Readings — From the January 2017 issue

Loaded Questions

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From scenarios presented in Fighter Not Killer, an app that is used by militant groups, including the Islamic State, to test combatants’ knowledge of international humanitarian law. The app was created by Geneva Call, an NGO that promotes humanitarian norms in armed conflict. Zako is a character who represents an untrained recruit.

You are on patrol after a battle and come across two wounded fighters. First, Zako, with a bullet wound in the shoulder. Second, an enemy fighter, who is breathing but unconscious. Zako looks at you and says, “Kill him!” Can you kill the unconscious enemy fighter?

You go to a café to pick up new recruits. They begin to harass and fondle the barmaid, telling her that she should do her duty to the cause. Can the men force the barmaid to have sex?

On patrol, you discover that many farm animals have died from starvation. Zako has an idea: “Let’s dump the carcasses into the stream. It flows into the enemy camp and we’ll contaminate their water supply.” Can you use the carcasses to contaminate the enemy’s water supply?

It is the end of a long, dry summer. Zako says, “Let’s burn the forest down. The enemy will either become charcoal or run right into our arms.” Can you burn down the forest?

Zako is very excited. He has discovered that the local hospital is treating wounded enemy fighters. He wants to destroy the hospital so that it can no longer assist the enemy. Can you target the hospital?

Zako approaches your checkpoint in an ambulance with a red crescent. He winks at you and says the enemy will never know what hit them. Can Zako use an ambulance with the red-crescent emblem to attack the enemy?

You have received information on the route an enemy general will take. You plan an ambush and capture the general. Your supreme commander calls you on the radio and says the general has critical information. Because of military necessity he authorizes you to torture the general, but only as much as necessary. Can you torture the general?

You are conducting a guerrilla campaign. Your commander instructs you to detonate a remote-control bomb targeting an enemy general on a road. Just as the jeep approaches, you notice a school bus full of children approaching from the opposite direction. They will pass the bomb at the same time. Can you launch the attack?

You retreat to a village where civilians are sympathetic to your struggle. The mayor offers to assemble the schoolchildren around your base as shields. Can you accept the mayor’s offer?

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October 2019


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