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"All Bad Guys ..." Topic


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Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 4:33 a.m. PST

Do you game games where there are no "good guys" in the fight? What appeals to you about either way?

I am mostly an all black hats guy.

While the idea of good guys and bad guys appeals to me (and certainly at a tactial level, I have believed that in practice), when I get into the omniscient point-of-view over the board, I like to give all forces in play positive and negative motivations (and aligned victory conditions).

In fantasy gaming, however, I still like a clear good guys/bad guys game most of the time.

Spreewaldgurken Inactive Member22 Jun 2012 5:03 a.m. PST

Eastern front in WW2, I suppose?

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 5:29 a.m. PST

The Eastern front in WW2 is not all blackhats vs the same. Consider the Finns. Good guys in a very bad situation. Now, Soviets vs Nazis. Really bad on both counts.

Altius Inactive Member22 Jun 2012 5:56 a.m. PST

For modern or near-future games, I like to play the anti-government militants/guerrillas/insurgents, and those are typically, though not always, good guys vs the pro-government bad guys.

Jemima Fawr22 Jun 2012 6:08 a.m. PST

The Angolan Border War tends to tick that box. Lots of different factions – UNITA, FAPLA, FNLA, SWAPO-PLAN, SADF, Cuba and USSR – none of them remotely pleasant.

Scorpio22 Jun 2012 6:11 a.m. PST

Really depends on the game and the setting, honestly, to the point where I don't see how a poll question would show any real values.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 6:17 a.m. PST

The Iran-Iraq War is pretty much all bad guys.

For gaming we don't get too serious about good guy/bad guy. But then, we do mostly 19th Century and earlier.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 7:07 a.m. PST

Do you game games where there are no "good guys" in the fight? What appeals to you about either way?

1. Yes I do.
2. Different things the ability to "color outside the lines" as far as what is or isn't 'acceptable', even though we know that in real war there are examples of even the good guys doing evil stuff, the easier ability to not care about the outcome so what if the Cojalatto drug lord gang gets chewed up by the Asian Wind…or vice-verse? It is the drama of the battle, not the caring about the individuals.

The flip side also applies – any fights where both sides are the good guys?

JJ

optional field22 Jun 2012 8:13 a.m. PST

I'll take neutral v neutral, but few wars strike me as having clearly drawn good guys and bad guys. Even when the big picture is "good and evil," for the soldiers on the ground it's still "us and them," which to me at least, moots the point.

corporalpat22 Jun 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

From whose perspective do you define "bad"? For me there is only my side, and my opponent's side. I leave the definitions of good and bad to the politicians.

Omemin Inactive Member22 Jun 2012 10:55 a.m. PST

I admit to seeing good guys and bad guys at various times in history. The most obvious are folks like SS and NKVD.

When playing the Old West bank robbers and lawmen or interwar gangsters and cops, the lines are pretty clearly drawn.

Personal logo CmdrKiley Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 12:19 p.m. PST

Aliens vs. Predators.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 12:42 p.m. PST

Do you game games where there are no "good guys" in the fight? What appeals to you about either way?

Carlist v. Nationalists during the SCW. That's a real win-win any day of the week.

Moqawama Inactive Member22 Jun 2012 1:28 p.m. PST

"Rrobbyrobot"

Anything Germans or Soviets MAY have done PALES in front of launching nuclear devices on unprotected cities.

14Bore22 Jun 2012 1:44 p.m. PST

Someone brought up a computer game Close Combat Russian Front. I've pretty well played it out and to me there is no good guys but play each side like I'm the good guy and play to win.

AlbertaAndy22 Jun 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

Given that every army in history has committed war crimes on one or more occasions, the idea of "good guys" and "bad guys" is meaningless.

By good guys you mean people who share your nationality and by bad guys you mean people who have fought against your countries armed forces at some point in history, or that are so far removed from your experience that you can't understand their motivations for fighting?

I think Moqawama is on the right lines with his pot, kettle example…..

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2012 5:50 p.m. PST

Yeah, tell the good guys and bad guys don't exist to the families of those who died by the 100's of thousands or millions in the camps. You're wrong. Sure individuals in all armies can do some reprehensible things. However, some states and armies do it as a policy to intimidate, eliminate or to establish a supposed superiority.

Game wise, sure I do. it depends on the game.

Thanks,

John

Altius Inactive Member22 Jun 2012 6:57 p.m. PST

Yeah, tell the good guys and bad guys don't exist to the families of those who died by the 100's of thousands or millions in the camps.

Yeah, I agree. If your side has built death camps, it pretty much means you're the bad guy.

But apart from a few shining examples, I think goodness/badness is usually in the eye of the beholder. Both sides in any conflict will find justification for whatever actions they take, and that justification will resonate with some people (usually their own people), so that determining good/bad ends up being an exercise in perspective. That's not to say that I don't see good guys and bad guys among the factions of the world, but I've labelled them so because of my own perspective and whether I buy their justifications or not. You might have entirely different labels for them.

AlbertaAndy22 Jun 2012 8:30 p.m. PST

John Leahy,

By "the camps" are you talking about the U.S. Camps in the Phillipine-American War? The British camps in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War? The Russian camps in Poland and Siberia? The Nazi camps in WW2?

Read this list:

link

Or go to the Human Rights Watch website and show me a country that comes out looking clean.

Indeed read Mans Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl and you'll see examples of "good" guards and "bad" prisoners (Kapo). I'd be wiling to concede that you might have examples of good and bad actions by individuals, but to generalise to a country or army is ridiculous.

Why make a choice to ignore the bad aspects of whatever country an accident of fate saw you born in and anything else that might threaten your belief in your side being the "good guys"? How does that serve you?

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 12:01 a.m. PST

I am sure you aren't making a moral equivalency between Nazi, Soviet, North Korean, Cambodian and Chinese (under Mao) camps and some of the others you listed above. Yeah, not every Army ever fielded by a Country has always been squeaky clean in its war efforts. War is a nasty business. Lousy administration of civilians is distasteful and sometimes reprehensible. However it is a far cry from the purposeful degradation and eventual systematic elimination of civilians which makes some armies 'bad guys'. Admittedly this probably applies more to more modern armies since it can be problematic to apply 21st century thinking to past centuries.

Frankly, I get tired of some saying all are equally bad. Usually, this is a feint to condemn the USA. It went to war to free the Phillipine and Cuban peoples. Like we found in later wars, creating the peace and positioning the freed peoples to achieve stability on their own isn't as easy to achieve.

Bottom line is some armies ARE bad guys.

Thanks,

John

Wartopia Inactive Member23 Jun 2012 5:33 a.m. PST

It went to war to free the Phillipine and Cuban peoples.

Yup, the governments we installed and supported over the years in those places were paragons of freedom and democracy. Not sure why the Philipino people were so upset with guys like Marcos. Batista was a true humanitarian too. I agree with John. Some folks just don't appreciate a little help (eg people of Iran failed to appreciate the Shah and Iraqis didn't appreciate our support for Saddam Hussein).

Bottom line is some armies ARE bad guys.

yup. Wounded Knee comes to mind. Mai Lai too. And let's not forget, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. ;-)

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 1:29 p.m. PST

First of all Wounded Knee was a battle brought on by mistrust and hostility on both sides. Almost 65 US soldiers were killed or wounded while about 150 Indians including @65 women and children were killed. Being such a close range engagement frankly I'm surprised many more weren't killed. That still doesn't substantiate that the US Army's policy was to kill Indian civilians. Assigning the US 7th cavalry there to monitor Indians who had savagely mutilated the friends of many of the surviving members at the Little Big Horn was asking for something terrible to happen.

If I recall correctly Mai Lai resulted in the Court martial of the officer. Again, a reprehensible action on the part of a few not a policy of the army. But hey, don't let facts interfere with your trying to slander the US military as a whole.

The Phillipine Insurrection has zip to do with Marcos and has zero relation to our military being bad guys. Yeah, the same military that bleed and died to free the Philippines from Japanese control during WWII when we could have just bypassed it. Great point.

Your other references are directed towards political policy not our military. But you keep on spouting. I can see very clearly where you come from by doing so.

I understand completely that our military has had individuals who at various points have done reprehensible things as part of our military. However, that has never been a policy of our military as a whole. In fact, our rules of engagement in our two most current conflicts have been the most stringent of any army in history AND have actually caused us to suffer more casualties by doing so.

The US military has generally served with honor and especially so in our modern times.

Thanks,

John

Wartopia Inactive Member23 Jun 2012 2:31 p.m. PST

I understand completely that our military has had individuals who at various points have done reprehensible things as part of our military. However, that has never been a policy of our military as a whole. In fact, our rules of engagement in our two most current conflicts have been the most stringent of any army in history AND have actually caused us to suffer more casualties by doing so.

Oddly enough many of our states and counties and cities have native Amercian names. The fact is we Europeans engaged in a multi-generational war of conquest across the north American continent. Sometimes it was done through economics, other times through battle, and yet other times simply through such overwhelming force the native American OpFor had no choice but to do as told (eg trail of tears).

And our military and government support and train with some baddest of the bad guys all over the world (eg see School of the Americas).

As for military policy, au contraire, it has had periods during which it did very bad things. I don't blame the enlisted folks (my dad was one) but I do hold officers responsible for being involved with very bad things when they should have known better but lacked the will to say no.

In our own family a relative (West Point grad and Vietnam vet) was asked to engage in an illegal act by the White House in the 80s. He was in military intel at the time. He instead resigned and became a contractor. The next guy asked to execute the mission was Oliver North and the rest is history.

From grand strategy across decades (eg the conquest of North America) to routine support for, and coordination with, the armed forces of brutal dictators, to rogue operators, our civilian government and military prove that even we are simply human.

Look no further than Bahrain for evidence. They're a totalitarian state with whom we coordinate very closely and actively support. To those who value freedom and democracy they're the bad guys and our guys work with them. Definitely on the wrong side of history there.

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 5:03 p.m. PST

I see you have completely diverged from the Bad guys discussion. I will say that I can look back on our dealings with Indians and regret the impact of women and children. However, What happened to the native tribes was they kept being displaced into areas of the victor's choosing. Unlike their treatment over a 100 years or so as stronger tribes displaced, killed or enslaved smaller and weaker tribes ala the Soiux expansion in the early 1800's. We did not have a policy of extermination. In fact, the thinking at the time was to make them like other Americans. Sadly, the administration of this policy was corrupted by individuals but again WAS NOT a policy of our military which you seem not to be able to separate from Civilian policy.

I have not seen you post a single example of Military policy of extermination, enslavement or similar by the US Army in any war. You grasp at trying to use political or individuals actions to justify your claims.

Like I said, I believe it's pretty obvious where you are coming from on this. America is bad.

Sorry, it simply ain't so and your efforts to show otherwise in your examples fail to do so.

The USA is an exceptional nation and while we have our share of mistakes our military has served honorably in every war we have fought.

That pretty much sums it up.

I'm sorry to have drifted away from the OP. Really I am. I just get tired of the same ol America is bad, evil or other crap tossed our way.

Thanks,

John

Wartopia Inactive Member23 Jun 2012 8:33 p.m. PST

Like I said, I believe it's pretty obvious where you are coming from on this. America is bad.

No John, America is not bad, and given my role as a defense contractor supporting those who as civilians and military defend our ideals I find your knee jerk reaction very offensive. I've also had several relatives serve in the military and in combat. My wife has worked in terrorism and emergency prepardness at the federal level protecting guys like you and me.

On the contrary, while you believe we're too weak to face our less savory bits of history squarely and learn from them I believe we become better by constantly facing reality and taking steps to improve things.

I have not seen you post a single example of Military policy of extermination, enslavement or similar by the US Army in any war. You grasp at trying to use political or individuals actions to justify your claims.

Yet another example: as a matter of government policy our military and civilian officials engaged in the horrible practice of supporting slavery. Young women and children detained by military, police, and other government officials were returned to their "owners" as a matter of policy. We eventually fought a war over the issue.

Maybe you're ok with that? You seem to have forgotten it completely based on your statement above, or maybe didn't know about it.

Thank goodness we have had so many in our history willing to recognize evil and change it instead of going along. The "good German" defense isn't good enough for we truly patriotic Americans. Heck, I even had a relative imprisoned for fighting against the School of the Americas. Now THERE'S a true patriot!

It's painful but sometimes in a scenario with bad guys on both sides, yes, one of the sides might well be us.

The Shadow Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 9:10 p.m. PST

>>It's painful but sometimes in a scenario with bad guys on both sides, yes, one of the sides might well be us.<<

It's not that simple. What Americans have done in the past was generally in line with the typical ways of thinking at the time, and we would not have considered our actions "bad". Japanese internment camps were established to protect American citizens. They were a mistake, but the intentions were good in a very unusual situation where we had to come up with solutions to problems, real or imagined, damned fast. Slavery was commonplace in the world during the 18th century. Very few agricultural people thought that slavery was "bad" because Negroes were generally considered to be sub human. Most people at that time were illiterate by today's standards, and history will tell you that they *thought* differently than we do now, so their logic was entirely different than ours.

I lecture kids at a living museum and one of our exhibits is a tread mill with a toy dog walking on it. This represents one of the ways that we utilized animal power in the 19th century. There is a choke collar around it's neck to keep the dog from sitting down on the job. I explain that in modern times that might not be allowed in America because agencies like the Humane Society and PETA would probably try to stop it, but in the 18th century working class people generally did not keep pets. They were to work or produce food, so they didn't think twice about working an animal for much longer than that animal was comfortable. They were not "bad" people. They just thought differently. And no, i'm not comparing animals to people. It's an example of the way peoples thinking has evolved.

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 10:35 p.m. PST

Like I said before. You either apply 21st Century values to a previous century or you focus on political aspects of the US. The discussion was about the military being 'bad guys'. I have repeatedly said there are instances in every army of individuals who do abhorrent things even in our military. However, as a whole the US military has performed honorably and taken more risks which HAS cost American lives to protect innocents than any army in history. You have yet to show the US military as a whole was 'bad'. You simply can't do it because it didn't happen like it did in many other countries.

Oh, and please don't trot out the my relatives and friends served in the military to provide you some cover. If they did I honor their service. My family also has a long lineage of serving back to the American Revolution and I have had friends serve in current and recent conflicts. While an interesting side point it has no relation to the topic here.

Since I have asked you multiple times to support your statement and you either cannot or will not other than pointing to individual acts or involving political dimensions which are not relevant. You have instead implied that I am either clueless about US history or can't grasp the reality of our history. For those who know me, either suggestion is laughable at best. So, I grow tired of debating this with someone who wants to discuss a completely different topic.

Thanks but no thanks.

John

The Shadow Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2012 11:01 p.m. PST

>>No John, America is not bad, and given my role as a defense contractor supporting those who as civilians and military defend our ideals I find your knee jerk reaction very offensive. I've also had several relatives serve in the military and in combat.<<

That's not as important to this discussion as what *you* have done. I did four years in the U.S. Air Force. You?

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jun 2012 10:01 a.m. PST

.. ahem … refocusing on the point of the post, "I game all Bad Guys because don't believe in Good Guys." would have sufficed.

RTJEBADIA24 Jun 2012 2:20 p.m. PST

Yes I will game bad guys vs bad guys. Yes there is such a thing. Nazis, as a matter of policy, exterminated and enslaved That is bad. it does not matte that I live in America, a country that has also done bad things. As an individual I've never enslaved or exterminated anyone and can, with no hypocrisy, recognize some past US actions and the actions of Nazi Germany as bad. That does not mean every German was bad (though any German who had any ideA what was going on, and most did, and did not fight against Nazi power is IMO looking pretty bad) but the Germans were still the bad guys.

Phil Dutre24 Jun 2012 11:40 p.m. PST

If, as a wargamer, you're still thinking in terms of 'good' vs 'bad', you should either read more history, or talk to more people/civilians who were on the opposite side of the 'good' nations. As a wargamer, you should be able to make the difference between relatively low-level soldiers and officers we're portraying on the table and the politics of the nations they were fighting for.

Associating notions of good and bad to units on your gaming table is a bit stupid (unless you insist on what some would call 'dark scenarios'). It's not as if we are simulating or gaming state-politics. We're usually gaming small-scale actions (compared to the entire wars); the units portrayed on the table on both sides are usually young men that did not have much choice in the matter. And even tough people are able to distinguish between good and bad on the level of politics, it doesn't always translate to individuals on the field.

Living in a country with a huge amount of war cemetaries of both sides also helps to put things in perspective. I see not much of difference between a British or Belgian 18-yr soldier that died in the trenches of Flanders Fields; or a German 18-yr old that is buried 500 meters down the road in the next war cemetary plot. Some also claim this has contributed to the relatively absence of any form of glorification of war in Belgium compared to other countries.

BTW, it's the season the poppies are blowing here in Flanders.

Personal logo Tango 2 3 Ditto Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2012 2:02 a.m. PST

Aye Phil.

Now, Soviets vs Nazis. Really bad on both counts.

Yeah the Soviet soldiers were really bad trying to kick the Germans off their land. wink
--
Tim

OSchmidt25 Jun 2012 10:33 a.m. PST

The three Socialist systems of the 20th century, Naziism, Fascism, and and Communism, are going to have a hard time finding any shred of a fig-leaf between them to disguise their absolutely demonic and reprehensible expressions, nor will the unparalleled racism of Japan find much more. Arguments between them are cases of the pot calling the kettle black or mere "trojan horse" arguments. Mussolini, to be sure, made the trains run on time, but so did Hitler--- all the trains.

But the policies of the state are not always the policies of inidividuals, and not all individuals march lock-step with the wishes of the state. Indeed, whils silence may imply consent it does not imply approval.

It might be noted that even the relatively benign democracies committed alwful and unpalatable things, sometimes even reprehensible ones, but it was rarely state policy or elecated as an absolute good. It might, as in the internment of the Nisei be an unfortunate and unnecessary action, but the internment camps were not concentration camps and the Western nations might have had from time to time unsightly atrocities perpetrated on captive populations or prisoners, but it was at no time deliberate policy or touted as a positive virtue, or the course of action that is de-rigeur.

I think it's important to keep this in mind that especially in the totalitarian states above, Japan, Russia, Germany, and Italy, people do not get to exercise choice and many were swept up into the maw of the armies who would rather not have been there at all, and many who resolved to to their best, if unfanatical best for their country. They have little choice else and one must remember what Horace said way back in the first century--

"We live, not as we wish, but as we can."


As I see that this debate has in some aspects gotten into America Trashing, which is to be expected, I recall the following. That between 1930 and 1945, for most of the world the entry into their village or town of a platoon of young men armed with wapons menat death, murder, rape, pillage, destruction and terror-- unless they were Americans in which case it was (except for the occasional unsightly incident) it meant's peace, medical care, food, safety, kindness and chocolate. Let us also not forget that by far and away There was no Nanking, there was no massacres, there was no concentration camps and attempts to destroy an enemy culture or society, but there were thousand and thousands of war brides and many Americans came to deeply love the culture and people of those they had subjugated.

And we're still at it today.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jun 2012 11:57 a.m. PST

popcorn

RTJEBADIA25 Jun 2012 2:48 p.m. PST

I think this discussion has kinda gone off the rails. "The bad guys" are not defined by the beliefs of every individual involved. The op was clearly talking about situations like eastern front ww2 where both sides, as a whole, are not good. People clearly play these conflicts.

Other than that this has devolved into an impossible debate… Those who judge by thoughts (Franz doesn't personally agree with Nazi policies and I can't blame him for not speaking out) against those who judge by actions (Franz isn't doing anything to stop the Nazis and is in fact helping them with his service when he could be fighting, or a least protesting, the evil regime, whatever the risk to his own life). Neither side can ever change the fundamental beliefs of the other side.

Skarper29 Jun 2012 5:10 p.m. PST

'Good guys' do seem a little simplistic in notion – much as 'bad guys' does.

Of course, some regimes have 'evil intent' – such as the Nazis being the prime example.

Some have 'good intent' but still behave badly due to poor discipline or bad strategy.

The German Grenadiers who died heroically fighting the Soviets in the winter of 1944 doubtless were thinking of the women and children who would suffer should the Red Army get onto German soil – rather than the inmates of the death camps who who die.

I think usually both sides are bad but one is usually worse.

Omemin Inactive Member03 Jul 2012 11:26 a.m. PST

In any field of human endeavor, you can find bad if you look for it. Of course, going in with animus helps in finding bad even when it doesn't exist (see "nuclear weapons on unprotected cities" above – until and unless you can explain the role of the fighter squadrons based in Japan as something besides protection for the cities, you need to rethink the statement).

War is simply killing enough people, breaking enough things, and positioning forces to do more of the same in such a way as to make the exercise unsustainable for the other side. Thus, good and bad are definitely subjective terms.

That said, ask the Jews of Europe whether they would rather have had the destruction visited on most of the continent or just have been led off to Auschwitz, Treblinka, etc. War is sometimes a necessity, whether or not you want it.

pbishop1205 Jul 2012 12:09 a.m. PST

I don't game the Vietnam War. Having served as a contractor in Iraq, I don't game this either. Perhaps both are too close to home. I spent a lot of time in Germany between 1968 and 1990. I like the Germans, so it'd be tough to think of them as the 'bad guys.' Im not a WWII gaming fan anyway.

Back in the day I gamed American 1812. My wife at the time was a Brit. I was stationed in the UK for 15 years. I didn't dwell on it much, but I'd have tough time thinking of the Brits as the 'bad guys.'

Working in NYC a few years ago, many of my coworkers were Russian immigrants. One served in the Soviet Army. I don't think of Igor as the 'bad guy' although over a beer once he asked me if it had come to it, would I have pushed the button. I advised him he'd be vapor, but by the way, its your round.

I game Napoleonics, Peninsula mostly. 200 years ago. I take no sides. Just pretty uniforms marching across my table. Nobody from Texas, my current home, got slaughtered there. Nobody rammed an airplane into a building in my home town (I'm a New Yorker). Foolishly, I may bring biases to the table, so I'm probably subconsciously avoiding anything that could smack of a 'bad guy.'

just visiting Inactive Member06 Jul 2012 12:44 p.m. PST

Medieval armies are long ago enough that I don't get worked up over which side was "right". Mostly neutral sides in a chaotic world of casual violence. How much has changed since then? We live in a world of casual (some would say increasing) violence. The common soldier is caught in a huge web. The common soldiers on either side are not on the good side or the bad side; they are just compelled to combat. Nevertheless, I will not game modern or recent history. It's all too close to home….

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jul 2012 1:35 p.m. PST

False. Tell that to the non German people of any town, village or city that the Waffen SS passed through, or the people of Cambodia that the troops of Pol Pot left in the 'killing fields'. Yep, soldiers not on the good side or bad side.

Errrrrr……I don't think so. Like I said above that is moral equivalency and is simply not true. There ARE bad guys.

Thanks,

John

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jul 2012 3:49 p.m. PST

There are people who are haplessly caught up in the gears of great political machines. In modern war zones (and the remnants thereof) over the past two decades, I have seen many military personnel and civilians who were not just "following orders", but genuinely voiced opinion and followed up with action indicating they were perfectly comfortable with the slaughter of "the other guys", military and/or civilians.

That said, this poll is more about gaming, so to put a finer point on the OP, will you play games where the motivations (driven by victory conditions) of one or both sides do not conform to the standards of the Geneva Conventions (or the appropriate law of war)? Why or why not?

just visiting Inactive Member08 Jul 2012 4:21 p.m. PST

Some armies were infamous for their brutality. Most wars are more or less equal in this regard. WW2 had extremes on both "sides"; that's what a world war does: mixes allies of widely different approaches to war. The common Soviet soldier was far more brutal than an American G.I. Germans on the whole were neutral, that is to say, most of the time they behaved humanely, but toward the end more and more of them turned vicious. The Soviets were paying the Germans back for earlier scares and atrocities, so they felt justified in being brutal. Nevertheless, most soldiers in most armies in most theaters of the War did not behave with excess brutality. So I would play any and all sides of the War if I played the 2WW at all, which I do not. Not because of one side being the right side with 20/20 hindsight, but because the war is still living history. I do not war game living history….

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART13 Jul 2012 8:10 p.m. PST

Everybody thinks that their is a good guy-moot point.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2012 5:26 a.m. PST

Everybody thinks that their is a good guy-moot point.

Agree with your predicate; disagree with your conculsion. Whether individuals, units, armies, nations, or non-state actors consider themselves "good guys" or not is sideways to the poll. This was not (supposed to be) a poll about the political ramifications of "good" and "bad". It was meant to ask will you play a game where neither side has what you would call justifiable motives or actions.

It is one thing to play Nazis or Orcs when there are Elves and Allied Forces on the other side of the table (or is that the other way around?). It's another to play just Nazis and Soviets slaughtering the occupants of various countries that are in the way of their conflict. Or maybe it isn't.

The Last Conformist15 Jul 2012 2:18 a.m. PST

I mostly wargame medieval and older periods, where no side followed, or pretended to follow, modern norms of legitimate use of force, so I guess you could call more-or-less all of it evil-vs-evil, but I don't see any point in thinking of it in such terms.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jul 2012 9:02 a.m. PST

Yeah, but modern norms like the Geneva Conventions are codifications of customary international law about war that we have had for millenia. While there has been much quibbling around the edges (such as who counts as that and who doesn't count as that), the basic principles of the law of war seem to have been around and generally accepted for a while before we started to see writing about them.

A simple example is that in late Bronze Age detailing about piracy, it appears to be well established that piracy is a crime against humanity (a phrase that would come later) and privateering (accepted or rejected in whole or in part by various societies) was a distinct activity from piracy.

The oldest directives of this sort date back to religious texts, though they have obvious practical components – don't burn enemies' villages, orchards, and livestock, you might want those if you win; don't execute defeated monarchs and generals, it's a good custom to have around if we ever loose; etc.

Even in the most variable parts of those customs/laws, the ideas of proportionality of response and retribution, it's pretty easy to see numerous examples where societies have selectively not applied the standards to certain groups for reasons unrelated to the standards.

FriendOfMrGreen Inactive Member17 Jul 2012 6:26 p.m. PST

OK, fine. How about Bank Robbers Vs. Meth Cookers?

Not a whole lot of moral high ground there, boys.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jul 2012 5:50 a.m. PST

OK, fine. How about Bank Robbers Vs. Meth Cookers?

Let's leave my relatives out of the discussion, OK? :)

But seriously, I am surprised that this topic immediately got overrun with broad geopolitical theorizing. I was expecting more on the bad guy rivalry front … gang wars, anarchist rivalries, blood feuds, and fantasy/scifi evil empire battles.

Fred Cartwright19 Jul 2012 1:50 p.m. PST

I have not seen you post a single example of Military policy of extermination, enslavement or similar by the US Army in any war. You grasp at trying to use political or individuals actions to justify your claims.

I'm a bit puzzled by this. Are you saying the extermination camps were a policy of the German army and not the German civilian administration? While members of the armed forces were involved in the form of Waffen SS personnel seconded as camp guards AFAIK it was run by the non military wing of Himmler's SS.
Also not aware of any general policy of the German army with respect to atrocities rather than them being ordered by individual officers at the time – in the same way as the Mai Lai masacre was. If you have any info on this would be interested to see it. Seperating fact from myth with respect to the German army's actions in WW2 is fraught with difficulties.

Tell that to the non German people of any town, village or city that the Waffen SS passed through

What happened to all these people? I'm aware of many of the atrocities commited by Waffen SS troops against civilians, but AFAIK there weren't atrocities in every place they passed through.

Finally not sure what the difference between something that the military does on the order of the civilian administration and a military policy. Take this example from General Smedley Butler, highly decorated US Marine Corps general:-

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Military or civilian policy?

Last Hussar22 Jul 2012 9:08 a.m. PST

I know this is going to upset a lot of people, but you could argue Vietnam – A corrupt regime supported by a super-power who undertook a number of actions you could charactise as Chaotic Good, but some would argue as Chaotic Neutral.

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