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On Killing - Study Guide Section 5, Killing and Atrocities: No Honor Here, No Virtue : Chapters 1-4 Summary & Analysis

Dave Grossman (author)
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The author defines atrocity as killing civilians, or people who have surrendered or retired from fighting. There are three types of atrocities: the white, the gray and the black. The white area are killings that are not atrocious actions, as when warriors achieve victory against much respected opponents who have all agreed to play by these rules. The gray area are cases where the clearest boundaries between enemy and ally are gone, as when innocents were killed in Viet Nam. The black area are executions, as in the case of POW tortures.

There are various factors that contribute to atrocities and how they're handled. There are some references to mixed messages and a short explanation of the negative impact of degrading the enemy via executions...

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