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Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

21 March 2006

Back again

I am back from working in my sisters house for awhile and will address the questions I posed in my last post. Thanks to those who commented. Although frankly I was a bit surprised by how few commnets there were. But then, my readership is falling off too so I guess it works out.

Situation one: In the 1840s, a male Native American sees female from a warring tribe staked to tree and being set on fire by females from the raiding tribe. The male, from the raiding tribe, shoots female tied to tree through heart killing her before she is engulfed in flames.

I would say yes. Although the arguement could be raised that he could have ridden down there and stopped it. Frankly I doubt that this is a true event. I don't think many raiding parties took their women with them on raids thus the odds are agaisnt this happening.

2. In the Iraq War, an Iraqi insurgent is fleeing from U.S. forces in a civilian vehicle. During the chase he is shot in the head, creating a gaping wound from the back of the skull to the front of the skull, 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. Brain matter is exposed and a part “the size of a man’s fist” is blown out. The medic assesses the insurgent and concludes that “there is nothing that can be done for him” and informs the leader of the operation he is going to die. Although unconscious, the insurgent’s arm is moving in a ratcheting motion, and appears to be a reflex motion of some sort. He has lost 1½ liters of blood. Air evacuation is not authorized, and the insurgent objectively appears to be suffering. The leader of the operation shoots the insurgent in the head killing him.

Yes, I can see the justification for this and would probably do it too. I admit to being a bit biased on this one as I know the guy who was the shooter.

3. During the Falklands War, a Prisoner of War is voluntarily moving munitions, when a round explodes. The POW is caught on fire, and can be seen moving clearly through the flames. A medic attempts to get to the POW, but the heat of the fire is too great. The British medic fires 4 rounds into the POW until he stops moving.

Yes. I would do the same. The question was raised in the commnets of the previous post about the availability of a hose or fire extinguisher or just geting the guy to stop drop and roll. Ammo fires are very hot and the whole area was in all likelyhood engulfed in flames. I would have shot him and hope that if I were in a similar situation, someone would shoot me. Burning alive is NOT my prefered method of dying.

4. A Solider sees movement on the ground in front of him and cautiously investigates. It is a wounded Vietnamese Soldier, injured the night before in a battle. He is lying there with half a meter of intestines spread over the ground. A closer look revealed that most of his head was blown off, exposing his brain tissue. His arms and legs were twitching as if trying to crawl; his face was in the dirt with his entrails pierced by sticks. His bloodied body was covered in dirt and leaves, and digested rice was oozing out of the large shrapnel wound in his slashed stomach. The Soldier shoots him twice in the heart, killing him.

Yes again. Why leave a man to suffer? Although shooting him is a big dangerous as it advertises you presence to any other enemy soldiers in the area.

5. In the Vietnam War, near a downed helicopter, a U.S. Ranger found a U.S. Soldier who was staked to the ground by his hands, feet, and neck. His face was scared and mutilated, and he had been skinned from the upper chest to his waist. His flesh had been eaten by flies, maggots and jungle animals, exposing his intestines. The Soldier was still clinging to life, but moving him would almost certainly kill him. Still conscious, the Soldier begs the Ranger to kill him. The Ranger shoots the Soldier in the head, killing him instantly.

Same as 4. Without hesitation.

6. A U.S. Soldier is evacuated to a field hospital in Iraq. He has sustained massive head trauma, exposing brain matter, some of which was blown out. He has also lost both legs and one arm when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. The Soldier is not expected to live more than an hour, and is miraculously fading “in and out” of consciousness. Expecting the Soldier to die shortly, the attending surgeon administers an analgesic that will eliminate any pain, and certainly shorten his life. The soldier dies 10 minutes after the administration of the analgesic.

Frankly I am not sure if this counts as a mecy killing. It is not specified that the doctor deliuberatly gave him a lethal does, just enough to remove pain and "cerainly shorten his life." Hardly fits it with the other cases. I rather suspect decisions like this are made in emergency rooms across the country daily with no fanfare at all.

7. In 1799, French troops are marching through Syria on a campaign against the Turks. During the campaign, 50 French troops are stricken with the bubonic plague, and are dying in a military hospital. The prognosis for the troops is grave, and none can be evacuated on their own. The Turks are closing in on the hospital, and will be there within hours. Knowing the tortuous fate of the French Soldiers in the hands of the Turks, poison is administered to all 50 French troops stricken with bubonic plague and all but 7 die.

Probably not justified. Althugh the Turks had a well deserved reputation for brutality I don't think this was a proper course. Volunteer doctors should have remained with the patients and and surrendered. That being said, there may have bben some actual reason to uspect the Turks would slaughter them all although it is clear that they didn't as there were survivors of the poison, the plauge, and the Turks. A bad call and un justified in my mind.

8. During World War II, in the Burma Campaign, 19 British Soldiers are severely wounded. The doctor estimates they all will die in a matter of hours. The wounds are horrific; from complete loss of the body from the hips down, to gaping head wounds, to exposed intestines. The doctor estimates he can save 30 different soldiers if the troops carrying the 19 can be used to evacuate the 30. The Japanese are hours away from closing in on the British location. The commander orders that none of the his Soldiers shall see the Japanese. The 19 Soldiers are each shot in the head by the doctor.

Yes, justified although the commander should have done it himself rather than passing responsibility on to the doctor.

9. During World War I, the British were battling the Germans in prolonged trench warfare. A British Soldier is severely wounded by artillery, and has lost a leg and an arm. Bleeding profusely, the Soldier is unable to be moved because he is in “no man’s land” between the trenches, and is expected to die. A medic administers a lethal dose of morphine to the wounded soldiers.

Probably not. Many severly wounded men were brought out of No Man's land allduring the war. In fact truces were often called for just that reason. Apply a touniquet and leave him for later collection.

As for ranking them from the most moral to the least, well all of the ones I felt were justified are in my mind equalling oral. the least defensible one was the last, followed by the french doctors and the plauge victims.

Mercy killing have ALWAYS happened in wars. Always. And I do think it is a defendable and justified action. Prehaps a bit less so now with the advent of truely effective medical evacuatioin and the better trauma treatment available today. but in times when there is not evacuation possible and it is realtivly clear that the person is doomed anyway. Do it. I would, and as stated above, I would hope those with me would do it for me.

8 Comments:

Blogger Serena said...

after reading your own answers, I realized how little I thought about my own. What different perspecitives (i.e. what a great amount more experience you have in making decisions in high stress situations) we have)!

2:27 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Wasnt there a guy court-martialed for doing a mercy killing in Iraq?

9:52 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

there have been several court martialed for it. At least one convicted. (his army lawyers talked him into accepting a plea bargin, a mistake.)
Welcome back ZL.

10:38 AM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Thanks!

Yeah, big mistake. I would like to think that were I in that situation, I could count on my comrades to do the right thing.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 22 06

Well EXMI:
I was so curious as to what you were going to say and I think we were on the same page for the most part. Except you have experience that I don't. This was one of the most thought provoking posts I have seen!

6:31 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Agree with you about mercy killing, but disagree with the Turks one. The Turks, before Ataturk (sp?), were barbarians. I think the whole Armenian genocide thing showed it, as did the whole Vlad the Impaler story (that was against Turks, right?).

Plus, of all the ways to die, bubonic plague is one of the worst.

12:09 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

Vald the Impaler can hardly count, he was in the 14th century. but yes, he was fighting the Turks. Also in those wars between the Turks and the surrounding Chrsitian nations, brutality went both ways. but I'll grant you that the Turks had quite a reputation.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

This comment has little to do with the gist of your post, which is interesting and involving, but ZS's comment about the early barbarian Turks caught my eye. I have to preface this with the fact that I spent several weeks in Turkey a couple of years ago, and most of what you hear about ancient Greece is true of Turkey. There are more beautiful Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greece, and it was important to early Christianity, several of the cities Paul visited on his missions were in Turkey (Ephesus, for instance). Having said that, I have to quote a fellow who was a roommate when I lived in Finland. He had just come out of the Korean war, and he made the point that everyone wanted to be near a Turkish unit when the "Red Chinese" began a suicide charge. Nothing, no armaments, tanks, machine guns, nothing seemed to stop them, "they would climb over their dead and just keep coming, but when a Turkish commander would stand up, with his Turban, his necklace of human ears and a scimitar and begin to yodel" (his word, not mine)the Chinese would draw to a stop and retreat. He also told us how a Turk would get a necklace of ears, and at the same time convince everyone to wear his helmet at night. The Turks would compete, crawling aroung on the battlefield, reaching into foxholes, and if they touched a head wearing a soft cap (Chinese or North Korean) they would slit its throat and take an ear for a souvanier. He stated that the company commander of one Turkish company was a graduate of Sandhurst (British "West Point") and he had a double row of ears around his neck. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of this, but he had just arrived home in time to leave for Finland, and he swore he saw it.

8:07 PM  

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