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Dealing with ethical and/or legal issues in operations

Good2Golf

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This thread was created as a place to discuss general considerations and challenges with the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) with regards to contemporary operations, i.e. where there may be ethical and legal aspects of a situation that are worthy of discussion or debate.  This may include reference to current events, but the intent is not to focus on a specific case, but rather foster a constructive discussion of  considerations within the framework of the LOAC.

Please keep the thread professional and not revert to personalization where opinions may differ on a particular topic.

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kincanucks

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*edit - moved from the Semrau thread in an attempt to channel discussion related to legal/ethical issues in general to this thread.* G2G, Milnet.ca Staff


he acted on moral grounds for the dying enemy

I would like you to explain to me why you think that what he did was moral?  In what world is it moral to shoot someone who is wounded?  Comparing this to the putting down of a animal and to a scene in a movie is asinine.
 

SevenSixTwo

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kincanucks said:
he acted on moral grounds for the dying enemy

I would like you to explain to me why you think that what he did was moral?  In what world is it moral to shoot someone who is wounded?  Comparing this to the putting down of a animal and to a scene in a movie is asinine.

This world:

States with legal euthanasia:
Montana
Oregon
Washington

Countries with Euthanasia:

Belgium
The Netherlands
Switzerland (Not legal but doctors aren't punished for doing it)

Assisted Suicide:

•Albania
•Luxembourg
 

Gunner98

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KevinB,

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Afghan+soldier+revelation+sparked+shooting+probe+court+martial+told/2730745/story.html

"I came to the conclusion that there was a real possibility that a crime had been committed," Nolan testified.

During the Helmand operation, Semrau had radioed Nolan to ask what he should do with a wounded Taliban fighter that he had encountered in a cornfield. Nolan said he told Semrau to offer first aid and evacuate the wounded man.

According to Nolan, Semrau came back on the radio five to seven minutes later to say the insurgent had died of his wounds.

Nolan told the court martial that he took the Afghan soldier's allegations about Semrau seriously because it fit with an oblique comment made earlier by an Afghan colonel. During the Helmand operation, the colonel had congratulated him for the actions of one of his men, who had killed a Taliban. Nolan had dismissed the colonel's comments as "bizarre" since none of his soldiers had reported killing an insurgent.

Nolan conveyed his suspicions about Semrau to his superior, Colonel Joseph Shipley, on Dec. 21, 2008, one day after being approached by the Afghan soldier. Shipley ordered Fisher to interview Private Steven Fournier, who had been with Semrau on the day in question. Based on the results of Fisher's "disturbing" interview with Fournier, Nolan said, a full military investigation was ordered.

Semrau's lawyer, Major Steve Turner, suggested on cross-examination that Nolan was once the subject of a probe by the military's National Investigative Service about a possible coverup in the case. Nolan said he underwent a lie-detector test as part of that investigation earlier this year. He has not been charged with any offence.

Friday's cross-examination also hinted at the defence strategy in Semrau's court martial. Turner asked Nolan to review a written log of radio communications made during the Helmand operation of Oct. 19, 2008. Nowhere in that log, Turner suggested, would Nolan find anything to confirm his radio conversation with Semrau, in which he is alleged to have ordered him to offer first aid to the wounded Taliban soldier and to evacuate him.

"No, it's not recorded in the log," Nolan conceded. Nolan noted, however, that radio communications were poor that day and that the soldier making the logbook may not have heard the transmission.

SevenSixTwo,

This is a very gray argument.  There is a fine but important line between legal and criminal offence with exceptions - Example - Netherlands

In 2002, the Netherlands legalized euthanasia. Euthanasia is still a criminal offence but the law codified a twenty-year old convention of not prosecuting doctors who have committed euthanasia in specific circumstances. The Dutch Euthanasia Act states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care.[1] These criteria concern the patient's request, the patient's suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the presence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life.[1] To demonstrate their compliance, the Act requires physicians to report euthanasia to a review committee.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_the_Netherlands
 

kincanucks

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SevenSixTwo said:
This world:

States with legal euthanasia:
•Oregon
•Washington
WashingtonActive euthanasia, commonly referred simply as euthanasia, is only legal in:


•the Netherlands
•Belgium
Assisted suicide is also legal in:


•Albania
•Luxembourg
Switzerland

Well thank you very much for that and now it makes perfect sense to me.  So according to your post if it is legal to euthanize someone, who is dying and all medical help has done nothing to ease their suffering, in some places, therefore it is perfectly acceptable, moral, and most of all legal to shoot a wounded combatant in Afghanistan?
 

vonGarvin

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SevenSixTwo said:
This world:

States with legal euthanasia:
•Oregon
•Washington
WashingtonActive euthanasia, commonly referred simply as euthanasia, is only legal in:


•the Netherlands
•Belgium
Assisted suicide is also legal in:


•Albania
•Luxembourg
Switzerland
Funny, I don't see Canada there.

To illustrate:
It is ok to stone certain criminals to death.  After all, the following nations do so:
Iran
Nigeria
Saudia Arabia
Sudan

another:

It is ok to execute certain criminals.  After all, the following nations do so (among others):
China
Iran
Iraq
Saudi Arabia
The United States of America
Yemen
Sudan
Viet Nam
Syria
Japan
Egypt
Libya
Bangladesh
Thailand
Singapore
Botswana
Malaysia
North Korea


Again, I don't see Canada there...

 

SevenSixTwo

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Technoviking said:
Funny, I don't see Canada there.

To illustrate:
It is ok to stone certain criminals to death.  After all, the following nations do so:
Iran
Nigeria
Saudia Arabia
Sudan

another:

It is ok to execute certain criminals.  After all, the following nations do so (among others):
China
Iran
Iraq
Saudi Arabia
The United States of America
Yemen
Sudan
Viet Nam
Syria
Japan
Egypt
Libya
Bangladesh
Thailand
Singapore
Botswana
Malaysia
North Korea


Again, I don't see Canada there...

What are you saying? Are you saying that other countries in the world have different morals than us? If you are then thank you for proving my original point which, some seemed to have missed. The person originally said in what world can you do such a thing. Well, guess what it may not just be our country that doesn't do it but a lot of the world DOES do it.
 

armyvern

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SevenSixTwo said:
What are you saying? Are you saying that other countries in the world have different morals than us? If you are then thank you for proving my original point which, some seemed to have missed. The person originally said in what world can you do such a thing. Well, guess what it may not just be our country that doesn't do it but a lot of the world DOES do it.

In the nations that you cited, it may well be good & legal to euthanize persons within that country under certain circumstances; however, if those very same nations were at war (which we are in Afghanistan), that same nation would then have to comply with the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Armed Conflict and the act of euthanizing an unarmed & injured combatant would then be "illegal" according to those international laws to which that country is a signatory. National law is of no bearing when other (International) Laws are also applicable to the behaviour given the circumstances.
 

Gunner98

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SevenSixTwo said:
What are you saying? Are you saying that other countries in the world have different morals than us? If you are then thank you for proving my original point which, some seemed to have missed. The person originally said in what world can you do such a thing. Well, guess what it may not just be our country that doesn't do it but a lot of the world DOES do it.

There are 195 official independent countries in the world - 6 of them including the US have publicized and specific laws on 'assisted suicide and euthanasia' - that is not a lot.

And I double what Vern said.
 

Good2Golf

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National law is of no bearing when other (International) Laws are also applicable to the behaviour given the circumstances.

Armyvern, I think I know what you mean here, but would you consider my adding some additional detail to your statement above in the form of:

"...national law, while applicable, should not hold precedence over the LOAC when it is less restrictive than the body of international law and conventions governing the conduct of warfare."

Regards,
G2G
 

armyvern

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Good2Golf said:
Armyvern, I think I know what you mean here, but would you consider my adding some additional detail to your statement above in the form of:

"...national law, while applicable, should not hold precedence over the LOAC when it is less restrictive than the body of international law and conventions governing the conduct of warfare."

Regards,
G2G

Agreed.

And, if a nation chooses to hold it's national law (or morals) higher ... I'd wager the International Courts would step in to charge the war crime etc. Witness the Balkans.
 

kincanucks

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SevenSixTwo said:
What are you saying? Are you saying that other countries in the world have different morals than us? If you are then thank you for proving my original point which, some seemed to have missed. The person originally said in what world can you do such a thing. Well, guess what it may not just be our country that doesn't do it but a lot of the world DOES do it.

Don't you hate coming in to the middle of a conversation and not having a clue about anything being discussed but you just have to say something to get noticed?  Yes, what I said in what world is okay to shoot a wounded person.  So in what world is okay to do this? Your world?
 

SevenSixTwo

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kincanucks said:
Don't you hate coming in to the middle of a conversation and not having a clue about anything being discussed but you just have to say something to get noticed?  Yes, what I said in what world is okay to shoot a wounded person.  So in what world is okay to do this? Your world?

You shouldn't talk as if you've exerienced the same thing as 2nd Lt. Semrau. It just makes you look foolish. Oh, hey! Look it's illegal around the world. Are you saying you've been in the same experience? Not to mention your taking things out of context and assuming things about a situation you have no idea about. For all you know this person could have been missing half a torso and still alive (if you can't tell what exaggeraton is then that's just hilarious).

EDIT: To clarify for those who are still misunderstanding: IT HAPPENS around the world. No one said international law agrees with it.
 

Good2Golf

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SevenSixTwo said:
You shouldn't talk as if you've exerienced the same thing as 2nd Lt. Semrau. It just makes you look foolish. Oh, hey! Look it's illegal around the world. Are you saying you've been in the same experience? Not to mention your taking things out of context and assuming things about a situation you have no idea about. For all you know this person could have been missing half a torso and still alive (if you can't tell what exaggeraton is then that's just hilarious).

Okay, this is the kind of personalization that we were working to avoid.  No need for this.

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Another Mom

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In  hospitals across Canada, physicians are faced with  easing the pain of dying people. Do they practice "euthanasia" technically? No.  However,  patients are administered  high levels of drugs to ease their suffering.  Semrau was faced with 2 equally poor choices:  live with the guilt of the man's  pain or break the law. Perhaps officers should be equipped with enough painkiller to render a suffering and dying patient  (for whom treatment is impossible) unconscious until nature takes his course. Would  Semrau have shot the man if he had another choice? I highly doubt it.  Perhaps this was  a systems failure  that can provoke a discussion of  solutions which uphold both humane morality and the letter of the law in these situations.
 

HItorMiss

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Only Medical proffesionals are allowed to carry narcotics in CF and they do with a vast amount of training in the proper adminestration of the drugs and do so under a surgeons license. It would be illegal for a non medical pers to carry those narcotics.
 

Nemo888

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Actions such as these (and usually infinitely worse) are synonomous with war. There has not been a war where such things have not happened.

If you are shocked or surprised you have little imagination. If you want to avoid the cruel truth of war don't have one in the first place. If you do have one expect the murderous rage and icy indiffernce that soldiers treat their enemies with.
 

Jarnhamar

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Here is something I found interesting.  During leadership training we had a class on Ethics, morals and the law.  Typical class where the course officer gave us challenging "what would you do" questions. The legal answer was always obvious.

Anyhow, he posed this question.
You're a section commander leading your section in battle against an enemy force. You are in a village clearing small buildings. 

You enter a room and find one of your soldiers with his rifle in his hand, barrel smoking.  In front of him is a dead enemy soldier, clearly shot by your man. The enemy soldiers AK47 is leaning up against a wall on the otherside of the room clearly out of reach.
Laying on the floor is a dead middle age woman with a gunshot wound in her head, looks like an AK bullet.  On the floor beside her is her  young teenage girl who was clearly being raped and then dies herself from a gunshot would, inflicted by the enemy soldier previously.

Question was, what do you do. Report your soldier to your chain of command for the shooting of the unarmed soldier or forget what you saw. As far as you're concerned the enemy soldier was shot while reaching for his gun.

He asked who would report the soldier and out of 40 of us 36 raised their hand, and they were quite adamant about reporting this.
He then asked who wouldn't report the solider and only 4 of us raised their hand.  The next question was what I found really interesting. He then asked how many soldiers in the room were parents and the same 4 of us raised our hands.
Really made me think.
 

KevinB

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BulletMagnet said:
Only Medical proffesionals are allowed to carry narcotics in CF and they do with a vast amount of training in the proper adminestration of the drugs and do so under a surgeons license. It would be illegal for a non medical pers to carry those narcotics.

Incorrect - I have seen a number of time and places where 'normal' folks have been issues Morphine etc.

Regarding Maj. Nolan, what had been related before was they he told Capt. Semrau to leave the wounded prisoner.

Personally from dealing with Afghani's and seeing how they act around the TB and others they dislike, I would find it extremely unlikley that any of them would complain about a CF member shooting up a slew of bound and gaged prisoners, let alone a lone wounded individual.

Secondly - Lie Detectors/Polygraphs have no legal standing, regardless of the CF's (and others) eagerness to use them, I find it odd that Maj. Nolan felt he had to blurt out he had taken a poly about the lack of comments in the radio log.

 

HItorMiss

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Back in your time Yes Kev that was the norm, Current practice is Medics only. No longer are we allowed to carry a morph dose in our IFK's.


EDIT: Spelling
 
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