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"To disclose or not to disclose?" Topic

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792 hits since 1 Jan 2012
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Comments or corrections?

Captain DEwell Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 1:13 p.m. PST

Is it correct to provide information about an army unit if that information could possibly prove unpalatable to the person requesting ANY information on said unit, and beloved family member.

I am in a position to provide details of the performance of members of a small British infantry unit during the Korean War (obtained from a living relative and former soldier) which do not appear to be recorded elsewhere and which could be of some interest to some, but is it correct to do so 'warts and all'?

zippyfusenet Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 1:58 p.m. PST

For what my advice may be worth…

I believe that there's such a thing as truth, or at least objective facts, and that truth matters, that we are better off for knowing the truth. That being said, in most cases, small increments of truth in the short term aren't worth hurting harmless people or causing ourselves a lot of trouble.

If you publish something controversial or just unpalatable, you should be prepared for those who want to refute your statements to attack you in various ways. Unless there's some practical or moral point to publishing your relative's account, a present evil to be exposed or a past crime to be prosecuted, it may not be worth doing.

It sounds like you expect some people to react against your relative's account. If there is no great urgency to publish, you may want to record what your relative has to say in such a way that it won't come to light during your lifetime.

Cincinnatus Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 2:48 p.m. PST

I think it depends on how critical the warts are to the overall information. Without knowing more it's hard to say but there's no reason it has to be all or nothing. For example, it's sufficient to say someone was wounded by artillery. You don't have to disclose they were taking a crap at the time.

Captain DEwell Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 3:01 p.m. PST

Gents, your comments are helpful. Thank you.

It concerns a small unit of second line infantry who were ordered to counter-attack when British backs were against the wall. They initially refused and were given a 'pep talk' by their Sergeant-Major and, thereafter, they attacked and were immediately captured. Not necessarily devastating news but perhaps embarrassing or uncomfortable news. Your further thoughts?

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2012 3:26 p.m. PST

Not sure why you'd have to recount the necessity of the
'pep talk', just that they were ordered to attack, did
so, and were captured.

Is is *really* necessary to disclose the initial
refusal ?

Captain DEwell Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 3:28 p.m. PST

It completes the story?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2012 5:29 p.m. PST

How sure are you of the "accuracy" of your new information?
Could it be just the bitter memories of a disgruntled member of that unit? I would hesitate to publish anything defamatory that you cannot check against other sources.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 5:58 p.m. PST

(obtained from a living relative and former soldier)

unless the soldier offers up the information himself or given as a testimonial, it is only hearsay coming from you.

Cincinnatus Inactive Member01 Jan 2012 6:00 p.m. PST

I think John has a good point but if you feel it's confirmed, I don't think telling the whole story is going too far.

They hesitated to attack but eventually were able to pull themselves together and did it. I could probably find a number of similar accounts in the many books on my shelf.

The fact that it's unit based and not going to paint any specific person in a really bad light makes the situation easier for me.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2012 8:31 p.m. PST

A woman wrote to the chief of police where I work. She was doing research on her family tree and found out her relative died in our city many years ago and wanted to know if the chief could provide her with any further information, natural death, traffic accident, etc.

It turns out he was robbing a bank and killed in a shootout with police. The truth can be difficult to write, but it is still the truth. The chief responded to her letter and provided her with accurate information.

Don't ask questions unless you are prepared for the answer you don't want to receive.

Mike "Bunkermeister" Creek

Martin Rapier02 Jan 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

I really don't see the problem with this, it is no different to other accounts where soldiers didn't move when ordered, ran away, hid, got lost, shot their own side by accident etc

All the human stuff which makes combat so endlessly interesting and a challenge to model. The failed their motivation test, but a junior leader managed to get a successful re-roll.

Austin Rob Inactive Member03 Jan 2012 8:00 a.m. PST

I think the initial refusal is an important part of the story. After all, they eventually attacked and were immediately captured! Seems like they had good reason to question the wisdom of the orders and did not want to blindly sacrifice themselves without some understanding of the purpose.

Cincinnatus Inactive Member03 Jan 2012 10:57 a.m. PST

I agree the refusal is part of the story but there's no reason to start making assumptions that are not supported by known facts. It's just as possible they were captured because of a very poorly executed attack than from the attack being a bad idea.

Based on the way Captain DEwell has treated the situation, it's likely they performed poorly across the board.

Personal logo flooglestreet Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 Mar 2012 5:55 p.m. PST

I was babysitting some ROTC kids at the Individual Tactical Training range in Ft. Lewis WA. One day we were running some kids across pole that were propped in trees, up above the ground, maybe 10 or 12 feet. There were some kids who traversed the course who would maintain a plain strain. They got a lot of cheers and HOOOO_AHHHS. One girl was so frightened that she burst into tears, but slowly and relentlessly she did what her country asked her to do. Despite her very real fear.
People question my attitudes a lot and this is definitely one of them. They admired the men who traversed that obstacle in a New York minute. Those were good men and that girl has some growing up to do before she can command troops. However, she faced her very real fear and conquered it.
Those troops who refused their order were very much like that girl. They too faced their fear and attacked. Getting captured immediately is troubling to me, but I don't see anything shamefull in eventually mastering ones fear and doing ones duty.
It's your call Cap, but if the party that wants the information really wants to know who their loved ones are, I'd tell them the truth.

janner11 Jun 2012 5:02 a.m. PST

Truth will out, but maybe do some digging to see if there are other accounts of this action – the regimental museum might be a good starting point.

Never heard of a 'second line' infantry unit before though in the British Army.

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