Killing Civilians – Chapter 1

Killing Civilians by Hugo Slim discusses genocides in comparison to human emotions and morals. One of the most impactful stories and references that Slim uses in this chapter is about the solider who doesn’t shot. This solider is one of the only fighters who does not shot anyone at his post in a genocide in Bakedu where 350 people were killed in half an hour. He represents the ideal of compassion even during war and the idea of “even war has limits”.

This idea of war with limits was brought up during the Geneva convention of 1977, ┬áduring this convention laws regarding war including extensive legal protection for civilians was created. These legal protections were put into place to ensure that war did not become completely immorally violent. Despite these laws put into place, many future countries broke the laws during war and argued that war simply cannot have limits, and that placing limits on war is trying to refine an “uncontrollable evil”.

Both ideas of having limits on war or having a limitless war comes down to war morals, these morals are the need to win and the need to protect. This protection relates to both the protection of civilians and even the protection of soldiers, but either way the morals of war is a very fuzzy philosophy. War and genocide can come hand in hand and the morals of war are connected and discuss genocides.

In regards to war morals there is also the idea of the necessity of war. Augustine stated that war can be good despite pacifists stating that war is always bad. Overall, these differences in ideals and beliefs of war being necessary or war having limits are all fuzzy and truly depend on the person or country. Either way there has been many wars and plenty of violence connecting to the idea that humans are naturally violent.

Questions:

What is the psychology in soldiers that enables them to be so violent and okay with mass killing?

Over time has the the amount of empathy that humans have grown? Has evolution caused less violence?

Which religions value the idea of fighting against competing religions or killing for their beliefs and which do not?

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