Friday, August 01, 2014
When all isn't fair in... war
Throughout the current conflict in Gaza, the world has been scolding Israel over the lack of proportionality in the way we have been responding to the unprovoked attacks against us.
European leaders and UN shills have been stressing two main talking point in all their public statements:
1. The 'primitive' nature of the weapons that are being used against us as compared to the sophisticated offensive and defensive tools in our arsenal;
2. The disproportionate number of casualties on each side.
Heck, the New York Times even offers a handy box score in every article related to the conflict... y'kmow, so fans tuning in can quickly get a sense of how the game stands.
[Screenshot from today's Times]
The clear message being conveyed is that since their weapons are so crude and inaccurate, and our technological advantage so great... that we should somehow be able to handicap the conflict in such a way as to level the playing field.
In other words, with such a lopsided death toll, something just doesn't seem cricket in the way Israel is playing the game.
What they fail to appreciate (or more likely, willfully ignore), is that, despite having rules... war is not a game. The rules are meant to preserve humanity and protect non-combatants... not ensure a close and exciting match for the spectators.
There is nothing in the Geneva Comventions that requires a better equipped military force to give a head start or handicap to a belligerent adversary with lesser means.
There are, however clear rules regarding the deliberate use of civilians as human shields, and intentionally exploiting schools, hospitals, ambulances, residential dwellings and houses of worship as weapons depots and launch pads.
There are rules that require combatants to wear clearly identifiable uniforms and insignia to distinguish them from non-combatants.
There are rules that prohibit the use of false flags (e.g. enemy uniforms) during attacks, and there are rules that prohibit carrying out attacks under a flag of truce (i.e. during a cease fire that has been offered and accepted by all sides.).
And most cogent to the events of today, there are rules governing the status and treatment of combatants captured, taken prisoner and / or who surrender during hostilities. Such persons are considered Prisoners of War, not kidnap victims.
Yet, throughout this (and all previous conflicts), Israel has been expected to not only offer a handicap, but to play by a different set of rules altogether!
The terrorists in Gaza fire thousands of missiles at our civilian population and the world borrows from the Palestinian lexicon to label it 'resistance' and 'militancy' instead of unprovoked belligerency and terrorism.
They use their own people and civilian infrastructure as shields for military installations, but the world only takes notice when those installations are targeted in our retaliatory strikes.
They dress their combatants in civilian clothing, and the world only notices the blurring of that distinction when tallying up the daily body count (with anyone dressed in street clothes counted as a civilian death).
They ask for, and receive, humanitarian ceasefires... and the world sees nothing wrong with the fact that they use those ceasefires to launch unopposed sneak attacks.
Their captured combatants are treated as Prisoners of War with the Red Cross given full access to assess their conditions and treatment. When one of our soldiers falls into their hands (captured during a cease fire!), the world shrugs and calls him a kidnapping victim, with no rights or expectations of humane treatment, instead of calling him a POW.
I'm not suggesting that Israel abandon it's humanity or disregard our moral / ethical responsibility to try to safeguard non-combatants who are, through no fault of their own, caught in the crossfire.
But there comes a point in warfare where one side declares through word and deed that no quarter will be offered to combatants... and both sides have to assume that none will be given.
That time has, IMHO, arrived.
Israel must continue to hold itself to the highest standards of conduct. But if our enemies are not expected to adhere to modern norms of warfare, I say we have to wage war on their terms... at least in terms of how we treat their combatants.
Without going into specifics, I think we should be guided by a few bits of wisdom passed down to us by a man who knew a thing or two about warfare... and how trying to make it neat, honorable or fair would do nothing but prolong the agony for all involved:
“Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster”
“War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”
"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want."
~William Tecumseh Sherman~
General Sherman understood then, as we must make the world understand now, that war isn't fair. War is hell.
Posted by David Bogner on August 1, 2014 | Permalink
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but how do convince your leaders?
Posted by: dave | Aug 1, 2014 11:05:49 PM
Eugene Kontorovich explains the Law.
Posted by: Rondo | Aug 2, 2014 4:42:36 AM
Posted by: Rondo | Aug 2, 2014 4:44:27 AM
There is one rule in war: win
Posted by: Garnel Ironheart | Aug 3, 2014 10:47:17 AM
I wouldn`t mind the Times box score if they also did the same with other wars and conflicts(Ukraine,Syria).The fact that it doesn`t,shows its hidden agenda guided by it`s publisher and ownership.
Posted by: ED | Aug 3, 2014 5:34:20 PM