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Not sure if it is history, but how far is too far?


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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 1:27:19 PM PST
patrick says:
rolls eyes...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 1:28:49 PM PST
patrick says:
his was the first no-value idiotic propaganda post to disrupt an illuminating & productive discourse

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 1:42:03 PM PST
patrick says:
i certainly do not believe that you can say that there are no pathogens possible which would kill without exception...

I get your point that there seem to be some individuals who will survive situations somehow which seem unsurvivable, but Im reminded of one historical anti-example of this.
It is said that there was not one known example of a death-camp inmate being brought out of the chambers still apparently alive.
That I actually found startling, in fact, when i first saw it pointed out.
Not one individual seems to have been conscious or stirred when brought out of the showers.
Other posters may know more about this, or may even correct me, but if this is true, even though one thing is a chemical poison inhaled and another is a bio-pathogen, i think you have to consider that there would probably be man-made or enhanced pahtogens possible which noone can resist except by avoidance.
ie, the only survivors , even short of medium term, may be simply those who can find or forge a perfect healthy quarantine place.
That noone in contact can survive, that the only variable is not if but how long taken.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 1:50:47 PM PST
patrick says:
a warning signal may in fact be hailed as a triumph when it occurs.
When and if science suddenly engineers a way to defeat the malarial mosquito, say, they are able to kill all of the mosquitos (Ive heard ecologists say that the mosquito can in fact be taken out of the ecosystem completely without great ecological consequences, it seems to mainly exist for causing annoyance and misery and its only function seems to be natural culling of other species)

then get worried.
If they can kill all of those little bastards, they can kill all of us.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 1:57:17 PM PST
D. Mok says:
> it seems to mainly exist for causing annoyance and misery and its only function seems to be natural culling of other species

It's true. Just look at the Four Pests Campaign in China in the 1950s. Just the decimation (not outright elimination) of one bird, the sparrow, may have caused the Great Chinese Famine. Three years and at least 15 million dead. The ecological cost of human meddling is usually impossible to see until after the fact. Nature is simply too vast and varied for human prediction.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 2:09:17 PM PST
IGS says:
D. Mok

What caused that Famine was not the death of a bird but rather the administrative genius of a singular moron called Mao. Drought, excessive planting, collectivisation, destruction of top soil, rice and grain hording, flooding, and yes, birds that eat locusts.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 2:17:33 PM PST
D. Mok says:
> What caused that Famine was not the death of a bird but rather the administrative genius of a singular moron called Mao.

Well, of course the famine didn't have a single cause, but we won't know if it would have been quite this bad without the locust disaster. Hard to say. Great Leap Forward, right off a cliff.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 6:59:40 AM PST
I agree 100% that these types of weapons are horrible. Just about everyone does, which is why we now have treaties outlawing them. Even when they were being produced it was only out of fear that if they weren't produced, the other side would be more likely to use them.

However, I don't believe that even the most virulent of these biological weapons would cause the extinction of humanity.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 8:14:21 AM PST
IGS says:
arp

what about the ten deadliest, most virulent, most mutable, all at the same time? Once the medical infrastructure breaks down (and it will since they are the most exposed and exposed to the worst of it), you have got a catastrophic problem. Total extinction? Probably not. What about 4 billion dead, virtually all livestock destroyed, massive damage to the food chain due to plant disease. I think you don't appreciate the depth of the problem or the extent of what will be harmed. Society will break down, most of your technically skilled and educated dead. This isn't the same as any other weapon on the list. Only radiation poses a comparable risk. Have you ever read "Timescape"? It's science fiction, I know. But it does point to the effects of one tiny mistake, if it is the wrong mistake. A pesticide actually. That is the nature of unpredictability.

I do appreciate all of the views I am hearing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 8:46:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 8:48:15 AM PST
Agree that if you superimpose a sufficiently large number of such infections, eventually you will reach a point where so few individuals will have natural immunity to all of them that mankind will go extinct. But of course all the infections would have to be worldwide. So the likelihood that you would have a truly worldwide infection with that many infections is quite remote.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 9:13:40 AM PST
L. King says:
There is a deadly paradox in that in order to develop expertise in creating a defense against biological warfare, nations such as the US, and I'd assume Russia and China, also develop the very technology that makes it possible.

The other day I received a brochure from the National Geographic society. For $200 they will process a sample of your DNA, isolate a series of markers and tell you your genetic history in terms of historic migrations. The goal of one research centre here in Toronto's MARS complex that I visited about 4 years ago was to bring the cost of sequencing a single person's entire DNA to under $1000 for the purpose of predicting the reaction to drugs. Lower the cost far enough and hacking genes might become as accessible as designer hallucinogens.

It's an idea that Ray Kurzweil explores in The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 9:22:05 AM PST
By "hacking genes" do you mean gaining access to someone else's supposedly secure genome sequence?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 10:05:08 AM PST
L. King says:
I mean re engineering e-coli (or the like) linked with determining the susceptibility of either an individual or a generalized group to such an attack.

I can't imagine a practical personal regime where someone's genome sequence could ever be secure. We flake skin as we move around. We touch objects. We go to the bathroom. The only security is that the cost to acquire the ability is high and that the knowledge we do have right now is still quite sketchy. The capability to do this is still, to the best of my knowledge, in the category of speculative fiction.

There are good purposes driving this research which could be put to bad ends, such as gene therapy.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 10:33:53 AM PST
Our main defense is genetic diversity. The amount of genetic diversity in the human genome is enormous. Some of this undoubtedly relates to resistance to infection.

Take any pestilence that humanity has ever had to endure: smallpox, syphilis, cholera, plague, tuberculosis, HIV, you name it. No matter how high the mortality rate, there will always be some individuals who happen to possess the right kinds of genes to survive. A good example is the gene which renders a person completely immune to HIV infection by preventing expression of the receptor on T-cells which the virus requires to infect them.

http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2005/01/66198?currentPage=all

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:54:24 AM PST
IGS says:
"So the likelihood that you would have a truly worldwide infection with that many infections is quite remote."

Unless you are actively trying to make it happen. In biological warfare that is exactly what you try to do. The old barriers of isolation and natural obstacle are not 100th as effective as they used to be. I.e., the ntural firebreaks are gone.

L.King, the the gene sequence itself is rather not very useful as very little of the dictionary is known. We know there are 4 (well five if you look at RNA) letters, and billions of words of which we know but a few, what the words mean, what combinations of words mean, what strings of word chans mean is at best poorly understood. It will take a long, long, long time to meaningfully decipher.

As far a predicting reactivity to a drug ... there is very little to suggest that genetics is the sole, or even a substantial indicator.

And as a final note arpard ... if you think human diversity is immense, it is nothing compared to the diversity of bacteria and virus. Each one of billions of types have as much diversity as the human animal.

Still it is not an envelope I'd prefer to test.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 11:01:05 PM PST
Jeff Marzano says:
L. King says:

[There is a deadly paradox in that in order to develop expertise in creating a defense against biological warfare, nations such as the US, and I'd assume Russia and China, also develop the very technology that makes it possible.]

In the book I mentioned the author came to the conclusion that America's biological weapons program more or less ended decades ago.

Ken Alibek eventually came to believe that the Soviet Union's massive program was mainly continued by their military industrial complex so the people involved would continue to get a paycheck. They already knew that the U.S. shut down their offensive biological weapons production long ago. So there really was no similar offensive threat for them during the Cold War.

This was very disheartening for Alibek who ended up defecting to America where he became involved with anti terrorism activities related to biological weapons. He appeared on TV quite a bit after 9/11 which is where I heard about his book.

Apparently the Soviet Union realized that they couldn't compete with the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal. So their plan was that if all out war broke out they would use whatever nukes they had and then follow that up by releasing their deadly biological agents into the atmosphere over America.

Anthrax was accidentally released in Russia during the Cold War. The Russian media attributed the many deaths to people eating rotten meat.

As I recall Ken also tells how some of their anthrax got into the sewers where it evolved inside of rats. They harvested some of this anthrax for weaponization purposes and it was one of the deadliest strains they had ever seen. Good old mother nature lent a helping hand.

Alibek lost his sense of smell long ago due to all of the vaccines he was injected with over the years. He has various other permanent health issues like respiratory problems as a result of working in that horrific environment.

Ken was also accidentally exposed to one of their deadly germs when he walked into contaminated water that had escaped during an accident. Some of his mad scientist colleagues who also got exposed to various deadly pathogens weren't lucky enough to survive at all. There were cases where they would be doing something and not paying attention and poke themselves with a syringe full of that crap.

The subject of microscopic organisms and larger parasites is a fascinating subject. A new series of one of my favorite TV shows, Monsters Inside Me, started recently on the Animal Planet station. One of the first of the new episodes was called 'My Face Eating Parasite'. This guy got bitten by a sand fly in South America on his face which gave him an infection of Leishmaniasis. By the time they figured out what was wrong with him the destruction of tissue had spread to his throat and other parts of his body. He recovered but has been left with a terrible scar on his cheek.

Those organisms are ancient and I believe they also infected the dinosaurs.

The anthrax letters attack case that happened soon after 9/11 is interesting. That was the most expensive criminal investigation in history. The FBI figured out the DNA profile for the anthrax and traced it back to an American scientist who worked on developing vaccines for anthrax.

Bruce Ivins apparently sent the anthrax letters to save his job since the government felt his work wasn't necessary anymore. As the law enforcement net closed in around him Ivins committed suicide by talking an overdose of Tylenol which I guess isn't a very fun way to die.

Well pestilence is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Disease has played a major role in human history.

Jeff Marzano

Disease and History

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 8:38:46 AM PST
Dodger Fan says:
IGS,
Here are a few quick thoughts.

I am not sure if "humane" is a reasonable goal for combatants in warfare. We can limit or eliminate chemical and biological weapons, cluster bombs, etc. But I am not sure how this makes war more humane for the combatants. Look at casualties in the Civil War. The Minie Ball and grapeshot caused horrible maiming and disfigurement. I read a book called Aftermath written by a lieutenant who stepped on a VC bouncing betty while on patrol in Vietnam. The frags shredded his legs, tore off his right arm, and severely damaged his left. They managed to save his legs and left arm. His description of his experience in the field hospital and rehab will stay with me forever. He mentioned a soldier who had his entire lower jaw shot off by a .50 caliber machinegun. Fed by a tube and/or intravenously for the rest of his life. Not to mention those poor souls in the burn ward. Are chemical and biological weapons worse? I honestly don't know.

I agree that a major concern with biological weapons is the possibility of unintended elimination of our entire species. I don't know the medical science behind it, but it is a scary concept.

At the end of the day, soldiers will suffer in war. Some minor steps have been made to reduce the suffering by a minicule amount, not to mention the advances in medical treatment to improve chance of survival. I think many soliders who survived in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been KIA in earlier wars. But they still suffer. An invasion of Iran would probably be worse. Maybe approaching Vietnam War casualty levels?

At the end of the day, I think the best we can do is try to limit civilian suffering as much as possible. But that has already been discussed at length.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 9:04:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2012 9:04:41 AM PST
DarthRad says:
In any discussion about how and why some weapons are made illegal by international treaties or agreements and why others are allowed, I can only think that it all seems entirely arbitrary. It just depends on whether somebody objects or not.

For instance, why are hollow-point bullets, or any sort of expanding bullets, banned for military use, and yet you can go to your local Walmart and buy them?

Hollow point bullets would instantly make the 9mm Lugar round, standard NATO, instantly more effective and equivalent to the .45 caliber round that gets so much praise for being an effective human stopper. That's because the 9mm round is higher velocity, and has a tendency to go straight through the human body without depositing much of its blast energy. It actually has as much blast energy as the .45 round, which, being a low velocity round, is far less likely to go through somebody.

The original lead bullets (22lr and .38 Special rounds are still frequently lead only) had a natural tendency to expand, but would deposit the lead in the chambers and barrels and cause fouling. Metal jacketing was added, but this increased the tendency for the bullet to simply pass through a target.

The British came up with the Dum Dum round, which solved this problem by removing the metal jacketing from the tip of the bullet. But, the Germans (of all people) objected, and so at the 1899 Hague Convention, the hollow point or soft point bullets were banned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expanding_bullet

In the same way, I think mines got banned because Princess Diana campaigned for them, and napalm got banned because of that picture out of Vietnam of the burned girl running naked down the road.

The rationales given for banning weapons is arbitrary and inconsistent.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 12:37:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2012 12:38:33 PM PST
Dodger Fan says:
DartRad wrote:
"In any discussion about how and why some weapons are made illegal by international treaties or agreements and why others are allowed, I can only think that it all seems entirely arbitrary. It just depends on whether somebody objects or not."

I agree with you that the prohibition of expanding bullets is arbitrary and illogical, considering the relative destructive power of legal weapons. It seems absurd to ban hollow-point bullets, yet still permit fragmentation grenades, flamethrowers, white phosphorus, flachettes, and a bunch of others.

However, when it comes to banning biological weapons, there might be some rational logic: eliminating the potential for mass civilian suffering and infrastructure breakdown that could potentially occur with these weapons. According to Wikipedia, on the 1972 Biological Waepons Convention:
"The rationale behind this treaty, which has been ratified or acceded to by 165 countries as of 2011, is to prevent a biological attack which could conceivably result in large numbers of civilian fatalities and cause severe disruption to economic and societal infrastructure."

Persoanally, I think the potential for the uncontrollable destruction of civilian life is what makes biological weapons more unethical than others. Almost all other weapons, including nuclear, chemical, and conventional, can be controlled and used against military targets in a discriminatory manner. In that regard, I agree the prohibition of nucelar and chemical weapons under current international law is somewhat arbitrary, since equally horrible weapons are permitted for use against combatants. If I can kill and maim enemy combatants with machine guns, high explosive artillery, flamethrowers, fragmentation grenades, white phosphorus, etc, why not nucelar weapons or chemicals? It's hard for me to imagine that a soldier with his face shot off by a large-caliber machinegun endures less suffering than getting nuked or gassed. As long as I don't deploy these weapons against the civilian population, where is the ethical problem?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 12:39:37 PM PST
IGS says:
Dodge

Good to see you here. This forum has deteriorated to a pretty pathetic place.

War, is just a dreadful experience in and of itself. In terms of total KIA, Afghanistan is rather an interesting case study. In 11 years about 2200 dead, comparatively small. But a lot of wounded have come out of that war. Over 50,000. Gratefully most suffer no long term effects.

But when I think on those casualties. WWII begins to boggle my mind. One example. A comparatively small battle. Tarawa. 1700 KIA. It took 10 years for the US to get to that level in Afghanistan. At Tarawa, those 1700 KIA came in the space of 72 hours over a piece of ground less than a mile square.

In the end, to dispute Darth, once a weapons gets destructive enough it is considered for the list. Dum Dum's are an interesting one. On the surface the seem a rather trivial concern. Until you think of what they do. The massively increase the amount of permanently crippled while not increasing the incapacity of soldiers hit by any appreciable amount. You get generally the same amount of casualties (same amount of combat ineffectives). However, the fatalities are increased to some extent but more importantly, the number of permanently crippled goes through the roof. Although this may seem of no great moment, it is. Wars end. Then what. In a world without such a weapons a permanent incapacity is perhaps 20%. But the dum dum likely triples this. So, to take the US in WWII as a case study, the US 700,000 WIA now includes a near half million more permanent injuries. These people are out of the work force, they must be cared for, it is a catastrophe. In it's starkest relief the economic costs of this are immense. Examining WWI, this changes the 20 million WIA into 10 million crippled.

Nope, dumdums are gone for a reason and they aren't arbitrary. The mine thing is civilian impact ... after the war.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 3:23:43 PM PST
Dodger Fan says:
IGS wrote:
"This forum has deteriorated to a pretty pathetic place."

Yes, I try to steer clear of any Mideast threads.

"But a lot of wounded have come out of that war. Over 50,000. Gratefully most suffer no long term effects."

Yes, that is something to be grateful for. The dedication and bravery of our medics and medevacs (Newsweek had a great article the week before the election), and the skill and professionalism of the doctors, nurses, therapists, etc. And the scientists, engineers, etc who developed the technology.

But the cost is still high, maybe too high. War with Iran? Heck, no!

"In the end, to dispute Darth, once a weapons gets destructive enough it is considered for the list."

I see your point about the dumdums and their capacity to leave permanent injuries. I think DarthRad's point is, what exactly is the tipping point to ban a weapon for use against other soldiers? Yes, dumdums probably triple the permanent incapacities. But what about artillery, mortars, and the resulting shrapnel? I read somewhere that the vast majority of modern battlefield casualties are caused by artillery. If true, how many traumatic amputations, and other permanent injuries are caused by artillery? Isn't the very goal of war to inflict death and destruction on enemy combatants? How are dumdums banned, but VT-fuzed HE artillery permitted? A 155mm airburst above exposed infantry is probably just as bad, maybe worse, than being shot at by dumdums. Lots of limbs ripped off or mangled. Not to mention a WP airburst. I believe napalm is still legal.

" The mine thing is civilian impact ... after the war."

Agreed, civilian impact is, in my opinion, the most powerful argument to ban certain weapons. Especially biological, since there is very little assurance the effects can be limited to the battlefield. At least nuclear and chemical weapons, and dumdums, have some hope of being limited to battlefield combatants.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 5:32:28 PM PST
IGS says:
Dodge

" I think DarthRad's point is, what exactly is the tipping point to ban a weapon for use against other soldiers?"

It's a valid point. And I am not sure where the line is drawn, why, and how strictly. That was the point of the thread.

"But what about artillery, mortars, and the resulting shrapnel? I read somewhere that the vast majority of modern battlefield casualties are caused by artillery."

LOL. You want to know an interesting factoid, next to disease, artillery was the biggest killer since the Age of Marlborough (who was probably the best soldier Britain ever produced (and he was good one too)).

"If true, how many traumatic amputations, and other permanent injuries are caused by artillery?"

Lots of them.

"Isn't the very goal of war to inflict death and destruction on enemy combatants?"

No, it isn't. It is an extension of politics by non-diplomatic means. Forced compulsion to the political objectives of a nation (or people). Killing people is a dreadful by product, but it is not the goal.

"How are dumdums banned, but VT-fuzed HE artillery permitted?"

VT is less damaging BTW, especially the canisterized version.

VT is more of a fragmentation weapon, with ground burst being the real mangler.

"Not to mention a WP airburst."

WP is banned as an anti-personnel weapon. Chiefly, it is used to mark things or set structures on fire. But, I was taught that it was a "gray area." The burns are dreadful and ghastly difficult to extinguish.

The status of napalm is unknown to me. It is essentially a less harmful incendiary (relative to WP). Let's face it, war itself is a gross miscarriage of morality. In one sense, the only justification for it, is to stop an even worse harm. It is one of the reasons I had real issues with the war in Iraq. The long run realpolitik view of the war is entirely valid. But as a moral question, it is utterly unsupportable.

My problem is really what is the distinction between civilians and armed combatants, like logistical and quartermaster soldiers. I really fail to see the distinction. I think WWII provides a very interesting study in this regard. The two major enemies of the Allies (German and Japan) present two very different moral questions. The Germans has a substantial anti-war community that were ruthlessly repressed but continued to act even during that war. the same can be said for the communities within Germany that resisted persecution of others. Granted, as a majority, they were only too happy to comply with the Nazi's. But the provide a rather interesting contrast with the Japanese, who were every bit as racist as the Germans (in fact they still are today). The interesting thing is, the Japanese were largely aware of this racism, were on board with it almost without exception, there was no anti-war faction at all in Japan, virtually the entirety of the people was behind it. They care nothing for ANY of their enemies and treated none with anything aside from absolute cruelty, the Chinese, Koreans, and Filipino's right at the top of the list. But it wasn't confined to them. The Burmese, Vietnamese, Indonesians, any of a vast array of Polynesians, the Dutch, ANZAC, British, American's and so on. The list of cruelties recorded by the Red Cross, POW's, and vast array of testimony, and the Tokyo trials. The cruelty disclosed is every bit on the order of the worst meted out by the Germans and in many cases worse. It is very difficult to read through some of the testimony. Worst of all the populace was near unanimous in support of it. Even years later. Under such circumstance, how is a quartermaster general at Truk any different than the hate-filled aircraft plant worker in Osaka?

That is where I am beginning to see no moral difference between the two. Perhaps with direct attacks on cities where children are, I can see it, but the whole of it becomes very gray for me. Have a good weekend/

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 7:29:13 PM PST
Jeff Marzano says:
Dodger Fan says:

[Isn't the very goal of war to inflict death and destruction on enemy combatants ?]

Yes and this leads into questions about the absurdity of having any sort of rules of engagement when war breaks out.

Like during World War II I guess poison gas was banned. But why ? The point is to kill people on the other side. It's like they're playing a game.

I guess there wasn't any rules about nuclear weapons since they didn't exist yet when the war started. So America was off the hook in that case.

Nuclear weapons are a deterrent to all out warfare today. No longer can a nuclear power just charge over the border of another nuclear power by sheer force of numbers. The stakes are much too high now.

This is the extreme danger of nuclear proliferation among unstable regimes like Iran and North Korea. The leaders of those countries are complete crackpots. Those guys make very reckless statements about using atomic weapons. They shouldn't say things like that.

I hope we never find out what happens when an atomic bomb goes off somewhere whether it's New York Harbor, Israel, Pakistan, or wherever. Who knows where things could lead from there.

World War II was a different situation. The world was already at war and atomic weapons were something new. Things are much different today.

Well I see they're coming out with a remake of that classic movie Red Dawn. A handful of teenagers with a shotgun and bow and arrow take on the entire Soviet army. And they win !

Jeff Marzano

Red Dawn [Blu-ray]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 9:02:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2012 10:54:03 PM PST
Dodger Fan says:
IGS wrote:
"It's a valid point. And I am not sure where the line is drawn, why, and how strictly. That was the point of the thread."

And I believe DarthRad's point is, why prohibit dumdum bullets, yet allow equally brutal weapons? We can quibble over the exact numbers forever. But getting nailed by any weapon of war, whether it's the dumdum bullet, the Minie ball, the gladius, the mace, mustard gas, artillery airburst, whether it's legal or not, is going to cause pain, suffering, and in many cases permanent incapacity. The point is, the current legal distinctions are arbitrary and inconsistent.

"But as a moral question, it is utterly unsupportable."

Yet, a large number of American political and military leaders supported it, and continue to support it. Not to mention a significant majority of citizens registered as "R". And probably even some "Ds". Are these people who support a morally unsupportable war equally guilty as the Germans and Japanese citizens who supported their governments' morally unsupported wars?

"That is where I am beginning to see no moral difference between the two. Perhaps with direct attacks on cities where children are, I can see it,"

Seems like deja vu. Current international law allows direct atacks on the aircraft plants in Osaka, Frankfurt, London, and Fort Worth. The personnel inside, military or civilian, hate-filled or not, are also considered legitimate targets. The law even allows for some level of collateral damage to nearby noncombatants, as long as reasonable efforts are made to limit that collateral damage as much as possible. Attacks aimed at purely civilian areas are prohibited. Attacks that cause indiscriminate damage to civilian lives and property, even if aimed at legitimate targets, are also prohibited. The current law equally protects all civilian populations of this earth, American, Russian, Chinese, British, German, Israeli, Palestinian, South Korean, North Korean, etc. and does not allow deliberate attacks against any civilian population, regardless of the criminal acts committed by their politcal or military authorities, and regardless of their political, religious, or cultural beliefs. Like almost any law made by man, these laws are imperfect. But they are intended to decrease civilian suffering in war.

Have a good weekend, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 9:29:43 PM PST
Dodger Fan says:
Jeff Marzano wrote:
"Yes and this leads into questions about the absurdity of having any sort of rules of engagement when war breaks out."

Although imperfectly observed and imperfectly enforced, rules and laws of war have existed since antiquity. The Bible and the Koran both describe rudimentary moral limits of war. In Medieval Europe the Catholic Church laid the foundations of Just Law Theory, which forms much of the basis for modern international laws of war. Is it absurd to prohibit the torture of prisoners, enslaving conquered populations, pillage, rape, perfidy?

"I guess there wasn't any rules about nuclear weapons since they didn't exist yet when the war started. So America was off the hook in that case."

Until 1949 there were no rules or laws about aerial bombing of civilians. So the London Blitz, the Shanghai/Nanking air raids, Dresden, Hiroshima, Tokyo, and all the rest were technically legal. So, there could be no legally valid prosecutions against those who committed these acts. Legally, they were and are off the hook. But morally? American slaveholders prior to Dec 8, 1865 were and are legally off the hook, since they committed slavery prior to the passage of the 13th Amendment. But, the moral judgement of history is that these were immoral violations of basic human rights, regardless of their legal status at the time. Same thing for the hideous punishments administered to criminals in Medieval Europe. Or the human sacrifices performed by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
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Discussion in:  History forum
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Total posts:  428
Initial post:  Nov 6, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 18, 2012

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