Naked Soldiers and the Principle of Discrimination

Journal of Military Ethics 13 (4):320-330 (2014)
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Robert Graves's First World War story in his autobiography Goodbye to All That, narrating his refusal to kill an enemy soldier bathing naked on the battlefield, has been made famous in the field of military ethics by Michael Walzer in his Just and Unjust Wars. The story raises the issue of whether soldiers should be granted immunity when behaving in an ‘un-warlike’ manner. It also relates to the growing understanding in military ethics that only soldiers who pose a direct threat should be attacked and killed. This paper concludes that the traditional legal understanding that all soldiers are liable to be attacked and to be killed is the stronger argument



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