Monday, April 6, 2009

The Rules of War

It is fitting a square peg into a round hole. The discussion of nuance between what is permitted and what is prohibited makes us seem like it is some sort of game, much like baseball or soccer, just played in a different arena. It is not. It is ugly, brutal and beyond comprehension that we sit and discuss who we are permitted to kill and who we are not. It is not the atrocities of war that should merit our concern. It is the atrocity of war.

Rules of convention. What is conventional about taking a life? Has every life we have taken in Israel, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and anywhere else in the world only been wrong if it fell outside the rules? Is it like a hockey game where we sit out 2 minutes for an infraction and then enter the fray once more? What value do we place on human existence?

The discussion in the oped section about innocents being killed in the midst of the battle presupposes that we have all come out into the middle of the ring and had the referee give us the instructions, like no biting or hitting below the belt. He has told us that we are to shake hands and have a good clean fight. War is anything but good and clean. One side is out to annihilate the other. The whole concept is barbaric. To put some kind of limits on the extent of the wrong we can commit, what kind of weapons it is ok to use, is to give legitimacy to the idea of killing. Further, to expect one committed to ending your concept on the rules of life, to respect some artificial rules of killing, is absurd.

Don't tell me about collateral consequences, human shields, or any other made up logic for killing innocents. Don't talk about rules of convention for killing. There are no rules when one is dead. You are just dead. This is not a game.

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