All Killing In War Is Murder Essay

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All Killing In War Is Murder Essay, Research Paper The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security “necessities” to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism. Justice William Brennan, Brown v. Glines, 444 US 348 (1980) Commanders to validate the loss of civilians or Prisoners of war (P.O.W s) often use military necessity. The foremost example of this is the conflict in the Balkans, in which commanders of NATO forces have accidentally bombed civilians or killed them as a result of collateral damage. The commanders claim that

in the interest of the greater good civilians may have to die, either to stop more soldiers dying or to limit civilian casualties in the long run of the conflict. To show that military necessity can make it legitimate to kill civilians or P.O.W s I will use the Hague and the Geneva conventions and their guidelines tat make up this part of international law. Examples will be used to demonstrate that commanders can make decisions under the duress of military necessity and that these may sometimes be right or wrong. The Hague convention describes a combatant under the following guidelines: 1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates: 2. To have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance: 3. To carry arms openly: 4. To conduct their operations in

accordance with the laws and the customs of war. There is one further part of the convention that extended itself to cover civilians as well. 1. The inhabitants of a territory which has not been occupied, who, on the approach of enemy troops, spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading troops without have time to organize themselves with the above articles are deem combatants. The definition of combatants is clear but the convention does mention the issue of military necessity and how it relates to known civilian casualties in war. Military necessity can perhaps first be traced back to world one, where although it did not affect civilians or P.O.W s it did affect service men. In the then relatively new era of submarine warfare the commanders of the submarines pleaded that

the laws, that at the time governed naval warfare said that they had to surface before they could and that when they did so they would be open to ramming and from ship and shore guns. They also could not take a ship by force because they could not afford to put a prize crew aboard because they then would not have enough to man the submarine. The submarine commanders and naval officials adopted a policy of sink on site and the laws were then bent to meet their needs because of the argument of military necessity. The text Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Waltzer outlines several examples of military necessity and its possible implications for civilians in the conflicts. World War One saw Frank Richards write this account of him and a friend clearing houses using bombs It was always

wise to throw bombs into them first and then have a look we had to be very careful in this village as there were civilians in some of the cellars we shouted down them to make sure In this particular account we are told that there were civilians down some of cellars but it was acceptable to throw a bombs down after yelling to make sure that there were no enemy or civilians down there. Richards seems to think that yelling first is enough to absolve him from responsibility but military necessity dictates to him that they must be cleared, so if the civilians do not come out or do not understand then it is ok to kill them, just as long as he does not get killed or of his friends. The bombardment of Korea saw a new kind of warfare on the battlefield, one that held a more indiscriminate