Hamas, Terrorists, and War Crimes

Every time Israel gets involved in an armed conflict, the inevitable voices are raised complaining about “war crimes” they commit, and rarely do the same voices mention any problem with their enemies war making decisions. First of all, before attempting to speak authoritatively on the issue, at least skim the actual Geneva Conventions. If by “war crimes”, you mean “I wish people weren’t dying at all”, then you’re not actually talking about war crimes, OK? 

The second point I wanted to make is this: there’s a reason why these conventions were agreed upon in the first place. It was to add a modicum of civilization to a very uncivilized part of the human experience. It comes down to this: if the actors in a war do not play by the rules (wear uniforms, make an effort not to put civilians in harm’s way, etc.), then those actors get certain rights, like being treated as an official POW, and not shot in due course. This is the important part of this: if you give all actors the same rights, regardless of their behavior, they will have less reason to play by the rules.

This is something that’s always bothered me. I really do not understand those commentators that believe that bad actors (most of Hamas, al Qaeda, etc.) should get full POW rights. They should not — they ignore pretty much every rule of war. By giving them these rights, you are making future wars more and more barbaric. I’ve have never heard a good explanation for these commentator’s stance on this issue. Again, “I don’t like war” does not count, and is not nuanced.

By the way, speaking of Israel, Michael Totten is breaking away from his normal programming on his blog and covering the Israel incursion into Gaza on a daily basis. Read it: it’s good stuff.

One response to “Hamas, Terrorists, and War Crimes

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