An Illegal War

They are fighting an illegal war.” It is a term that I have heard for many many years and I can’t remember a time where it didn’t sound strange to me.

From a personal standpoint I happen to think that there are times when war is merited. We usually refer to those moments as a moral war but I readily admit that this sounds somewhat strange to me as well.

Think about it. Is there a country in which murder is legal. I suppose that one could argue that enemy combatants are killed and not murdered. There are rules of warfare but I still find some of this to be strange.

When it is moral to drop bombs on other people, to destroy their homes and their way of life there is a bit of an issue.

I suppose what I am saying is that terms like moral and illegal are not so easily applied, at least not from my standpoint. The world is a funny place. I may have to blog about this some more later.

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2 Comments

  1. Gavriel May 1, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    It sounds like zeruel’s explanation leaves “illegal” and “immoral” pretty intertwined, with the open issue being who owns the definition of “immoral” — either the UN or some commonly held objective definition.

    When I hear the term “illegal” war, it comes across more as a political point arguing over which branches of government hold specific authorization for specific uses of specific levels of force, and related arguments over what form that approval takes. For example, were the various Congressional resolutions authorizations of “war” (according to the most convenient political definition of either side).

    I don’t like the term because it forces me into a swamp of cynicism and I hate wallowing there, unless I can eek a blog post out of it.

  2. Zeruel April 30, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    When people refer to ‘illegal war’ they usually mean it in a technical sense; in this particular case only a war against an aggressor that is an acute threat to national survival is legitimized, which the Iraq war obviously was not. Or, when sanctioned by the U.N., out of humanitarian purposes(usually in some kind of multilateral organization, like nato), interference in domestic conflict is defined as legal.

    War out of geopolitical, ideological, and economical considerations is illegal. Although for the people on who you drop the bomb it probably won’t matter much.

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