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Thread: war crimes

  1. #1 war crimes 
    Forum Freshman Pongo's Avatar
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    recently a British soldier has been convicted of a war crime in Afghanistan.

    he shot and killed a severely injured enemy.

    he explained that they could not offer medical help to him and to call up a helicopter to pick him up would endanger the pilot and crew of that aircraft.

    do you think they were right to convict him or in the heat of the moment he was placed in a really desperate dilemma and made the right decision?

    I think in exceptional circumstances extraordinary decisions have to be made and I am glad I am not the one who has to make them.


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    Modern troops from countries in what is called the "free world" operate under something of a microscope these days. Freedom of the press means freedom to question every battlefield decision.

    In world war 2, U.S. general George Patton stressed the importance of rapid forward movement over every other military virtue, and though he never said it directly in public everyone who worked for him understood that he disapproved of taking prisoners as prisoners bogged down the rapid movement of his armored columns. The issue of correct treatment of prisoners isn't exactly new.

    In a real sense, worrying about one injured prisoner when bombing raids and drone strikes kill civilians by the dozen is a bit hypocritical.

    None of which is to say I approve. But it wasn't my ass on the line either.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes. The UK should also get this done.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes.
    Can you provide a link to that please?
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  6. #5  
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    Bush and Blair's war crimes convictions seldom get a mention. Thought I'd remedy that.
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  7. #6  
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    When you think about other mercy killing circumstances, there's often no option but to convict. The nitty gritty gets dealt with in the sentence. If the judge decides that it was sort of justified but you have to deter similar offences, then they might impose a "reasonable" but not trivial sentence. If they consider that it's all too awful for everyone they might sentence the person to "time served" which means they're free to go. And every other option you can think of.

    Giving the troops of any country carte blanche to do any horrible thing with no prospect of a war crimes hearing is ludicrous. When you look at some individual squads or sometimes whole armies where senior officers have allowed, or even ordered, mass rape of civilians and/or poisoning fields and water supplies and/or torture, starvation or murder of prisoners and refugees ...

    There are reasons for the Geneva Conventions and there should be consequences, including penalties all the way up to imprisonment, for violating those bare minimum standards of decent conduct. War itself is extraordinary but there's no reason why we can't apply limits to violence even though we're engaged in it.
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  8. #7  
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    None of us could possibly know what was in that soldiers mind at the moment he pulled the trigger. He might not even have a good concept of it himself.
    If a crime was indeed committed, then it began long before the moment under question.
    How old was this soldier when the moment presented it's self? How well was he trained?
    War is now and always has been a criminal act.
    My personal perspective is that if you do not like the way he behaved in combat, screw it, just take his weapon away, and send him home. All combat veterans should have free medical care including psychological care by trained practitioners who have also been in combat.

    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation. Some people, when forced into such a situation, will suffer from cognitive dissonance(go crazy). There is nothing "civilized" about war, and pretending otherwise is ludicrous.

    My sympathy is with the soldier, even though I do not know him.

    ......................
    edit: epimethius:

    What punishment did the conviction lead to?
    Last edited by sculptor; April 11th, 2014 at 08:45 AM.
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    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation.
    How many modern professional armies just "hand a man a weapon" and send him/her off to fight.

    afaik, Australian troops, not just officers, are trained in international law, Geneva Conventions and all that, as it affects them. They're also trained to question doubtful orders, and. to. disobey. orders. they know are violations of those international treaties and conventions. I'm pretty sure Australians are not alone in this. Some of that training involves role plays and tests which are designed to ward off that "psychological double bind". We're not talking about ignorant conscripts press-ganged into large scale wars with hardly any weapons training let alone any other preparation. These are full-time professional soldiers we're talking about.

    Though I'd agree with you about post-combat treatment of veterans. Even with good training, PTSD is guaranteed for some % of combatants as well as physical injury for many of them.

    One of the best insights into war I can recall was a politician (who I really did not respect or admire in any other respect) pointing out that we focused on the wrong thing when talking about the sacrifice of soldiers. It is true that we're asking them to risk death and injury on our behalf, but the real problem is that we're telling them to kill and disable other people. We should not be surprised if that caused them problems.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation.
    trained in international law, ... . They're also trained to question doubtful orders, and. to. disobey. orders. they know are violations of those international treaties and conventions. ... Some of that training involves role plays and tests which are designed to ward off that "psychological double bind". ...

    One of the best insights into war I can recall was a politician (who I really did not respect or admire in any other respect) pointing out that we focused on the wrong thing when talking about the sacrifice of soldiers. It is true that we're asking them to risk death and injury on our behalf, but the real problem is that we're telling them to kill and disable other people. We should not be surprised if that caused them problems.
    There is no training that can prepare a person for combat. Weapons training comes close, as when panic sets in, you switch to auto-pilot, and go with the training.
    But, when you are in the thick of it, the mind operates on a whole different level---Thoughts of love, law,and family and friends, or the joys of being a little boy are gone. Some of my fellows described the moment as a crystalline clarity of action and reaction(being wholly "in the moment").

    In my army(long ago and far away) disobeying a direct order had a sure consequence = Happy days in the rest home at fort Leavenworth, or, in country, at the LBJ(Long Binh Jail) which was rumored to be a hideous pitiless hell hole best avoided.

    Don't judge this fellow from the comfortable distance of your living room couch.
    ................
    Adelady, what do you think your father would have thought of the situation?
    .............
    Last edited by sculptor; April 11th, 2014 at 11:21 AM.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes.
    Can you provide a link to that please?
    During an Oct. 12 press conference in Kabul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the pending U.S.-Afghan security agreement, the United States would retain exclusive jurisdiction over its service members for any crimes they commit in Afghanistan.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...8FAv_TQfF5cUaw
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  12. #11  
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    Adelady, what do you think your father would have thought of the situation?
    Well, he fought in both desert and jungle - twice up Kokoda. Not sure what he would say - he was a man of very few words. He never once discussed the war with us when we were growing up, but he opened up a bit to mum after we'd left home. Though his hatred for the French was unabated 50 years later. (He'd contracted polio when his battalion took over a filthy campsite previously occupied by the French Foreign Legion who were fighting on the other side for most of the war. Two of his mates who also contracted polio at the same time died from it.) He also loathed the Japanese, but not in the same visceral unrelenting way that a lot of ex-POWs did.

    My grandfather was a regular army officer, not just a wartime combatant. The only comment I ever heard from him that might be relevant was about being liberated from his POW camp at the end of WW2. He and several other people - all officers, it was a camp designed to keep commanders away from other ranks - remonstrated with the American troops because of the way they were treating, read assaulting, the prison guards. They maintained that these blokes weren't so bad, they were just doing their job. The troops on the other hand had heard about what other units had found at the death camps and they were inclined to take it out on any German troops they came across. I think the officers - a mixed bunch, Brits, Aussies, Canadians, Americans, probably some others - managed to calm them down a bit. But their initial reaction was that they were just unarmed/disarmed prisoners and there was no need to treat them as though it was trench warfare. The war was finished. Their inclination was to be decent if not generous.

    Though I think we'd say that discovering those dreadful camps was about the worst thing anyone had come across at that time. We're sort of used to the idea by now but it must have been an enormous shock at the time.

    otoh, we shouldn't forget that Australians had a fairly bad rep for the way they themselves treated POWs in both world wars. That sort of got lost in history after seeing Germany/Poland as well as the surviving skeletal Brits and Aussies at the Burma railroad and Changi POW hellholes run by the Japanese.
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  13. #12  
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    There once was a lad from australia
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    None of us could possibly know what was in that soldiers mind at the moment he pulled the trigger. He might not even have a good concept of it himself.
    If a crime was indeed committed, then it began long before the moment under question.
    How old was this soldier when the moment presented it's self? How well was he trained?
    War is now and always has been a criminal act.
    My personal perspective is that if you do not like the way he behaved in combat, screw it, just take his weapon away, and send him home. All combat veterans should have free medical care including psychological care by trained practitioners who have also been in combat.

    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation. Some people, when forced into such a situation, will suffer from cognitive dissonance(go crazy). There is nothing "civilized" about war, and pretending otherwise is ludicrous.

    My sympathy is with the soldier, even though I do not know him.

    ......................
    edit: epimethius:

    What punishment did the conviction lead to?
    mandatory life term.
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  15. #14 difficult decision 
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    Putting soldiers in harms way and telling them to shoot the enemy is not an experience I would relish.

    somebody that is your enemy and who has killed your friends and leaves their tortured body parts hanging from a tree would more than likely tip me over the edge with anything resembling 'normal' behaviour.

    I don't think we can legislate for helping somebody who has just been firing at you to now ask you to be their saviour.

    I think that from time immemorial soldiers have done this and in some cases with the blessing of the leader at the time.

    did we not bomb Dresden during WW2 and kill thousands of unarmed civilians? ditto Germany against London
    were our war leaders put on trial -no?
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  16. #15  
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    did we not bomb Dresden during WW2 and kill thousands of unarmed civilians? ditto Germany against London
    were our war leaders put on trial -no?
    Did not Germany do the same to many towns and cities? At wartime you can't get in trouble for bombing any place as Germany did and the Allies. In Japan over a million civilians were burned to death during the firebombing there and of course the atomic bombs dropped in cities. You can try and not hit civilian targets but unfortunately it happens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    None of us could possibly know what was in that soldiers mind at the moment he pulled the trigger. He might not even have a good concept of it himself.
    If a crime was indeed committed, then it began long before the moment under question.
    How old was this soldier when the moment presented it's self? How well was he trained?
    War is now and always has been a criminal act.
    My personal perspective is that if you do not like the way he behaved in combat, screw it, just take his weapon away, and send him home. All combat veterans should have free medical care including psychological care by trained practitioners who have also been in combat.

    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation. Some people, when forced into such a situation, will suffer from cognitive dissonance(go crazy). There is nothing "civilized" about war, and pretending otherwise is ludicrous.

    My sympathy is with the soldier, even though I do not know him.

    ......................
    edit: epimethius:

    What punishment did the conviction lead to?
    I see your point and partly agree with you. In the first instance the solder in not to blame for his lack of control because he was forced in that situation. In the second instance everyone has to take a special responsibility for their own actions, however, there is always a price to pay.
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    First of all what the Seargent Blackman did was simply murder. He was one of a group of 3 Royal Marines checking to see if a pair of Afghanistan insurgents had survived being fired upon by an Apache attack helicopter.
    The man he murdered was one of the two insurgents and he was found wounded and lying in an open field.
    Not only did Blackman coldbloodedly commit murder, he was dumb enough to be filmed doing it.

    Blackman got the minimum sentence possible under the circumstances.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    None of us could possibly know what was in that soldiers mind at the moment he pulled the trigger. He might not even have a good concept of it himself.
    If a crime was indeed committed, then it began long before the moment under question.
    How old was this soldier when the moment presented it's self? How well was he trained?
    War is now and always has been a criminal act.
    My personal perspective is that if you do not like the way he behaved in combat, screw it, just take his weapon away, and send him home. All combat veterans should have free medical care including psychological care by trained practitioners who have also been in combat.

    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation. Some people, when forced into such a situation, will suffer from cognitive dissonance(go crazy). There is nothing "civilized" about war, and pretending otherwise is ludicrous.

    My sympathy is with the soldier, even though I do not know him.

    ......................
    edit: epimethius:

    What punishment did the conviction lead to?
    I see your point and partly agree with you. In the first instance the solder in not to blame for his lack of control because he was forced in that situation. In the second instance everyone has to take a special responsibility for their own actions, however, there is always a price to pay.
    personal responsibility
    yeh, i agree
    but cannot apply the same standards to a combat situation as one would for a restaurant.

    Do you know who tried him----civilian jury? officers? or his peers?

    ...........pity about the life sentence----Ah for the good old days when they could just exile him to Georgia or Australia
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  20. #19  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes.
    Can you provide a link to that please?
    During an Oct. 12 press conference in Kabul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the pending U.S.-Afghan security agreement, the United States would retain exclusive jurisdiction over its service members for any crimes they commit in Afghanistan.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...8FAv_TQfF5cUaw
    That link doesn't support your claim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation.
    How many modern professional armies just "hand a man a weapon" and send him/her off to fight.

    afaik, Australian troops, not just officers, are trained in international law, Geneva Conventions and all that, as it affects them. They're also trained to question doubtful orders, and. to. disobey. orders. they know are violations of those international treaties and conventions. I'm pretty sure Australians are not alone in this. Some of that training involves role plays and tests which are designed to ward off that "psychological double bind". We're not talking about ignorant conscripts press-ganged into large scale wars with hardly any weapons training let alone any other preparation. These are full-time professional soldiers we're talking about.

    Though I'd agree with you about post-combat treatment of veterans. Even with good training, PTSD is guaranteed for some % of combatants as well as physical injury for many of them.

    One of the best insights into war I can recall was a politician (who I really did not respect or admire in any other respect) pointing out that we focused on the wrong thing when talking about the sacrifice of soldiers. It is true that we're asking them to risk death and injury on our behalf, but the real problem is that we're telling them to kill and disable other people. We should not be surprised if that caused them problems.
    So when was the last time, that you were in a combat situation fighting for your Regiment, your Country or your Queen ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    First of all what the Seargent Blackman did was simply murder. He was one of a group of 3 Royal Marines checking to see if a pair of Afghanistan insurgents had survived being fired upon by an Apache attack helicopter.
    The man he murdered was one of the two insurgents and he was found wounded and lying in an open field.
    Not only did Blackman coldbloodedly commit murder, he was dumb enough to be filmed doing it.

    Blackman got the minimum sentence possible under the circumstances.
    You are sooooo wrong dude.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post

    How many modern professional armies just "hand a man a weapon" and send him/her off to fight.

    afaik, Australian troops, not just officers, are trained in international law, Geneva Conventions and all that, as it affects them.
    Israeli soldiers are "trained in the idea of the holiness of arms", according to Alan Dershowitz. That's a much better way to go about killing people.
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    It must be a crime to make war, if one can be accused of war crimes. These terms we are using are definitions to cover crimes against earth people. I cannot conceive a man being forced to go on the battle field against his will,being guilty of anything. His psychological brain is overloaded with comprehension problems. Sometimes the justification for war is not readily accepted by critical thinking people, there are two many reasons why he cannot be held responsible for all of his actions. In my view the only part where he has to take responsibility for his personal action, is that he can decide if he wants to obey, or disobey, in which case there is always a price to pay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    It must be a crime to make war, if one can be accused of war crimes.
    Non-sequitur.

    These terms we are using are definitions to cover crimes against earth people.
    What?

    I cannot conceive a man being forced to go on the battle field against his will
    Then you're unaware of history.
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    It must be a crime to make war, if one can be accused of war crimes.
    Nonsense. Sometimes you have to engage in war because someone's invaded your own country, you're defending it. Doesn't mean you can't commit war crimes. If an invading army has a full complement of supporting facilities - like field hospitals and all the other support paraphernalia - it doesn't make it "not a crime" for a defending commander to order their troops to kill all the enemy wounded and/or rape all the women nurses and truckdrivers.
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    Today there are conventions for treating prisoners of war. But history is full of barbaric treatment meted out to the POW. I think war crimes will never end as in a war eventually human nature responds to the combat situations. We see that Chinggis Khan had a habit of methodically butchering his enemies to the last man. You can guess what happened to women folk. But I think war crimes can never be stopped. Its not possible. Its human nature.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parag29081973 View Post
    Today there are conventions for treating prisoners of war. But history is full of barbaric treatment meted out to the POW. I think war crimes will never end as in a war eventually human nature responds to the combat situations. We see that Chinggis Khan had a habit of methodically butchering his enemies to the last man. You can guess what happened to women folk. But I think war crimes can never be stopped. Its not possible. Its human nature.
    Perhaps they can't be stopped. But they can be reduced. There was a time in the not too distant past when the very concept of "war crime" would have been looked on with incomprehension. Today, we make efforts to reduce these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice, and while we certainly haven't made the problem go away I think we have made progress. If our efforts result in even a small percentage reduction in war related murders, rapes, and enslavements, I'll take it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes. The UK should also get this done.
    That only applies to arrest and trial by Afghan authorities. American Soldiers are usually not convicted of War crimes if they are still on active service and within the authority of the military to convict them. There's no international laws that I am aware them which would protect any signatory of the Geneva convention if the international courts pursued the issue (getting them extradited would be a separate challenge though).

    --
    As for the specific case, Soldiers are expected to carry out the same protections and life saving measures for prisoners as they would for their own comrades. Also I'm pretty sure British are as well equipped as American forces for medical treatments, including blood clotting agents, Israeli tourniquet, equipment to open air passages, considerable first aid training and perhaps most important in this case, morphine by every medic. It was not his decision to kill him, and even some sort of mercy argument would fail.

    I wish the OP would have included a link though--there's been more than a couple war crime related stories from Afghan.
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    This situation bugs me because I think it takes attention away from the more heinous war crimes that go on during these kinds of wars. I would reserve the worst punishments only for deliberate crimes against civilians or torture of prisoners.

    Killing an enemy combatant rather than take them prisoner doesn't bother me much. Just consider how many soldiers die trying to take a person into custody who had only surrendered as a ruse. I think it should always be up to the soldier to decide whether he feels like taking on a prisoner.

    Or better yet, we can go with his argument:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
    recently a British soldier has been convicted of a war crime in Afghanistan.

    he shot and killed a severely injured enemy.

    he explained that they could not offer medical help to him and to call up a helicopter to pick him up would endanger the pilot and crew of that aircraft.
    I can't think of anything more ridiculous than to not only demand that a soldier spare every enemy who surrenders, but now go one step further and demand that soldier's put their lives on the line trying to rescue said prisoner.

    Under what possible calculation could our soldiers owe that to their enemies?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    America has a signed agreement that states that no troops can be arrested or convicted of any war crimes.
    Can you provide a link to that please?
    During an Oct. 12 press conference in Kabul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that under the pending U.S.-Afghan security agreement, the United States would retain exclusive jurisdiction over its service members for any crimes they commit in Afghanistan.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...8FAv_TQfF5cUaw
    That is not free from war crimes that is the us handing out discipline.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    It must be a crime to make war, if one can be accused of war crimes. These terms we are using are definitions to cover crimes against earth people. I cannot conceive a man being forced to go on the battle field against his will,being guilty of anything. His psychological brain is overloaded with comprehension problems. Sometimes the justification for war is not readily accepted by critical thinking people, there are two many reasons why he cannot be held responsible for all of his actions. In my view the only part where he has to take responsibility for his personal action, is that he can decide if he wants to obey, or disobey, in which case there is always a price to pay.
    Why do you keep saying he was put on the battlefield against his will? was he drafted?
    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation.
    How many modern professional armies just "hand a man a weapon" and send him/her off to fight.
    I think its the spirit of his post that is important not the letter of it. Obviously, no one just hands people guns and says go fight, but the idea that they are out there killing each other and then they're supposed to be Mr. Compassion to the enemy that gets hurt rather than killed? It's a set of oxymoron principles. It makes no sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I can't think of anything more ridiculous than to not only demand that a soldier spare every enemy who surrenders, but now go one step further and demand that soldier's put their lives on the line trying to rescue said prisoner.

    Under what possible calculation could our soldiers owe that to their enemies?
    The simple answer is all of them.

    -
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.
    If my aim wasn't good enough then I'm going to help you? It seems like those are two extreme positions that need to switch gears instantly.
    "KILL! KILL! KILL!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.
    If my aim wasn't good enough then I'm going to help you? It seems like those are two extreme positions that need to switch gears instantly.
    "KILL! KILL! KILL!"
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    (Do I still seem super left ? )
    To answer your last question first....yes....absolutely because you trying to make emotional arguments rather than objective ones.

    Most engagements are not about "kill kill kill," in fact even when they get emotional there's almost always a sergeant or officer keeping them focused rather than letting their soldiers get consumed in anger and emotion--because an overwrought soldier is one who isn't listening or taking orders anymore--he is oftentimes as good as dead. It's all about rationally getting information, coming up with a viable plan, and putting firepower where it needs to be to kill, suppress, or get them to retreat or surrender...you can't do that in your imaginary "kill kill kill" army.

    The switch to protecting an enemy combatant once surrendered is the same--it's out of duty if nothing else. It might suck but so do most things in combat--professional well trained soldiers drive on and do it anyways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.
    If my aim wasn't good enough then I'm going to help you? It seems like those are two extreme positions that need to switch gears instantly.
    "KILL! KILL! KILL!"
    <wounding shot>
    "HELP! HELP! HELP!"
    (Do I still seem super left ? )
    To answer your last question first....yes....absolutely because you trying to make emotional arguments rather than objective ones.
    Seriously? Super left are anti-war/killing no matter what whereas I'm anti-war but if we have to go let's not mess around with NOT killing people. the right make emotional arguments as well, although those all involve fear as their manipulating emotion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Most engagements are not about "kill kill kill," in fact even when they get emotional there's almost always a sergeant or officer keeping them focused rather than letting their soldiers get consumed in anger and emotion--because an overwrought soldier is one who isn't listening or taking orders anymore--he is oftentimes as good as dead. It's all about rationally getting information, coming up with a viable plan, and putting firepower where it needs to be to kill, suppress, or get them to retreat or surrender...you can't do that in your imaginary "kill kill kill" army.
    My "imaginary 'kill kill kill' army"? Have you not seen the tools that the Military works with? They are all used for killing. Those tanks don't shoot perfume and daisies. Drones aren't pulling "enjoy coca-cola" banners (although that's a great idea, I should copyright that bit of advertising... "If you survive this 'enjoy coca-cola'")

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The switch to protecting an enemy combatant once surrendered is the same--it's out of duty if nothing else. It might suck but so do most things in combat--professional well trained soldiers drive on and do it anyways.
    Maybe in a perfect world, but war or engagements (as you call it) is extremely emotional that is why we have so many soldiers coming home with shell shock and a whole host of other mental traumas. It is not simply following orders/duties.
    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    I can't think of anything more ridiculous than to not only demand that a soldier spare every enemy who surrenders, but now go one step further and demand that soldier's put their lives on the line trying to rescue said prisoner.

    Under what possible calculation could our soldiers owe that to their enemies?
    The simple answer is all of them.
    How do you avoid blurring the lines between civilian and enemy combatant? Captured enemy combatants can be waterboarded. Do you expect the least sophisticated soldiers - the high school dropout who joined the military to avoid a felony conviction - to see the distinction and not waterboard civilians? (Or subject them to other abuses.)

    It's simpler if we treat enemy combatants totally different from civilians on all levels. That allows a simple minded soldier to go ahead and hate enemy combatants with all their heart, if that will help them get through their tour, but still care about civilians.

    I don't personally see anything wrong with a soldier leaving his tour with a necklace of human ears, so long as they are the ears of people who shot at him. However, I don't want to see a single civilian ear on that necklace.


    -
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.

    It's no wonder to me, then, that the US military has so much difficulty winning hearts and minds. Its approach shows a lack of conviction. Killing because someone orders it, but then trying to kill as little as possible.

    If you believe that an enemy is wrong enough to deserve to be killed for their choice of allegiance, then you should simply kill them, not keep trying to persuade them to quit. It's dumb to try and win them over. The civilians are the fence sitters.

    Sometimes all it takes to make an enemy give up is to show them respect. Being condescending shows disrespect. It can make your enemy fight all the harder. It's good at assume an enemy would rather die than be humiliated. Most of these people come from a state of humiliating poverty. They've known it their whole life and that gun in their hands may be the only thing that ever gave them dignity.

    If you want to show them kindness, then let them die while they're holding it, and then pay respect to them afterward for their worthy effort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It makes no sense.
    I'm not sure why you think this. If it helps think of as duty rather than compassion--though I personally know a great many Soldiers who can easily be both--they tend to be the better ones particularly in complex war zones.
    If my aim wasn't good enough then I'm going to help you? It seems like those are two extreme positions that need to switch gears instantly.
    "KILL! KILL! KILL!"
    <wounding shot>
    "HELP! HELP! HELP!"
    (Do I still seem super left ? )
    To answer your last question first....yes....absolutely because you trying to make emotional arguments rather than objective ones.
    Seriously? Super left are anti-war/killing no matter what whereas I'm anti-war but if we have to go let's not mess around with NOT killing people. the right make emotional arguments as well, although those all involve fear as their manipulating emotion.
    I was referencing the fact that you don't seem to have a clue about how the military works, it's equipment or the training that allows soldiers to still function in combat despite their fears, squeamishness and sometimes extreme physical and emotional discomfort about what they are being asked to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Most engagements are not about "kill kill kill," in fact even when they get emotional there's almost always a sergeant or officer keeping them focused rather than letting their soldiers get consumed in anger and emotion--because an overwrought soldier is one who isn't listening or taking orders anymore--he is oftentimes as good as dead. It's all about rationally getting information, coming up with a viable plan, and putting firepower where it needs to be to kill, suppress, or get them to retreat or surrender...you can't do that in your imaginary "kill kill kill" army.
    My "imaginary 'kill kill kill' army"? Have you not seen the tools that the Military works with? They are all used for killing. Those tanks don't shoot perfume and daisies. Drones aren't pulling "enjoy coca-cola" banners (although that's a great idea, I should copyright that bit of advertising... "If you survive this 'enjoy coca-cola'")
    And first aid bags, and combat aid bags, and medevac helicopters and brigade aid stations etc. The military is fully equipped to kill or save lives, as well as provide considerable humanitarian aid...if your argument is based on equipment than it fails from the get go. This is why I assumed you meant from an emotional level; modern militaries, do all these functions quite well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The switch to protecting an enemy combatant once surrendered is the same--it's out of duty if nothing else. It might suck but so do most things in combat--professional well trained soldiers drive on and do it anyways.
    Maybe in a perfect world, but war or engagements (as you call it) is extremely emotional that is why we have so many soldiers coming home with shell shock and a whole host of other mental traumas. It is not simply following orders/duties.
    [/quote]
    Trust me in my time in former Yugoslavia and Iraq the conflict between having to sometimes kill or sometimes having to save lives (sometimes for the same people) you seem to think existed, seldom significantly effected military operations--Soldiers did them every day. And yes there might have been a cost after the wars--but there on the ground, at the time when it was most important, it was almost always overcome with good training, discipline and competent leadership.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I was referencing the fact that you don't seem to have a clue about how the military works, it's equipment or the training that allows soldiers to still function in combat despite their fears, squeamishness and sometimes extreme physical and emotional discomfort about what they are being asked to do.
    Of course I do, I've seen Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan [/fake justifications]
    Not sure what your argument has to do with my point that the military's primary function is to kill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    And first aid bags, and combat aid bags, and medevac helicopters and brigade aid stations etc. The military is fully equipped to kill or save lives, as well as provide considerable humanitarian aid...if your argument is based on equipment than it fails from the get go. This is why I assumed you meant from an emotional level; modern militaries, do all these functions quite well.
    What do they spend more $$ on, first aid bags, and combat aid bags, and medevac helicopters and brigade aid stations etc... or ammo and missiles and other offensive weapons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Trust me in my time in former Yugoslavia and Iraq the conflict between having to sometimes kill or sometimes having to save lives (sometimes for the same people) you seem to think existed, seldom significantly effected military operations--Soldiers did them every day. And yes there might have been a cost after the wars--but there on the ground, at the time when it was most important, it was almost always overcome with good training, discipline and competent leadership.
    I'm not saying those people don't exist, I just don't think those soldiers should be held accountable if they don't fit that mold. I think along the lines of Kojax in this respect. (although the necklace of ears is a little extreme, but I understand his point). Don't put a gun in my hands and tell me to go administer band-aids if I'm in infantry and have been trained to kill people. That's the medic's job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Not sure what your argument has to do with my point that the military's primary function is to kill.
    First off you are now talking about a difference scale of combat...but if you want to go there you are still wrong. The primary purpose isn't to kill but to defend the Constitution; that is primarily done by deterrence and failing that supporting the extending what ever the political agenda might be...it might be nation building, using soft power such as helping Earthquake survivors, or war.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    And first aid bags, and combat aid bags, and medevac helicopters and brigade aid stations etc. The military is fully equipped to kill or save lives, as well as provide considerable humanitarian aid...if your argument is based on equipment than it fails from the get go. This is why I assumed you meant from an emotional level; modern militaries, do all these functions quite well.
    What do they spend more $$ on, first aid bags, and combat aid bags, and medevac helicopters and brigade aid stations etc... or ammo and missiles and other offensive weapons?
    The biggest expense for war is from healthcare, in preventative measures to avoid non-battle injuries which is traditionally been the biggest killer, to short term lifesaving, evacuation and emergency care, eventual long term and treatments (often passed to the VA). The US spend much much more $ on healthcare for it's military and Vets, than it does on bullets and other "killing gear"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Trust me in my time in former Yugoslavia and Iraq the conflict between having to sometimes kill or sometimes having to save lives (sometimes for the same people) you seem to think existed, seldom significantly effected military operations--Soldiers did them every day. And yes there might have been a cost after the wars--but there on the ground, at the time when it was most important, it was almost always overcome with good training, discipline and competent leadership.
    I'm not saying those people don't exist,
    They not only exist, they are the norm...which is why in thousands of raids, patrols (I personally have been on quite a few during my 24 years in service) and other operations, over the past decade of war and hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the thick of the combat, the number of war crimes is a really really small number, and almost always when there was severe lack of leadership.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; May 24th, 2014 at 08:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Not sure what your argument has to do with my point that the military's primary function is to kill.
    First off you are now talking about a difference scale of combat...but if you want to go there you are still wrong. The primary purpose isn't to kill but to defend the Constitution; that is primarily done by deterrence and failing that supporting the extending what ever the political agenda might be...it might be nation building, using soft power such as helping Earthquake survivors, or war.
    Yes, as a soldier, your function ends up being "whatever you're told to do".

    But more broadly, looking at it from the perspective of non soldiers trying to figure out what our armed forces ought to be tasked to do, or what function the military fits well - killing pretty much tops the list. I guess #2 would be intimidating by threat of force.

    I suspect sometimes (although I could be wrong) that a lot of what causes PTSD is this bullox with trying to send a soldier out with orders to kill... but not kill.... but kill.... except not really kill.... except well kind of kill.......... or well if the bullet happens to hit then it's not your fault..... but really really don't kill anyone unless it's unavoidable......

    The mandate gets so confusing, and the lines so blurred, and so often having to pull the trigger without being entirely sure whether this particular incident counts as a righteous kill or a bad kill. Seems to me it would be better to just plain make things simple. Soldiers - yes. Civilians - no.

    Simpler mandate = clearer conscience = less cognitive dissonance. Less cognitive dissonance = less likelihood the individual goes insane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    First off you are now talking about a difference scale of combat...but if you want to go there you are still wrong. The primary purpose isn't to kill but to defend the Constitution; that is primarily done by deterrence and failing that supporting the extending what ever the political agenda might be...it might be nation building, using soft power such as helping Earthquake survivors, or war.
    How am I talking about a different scale of combat? I just asked the question, "what your answer had to do with the primary function of the military being killing," and now you say I changed the scale of combat? I didn't change the scale. I didn't even mention combat. I asked you a direct question about your answer.

    I'm sure the the primary function of the military is to defend the constitution but that means we would not have been involved any war but WWII and the bay of pigs and instead of Iraq and Afghanistan it's Saudi Arabia... but we know that's not the case, kosovo, grenada, vietnam, Korean conflict etc etc etc. and dozens more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The biggest expense for war is from healthcare, in preventative measures to avoid non-battle injuries which is traditionally been the biggest killer, to short term lifesaving, evacuation and emergency care, eventual long term and treatments (often passed to the VA). The US spend much much more $ on healthcare for it's military and Vets, than it does on bullets and other "killing gear"
    The VA? Have you not been following the news? the real news? Our Vets have gotten shit on since the beginning of the country... It has even gotten the attention of the fake news, The Daily Show actually had a pretty thorough piece on it. Walter Reed hospital was big news when W was in office. I find it hard to believe health maintenance is the biggest military expense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    They not only exist, they are the norm...which is why in thousands of raids, patrols (I personally have been on quite a few during my 24 years in service) and other operations, over the past decade of war and hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the thick of the combat, the number of war crimes is a really really small number, and almost always when there was severe lack of leadership.
    If you say so. I was never in the military but I did grow up in a military town. With a Marine Corp logistics base on the east end of town and an Army Base 40 miles to the north of town with nothing in between. So, we had ridiculous share of wackos and homeless and wacko homeless people around town (constantly) and even more when rotations would end because the VA was not taking care of their health needs. So I guess I see it from the outside rather than from the inside.
    I seriously don't see a mercy killing as a problem. but I do understand the problem that it creates, now everybody shot while as a prisoner was a mercy killing, or so the alibi would go.
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    I find it hard to believe health maintenance is the biggest military expense.
    Why? Most military deaths during wars are from non-combat causes. It was certainly true in the Civil War as well as in WW1 - infectious disease, contaminated food, exposure to heat, cold, damp and all the rest of it.

    My father and 2 friends contracted polio when they were in Syria in WW2, he survived, they didn't. He also had to be transported out of New Guinea after his second stint up the Kokoda Track and beyond - he wasn't wounded, he had malaria and his temperature had spiked over the limit that meant they wouldn't try to treat him at the front any more. (I always presumed this meant they thought he'd die soon or that, even if he recovered, he'd not be fit for service. As it was he was eventually discharged "unfit" after the war was over.)

    My grandfather was wounded 3 times in WW1 and had several months in total away from the fighting. There's a cost to that - even if he was still carrying shrapnel in his body when he died 70 years later, he got fit enough to go back fighting again. Whatever illnesses he had during WW2 the Germans had to manage in his POW camp, though it was the Red Cross that kept him from starving to death.

    As for the modern military, it's a bit like modern treatments following road trauma. We keep many people safe with crash helmets and seatbelts, but we also now have treatments for severely injured people who would have died quite quickly from those injuries only a couple of decades ago. Some of those approaches are not expensive, just better training and equipment for initial responders, which includes fellow soldiers for military personnel. Most of them are quite expensive, both in the surgical and ICU procedures and in the long term rehab and maintenance of severely affected people who would, in previous wars/ accidents, have died months earlier.
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    Yeah. Healthcare is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the private sector. Why would it be a surprise if it's the leading cost in a field where people are continuously exposing themselves to a serious health risk?

    As for why we put so much money into medivacs and such, it's not just for morale (which is a very good reason), or even out of concern for our soldiers (which is also a very good reason.)

    Most soldiers buy life insurance through the military before they set out to war. That's going to run somewhere between 70k and 700k. The smart soldiers go with the higher amount. If you get them off the battlefield and save their life, you're saving that. Also, for those who live, if you get them out quickly, it's less likely they will have life long complications. So fewer expenses on down the road for their future healthcare.

    Think about the fact that over 5000 soldiers have already died in this war. If we assume the average life insurance policy were 200k, then that's a billion dollars right there.

    Then there's the tactical advantage of retaining a soldier who has already been trained and gotten combat experience under his belt. Training costs quite a lot, as does recruitment. Before the soldiers' boots even hit the ground in combat, it's quite possible the military will have already paid for his college tuition, besides whatever it cost to train him in combat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    None of us could possibly know what was in that soldiers mind at the moment he pulled the trigger. He might not even have a good concept of it himself.
    If a crime was indeed committed, then it began long before the moment under question.
    How old was this soldier when the moment presented it's self? How well was he trained?
    War is now and always has been a criminal act.
    My personal perspective is that if you do not like the way he behaved in combat, screw it, just take his weapon away, and send him home. All combat veterans should have free medical care including psychological care by trained practitioners who have also been in combat.

    When you hand a man a weapon, and put him in a situation where people are being shot and killed, and then demand "civilized behavior" you are creating a double bind psychological situation. Some people, when forced into such a situation, will suffer from cognitive dissonance(go crazy). There is nothing "civilized" about war, and pretending otherwise is ludicrous.

    My sympathy is with the soldier, even though I do not know him.

    ......................
    edit: epimethius:

    What punishment did the conviction lead to?
    There are lines, though, and if we don't convict our true war criminals we become horrible hypocrites for trying the Germans and the Japanese. Lt. Calley, for example, should have been hung from the nearest tree. However, there is a world of difference between raping and intentionally murdering countless civilians and being in the heat of the moment in as dehumanizing a situation as war and making the wrong call. What this soldier did was wrong, but I wouldn't call him a war criminal or a bad person. I don't imagine I'd make all the right calls in war, either. If I raped somebody or killed a civilian just because, I'd expect to be held accountable. But if I did something like this? I'd hope for understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I find it hard to believe health maintenance is the biggest military expense.


    Why? Most military deaths during wars are from non-combat causes. It was certainly true in the Civil War as well as in WW1 - infectious disease, contaminated food, exposure to heat, cold, damp and all the rest of it.

    My father and 2 friends contracted polio when they were in Syria in WW2, he survived, they didn't. He also had to be transported out of New Guinea after his second stint up the Kokoda Track and beyond - he wasn't wounded, he had malaria and his temperature had spiked over the limit that meant they wouldn't try to treat him at the front any more. (I always presumed this meant they thought he'd die soon or that, even if he recovered, he'd not be fit for service. As it was he was eventually discharged "unfit" after the war was over.)

    My grandfather was wounded 3 times in WW1 and had several months in total away from the fighting. There's a cost to that - even if he was still carrying shrapnel in his body when he died 70 years later, he got fit enough to go back fighting again. Whatever illnesses he had during WW2 the Germans had to manage in his POW camp, though it was the Red Cross that kept him from starving to death.

    As for the modern military, it's a bit like modern treatments following road trauma. We keep many people safe with crash helmets and seatbelts, but we also now have treatments for severely injured people who would have died quite quickly from those injuries only a couple of decades ago. Some of those approaches are not expensive, just better training and equipment for initial responders, which includes fellow soldiers for military personnel. Most of them are quite expensive, both in the surgical and ICU procedures and in the long term rehab and maintenance of severely affected people who would, in previous wars/ accidents, have died months earlier.


    Not to mention that anyone who contracts a disease or debilitating injury while active gets full pension for life. The military is lucky I didn't sign up out of high school like many of my friends, (four year ROTC kid in high school,) because I would have been out of there in two years and collecting a sweet check+minimal medical bills for life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    Not to mention that anyone who contracts a disease or debilitating injury while active gets full pension for life. The military is lucky I didn't sign up out of high school like many of my friends, (four year ROTC kid in high school,) because I would have been out of there in two years and collecting a sweet check+minimal medical bills for life.
    Not quite. No one gets a pension for a war injury or other condition unless they were already eligible for retirement. If they already have many years in (e.g. over 18 years of service) they might a small part of their retirement pension (less than the normal 50% of base pay after 20 years of service). For their injury (or condition) they'd get a disability payment proportional to their ability to do work (in theory). For your two years service, if you got a crippling injury (complete disability) such as a lost leg, you'd get no pension, and about $3000/month disability payment + medical and other VA benefits for the rest of your life. If however, you had less than a totally crippling injury, say loss of one eye and the other eye was fine, you'd probably only get 50% disability and about ~$1000/month. Would that sweet check of a thousand a month be worth an eye? Many of the most desperate vets we see under bridges are trying to live off those small partial disability checks (no pension). Of course all this still adds up quickly for the nation that continues to pay for war for many generations.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; May 31st, 2014 at 01:19 PM.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    Not to mention that anyone who contracts a disease or debilitating injury while active gets full pension for life. The military is lucky I didn't sign up out of high school like many of my friends, (four year ROTC kid in high school,) because I would have been out of there in two years and collecting a sweet check+minimal medical bills for life.
    Not quite. No one gets a pension for a war injury or other condition unless they were already eligible for retirement. If they already have many years in (e.g. over 18 years of service) they might a small part of their retirement pension (less than the normal 50% of base pay after 20 years of service). For their injury (or condition) they'd get a disability payment proportional to their ability to do work (in theory). For your two years service, if you got a crippling injury (complete disability) such as a lost leg, you'd get no pension, and about $3000/month disability payment + medical and other VA benefits for the rest of your life. If however, you had less than a totally crippling injury, say loss of one eye and the other eye was fine, you'd probably only get 50% disability and about ~$1000/month. Would that sweet check of a thousand a month be worth an eye? Many of the most desperate vets we see under bridges are trying to live off those small partial disability checks (no pension). Of course all this still adds up quickly for the nation that continues to pay for war for many generations.
    Interesting, thanks for the information.

    Of course, I would pick health over a check any day. I had something I didn't know about until I was 20, though, and it makes me ineligible for military service and has fairly substantial medical bills. My point is that if I was going to get that anyway, I would have been well served to join the military. Still, I probably wouldn't go back and change it with my knowledge because that would be an act of zero integrity. Hmm, sounds like I wouldn't have made that much money, I'm capable of doing any white collar job and some blue collar ones.

    Well, actually, how does that work? If you develop a chronic condition/disease during your service is it treated the same as a physical injury?
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