Book 2 – Page 47

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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby odoflood » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:47 pm

Certainly, there's both customary and statue law in terms of how wars are fought. But the concept of what is honorable or a "fair fight" (and whether there should be fair fights) is fairly arbitrary and relative.

Consider surprise attacks. Our culture looks askance on "strategic surprise," and considers things like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 to be examples of perfidy. But once hostilities have commenced, we have no problem with tactical surprise (for example, using denial and deception, low-observable aircraft, camo, etc).

Likewise, we don't feel it dishonorable or cowardly to use fighters to drop JDAMs on insurgents. In Afghan culture, they (and Bill Mahar) look at it as a cowardly way to fight (though I see it as a pragmatic way to fight).

Asymmetric warfare is a tool used be people who know they cannot win in a force-on-force engagement using the expectations and "rules" (customary or de jure) of the other side. It's not inherently dishonorable to engage in asymmetric warfare. But, obviously, reciprocity and reprisal are very real dangers. The history of humanity is proof enough of the problem of increasing savagery over time (look at the barbarism commited by both the Athenians and Spartans during the Peloponnesian War(s), for example, as these "highly civilized" and cultured peoples did some very, very nasty things to each others troops, and neutral non-combatants alike).

That being said, I should note that Parson arguably technically never violated parley.

He told Charlie "I'm going to need a truce to surrender." That's a statement of fact. "Were I to surrender, I'd need a truce to do so." It is not, in a strict semantic sense, telling Ansom that he surrenders. Likewise, Parson said "Tell Ansom that I'll be on the tower parapet in a few minutes to surrender." This does not mean "I surrender," it means "Tell Ansom that I'm going to surrender." The differences are subtle but nonetheless real. It's misleading, but it's not necessarily perfidy.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:00 pm

odoflood wrote:Certainly, there's both customary and statue law in terms of how wars are fought.


Then we are in agreement. The other paragraph, about tactical surprise being ok once hostilities start is something I agree with too. Tactical surprise is fine, there are a few kinds of surprises that don't fly well nonetheless (don't feign surrender, for example; conversely, respect a surrender signal).

odoflood wrote:The history of humanity is proof enough of the problem of increasing savagery over time (look at the barbarism commited by both the Athenians and Spartans during the Peloponnesian War(s), for example, as these "highly civilized" and cultured peoples did some very, very nasty things to each others troops, and neutral non-combatants alike).


And that's why it's best if you do stick to rules.

odoflood wrote:That being said, I should note that Parson arguably technically never violated parley.


This particular case is debatable- and "we" (maybe not you, but me and other forumites) just did debate something like that in the previous reaction thread. Agree to disagree, we surely will repeat that discussion at some point in the future. Until then, I'll not bog the forum down.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Lamech » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:39 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:Then we are in agreement. The other paragraph, about tactical surprise being ok once hostilities start is something I agree with too. Tactical surprise is fine, there are a few kinds of surprises that don't fly well nonetheless (don't feign surrender, for example; conversely, respect a surrender signal).

.
I agree with this fake parely's and fake surrender's or stand downs are generally a very bad idea. But there is no way the coalition can really expect Parson to "honor" those things after they attacked during a parely (Queen Bea), and faked a stand down (Jillian).

BLANDCorporatio wrote:And that's why it's best if you do stick to rules.
I don't think this holds if the other side doesn't really seem to care.
BLANDCorporatio wrote:This particular case is debatable- and "we" (maybe not you, but me and other forumites) just did debate something like that in the previous reaction thread. Agree to disagree, we surely will repeat that discussion at some point in the future. Until then, I'll not bog the forum down.
Parson didn't lie in the same way that clinton didn't lie. In other words, while he technically didn't lie about surrender he was clearly deceptive, and that is what matters when it comes to false parley's and surrenders.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby falldowngoboom » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:58 pm

Hey All,

So here is what I see happening. Lots of spoiler assumptions ahead. But this is what I would do in Parson's place.

Spoiler: show
You cannot attack across area zones off turn, so dragon breath is out as an attack on the tower as stated in http://www.erfworld.com/category/book-2 ... s/page/13/. However, you can attack the garrison if you have total control of a zone, such as the airspace. This allows the following.
Part one. The roof is a ground substitute and dragon crap falls via gravity. This allows dragon crap to pass the airspace/garrison line as demonstrated in http://www.erfworld.com/category/book-2 ... s/page/12/ . With the roof being destroyed, we move to part two. Any unit can become an archer by throwing any item, including food, clothing, bricks, weapons, etc. Combine these facts and you have a potential for a ton of "archery" ammo for all of the units in the air to drop across the airspace/garrison line with full effect on the units below. There are a LOT of units in the air and a lot of riders on those dragons. With all of them throwing/dropping things, casualties can be assumed. Which brings us to part three...

Wanda can decrypt across zones and can cast on the enemy's turn. http://www.erfworld.com/category/book-2 ... s/page/13/ Which as some of you have postulated, means that she decrypts the units that have died due to the Gobwin Knob "foodfight" Parson referenced before. The foodfight continues, however Gobwin Knob now has dance-fight capable units IN the garrison. This means they can attack the tower directly with those units. http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F116a.jpg Sadly for Jetstone, they only have half of their archers in the tower right now with the other half on the outer walls. http://www.erfworld.com/book-2-archive/ ... -06-20.png Their forces are split and in order to join them together, they have to pass through the ongoing food fight. It is unknown what other units are in the tower, but this will quickly escalate to a serious zombie apocalypse situation in Jetstone.

Unknown assumption/addition on my part. You can spend schmuckers off turn. Rations cost schmuckers. If you can force pop rations for units in the field, you have an amount of ammo limited only by your treasury. Right now Gobwin Knob has a lot of schmuckers, which would add to the foodfight in spades.


I think that's enough for now...

<edited for additions and grammar
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Ditto » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:35 pm

Nothing really new in your theory, but
Wanda can decrypt across zones and can cast on the enemy's turn.

is not supported by the klog you reference. It says you can uncroak/presumably decrypt and spend juice (things that don't affect others and can be done within your own hex), but explicitly NOT cast spells (that is, a use of juice that directly affects an enemy unit) across hex boundaries.
SteveMB wrote:The question is getting Wanda to honor the offer. They could keep going back and forth: offer, honor, offer, honor....
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby falldowngoboom » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:54 pm

Dead units are not enemy units.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Rizban » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:23 pm

Looks like he's putting raw material into the enemy zone in order to create crap golems.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Raza » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:18 pm

This update, with a fight finally coming up, reminds me that I really want to see Wanda do croakamancy other than animating corpses.

Death spells, curses, life leeching, blight. Necromancy is a far broader field than animation alone, and many Erfworld magic disciplines that we've seen in action far less than croakamancy have shown much more versatility. If falling is 'natural shockamancy', then clearly croaking should be natural croakamancy, and that much if nothing else should be inducible through spells.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Oberon » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:00 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:Very bizzare posts, showing an inaccurate understanding of ethics and military custom on Earth. Might does not make right. Rules of engagement exist, and are but one class of rules of warfare. Disobeying such customs is done at your peril- who knows, maybe you are, in fact, big enough to escape the consequences. Not always a safe bet though, and it's not a moral justification anyway.
Funny! I'm going to have to say the exact same thing about you. Bizarre post, showing a complete lack of understanding of history on Earth.

Rules of engagement are set by the victors. In other words, the strong. They have little or nothing to do with morals. These rules are enforced against the losers, and only the losers. If the winners violate them, in almost every case there are no consequences at all, even from other signatories.

Disobeying such customs is done at your peril? Only if you lose. Where is the "peril" to North Korea for torpedoing a South Korean warship? Where is their "peril" for producing a dozen or so plutonium bombs, and testing a pair of them? Sanctions? Please. 55 years later, and they are still going strong. There is no peril, because as yet North Korea has not lost, and is very likely not going to lose. No one wants to risk the wrath of their massive artillery banks within range of Seoul and Japan, and they possess the twin deterrent threats of nuclear bombs and a willingness to pass either technology or materiel to other countries or organizations. Might does make right.

Disobeying such customs is done at your peril? Only if you lose. Where is the "peril" the the United States for violating "ethics and military custom" against torture? There is no peril, because as yet the United States has not lost, and is very likely not going to lose. The debate has worn down into battles over semantics, and if some troops, or even NCOs or junior officers pay the price of their careers it is still no real cost or "peril" to the nation. "Moral justification"? Just listen to any of those, including the past President, who claimed that the torture was absolutely necessary to prevent further attacks. That, my friend, is the textbook definition of a moral justification: "My evil act was actually good, because it resulted in greater good." Bah! There is no good or evil, only winner and loser. Might does make right.

So here we have two perfect examples (and I could go on and on with other similarly perfect examples, but I hope that I've made my point well enough already) demonstrating my point of view over yours, and yet you claim that I lack understanding? Laughable, at best. You'll need to try much harder.
Last edited by Oberon on Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby effataigus » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:08 pm

Oberon, you are, as ever, a wonderful counterpoint on these forums, but I disagree with this last post.

It is too strong to say that rules of engagement have little or nothing to do with morals. All of the examples of rules of engagement that I can think of (no flamethrowers, no firebombing, no nuking population centers, two sides not killing long enough to talk to one another and see if a war can end early (Parley), prisoner ransoming, POW treatment) are where sides willingly suspend a strategic advantage in the hopes that the enemy will do likewise and war will be a little less horrific. This is tantamount to "not doing unto others as you would have others not do unto you"... essentially the Golden Rule which is the backbone of all morality. Admittedly, rules of engagement often fly out the window in life or death combat, and, admittedly again, not all sides in a conflict are represented enough to actually agree to such a code (nor would many sides agree). Observed or otherwise, these rules are grounded in morality.

Regarding the separate point that there is no peril for the strong disregarding conventions:

This argument seems to be constructed from the following assumptions:
1. Disobeying conventions is only bad for losers.
2. The only bad thing that can happen is being obliterated.
3. Losers are those that are obliterated.

I'd postulate that there are other bad things that could happen to a nation or an individual than utter annihilation though :D

The nations in the instances you have cited have lost moral standing through the actions you discuss, and they have suffered from consequent increases in international hostility (terrorism, economic sanctions(as you point out)...). North Korea might not be a smoking crater, but, even accounting for an an assumed propaganda distortion, I'm very very glad I don't live there. The individuals involved in the torturing of American detainees have become reviled political figures, have mostly been swept out of office (for other reasons as well, admittedly), and have had to defend their jobs (and their freedoms) from several lawsuits brought against them by their own government.

Overall, I think it is important to respect morality... especially in international disputes where millions of lives are on the line... though this is probably also why my nation is almost invariably crushed in games like Diplomacy.

I think the only consensus we are going to reach on whether Parson is good or evil is that his actions are morally debatable. If anyone thinks otherwise, I suggest you reread the debate.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Roketter » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:17 pm

For all we know the dookies might just as well be dirtamancy traps...

Eugh... "Return of the Crap Golems"
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Selexor » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:03 am

Oh, I will concede that there are customs and conventions that exist between nations of the world. And yes, they do apply "Rules" to war. But each and every rule there is has been broken in warfare, and attempts to punish those who break the rules have - to put it politely - met with very limited success in most cases.

I suppose I'm taking a more philosophical approach than some here. But ultimately, when people apply rules in war, they're saying, "We can kill each other, but you're not allowed to do this." If I'm going to die by following that rule, what possible incentive is there for me to follow it? And how can you possibly claim you'd follow it unless you're put to the test? I don't know if I'd pass. I sincerely hope I never have to find out. But it's a simple fact of warfare. For every honourable, man-to-man battle, there are ten assassinations and a thousand bombings. For every monster found guilty of war crimes, there are ten prisoner executions and a thousand "intensive interrogations". For every Geneva Convention, there is a Hiroshima.
I'm not saying there is no such thing as honour in wartime. I'm saying that honour in wartime is a luxury for those who can afford it, and each and every time, the people who can afford it are the ones who are going to win. It's the nature of battle - one side, or combatant, is going to be stronger or smarter or faster or tougher or better outfitted or just plain superior. That is the definition of an unfair fight: you enter the battlefield knowing you have an advantage over your opponent. And it absolutely, completely must be that way, or else every single battle in the history of the world would have ended in a 0-0 draw.
So if I enter a fight, knowing perfectly well that I'm at a disadvantage, and that if I lose I'm going to die, I'm going to do what any sane, sensible person would have to do. I'm going to try to win. And if I can't win by using some material advantage of strength or supply or speed, I'm going to use strategy. To put it simply, I am going to trick my opponent. Do you know who calls something like that dishonourable? The people who went into this unfair fight expecting to win easily and lost because I tricked them, that's who. Why the hell should I care if they don't like me for it? If they liked me, they wouldn't have just been trying to kill me.

In an attempt to drag this back on topic, compare it with Erfworld.
Was Ansom being "fair" and "honourable" when he got a dozen sides to team up against Gobwin Knob? Was he being fair when he hired Charlie's mercenaries to save his own skin? Was he being fair when he did it all because Stanley committed the terrible, terrible crime of saying that Royals weren't necessarily superior to him?
Or how about Charlie, everyone's favourite mercenary, whose honourable tactics include spying on other people's communications and strongarming Prince Sammy into a suicide attack. Jillian, whose honourable tactics include her axe-crazy killing of everyone she dioesn't like. The Don, who helped rebuild Faq to use as muscle against Gobwin Knob. Slately, who allied with Faq to set a trap for Gobwin Knob's airforce (which they were not supposed to know about), and who then went for bonus points by instantly declaring Jillian a traitor because she dared to talk to Charlie.
Yeah, Parson's crossing the line by breaking Parley and by using the Magic Kingdom as a backdoor into an enemy city. I'm not saying he isn't being a sneaky bastard for it. I'm merely saying, SO IS EVERYONE ELSE. He's no worse than the world he's in, and anyone who claims he's a monster for it - like Tramennis - needs a little perspective.




(Edited to remove grammatical and spelling errors I didn't notice when originally posted)
Last edited by Selexor on Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
But of course that's just my opinion.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Smoker » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:27 am

Oberon wrote:
Rules of engagement are set by the victors. In other words, the strong. They have little or nothing to do with morals. These rules are enforced against the losers, and only the losers. If the winners violate them, in almost every case there are no consequences at all, even from other signatories.


Think on a smaller scale. Say there's a war between Nations X and Y. Nation X is by far the stronger, and will no doubt win the war, but there are occasions when Nation Y will win individual battles. Now if the rules of engagement, (or ethics, or whatever you want to call it) are followed, the Nation X troops can say "Holy boop, we're gonna get creamed. There's no point to playing this out to the death, lets raise the white flag and try our luck in a POW camp, hopefully until the war ends, or we are traded out for some of Nation Y's prisoners."

However, if Nation X has been attacking under cease fire, or using false surrenders to gain an advantage, will Nation Y take prisoners? Wouldn't it be safer to slaughter them right there?

Similarly if the POWs that Nation X have are poorly treated, or executed or et cetera, what hope do the Nation X troops have of surviving Nation Y's camps? In fact, what RIGHT do they have?

Yeah on a grander scale, Nation X wins the war, but it has, in this hypothetical, come at the cost of lives wasted. Moreover, when Nation Y is long gone, and Nation X goes to war with Nation Z, the story repeats itself. People will die that do not have to die. That is a dire consequence.

oberon wrote: Might does make right.


No, might makes success, but does not always make right.

Anyway, bringing this back to Erfworld-
Hypothetical: Parson eventually finds himself NEEDING to surrender in order to save his life. Trammenis knows how Parson regards parley and surrender, so in order to protect himself, he has an archer execute him from across the hex.

Hypothetical: Parson is in desperate need to escape from a falling city. He dives back into the MK. The MK, knowing he is not to be trusted, blast him on sight.

Hypothetical: Parson enters into parley with (say...) Transilvito. TV really want Parson dead, so they abuse parley to have him attacked and croaked. They wouldn't have done it against any other side, but hey, this is Parson - he would've done the same to them, right?

Replace Parson with "Sizemore", if you like, or any other GK "innocent".

The point is, you can win as many wars as you like, but you will eventually face consequences. They may not prevent you from winning a war, but a basic regard for the value of human life requires you to take these things seriously. People can and will die unnecessarily. There is the peril.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Sonic Screwdriver » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:02 am

Parson has already acknowledged that the plan they're enacting will mean they can no longer parley with Jetstone. It is technically a desperation move though, because losing the pliers and uncroaked at this stage of the game will mean Game Over for Gobwin Knob; this goes doubly-so as his intel informs him that parley with them is a farce and wouldn't net even a reprieve from total annihilation.

The hypothetical of escaping a falling city by entering MK is already a lost cause. Doing what any other caster would do the first time almost got him croaked on sight. That's a major reason why he's placing his convention (being present for battle) above their convention (using the portals to invade). It's already been noted that the Magic Kingdom is increasingly becoming hostile to Gobwin Knob on its own, what with even Sizemore slowly becoming a pariah.

I'm sure Transylvito would abuse parley to kill Parson anyway if they wanted to, as has been shown by Bea when she ordered a false parley made solely to kill her decrypted daughter and everyone's approval of Jillian attacking with a high-end spell when under a ceasefire.

Really, the Royals are about as bad when it comes to breaking rules, and only seem to disapprove of it when it's done by the enemy. Parson has been the most pragmatic (tolerant) in this regard, as he's never been morally indignant of anything done unfairly to his side.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Smoker » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:46 am

Sonic Screwdriver wrote:
I'm sure Transylvito would abuse parley to kill Parson anyway if they wanted to, as has been shown by Bea when she ordered a false parley made solely to kill her decrypted daughter and everyone's approval of Jillian attacking with a high-end spell when under a ceasefire.


This is an interesting point, with many angles to examine it from...

I'm inclined to think that Queen Bea's perspective on the issue was very different. She didn't abuse parley to gain tactical advantage, or do any serious harm to GK - she was making her preparations for mass-suicide (or murder-suicide, if you prefer) and wanted her daughter to come with her.

I believe that if it were anything short of being shown the undead puppet of her daughter dancing to the enemies tune, Queen Bea would not have issued any command of that sort. Besides, being that she had already decided to commit suicide, what use had she for honour, or ethics? She was about to force the disbandment of her entire side, without even giving them the chance to prove themselves to the Titans - she quite possibly denied hundreds, maybe thousands of units access to the city of heroes.. (if you believe in that sort of thing)

Had she been intending to live another turn, she might well have found some restraint.

And since that turn, Don King has been fixated on the royalty cause. That's why he supported Faq, and why he started popping a royal heir. He had excellent reasons to leave Faq to history, and to keep his current CWL, but he flew in the face of reason for his own beliefs. Similarly, I think he'd overlook a perfect chance to cap an enemy's CWL in order to maintain his Royal dignity... unless of course it was someone as vile as GK, upon whom honour is a wasted gesture.

But thats my interpretation of how Parson's 'dishonour' might bite him in the ass. Perhaps in time we will see for certain.


Oh, and as for Jillian - this is a perfect point. GK will never trust her in a parley again. She's betrayed them twice, and probably only got away with the second time because Ansom didn't know about Kingworld. (That capture was under parley right? Something tells me to check that, but I dont have time grr) In fact, any side who knows whats happened would be crazy to trust her.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Zeku » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:55 am

I read the Once and Future King back in high school, so I'm familiar with the question "Does might make right?" However, I think there's a huge danger of ambiguity in the wording.

The question could be implying, "am I automatically right just because I succeeded, and everyone else failed?" To extrapolate, it's asking whether some ultimate (hypothetical) arbiter approves of the winner's "evil" choice. If that arbiter is "good," then 'No." If that arbiter is indifferent, then "Yes." If that arbiter is "evil," then "Maybe."

But if we look at the question from the perspective of the arbiter itself, then the question becomes a lot simpler. Yes, of course "might makes right" because only might succeeds. The most powerful party, the one who chooses a working plan and carries it to it's completion (an act of faith) is right and good.

Then you have an added layer of complexity, when we assume this arbiter is complex, and doesn't sharply distinguish such granular concepts as 'selfishness' or 'victory,' and only wants to maintain some unknown truth, which seems to include the continued existence of the current elements of the universe. In this case, external truth is merely a tool to perpetuate the personality and preferences of the arbiter.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Sonic Screwdriver » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:40 am

I don't believe that abusing parley for non-tactical reasons is somehow more permissible. Going off your stance with Bea not being required to hold to honour or ethics when the goal is suicide, how is this different than Parson forgoing the same in the face of Gobwin Knob's utter annihilation? If he didn't abuse surrender the first time, the handful of survivors (him included) would be slaves at best. He faces this fate again if he doesn't save Wanda and the Pliers by breaking parley.

I can understand that sentiment were he to be dishonorable just for efficiency, but he's only been doing it reluctantly at the alternative of Gobwin Knob's extermination with him lucky to survive as a mind slave. The only possible exception is his use of the MK portal, which I do think is risky with it 'only' being done to sate his moral quandary at sending troops to die from afar.

I hope the Royals would learn that parley is still available with GK, just not to be used as an excuse to let their guard down and not to use it as a means to kick people while they're down. This would require them to consider GK as anything less than ideologically anathema to them, which is doubtful considering Unaroyal's jauhar in the face of mere alliance with Gobwin Knob.

This is different for Jillian, as she shows total disregard for parley. She'll abuse parley to get the things that are important to her (Ansom), for important/vital strategic advantage (Space Rock), and even to gain ancillary strategic advantage (Jitterati). Add on top of all this that you can't even trust her to be a reliable ally (Charlie & Don) because her personal desires trump even her kingdom.

That is one thing I'd like to see, Parson in an alliance. How much would he go out of his way to help others or even honour an agreement? What kind of impression is Parson going to create with those who encounter him rather than hear about him through biased sources (Sylvia, Charlie, etc)?
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Selexor » Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:58 am

Sonic Screwdriver wrote:That is one thing I'd like to see, Parson in an alliance. How much would he go out of his way to help others or even honour an agreement? What kind of impression is Parson going to create with those who encounter him rather than hear about him through biased sources (Sylvia, Charlie, etc)?

My guess? He'd keep his promises come hell or high water. Look at what he's doing now! This latest breach of parley, and his plan to attack Spacerock personally - and alone, I might add - is because he refuses to send anyone else to die in a battle he's not willing to fight in himself.
Even Jetstone acknowledges that croaking Wanda wouldn't defeat Gobwin Knob, even if they destroyed every single decrypted unit by doing so (and there's no concrete proof that would happen). The side's just too powerful. If Tramennis and Slately know that, Parson does too. So he's not joining this fight to save himself. He's doing it to save Wanda, who he dislikes and considers a worse monster than himself; a large army of decrypted, who he finds repulsive as Wanda's slaves; and Jack, the one living person in the battlespace he actually likes.

I think even pre-decryption Ansom would grudgingly approve of the noblesse oblige Parson is showing here. You don't ever, ever want Lord Hamster as your enemy, but if you can get past that, Parson Gotti would make one hell of an ally.
But of course that's just my opinion.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:58 am

Oberon wrote:So here we have two perfect examples (and I could go on and on with other similarly perfect examples, but I hope that I've made my point well enough already) demonstrating my point of view over yours, and yet you claim that I lack understanding? Laughable, at best. You'll need to try much harder.


No. I don't think I need to. If you seriously propose North Korea as a moral standard for a nation's conduct, then we have nothing to discuss. The disconnect between our worldviews is so severe that we'd only repeatedly yell basic notions at each other in a vain attempt to bridge it.

Selexor wrote:ultimately, when people apply rules in war, they're saying, "We can kill each other, but you're not allowed to do this." If I'm going to die by following that rule, what possible incentive is there for me to follow it?


A lot of the rules/customs of war don't work this way- follow this, and you die. Most of those rules exist for the purpose of limiting the damage and easing a war's end, before one of the sides is wiped out and the other wins by default.
The whole point of this is lost if you keep it a secret.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 47

Postby Oberon » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:09 am

effataigus wrote:Oberon, you are, as ever, a wonderful counterpoint on these forums, but I disagree with this last post.

It is too strong to say that rules of engagement have little or nothing to do with morals. All of the examples of rules of engagement that I can think of (no flamethrowers, no firebombing, no nuking population centers, two sides not killing long enough to talk to one another and see if a war can end early (Parley), prisoner ransoming, POW treatment) are where sides willingly suspend a strategic advantage in the hopes that the enemy will do likewise and war will be a little less horrific. This is tantamount to "not doing unto others as you would have others not do unto you"... essentially the Golden Rule which is the backbone of all morality. Admittedly, rules of engagement often fly out the window in life or death combat, and, admittedly again, not all sides in a conflict are represented enough to actually agree to such a code (nor would many sides agree). Observed or otherwise, these rules are grounded in morality.
Sort of. They like to position themselves as such, and on first glance it may seem to be so. But look deeper, and it becomes clear that most rules of engagement are just candy fluff posing as morality play.

I'll take a moment to say that the rules surrounding the acceptance of surrender and the treatment of POWs are a clear exception to my view on most/all of the other rules of engagement. Whether or not a nation, including my own beloved USA, actually follows those rules, or suffers any real consequences for failing to follow those rules, that I believe I detailed sufficiently in my prior post.

In my past post, I almost mentioned the supposed "rules" against flamethrowers, but I thought it was too easy. But you listed it above, so I'll dive in. Let's examine the rule, and I'll get to the "supposed" part later. Burning people to death achieves the goal of killing enemy troops. But it was deemed to be too horrific by some, and calls for banning the weapon and other public relations issues surrounded the reports of the horrible deaths they caused. Too horrific, what a crock of crap. The goal of war is to destroy your opponent's willingness to oppose you, most commonly by killing their soldiers and civilians until you break their will. But supposedly a bunch of people sat around a room and decided that out of the many ways to kill a person, fire was "too horrible" to be used. Except that they didn't. The USA is not a signatory to any international treaty which banns the use of flamethrowers. The USA has voluntarily removed the use of flamethrowers from its arsenal.

Does that make the USA a shining paragon of morality when it comes to the conduct of war? To address that question, I ask that we examine fuel-air explosions. Fuel-air munitions are essentially ranged flamethrowers. These are stated to be excellent for taking out tunnels, caves, and bunkers, a utility which they share with flamethrowers. The USA and the Russians even have a friendly rivalry going on to see who can make the biggest of these weapons. The USA has the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs), while the Russians have the FOAB (Father ...). So the USA gave up the use of flamethrowers, on a purely voluntary basis and without legally binding itself to the use of such weapons at any time a policy change might seem to be convenient. And the USA has a wide range of fuel-air munitions from dropped bombs to small arms launched grenades which are all essentially ranged flamethrowers.

In summary, any discussion of the morality of the use of flamethrowers must concern itself with a few key points:
The removal of flamethrowers from the US arsenal of war was entirely voluntary, and perhaps admirable.
That removal was strictly policy, has no force of law, and can be reversed at any moment without consequence.
Other weapons with the exact same utility: The burning to death of enemy soldiers, have been developed and are in common use within the US arsenal of war.

So, is it immoral to burn to death an enemy soldier? I do not think so. Dead is dead, and if killing via bullet isn't immoral (and it isn't, in war), than neither is killing via flame. But for anyone who disagrees and feels that flame based weapons need to be banned from use in warfare, I wish you good luck with that crusade, Don Quixote.
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Zeroberon wrote:So we know with 100% certainty that THIS IS HOW TRI-LINKS WORK, PERIOD END OF STORY.
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