Ethics.

#1
A phrase that I see used fairly frequently on ARRSE and elsewhere with reference to the various conflicts we are drawn into/start/get involved in is "We must retain the moral high-ground or we are no better than xxx" where 'xxx' is the 'enemy'.

Okay, very laudable. But can you actually combat a foe who will use any means at his disposal, regardless of it's ethical or moral implications while playing by 'the rules'.

I'm rather tempted towards the notion that you can't.
 
#2
History seems to indicate that you can, and must....

Allies v Nazi

UK v Mau Mau, CTs et al.

Unless you are basically honorable in your intent and actions, you will never achieve a lasting peace. Dirty tricks may will you the odd fight or battle, but will never win you a war in the long run....
 
#3
Biscuits_Brown said:
A phrase that I see used fairly frequently on ARRSE and elsewhere with reference to the various conflicts we are drawn into/start/get involved in is "We must retain the moral high-ground or we are no better than xxx" where 'xxx' is the 'enemy'.

Okay, very laudable. But can you actually combat a foe who will use any means at his disposal, regardless of it's ethical or moral implications while playing by 'the rules'.

I'm rather tempted towards the notion that you can't.
Burma's a good example to support your thesis. The Brits were notoriously brutal and it was, as a result, a major anti-communist insurgency success. Far better than the Yanks have ever achieved.

Counter examples include Northern Ireland. Internment - a major assault on civil liberties - is now widely believed to have been a key recruiting sergeant for PIRA.

A further counter example is the current attack on UK civil liberties, from New Labour to the political far right, in response to Islamic terrorism. Al Qaeda has been very open about it's hostility to democracy, the rule of law and western liberal values in general. So to attack Magna Carta in Britain is to fulfil AQ's political programme. Which isn’t surprising given that Al Qaeda is a very right wing organisation – a sort of armed and Islamicised UKIP without the blazers.
 
#4
Allies v Nazi
Ummmm.... Y'see I really think it's stretching it a bit to say that we fought the Second World War entirely ethically.

We didn't conduct pogroms but we did do some things that were really quite nasty indeed.
 
#5
HE117 said:
History seems to indicate that you can, and must....

Allies v Nazi

UK v Mau Mau, CTs et al.

Unless you are basically honorable in your intent and actions, you will never achieve a lasting peace. Dirty tricks may will you the odd fight or battle, but will never win you a war in the long run....
Twaddle. We used every dirty trick in the book against the Mau Mau - massive mobilisation of opposing tribes to commit indescriminate terror, counter-gangs, mass internment, 'special courts' which amounted to extra-judicial execution.

As for WWII - firebombing bombing of dresden anyone? what do you think happened to the people in the valley belwo the dambusters raid? Like everyone else, the Brits did what was considered necessary and sometimes went over the top.

The real breach of ethics is santimonious prats who re-write our often brutal history to present everything as a well intentioned, gentlemanly humanitarian intervention. Get real.
 
#6
Mister_Angry said:
HE117 said:
History seems to indicate that you can, and must....

Allies v Nazi

UK v Mau Mau, CTs et al.

Unless you are basically honorable in your intent and actions, you will never achieve a lasting peace. Dirty tricks may will you the odd fight or battle, but will never win you a war in the long run....
Twaddle. We used every dirty trick in the book against the Mau Mau - massive mobilisation of opposing tribes to commit indescriminate terror, counter-gangs, mass internment, 'special courts' which amounted to extra-judicial execution.

As for WWII - firebombing bombing of dresden anyone? what do you think happened to the people in the valley belwo the dambusters raid? Like everyone else, the Brits did what was considered necessary and sometimes went over the top.

The real breach of ethics is santimonious prats who re-write our often brutal history to present everything as a well intentioned, gentlemanly humanitarian intervention. Get real.
On UK Historyin a 'on this day in history' type thing it showed that the Dresen raid was to destroy a Ballbearing factory. I do however believe You are right about the Mau Mau
 
#7
Mister_Angry said:
HE117 said:
History seems to indicate that you can, and must....

Allies v Nazi

UK v Mau Mau, CTs et al.

Unless you are basically honorable in your intent and actions, you will never achieve a lasting peace. Dirty tricks may will you the odd fight or battle, but will never win you a war in the long run....
Twaddle. We used every dirty trick in the book against the Mau Mau - massive mobilisation of opposing tribes to commit indescriminate terror, counter-gangs, mass internment, 'special courts' which amounted to extra-judicial execution.

As for WWII - firebombing bombing of dresden anyone? what do you think happened to the people in the valley belwo the dambusters raid? Like everyone else, the Brits did what was considered necessary and sometimes went over the top.

The real breach of ethics is santimonious prats who re-write our often brutal history to present everything as a well intentioned, gentlemanly humanitarian intervention. Get real.
I go along with this. I've met Poles connected with 302 and 303 squadrons, where they had to be instructed not to machine gun German parachutists over Kent in 1940 – Germans they’d just shot down. Examples of British war crimes are as long as your arm.
 
#8
Mister_Angry said:
HE117 said:
History seems to indicate that you can, and must....

Allies v Nazi

UK v Mau Mau, CTs et al.

Unless you are basically honorable in your intent and actions, you will never achieve a lasting peace. Dirty tricks may will you the odd fight or battle, but will never win you a war in the long run....
Twaddle. We used every dirty trick in the book against the Mau Mau - massive mobilisation of opposing tribes to commit indescriminate terror, counter-gangs, mass internment, 'special courts' which amounted to extra-judicial execution.

As for WWII - firebombing bombing of dresden anyone? what do you think happened to the people in the valley belwo the dambusters raid? Like everyone else, the Brits did what was considered necessary and sometimes went over the top.

The real breach of ethics is santimonious prats who re-write our often brutal history to present everything as a well intentioned, gentlemanly humanitarian intervention. Get real.
Nice on indeed, Mister_Angry! You've got it off to a tee!

MsG
 
#9
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
 
#10
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
In war many unpleasant things are done.

In Operation Barras, women and children were shot and killed by British forces who were rescuing captured soldiers. Totally un-pc until you consider that a: the women and children were carrying and using weapons, and b: they were responsible for chopping the limbs off thousands of innocent civilians. Those women and children themselves had been brutalised by gang members and that is how they found themselves in the West Side Niggaz (their own title).

The whole episode was a quagmire of moral issues, including the moral failure of the UN to stop the slaughter in the first place, despite having over 15,000 armed 'peacekeeping' troops in theatre.

I'd love to know what Sven et al. make of that one.

As for the bombing of Dresden being to target a ball-bearing factory - incorrect. Dresden was bombed flat with the express intention of inducing terror and the destruction of civilian areas to destroy the moral of civilians. The ball-bearing factory was an added bonus, not the main reason why thousands of tons of bombs (mostly incendiary) were dropped on the city itself. You don't need hundreds or even thousands of bombers to flatten one factory. Nor did the Luftwaffe need thousands of bombing runs and doodlebugs to flatten factories in the UK.

The Atom bombs were not dropped on factories in Japan, they were dropped on civilian cities.

In war, most of the rules go out of the window, especially during insurgencies.
 
#12
Sven said:
On UK Historyin a 'on this day in history' type thing it showed that the Dresen raid was to destroy a Ballbearing factory. I do however believe You are right about the Mau Mau
Mass dropping of incendiaries on a highly populated city in which wood was the main architectural material? The consequences were obvious and the industrial workforce was considered a strategic capablity alongside the factories themselves - the was conducted to create mass fatalities as well as material damage.

What next - 'Bloody Sunday: We Were Only Trying to Help'?
 
#13
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
Sven, you do get a bit tedious at times! The whole thrust of the "concentration camps" was to encourage the Boars to give in, rather than let their people die in that sort of captivity.

MsG
 
#14
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
So we didn't absent mindedly forget to feed some of the internees then? Ok we might not have been using gas chambers but FFS they were starvation camps!
 
#15
annakey said:
Biscuits_Brown said:
A phrase that I see used fairly frequently on ARRSE and elsewhere with reference to the various conflicts we are drawn into/start/get involved in is "We must retain the moral high-ground or we are no better than xxx" where 'xxx' is the 'enemy'.

Okay, very laudable. But can you actually combat a foe who will use any means at his disposal, regardless of it's ethical or moral implications while playing by 'the rules'.

I'm rather tempted towards the notion that you can't.
Burma's a good example to support your thesis. The Brits were notoriously brutal and it was, as a result, a major anti-communist insurgency success. Far better than the Yanks have ever achieved.
I think you mean the successful campaign to rid MALAYA of communist terrorists (1948-60)where 'Hearts and Minds' was paramount, not much brutality there.
The BURMA campaign of WW2 however was fought against the Japanese and WAS particularly brutal, though no one pretended it wasn't.
 
#16
Bullet Sponge said:
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
So we didn't absent mindedly forget to feed some of the internees then? Ok we might not have been using gas chambers but FFS they were starvation camps!
Not according to the history books I have read. You may be referring to the Scorched Earth policy which was used to starve the commando and obviously caught the women and children who didn't enter the camps. Again the forerunner of the fortified camps of the Malaya campaign which stopped the villagers feeding the chinese insurgents
 
#17
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
So we didn't absent mindedly forget to feed some of the internees then? Ok we might not have been using gas chambers but FFS they were starvation camps!
Not according to the history books I have read. You may be referring to the Scorched Earth policy which was used to starve the commando and obviously caught the women and children who didn't enter the camps. Again the forerunner of the fortified camps of the Malaya campaign which stopped the villagers feeding the chinese insurgents

You really do need to brush up on your history old chap.....

The British held 116,572 persons in their concentration camps, almost all of them women and children. That was about a fourth of the entire Boer population. After the war, and official government report concluded that 27,927 Boers had died in the camps of starvation, typhus and exposure. That included 26,251 women and children, of whom 22,074 were children under the age of 16.
 
#18
Busterdog said:
annakey said:
Biscuits_Brown said:
A phrase that I see used fairly frequently on ARRSE and elsewhere with reference to the various conflicts we are drawn into/start/get involved in is "We must retain the moral high-ground or we are no better than xxx" where 'xxx' is the 'enemy'.

Okay, very laudable. But can you actually combat a foe who will use any means at his disposal, regardless of it's ethical or moral implications while playing by 'the rules'.

I'm rather tempted towards the notion that you can't.
Burma's a good example to support your thesis. The Brits were notoriously brutal and it was, as a result, a major anti-communist insurgency success. Far better than the Yanks have ever achieved.
I think you mean the successful campaign to rid MALAYA of communist terrorists (1948-60)where 'Hearts and Minds' was paramount, not much brutality there.
.
It was a lot more brutal than the history books would have you think.
 
#19
Bullet Sponge said:
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
Sven said:
Bullet Sponge said:
If you want a history of ethical war fighting do not look towards Britain. We spend ages bleating on about how the Germans used concentration camps to effect the mass extermination of Jewish people but forget to mention that it is a concept that the Brits came up with and used quite brutally during the Boer war.
Get Your history right.

The Boer War concentration camps were not punishments but a forerunner of the policy used to place the German and Italian nationals in one place. The deaths occured through Typhoid and diarhea, not because of brutality. They were unhygenic, certainly but to equate them to the German equivilent is ludicrous
So we didn't absent mindedly forget to feed some of the internees then? Ok we might not have been using gas chambers but FFS they were starvation camps!
Not according to the history books I have read. You may be referring to the Scorched Earth policy which was used to starve the commando and obviously caught the women and children who didn't enter the camps. Again the forerunner of the fortified camps of the Malaya campaign which stopped the villagers feeding the chinese insurgents

You really do need to brush up on your history old chap.....

The British held 116,572 persons in their concentration camps, almost all of them women and children. That was about a fourth of the entire Boer population. After the war, and official government report concluded that 27,927 Boers had died in the camps of starvation, typhus and exposure. That included 26,251 women and children, of whom 22,074 were children under the age of 16.
Do You have any evidence to the starvation angle. Everything I have read on the subject stated that it was typhus and diarhea that killed off the Boer. The only starvation I have heard of is that of when Kitchener gave orders to turn women and children away in 1901
 
#20
More British soldiers died from illness than were killed in battle during the Boer war. I think the intention of the concentration camps for the women and children was to try to bring the Boer to the negotiating table [ie., give up]
 

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