"Rules of War"
03 Jan 2005 23:54 GMT
Rules of War? What exactly does this mean. Who makes them and when do they break them?
“Rules of war” the concept is idealistic at best. To consider what a “rule of war” is challenges us to contort our minds and supremely wrap them around a concept that contradicts itself in many ways. Superlatively, rules of war are used to protect and to provide even battle grounds. When your task is to destroy and conquer how can one be expected to win without distorting the battle grounds, without altering something to their advantage? We must ask ourselves when we construct such rules how are those expected to fight by rules subject to urgent construal by the creator and followers affected, physically, emotionally, mentally?
In late November we experienced how the rules of war and conditions of such have affected those intended to abide by them. Caught on video the world gasped as a US marine shot at extremely close range a wounded insurgent in Fallaujah. In the footage retrieved by NBC crew a Marine is shown screaming that the insurgent was faking death. As he screamed He then raised his rifle and fired into the insurgents head. Another marine is heard in the background stating “well, he’s dead now.”
The rules of war spoken of earlier state that wounded, unarmed fighters who pose no threat must not be harmed. Though this particular insurgent posed no threat and was visibly wounded he was shot and killed, as the rules of war were contorted and disregarded instantaneously.
Not only is this instance unfortunate and shameful and counterproductive. As many Iraqis are considering situations such as this murder, leading them to greatly question American occupancy in their country. Many ask, if this is accepted and can be done while filmed what happens behind the cameras?
However unfortunate and counterproductive this instance was there are a number of items to take into consideration that deserve recognition. The possibility of mitigating circumstances certainly exists. The Marine in the video is reported to have been shot in the face previous to the insurgent confrontation, however he returned to duty. Also a military spokesman claim this particular Marine had a friend who had earlier been killed by a booby-trapped insurgent corpse.
The argument is that possibly the marine shot in self-defense, fearful that the insurgent had possibly been booby-tapped. Again question the “rules of war” as it is apparent the insurgents are not abiding by them as well. Does this constitute our own construction of predetermined rules to level the playing grounds for ourselves?
If the insurgent did, in fact, pose a possible threat, it could be argued that killing him was still unnecessary. In order to decide whether or not the decision was logically sound, the question of the marine's mental stability should be examined.
Undoubtedly the marine responsible for the shooting, as with all active duty marines, was subjected to unimaginable images of war and death, which has many adverse psychological effects; one of which being mental instability. Opposing the idea we are led to believe that fosters feelings of gratitude and happiness surrounding the war. The reality of the situation, illustrated by instances such as this, war is ravaging not only the country and the people involved, but the psyche and essence of soldiers who's original intentions were patriotic and noble.
Is it possible that these rules of war are simply used as guidelines? Possibly their creation used to ease the mind and conscious of those at home and those fighting under the pretense of justice and peace? Is it feasible that rules of war are fashioned to create images to spawn our support and stifle our judgment and criticisms? Could it be that the images of children running to soldiers with flags and hugs and smiles are simply that, images, and only figments truths?