I totally agree about not militarizing groups like this. If you try to turn POWs into combatants, do they still have any protections? Its like having a brilliant scheme to dress a whole bunch of marines as field medics; at best it's unethical, at worst it puts real non-combatants at risk.
Also, it turns out the medic thing goes the other way around--medics are frequently armed so you can't distinguish them from ordinary troops, because fairly frequently the medics are singled out to be shot at first.
Medics are armed for their own defense, and generally wear clear insignia so they won't be targeted. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medics#Geneva_convention_prote...
In 2003-2004, in Iraq, I flew on some medevac helicopters (I was helping the air ambulance guys set up satellite communications at their remote locations, so we used a medevac helicopter to fly to the locations...was pretty awesome). They had...M9 9mm pistols. Something is wrong when the civilian has a better weapon than you do in a war zone. Later in 2004, they got M4s as well.
USMC and USAF don't mount GC insignia, and have .50bmg machine guns, miniguns, etc. on their aircraft. i.e. a USMC or USAF medevac aircraft is better armed than regular USA blackhawks (which just have a couple 7.62mm machineguns on the side).
As a result of not being armed, medevacs became great targets. They were also no longer allowed to fly single-ship missions, increasing the risk (with one helicopter, flying 50-300' AGL, you're pretty much out of range by the time anyone notices you and is set up to fire. With two, the guy in back is doomed.)
The stopgap was to require an Apache gunship escort for every unarmed blackhawk mission into a dangerous pickup. It turns out a lot of the time when someone is shot and seriously wounded on the battlefield, the area is dangerous. The medevac guys could be in the air in 5-15 minutes, but it often took a lot longer for the Apaches to be ready (since they weren't dedicated, and might actually be busy fighting a war, plus they're less reliable aircraft). Pretty much the only luck was when there was an Apache already in the air for another purpose, which would often be willing to divert to help save someone (often, enemy or civilians -- plenty of times when little kids in car accidents technically not even US responsibility would get medevaced back to a US base for top-tier medical care, and in a few cases, months of free burn/etc. rehab due to a cooking fire or car accident)
Essentially, the faster you get someone from injury to surgery, the greater the chances for both immediate survival and long-term good outcomes (not losing eyesight, limbs, etc.). The "standard" is one hour, but obviously 30 minutes is better than 59 minutes, and 59 minutes isn't much different from 1h01m.
By requiring an Apache escort for most combat medevacs, they extended the time needed to pick up patients. This statistically cost lives, limbs, and eyesight, but can be fairly clearly tied to some specific deaths as well, where a blackhawk was able to get there in 15 min, but was held due to lack of an Apache for another 45 minutes.
There are arguments from the US Army medical side that arming helicopters is illegal (but, removing the crosses and arming them is fine). The best theory for why they resist is institutional inertia and fear that if they start arming medevac blackhawks like regular troop transports, they'll lose operational control of the aircraft eventually (because, hey, it's another helicopter available...). IMO there's no chance this would affect their 2-3 aircraft on rotation for active medevac calls, but would potentially remove their extra aircraft for moving their own personnel (and commanders) around.
Also, some of the medics I knew were pretty badass soldiers (especially on the SF side). In Army SF, it seemed pretty clear that the medical/communications guys were generally smarter than the weapons/demo guys, and that all of them met a very high standard for regular combat skills. 160th SOAR (the special operations aviation unit) recruits pilots pretty heavily from medevac, too, since the medevac pilots would be willing to fly in the worst weather, the most difficult landing areas, etc. The Air Force's version of medevac medics, pararescuemen, are one of the major parts of their special operations capability, basically like SEALs or Delta but also happen to be paramedics.
Furthermore, it is not upheld by the actual text of the Geneva Conventions (which is the source of the article section I previously linked to). See Articles 21 and 22:
What's fair got to do with it? If there was ever a good/bad distinction between combatants, World War II was it.
The Axis powers were evil, don't doubt it.
Dropping a nuclear bomb on a civilian population is also pretty evil.
Overused cliche line that doesn't mean anything and isn't true. The Soviets won World War 2, they won it more than the USA won World War 2 and more than the British or anybody else won World War 2 but we re-wrote their history as evil scumbags who committed atrocities during the war.
Re-writing was not needed. Stalin was an evil thug, just as bad in minor ways as Hitler.
Contrast this to when Dachau was liberated, where the western media were given an official tour and relayed pictures, stories and the news only days later.
Eisenhower sent out a press release when Dachau was liberated, but kept quiet about Soviet atrocities.
However Finland didn't participate in any anti-Jewish or other Nazi regimen requests and didn't sign the Tripartite Pact which all the other Axis countries did.
When there are two sides, you need to choose the least worst but it doesn't mean you're like your allies.
Aside from Finland already mentioned, there is Thailand, Iraq and San Marino, who allied with Germany, but did not sign the Tripartite Pact. San Marino declared war on the Allies in 1940, but the Allies didn't declare back. These four were generally not considered that bad in terms of atrocities.
There were other countries aligned with Germany, though that was the result of being puppet-states.
Interestingly in Hungary the 'Arrow cross' party was the local fascist party in power and they were pretty horrible as well - the history about how the arrow cross higher-ups switched straight across from fascism to communism after the war is very interesting and well worth a read for anyone into history.. To a certain extent it was the same organisation in different clothing
It's amazing what we can do when we don't have to consider the consequences.
Good job CIA!
You also don't have to blame either the CIA or the Taliban, you can blame both.
This was a pretty foreseeable consequence of their actions, and acting like they bear absolutely no responsibility for the consequences is, at best, strange.
They had pretty high levels of proof without the DNA. The DNA was political ass-covering. Personally, I think they would have been better off going in, attacking a compound which had high assessment of being UBL's, potentially killing a couple of people if they were armed security and resisting (but, if it wasn't UBL, it's unlikely), and accepting the political fallout, vs. subverting the independence of the vaccine program.
Killing Osama is great, but eradicating polio may ultimately be more important long-term.
Also having been in .mil, troops always have crazy stories that are blown off, but a large cache of rigged board games means POWs would probably never be able to play a board game again, which is a shame, so its vaguely humanitarian, although they must have realized the truth would eventually come out (like now). Its too bad, board games are nice for POWs, and now they can't have them...
Actually they can. Print the board games on silk, and package the game in the board/silk.