Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Why isn't war illegal?

TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
edited November 2006 in Debate and/or Discourse
Given that there are a whole raft of restrictions on military commanders and even politicians with regards to acceptable behaviour during a war, is there any obvious reason why actually declaring a war on someone isn't illegal?

If we were to look at the laws governing individuals, murder is always illegal but there is almost always exceptions made in the case of self defence and generally for self defense of another (i.e allies). If anything it would make the war crime trials for military leaders a lot easier (proving that they were the agressors in a war has got to be easier than proving a lot of warcrimes) - I can see the tricky aspects where one country is trying to economically sabotage another by some means, but then that is what trials are for.

Is there any real reason for the UN to actually allow it? I don't see how torturing prisoners for information about the war effort is any less moral than attacking someone because you want their stuff, or even to just wipe them out.

Would even clear up the wierd instances where people are claiming a 'war on drugs/terror/christmas' as they would have to be talking metaphorically if they didn't want to face charges at the end of it.

Tastyfish on
«134

Posts

  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Because the UN has the legal authority of a sack of hammers?

    I imagine that and the fact that no matter how "illegal" it was made, some crazy jackass is always going to want to start something makes it a nice idea, but completely impossible.

    saiyan2.jpg
  • HacksawHacksaw J Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Because it's just too damn fun.

  • FanboiFanboi Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Because both sides in a war can offer a reason that they had no choice but to fight.

    Germans in World War II invaded its neighbors to reunite the german people and to right the wrongs of World War I. At least thats what they claimed.

    The US invaded Mexico to stop the raids of vicious Mexican criminals onto US soil.

    So when everyone can blame someone else for starting a war, it becomes very hard to trace or assign 100% blame.

    There's a life lesson here. No matter how beautiful the woman, no matter how enthusiastic she may be, someone, somewhere, is sick of her crap.
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Alright, say that war is illegal. Someone decides to break the law and start a war. What do you do? Go to war against him?

    RichyFlag.gifsig.gif
  • HacksawHacksaw J Duggan Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Richy wrote:
    Alright, say that war is illegal. Someone decides to break the law and start a war. What do you do? Go to war against him?
    Call the war police.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Furu wrote:
    Because the UN has the legal authority of a sack of hammers?

    I imagine that and the fact that no matter how "illegal" it was made, some crazy jackass is always going to want to start something makes it a nice idea, but completely impossible.
    But the west got it together it enough to get a raft of other rules and things passed and if it wanted to could surely pressure pretty much everyone else to agree (given its more or less worthless to them anyway and only really benefits everyone else, especially after Iraq).

    Who cares if the crazy jackass decides that declaring himself a 5 star general isn't enough and feels he should earn some extra medals - its not as if serial killers are a decent argument against the laws against murder. Preventing crazy people from doing what they want to do is one of the purposes of the law.
    Richy wrote:
    Alright, say that war is illegal. Someone decides to break the law and start a war. What do you do? Go to war against him?
    I covered this - its the same as hitting the guy who was raping someone else with a pipe, we have existing laws that cover the defence of others.

  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    If someone has enough of an army to start a war and does so, you can't just arrest him.

    You have to start a war.

    saiyan2.jpg
  • FanboiFanboi Registered User
    edited November 2006
    What if a big country starts a war against a little country? The little country cant do squat. Does an ever bigger country come to the rescue or is the big fish eating a small fish just the law of nature at work?

    There's a life lesson here. No matter how beautiful the woman, no matter how enthusiastic she may be, someone, somewhere, is sick of her crap.
  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    War is a neccessity. You're never going to have everyone in the world get along, no matter what laws you pass.

    saiyan2.jpg
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Because both sides in a war can offer a reason that they had no choice but to fight.

    Germans in World War II invaded its neighbors to reunite the german people and to right the wrongs of World War I. At least thats what they claimed.

    The US invaded Mexico to stop the raids of vicious Mexican criminals onto US soil.

    So when everyone can blame someone else for starting a war, it becomes very hard to trace or assign 100% blame.
    He said something abusive, I teased him about it, he drew a knife, I said I'd shoot him if he came near me with it - he did so I did.

    If it turns out he actually just bumped into me then I'm clearly at fault and guilty of murder.

    We have courts rather than just summary punishments from a judge for this very reason. I don't expect it to create world peace but it is going to start promoting a very different type of dictator.
    What if a big country starts a war against a little country? The little country cant do squat. Does an ever bigger country come to the rescue or is the big fish eating a small fish just the law of nature at work?
    We do this already - how often does one country invade another and nobody does anything nowadays. If anything this allows more to do be done to help.

    Seriously do you really think I ment that declaring war on someone who has invaded you should be illegal? Being the agressor is the illegal thing, complicated situations this could be sorted out in a trial at the end of the conflict and blame/damages assigned. Countries coming to the aid of others will make things complicated, but not more than people coming to the aid of others is - it can still be 'acting in defence' if the criminal is threatening my kid rather than me, or even if I help a friend who has become a victim.

  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Furu wrote:
    War is a neccessity. You're never going to have everyone in the world get along, no matter what laws you pass.

    Well you see "getting along" and war are not exactly the too choices there are
    "I like ketchup on my hotdog"
    "I prefer mustard"
    "FUCK YOU *BLAM BLAM*"

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited November 2006
    You are familiar with the League of Nations, aren't you, Tastyfish?

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    War is a necessary and legitimate tool of the state. Outlawing it wouldn't do shit.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • FanboiFanboi Registered User
    edited November 2006
    What if a big country starts a war against a little country? The little country cant do squat. Does an ever bigger country come to the rescue or is the big fish eating a small fish just the law of nature at work?
    We do this already - how often does one country invade another and nobody does anything. If anything this allows more to do be done to help.

    Seriously do you really think I ment that declaring war on someone who has invaded you should be illegal? Being the agressor is the illegal thing, complicated situations this could be sorted out in a trial at the end of the conflict and blame/damages assigned.

    I understand what you are implying. I just don't see whats different between what you are suggesting and what happens today. After every major war of the last 100 years, their has been a trial where blame was assigned.

    Historically, the one holding the trial is the winner and the one getting hanged is the loser.

    I understand and have never questioned the ideals of selfdefense. I question the ideas of the defense of others when that defense is nonvital to your own security.

    I also question the idea that war is bad. Every nation in existance today has drawn its borders in the blood of war. Wars are fought over land because in the end it's the most valuable thing there is. It provides the food we eat, the water we drink, and the wealth to grow and thrive.
    If you can't protect the most precious item you possess, then you don't deserve to have it.

    There's a life lesson here. No matter how beautiful the woman, no matter how enthusiastic she may be, someone, somewhere, is sick of her crap.
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of Justice.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Poldy wrote:
    Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of Justice.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+peace&btnG=Google+Search
    Peace is commonly understood to mean the absence of hostilities.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    You are familiar with the League of Nations, aren't you, Tastyfish?
    Quite a different environment though, todays wars are a totally different beast than those then (post WW2, Cold Wars and empires). Besides, if any of the major powers were dead set on going to war today then the whole system is fucked regardless. Far as containing small wars and dragging various dictatorships kicking and screaming into the civilised world I can't see the problem.

    League nations was designed to prevent WW2, we're talking preventing small wars
    War is a necessary and legitimate tool of the state. Outlawing it wouldn't do shit.
    Going a'murderin' would be quite useful when it comes to securing food and stuff...but for some reason we're not to keen on this. Exactly what is the difference, if this would make a more sensible tangent to take the thread off in feel free to do so - what makes a nation exempt from the rules that it holds its citizens too (other than the obvious ones that deal with government).

  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited November 2006
    So who do we need to protect it FROM?
    Most countries who have drawn their borders in blood have done so because they had kings, who wanted power, and more money, and whatever. It was hardly the farmers on one side that though "gee, we really need our king to command over those farmers over there"
    There are virtually no civilizaed country that will do "land grab" Israel and China do it, but i wouldn't call either truly civilized.
    As for land being that important in today's day and age, i pretty much disagree. True without no land no people, but a country twice as big in areal is not twice as rich as a country with half that areal.

    Anyway, there are extreme situations where war would be justifiable, but often it is not, and when it is you only end up there because you got yourself in that position, be that Europe in 39, or america 01.

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt Damn you, eidetic memory! Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    what makes a nation exempt from the rules that it holds its citizens too (other than the obvious ones that deal with government).
    You can't send a nation to jail.

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
    Thomas-Vail.png
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Titmouse wrote:
    Poldy wrote:
    Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of Justice.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+peace&btnG=Google+Search
    Peace is commonly understood to mean the absence of hostilities.

    ...

    That was quite stupid.

    I hope you know that, right?

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • mccmcc glitch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    My understanding is that the U.N. already prohibits making war without the U.N.'s permission, but this doesn't work because

    1. The flyspeck countries, nobody cares enough about them to make them stop

    2. The huge countries can veto any resolution, so they can do anything they want and nobody can do jack to stop them.

    So basically it can only prevent medium-sized countries from making war.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    This is the best thread I've seen all day. :lol:

    Spoiler:
  • designMcGeedesignMcGee Registered User
    edited November 2006
    ares.jpg

    Ares is not pleased.

    sig_uso.jpg
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    mcc wrote:
    My understanding is that the U.N. already prohibits making war without the U.N.'s permission, but this doesn't work because

    1. The flyspeck countries, nobody cares enough about them to make them stop

    2. The huge countries can veto any resolution, so they can do anything they want and nobody can do jack to stop them.

    So basically it can only prevent medium-sized countries from making war.
    The idea isn't about preventing war by sending 'police' to actually stop it, but by making the people who start the war being held personally responsible - so if Col McFlyspek decides to invade his neighbour - even if the UN or other countries are involved later, if captured he can be held for trial even if his soldiers were particularly well behaved and decided not to rape anything other than the infrastructure.

    Ares
    From God of War to advertising a directory enquiries service, that has to be number 1 for 'where are they now?'

  • mccmcc glitch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    The idea isn't about preventing war by sending 'police' to actually stop it, but by making the people who start the war being held personally responsible - so if Col McFlyspek decides to invade his neighbour - even if the UN or other countries are involved later, if captured he can be held for trial even if his soldiers were particularly well behaved and decided not to rape anything other than the infrastructure.
    Uh, and who enforces this?

    And what if the decision to go to war isn't made by a single person, or is made by a democracy?

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    mcc wrote:
    Tastyfish wrote:
    The idea isn't about preventing war by sending 'police' to actually stop it, but by making the people who start the war being held personally responsible - so if Col McFlyspek decides to invade his neighbour - even if the UN or other countries are involved later, if captured he can be held for trial even if his soldiers were particularly well behaved and decided not to rape anything other than the infrastructure.
    Uh, and who enforces this?

    And what if the decision to go to war isn't made by a single person, or is made by a democracy?
    Whoever enforces the genocide rules, democracy is a bit more complicated and would depend on whether a referendum was carried out first (i.e the party in power truly washing their hands of it). Even then I'd would still be tempted to hold the people who proposed and ordered it carried out responsible - even a democracy doesn't mean mob rule trumps all other laws. Its not as if the germans as a whole were tried for trying to eradicate the jews.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    You seem to be ignoring the fact that most people who rise to positions of power can usually count on the support of the general populace (at least for a while anyways), so unless the populace came to really despise there leader, they'd probably fight to defend him.

    Spoiler:
  • Crimson KingCrimson King we need no grave to bury honesty there's not a grain of it the face to sweeten of the whole dungy earthRegistered User regular
    edited November 2006
    While this is a lovely idea, it certainly isn't enforceable. Who's going tell the most powerful countries in the world what to do?

    DS: 4742 - 6001 - 2106 add me to your friend safaris
  • mccmcc glitch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Whoever enforces the genocide rules
    The international community has not yet consistently figured out who enforces the genocide rules, or when, or how. What we have are a series of ad hoc guidelines that will probably be a bit more stable if you give it another fifty years.
    Its not as if the germans as a whole were tried for trying to eradicate the jews.
    That's not what I'd call an example of a democratically made decision

  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2006
    Fanboi wrote:
    What if a big country starts a war against a little country? The little country cant do squat. Does an ever bigger country come to the rescue or is the big fish eating a small fish just the law of nature at work?
    One of the principles o f the United Nations is collective self-defense. Look at the example set in South Korea.

    If you're going to "outlaw' war - the only enforcemebt mechanism is going to be war to opppose the agressions o f others.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    mcc wrote:
    Tastyfish wrote:
    The idea isn't about preventing war by sending 'police' to actually stop it, but by making the people who start the war being held personally responsible - so if Col McFlyspek decides to invade his neighbour - even if the UN or other countries are involved later, if captured he can be held for trial even if his soldiers were particularly well behaved and decided not to rape anything other than the infrastructure.
    Uh, and who enforces this?

    And what if the decision to go to war isn't made by a single person, or is made by a democracy?
    Whoever enforces the genocide rules, democracy is a bit more complicated and would depend on whether a referendum was carried out first (i.e the party in power truly washing their hands of it). Even then I'd would still be tempted to hold the people who proposed and ordered it carried out responsible - even a democracy doesn't mean mob rule trumps all other laws. Its not as if the germans as a whole were tried for trying to eradicate the jews.

    Didn't we just have a whole drawn out thing about how the genocide laws are completely useless (it was in the thread about the Germans making noice about trying Rumsfeld for war crimes).

    Basically, the only people who will ever be tried for a war crime. crime against humanity. or the like is the leader of a country that's just lost a war. Even if a country was in general against what their leader was doing militarily, I can't think of a single case where a leader was tried for crimes without losing a major war (and control of their country) or if there was a coup. The only way to even try and enforce an anti-war agenda would be to be willing to wage war on anyone who waged war.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    While this is a lovely idea, it certainly isn't enforceable. Who's going tell the most powerful countries in the world what to do?
    As with any system of laws, when those with the power to break the laws and get away with it do so, they will break down. However like any other system of laws the idea is that its actually beneficial to more or less everyone for them to follow it.

    Who exactly doesn't benefit here, the powerful countries get a more stable world as various dictators are less willing to attack their neighbours and the less powerful ones get protection from those stronger than them.
    The idea isn't that outlawing war will somehow hold back the armies, its that the leaders can then be held accountable at the end of the conflict and future leaders are less likely to do so. A law against murder doesn't actually stop a person getting murdered, it reduces the general populance's incentive to do so and lets you deal with murderers after the act.

    Rather than having to prove that the order for genocide or outlawed weapons came from the head of state themselves (or that it even was a genocide rather than a unbiased mass killing), you can convict them for starting the war in the first place. If someone is powerful enough to flaut the law then they have flauted the law and there isn't much you can do - however 99% of the time this isn't the case.

    I never said it would make the world a nice and happy place, but unless there is some reason for unprovoked war to be considered some kind of right why isn't it used in the same way that assault with a deadly weapon is (especially in countries with gun control) - even if we can't prove you ever intended to kill the staff at the bank, and you actually didn't get any of the money you can still be tried for the crime.

    The alternative seems to be long, complicated trials for 'crimes against humanity' that are hard to define in the first place. Seems like arguing whether or not shooting someone in the leg during a bank robbery could be considered attempted murder or not. There seems no debate as to whether the act was wrong in the first place and we're just debating how wrong it might be. If avoiding prison isn't an option for someone who's lost a war they started a lot of the issues might be avoided.

  • CorlisCorlis Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    If we're talking about arresting leaders who send their countries to war, then I think that it would be a little too troublesome to do so. Usually such people either remain in power in their country, and thus it would be far too bloody to extract them for trial, or they are captured by the people they invaded, in which case the invaded people aren't likely to want to wait for a full fledged trial and will just shoot him on the spot. Given that, why would anyone want to make it illegal? They'd have to shove it through years of UN bureaucracy and either end up with a similar result (attacking leader executed) or an option too bloody to explore (attacking leader safe in his country).

    But I don't mind, as long as there's a bed beneath the stars that shine,
    I'll be fine, just give me a minute, a man's got a limit, I can't get a life if my heart's not in it.
  • AroducAroduc regular
    edited November 2006
    War...

    War never changes...


    Seriously, how do you determine who even started a war? Is it the country that imposed sanctions and drove the other's economy into the mudpit? Or is it the one who had a lost division accidently attack a platoon? Or is it the one that is rounding up certain nationalities and executing them within their own borders? War doesn't just up and occur.

    And besides, we've already got a system in place, it's called "The winners get to record history." The winners are always in the right, at least for the immediately time (assuming we're not going to wait 50 years for historians to collect data before passing judgement) and then we execute Saddam. Hooray for the War Police.

  • mccmcc glitch Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2006
    Aroduc wrote:
    Seriously, how do you determine who even started a war? Is it the country that imposed sanctions and drove the other's economy into the mudpit? Or is it the one who had a lost division accidently attack a platoon? Or is it the one that is rounding up certain nationalities and executing them within their own borders? War doesn't just up and occur.
    These are crucial questions and heck, we can discuss them in concrete terms. Lebanon. In a world with a "war is illegal!" law, did Israel break the law by this year waging war on Lebanon? Did Lebanon break the law by allowing Hezbollah to do stuff to Israel, and Israel wasn't waging war but just innocently and justly defending itself? Or did they both break the law? Or neither? And don't even try to answer these questions, because it doesn't matter what the answers are. We wouldn't be able to get the international community to agree on what the answers are, and that means the war "law" wouldn't be an instrument of justice but just another political tool states would use to post hoc justify their actions against other states.

  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    We've tried making war illegal before (see Kellogg-Briand Pact).

    Thing is, though, that it was ridiculously easy for countries to spin whatever war they started as a defensive war, thus making it "legal".

    Edit: So maybe we already mentioned the League of Nations on the front page and I glossed over it >_>

    sig10008eq.png
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    War tends to be characterized by deciding one countries laws and edicts mean fuck all to you.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Tastyfish wrote:
    The idea isn't about preventing war by sending 'police' to actually stop it, but by making the people who start the war being held personally responsible - so if Col McFlyspek decides to invade his neighbour - even if the UN or other countries are involved later, if captured he can be held for trial even if his soldiers were particularly well behaved and decided not to rape anything other than the infrastructure.

    Actually, that sounds like a fairly good justification for not making war illegal.

«134
Sign In or Register to comment.