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Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Philosophy of Surrender

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

I have commented that I have a tendency to take a "no surrender" attitude towards combat. I thought I would take a moment to discuss why, even that, is subject to variation.

No surrender applies to me, personally. I very much would rather go down fighting than give up. I am comfortable saying that because I did, one time in my life, face the concept of "maybe if I surrender he will not kill me", and chose to if necessary die rather than yield.

But, again, that is a personal choice, and it can be overridden in a number of different ways.

I am subject to my superiors' determining that we will surrender. I can, in such case, ask for permission to try to escape or take some other action, but I am honor bound to obey a lawful order, particularly when my desire to continue to resist could get others killed.

I am subject, if I am the man in command, to keeping my subordinates alive if I can. If resistance seems hopeless, or if there is no purpose to it (for example, holding a choke-point as long as possible to allow other forces to escape or establish a new line), then I have an obligation to consider surrender to save the lives of the men under my command.

There are still other factors.

I would never surrender to Al Qaida terrorists, nor surrender men under my command to such a group, under any circumstances. We would all only be killed in any case.

I would think long and hard about risking a surrender to any communist group, but this is because I have studied history, including the fates of POWs in the hands of communist groups, and I would rather die than accept a possibly lingering death with bouts of torture. (Real torture, not what is defined nowadays as torture to gain political points.)

If I was engaged in battle with the British, I might be more inclined to surrender (the British Army is hardly free of atrocities, but has an overall pretty good record when it comes to prisoners of war . . . not perfect, but pretty good).

So, while I would myself do all I could to avoid becoming a prisoner of war, there are circumstances where it could happen. (This includes being knocked out in hand to hand combat, or by a nearby explosion, or debris from such, etc.)

But as a rule, I would rather die than be taken.