Civilians Soldiers and the Rules of War

The “rules of war”, are an oft referred to, but poorly understood thing. Being a veteran, I will lay out a few simple things that were pounded into our soldierly heads during basic and advanced training.This is straight from the horses mouth folks. No whispered rumors, no big-news sound bytes. Just the words of an irrationally angry, and infinitely respectable Marine corps drill instructor. I quote; “Marines do not steal!Marines do not loot!Marines do not fire on unarmed civilians or surrendering combatants!Marines do not fire upon hospitals! Marines treat all wounded, friend or foe!” I hope that is clear enough for all doubters to grasp. If you don’t believe it, go to Paris Island. Or just pick up any military basic skills manual. It’s there in black, bold print.The fact is, most soldiers are not killbots. They are not brainwashed war-machines. They are in truth, bright and courageous young men and women who take these simple words very seriously. The Iraqi battlefield is a weird new thing. Our enemies don’t stand across an open field and slug it out. They hide in cities, even schools and hospitals in attempts to encourage collateral damage and civilian casualties. They do this so the folks back home will think us monsters.Apparently, it works, or threads like this wouldn’t exist. Having fought in the middle-east, I can tell you two things. One: our troops take great pains often jeopardizing mission success and their own lives to avoid civilian casualties.Two:the insurgent practice of “shielding”, that is setting up shop in densly populated areas, or hotspots like schools, is a common and deliberate practice. Mistakes do happen, but the statistics don’t lie. (although they are often hidden or ignored.)This is the “safest” conflict in American history. For American troops, and civilian casualties. If you doubt this, do a little research. The numbers speak for themselves. Having said that, I can also say that a great number of our allies have a similar view on war-law. Israel. for example. They didn’t destroy Lebanon, over two kidnapped troops, as some authors in this thread have professed. Their seemingly heavy-handed response was a reaction to 50 years of suicide bombings, assassinations, rocket attacks, and all out attempts at eradication of the Israeli peoples. Lets not abridge history for the sake of an eloquent statement. The men and women of the Israeli army are soldiers, not murders. The suicide bombers who kill there brothers and sisters at discotheques and shopping malls are murderers. The rockets that fall daily on Israeli neighborhoods are fired by murderers who refuse to obey laws of war and act as soldiers. They instead opt to hide amongst, and endanger, the very people they claim to fight for, hoping civilians will die and the world will say “my god! The horror!” I suppose most of you folks don’t read terrorist manifesto’s very often (at least, I hope not) Click that mouse, google some references. It’s right at your fingertips. You will find these techniques to be a common, preferred tactic, spelled out in undeniable English.(translated from Arabic.) The laws of war are necessary to prevent massacre, but they only work if BOTH SIDES are willing to abide. To fault our troops and our allies for for sometimes falling short, and give our enemies a pass to kill at will is a violation of moral law. Please don’t ignore the real monsters in favor of embracing socio-political trends.