History UsefulNotes / TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar

18th Jul '17 5:52:22 PM nombretomado
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The history of war is replete with examples where a relatively small-scale breach of the rules regarding the killing of [=POWs=] or shot-out airmen resulted in massive retaliations by the other side. To give a pair of WW2 examples: A Japanese fighter machine gunning a bailed-out [=B-17=] crew and killing eight of the thirteen at Bismarck Sea resulted in the US and Australians sinking the lifeboats and rafts of the convoy after it was destroyed, killing thousands of Japanese soldiers; during the Battle of the Bulge the murder of a group of American prisoners by the SS caused a number of American units to refuse to accept surrenders during the course of the battle, costing hundreds of German lives. Worst of all, public opinion compelled the USA to prosecute the junior SS officers responsible in the postwar trials process. This gave the Soviets a 'foot in the door' when arguing for the prosecution of more senior officers responsible for War Crimes.

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The history of war is replete with examples where a relatively small-scale breach of the rules regarding the killing of [=POWs=] or shot-out airmen resulted in massive retaliations by the other side. To give a pair of WW2 [=WW2=] examples: A Japanese fighter machine gunning a bailed-out [=B-17=] crew and killing eight of the thirteen at Bismarck Sea resulted in the US and Australians sinking the lifeboats and rafts of the convoy after it was destroyed, killing thousands of Japanese soldiers; during the Battle of the Bulge the murder of a group of American prisoners by the SS caused a number of American units to refuse to accept surrenders during the course of the battle, costing hundreds of German lives. Worst of all, public opinion compelled the USA to prosecute the junior SS officers responsible in the postwar trials process. This gave the Soviets a 'foot in the door' when arguing for the prosecution of more senior officers responsible for War Crimes.
17th Jul '17 6:45:46 AM Flawedspirit
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* The 1993 Chemnical Weapons Treaty further banned certain chemical weapons.
* The 1997 Ottowa Treaty on anti-personnel land mines

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* The 1993 Chemnical Chemical Weapons Treaty further banned certain chemical weapons.
* The 1997 Ottowa Ottawa Treaty on anti-personnel land mines



In fact, having rules on what countries (and, by extension, their militaries) can do in times of war 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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In fact, having rules on what countries (and, by extension, their militaries) can do in times of war is considerably OlderThanDirt, as even nonliterate, non-literate, 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.



A quick way to show that a killer is really a bad guy is to have their bullets having a cross cut into the tip. This will cause the bullet to expand when it enters the body, causing far more damage. Since hollow points are permitted in most non-military applications and are more reliable ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FMJ jacketed]] dum-dums have a disturbing tendency to leave the jacket in the barrel of the gun, nevermind the fact that they don't expand that reliably) dum-dums are usually used to show how bad someone is. Or that setting predates the invention of hollow points. Named after an arms factory in India, by the way.

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, 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.

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A quick way to show that a killer is really a bad guy is to have their bullets having a cross cut into the tip. This will cause the bullet to expand when it enters the body, causing far more damage. Since hollow points are permitted in most non-military applications and are more reliable ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FMJ jacketed]] dum-dums have a disturbing tendency to leave the jacket in the barrel of the gun, nevermind never mind the fact that they don't expand that reliably) dum-dums are usually used to show how bad someone is. Or that setting predates the invention of hollow points. Named after an arms factory in India, by the way.

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 behaviour 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, 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.




These bullets, which expand in a person's body, are prohibited in formal warfare, but allowed in domestic law enforcement and actually required in some jurisdictions for hunting. Their downsides are that they have poor performance against armor and barriers as well as sometimes not expanding correctly. In addition, automatic or semi-automatic weapons capable of reliably feeding hollowpoints are a relatively recent invention. Their upsides is their relatively low chance of overpenetration and causing collateral damage ''[[AccidentalMurder behind]]'' your target, and of course increased stopping effectiveness.

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\nThese bullets, which expand in a person's body, are prohibited in formal warfare, but allowed in domestic law enforcement and actually required in some jurisdictions for hunting. Their downsides are that they have poor performance against armor armour and barriers as well as sometimes not expanding correctly. In addition, automatic or semi-automatic weapons capable of reliably feeding hollowpoints are a relatively recent invention. Their upsides is their relatively low chance of overpenetration and causing collateral damage ''[[AccidentalMurder behind]]'' your target, and of course increased stopping effectiveness.



While civilians are allowed by the Geneva Conventions to take up arms as militia against an invading army, they must still abide by the Geneva Conventions in their own behavior, be "carrying arms openly", and do their best to have "a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance" in order to still enjoy the protection of the Geneva Conventions for themselves. The intent of this particular section of the Geneva Conventions is to make the distinction between combatant and noncombatant immediately obvious at a distance so as to minimize noncombatant casualties by letting the enemy be able to know which people are fighting them and which ones are just bystanders. The "illegal combatant" distinction generally comes into play when that distinction is deliberately being abused.

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While civilians are allowed by the Geneva Conventions to take up arms as militia against an invading army, they must still abide by the Geneva Conventions in their own behavior, behaviour, be "carrying arms openly", and do their best to have "a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance" in order to still enjoy the protection of the Geneva Conventions for themselves. The intent of this particular section of the Geneva Conventions is to make the distinction between combatant and noncombatant immediately obvious at a distance so as to minimize noncombatant casualties by letting the enemy be able to know which people are fighting them and which ones are just bystanders. The "illegal combatant" distinction generally comes into play when that distinction is deliberately being abused.



Also note that medics and similar positions are permitted to carry small arms solely for self-defense (though, many chose not to). In particular today, when medics are integrated into the unit as a soldier first, medic second, most do not wear a Red Cross/Red Crescent symbol and do carry weapons. Also, even specialized actual medics are permitted to carry and use weapons against those who would attack those under their care; e.g. if the enemy is harming the wounded (itself a war crime), medics are entirely justified in responding with lethal force. In these cases, they are considered lawful combatants, and are not war criminals for carrying weaponry. See below for other cases where medics are treated differently.

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Also note that medics and similar positions are permitted to carry small arms solely for self-defense self-defence (though, many chose not to). In particular today, when medics are integrated into the unit as a soldier first, medic second, most do not wear a Red Cross/Red Crescent symbol and do carry weapons. Also, even specialized actual medics are permitted to carry and use weapons against those who would attack those under their care; e.g. if the enemy is harming the wounded (itself a war crime), medics are entirely justified in responding with lethal force. In these cases, they are considered lawful combatants, and are not war criminals for carrying weaponry. See below for other cases where medics are treated differently.



[[RapePillageandBurn Deliberately wounding or killing civilians]] is a war crime, as is issuing or obeying orders to wound or kill civilians. This is subject to some fine distinctions, however; if civilians are in or near a legitimate military target, it is not generally considered a war crime to destroy the target in the absence of other options. This is how it was not considered a war crime for the various belligerents during World War II to go around bombing each others' factories--the factories were generally producing either war materiel or other items necessary or useful to the war effort, and thus the fact that the workers were civilians was considered less important than the military character of the goods they produced. More contentious was the RAF and US Army Air Force's 1944-45 attempts to more efficiently destroy factories and rail hubs by creating firestorms in the urban areas around them, and the ''Luftwaffe'' and RAF's attempts to create firestorms in urban areas with no industrial plant or rail infrastructure in order to 'demoralise' enemy populations inarguably constituted war crimes.

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, [[WrittenByTheWinners 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.

[[JustFollowingOrders Again, obeying orders in killing civililans]] doesn't make it not a war crime. One example of what ''not'' to do is [[http://users.clas.ufl.edu/ggiles/barbaros.html the German Military (Wehrmacht)'s]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes_of_the_Wehrmacht#Barbarossa_Decree 13/5/1941 'Barbarossa Decree']]. Section I.4 mandated that:

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[[RapePillageandBurn Deliberately wounding or killing civilians]] is a war crime, as is issuing or obeying orders to wound or kill civilians. This is subject to some fine distinctions, however; if civilians are in or near a legitimate military target, it is not generally considered a war crime to destroy the target in the absence of other options. This is how it was not considered a war crime for the various belligerents during World War II to go around bombing each others' factories--the factories were generally producing either war materiel or other items necessary or useful to the war effort, and thus the fact that the workers were civilians was considered less important than the military character of the goods they produced. More contentious was the RAF and US Army Air Force's 1944-45 attempts to more efficiently destroy factories and rail hubs by creating firestorms in the urban areas around them, and the ''Luftwaffe'' and RAF's attempts to create firestorms in urban areas with no industrial plant or rail infrastructure in order to 'demoralise' 'demoralize' enemy populations inarguably unarguably constituted war crimes.

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, [[WrittenByTheWinners they wrote]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVqUBShAuao com/watch?v=SRXmuvLU8LQ 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.

[[JustFollowingOrders Again, obeying orders in killing civililans]] civilians]] doesn't make it not a war crime. One example of what ''not'' to do is [[http://users.clas.ufl.edu/ggiles/barbaros.html the German Military (Wehrmacht)'s]] [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes_of_the_Wehrmacht#Barbarossa_Decree 13/5/1941 'Barbarossa Decree']]. Section I.4 mandated that:



There was a distinct difference in the interpretation of this order in 'the east' and in 'the west'. In countries with racially acceptable populations which were to become German puppets after Germany won, it was often interpreted to mean 'the deportation of the male population for slave labor'. In countries with racially undesirable populations which were to be largely or totally eliminated to make room for German settlement, it was understood as 'death for 100 civilians for every member of the military killed by partisan action." [[AnOfficerAndAGentleman More understanding local commanders would consult with local leaders and attempt to fulfill their quotas using 'inessential' members of communities]] such as Jews or Romani ([[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust before they were deported in 1942]]), disabled or mentally ill people, gays, the elderly, or children. In roughly that order.

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There was a distinct difference in the interpretation of this order in 'the east' and in 'the west'. In countries with racially acceptable populations which were to become German puppets after Germany won, it was often interpreted to mean 'the deportation of the male population for slave labor'.labour'. In countries with racially undesirable populations which were to be largely or totally eliminated to make room for German settlement, it was understood as 'death for 100 civilians for every member of the military killed by partisan action." [[AnOfficerAndAGentleman More understanding local commanders would consult with local leaders and attempt to fulfill their quotas using 'inessential' members of communities]] such as Jews or Romani ([[UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust before they were deported in 1942]]), disabled or mentally ill people, gays, the elderly, or children. In roughly that order.



Once the other side captures you, they are allowed to search you and restrain you. They can confiscate your pack animals (these are still used in less developed parts of the world where motorized transportation has problems, particularly in rugged/mountainous terrain), weaponry and any military documents. However, a prisoner must be permitted to retain his personal protective equipment, such as helmets and gas masks. And, once a prisoner has been captured, his health, safety, and wellbeing is the responsibility of his captors.

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Once the other side captures you, they are allowed to search you and restrain you. They can confiscate your pack animals (these are still used in less developed parts of the world where motorized transportation has problems, particularly in rugged/mountainous terrain), weaponry and any military documents. However, a prisoner must be permitted to retain his personal protective equipment, such as helmets and gas masks. And, once a prisoner has been captured, his health, safety, and wellbeing well-being is the responsibility of his captors.



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.

The 1949 version also covers spontaneous resistance movements, even not in uniform, if their conduct abides by the laws and customs of war. However, they are not exempt from the four basic requirements at the top of this subheading and most classic resistance movements deliberately avoid using uniforms or identifying symbols, thus forfeiting their protection and leaving them liable to be shot as spies or saboteurs. Many resistance actions, such as sabotage or bombing, also fail to be 'carrying arms openly'. A resistance movement that did fulfill all the requirements, even just to the point of using colored armbands during their overt attacks, should still qualify.


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Mercenaries that are an integral part of a given State's military system (Gurkhas, Foreign Legionaires, Legionnaires, 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.

The 1949 version also covers spontaneous resistance movements, even not in uniform, if their conduct abides by the laws and customs of war. However, they are not exempt from the four basic requirements at the top of this subheading and most classic resistance movements deliberately avoid using uniforms or identifying symbols, thus forfeiting their protection and leaving them liable to be shot as spies or saboteurs. Many resistance actions, such as sabotage or bombing, also fail to be 'carrying arms openly'. A resistance movement that did fulfill all the requirements, even just to the point of using colored coloured armbands during their overt attacks, should still qualify.




A more infamous order, which applied not just in the occupied Soviet Union but across the entire European theatre of war (and even applied to some people who spoke English, making it famous in the Anglosphere) was the 1942 'Commando Order' (which remained law [[NoOntologicalInertia until Germany's cessation of existence]]). Section 3 states:

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A more infamous order, which applied not just in the occupied Soviet Union but across the entire European theatre theater of war (and even applied to some people who spoke English, making it famous in the Anglosphere) was the 1942 'Commando Order' (which remained law [[NoOntologicalInertia until Germany's cessation of existence]]). Section 3 states:



This applies also to ground troops, who may wear enemy uniforms as a deception but before firing upon enemy forces, they must put on proper insignia so that if they are captured, they are entitled to be treated as prisoners of war. However, as lawful combatants can still be tried for any criminal offenses they commit in the execution of their duty (rape, theft, etc.), if they are captured using enemy uniforms to gather intelligence/spread despondency or falsehoods within the ranks of the enemy behind enemy lines, they may be tried for espionage and, if found guilty, executed or otherwise punished as per the laws of the nation that has captured them.

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This applies also to ground troops, who may wear enemy uniforms as a deception but before firing upon enemy forces, they must put on proper insignia so that if they are captured, they are entitled to be treated as prisoners of war. However, as lawful combatants can still be tried for any criminal offenses offences they commit in the execution of their duty (rape, theft, etc.), if they are captured using enemy uniforms to gather intelligence/spread despondency or falsehoods within the ranks of the enemy behind enemy lines, they may be tried for espionage and, if found guilty, executed or otherwise punished as per the laws of the nation that has captured them.



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 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 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 defence--afterwards known as the Nuremberg Defense-- Defence-- 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 attendant 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.



A ceasefire simply means a temporary cessation of hostilities, whether in one sector (for allowing prisoner exchanges, collecting of the wounded)or theater wide (usually as prelude to the cessation of the conflict as a whole) , while an armistice is the wartime equivalent of the end of the fighting stage before the final resolution, it means in essence that sides are recalling their Generals and sending in the diplomats.

Ceasefires take effect at a set time after the agreement, allowing the word to get to troops in the field. In practice, people ''generally'' stop firing once they're told of the ceasefire; no one wants to be the last to die in a war. Although, this might not be the case when it is unclear whether the ceasefire is the actual end of the war. As a ceasefire usually entails that the battlelines will remain where they are, people might attempt to use the time period to get a favourable positions. Standing orders of the Pakistan Army are that Pakistani forces will continue to jockey for favourable positions until the coming into effect of the ceasefire (although major offensives are forbidden) while the Israeli Army seems to have a policy (if not formal orders)which is similar. This is a risky proposition, the enemy might decide to simply abandon the plan.

There might be a clear winner or loser at the end of an armistice; what matters is that the sides have ''only'' agreed to stop fighting until further notice. Generally speaking, an armistice is when the war has ''clearly'' ended. Usually, [[PeaceConference peace talks]] and a peace treaty immediately follow but the term "peace treaty" is something of a misnomer: a peace treaty is actually about restoring (or establishing) diplomatic recognition and ties, as well as settling at least some of the disputes that led to the war in the first place ([[CaptainObvious generally in the victor's favor]], assuming that there is one).

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A ceasefire simply means a temporary cessation of hostilities, whether in one sector (for allowing prisoner exchanges, collecting of the wounded)or theater wide theatre-wide (usually as prelude to the cessation of the conflict as a whole) , while an armistice is the wartime equivalent of the end of the fighting stage before the final resolution, it means in essence that sides are recalling their Generals and sending in the diplomats.

Ceasefires take effect at a set time after the agreement, allowing the word to get to troops in the field. In practice, people ''generally'' stop firing once they're told of the ceasefire; no one wants to be the last to die in a war. Although, this might not be the case when it is unclear whether the ceasefire is the actual end of the war. As a ceasefire usually entails that the battlelines battle lines will remain where they are, people might attempt to use the time period to get a favourable positions. Standing orders of the Pakistan Army are that Pakistani forces will continue to jockey for favourable positions until the coming into effect of the ceasefire (although major offensives are forbidden) while the Israeli Army seems to have a policy (if not formal orders)which is similar. This is a risky proposition, the enemy might decide to simply abandon the plan.

There might be a clear winner or loser at the end of an armistice; what matters is that the sides have ''only'' agreed to stop fighting until further notice. Generally speaking, an armistice is when the war has ''clearly'' ended. Usually, [[PeaceConference peace talks]] and a peace treaty immediately follow but the term "peace treaty" is something of a misnomer: a peace treaty is actually about restoring (or establishing) diplomatic recognition and ties, as well as settling at least some of the disputes that led to the war in the first place ([[CaptainObvious generally in the victor's favor]], favour]], assuming that there is one).



** Lebanon's last active and official participation in a war with Israel was in 1948, with the armistice signed in 1949; however, Israel has intervened in Lebanon against non-state military forces (e.g. the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hizballah) several times since then, most recently in 2006.

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** Lebanon's last active and official participation in a war with Israel was in 1948, with the armistice signed in 1949; however, Israel has intervened in Lebanon against non-state military forces (e.g. the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hizballah) Hezbollah) several times since then, most recently in 2006.
24th Jun '17 7:16:50 PM Tdarcos
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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There is a considerable number of treaties governing the conduct of war. WarIsHell, but now even this [[EvenEvilHasStandards hell is developing a lot of standards.]] here are just a few, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_control The other Wiki]] has a more comprehensive list:

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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There is a considerable number of treaties governing the conduct of war. WarIsHell, but now even this [[EvenEvilHasStandards hell is developing a lot of standards.]] here Here are just a few, few samples, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_control The the other Wiki]] has a more comprehensive list:
24th Jun '17 7:15:14 PM Tdarcos
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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There 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.

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It is untrue that all is fair in love and war. Especially in war. There is a considerable number of treaties governing the conduct of war. WarIsHell, but now even this [[EvenEvilHasStandards hell is developing a lot of standards.]] here are just a few, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_control The other Wiki]] has a more comprehensive list:

* The Strasbourg Agreement (1675) where some countries agreed not to use chemical weapons.
* The Hague Convention (1899) (and the second Hague Convention (1907)) that led to rules of declaring and conducting warfare.
* The Geneva Conference (1925) led to the banning of chemical weapons during war.
* The Biological Weapons Convention (1972)
* The 1993 Chemnical Weapons Treaty further banned certain chemical weapons.
* The 1997 Ottowa Treaty on anti-personnel land mines
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_Certain_Conventional_Weapons The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons]] (1980) prohibits undetectable weapons (explosive devices made of all plastic which defeat metal detectors); mines and booby traps; firebombs and incendiary weapons; blinding lasers; or recycling used unexploded ordnance from previous wars.

In fact, this having rules on what countries (and, by extension, their militaries) can do in times of war 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.
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).

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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.

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]]
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