Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

World Shocked as Russian Soldier Posts Video of Castration of Ukrainian POW.

"The incident proves that the Russian Army is professionally corrupt and morally bankrupt"

Editor's note: We were personally repulsed by a video on social media of 2 Russian soldiers castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war. It's impossible to verify the authenticity of this graphic and disturbing video. Two news organizations have picked up the story so far, and respected reporters like Illia Ponomarenko of the Kyiv Independent, believe it's authentic.

We didn't want to amplify such a depraved crime, but we also didn't want to ignore an act of barbarity the like of which Europe hasn't seen since the 1940's. So we're reposting an opinion thread by Maj. Gen. Mick Ryan, below.

In the last day or so, a video showing Russian soldiers conducting a hideous and repulsive act against a defenceless Ukrainian prisoner of war has circulated. While I will not amplify this, I wanted to provide some thoughts.

First, from a purely human level, I am sickened that one human will do this to another. It is a depraved and inhuman act - there is nothing that justifies it.

Second, as a soldier, it breaks my heart to see a fellow soldier - now a non-combatant - being treated in such a way. No soldier deserves such disgusting treatment.

Third, the Geneva Conventions protect such individuals. There are many good reasons for this, which I should not need to describe here. But you can read the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War here:

Fourth, this behavior by the Russian soldiers is further evidence (as if we needed any more) that the Russian Army is professionally corrupt & morally bankrupt. The entire Russian Army chain of command, because of the leadership environment they have nurtured, is responsible.

An army that either explicitly (or implicitly) permits such behavior will never be capable of fighting as an effective and cohesive force. Wars still have rules. An army that operates with an 'anything goes' ethos is just not an army. It is an armed group of criminals.

This is why the study of the profession of arms, #ethics, and the profound responsibility of exercising lethal force on behalf of one's nation, is such an important area of study and indoctrination in military institutions.

And it is the responsibility of our political leaders to also understand these imperatives - because they must hold soldiers to account for their behavior. And to do that, they must know what right looks like in a professional and ethical military institution.

Fifth, this - like all the atrocities committed by the Russians in #Ukraine - can be tracked back to the statements by Putin about Ukraine not being a real country. This is part of the dehumanization process that clearly pervades down the entire chain of command.

There will be many calling for the 'elimination' of those responsible. I understand this impulse. But as a soldier, I cannot agree with it. These murderous scumbags must be tried and made an example of, so that others know we will never allow them to get away with it. Never.

We can't go down the path of rough justice or retribution. Remember, there is a reason Ukraine is fighting for its sovereignty, and why we are supporting it. They are fighting for their existence, and for a world where such acts are not permitted nor tolerated.

My heart goes out to the family and fellow soldiers of the victim of this disgusting act. The pain they will be feeling now is immeasurable. I want to express my sympathies to them.

There will be some that might take issue with my stance. But, as the (retired) soldier of a democracy, this is the only approach that a member of the profession of arms can take. All else results in chaos, and a continuous chain of revenge, unethical and inhumane acts.

Should the perpetrator of this subsequently be killed in combat - well, that's life. And if he is, I hope he burns in hell. But if captured, bring him to justice, and show the world that even in war, armies of democracies believe in rules & holding transgressors to account.

And it goes without saying - we need to provide as much physical and moral support to #Ukraine as we possibly can. The West needs to do all it can for the courageous Ukrainians to defeat Russia as quickly as possible.

Mick Ryan, AM. @WarintheFuture. Strategist, Leader & Author | Retired Australian Army Major General


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