a Someone should care, maybe not you....: An interesting survey.... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

13 March 2006

An interesting survey....

I received this little qustionaire recently from an Army Lawer who described it thusly:
I am now working on my Master's of Law degree at The Judge Advocate General's School, and as part of that degree, writing a thesis on mercy killings. As part of the thesis, I have traced the history of combat-related mercy killings, and created a short survey regarding actual scenarios. All but one are actual incidents. I am trying to gauge the morality of different historical examples of combat-related mercy killings. Although the survey is not scientifically reliable, it will help in generating conversations and discussions about such conduct.

He sent it out to a lot of people who had posted on mercy killings or extensivly on the war in Iraq. I thought it was interesting enough to repost (with his permission) I look forward to seeing your comments. YOU will note that I have not included my answers to these questions. (yet) I am more curious as to what you say and will put mine in the comment when I get close to a computer in a week or so.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please read the following scenarios and highlight or circle the answer to the question following each scenario. At the end, please list the scenarios in order of morally appropriate conduct, with the most moral being first, and the least moral being last.

Killing Scenarios

Scenario A – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario B – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario C – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario D – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario E – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario F – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario G – 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.

Are the killings moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario H – 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.

Are the killings moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not
(But the commander should have had the balls to do it himself if he wanted it done.)
Scenario I – 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.

Is the killing moral? Absolutely • Probably • Unsure • Probably Not • Absolutely Not

Scenario Rankings – From the most moral to the least moral, please list the scenario.

1. ___ 2. ___ 3. ___ 4. ___ 5. ___ 6. ___ 7. ___ 8. ___ 9. ___


Blogger Serena said...

Is it me or aremost of these scenarios the same? I am not morally abject to any of these. Is that wrong?

2:10 PM  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 20 06
Now This is an interesting underlying question about our moral compasses. I will try to be brief;)
A.Before he killed her, did she have a fighting chance of surviving the rival attack?
B.Yes, it is apparent that the guy would die within moments anyway even without assistance in doing so.
C.Was a hose or fire repellent available to the medic? It almost seems as though he panicked. Why not advise the guy to roll around on the dirt or place a blanket on him?
D.Yes because much like scenario B, the death of this fellow was imminent anyway. It can be argued that the soldier simply allayed his pain and truly put him out of his misery.
E.Yes because if he moved, he would die and in order to get adequate medical attention, he would HAVE to be moved.
F.Yes, as the soldier wasn't expected to live past an hour.
G.NO because seven did not die, which means that the soldier's condition wasn't terminal beyond a reasonable doubt. The gun was jumped due to pride.
H.The doctor was efficient and use utilitarianism as his compass. Furthermore the soldiers were going to die anyway so, I guess there was sense to that decision.
I.Same as before, this was a mercy killing and one can see the logic behind it.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

03 20 06

I analyzed my reasons for understanding how these mercy killings came about. However, I am vigorously opposed to the idea. I think that when you take someone's life via a mercy killing, you are saying that their life is no longer worth living. Whether or not that is a valid question remains to be seen. I also understand that decisions must be made on the battlefield that I will probably never understand. However in all of the cases where someone lost a limb and was going to die anyway, I believe the people nearest to them should have given them tons of pain killers (but not lethal dosages) so that they could die in their own time, but not suffer as badly.

I would not want the blood of a mercy killing on my hands because I disagree with the idea. I recall one of the Elders of the Church; Mother McGuire. She was on her death bed on and off for thirty years, yet lived until she was 99 and a half! When she was on her final deathbed, me and my cousin went to visit her and held her hands for quite some time(seemed that way at the time). If her family had a mercy killing attitude with her, they knew she was going to die and could have sped up the process years before. However, she defied the odds and lived a long life and touched many.

Without rambling too much, I can't assign these scenarios on a morality scale. This is because although I see the reasoning and in some cases the wishes of the dying were respected by mercy killing, it is against my principles.

On the other hand, if someone has a do not resussitate order, that is different because they would die without the assistance of life support.

There is a difference between active and passive euthanasia. This was a very thought provoking post.

3:34 AM  
Blogger gunngirl said...

My answers

A. Absolutely
I.Probably Not

Though, in the case of the man on fire, did anyone try and knock him down with a blanket? That's why I'm unsure on C because, while I hate to see anything or anyone on fire, my first instinct would be to put them out. Conflicted on that one.

I hope to god Scenario E is face. Please don't let that be true.

Very interesting questions. Also, with the guy fighting in the trenches, he was bleeding out anyway. He would have been dead soon. I think the morphine would have been better used on someone who needed it and would have survived.

4:40 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Yes serena, most of the scenarios are very similar. but I suppose when you are decidning to do a mercy killing on someone they have to be pretty bad off so that makes things seem alike. OF course I am sure there is also a bit of exageration of injuries by the person describing the event. After all, he may be absolutely sure that what he did was justified but he wants everyone else to be sure too.
Mahndisa, Good comments, thanks.

Gunngirl, I personally suspect the false one is number 1. Generally raiding parties didn't take their women along with them so the odds of such an event happening would be slim. But I don't know.

10:16 AM  

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