The International Society for Military Ethics in Europe

1st EuroISME webinar

  • Manfred Rosenberger
  • Manfred Rosenberger's Avatar Topic Author
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1 year 3 weeks ago - 1 year 5 days ago #1 by Manfred Rosenberger
1st EuroISME webinar was created by Manfred Rosenberger
This first webinar was a great operating experience :-)
Technically it ran perfectly and with regard to contents it was excellent !
I invite all members who could not directly assist the livestreaming to view the video recording on www.euroisme.eu/index.php/en/events/euro...events/webinar2020-1

The only deficit in the webinar was that the panel didn't integrate a European speaker (perspective).
Some interesting views are discussed in the zebis e-Journal 1/2020 which you can download here :
www.euroisme.eu/index.php/en/news/55-zebis-e-journal-2020-01

Hopefully we can continue the exchange of ideas with future webinars or through this Forum !
Last edit: 1 year 5 days ago by Webmaster (DM). Reason: Corrected the URL

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  • Jovan Babić
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1 year 2 days ago #2 by Jovan Babić
Replied by Jovan Babić on topic 1st EuroISME webinar
Justifying is a delicate issue...
I have three remarks, two to Patterson, and one to LiVecche:
First, Patterson says that American soldiers, 1857, and again 1945, were “somebody’s husbands, sons, fathers, brothers…” – does this imply that Mexican or Japanese soldiers were not?
Second, he says that the size of American army heavily multiplied between 1941 and 1945 [leaving most of workload in civil and military economy to women]; on the other side he reproaches Japanese for “conscripting” women for (military, and other) production in Tokio. Does this imply, again, employing double standards? What kind of an argument is this?

If we treat our enemies like criminals or irresponsible lunatics, we should not be surprised if they treat us the same way.
This view leads to the goal of aiming (normative, and perhaps also factual) annihilation of our enemies, or to its surrogate - the unconditional surrender of the other side. However, it is questionable whether such surrender is a legitimate form of capitulation, which should be the end of the war and the establishment of a new peace (or the restoration of the old one).
It seems more likely that this kind of ending will be a truce, however long it can last (possibly indefinitely). Without mutual respect talking about ius in bello (where the matter of defining "legitimate targets" belongs) becomes empty. And war ceases to be a form of conflict (becoming something more like a chase or a hunt).

On the other side I liked (without prejudice to Hiroshima and Nagasaki) the line of Marc’s argumentatio in his saying that Japanese “couldn’t win”: he bases this claim on empirical evidence, which entails much more complex and very different (and much stronger) kind of (political) responsibility and need for justification (for Japanese leadership in pursuing impossible goals). This line of argumentation is emancipated of eschatological ballast that makes it so easy to jump to “conclusions”. (After all, respecting facts is the ultimate responsibility of all, not only of commanders.)

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  • Marc LiVecche
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11 months 4 weeks ago #3 by Marc LiVecche
Replied by Marc LiVecche on topic 1st EuroISME webinar
Thanks for these remarks. While only one was directed to me, I'd also like to add my own thoughts to the two posed to Eric. You write:

1) "Patterson says that American soldiers, 1857, and again 1945, were “somebody’s husbands, sons, fathers, brothers…” – does this imply that Mexican or Japanese soldiers were not?" and
2) Eric "says that the size of American army heavily multiplied between 1941 and 1945 [leaving most of workload in civil and military economy to women]; on the other side he reproaches Japanese for “conscripting” women for (military, and other) production in Tokio. Does this imply, again, employing double standards?"

From my perspective, Patterson's line of thinking doesn't require double standards. On the first point, the focus is simply on clouding what is sometimes seen as an easy distinction between combatants and non-combatants. The lack of easy distinctions is especially (though not exhaustively) true when we are considering conscripts. In the case of the WW2, the only reason most of those American boys were fighting in the Pacific Theatre in US military uniforms was because an unlawful and immoral war of Japanese aggression required a US military response. Couple this with the facts that in Hiroshima there were military personnel in garrison, there were civilians working in war essential industries, and there were civilians willing (if not eager) to answer the call to universal conscription. Taken all together, the point is simply to say that we can't make easy binaries between combatants on the one side who are liable to attack and, on the other side, non-combatants who are simply not liable to attack. But, it's true that Japanese conscripts existed too and that they, too, were husbands and fathers and brothers and sons--and, preparing for that invasion--daughters and wives and mothers. The fact that this is true only underlines the point: the dropping of those bombs saved an extraordinary number of civilian--in both our simple and more complex understanding--lives: American, Japanese, Chinese, etc.

Lastly, I'm not sure I'm clear on just what you're asking regarding the unconditional surrender. I will say that our demand for "unconditional surrender" was, as I suggested in my own remarks, entirely justified. I'll go a step further here. I wonder if a line can't be drawn between Versailles Treaty and the way we forced the ending of the Second World War. I follow Pershing in his worry that the Germans surrendered without ever really being "licked." Germany's armies were never destroyed in the field. Indeed, German generals telling their men to stand down noted to them that they were stopping hostilities while occupying enemy territory. Most German civilians--to whom rationing, absent men, and funerals would have made plain that they were at war--nevertheless saw no indication that they were losing the fight. Yet, suddenly, they are the defeated nation suffering punitive peace terms. I think the rise of Hitler proved Pershing's point. Reading the minutes of the Japanese war cabinet makes plain that Japanese militarism would not accept defeat. They did not accept that they had been licked. Hiroshima made that plain. Indeed, they could now stand down knowing they had done everything they could do. For a society with strong beliefs about honor, the bombs were even a face-saving mechanism. The proposal--which you might not be making--that the demand for unconditional surrender could not lead to a durable peace is proved wrong simply by the history. In fact, I believe it is largely because of the unconditional nature of the surrender, followed by the magnanimous occupation, feeding, and rebuilding of Japan, that allowed for the friendship we enjoy today.

I'm not sure I answered the question you were asking here, but I hope I managed to say something useful. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

marc

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