I understand what the comic implies, I also understand that often times in the heat of the moment we react for our own survival and follow the training we have been given. I also know that like Viet Nam, the Taliban have no regard for human life and will use women, children, older people, whoever they can to serve their deadly purpose. So then our troops, who have been raised in a humane society that respects life gets put in this jungle of death with “The Rules of Engagement” to guide our actions. It’s war. If you can justify war to begin with, do we all follow the rules? No. Did the Japanese in WW 2 and the Vietnamese in Nam? No. Does the Taliban give a damn about the Geneva convention rules? No. As a combatant in a war like any we have fought in the middle east, are you going to fight a war by “conventional method”? No. So we fight and try to maintain some shred of decency and humanity in the process. Will we make mistakes? Absolutely. Anyone that’s ever been in combat knows how quickly things change and how we often have to make life and death split second decisions. Then when we return home we live with the nightmares, PTSD, and sometimes suicidal ideation as we try to reconcile ourselves with the war.
In one sense the “Rules” to be applied to a war is an absurd concept. How is butchering people ever justified or realistically regulated by a set of rules? And to Rall’s point, they change with the society and their rationale for how to fight the war. My sympathy still goes to the soldier who trusts in his superiors to do “the right thing” and make some definition of action for the insanity of war for him to follow.
FWIW I am an older (66) Libertarian, have lived with too much violence in my life justified by self righteous politicians who so easily committed us to wars that should have never happened. It’s sad to say but our military policy will not be governed by a defensive posture as outlined in our Constitution, but more because we can’t afford (fiscally) to any longer “save the world for democracy.” Thanks for letting me share.