Treating the Enemy

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by come_the_day, Jan 23, 2009.

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  1. Just listened to Jeremy Vine and many people suggesting that UK medical personnel should not treat enemy combatants in the same facility as injured UK personnel.

    I understand peoples' abhorrence of this situation, but please don't ask our medics to deny treatment to anybody who needs it. It's not necessarily the "Hearts and Minds" aspect of this, more the difference between right and wrong.
  2. Couldn't agree more. They do try and segregate, but sometimes that's not possible, and we're surely in the business of taking life when necessary, not leaving people to die through neglect- regardless of which side they're on.
  3. As a medic i agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly although i believe in my opinion there should be some form of segregation wherever possible. I also believe that failure to treat wounded combatants and civilians is in breach of the Geneva convention although you might want to ask Israel that when they are done for war crimes!!
  4. The treatment of enemy wounded is a requirement of the First Geneva Convention; or, Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, 1864. Treatment of enemy casualties in a common facility isn’t new and was known in the First and Second “lotâ€, Korea and, more recently, the Falklands.

    The problem started when the rather slack jawed George W declared his “war on terrorâ€. That immediately graced his Terrs with the impression of being lawful combatants. Even so, the Third Geneva Convention probably allowed them such status anyway and, according to Article 4, they must be given the benefit of doubt.

    Clearly, treating Terrs alongside our own Regulars isn’t ideal but it must be balanced against practicalities. Are we able to segregate within available resources without endangering the welfare of an individual? That then brings in the “fanatic†consideration. Is the fanatic likely to continue to be a threat to the lives of others? The entire thing’s a bloody minefield and I’m glad that I don’t have to tread through it.
  5. There are several reasons we should treat injured personnel, whatever their affiliation. The main one is common decency. That's what separates us from EF - we are decent people who will not leave someone dying. If we walk away then we are no better than they are. It is often very difficult, especially when they appear during the aftermath of an incident involving ISAF forces, but it is what we do.

    Segregation is a thorny issue: we certainly separate patients as much as facilities allow, and those patients who are detained by the RMP are held apart from other patients (much like prisoners are treated in UK hospitals).

    Regarding the Geneva Convention - fair point, but the Convention only applies when war has been declared. That is not currently the case, either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Having said that, the principles enshrined in the Geneva Convention are largely observed anyway.
  6. It would therefore appear that the BBC report on this matter was pretty correct reference trying to segregate EF and ISAF forces whereby it isnt always possible.
  7. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I should have thought that as the Taliban are criminal terrorists and not uniformed soldiers of any recognised Govt they have no legal entitlement under the Geneva Convention.
  8. I'm sure the same could be said for the Provos over the water Seaweed but they were treated accordingly when wounded otherwise it doesn't make us any better than them!!
  9. They may not have a legal entitlement but we have a moral obligation.
  10. That's where the G W B has muddied the waters with his Globally announced “war on terrorâ€. It wasn’t a declaration and it isn’t a war but, rather like a contractual agreement, just saying it carries obligations. Also relevant is Protocol 2 of the Convention, Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. This fits neatly with Terrorism, Civil War and Insurgency.

    What a good move it was to treat the PIRA as criminals and not as irregular combatants.
  11. Exactly the same line of reasoning used by Adolf Hitler in his 'Commando' order sent out to all Wermacht units after the British commando raids on the Channel Islands. They were criminal gangsters and were not to be regarded as soldiers. No Geneva Conventions applied. All captured and wounded were to be executed.

    It's a funny old world.

  12. I hope our armed forces medical services continue to do exactly as they are doing, and have done for a very long time.
  13. Anyone who enters a medical discipline or public service must be willing to treat everyone equally regardless of personal or philosophical beliefs. Sadly today some people think their their beliefs take precidence over other peoples right to the same treatment as everyone else. It is the perpetuation of such practices that give rise to the belief that some human lives are more worthy of continuation than others: what the Nazis called 'life unworthy of life'.
  14. It matters not whether the enemy are signatories of the GC, we are and are therefore bound by its articles. It would, in my opinion, be morally repugnant to suggest that we did not render first aid to the enemy. Having been intimately involved in the running of, and writing SOPs for, RAPs it can be the subjec of debate but the bottom line is that triage takes place on all casualties and they are treated accordingly. Yes due regard can be given to the sensibilities of our own casualties and med staff but this is limited by the number of personnel available at "first line". Further down the chain I see no reason why there should not be total segregation.

    As an aside, 40 Cdo RAP treated more enemy on the Al Faw peninsula than they did friendly forces.

  15. Ah!! "the still small voice of calm.."

    Vine is a complete twat, and will pander to the great unwashed!

    Combatants are combatants, and the Medics will do their job to the best of their ability. Some one with a leg blown off is someone with out a leg, no matter if he or she is Black white green or fecking spotted. They need help and that help should come from where ever it is available.

    Are our Brown Brothers not taught this in their basic training? Yes I am old, but I think the world has gone MAD.

    Red cross or Red crescent.. they are there to provide help to the fallen, are they not?

    Thank you Steve...
  16. It has been stated that no matter what our forces are all subject to the G.C. though these people should not be called P.O.Ws. they are prisoners and as such are entitled to medical treatment. What happens to them afterwards I don't know G.W.B. would have liked to send them to Cuba (can't spell Guantanamo) we can't give them to the Afghans as they would face the death sentence. So do they come over here and sponge on the dole

    Came on this earth with nothing, I'm doing well I still have it, if I can find it.
  17. That's right we're fighting for Democracy and our 'Superior' Way of Life and then you suggest we treat those who misguidedly fight against that by denying them treatment.
    We already accuse them of illegal activities and then deny them legal representation for years and to "Get vital information which could prevent a dirty bomb going off in Central London ( :roll: )" we torture them.
    That's really showing 'Them' that our way of life in the West is far better isn't it?
  18. Would you having both legs and an arm missing be happy to go into blissful sleep, when a terrorist who tried to kill you is in the adjacent bed with a boil on his ass


    They need to be segregated, given the same treatment but segregated

    (Well not the "same" treatment ie both legs and an arm removed, but same quality of care)

    Jack McH
  19. An easily thrown in comment but could you explain how this would work? At what level does segregation occur? Are there to be 2 sets of facilities and staff? Do we have different helicopters or vehicles for casevac or do we leave en casualties on the ground for the "second run" (and possibly therefore fall foul of the GC). I don't suggest that this is easy, treating en combatants in a mixed environment is both difficult and could be dangerous for those involved, hence the requirement to have armed guards present as you would for any other prisoner, but I think the above post by NZB makes a good point ie are we not "better" than them in this respect?
    I also think that this has to be put in perspective, this is neither the Somme nor Monte Cassino, we are not talking about hundreds or even dozens of casualties at a time (however see my earlier post which refers to such a time) and; in my experience; there aren't any "our's or their's" type choices being made.
    Another aspect of this, also linked to the way in which we treat PWs, is that those in the line of fire may one day be those "enemy" casualties or prisoners. Our reputation in this regard would hopefully stand us in good stead. It is a point I have debated with students and subordinates numerous times and it is suprising how many have never considered it.
  20. As others have said, we set ourselves apart from such people by having compassion and standards of fairness etc., so regardless of legalities they should be treated.

    Medical personnel also have an obligation under their own ethical code (the Hypocratic Oath) to treat those in need equally.

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