War has Rules?


This is a church in Syria burning because it is a church in Syria

I will get back to my domestic program of improving nutrition so that the geri-cide in care facilities slows, but as a candidate and historian, I suppose I have to take a look at the international situation, too.

               Quick moment while I steel myself.

               OK, we have drug cartels in Mexico and Central America that are like something out of the Magnificent Seven without Yul Brynner. They extort, kidnap, rape and murder and one group calls itself the Knights Templar, which I find very offensive.

               In Nigeria there is the twelve-year-old group called Boko Haram, which says it wants to set up an Islamic State but is essentially a reaction to remnants of colonialization and an incredible (except I believe it) inequity of income within the country. According to the BBC: The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”. They kidnap, rape, murder and bomb anything they don’t agree with.

               The civil war in the Ukraine is a bit confusing to me. A corrupt president was forced out of office and so Russia decided it would take back the Crimea and now they are supporting the cause of Russian speaking Ukrainians who want to be part of the old Soviet Union and oppose any contact with the European Union. Now, the Ukraine has large Russian-speaking areas because Stalin purged the native population and replaced them with Russians. It does sound a bit like Hitler wanting the Sudetenland. So far they just seem to be killing each other.

               The war in Syria is one of the most tragic and it has affected me because I spent three years studying the early Crusades while writing THE REAL HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS and DEFENDING THE CITY OF GOD. Who should have intervened when is irrelevant now because a new group has, as one rebel said, “high jacked our revolution.” First they were named ISIS, then ISIL, now IS. Eventually they may just settle for I, which would suit their megalomania. They want to set up a new caliphate but I’m not sure they know what one is. In many ways they are a better-armed and more tech-savvy version of medieval warriors. They consider women and property to be spoils of war. They behead people and save the heads as trophies. They say they will set up a state governed by Shari’a law. There are four schools of Shari’a law, but I don’t think they know that, either. Like other groups, they play on a sense of alienation in their followers. They burn, murder, rape, and produce snuff movies.

               Finally, there is the recent resumption of the war between Israel and Palestinian Gaza. In this one, both sides seem incredibly stupid to me. Gaza has been closed off, impoverished, and its citizens humiliated to keep them from getting weapons to destroy Israel. This hasn’t worked; Hamas seems to have lots of rockets and some very good engineers. The Palestinians want the borders opened again and to be treated with respect. But no one will cave into people who are trying to bomb them out of existence. I thought we figured that out in the Blitz.   Netanyahu has played right into the hands of Hamas by responding with “civilized” destruction.   I might remind the reader that this current conflict began with the murder of children in Gaza and Israel.

               And these issues are just the tip of the iceberg (I haven’t started on climate change) What bothers me most is the continual repetition that “women and children are being killed”.   Of course they are. So are good and honest men and probably some nasty people, as well. That’s what war is. There are no noble armies. I wouldn’t feel very kindly toward someone who texted me that my house would be blown up at 3:00pm. War is the final breakdown of civilization. Sometimes one has to fight to avoid destruction. Probably most combatants see it that way. But pretending that one side or the other is more moral or thoughtful is ridiculous. You can go through history with a fine-tooth comb and not find a war in which children weren’t killed.

               Perhaps we should stop dealing with the problems of society only when things start blowing up and children start dying.   Oddly, that’s a solution that the human race has yet to try.