Sunday, 28 October 2012

Morality and ethics in War

When you take men and turn them into killers, history shows massacres, abuses and war crimes are inevitable.

Oliver Cromwell sacked Drogheda and Wexford; soldiers carried out the killings of the McDonalds at Glencoe in 1692; William Calley was convicted of the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War. There is even an ongoing debate in historical circles about whether the bombing of Dresden in 1945 was justifiable within the context of the war. And lets not forget more recently Lynddie England at Abu Ghraib during the Iraq War.

Five Royal Marines were arrested and charged with murder in Afghanistan.

Details are thus far sketchy. But it appears that they were involved in some way with the death of an insurgent.

There are events in the UK today in support of the 5.

I will not be adding my name to this.

Soldiers have rules of engagements. For very good reasons. Yes, we are at war in Afghanistan, but we still have to uphold the rule of law. For if we start to make exceptions in how we treat other people, we will find ourselves slipping down a moral abyss. The kind of dark hole that Japan slipped into, for example, during the Second World War.

Soldiers should not be above the law and should not be treated as a special case. The MOD has done the right thing, there is an "incident" that requires investigation. If nothing comes of it, fine. If there is something there, then we can nip the slow descent in the bud and soldiers who are psychologically prone to commit abuses will be leaving the army. For the betterment of all.

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