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Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War?

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the just-wait-until-mars-riots dept.

The Military 317

Lasrick writes "This is a great read — from the article: 'Today, emerging military technologies — including unmanned aerial vehicles, directed-energy weapons, lethal autonomous robots, and cyber weapons — raise the prospect of upheavals in military practice so fundamental that they challenge assumptions underlying long-established international laws of war, particularly those relating to the primacy of the state and the geographic bounds of warfare. But the laws of war have been developed over a long period, with commentary and input from many cultures. What would seem appropriate in this age of extraordinary technological change, the author concludes, is a reconsideration of the laws of war in a deliberate and focused international dialogue that includes a range of cultural and institutional perspectives.'"

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As the old adage says... (4, Insightful)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#45885887)

"All is fair in love and war"

Re:As the old adage says... (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 8 months ago | (#45885933)

If your lovemaking includes unmanned aerial vehicles, directed-energy weapons, lethal autonomous robots and cyber weapons... You're probably doing it very right and should do online tutorials.

Re:As the old adage says... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886033)

My wife LOVES full frontal assauts with cyber weapons with deep penetration.

Re:As the old adage says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886087)

Your lightsaber is so huge.

Re:As the old adage says... (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about 8 months ago | (#45886319)

So did your mom last night.

Re:As the old adage says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886407)

And your dad likes a surprise attack from the rear with a knobbly club.

Also, (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 8 months ago | (#45885943)

Those barbarians with the bows & arrows are completely dishonorable, unmanly, and don't know how to fight with coura--UGHH! [thump]

Re:Also, (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 8 months ago | (#45885987)

Yes history repeats itself. I come back to the only justifiable war is one where you are willing to do what is required to win. If the issue is important enough to engage in massive property destructions and to kill or maim people, than it should never be done in vain, an obligation exists to see it thru and secure the intended outcome. "What is required" May vary if you posses an outsized military advantage you have the luxury not using certain forms of brutality and less des descriminating targeting practice and you should so long as it does not jepordise victory. If you are disadvantaged than asymmetric and "terror" tactics are probably a must.

Societies not just soldiers go to war. It does not matter if you have a gun in hand or a garden hoe you are supporting the war fighting capability and so be considered a target if need be.

Re:Also, (4, Insightful)

Adam Colley (3026155) | about 8 months ago | (#45886273)

There are no justifiable wars.

What we have now are invasions of sovereign nations which happen to be chock full of resources and blind eyes turned to genocide elsewhere.

Iraq and Afghanistan are about to fall to the taliban (mission accomplished claims notwithstanding) so after more than ten years, trillions of pounds and millions of lives lost (yes, brown people count) we have precisely nothing to show for it.

Iraq was working better under Saddam than it is now, it's a joke (or would be if it hadn't cost so many lives)

How about we start putting our trillions into solving problems at home instead of attacking people elsewhere and let other nations govern themselves.

I'll leave you with this well known Einstein quote:

“He who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886297)

I'll leave you with this well known Einstein quote:

If it were that well known, you wouldn't have to give the quote. And I for one have never heard of it, and I don't exactly live under a rock.

Re: Also, (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886539)

"The trouble with quotes on the internet is that they are often misattributed" - Abraham Lincoln

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886311)

How about we start putting our trillions into solving problems at home instead of attacking people elsewhere and let other nations govern themselves.

Actually, that is sort of the point of these invasions... to make sure that the governments are in some form representative of the people.

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886361)

The propaganda is working well on you! Yes, yes, democracy by the sword. Keep spreading the message, please. Maybe someday someone will believe you.

Re:Also, (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#45886471)

Actually, that is sort of the point of these invasions... to make sure that the governments are in some form representative of the people.

That is pure unadulterated nonsense.

For example, Hamid Karzai is no more representative of his people than Mohammed Omar: The difference is that Karzai is doing the bidding of the US and US-based oil companies instead of doing the bidding of Al Qaida and Iran. Karzai was not elected, he was selected by a meeting of the regional leaders of Afghanistan where the US Army was standing right outside the door (arguably in case the decision went differently).

When the people of the Middle East have overthrown dictators and replaced them with democratically elected leaders, the US does their best to put a stop to it. Egypt is the prime example of this: The elected president Mohammed Morsi, though certainly far from a perfect bastion of freedom and democracy, was ousted in a military coup, and the military of Egypt has close ties to the US.

Re:Also, (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#45886401)

There are no justifiable wars.

The US Civil War?

World War II?

Two of the most obvious examples of a justifiable war. There are others.

Re:Also, (4, Insightful)

PseudonymousBlowhard (1319965) | about 8 months ago | (#45886433)

Was Kuwait working better under Saddam? Is Afghanistan falling to the Taliban really a case of letting "other nations govern themselves"? The problem with this kind of unconditional pacifism is that it requires everyone else to be a pacifist as well.

Re:Also, (5, Interesting)

rioki (1328185) | about 8 months ago | (#45886443)

Got news, the Geneva and Hague Convention only apply to regular military. So the moment you are either facing or are irregular combatants everything goes. But then you need to remember by who when the treaties where singed. At the time generals would send thousand men to their deaths and then congratulate each other over their victories over a cup of tee.

Your assertions are correct and have lead to the impression of "clean" wars. But every war is dirty and bloody. I think each congressman and general should be required to send their brother, child or brother into the field in a war they authorize. If after that the war still seems like a good idea (e.g. destroying Nazi Germany*) then it worth fighting.

(* I am part German and still think it was a necessary and good idea... in general)

Re:Also, (5, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 8 months ago | (#45886485)

There was a sci-fi book I once read (for the life of me I can't remember the title) that had an alien society where if their governing body declared war, they'd fight the battle, and then all members of the governing body that voted for the war were put to death. You had to believe so strongly that the war was just that you were willing to give your own life.

I think that's a grand idea.

Re:Also, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886145)

Just change "barbarians" with "terrorists"...

Re:As the old adage says... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 8 months ago | (#45885945)

The TFA asks:


Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War?

You sez:

"All is fair in love and war"

Well, let's see

Another adage puts it this way ...

" To the victor goes the spoils "

There is absolutely *NO* fairness in WAR.

As for the "Laws of War", no matter if it came from Machiavelli or from Sun Zi, psy ops are as important as ever.

No matter if it's MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) or killer drones, no matter if it's a symmetrical warfare or if it's asymmetrical (such as terrorism), human beings are _still_ human beings.

For example: NSA is fighting a war against the citizens of the United States of America, and NSA has applied plenty of lessons it learned from both Machiavelli and Sun Zi.

Re:As the old adage says... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886113)

You are incorrect.

There is a large number of illegal (under international law) acts that may not be performed in war. A war of aggression is, by definition, illegal under the UN charter. Granted, the US has a long history of completely ignoring such laws but blatantly dismissing the Geneva conventions as well as WMD accords is a wasp's nest.

Re:As the old adage says... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886293)

Granted, the US has a long history of completely ignoring such laws but blatantly dismissing the Geneva conventions as well as WMD accords is a wasp's nest.

Yet the US got away with relabeling prisoners of war from Afghanistan to "enemy combatants" so they could break Geneva conventions at Guantanamo prison as they see fit without generating any buzz at all from the UN.

Re:As the old adage says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886383)

Granted, the US has a long history of completely ignoring such laws but blatantly dismissing the Geneva conventions as well as WMD accords is a wasp's nest.

Yet the US got away with relabeling prisoners of war from Afghanistan to "enemy combatants" so they could break Geneva conventions at Guantanamo prison as they see fit without generating any buzz at all from the UN.

Oh it generated buzz alight. The press was just way to busy fanning the flames of anti Islamic hysteria to bother reporting it.

Re:As the old adage says... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 8 months ago | (#45885965)

The first rule of Fight Club...

Re:As the old adage says... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886237)

America a barbaric warloving people as long as it is not being fought in their country and who never honour the rules of war anyway as they wont sign up to them.

Does this mean 9/11 was a legit military act then?
.

Or we could just stop starting wars... (1, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 8 months ago | (#45885891)

and use technology for accomplishing things like ending hunger.

And then we can all drink from the rootbeer stream (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885909)

in the land of rainbows and happiness.

Re:And then we can all drink from the rootbeer str (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885967)

...where the lemonade springs, and the bluebird sings, in the Big Rock Candy Mountain!

Re:And then we can all drink from the rootbeer str (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885977)

If only rocks were edible, uppity niggers would eat the sidewalks, and then where would us folks walk?

Re:And then we can all drink from the rootbeer str (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886075)

in the land of rainbows and happiness.

where niggers speak perfect english, never commit crimes and invent lots of new technologies!

Re:And then we can all drink from the rootbeer str (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886109)

The only good nigger is a gaynigger.

Re:And then we can all drink from the rootbeer str (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886529)

That's your idea of happiness?

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (1)

Tim12s (209786) | about 8 months ago | (#45885917)

I'm not sure Kim shares your sentiment...

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (1)

thesupraman (179040) | about 8 months ago | (#45886079)

Fair enough, perhaps then you would like to list the wars he has started lately?
Or perhaps just listing the top 10 countries to start wars in the last 20 years would be a good start?

Or is desperate sabre (even if its a wooden sword..) rattling somehow worse than actual killing of people?

Its called perspective, and it is desperately needed.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886541)

The only thing holding him back from starting a war is what happened to Saddam.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (-1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#45886497)

Kim Jong Un has invaded exactly 0 countries. Kim Jong Il made pathetic invasion attempts of exactly 1 country (South Korea).

George W Bush, by contrast, started a war with Iraq, a country that had not attacked the US, was not planning on attacking the US, and had no means of attacking the US. In international law, that's the war crime of "aggression". And he started launching drone strikes into two allied countries (Pakistan and Yemen), which I'm sure feels like a war to the people who's apartment buildings get hit with guided missiles. And of course the whole Afghanistan venture. The US is by a lot of standards the world's largest warmonger. And no, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are no saints on this score, but Bush was particularly bad.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885941)

And let the hungry poor people win? How will overfed Americans stay overfed if poor people have more than enough to eat too? You must be some kind of crazy person. Next you'll be claiming that technology can transform losers into winners.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 8 months ago | (#45885961)

and use technology for accomplishing things like ending hunger.

Hunger is not a problem, it's a consequence of inequality. Ending inequality shouldn't start with the difference between those who have 0% of the total and those who have 0.1% (the separation made by "hunger").

You might consider advocating for the end of massive accumulation of riches. That way you'll tackle a difference of several tens%

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886003)

Tax the rich! Feed the poor! Everybody can be trusted to pay a fair share of taxes, right?

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886163)

Clearly not, but that isn't an argument against taxing the rich since those are the ones who goes to great lengths to avoid paying tax.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#45886097)

and use technology for accomplishing things like ending hunger.

Hunger is not a problem, it's a consequence of inequality. Ending inequality shouldn't start with the difference between those who have 0% of the total and those who have 0.1% (the separation made by "hunger").

You might consider advocating for the end of massive accumulation of riches. That way you'll tackle a difference of several tens%

Pragmatically speaking we should deal with the difference between those with 0% and 0.1% first. This is what feeding centres do in famine zones. You can look at inequalities later, but unless this acute need is dealt with people will die now!

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886105)

unless this acute need is dealt with people will die now!

Right. There will be no death on this planet!

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886177)

That kinda solves the problem. It's very simple, people are animals, they will breed to fill the boundaries. The boundaries might be food, or some social norm, or anything. In developing countries it's usually food. They will breed until lthere is a shortage, then they will starve. Some survive, and start again. Developed world has kind of solved this problem by using birth control, that way we can be horny animals, and not breed at the same time! That kinda creates another type of problems, but i'm willing to bet those are minor when looking at the big picture, and might actually be a good thing for the long time survival of our race ( and several others we share our habitat with ).

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886307)

and use technology for accomplishing things like ending hunger.

The corporations would not allow such a thing. It would cut into their short-term profits and executive bonuses. The only way to stop war and aggression is to subject the leaders of every nation to months of torture before putting a bullet into their skulls. But then the tortures would want to make war after these leaders are dead and so repeats the cycle. Humans are the only species to kill without survival as the primary reason.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886381)

Humans are the only species to kill without survival as the primary reason.

There are too many humans. Overpopulation is a threat to survival. Time to cull the herd.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886459)

Humans are the only species to kill without survival as the primary reason.

There are too many humans. Overpopulation is a threat to survival. Time to cull the herd.

After you.

Re:Or we could just stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886483)

Funny because suicide is a form of human killing without survival as the primary reason.

Nothing new in essence (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 8 months ago | (#45885907)

Newer technology applied by one side in a conflict have cause important victories before throughout history. The ability to totally outclass an adversary is from a military point of view desirable. I did skim the linked article, one issue is that of proportionality, but still, those who win do not really care.

what's a war? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885921)

Nobody declares war anymore! Everything is a peacekeeping operation, drone strike, or terrorist attack, these days.

Re:what's a war? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#45886039)

A war is when the majority of actors in it agree it's a war.

Re:what's a war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886069)

Can the majority agree to a war on rhetorical questions?

what the fuck? laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45885925)

if the State wants you dead, they are gonna kill you, whether its legal or not, period.

And seeing how any countries army/law enforcement _will_ and does kill civilians, worrying more about publicity, then about the killing itself... how can you even open your lousy mouth and talk about laws of war. There are no laws, there are just lame excuses. And dont get me started on USian cowards with their drone strikes and cruise missiles. Faggots like those deserve everything they get ( asymmetrical warfare ftw).

the geographic bounds of warfare (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#45885927)

the geographic bounds of warfare

Cambodia, Laos - and now these days Pakistan. The rule only applies if someone you really don't want to piss off is on the other side of the line.

Re:the geographic bounds of warfare (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 8 months ago | (#45886501)

Or before that, Belgium and the Netherlands. Or more recently, Syria and Lebanon and Turkey. It's not like wars stay neatly on one side of a border. And it's not always the US expanding them.

Ignorance (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 8 months ago | (#45885935)

Ignorance is undermining the laws of war, the laws of commerce, and every other law our society used to have. This is what happens when you allow the world to be run by frat-echnocrats in suits.

Re:Ignorance (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886517)

Your statement is correct. For example it is illegal under the rules of war to act in a battlefield and to not wear a uniform. If you are captured on a battlefield and you are not in uniform and you do not disclose your military ID data, (Name rank serial number) you are under the Geneva conventions a Spy and subject to summary execution. Every prisoner we took in Afghanistan and most in Iraq would have fit in this category. All Al Qaeda prisoners fit this category. Oh by the way, spies may be tortured under these conventions.

Arbitrary. (1, Interesting)

betterprimate (2679747) | about 8 months ago | (#45885939)

International laws? what? They only arose after the nuclear arms race and have never been abided by. There is only one justified cause for warfare and that's self defense, and even then it raises moral objections.

Re:Arbitrary. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45886091)

Um, no [wikipedia.org] . There have laws regarding armed conflict loooong before the nuclear age, and many have been abided by.

Re:Arbitrary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886137)

Just about EVERY major conflict of the past 100 years has breached the Hague Conventions in one way or another. Laws have existed and only ever been followed when convenient to do so.

Re:Arbitrary. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45886207)

How many wars since WWI saw chemical warfare? How many countries use fragmenting bullets? Sure, the laws have been broken, but it hasn't been widespread or universal.

Re:Arbitrary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886331)

The USA used chemical weapons in Vietnam. The USSR used chemical weapons in Afghanistan. Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, with American and British backing. That's three.
The USA also used biological weapons in Korea, which doesn't fit your original criteria, so let's call it three and a half.

Chemical weapons may also have been used in the Syrian civil war.
Whether this qualifies as evidence that the laws are usually ignored by everyone who can get away with it or that most countries try to abide by them I cannot say.

Re:Arbitrary. (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#45886095)

International laws have existed since we have the idea of nations. After the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, there was the Congress of Vienna (1814/15), which effectively created a codex of international law in Europe. Then we have the founding of the International Red Cross after the Battle of Solferino 1859, which in turn was recognized subsequently by all warwaging countries and led to the first treaty about the Geneva Convention in 1864. And even before, there were multisided agreements between different powers which could also be viewed as international law -- think about the flagging rules of battle ships, merchant ships and pirate ships during the Age of the European Expansion between the 15th and the 18th century.

And yes, like every law, also international laws are often and constantly broken, and enforcing those laws is even more complicated than national law.

Re:Arbitrary. (0, Troll)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#45886285)

The real problem is that the US doesn't recognize many of the international rules of war and does not abide by them. The US is also the one developing much of this new military technology.

The US not recognizing or obeying the rules also gives other nations an excuse to ignore them, especially if they see the US as an opponent.

Re:Arbitrary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886363)

especially if they see the US as an opponent.

Which would be a very sensible view.

Re:Arbitrary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886211)

International laws? what? They only arose after the nuclear arms race and have never been abided by.

Uhm, no. Usually it is a reference to the Geneva convention that was negotiated after the second world war but one also includes the Hauge Conventions in this.
After that many war criminals have been judged according to those laws.
It should be noted that the former US president George W. Bush can't safely travel to Canada or Europe since he might then have to face trial according to those laws.

No laws. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886477)

I sometimes think of what conflicts would be like without these laws. In other words, would conflicts end faster if they didn't exist or if countries didn't care about perception?

For example, what if after demanding the extradition of Bin Laden from Afghanistan and being refused, the US went in and went all Roman Empire - killed every last man, woman and child?

We would have been finished long ago. There would be peace. And countries and individuals would think REAL hard about attacking us. We are already hated - going Roman wouldn't increase the hate and I think it would increase the respect: none of this "Paper Tiger" bullshit that only encourages terrorism and attacks.

We seem to be in this mode of pussy footing around and having these endless conflicts that I think, in the long run, cause much more pain, suffering and economic damage.

This World is getting more and more crowded and more conflicts are inevitable. War needs to change.

Sure, in fantasy land, war wouldn't exist and we could all talk together and settle our differences over tea (every culture seems to drink it.)

Fist, we'd need to execute Kim Jung-Un and his buddies and every other despot around the World - irony not intended; although, you have to fight fire with fire.

The US is undermining the Laws of war. (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 8 months ago | (#45885981)

The technology is not undermining the established laws but the US use of the tech sure does. Using depleted uranium, murdering civilians based on shoddy intelligence, torturing people with new methods, social media puppetry, wholesale wiretapping etc is just things that have been avoided before but has been reintroduced when they could do it in new ways.

The technology is not the problem at all, its the people using it.

Re:The US is undermining the Laws of war. (2)

jeremyp (130771) | about 8 months ago | (#45886125)

murdering civilians based on shoddy intelligence, torturing people with new methods, social media puppetry, wholesale wiretapping etc is just things that have been avoided before but has been reintroduced when they could do it in new ways.

The technology is not the problem at all, its the people using it.

All of those things have always been a part of war, except the social media thing, but that is just an instance of propaganda.

Civilians have always found themselves being murdered in war. For example, in Wellington's Peninsular campaign, there were several instances of cities being taken by force and then the army doing a bit of rape pillage and murder. This was done by both sides even though the British were ostensibly trying to liberate the locals.

Then the invention of the bomber allowed civilian murder to be taken to new extremes in WW2. The British bombing campaign was particularly bad, based as it was on the premise that the smallest target that could reliably be hit by night bombers was a city.

Torture of captured opponents has always figured in warfare, if the opponent had information that you wanted.

Wiretapping or earlier means of intercepting of communications have always figured in warfare.

The tech just alters the details.

Re:The US is undermining the Laws of war. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45886141)

re All of those things have always been a part of war, except the social media thing, but that is just an instance of propaganda.
Yes think back to the black sites, double tap drone strikes, the surge..
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208307/Americas-deadly-double-tap-drone-attacks-killing-49-people-known-terrorist-Pakistan.html [dailymail.co.uk]
Really its just back to the old colonial wars under a new brand and better spin via happy 24/7 media sock puppets.

Re:The US is undermining the Laws of war. (3, Informative)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 8 months ago | (#45886365)

Then the invention of the bomber allowed civilian murder to be taken to new extremes in WW2. The British bombing campaign was particularly bad, based as it was on the premise that the smallest target that could reliably be hit by night bombers was a city.

How accurate was German bombing during the Battle of Britain?

Re:The US is undermining the Laws of war. (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 8 months ago | (#45886455)

Considering that Coventry was pretty much erased from the map (hence the revenge bombing of Dresden, subject to much hand-wringing in hindsight) I'd say it was quite accurate.

Naive Article (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#45886001)

Firstly, Betteridge's law applies here.

Secondly, the laws of war have never been developed through "a deliberate and focused international dialogue that includes a range of cultural and institutional perspectives." The laws of war have, unfortunately, always developed just after a major conflict, when lots of people said, "Whoa, we should do something to stop that happening again."

War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (1)

XcepticZP (1331217) | about 8 months ago | (#45886007)

The only "law of war" that we need is one that states that war is not allowed, period. If you're an aggressor, you are breaking the "law of war". Seriously, we've come too far as a civilized society to still condone such a barbaric practice as war. If you do anything more than to defend yourself, then you become an aggressor. As far as I'm concerned, if you're an aggressor you forfeit all "rights" to your own safety as you are attempting to deprive others of similar rights, thus making pretty much everything against you fair game. That doesn't even touch on the moral aspects about compelling individuals to murder on your behalf by virtue of conscription and other practices that have a similar effect. And those that get paid to do such aggressing are nothing more than paid murderers.

On a side note, quite a few world leaders (ahem, America) have broken both the above simplistic "law of war", as well as actual torture, war and genocide laws of war that we already have. And we, as a supposedly civilized society, don't even have the backing/support/power to pressure their countries for any sort of accountability. Not to mention the fact that there is no ruling body that has any sort of jurisdiction to remedy this by getting those horrible individuals to a war crimes court. The current laws of war don't work, and are only there to make it unfeasible for smaller/less-powerful countries to fight in an asymmetric force situation. A similar thing was imposed on guerilla warfare when "formal" and "gentleman" warfare required countless fodder to stand in neat long rows to be slaughtered one at a time; essentially making war about who had more cannon fodder.

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886043)

By unanimous decision of the simplistic war committee, your post has been interpreted as aggression. You have violated the law of war. Your rights are now forfeit.

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45886119)

The only "law of war" that we need is one that states that war is not allowed, period. If you're an aggressor, you are breaking the "law of war".

That sounds really great, but I doubt it would work well in practice. The colonies would still be under the Crown, who never lost power. France would be under control of Louis XXXXII, the South would still run on slavery, etc. Without war and revolution, how would despotic regimes ever end?

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886155)

Without war and revolution, how would despotic regimes ever end?

Gradually, with the despots becoming figureheads. Elizabeth II is queen of 16 countries, but you'd hardly notice as she doesn't do much.

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45886195)

She became a figurehead as the result of the Glorious Revolution and other revolutions where the monarch was forced to agree to a consitutional monarchy. The power of the monarchy was taken by force; there was nothing gradual about it.

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886329)

When did all those former colonies rise up to fight revolutionary wars of independence against the empire and free themselves from that monarchy, exactly? Oh right. They didn't. There's a Queen of Australia, and a Queen of Canada, and a Queen of New Zealand, ...

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#45886275)

Actually that is the law. Starting a war of aggression is always a crime in international law. The only reason any nation is allowed to wage war is in self defence. That is why many people consider the Iraq invasion to have been illegal.

As for colonies international law requires that populations be given the right to self determination. It's hard to enforce but in theory if the population of a geographical area within a country can show that they wish to be independent the country is obliged to try and facilitate that, perhaps through devolved powers or by letting them set up on their own. Slavery is illegal, internal revolutions are not wars per-se but internal conflict or civil war. The law only applies to nation states, not individuals or factions within nations.

Re:War is bad/wrong/immoral, period. (1)

aethelrick (926305) | about 8 months ago | (#45886287)

The only "law of war" that we need is one that states that war is not allowed, period. If you're an aggressor, you are breaking the "law of war". Seriously, we've come too far as a civilized society to still condone such a barbaric practice as war. If you do anything more than to defend yourself, then you become an aggressor.

Fantastic idea, but you speak about "an aggressor" as if he/she was easy to identify, nations go to war, not individuals. It's really hard to sort out the good guys from the bad in this situation. Their is no single aggressor in any war, their is only a tangled web of politics and agendas of the nations involved and a load of soldiers from both sides either paid to fight or deluded/damaged/desperate enough to resort to wholesale violence as a way to solve problems. Also the only way to make your "law" meaningful would be to enforce it and to do so would require you to have a standing army that you could bring to war should the need arise. The downside here of course is that as soon as you have an army, you give anyone who disagrees with you a reason to fear you and recruit a bunch of dimwits to wage war on you.

As far as I'm concerned, if you're an aggressor you forfeit all "rights" to your own safety as you are attempting to deprive others of similar rights, thus making pretty much everything against you fair game.

I think this attitude makes you an aggressor (to use your own phrase). You are advocating wholesale genocide of an enemy nation because their leaders are warmongering retards? You have masterfully over-simplified and compartmentalized the complexity of why nations go to war into the classical good vs bad scenario except, you have defined your own rules about why the bad guy is bad. I would offer... this is EXACTLY how people find themselves at war in the first place; people over-simplify and compartmentalize their understanding of the world and these people are easily manipulated into going to war because they'd rather jump to their familiar conclusions than try to cope with the real complexities of life.

Don't get me wrong I agree with your sentiment, war is bad and should be stopped, but I don't believe that their are ANY simple answers like the one you suggest. Indeed I think the only thing your "final solution" to war would achieve is more war and hatred. We are not going to end all war quickly or easily by declaring a free for all on any aggressor nation. We will only manage to see the end of war one small painful step at a time.

men! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886017)

The female menace has spread across the surface of the Earth. Downbeam the self-replicating dildo-bots to rape the women to death. For a Gay Universe!

Laws of war? (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 8 months ago | (#45886083)

There isnt any.

You might like to think there is a law, that bubble wraps the situation. But your being an idiot if you think war follows "rules".
War is War. A country will go to any length to prepare/protect itself, regardless of what special "laws" you think exist.

War has only one rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886111)

And that is: dominate the enemy. Better still, cripple the enemy so they expend their resources trying to move their wounded. All the other "rules" are routinely broken, obviously.

Always with the questions (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45886121)

Are New Technologies Undermining the Laws of War?

Yes? No? I don't know! Get out of my house!

There are no nations. There are no "peoples" (2)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 8 months ago | (#45886131)

"You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-varied, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rands, rubles, pounds and shekels"

- Arthur Jensen (in the 1976 movie "Network")

Re: There are no nations. There are no "peoples" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886175)

Complete bullshit which only works when the people can be coerced into playing your shitty little dollar game. If someone doesn't agree to your rules, you're back to war again, and you deserve it because you're a coercive fucking moron.

Re: There are no nations. There are no "peoples" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886239)

"The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain."

"You still don't get it, do you, boys? There ain't no countries anymore, no more good guys. They're running the whole show! They own everything, the whole god-damn planet. They can do whatever they want!"

"They Live"

Re: There are no nations. There are no "peoples" (2)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#45886475)

Rollerball and Network were two of the most prescient films of the 1970s.

Re: There are no nations. There are no "peoples" (4, Informative)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 8 months ago | (#45886505)

As I get older, it seems that the movie Network is more truth.

Snowden did not hurt US security -- because this data is likely for sale to China via a contractor. Our "massive trading partner" is not surprised. The "damage" was for the merely large companies to learn what the multinationals already knew. And "spying on everything" takes on other connotations if you think of economics, trade secrets, and negotiations. Sure, getting dirt on politicians is profitable -- but knowing about money and technology is profit.

If there were an ACTUAL ENEMY out there, the US, the pentagon, and our secret agencies would be acting a lot differently than how they do now. It seems that these governments are more afraid of their own people. It's as if they were making a show of enemies at the gate to convince us to keep building up the castle and disenfranchise us.

Why is China, after years of peace with the USA while we did not take advantage of superior power, now buying air craft carriers and possibly getting into spending a lot of their prosperity on a military like we do? Is the air craft carrier going to help them dominate something that WalMart didn't already help them own? Are they going to attack a Samsung store down the street? Couldn't they continue dominating the world better by restricting imports and foreign ownership and continuing their public works projects and subsidizing strategic industries? Or are they only interested in "enough prosperity" and then later the same excuses to the middle class why they can no longer "afford education and health care" -- when they have record profits one day like we do now?

momkind our spiritual centerpeace unheard still (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886165)

no bomb us more mom us. no drone us no bone us. free the innocent stem cells. give away more than we keep lighten our load....

Repost of an earlier story (2)

paiute (550198) | about 8 months ago | (#45886231)

Today, emerging military technologies — including breech-loading cannons and rifled barrels — raise the prospect of upheavals in military practice so fundamental that they challenge assumptions underlying long-established international laws of war....

Today, emerging military technologies — including tanks, aeroplanes and machine guns — raise the prospect of upheavals in military practice so fundamental that they challenge assumptions underlying long-established international laws of war....

Today, emerging military technologies — including long range monoplanes and submarines — raise the prospect of upheavals in military practice so fundamental that they challenge assumptions underlying long-established international laws of war....

There is only on law in war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886249)

and it is to win at all cost.
Winners being in charge of judging the others and writing history, there is not even a need to think about the consequences once war is over.
Winning at all cost is the only law.

The wills of the many outclassed by the few. (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#45886253)

The thing about humans piloting machines of war is that you still need a lot of people's consent to fight the war. With a remote drone operator you could have a lot fewer folks consent for the same or more war-fighting: Have one guy take the helm of the lead fighting machine in an autopilot squadron. Kill their drone, it doesn't injure the pilot, not a scratch. Their neck's not on the line. They switch drones and keep coming for as much money as it takes to win.

Against enemies yields less risk of life for your soldiers, more bag for your Buck, more death dealt, more atrocities. Given that these systems aren't even needed due to our existing military might it just seems a little too convenient that it would also take less folks to fight against their own people with these drones -- detached, not having to show your face on the battle field -- and especially when we discover government drones are making their way to the homeland skies.

If your neck is not on the line, you have no right to pull the trigger. To remove the human element from war is inhumane by definition.

Re:The wills of the many outclassed by the few. (2)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#45886351)

You could argue the same already for spears, arrows, cannonballs and bullets. The place where they inflict damage is not the place where the person responsible for them is. With the advent of ballistic missiles, this person didn't even need to be in the same country or at the same continent. Cruise missiles are nothing else than one-way-drones.

This is in principle an age old problem, and it is unresolved since then. But there is not much pressure to actually resolve it, because it just means that heroism doesn't win wars, but armoury, weapons, tactics and overwhelming resources do.

Funny title...'laws of war' (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | about 8 months ago | (#45886379)

War is a brutal savage activity that spreads disease, decimates populations, lays waste to cities, destroys entire cultures and civilizations, will eventually destroy the habitability of our planet, and is the ultimate expression of the human desire to possess their neighbor's belongings and force them to do one's bidding. Yes, some countries have entered into agreements with other countries about the humane treatment of non-combatants and prisoners, and the limitation and use of certain horrific weapons but...in the end, the 'laws of war' fall into the same category as 'honor among thieves' as being an idealized concept to make the non-practitioners feel good but one with no actual meaning.

Stop starting wars... (1)

Xhamster (3488121) | about 8 months ago | (#45886439)

and use technology for accomplishing things like ending hunger -> thats the best way!

Re:Stop starting wars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45886503)

Blow jobs for everyone!

Powers That Be will never tire of war. (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#45886495)

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today."

~JFK

"Laws" of war? (0)

msobkow (48369) | about 8 months ago | (#45886543)

Surely you jest. War is not a civilized activity, no matter what the excuse for starting one. "Law" is a facet of civilization, not war.

Are you refering to the old Bushido code from the days of archers and swords?

The behaviour of soldiers in the musket days of the American Revolution?

Perhaps the days of the tank, rifle, and gas weapons in WWI?

The dawn of the air strikes and nuclear weapons in WWII?

War is uncivilized, and it has always been fought with new technologies that were deemed to be "game changers" by those wielding the weapons. No one goes to war unless they think they can win, and the Americans, UK, Israel, Russia, etc. are no different with their "next generation" tactical fighters, laser weapons, drones, and so on.

There should only be one law of war: don't start one, or the whole world will turn against you.

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