Originally Posted by Amnorix
I'll disagree with that, despite my prior post that said something kinda along the same lines.
There's a difference between the reality that the battlefield is not a nice place, and that harsh tactics must be used, and what Bormann, Eichmann and the rest of the Nazi leadership is accountable for.
A BIG difference.
I would say the following:
1. Tactics used against enemy armed combatants in order to remove them as enemy combatants are ALL fair. Whether it's ambushing them, using pungi sticks, dropping napalm on their heads, etc. etc. There's nothing "unfair" or morally reprehensible about methods of disarming/killing/removing threats on the battlefield.
2. The only limits to the above would apply to collateral damage that may be inflicted on civilians, and that's SITUATIONAL. Carpet bombing in an all-out war between two civilizations engaged in a life or death struggle for their nation's survival, may be warranted and not considered morally rephrensible. (see, Dresden and/or Hiroshima / Nagasaki).
3. Atrocities, in my mind, can generally only be committed against the civilian population and (usually, anyway) unarmed enemy combatants who have been effectively nullified as a threat. If you capture enemy soldiers, disarm them, and without cause or trial line them up against the wall and machine gun them down, that's an atrocity. As would the Bataan death march (which is another method of accomplishing the same thing).
One man's opinion, anyway....
I agree with your position for the most part, but I'd bet that if Nazi Germany had won World War II, those two wouldn't have been hanged.
And if Bin Laden & Zarqawi''s jihad prevails, beheadings will be considered to have been an acceptable means to the end.
Atrocities are in the eyes of the victor. That's not to say that the victor won't view some extreme acts by their own forces to be atrocities, but if your side wins your chances are a lot better of getting away with pushing the envelope.