Morality and the Laws of War

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 It seems now, that warfare has been reduced to a pile of legal minutiae to been chewed over by pundits and haters.

America is the most powerful, and yet, the most moral army that’s ever existed. Power and morality are not thought to go hand in hand. As the saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

That is exactly why we should be so amazed by our military’s restraint and respect for human life. The media and protestors want to split hairs, when all the US needs to do in order to be moral, win virtually any war, and far outstrip its enemies in terms of compassion, is to  follow the Laws of War.

The Hague Rules and Geneva Convention present three major dictates: Destruction and violence must have military necessity, the actors must avoid imputing unnecessary suffering, and actions must be proportional to the military advantage gained.

The terrorists routinely violate all three of these dictates. And yet the ACLU goes into rabid convulsions over the possibility of trying terrorists in military courts.

Adhering to the Laws of War is both moral and practical. Atrocities make the enemy fight harder. But, violence in any form will be repulsive to the average person. To win, we must apply more pressure to the enemy than he applies to us–or we must endure more pressure than he can. That’s how war is won; there’s no easy way. We should also rigidly hold the enemy to the same account we hold ourselves, otherwise these laws become a joke. The enemy fights without markings identifying him as a fighter, therefore he has legally discarded his right to Enemy Prisoner of War status. He routinely makes civilians his target in order to cause political chaos. And yet the Left quibbles about the location of prisons and trials.

The United States even goes beyond the Laws of War. General McChrystal recently limited night raids, which have upset Afghan citizens.

We’re doing fine. We should obey the Law of the Land (like we do). The minutiae will not win or lose this war, nor will it topple America from its moral high ground.  The problem is not in the argument that we should fight moral wars, but in the insinuation that we in fact don’t.


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