View Poll Results: Should American WWII veterans be charged with war crimes for EPW murders?

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  • Yes

    4 30.77%
  • No

    9 69.23%
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Thread: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1943

  1. #21
    Educator newpublius's Avatar
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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    When there is one person trying to kill another person, there is no law.

    We're trying to apply laws to what is a wholesale lawless act.
    I'm sorry, that's unsubstantiated. Combat itself is not a law free zone, the laws of war do apply. Nevertheless, and this is important, we're also discussing post-combat and the duties imposed when capturing and detaining POWs. They can surely be tried and convicted for war crimes and subsequent to that punished accordingly, but there is no such thing as 'no quarter' and summary executions of POWs are not sanctioned by law and are in fact unlawful.

  2. #22
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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    Quote Originally Posted by newpublius View Post
    I'm sorry, that's unsubstantiated. Combat itself is not a law free zone, the laws of war do apply. Nevertheless, and this is important, we're also discussing post-combat and the duties imposed when capturing and detaining POWs. They can surely be tried and convicted for war crimes and subsequent to that punished accordingly, but there is no such thing as 'no quarter' and summary executions of POWs are not sanctioned by law and are in fact unlawful.
    War often = win or die.

    No law can exist in such a circumstance. There is no rule we won't break to keep from getting killed, to keep from losing.

    If China invaded the US tonight, and us on the ropes, and our option was, lose and be Chinese, or engage in war crimes, illegal acts, like bio and chem warfare...guess which path we would take?


    I repeat...no law can exist or apply to a lawless act. We're already engaged in depriving people of that which is considered most precious...their right to live.
    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    Reports indicate that everyone knew he was hauling a bunch of guns up there. But, since you brought it up, there's something which should be illegal: guns that breakdown.

  3. #23
    Educator newpublius's Avatar
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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    War often = win or die.
    Yes, that's great and when both sides are armed and continue to fight each other in hostilities, the basic law of war is that both sides can engage the other based on the principles of distinction and proportionality.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    No law can exist in such a circumstance.
    Well, it does there and this is why you can't just indiscriminately kill (kill anybody including civilians without any regard to whether they are active belligerents or not) or disproportionately target an area (ie. nuke something).

    Point is the 'win or die' scenario you posit is over. We won, the guy is now captured. Sorry, you're not allowed to summarily execute POWs. Maybe its your opinion that you think they should or should be able to. Whatever, I don't know what to tell you, in point of fact I am accurate describing the law. I'm sorry that you find it inconvenient.

  4. #24
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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    Quote Originally Posted by soot View Post
    I was just reading the poll discussion related to three German concentration camp guards recently having been arrested and charged (for some crime) for their actions during WWII.

    That got me thinking:

    I've read numerous accounts written by WWII Marines and Soldiers wherein they discuss having personally witnessed or participated in the murder of Japanese enemy prisoners of war (EPWs). I've read similar, though far fewer, accounts of WWII Soldiers having murdered or witnessed the murder German and Italian EPWs.

    Bear in mind that when I say "witnessed" I'm not talking about some guy watching a murder taking place 1000 meters away through a pair of binoculars; I'm talking about guys discussing murders committed right next to them by people they knew well - their buddies and shipmates.

    Likewise, I've read accounts of WWII Marines and Soldiers torturing Japanese EPWs and/or desecrating the remains of dead Japanese Soldiers.

    Understand that we're talking about guys unashamedly, and often proudly, admitting to murder in memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

    Further understand that there is absolutely NO QUESTION that according to the letter of the law we're talking about murder here.

    This isn't a "gray area" created by the fact that the Japanese weren't signatories to the Geneva Conventions.

    By all relevant and applicable international conventions, federal law, and military regulations it was illegal for Americans to kill EPWs during the entire span of the Second World War.

    In many cases these murders were committed by the fighting man absent any direction from a higher authority.

    In almost all cases that made little difference since, at least early in the war (through 1943 at least), most field grade commanders of combat troops encouraged such murders (for a number of reasons).

    So...

    Should these men, American WWII veterans, be tried for murder or as accessories to murder, and if found guilty punished accordingly?

    Obviously the poll responses are "Yes" and "No" but please feel free to argue your position in any manner and to any extent that you wish.
    Of course this happened. Crimes of passion if you will. Japanese did the same to us. Equating that to concentration camps in which millions of jews weresystematically murdered is dishonest. While in both cases people were murdered, one was in the heat of combat and stress, the other was a matter of policy.

    The American soldier in WW2 was much more disciplined in that regard when compared with soldiers of other countries. However, to say that race wasn't a factor in there being more atrocities against the Japanese would also be wrong. Propaganda against the Nazis was dehumanizing in an ideological boogieman kind of way, whereas propaganda against the Japanese included blatantly racial tones.

    Should an American soldier of WW2 face criminal charges for allegedly murdering a Japanese soldier in the heat of combat? Perhaps to a degree, but the heat of combat should be taken into account and not equated to Nazi death camps.

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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    What the hell is the matter with people ??
    Such a close vote , thus far.....
    NOT NO ..... BUT HELL NO !!!!!!!!!
    War itself is a crime upon the people.....so its war that should be tried , not the combatants.

  6. #26
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    Re: WWII Marine charged with murder for executing Japanese Enemy Prisoner of War in 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray410 View Post
    Maybe. So what? That's war. If your unit is moving fast, has a critical mission and the lives of many others depend on your success, you don't have time to screw around with prisoners.

    If you read the history of Japanese aggression and brutality in the Far East throughout the Thirties, you will understand why many other Far Eastern countries hate the Japanese to this day.

    Americans, true to our nature, have been much more forgiving.
    Did American forces commit fewer and less frequent atrocities than the Japanese? Certainly. Did some Americans commit atrocities? Certainly.

    Persecute the ones who did.

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