Sunday, October 4, 2009

War crimes

Recently Canucklehead had a post listing oxymorons. He had some good ones. I offered "Bagpipe Music". Today I offer, as my own post, "War Crimes".

Why? Because I think, deep down, ALL of war is a crime.

The dictionary:
War crime: "An action carried out during the conduct of a war that violates accepted international rules of war."


But do you not think it rather ridiculous that something as chaotic and all-destructive as war, to say it must be conducted under certain rules? How does one order chaos? Is that in itself not simply another oxymoron?

No matter how justified, or even "necessary," war is always a crime.

Warmaking doesn't stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago. — Colman McCarthy

If we are going to stop wars on this earth, we are going to have to make war on hunger our number one priority. — David W. Brooks

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? — Eleanor Roosevelt

A self-respecting nation is ready for anything except for a renunciation of its option to make war. — Simone Weil

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk. — Eleanor Roosevelt


  1. "Because I think, deep down, ALL of war is a crime."
    "No matter how justified, or even "necessary," war is always a crime."

    Now substitute "war" with "killing" and you will have my thoughts on your previous post but one.

    Not so very much difference between war and killing?

  2. @A. - But I DON'T think all killing is a crime, or even wrong.

    There is very much a difference between the two.

  3. I'm in agreement with Relax Max on this one. I don't think all killing is wrong, but war always involves horrific actions on either side. I understand the mindset of those against capital punishment; I just don't agree and yet I'm against war.

    I don't have trouble with the distinctions in my own mind, but I can understand someone else being confused.

    I have seriously buttloads of pacifist quotes, a surprisingly large number from those that made their living by it: generals.

  4. I tried to stay away from war quotes by generals. They always seem so sanctimonious. Even one by Aristotle: "We make war so that we may live in peace." is just bullshit. (Is it legal for me to call a quote by Aristotle bullshit?) He should know better. If war lets us live in peace later, why do we still have constant war? I came across another quote that I didn't use that says, "Everyone is a pacifist between wars. It's like being a vegetarian between meals."

  5. @A. - War is so much more than killing. War is a crime, a failure of reason, and a crying shame.

  6. But having said that, I guess I would still opt to defend myself rather than simply giving up, if attacked. But the word "attacked" (which used to be so straightforward) seems to have taken on so many nuances and qualifications, hasn't it?

  7. Aristotle was not a general. I know that.

  8. That is a very powerful and troubling image... wow.

    As for commentary, all I can do is agree with what you've said...

  9. "But I DON'T think all killing is a crime, or even wrong."
    My point was - I do. And I think execution is legally "justified" (for some) in the same way as war is. Frequently just another form of revenge.

  10. @Lady - I don't really know if it was a true war crime" but it was very sad at any rate. Thank you for stopping by. We've missed you. :)

    @A. - Oh, you do not. Climb down off of that thing.

    But you think revenge is wrong? I see. How about "retaliation"?

  11. Splitting hairs here. Is killing someone justified? Even at the possibility of losing your own life? Is killing justified even in war? Oh I know, how can you have a war without death? You obviously cannot. So does that make it right? Is all war wrong?
    I have a hard time believing war is okay. But at the same time one must protect oneself should they not? Killing can be justified, but when children are caught in the crossfires it is so very wrong.
    Now I think this whole comment made very little sense, and I am sure you will agree. Too frickin early for me.

  12. @Ettarose - Is killing ever justified? Sure, sometimes. Why would you put a value on an assailant's life over and above your own or your children's? Justifiable homicide is what the DA calls it when he declines to prosecute you.

    On a larger scale, when another country attacks your country and your way of life and you and your family's future, it is not dishonorable for your country to strike back. Or is it?

    I think you muddy the water by being so indecisive. Agression is wrong, whether it is us or them. But don't be ashamed of protecting your family, yourself, or your country. I say.

    There will always be children in the cross fire. So sad. Especially when combatants hide behind them.



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