Title: Lethality in Combat – A study of the true nature of battle

Author: Lewis, Tom

Condition: Mint

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN: 9781921941511

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 359 pages

Comments: “One Italian paid the price for not observing the rules of surrender. He bobbed up from one of the pits, put a rifle to his shoulder and shot Green through the chest. He dropped his rifle, put up his hands and climbed out, smiling broadly. An angry Australian emptied his Bren gun into him.”

Does this action constitute a war crime?

Lethality in Combat shines a blazing light on the three most controversial aspects of military combat: the necessity of killing; the taking, or not, of prisoners; and the targeting of civilians. Firstly, if soldiers want to survive close-quarter combat, they must quickly learn to become efficient killers – or die. Some accept this reality enthusiastically; others do so more reluctantly. War, the author argues, has its own rules: society’s laws and values should not be applied.

Secondly, the author discusses a range of situations where prisoners cannot be taken, which raises profound ethical dilemmas. If prisoner-taking means compromising your own force’s lethality, with potentially life-threatening

consequences, what should you do? If the enemy typically kills surrendering soldiers to avoid taking prisoners, how should your side respond? And when exactly is an enemy no longer a combatant?

Thirdly, the author tackles what is perhaps the thorniest and most topical of all military issues: the enmeshing of enemy combatants and civilians. When there is no clear division between the two – as was the case in the Vietnam and Iraq wars, in particular – what is the right course of action? To put it starkly, if a soldier sees a child with a backpack bomb coming towards him, is he entitled to apply lethal force?

This book argues that when a nation-state sends its soldiers to fight, the state must accept the full implications of this, uncomfortable as they may be. Drawing on seven conflicts – the Boer War, World Wars I and II, and the wars

in Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands and Iraq – the author considers these ethical issues. Lethality in Combat lifts the veil on the much-misunderstood but very real and secret world of unsanitised war.