Last Updated 11 May 2021

The Road to Basra: A Case Study in Military Ethics

Category Case Study, Military, Road
Essay type Case Study
Words 544 (2 pages)
Views 272

This report states that this mission contained three moral themes they are as follows:  noncombatant immunity and the question of surrender,  military necessity and proportionality, and observations regarding the psychology of combat and the possibilities of right intent in combatants. My translation of what those theme mean, as for noncombatant immunity and the question of surrender, a large concern was that the number of unneeded hostages that were contained within the convoy.

There seemed to be a lack of certainty on what was defined as surrendering and those that did surrender appeared to still be subject to attack. Immunity didn’t appear to be an option to many, regardless of various attempt made by many different statures. In regards to, military necessity and proportionality, Was it actually necessary to attack the convoy or could it have been allowed to pass? The convoy passing was the intended purpose of the war. Because of the knowledge and fear of a retaliated attack, it was felt that attacking the column with what was best at the time.

Whether the attack was proportionate depended on what one thought the goal of the war was. Lastly, observations regarding the psychology of combat and the possibilities of right intent in combatants. The psychological well-being of the troops were all over the board. Some being excited about their involvement of the “feeding frenzy” as some called it. Where others were clearly upset but this, those were asking not to be sent back to that position upon return for refuel. To be delighted on the amount of destruction contributed, having a sense of pleasure from shooting large quantities of live targets.

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It was stated that the longer a soldier lives in the zone of combat the more desensitized to what he doing he becomes. White Flags on the Road to Basra – Surrendering Soldiers in the Persian Gulf War First section depicts soldiers that were waving their white flags and still shot and killed. Pilots expressed delight in the havoc they were causing. Enjoyed displaying the abilities of their aircrafts, showing the damage they can cause. Many Iraqi soldiers abandoned their vehicles on foot, many mere children ages of 13 and 14.

They were hunted down and killed by cluster bombs. Many were waving white flags, and this was disregarded. It stated that killing soldier in war is acceptable. There were no established facts that showed that the attack was military necessary. Military necessity consists in acts of violence relevant to achieving a tactical or military objective and compatible with laws and customs of war. So basically because its war, what is defined and necessary is a bevy of ideas depending on what is needed or wanted.

There appears to have been a discrepancy as to whether or not the Iraqi troops waved the white flags to surrender. In previous practice when a soldier held up a white flag, they surrender and are granted immunity and fire is ceased. It is believed that Iraqi troops did not display the white flag with intent to surrender. The study states that today’s wars aren’t any remotely close to how they used be when the fight was face to face. With the advancement in technology it becomes a virtual fight so to speak. In many situations you won’t see the enemy coming.

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The Road to Basra: A Case Study in Military Ethics. (2018, Jan 24). Retrieved from

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