Jus In Bello: Directly Correlated To Societal Advancements?

2761 words - 12 pages

War is an essential part of the human condition, and with it come positives and negatives. On one hand, you have the barbaric side of war, brute force and slaughter, while on the other hand, you have the just side, which controls war in order to maintain peace and morality. Both are essential, but the latter,aside from giving modern society a base for its morality, is known for creating some of the most well written pieces of law, literature, and narratives. Essentially, what some might call gruesome and “no longer necessary” has brought about a significant amount of societal advancement at the cost of billions of lives and across thousands of years. Therefor, the documentation of war ...view middle of the document...

Yet throughout all the advancement, 4th Generation Warfare seems to back step with the new use of Guerilla Warfare, attacks on non-physical entities (e.g. media, politics, physiological war, etc.), and low intensity “cold” conflicts. All of which are brought about by the advancement of war laws, which in turn limit the physical damage a military force can inflict. Throughout history, the advancements made in morality via Jus in Bello are quite notable. These advancements are so great, that there's almost an “anti-war” viel that haunts the rules of engagement of todays day in age. Regardless, written war reglaments give a great academic view into societal advancement via warfare and the lack thereof.
Most of the advancements in war laws have been made in todays modern society, but that is not to say that B.C.E. advancements were not prevalent. Before taking a look at the way in which today's society views war, one must take note of the point of view from which it has stemmed. The earliest noting of war laws to have ever been are in the Hebrew Scriptures (e.g. Tanakh) in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. This book has been dated back to the 7th Century B.C.E., written well before any other form of war law. In which it states the steps its nation shall take in the brink of war or in the cornering of another nation:
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
More times than not the amount of focus placed on the territory is prevalent in the early writings that influenced BCE war. Here the writings of religious leader Moses pointing at the fact that any city may be taken, but there shall be a certain level of respect towards women and children. This religious influence may be part of the reason why in todays modern war, heavily influenced by religion, there are documents like the Geneva Convention Treaties and The Women and Children Protection Declaration by the UN. Both of these focus their attention on protecting those that can be taken advantage of; Making it so the men in war didn’t hurt those who couldn’t fight back. If looked at from today’s perspective, the notion that women and children are not part of combat seem ordinary. But there were no such rules before these in 7th Century BCE. The moral advancements made by the Hebrew people were so great that they influence even todays society.
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