March 31, 2004

War Crimes II

The attack in Falluja today practically begs for a legal analysis of the status of such acts. Was it a mob, a legitimate armed attack, a scene of mass murder, or a war crime? Phil Carter believes this to be a military operation, designed to test american resolve. In that case, it's a war crime, and I await the stirring condemnations from the entire military justice community.

Wait, that's not going to happen. And I'm foolish to even think that it would. This would require the laws of land warfare to actually mean something anymore, other than something to wave around as a cudgel to intimidate and beat on western militaries. Nobody of consequence seems to give the least bit of attention to the problem of what to do when a movementt purposefully, and continually commits war crimes. We've been overwhelmed and desensitized to the point where we've given up in defending these rules of warfare. As a practical matter, it does not pay to violate the rules of war in a small way. You get criticized and penalized for that. But audacious, breathtaking, and common violations, what punishment awaits the side that does this?

One sided violations of the rules will not remain unanswered forever. But unless we're going to return to the barbarity of total war, we have to come up with a better enforcement mechanism.

Posted by TMLutas at March 31, 2004 08:01 PM