Alien lives

Despite the Trang series featuring many, many space Marines, I've never felt like I ought to market it as military sci-fi.

And one reason is because I keep coming across this scenario in military sci-fi:

There are aliens. The aliens are enemies for whatever reason, or you know, no reason whatsoever. The enemy aliens decide to attack or are preparing to attack, so the humans and perhaps some good aliens get together and, relying on some far superior military technology, they surround the enemy aliens and they kill them all. Every single one!

Pardon my focus on semantics, but--isn't that properly called a massacre?

I realize that the rules of engagement tend to go out the window in the heat of combat. I don't judge that: I don't want to get killed, either, and if I were in combat the fact that I had much better weaponry than the other guy wouldn't slow me down one whit.

But in these books, these things more often than not are planned. There's a trap, the enemy falls into the trap, and then the humans kill them all!!! Forget negotiating surrender or taking prisoners--it's slaughter time!

Oh, but the enemy aliens don't surrender. That's always the moral loophole in these stories--Gee, Mom, I had to wipe out that village! Those guys don't surrender! Plus, you know, they are ugly and talk funny and eat weird food and don't live like we do--better to kill them all. It's just so much more convenient. So much more satisfying.

This may be another example of me having a hard time letting go of the metaphor.

I guess I feel like people are already so very prone to dehumanizing enemies that it's not something that needs to be encouraged. Playing up the alien's alieness to make massacre more acceptable--they're evil, they're bad, they don't surrender, we have no choice but to kill them all--makes me feel like I'm reading Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Because according to Hannah Arendt, that's basically what the Nazis told soldiers who didn't feel particularly good about massacring Jews: You have no choice. It's not pleasant, but it has to happen. They're evil and they won't surrender. We have no choice but to kill them all.