History UsefulNotes / TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar

26th May '17 4:11:07 AM SuperLurkerGuy
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The U.S. military has consistently honored the ban on expanding ammunition despite having no legal obligation to do so, since the United States specifically ratified all sections of the Hague Convention ''except'' the one covering expanding bullets. All other major powers ratified the entire Hague Convention. However, serious consideration is now being given on abandoning this voluntary restriction, at least for handgun ammunition, when the U.S. Army adopts its next handgun (provisionally slated for 2018).

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The U.S. military has consistently honored the ban on expanding ammunition despite having no legal obligation to do so, since the United States specifically ratified all sections of the Hague Convention ''except'' the one covering expanding bullets. All other major powers ratified the entire Hague Convention. However, serious Serious consideration is now being given on abandoning this voluntary restriction, at least for handgun ammunition, when the U.S. Army adopts its next handgun (provisionally slated for 2018).
25th May '17 9:59:50 PM MAI742
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Treaties don't settle as much as it would sound like they do, and often make the situation worse by favoring the victors. Actually the failures of peace treaties mean that almost every war can be traced back to a war before it, and that war to the one before it, and so on. For example, most of the wars in the 20th Century can be traced back to UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, which was the result of a number of the various wars in the 19th Century. Furthermore, people have this habit of wanting to restore the ''status quo ante bellum,'' or rather "the situation before the war." However, since that situation they're trying to restore is presumably the one that led to the war in the first place, this doesn't always end well either (although it doesn't necessarily end in disaster, either; it all depends on the circumstances).[[note]]As an example: ''status quo ante bellum'' is a decent summary of the Treaty of Ghent that ended the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812, and the peace has lasted--barring some minor skirmishes between armed frontiersmen, radicals, and thugs--to this day. The belligerents in that war, the United States and the United Kingdom, now consider each other their greatest allies, to the point they find it almost unimaginable they'd ever be anything ''but'' allies in the future.[[/note]]

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Treaties don't settle as much as it would sound like they do, and often make the situation worse by favoring the victors. Actually the failures of mean peace treaties mean for now, not peace forever. The decision to accept or reject a treaty's conditions after or during the period in which it was in-force rests with the leadership of that almost every war can be traced back to a war before it, day, and this decision is generally taken on simple risk-cost-benefit analysis. The oldest peace treaty containing conditions which are still honoured is that war to the one before it, and so on. For example, most of the wars in the 20th Century can be traced back to UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, which was the result of a number of the various wars in the 19th Century. Furthermore, people have this habit of wanting to restore the ''status quo ante bellum,'' or rather "the situation before the war." However, since that situation they're trying to restore is presumably the one that led to the war in the first place, this doesn't always end well either (although it doesn't necessarily end in disaster, either; it all depends on the circumstances).[[note]]As an example: ''status quo ante bellum'' is a decent summary of the 1297 Treaty of Ghent that ended the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812, and the peace has lasted--barring some minor skirmishes Alcañices between armed frontiersmen, radicals, the Kingdom of Portugal and thugs--to Kingdom of Castile (later Castile-Leon, later Spain). Although the alliance fragmented in 1328 due to a marriage/succession dispute, the borders determined therein remain in use to this day. The belligerents in that war, the United States and the United Kingdom, now consider each other their greatest allies, to the point they find it almost unimaginable they'd ever be anything ''but'' allies in the future.[[/note]] day.
25th May '17 8:40:11 PM Sylderon
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If a member of the armed forces followed an [[JustFollowingOrders order to commit an act which clearly constitutes a war crime under the laws of war]], they are every bit as responsible for it as the superiors who gave ordered them to do it. During the Nuremberg and High Command trials many military officers unsuccessfully used the "I was just following orders" defense--afterwards known as the Nuremberg Defense-- in a bid to avoid harsh sentencing. This is because, somewhat stereotypically, under pre-war German law the most severe category of murder (and its attendent sentences) was reserved for those committed for emotional reasons (hatred, anger, love). More generally they (successfully) strove to convince the press and public that they had been victims of the Nazi regime too. However, the Allied judicial panels were interested in ''prior intent'' and not their exact motivations. Hundreds of military personnel, including a dozen high-ranking officers, were convicted of war crimes and served prison sentences of up to five years.

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If a member of the armed forces followed an [[JustFollowingOrders order to commit an act which clearly constitutes a war crime under the laws of war]], they are every bit as responsible for it as the superiors who gave ordered them to do it. During the Nuremberg and High Command trials many military officers unsuccessfully used the "I was just following orders" defense--afterwards known as the Nuremberg Defense-- in a bid to avoid harsh sentencing. This is because, somewhat stereotypically, under pre-war German law the most severe category of murder (and its attendent sentences) was reserved for those committed for emotional reasons (hatred, anger, love). More generally they (successfully) strove to convince the press and public that they had been victims of the Nazi regime too. However, the Allied judicial panels were interested in ''prior intent'' and not their exact motivations. Hundreds of military personnel, including a dozen high-ranking officers, were convicted of war crimes and served prison sentences of up to five years.
25th May '17 7:25:52 AM Sylderon
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In 1899, the Hague Convention stipulated that bullets must not be designed to expand or flatten within the body, causing grievous harm. This has been a contentious point, as modern rifle calibers often yaw or tumble within tissue due to their velocity and shape, and this behavior has been encouraged with both 5.56x45mm NATO and 5.45x39 rounds by selectively weakening the full metal jacket in certain portions or the addition of an air pocket.

Although the example points out the dum dum rounds as the specific example, the laws of war generally state that the use of altered projectiles is not permitted, including the use of glass projectiles.

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In 1899, the Hague Convention stipulated that bullets must not be designed to expand or flatten within the body, causing grievous harm. This has been a contentious point, as modern rifle calibers often yaw or tumble within tissue due to their velocity and shape, and this behavior has been encouraged with both 5.56x45mm NATO and 5.45x39 rounds by selectively weakening the full metal jacket in certain portions or the addition of an air pocket.

pocket, while the [[BritsWithBattleships British]] were doing this [[OlderThanYouThink all the way back in 1910]], designing the .303 British Mk VII, a full metal jacket round with the front part of the core made of aluminum.

Although the example points out the dum dum rounds as the specific example, the laws of war generally state that the use of altered projectiles is not permitted, including the use of glass projectiles.
projectiles, as well as exploding projectiles below a certain size.
11th Apr '17 11:53:45 PM SSJMagus
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Treaties don't settle as much as it would sound like they do, and often make the situation worse by favoring the victors. Actually the failures of peace treaties mean that almost every war can be traced back to a war before it, and that war to the one before it, and so on. For example, most of the wars in the 20th Century can be traced back to UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, which was the result of a number of the various wars in the 19th Century. Furthermore, people have this habit of wanting to restore the ''status quo ante bellum,'' or rather "the situation before the war." However, since that situation they're trying to restore is presumably the one that led to the war in the first place, this doesn't always end well either (although it doesn't necessarily end in disaster, either; it all depends on the circumstances).[[note]]As an example: ''status quo ante bellum'' is a decent summary of the Treaty of Ghent that ended the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812, and the peace has lasted--barring some minor skirmishes between armed frontiersmen, radicals, and thugs--to this day.[[/note]]

to:

Treaties don't settle as much as it would sound like they do, and often make the situation worse by favoring the victors. Actually the failures of peace treaties mean that almost every war can be traced back to a war before it, and that war to the one before it, and so on. For example, most of the wars in the 20th Century can be traced back to UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, which was the result of a number of the various wars in the 19th Century. Furthermore, people have this habit of wanting to restore the ''status quo ante bellum,'' or rather "the situation before the war." However, since that situation they're trying to restore is presumably the one that led to the war in the first place, this doesn't always end well either (although it doesn't necessarily end in disaster, either; it all depends on the circumstances).[[note]]As an example: ''status quo ante bellum'' is a decent summary of the Treaty of Ghent that ended the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812, and the peace has lasted--barring some minor skirmishes between armed frontiersmen, radicals, and thugs--to this day. The belligerents in that war, the United States and the United Kingdom, now consider each other their greatest allies, to the point they find it almost unimaginable they'd ever be anything ''but'' allies in the future.[[/note]]
11th Apr '17 11:49:09 PM SSJMagus
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The reason behind the ban on both hollowpoints and Dum-Dums is the idea that military weapons should serve a military purpose, and no more. That is, follow the idea of Least Suffering - a weapon should cause the minimum amount of damage to incapacitate a person, and no more, or kill someone quickly, rather than maim. Intentionally maiming an opponent serves no moral purpose that a "normal" wound wouldn't, and therefore is excessive, and banned.

The U.S. military has consistently honored the ban on expanding ammunition despite having no legal obligation to do so, since it specifically ratified all sections of the Hague Convention ''except'' the one covering expanding bullets. However, serious consideration is now being given on abandoning this voluntary restriction, at least for handgun ammunition, when the U.S. Army adopts its next handgun (provisionally slated for 2018).

to:

The reason behind the ban on both hollowpoints and Dum-Dums is the idea that military weapons should serve a military purpose, and no more. That is, follow the idea of Least Suffering - a weapon should cause the minimum amount of damage to incapacitate a person, and no more, or kill someone quickly, rather than maim. Intentionally maiming an opponent serves no moral purpose that a "normal" wound wouldn't, and therefore is excessive, and banned.

banned. In reality, at least in modern ammunition design, expanding ammunition is designed to kill the target ''faster'', though that's not what the thinking was in 1899.

The U.S. military has consistently honored the ban on expanding ammunition despite having no legal obligation to do so, since it the United States specifically ratified all sections of the Hague Convention ''except'' the one covering expanding bullets.bullets. All other major powers ratified the entire Hague Convention. However, serious consideration is now being given on abandoning this voluntary restriction, at least for handgun ammunition, when the U.S. Army adopts its next handgun (provisionally slated for 2018).



Realizing that the people it fights have frequently not adhered to Geneva (as UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar and every other conflict since 1941), the United States military, plus others, trains its aircrew in torture resistance techniques, including "waterboarding" them.

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Realizing that the people it fights have frequently not adhered to Geneva (as UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar and every other conflict since 1941), the United States military, plus others, trains its aircrew (along with others particularly likely to end up behind enemy lines, such as [[ElitesAreMoreGlamorous special forces]]) in torture resistance techniques, including "waterboarding" them.
them.



Mercenaries that are an integral part of a given State's military system (Gurkhas, Foreign Legionaires, etc.) are not considered mercenaries for this purpose even though they are in fact soldiering for a foreign state, which is a common definition of "mercenary".[[note]]Well, technically, "soldiering for a foreign state to which they do not necessarily intend to immigrate." The thousands of European Jews (for instance) who joined the US military shortly after arriving during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII would not be considered mercenaries, even though they were not US citizens, because they joined as immigrants to the US and intended to acquire US citizenship through service.[[/note]] A captured Legionnaire would be covered by the Convention.

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Mercenaries that are an integral part of a given State's military system (Gurkhas, Foreign Legionaires, etc.) are not considered mercenaries for this purpose even though they are in fact soldiering for a foreign state, which is a common definition of "mercenary".[[note]]Well, technically, "soldiering for a foreign state to which they do not necessarily intend to immigrate." The thousands of European Jews (for instance) who joined the US military shortly after arriving during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII would not be considered mercenaries, even though they were not US citizens, because they joined as immigrants to the US and intended to acquire US citizenship through service. And joining the Foreign Legion ''is'' a method for immigrating to France.[[/note]] A captured Legionnaire would be covered by the Convention.



This is not as relevant these days- it's a lot harder to disguise a particular cruiser type than a sailing ship and naval warfare these days takes place at far longer ranges. There is a story of a British aircraft carrier pretending to be a Pakistani cruise liner on radar (by broadcasting such a registration beacon and answering hails in ''Urdu'') in order to sneak up on some Americans during a training exercise. The USN was only alerted to the deception when the British opened fire. When they protested that the British should have announced their identity beforehand, the British argued that [[RulesLawyer they had been flying the physical Pakistani flag the whole time (see the note), and raised the physical White Ensign when they launched...but of course, the USN was too far away to see them.]] [[note]]The inside joke is that Pakistan's official language is English, and that is what would be used by a real Pakistani merchant vessel and Pakistani ships do not fly the Pakistani flag, they fly the merchant ensign, the British were counting upon American crews being unaware of this fact......but that's another trope[[/note]]

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This is not as relevant these days- it's a lot harder to disguise a particular cruiser type than a sailing ship and naval warfare these days takes place at far longer ranges. There is a story of a British aircraft carrier pretending to be a Pakistani cruise liner on radar (by broadcasting such a registration beacon and answering hails in ''Urdu'') in order to sneak up on some Americans during a training exercise. The USN was only alerted to the deception when the British opened fire. When they protested that the British should have announced their identity beforehand, the British argued that [[RulesLawyer they had been flying the physical Pakistani flag the whole time (see the note), and raised the physical White Ensign when they launched...but of course, the USN was too far away to see them.]] [[note]]The inside joke is that Pakistan's official language is English, and that is what would be used by a real Pakistani merchant vessel (Urdu is the most-spoken language of Pakistan, but English is the language of government) and Pakistani ships do not fly the Pakistani flag, they fly the merchant ensign, the British were counting upon American crews being unaware of this fact......but that's another trope[[/note]]
trope.[[/note]]
11th Apr '17 5:14:06 AM DocWildNole
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Moreover, the rule against killing or wounding civilians does not extend to seizing or destroying their property; examples from the 20th century wars are innumerable, but perhaps the best known incident in the USA's history was was General William Tecumseh Sherman's 1864 'March to the Sea' that wrecked Georgia in September-December 1864 (and later campaigns in the Carolinas in early 1865) during the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar (a war fought largely in accordance with the modern rules of war). Vast quantities of civilian property (including railroad infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, manufactured goods, cotton, private homes, and especially food and slaves) were seized and destroyed (the food was eaten, the slaves were set free, and the rest was either burned or reduced to rubble) while relatively few civilians were actually killed. [[WinnersWriteHistory Sherman's side won,]] so he would never have been prosecuted for this campaign anyway (instead, they wrote [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVqUBShAuao an infuriatingly catchy song]] about it), but if he were magically resurrected and placed on trial before a fair tribunal, he would almost certainly be acquitted, as his property-destruction acts would even today be considered cruel but not illegal, and tracing any of the civilian casualties directly to his orders would be virtually impossible.

to:

Moreover, the rule against killing or wounding civilians does not extend to seizing or destroying their property; examples from the 20th century wars are innumerable, but perhaps the best known incident in the USA's history was was General William Tecumseh Sherman's 1864 'March to the Sea' that wrecked Georgia in September-December 1864 (and later campaigns in the Carolinas in early 1865) during the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar (a war fought largely in accordance with the modern rules of war). Vast quantities of civilian property (including railroad infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, manufactured goods, cotton, private homes, and especially food and slaves) were seized and destroyed (the food was eaten, the slaves were set free, and the rest was either burned or reduced to rubble) while relatively few civilians were actually killed. [[WinnersWriteHistory Sherman's side won,]] won, so he would never have been prosecuted for this campaign anyway (instead, [[WrittenByTheWinners they wrote wrote]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVqUBShAuao an infuriatingly catchy song]] about it), but if he were magically resurrected and placed on trial before a fair tribunal, he would almost certainly be acquitted, as his property-destruction acts would even today be considered cruel but not illegal, and tracing any of the civilian casualties directly to his orders would be virtually impossible.
11th Apr '17 5:11:56 AM DocWildNole
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Moreover, the rule against killing or wounding civilians does not extend to seizing or destroying their property; examples from the 20th century wars are innumerable, but perhaps the best known incident in the USA's history was was General William Tecumseh Sherman's 1864 'March to the Sea' that wrecked Georgia in September-December 1864 (and later campaigns in the Carolinas in early 1865) during the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar (a war fought largely in accordance with the modern rules of war). Vast quantities of civilian property (including railroad infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, manufactured goods, cotton, private homes, and especially food and slaves) were seized and destroyed (the food was eaten, the slaves were set free, and the rest was either burned or reduced to rubble) while relatively few civilians were actually killed. Sherman's side won, so he would never have been prosecuted for this campaign anyway (instead, they wrote [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVqUBShAuao an infuriatingly catchy song]] about it), but if he were magically resurrected and placed on trial before a fair tribunal, he would doubtless be acquitted, as his acts would even today be considered cruel but not illegal.

to:

Moreover, the rule against killing or wounding civilians does not extend to seizing or destroying their property; examples from the 20th century wars are innumerable, but perhaps the best known incident in the USA's history was was General William Tecumseh Sherman's 1864 'March to the Sea' that wrecked Georgia in September-December 1864 (and later campaigns in the Carolinas in early 1865) during the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar (a war fought largely in accordance with the modern rules of war). Vast quantities of civilian property (including railroad infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, manufactured goods, cotton, private homes, and especially food and slaves) were seized and destroyed (the food was eaten, the slaves were set free, and the rest was either burned or reduced to rubble) while relatively few civilians were actually killed. [[WinnersWriteHistory Sherman's side won, won,]] so he would never have been prosecuted for this campaign anyway (instead, they wrote [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVqUBShAuao an infuriatingly catchy song]] about it), but if he were magically resurrected and placed on trial before a fair tribunal, he would doubtless almost certainly be acquitted, as his property-destruction acts would even today be considered cruel but not illegal.
illegal, and tracing any of the civilian casualties directly to his orders would be virtually impossible.



Realizing that the people it fights have frequently not adhered to Geneva (as in UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo and the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar), the United States military, plus others, trains its aircrew in torture resistance techniques, including "waterboarding" them.

to:

Realizing that the people it fights have frequently not adhered to Geneva (as in UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo (as UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar), every other conflict since 1941), the United States military, plus others, trains its aircrew in torture resistance techniques, including "waterboarding" them.
22nd Mar '17 10:51:14 AM zaqq
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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There are a considerable number of treaties governing the conduct of war. WarIsHell, but now even this [[EvenEvilHasStandards hell is developing a lot of standards.]] In fact, this is considerably OlderThanDirt, as even nonliterate, stone age peoples have usually had [[http://www.amazon.com/Primitive-War-Its-Practices-Concepts/dp/087249196X/ customs and taboos]] strictly limiting what may be done in war, and Hugo Grotius' classic ''On the Laws of War and Peace'' (1625) cites back to ancient Greek and Roman sources for many of its rules.

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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There are is a considerable number of treaties governing the conduct of war. WarIsHell, but now even this [[EvenEvilHasStandards hell is developing a lot of standards.]] In fact, this is considerably OlderThanDirt, as even nonliterate, stone age peoples have usually had [[http://www.amazon.com/Primitive-War-Its-Practices-Concepts/dp/087249196X/ customs and taboos]] strictly limiting what may be done in war, and Hugo Grotius' classic ''On the Laws of War and Peace'' (1625) cites back to ancient Greek and Roman sources for many of its rules.
5th Mar '17 11:00:46 AM Morgenthaler
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* The ArabIsraeliConflict presents an interesting situation, where three wars were fought, each of which ended with an armistice. However, of the Arab states fighting these wars, only four--Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq--directly participated in all of them. So:

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* The ArabIsraeliConflict UsefulNotes/ArabIsraeliConflict presents an interesting situation, where three wars were fought, each of which ended with an armistice. However, of the Arab states fighting these wars, only four--Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq--directly participated in all of them. So:
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