:09:30 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 7:29:41 AM, Wylted wrote:
I have actually killed a person who was undoubtedly a piece of crap. It was an accident and the death was actually their fault. A bunch of drug addicts stole a pick-up truck. They took the stolen pick-up truck and tried to steal a tractor from a Lowes hardware store. An employee caught them and tried to lock them in with a gate, they powered through the gate and it cut their brake lines. 3 people were in the truck cabin, but one was in the bed of the truck. They pulled in front of me while I was going 60 mph. The guy in the bed of the truck flew over 4 lanes of traffic, and I watched him writhe, he was in an unnatural position and dying in front of my very eyes. His friends had took off on foot, and abandoned him to die, alone.

I couldn't believe even facing some serious charges, somebody would just leave their friend to die and not stay with him to provide some comfort in his final moments.

I lived with very hard guilt. Still do. What if I did this or that. After the incident I did not sleep hardly at all for like a month. I had irrational thoughts that I would be charged with manslaughter, I was scared his family would seek revenge and try to kill me.

It did me severe emotional harm to accidentally kill somebody who was a career criminal and a drug addict. If I accidentally killed an innocent person, I think I might just kill myself, hell I felt like it then.

The guy I accidentally killed may not have been that good of a person, but he had a family who loved him very much and was feeling more pain than I was.
Wow Wylted - this is why I like you despite the fact that sometimes we don't see eye to eye. You have alot of compassion.
Wylted
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6/20/2016 2:10:57 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Wow Wylted - this is why I like you despite the fact that sometimes we don't see eye to eye. You have alot of compassion.

Awe :) thanks
Emmarie
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6/20/2016 2:16:39 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 2:10:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
Wow Wylted - this is why I like you despite the fact that sometimes we don't see eye to eye. You have alot of compassion.

Awe :) thanks

I typed the first thing that popped in my head, and hesitated to actually post it, and you're welcome.
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,074
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6/20/2016 2:21:21 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law. In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer, regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else. If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

Collateral damage in war shouldn't be grounds for war crimes prosecution on two conditions:
1. That civilians are not intentionally targeted
2. That reasonable measures are taken to prevent collateral damage without eliminating one's ability to wage war (i.e. evacuating areas before attacking, warning civilians ahead of time, using more advanced weapons if available to minimise collateral damage, etc)

That being said, if the enemy takes human shields, and there's no way to free the hostages or attack the enemy without hitting the hostages while still being reasonably capable of waging war, then attacking in spite of these human shields should be allowed, and the blame should rest almost solely on the shoulders of the hostage-taking side.
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Vox_Veritas
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6/20/2016 2:24:55 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
There is some degree of trouble that an army should be obliged to put up with to avoid hitting civilians, but if an army is too extremely careful not to hit civilians then they might not be able to fight and win when they otherwise could've. The international community should, through debate and a process of trial and error, find the right balance.
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Ore_Ele
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6/20/2016 2:30:41 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

I could. If innocents accidentally die as collateral, sure. It is the cost of war.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,282
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6/20/2016 3:09:14 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 2:16:39 AM, Emmarie wrote:
At 6/20/2016 2:10:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
Wow Wylted - this is why I like you despite the fact that sometimes we don't see eye to eye. You have alot of compassion.

Awe :) thanks

I typed the first thing that popped in my head, and hesitated to actually post it, and you're welcome.

This is why I like Em and Wylted... not alot of us on these forums with real "blood in the face" experiences like us. Most DDO people are just keyboard warriors.
Greyparrot
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6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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6/20/2016 3:14:41 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.

Yes.
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PetersSmith
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6/20/2016 3:27:03 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.

As I responded with YYW, this comes from "The Ethics of War and Peace". Although, this isn't about what the soldier is feeling...this is about indirect, direct, subjective, and objective killing of civilians in war. You can read Jeremy Bentham's "Principles of Morals and of Legislation Ch. VIII", as well as Lester Nurick's "The Distinction Between Combatants and Noncombatants in the Law of War", if you're still failing to grasp what this thread is asking and talking about.
Empress of DDO (also Poll and Forum "Maintenance" Moderator)

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Skepsikyma
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6/20/2016 3:58:01 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
I think that, for the most part, the modern rules of warfare are very much 'feel-good' maxims laid down by people who are more interested in stroking public sentiment than actually managing a war. For example, what happens if stealth is an incredibly important part of a mission, and a civilian is seen fleeing? They could just be running for their life, but they could also eventually inform someone of your troop movements. Not killing them means that you put dozens of lives in danger, while killing them preserves those lives for the cost of one. Another example would be a rebel group hiding in a forest near a major thoroughfare, where they ambush passersby. Rooting them out of rough terrain would come at a high human cost, while a controlled burning of the fire would extirpate them with little casualties, but a small amount of civilian deaths. Which one is better? What if a small village of ten is harboring a dangerous commander, and he could be any of the villagers. Do you let him live, at the possible cost of dozens of lives, or kill those ten and make an end of it? No matter what the armchair warrior thinks, Cicero's old maxim is always proven true:

"What is the meaning of our retinues, what of our swords? Surely it would never be permitted to us to have them if we might never use them. This, therefore, is a law, O judges, not written, but born with us -- which we have not learnt or received by tradition, or read, but which we have taken and sucked in and imbibed from nature herself; a law which we were not taught but to which we were made -- which we were not trained in, but which is ingrained in us -- namely, that if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honorable.

For laws are silent when arms are raised, and do not expect themselves to be waited for, when he who waits will have to suffer an undeserved penalty before he can exact a merited punishment."
- Pro Milone, Cicero -
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Emmarie
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6/20/2016 5:54:00 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.
No sh!t! I agree and actually agree with YYW about 70% of the time. It's the other 30% that we are polar opposites on topics that are of such a personal nature for me, that I can't get past our differences. I like you too btw :)
PetersSmith
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6/20/2016 7:41:56 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 5:54:00 AM, Emmarie wrote:
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.
No sh!t! I agree and actually agree with YYW about 70% of the time. It's the other 30% that we are polar opposites on topics that are of such a personal nature for me, that I can't get past our differences. I like you too btw :)

Can you read what I responded to everyone else before jumping on the "let's unjustly hate her" wagon?
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"The two most important days in your life is the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
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Emmarie
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6/20/2016 10:46:52 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 7:41:56 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
At 6/20/2016 5:54:00 AM, Emmarie wrote:
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.
No sh!t! I agree and actually agree with YYW about 70% of the time. It's the other 30% that we are polar opposites on topics that are of such a personal nature for me, that I can't get past our differences. I like you too btw :)

Can you read what I responded to everyone else before jumping on the "let's unjustly hate her" wagon?
I never mentioned you, wtf, I'm offering support to a veteran that he would know better than a theorist about potential war situations. I read this OP earlier, but didn't comment since I've never been in the military.

I was also clarifying that YYW and I think alike more often than not. As far as Wylted goes, he never fails to show his realness, and it's why I like him.
slo1
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6/20/2016 11:43:52 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

It is not wrong in that unintended deaths which are result of breaking another law or extreme negligence such as drunk driving are prosecuted.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

How can that be wrong when it is an opinion on the definition of murderer? You get irrationally pissed off when you receive flippant remarks, yet you are willing to dish them out.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

What is wrong? That there is no clear answer there? If it is so clear, why is there tremendous amounts of view points on issues such as use of drones or Israel's excessive civilian casualties when fighting with Gaza?

This question of collateral damage is one of the greatest moral question a president or leader must make. I hope many of them examine it from many angles rather than flippantly assumed his moral viewpoint is correct.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.

You have the classic profile of a person ripe for radicalization which is a complete lack of empathy and ability to generate tremendous amounts of anger directed at others. I feel sorry for you.

Now let's hear your outrageous tirade.
slo1
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6/20/2016 11:53:23 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.

Unfortunately, for you the OP has very little to do about the mind of the soldier and more to do about the ethical frame work justifying civilian and innocent casualties during war.

I'll give you this much ethics is trained to soldiers and soldiers must use it to do their jobs properly, so that academia is useful for something.
YYW
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6/20/2016 12:57:49 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 11:43:52 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

It is not wrong in that unintended deaths which are result of breaking another law or extreme negligence such as drunk driving are prosecuted.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

How can that be wrong when it is an opinion on the definition of murderer? You get irrationally pissed off when you receive flippant remarks, yet you are willing to dish them out.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

What is wrong? That there is no clear answer there? If it is so clear, why is there tremendous amounts of view points on issues such as use of drones or Israel's excessive civilian casualties when fighting with Gaza?

This question of collateral damage is one of the greatest moral question a president or leader must make. I hope many of them examine it from many angles rather than flippantly assumed his moral viewpoint is correct.


There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.

You have the classic profile of a person ripe for radicalization which is a complete lack of empathy and ability to generate tremendous amounts of anger directed at others. I feel sorry for you.

Now let's hear your outrageous tirade.

lol keep trying to be relevant, slo...

keep trying
Tsar of DDO
vortex86
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6/20/2016 1:59:31 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 2:21:21 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law. In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer, regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else. If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

: Collateral damage in war shouldn't be grounds for war crimes prosecution on two conditions:
1. That civilians are not intentionally targeted
2. That reasonable measures are taken to prevent collateral damage without eliminating one's ability to wage war (i.e. evacuating areas before attacking, warning civilians ahead of time, using more advanced weapons if available to minimise collateral damage, etc)



I agree with this..

At 6/20/2016 11:53:23 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.

Unfortunately, for you the OP has very little to do about the mind of the soldier and more to do about the ethical frame work justifying civilian and innocent casualties during war.

I'll give you this much ethics is trained to soldiers and soldiers must use it to do their jobs properly, so that academia is useful for something.

At 6/20/2016 11:53:23 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/20/2016 3:12:42 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 6/19/2016 6:55:43 AM, YYW wrote:

Not really it's just that Peters is out of her depth.

As a US Navy vet, i have to side with YYW here. It takes alot more than academia to understand the mind of a soldier.

Unfortunately, for you the OP has very little to do about the mind of the soldier and more to do about the ethical frame work justifying civilian and innocent casualties during war.

I'll give you this much ethics is trained to soldiers and soldiers must use it to do their jobs properly, so that academia is useful for something.

This seems to be the problem with laws is they are formulated by people with little experience in a subject and while they can utilize advisers the theory isn't as important as practicality and practice.

I think the current ROE rules are ridiculous. Shout, show, shot, shoot is a joke.

In regards to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, the most important aspect about that chapter was "circumstances in which it was done". Also, the next chapter seems very relevant and important with "intentions". I think Vox painted a very realistic rule of thumb; reasonable measures to prevent civilian casualties and there is no intentional targeting.
Greyparrot
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6/20/2016 2:09:47 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 3:58:01 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
I think that, for the most part, the modern rules of warfare are very much 'feel-good' maxims laid down by people who are more interested in stroking public sentiment than actually managing a war. For example, what happens if stealth is an incredibly important part of a mission, and a civilian is seen fleeing? They could just be running for their life, but they could also eventually inform someone of your troop movements. Not killing them means that you put dozens of lives in danger, while killing them preserves those lives for the cost of one. Another example would be a rebel group hiding in a forest near a major thoroughfare, where they ambush passersby. Rooting them out of rough terrain would come at a high human cost, while a controlled burning of the fire would extirpate them with little casualties, but a small amount of civilian deaths. Which one is better? What if a small village of ten is harboring a dangerous commander, and he could be any of the villagers. Do you let him live, at the possible cost of dozens of lives, or kill those ten and make an end of it? No matter what the armchair warrior thinks, Cicero's old maxim is always proven true:

"What is the meaning of our retinues, what of our swords? Surely it would never be permitted to us to have them if we might never use them. This, therefore, is a law, O judges, not written, but born with us -- which we have not learnt or received by tradition, or read, but which we have taken and sucked in and imbibed from nature herself; a law which we were not taught but to which we were made -- which we were not trained in, but which is ingrained in us -- namely, that if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honorable.

For laws are silent when arms are raised, and do not expect themselves to be waited for, when he who waits will have to suffer an undeserved penalty before he can exact a merited punishment."
- Pro Milone, Cicero -

I know the OP wanted to talk more about policies and ROE than to talk about how soldiers make battle decisions, usually quickly; but self-defense will always be an ethically murky situation, in or out of the military. The movie "Lone Survivor" touches on the ramifications of strictly adhering to the ROE.
vortex86
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6/20/2016 2:33:25 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?
if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer

I think that's the keyword as well. A soldier isn't free, they are bound by their duty and their orders. They have no legal rights to speak of and their body is a tool. We are a number.

In moments of duress where you have split decisions to make a decision errors are going to occur. When you are ordered to occupy an area and there has been sniper fire that has taken the life of one of your friends and you are getting barraged by attacks of mortar and small arms fire and all civilians have been told to leave an area. If they chose to ignore this and they get killed in crossfire or by a momentary lapse of judgement who are we to convict and call for the heads of our soldiers? It's really easy to armchair quarterback a situation after the fact when you have lots of time to evaluate the situation and say this or that could have and should have been done.

The importance in these types of evaluations is not to prosecute the soldier for their mistakes it's to use as learning tools to better training and come up with alternatives that could prevent such instances from occurring again.

That's my two cents.
Emmarie
Posts: 1,907
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6/27/2016 6:51:45 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 12:57:49 PM, YYW wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:43:52 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:28:13 AM, YYW wrote:
At 6/19/2016 5:19:59 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
So who here thinks they could live with themselves after accidentally killing civilians in war?

Not such an easy question (hopefully), is it? As you can expect, the "rules of war" are divided over the issue as well. Here we have a concept of "noncombatant immunity". This states that it is never permissible to take civilians as targets, but it is always permissible to take combatants as targets, at least until they lay down their arms. Or is it? There are two sides clashing to define when is it "unjust" to kill a civilian. We have a distinction between direct and indirect killing. In direct killing, death is the intended goal of an act, or an intended means to an intended goal; in indirect killing, death is a side effect caused by an act that has some other intended goal. In this era of pacifism, is indirect killing of civilians still murder?

The distinction between direct killing and indirect killing, between death as a means or end and death as a side effect, is not a distinction recognized in the ordinary criminal law.

This is wrong.

It is not wrong in that unintended deaths which are result of breaking another law or extreme negligence such as drunk driving are prosecuted.

In domestic society, if someone freely performs an action that they know will result in the death of an innocent person, they are a murderer,

This is also wrong.

How can that be wrong when it is an opinion on the definition of murderer? You get irrationally pissed off when you receive flippant remarks, yet you are willing to dish them out.

regardless of whether the death of that person was their main goal or merely a side effect of their search for something else.

This is wrong too.

If the victim has a right to life, that right is just as much violated if he/she is killed indirectly as it is violated if he/she is killed directly. Why, then, should we accept the verdict that military commanders who undertake operations they know will produce civilian deaths as side effects are not murderers, when we would condemn their acts as murder if the perpetrators were not in uniform? There is no clear answer here.

This is also wrong.

What is wrong? That there is no clear answer there? If it is so clear, why is there tremendous amounts of view points on issues such as use of drones or Israel's excessive civilian casualties when fighting with Gaza?

This question of collateral damage is one of the greatest moral question a president or leader must make. I hope many of them examine it from many angles rather than flippantly assumed his moral viewpoint is correct.


There is an objective and subjective version of the principle of noncombatant immunity. The objective version holds that if civilians are killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The subjective version holds that if civilians are intentionally killed as a result of military operations, the principle is violated. The interpretation of "intentional" in the subjective version is disputed, but the general idea is that the killing of civilians is intentional if, and only if, they are the chosen targets of military force. It follows, on the subjective version, that if civilians are killed in the course of a military operation directed at a military target, the principle of discrimination has not been violated. Obviously, the objective version of the principle of discrimination is far more restrictive than the subjective.

This, generally, is misstated.

So, what do you guys think? Do you go by the objective version of killing civilians or the subjective version? If subjective, how many civilian casualties do you think is permissible for the operation to still be morally okay? Do you think it is excusable for a soldier to preemptively kill someone they believe was a terrorist (going to hurt them or someone else. Keep in mind US law says they have to attack first)? Discuss.

I think you're out of your depth.

You have the classic profile of a person ripe for radicalization which is a complete lack of empathy and ability to generate tremendous amounts of anger directed at others. I feel sorry for you.

Now let's hear your outrageous tirade.

lol keep trying to be relevant, slo...

keep trying
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