Killing Civilians- Chapters 2-6

Within chapters two through six of Killing Civilians by Hugo Slim, the different ways in which civilians suffer during war were analyzed, using detailed examples. Slim also explored the different ideologies that surround killing civilians, whether it is supported or argued against. In my opinion, the author provided a thorough look at all possible ways that civilians are harmed from massacre, genocide, and war. Yet, there were too many examples to the point that it became redundant. For each of the seven types of suffering discussed, the author included multiple long, drawn out examples, when one example would have sufficed. Other than that, the exploration of how civilians are harmed from war was very eye opening.

Throughout these chapters, the author became very repetitive. I felt as though I was reading a similar passage in each chapter. Slim touches on very good points and dives deeply into an exploration as to why civilians are killed and what kind of thinking allows it to happen. Regardless of the repetitive nature, I was impressed by the author’s ability to think of every single possible way in which civilians are hurt by violent groups, the different roles that people have for civilians in war, and the methods used to transform regular people into killers.

There were a few topics that were introduced that Slim described as controversial and hard to come to terms with. One topic that even I struggled with was the topic of conscription. When the topic was first introduced in chapter three, I had the initial thought that conscription is necessary and has proven beneficial many times throughout American history. However, as Slim developed more and more on the idea, I was at war with myself in deciding its role because the author introduced a viewpoint that I had never considered. This book caused me to repeatedly challenge my own opinions and to think viewpoints of others, which is what a book should do.

1. Does the use of conscription in a free society go against democratic ideals? Is conscription ever unavoidable?
2. Has it become easier in modern times to massacre without facing punishment?
3. Does providing the enemy with a service in order to make a living during wartime count as choosing loyalties, and should a civilian lose their civilian status because of this?

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