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Talk:Killed in action

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 Definition Term used by military forces to describe the deaths of their own personnel caused by other hostile forces or by "friendly fire" during combat. [d] [e]
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I want to avoid a revert war...

But issues such as the honoring of military casualties belong in a separate article. KIA and DOW are first and foremost statistical categories. The term is not specific to the U.S. If need be, that's my ruling as a Military Workgroup Editor.

The CIB, CAB, CMB, etc., have nothing directly to do with KIA. See Pyramid of Honor; they are certainly worth individual articles. The material I deleted is valid, but just not in this article. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:45, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

(moved here from my talk page)
Howard, what's going on? You deleted most of my "killed in action" article, and I undid it. I run a nonprofit for families of killed in action (KIA) and died of wounds (DOW) for one, not to mention having KIA in the family, and the nonprofit has directors with family KIA and DOW from every conflict major since at least World War II, including Vietnam, Korea, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Moreover, I have taken classes in nonprofit management, was the incorporator, worked on the Plato to NATO military-history series, and a similar description of the topic exists at our Website,, which receives about 400 hits a day.
Thanks! Vincent H. Bartning 00:45, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Many of the points you make are perfectly relevant to your nonprofit, or to U.S. practice regarding KIA/DOW. The points I removed, however, belong in another article. The article is not specific to the U.S. There is perfectly good material, but it simply does not belong in this article. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:03, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Certainly the U.S. position is valid. Should I go back to the ancestor who should get me the UE title if I want it? Anyway, the CIB, CAB, and CMB result from combat, or hostile action, what defines KIA versus someone who dies in an accident while in service. They're as related to KIA and DOW, if not more so, than accidental deaths while serving. I thought Citizendium was supposed to respect authority?
Vincent H. Bartning 01:20, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
May I, as a Constable, who has known *nothing* about this article until a few minutes ago, jump in? Thanks! Vincent, we *do* have a semi-authoritarian structure here at CZ, one designed to prevent revert wars such as at WP. We have lots of authors, who do writing. And we also have many fewer editors, some in each workgroup, who sometimes do both writing of various articles and also Editing, in the sense that, as Editors, they will sometimes have to make final policy decisions on the content of certain articles that come under their authority. So that if an Editor in the Literature group, for instance, tells a couple of authors who are writing an article about Huckleberry Finn, say, that all of their seven fine paragraphs about slavery in the Old South do not belong in that article but rather in any one of half a dozen other articles, possibly in other Workgroups, then that is an official decision by that Editor and is the last word on the subject. It can be appealed, of course, but to do so, you're going to have to either find other Editors in the same Workgroup or go through some long, official process that I don't fully understand.
In this particular case, the article falls into the Military Workgroup and Howard is an Editor of that Workgroup. So my suggestion here is to discuss this matter with Howard and see if there is some common ground on which you can compromise and rewrite. But you do have to remember that in this particular case, Howard is the final authority. In any case, I'm sure that you'll work it out in a professional manner. Best, Constable Hayford Peirce 01:31, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I also may disagree with the Pyramid of Honor. I would think the Bronze Star should be a hostile-action medal, and it also does not have the CAB, Combat Action Badge, the new award for American service members who are not combat troops who see combat. Anyway, we'll have to discuss the matter, but from my perspective with close relatives killed in action and running a nonprofit for KIA and DOW, they're certainly not "first and foremost statistical categories." Thanks! ...said Vincent H. Bartning (talk)
The Bronze Star with Combat V is a hostile action medal. The Bronze Star without Combat V is awarded for meritorious, noncombat service. The Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross can be awarded for hostile or nonhostile action.
As far as the CIB, etc., they are in the Pyramid of Honor article, but they are not part of the Pyramid. In U.S. heraldry, the CIB, CMB, etc., are badges, which are different from the medals that make up the Pyramid. The Pyramid goes back to the First World War, long before any of these badges existed; it was created to give alternatives to the Medal of Honor.
I'm sorry, but from an international military perspective, KIA, DOW, WIA, MIA, etc., are statistical categories. It's common practice, in U.S. combat reports, to speak of al-Qaeda KIA, but I doubt anyone honors them.
Please feel free to create an article on U.S. honors for KIA, and link it to the general article. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:05, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Howard, along with the discussion, it's still very much Memorial Day in the USA here in every state and territory. You should consider that in your responses.Vincent H. Bartning 02:26, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand your point. I don't need a specific day to honor veterans, whether they be of Karbala, Kandahar, 73 Easting, Goose Green, An Loc, Dieppe, ANZAC Cove, Camerone, or Thermopylae. Further, this is not a USA-only site. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Please make use of the "External Links" subpage

Hi, Vicent. One of the ways in which a CZ article differs from a WP article is that all External Links are placed in the External Link subpage. That subpage is one of the tabs at the top of the blue banner above the main article page. Would you please move the entire External Links section to that External Links subpage? If you encounter any problems in doing so, I would be happy to help you. Thanks! Milton Beychok 02:13, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Vincent, since you had not yet moved the External Links section to the External Links subpage, I did it for you. I hope you don't mind. Milton Beychok 07:00, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Material on memorials

Some of this is reasonable in an article about U.S. respect for casualties, but does not belong in an international article. I have struck through some material that is simply no longer true. The Battle of Cannae is hardly the only example where a force, with a lesser number of casualties, one. One excellent example would be the Israeli-Syrian air campaign, in which there was a clear Israeli victory, with 70+ Syrian aircraft destroyed with no Israeli casualties. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:21, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

== Societies Honoring KIA and DOW ==
Many societies, both past and present, view those KIA as heroes, and they generally use the terms KIA and DOW, indeed all terms for war deaths, interchangeably. Terms such as "ultimate price" or "ultimate sacrifice" or "the fallen" also commonly describe deaths in battle. Socieities, including the USA, set aside days of remembrance for their militaries and combat dead, and they build memorials and cenotaphs in honor of their fallen.
Societies in general hold ceremonies for all war deaths. The families of those who die in combat, especially their next-of-kin, sometimes receive preferential treatment such as military honors, exemption from taxes, and financial awards. National militaries also distinguish those killed in action with ceremonies and awards.
Some groups aim to bring respect back into the U.S. Memorial Day. The National Moment of Remembrance, backed by a bipartisan group chartered by Congress, asks Americans to honor their fallen at 3PM local time on the last Monday in May, the day the United States of America currently honors its KIA. Memorial Day previously occurred on May 30, and some, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), also advocate returning to this fixed date.
The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address, "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day." Since 1998, Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a veteran of World War II, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional day on May 30.
Common sense indicates that the side with the most KIA loses the conflict: It's kill or be killed, a clear and present danger. However, cases exist where the opposite happens. The American Civil War provides one example of where the victorious side had more KIA than the losing side. Abraham Lincoln's and the U.S. government's policy to reunite the country provided one major reason the victors had more battle dead in the American Civil War.
Likewise, a smaller force can sometimes beat a larger one; Cannae (216BC) provides a classic example. However, the idea that when you have less enemies to fight you have a greater chance to win provides one reason for a policy of maiming or killing enemy forces.
One classic speech on KIA comes from Pericles' Funeral Oration (after 490 B.C.), which appears in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War in which , Pericles honors the Athenian war dead from "one of the opening battles of the Peloponnesian War." (See Washington State University's reader for the text of the classic speech.) Plato also talks about KIA in his book, The Republic. For example, he has his character Socrates ask Adeimantus rhetorically, "[W]hen a man dies gloriously in war shall we not say, in the first place, that he is of the golden race?" (Book V, Ch. 468-469) Adeimantus replying in agreement says, "To be sure." See the entire text of The Republic here courtesy MIT.[1][2]
It wasn't the issue of the best example, though I'd argue it is as it's been copied so many times by military planners. However, it was the first time where a smaller force defeated a larger one like that, was believed not possible till it happened.Vincent H. Bartning 02:35, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I hope Citizendium hasn't turned into a Wikipedia or worse. I had major problems like this here on Wikipedia. I've been a donating member here for about two years now as a result.
First, please realize what I am saying. I am not deleting the material, but I am saying it belongs in a different, new article. Indeed, the honoring of military casualties is a large topic and could use more material.
As far as the Battle of Cannae, it is best known as the first example of a double envelopment. There is a difference between strategic and tactical victory; it is quite defensible that a smaller force, killed to the last man, won a strategic victory at the much earlier Battle of Thermopylae.
I'm not sure about your point about "Wikipedia or worse". We still practice collaborative editing, so no one "owns" an article. A relevant Workgroup editor can make binding rulings on content. In this case, most of your content can go into another article, and it can be linked to this one. What is the problem? Not much would be lost, but the U.S.-specific material would be separate. In some cases, that does need correction; the Purple Heart simply is not a "high" decoration in the precedence of U.S. medals. One might receive a high decoration in the same action in which one was wounded, but the Purple Heart is not high on one's medal bar. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:56, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
The subject involved how policy plays a role in what wins a war, not killed in action. Moreover, Cannae and the American Civil War, not to mention Vietnam, demonstrate this. Being killed in action does not relate to victory or defeat. Moreover, according to Osprey Publishing,
Cannae is rightly regarded as one of the greatest battles of military history. Hannibal's stratagem has become a model of the perfectly fought battle and is studied in detail at military academies around the world. At Cannae the Romans confronted Hannibal with an army of 80,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. Hannibal faced them with 40,000 foot and 10,000 horse. The engagement that followed was a masterpiece of battlefield control...
I don't see why you want to put your example, unless you want to write all of Citizendium yourself, probably much like Wikipedia's written entirely by one, anonymous, person, or, as I said, worse.Vincent H. Bartning 04:49, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Your comments are bordering on the unprofessional, Vincent. And please stop referring to Wikipedia, particularly in such dark (and undefined) terms. Thanks. Hayford Peirce 14:32, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
This frustrates me Hayford. He's changed the page before agreeing about it, and now you're accusing me of "bordering on the unprofessional"? Where do I begin to border on the unprofessional?!? Moreover, I'd like to add that I also wanted to demonstrate that like the number of those killed in battle on one side often does not affect the outcome of a battle or conflict, the size of the victorious force often plays less of a role than other factors such as tactics or equipment, even morale. His change takes all that out. What does my reference to Wikipedia have to do with it besides? Vincent H. Bartning 15:45, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Issues such as the nature of victory or defeat are simply a different subject than battlefield casualties. See, for example, center of gravity and military doctrine.
I can't speak for Hayford, but he may be referring to the authority of an Editor, in a relevant workgroup, to make changes. I made suggestions, but I do not have to wait for "agreement". In this case, I ruled that certain things belonged in other articles. I'll note that I made changes in April with no response for some time; the article had not been active. I made changes that I judged made the article more accurate.
Why do you want to "demonstrate that like the number of those killed in battle on one side often does not affect the outcome of a battle or conflict" in this specific article? Many factors, not just casualties, affect outcomes. Some battles could be victories but were inconclusive due to lack of initiative, such as Second Ypres, Cambrai, or the Battle of the Crater. Rorke's Drift Station is a classic of a small force stopping a large one; it's interesting to compare and contrast it with the Alamo: what if either had been bypassed? Small guerilla units simply can't take casualties, but in a larger guerilla war, a force like the Eighth Route Army can take huge casualties and still achieve its objective.
As far as Cannae vs. Thermopylae, you stated that Cannae was the first battle in which the winning side had certain casualty ratios. That simply is not the case; Thermopylae was one of many earlier battles. Battle of Cannae is now a stub, and it would be helpful to expand it to include the significant tactical details.
Again, many of the topics you raise are perfectly valid, but in other articles. As far as the number of killed affecting the outcome, that may or may not be valid in a particular type of conflict. For example, the standard of military modeling, for many years, were the Lanchester Equations, which basically used a First World War or earlier model. Today's paradigm is much more effects-based: if, for example, a given military has extremely centralized command, disrupting the communications of the commander can end the war with no casualties at all.
I'm also somewhat puzzled that you seem to be objecting principally to the fact of deletion, rather than to what I actually said, about either moving material to other articles, or correcting factual inaccuracies. Is there an "ownership" issue here? Howard C. Berkowitz 16:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Vincent, Howard is correct in that I have only been writing about his *authority* to make these sweeping changes. He is an Editor, and he has made an Editorial decision that these major changes should be made. As I said, I haven't read the article, and I haven't read much of the *lengthy* discussions about it, but it seems to me from a cursory glance that Howard has given you *very* lengthy explanations about his decision and his reasoning. Also, as he says, you appear to be more concerned with the deletions rather than even addressing the fact that Howard has *clearly* said that the deleted material could, and should, go into other articles. That is clearly a Editor's decision, and even if I absolutely disagreed with it, I, as a Constable, can do nothing to change it.
As to "unprofessionalism", I only mean that dark, veiled references to "Wikipedia or worse" are not very helpful and contribute nothing to the discussion. In the first place, we're not concerned with how Wikipedia works. Our system is different; most refugees from WP find it a pleasant relief; others are unable to adapt to the differences. Looking over the revision histories of both the Article and the Talk page, however, I do think that Howard should have written at the time a detailed explanation on the Talk page about what he was doing and why. And also a clear explanation of the fact that as an Editor he had to right to make such a large deletion. He was, in fact, wrong not to have done so, and I will tell him that. Hayford Peirce 17:58, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

An outsider comments

I'm neither American nor involved with the military. nor knowlegable in military history. My impressions follow.

The article is nearly all US-oriented. All US-specific stuff should move, either to a separate article or to a separate section of this one. Is there stuff on other nations that should be added?

Why are things like Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart not links? I'd say they are obvious candidates for articles.

"KIA and DOW casualties receive the Purple Heart, a high military honor, or ..." I thought the Purple Heart was a fairly low-level medal and was given to anyone wounded in action, not only to those killed. Sandy Harris 03:25, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

See also for general issues

Howard C. Berkowitz 17:56, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

The Author/Editor relationship and a couple of articles explaining them

Hi, Vincent, you might take a look at this page called "Deferring to Editors" at:

You might also look at a follow-up article called "Decisionmaking and Dispute Resolution" at:

None of us are perfect. Authors make mistakes and are overruled by Editors; Editors make mistakes are overruled by other Editors; Constables make mistakes and are overruled by other Constables. I don't think any *serious* mistakes have been made in this case, but I urge you to read the two articles above. Hayford Peirce 18:38, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Is it true that WWII KIA were automatically awarded the Bronze Star?

I was awarded a Bronze Star in France during WWII. I never heard that all KIA in WWII were automatically awarded Bronze Stars until I read it in this article. That is very interesting. Is it documented some where? If, so where? Milton Beychok 07:18, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  1. Washington State University's reader Pericles' Funeral Oration. Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
  2. The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved on 2007-02-04.