To some extent that's true but I think if the Islamic State attacked the White House and killed 40 people, it would have more political and military impact than killing 40 GIs. I think the same is true if they bombed the Capitol and killed 200 politicians versus bombing a US military base and killing 200 soldiers.srothstein wrote: ↑Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:39 pmI understand your point about the ethics of it, though I personally disagree. Of course, ethics and morals are always a personal option to be decided individually. I find an ethical difference in killing someone in open combat as opposed to a hidden attack from which he cannot defend effectively. You have a very good point about the use of conscripts though and it is hard to argue that we should kill troops who are fighting us because they are more afraid of their own supervisors than they are of us.Gator Guy wrote: ↑Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:38 amOn the other hand, I'm not so opposed to assassination as an instrument of foreign policy, the same as waging war. If it's moral to kill front line troops, then it's moral to kill military commanders. It's more effective to target and kill a military commander than the troops he commands. It's also ethically superior if the troops are conscripts and would rather be home with their families. This also applies to political leaders who declare war or exert control over the military. Killing them is more bang for the buck than killing a grunt, and at worst ethically equivalent, despite what those politicians want us to believe.
I will point out that killing leaders and politicians may not be more effective than killing the soldiers. In a military like the Russians have, killing leaders is very effective (well, according to my training). They have a policy of not automatically moving people up so that a company gets stopped when the commander gets killed, until a new commander arrives. This may have changed since my training was a few decades ago. In our military, it has been proven to not be very effective. We train our soldiers to think and show initiative, but even more importantly to automatically move up as needed in combat.
Politicians are a whole different story. I wholeheartedly would like to see more of them on the front lines, though I know it is not practical. Even there though, we have a policy of automatically moving up to keep a functioning government. Look at the chain of succession for the President as one example. Killing the president would do nothing to stop the government, though it might slow it down for a day or two.
Those giving the orders are at least as culpable as those "just following orders" given. The United States went after Osama bin Laden for 9/11, even though he didn't personally hijack those planes. I don't have a problem with that. However, that's a double edged sword. If that's how the US government operates, then by our own standards, US political and military leaders who authorize drone strikes, "extraordinary rendition" and other sneak attacks on "high value targets" don't have any moral high ground if the shoe is ever on the other foot.