View Poll Results: See OP: Have the US soldiers committed a crime?

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  • Yes

    2 5.71%
  • No

    33 94.29%
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Thread: Is this a crime?

  1. #11
    Banned Goobieman's Avatar
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by bub View Post
    article 3(a) says that civilians can't be killed
    Article 3 says...

    Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
    provisions:

    (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

    To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
    (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
    (b) taking of hostages;
    (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
    (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

    (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

    An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

    The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

    The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
    ... no such thing.

    you say that the US soldier didn't want to kill them, but if he killed them because he was not cautious enough, I think he is still guilty
    Guilty of... what?

  2. #12
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by bub View Post
    why? he's still responsible!

    when you kill someone while driving your car, it's not a "crime" but you still have killed someone and depending on the circumstances you could spend several years in jail

    => if he could not have seen the civilians, or if it was very unlikely to hit them, or if he was under enemy fire and was trying to protect himself and has not seen them, then OK he should not be sued

    but if it was obvious that there were civilians around the armed guy, he should not have opened fire
    I never said that it shouldn't be investigated, but if circumstances occurred as described, trying them would be a crime.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    Article 3 says...



    ... no such thing.
    you've found the right article, now you just have to read:

    Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following
    provisions:

    (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

    To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
    (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
    (b) taking of hostages;
    (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
    (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

    (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

    An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

    The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

    The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

    Guilty of... what?
    maybe criminal negligence

  4. #14
    wʜɪтe яussɪaи Tashah's Avatar
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    Scenario:
    -Present day
    -US soldiers in Iraq, fighting a group of insurgents.
    -US machinegun fire goes thru and then past the insurgents' position, striking a group of Iraqi civilians, killig several.

    Have the US soldiers committed a crime?
    In a hot zone, no one can know with any certainty the destination of all fired ammunition. Bullets can embed in sturdy objects, and go right through flimsy materials. The trajectory can also change via deflection.

    Beyond that, the above hypothetical lacks pertinint data crucial to arriving at an informed judgement (i.e. civilian position and observability etc.). One must remember also that civilians and insurgents are more often than not undistinguishable.

    Soldiers are typically not held legally responsible for civilian deaths which occur while engaged in battle provided such deaths occured without malice and were unintentional.

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  5. #15
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by bub View Post
    you've found the right article, now you just have to read:
    Your citation is taken out of context, and likely, deliberately so.
    The prohibitions noted in that article describe deliberate, inhumane acts upon the helpless, not prohibited actions taken in combat against an enemy.

    maybe criminal negligence
    So, back to the beginning:
    What part of the 4GC creates a legal liability for soldiers whose fire goes past/through the intended target and unintentionally kills civilians?

  6. #16
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    This is not really a very good poll, because it is asking people to vote based on a blanket assumption that our troops are either scumbags or they are not. While our troops in general are decent people with decent motives, there are a few scumbags among them, and the military courts are dealing with those. As for the rest of the troops (99.99999%), they are doing a hell of a job under difficult circumstances, and I support them. Based on the arbitrary nature of the question itself, and based on a circumstance which cannot be confirmed, I cannot answer the poll.

    EDIT: Stupid me. I read the question wrong. DUHHHH!!!

    Under this particular circumstance, no crime was committed.
    Last edited by danarhea; 12-23-08 at 01:05 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by bub View Post
    you've found the right article, now you just have to read:

    maybe criminal negligence
    You know, in the end it's war. And all these rules and laws sound nice and dandy, and I agree that civilians should not be purposefully targeted (not like this hasn't been done. Hell the US did it in WW II when we fire bombed the crap out of Tokyo). But to think that in war that civilians won't get killed is insane. It's going to happen, it's just a fact of life. Even if you're doing your damnedest to prevent loss of civilian life, it's going to happen. I don't think you hold people accountable for accidental casualty, not in wartime. It's something that's unavoidable. It's one of the reasons why we shouldn't go to war so quickly because you know that by doing so, innocent people will die. War should be a last resort only option.
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  8. #18
    Banned Goobieman's Avatar
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    This is not really a very good poll, because it is asking people to vote based on a blanket assumption that our troops are either scumbags or they are not.
    You have the option of not addressing the poll.
    You also presume way too much in your discussion of a 'blanket assumption'.

  9. #19
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    You have the option of not addressing the poll.
    You also presume way too much in your discussion of a 'blanket assumption'.
    Read my edit. My bad.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Is this a crime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tashah View Post
    In a hot zone, no one can know with any certainty the destination of all fired ammunition. Bullets can embed in sturdy objects, and go right through flimsy materials. The trajectory can also change via deflection.

    Beyond that, the above hypothetical lacks pertinint data crucial to arriving at an informed judgement (i.e. civilian position and observability etc.). One must remember also that civilians and insurgents are more often than not undistinguishable.

    Soldiers are typically not held legally responsible for civilian deaths which occur while engaged in battle provided such deaths occured without malice and were unintentional.
    Tashah is exactly right. The hypothetical is far too vague to analyze.

    I'd say generally that the fact that a civilian is accidentally killed in a firefight is not grounds for criminal charges against soldier. But you could imagine lots of scenarios within the parameters of the OP and come of with different conclusions. What if the soldiers knew there were lots of civilians behind two insurgents that were likely to be killed in gun fire? What if they knew they could hold their fire without compromising their position while the civilians dispersed? What if the soldiers were mad about the loss of a buddy and decided to take down a few Iraqis while they were at it?

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