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My son came back

25 years ago, my unit was attacking an enemy position. The enemy was mostly young conscript boys, although to be fair, not that much younger than most of us.  They were stiffened by older, professional officers.

After a couple of hours fighting, we had them outflanked and were also able to fire down on them from higher ground. They raised a white flag, and a group of our men approached them to take their surrender. Then firing started again, and three of our men were killed.  I would never found out if this was simply a mistake in all the confusion, or a deliberate ruse by the enemy.

We opened up on them with everything that we had, and kept firing for about 10 minutes, until there was no more firing and no more movement coming from trenches. We thought they were all dead.  But, when we entered their trench there were about 5 young conscripts, huddled, shivering, confused, but uninjured and offering no resistance. I'm ashamed to say, we shot them all (I didn't personally do it, but could have).

I've kept quiet about this for 25 years, and never told anybody about it. I don't think anybody outside my immediate unit knows what happened that day. That said, I don't think it was the only incident of its type during the war.  I've heard quite a few other stories of feigned enemy surrenders, and also sometimes heard rumours of prisoners being shot like this. 

Today, my son is serving. He came back a few days ago. If he knew of something similar, but much worse happening, what should he do? I told him to keep quiet
.
Permalink Does it run in families 
April 30th, 2007 5:13am
That stuff happens during war. You're in a different state. I'd keep quiet about it. It's not like you shot unarmed civilians - they were enemy soldiers. It would have been better to have stayed level headed and take them prisoner, but what's done is done.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 30th, 2007 5:35am
What conflict was going on in 1982?

IIRC, it was a fairly peaceful year.  Unless we're talking somewhere like Africa.
Permalink xampl 
April 30th, 2007 9:18am
Are you serious?  You didn't spot that this is a copy paste from some sort of philosophy textbook?
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 30th, 2007 9:19am
Two guesses:

1982 Falklands War?

1983 Grenada?


I'd go for Falklands as I'm not sure that Grenada had any conscripts. Actually, I'm not sure they had much of an army at all.
Permalink  
April 30th, 2007 9:25am
Another guess?  Didn't Israel invade Lebanon in 82?  Conscripts could be Syrians?
Permalink  
April 30th, 2007 9:26am
I'm with muppet -- Ethical Question Troll.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 30th, 2007 9:36am
Maybe the punchline is in the Full name...

Why must it be a troll even if it is a copy-paste?

I'm really not getting why there's so much disdain for these things.
Permalink JoC 
April 30th, 2007 10:13am
Because it's cheap.  Starting a thread with a copy/paste from an ethics textbook is like starting a fire at a Boy Scout campout with lighter fluid and a blow torch.  Same result, but the point entirely missed.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 30th, 2007 10:17am
Which ethics textbook?  Do you know it's from a book, are you just guessing?
Permalink  
April 30th, 2007 10:29am
It's in the same vein as all the rest of the "What would you do in this moral quandry" threads that have been posted at a rate of about one per day.  If this one is novel in the sense that it's not a cut and paste, it's NOT novel in the sense that it's like #127 of a series.  Enough already.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 30th, 2007 10:32am
re: Disdain --

Because they're being posted as if they're real, but the situations are so contrived.

If they were posted as "here's something contrived, let's play a game about what you'd like to do", it MIGHT be ok.  But the situations are SO contrived, and usually involve unreal choices involving life and death and there ARE no good answers.

Well, when life hands me a situation where there ARE no good answers, then I'll try to take the lesser of two evils.  But I don't usually make a game of it.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 30th, 2007 10:36am

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