What are the do’s and don’ts of proper warfare?
Just like hosting a formal dinner party, hostile conflict must be proper, well-planned, and scrupulously compliant with customary codes of behavior.
In this episode, Bronwen is joined by Major General (R) Allen Harrell to discuss the strict rules of the battlefield—and the challenges presented by modern warfare. With historical analysis and anecdotal evidence, they tackle the rules that help nations balance military interests with the moral values of civilized persons, examine the breaking point between necessary and unnecessary suffering, and discuss the principles behind the law of war. . . and the consequences for violating it. As always, Bronwen enjoys poking philosophical holes into the complicated methodology of combat while the General shoots straight with decades of military experience.
Key Points From This Episode:
- Hear about how the “law of war” came into being.
- What important role The Hague Conventions played in establishing modern warfare.
- The five principles of the law of war and how they are practically applied combat
- How targets of military value are determined and what types of properties are off limits.
- The reason behind the “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq.
- The difference between jus in bello and jus ad bellum.
- How the US military practices the Golden Rule in combat.
- The necessary steps taken prior to employing a weapon system.
- JAG officers: who are they and what do they do?
- The gray area of “military necessity.”
- Why modern warfare makes it harder to distinguish a combatant from a noncombatant, and how the US Army decides when to attack.
- What actions a soldier’s right to self-defense allows and prohibits.
- How the laws of war were upheld in the Nuremberg trials and why the Nazi Generals’ arguments of defense were destroyed.
- The ways in which a soldier can intervene if given an illegal order.
- What the implications of dishonorable discharge are on a former solider’s life.
- Why you’re wrong about the Vietnam War.
- How the press amplified the psychological trauma experienced by returning veterans.
- The protected rights of a prisoner of war and how they are different from detainees.
- What procedure soldiers follow when an enemy is captured.
- How proportionality is determined, and what to do about collateral damage.
- The four elements of national power.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Major General (Retired) Allen Harrell is a retired member of the U.S. Army. The contents of the podcast are based on his own personal experiences and the views expressed are not intended to reflect the official position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army.