queenofthinair: Moral Equality of Combatants and the Legacy of Unjust Causes

Can these combatants, fighting in good faith but for a cause we judge to be unjust but relatively within the requirements of jus in bello, be honored? And in what ways?

In short, I think they can and should be, although we probably disagree about the ‘in what ways’.  A beginning to the discussion might go as follows. I think valorizing the leaders of these militaries will be problematic, except in the way Patton did for Rommel; I do think that there is a place for valorizing the sacrifice (especially of the average soldier) and acts of courage and military prowess in certain ways. These ways will be subject to our collective moral judgment, but I think we should have these discussions.  We may well decide that naming a college after Lee or a base after other Confederate generals is now inappropriate and that those should be changed.   It does seem appropriate to have war memorials, cemeteries and other public displays to acknowledge and record sacrifices, military feats and other important moments as they are part of our shared history together. Erasure of the dead seems morally untenable and cruel; the ethics of war requires we not inflict unnecessary suffering and they are already dead.

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