Are field medics morally permitted to treat unjust combatants? I distinguish between two kinds of enemy combatants: reactivated ones who will rejoin the fight, and deactivated ones who will not rejoin the fight. Helen Frowe has argued that field medics are not permitted to treat reactivated combatants but is silent about deactivated ones. First, I argue that Frowe’s account plausibly extends to a moral prohibition on treating deactivated combatants in addition to reactivated ones. Second, I argue that the best argument for treating deactivated enemy soldiers extends also to reactivated ones but holds only for groups, which undermines Frowe’s general position. I thus defend the mainstream view, enshrined in the Geneva Convention, that the treatment of deactivated unjust combatants (and maybe, in some cases, reactivated unjust combatants) by partisan or nonpartisan field medics is often all-things-considered morally obligatory.
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