The Road to Basra: A Case Study in Military Ethics

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The Road to Basra – A Case Study in Military Ethics
This report states that this mission contained three moral themes they are as follows: 1) noncombatant immunity and the question of surrender, 2) military necessity and proportionality, and 3) observations regarding the psychology of combat and the possibilities of right intent in combatants.

My translation of what those theme mean, as for noncombatant immunity and the question of surrender, a large concern was that the number of unneeded hostage that were contained within the convoy. There seemed to be a lack of certainty on what was defined as surrendering and those that did surrender appeared to still be subject to attack. Immunity didn’t appear to be an option to many, regardless of various attempt made by many different statures.

In regards to, military necessity and proportionality, Was it actually necessary to attack the convoy or could it have been allowed to pass? The convoy passing was the intended purpose of the war. Because of the knowledge and fear of a retaliated attack it was felt that attacking the column with what was best at the time. Whether the attack was proportionate depended on what one thought the goal of the war was.

Lastly, observations regarding the psychology of combat and the possibilities of right intent in combatants. The psychological well-being of the troops were all over the board. Some being excited about their involvement of the “feeding frenzy” as some called it. Where others were clearly upset but this, those were asking not to be sent back to that position upon return for refuel. To be delighted on the amount of destruction contributed, having a sense of pleasure from shooting large quantities of live targets. It was stated that the longer a soldier lives in the zone of combat the more desensitized to what he doing he becomes.

White Flags on the Road to Basra – Surrendering Soldiers in the Persian Gulf War
First section depicts soldiers that were waving...
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