. . . The hunger for combat personnel leads to a reduction of standards, with the recruiting or retention of soldiers who aren’t psychologically fit to fight. They do improper things, or horrible things, and are tried by courts-martial. Then the war ends, and soldiers and lawyers try to clean up the result. It’s a process of cause and effect that’s about as predictable as the operation of a clock.
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The recruiting and retention crises caused by sustained wars lead to horrifying acts, which lead to postwar attempts to reconsider the limits of justice for warriors who should never have been sent into combat. That entirely predictable reality should be baked into national policy and our shared understanding of war. The impact that it would have on military law would be enormous – and beneficial.