STUDENT SUBMITTED STORY: My junior year of college I needed to take a 200 level philosophy class to satisfy my university’s core curriculum requirements. My teacher, who had recently been introduced to her first tiny bit of fame from publishing a book chronicling the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in the years prior to the Iraq War, would ramble on for the entire 2 and a half hour lecture every Wednesday about some barely relevant human rights issue that she choose.
One week it would be Nuremberg Trials, the next the Geneva Convention; apartheid; AIDS; Nicaraguan property rights; and then, submarine warfare during WWII.
Professor G: Under the widely understood rules of engagement during WWII it became routine for submarines to sink battleships and destroyers and not resurface to hunt for survivors. In the ensuing treaty negotiations the issue of submarine warfare become a topic both the Allies and Axis had little interest in discussing as both had committed atrocities on their respective sides. Must we not therefore hold ourselves equally responsible for human rights violations in wartime just as the Germans themselves argued during their defense in the trials at Nuremberg. (At this point she is basically grinning from ear to ear, as she has somehow, miraculously, managed to relate her ramblings from today’s class to lass week’s seemingly acid-induced lecture)
Me: “Professor, I have read that WWII era submarines, operating at standard depth-charge depth would take a minimum of two hours to surface. By that point, most of the survivors would have drowned having sustained serious injuries; the men on fire in the burning gasoline and oil would have been, at the luckiest, permanently scarred; and most likely another ship would have responded to the sunken ship’s distress call. If you’re stupid enough to surface to look for survivors with a destroyer eying you down you deserve to get blown out of the water.
Professor G: …… Okay.