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Thread: War crimes

  1. #1 War crimes 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    I've never understood how the term war crime has come to be. Vae victis maybe?

    If an army invades another country to take it over - killing millions and taking control of that country's assets thats fine it seems. But kill the citizens of a small village that is unarmed and its a war crime.
    It seems to me people wants to bring something civil to something as uncivil as war. If a bunch of talking bears slaughters wolves to take territory, its war - and is fine (wtf?) but if they for example find a cave with wolf pups and kill them its a war crime. Bears killing wolves is fine, but doing something equally barbaric is not? It seems some countries think they have the right to decide moral and etiquette in war. Noone has that right unless they themselves are the victor and impose it. If a country is to weak to defend themselves they have no rights and anything imposed on them is just nature. Survival of the fittest.

    Ofcourse I think wars should be fought to keep civillian casualties to a minimum, and by my own set of morals - exploiting the weak is cruel and unjust. If my country was invaded ofcourse I'd WISH for the invaders to act humane. And invading a country myself - I would ofcourse treat the civillians with respect. This is for me a practical and humane set of rules which I look at not as moralism but mutual karma based benefit where one act as you hope you will be treated back for PRACTICAL reasons rooted in selfishness.

    However noone has the right to choose morals for someone else. IMO the victor in war has every right to do as they wish, thats just nature. I'm having difficulties understanding how the term "Warm crime" can even come into existence precisely because of the rules of nature.

    Lets take WW2 as an example. The allied forces punnished the enemy for "War crimes" however, they had the right to punnish them however they see fit at that time. But calling it war crimes seems to me as propaganda. Allies jumping on a white horse shouting "YOU WERE MEAN AND IMMORAL NOW YOU MUST BE PUNNISHED!" the allies have in this scenario every right (Because they are the victor) to do this. But for me it seems stupid to call it war crimes - as war itself is a crime.

    My point is: Going to war in itself is a "crime". Calling specific acts of immoral actions in war for war crimes just sounds illogical to me. The victor has the right to do what they wanted during a war, and if they should lose - then the one conquering the former victor has the same right. But targeting specific inhumane actions and saying "That is a war crime"?

    Thoughts?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    All the countries meet in Geneva first, write a war rulebook, then go to war.

    I believe Heinrich Himmler once said that in true war, it is the duty of one race to totally annihilate the other. You could consider that a rule too, I suppose.


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    I've never understood how the term war crime has come to be. Vae victis maybe?
    War Crime, You can feel free to call it 'A Broken Promise' if you want. People charged with war crimes are members of nations who have signed a convention or treaty that forbids conduct deemed immoral by the signatory nations. So if your country signs the treaty then you are to conduct warfare without resorting to acts that you, as the signatory, has deemed to be immoral. This is not to imply that there is some absolute level of morality in the use of any tactic in warfare, just that your country has agreed that certain acts are not fitting conduct in warfare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    If an army invades another country to take it over - killing millions and taking control of that country's assets thats fine it seems. But kill the citizens of a small village that is unarmed and its a war crime.
    only if the invaders or the defending country are under the jurisdiction of the international criminal court and these actions can be shown to be a deliberate action perpetrated or covered up by a state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    However noone has the right to choose morals for someone else. IMO the victor in war has every right to do as they wish, thats just nature. I'm having difficulties understanding how the term "Warm crime" can even come into existence precisely because of the rules of nature.
    I think we need to draw a distinction between "has the right" and "has the capacity to", even if they don't have the right it's not like the defeated party will be able to do anything about it in the short term.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Lets take WW2 as an example. The allied forces punnished the enemy for "War crimes" however, they had the right to punnish them however they see fit at that time. But calling it war crimes seems to me as propaganda. Allies jumping on a white horse shouting "YOU WERE MEAN AND IMMORAL NOW YOU MUST BE PUNNISHED!" the allies have in this scenario every right (Because they are the victor) to do this. But for me it seems stupid to call it war crimes - as war itself is a crime.
    War crimes, crimes against humanity and planning/initiating a war of aggression were the charges brought against Germany, a country who had signed and ratified the geneva convention of 1929. Japan did not ratify this convention but the conditions of the surrender of japan to allied forces provide the basis for prosecution for such crimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    My point is: Going to war in itself is a "crime". Calling specific acts of immoral actions in war for war crimes just sounds illogical to me. The victor has the right to do what they wanted during a war, and if they should lose - then the one conquering the former victor has the same right. But targeting specific inhumane actions and saying "That is a war crime"?

    Thoughts?
    according to you and what army? War crime charges are brought against individuals for the part they play in a systematic breach of conduct in war time, when they are participating in warfare as part of a country that has agreed upon what behaviour is to be condemned in war time.
    Last edited by wallaby; February 24th, 2012 at 12:16 AM. Reason: Slight correction
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Thanks for a good answer Wallaby. Though i should have made myself clearer as for my definition of the word. I meant war crimes as something out of human context aswell - as a universal natural thing. The reason I'm having problems with the term is because I feel it is costructed by humans and that a war crime is something that defies nature.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    Hence why you mentioned bears and wolves... i get it now.
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