Behaviour and Conduct in War
|“||The nature of warfare never changes, only its superficial manifestations. Joshua and David, Hector and Achilles would recognize the combat that our soldiers and Marines have waged in the alleys of Somalia and Iraq. The uniforms evolve, bronze gives way to titanium, arrows may be replaced by laser-guided bombs, but the heart of the matter is still killing your enemies until any survivors surrender and do your will.||”|
The behaviour of troops in warfare varies considerably, both individually and as units or armies. In some circumstances, troops may engage in genocide, war rape and ethnic cleansing. Commonly, however, the conduct of troops may be limited to posturing and sham attacks, leading to highly rule-bound and often largely symbolic combat in which casualties are much reduced from that which would be expected if soldiers were genuinely violent towards the enemy. Situations of deliberate dampening of hostilities occurred in World War I by some accounts, e.g., a volley of gunfire being exchanged after a misplaced mortar hit the British line, after which a German soldier shouted an apology to British forces, effectively stopping a hostile exchange of gunfire. Other examples of non-aggression, also from World War I, are detailed in "Good-Bye to All That." These include spontaneous ceasefires to rebuild defences and retrieve casualties, alongside behaviour such as refusing to shoot at enemy during ablutions and the taking of great risks (described as 1 in 20) to retrieve enemy wounded from the battlefield. The most notable spontaneous ceasefire of World War I was the Christmas truce.
The psychological separation between combatants, and the destructive power of modern weaponry, may act to override this effect and facilitate participation by combatants in the mass slaughter of combatants or civilians, such as in the bombing of Dresden in World War II. The unusual circumstances of warfare can incite apparently normal individuals to commit atrocities.
... ” —Ralph Peters The behaviour of troops in warfare varies considerably, both individually and as units or armies ... In some circumstances, troops may engage in genocide, war rape and ethnic cleansing ... Commonly, however, the conduct of troops may be limited to posturing and sham attacks, leading to highly rule-bound and often largely symbolic combat in which casualties are much reduced from that which ...
Famous quotes containing the words war, behaviour and/or conduct:
“Thus do I want man and woman to be: the one fit to wage war and the other fit to give birth, but both fit to dance with head and feet.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900)
“The methodological advice to interpret in a way that optimizes agreement should not be conceived as resting on a charitable assumption about human intelligence that might turn out to be false. If we cannot find a way to interpret the utterances and other behaviour of a creature as revealing a set of beliefs largely consistent and true by our standards, we have no reason to count that creature as rational, as having beliefs, or as saying anything.”
—Donald Davidson (b. 1917)
“The conduct of God who disposes all things kindly, is to put religion into the mind by reason, and into the heart by grace. But to attempt to put it into the mind and heart by force and threats is not to put religion there, but terror.”
—Blaise Pascal (16231662)