Scotty claims that I am outdated in my opinions on the so-called “rules” of warfare. This is what he claims are the “rules” of war. Let’s take a look at what they really are.

  • The Hague Convention(s). There were two- held in 1899 and 1907. The one in 1899 concentrated on the outlawing of poisons in warfare, the killing of enemy combatants who have surrendered, looting of a town or place, and the attack or bombardment of undefended towns or habitations. Inhabitants of occupied territories may not be forced into military service against their own country and collective punishment is forbidden. I would point out that every signatory of the treaties arising out of this convention has violated them whenever it suited them.
  • The second Hague convention in 1907 was a set of rules for naval warfare and was passed to help Britain (then the largest and most powerful Navy) to retain its supremacy at sea. It didn’t work.
  • The Geneva Convention(s). The Geneva Conventions concern only protected non-combatants in war and how they can’t be imprisoned. I will let the prisoners in Gitmo explain that one to you.
  • The 1925 Geneva Protocol. It bans the use of chemical and biological weapons in war. That one has been violated numerous times, and the US had a sizeable poison gas stockpile until July of this year, with plans of using them against the Soviets in a European land war. The only reason they weren’t used is that the anticipated war never happened.
  • United Nations Charter. This is an international debating society that is largely funded by the US. It spends most of its time slamming the US, while it’s ‘peacekeepers’ spend their time raping the civilian populations in the areas they are nominally observing.
  • Nuremberg Trials and Nuremberg Principles. This was nothing more than an ex post facto declaration that permitted the winners of WW2 to punish the losers. This has been done after every war, ever. (See the southern ‘reconstruction’ after the Civil war, the salting of the farmland of Carthage by Rome, etc.)
  • 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. More ex post facto punishment of the losers of WW2 by the winners.
  • 1974 United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict. Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict. The UN themselves violates this on a regular basis.
  • 1977 United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. This one bans the use of weather modification during wartime to protect the environment. This treaty is followed simply because the technology doesn’t exist to break it.
  • 1977 Geneva Protocols. This one is there to protect the wounded, the sick, the shipwrecked, prisoners of war and civilians who find themselves in enemy hands. One of the things it does is ban the arming of medical personnel marked with either the Red Cross or the Red Crescent.
  • 1980 United Nations Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW). This one bans the use of land mines, booby traps, incendiary devices, blinding laser weapons and demands the clearance of explosive remnants of war. Many countries, the US included, has used each and every one of these in conflicts around the globe. The US is currently suppling many of these weapons to Ukraine for use against Russia. The US didn’t clean up shit in Afghanistan. I would also point out that the US has always used what they euphemistically call the “mechanical ambush”- for example a tripwire set to detonate a claymore mine that is aimed down a trail. Just read many of the field manuals published by the US Army as an example.
  • 1997 Ottawa Treaty. This one prohibits the use of landmines. Need I point out how many nations and conflicts are still using them today?

The simple fact is this: Countries set these rules to attempt to prevent their enemies from using effective weapons, but continue to violate these “laws” whenever it suits them. Don’t begin to tell me that the US cares one whit about civilian casualties. Just ask the residents of Dresden, Nagasaki, or Hiroshima about that. Even the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts saw more than half a million civilian deaths, and the US has never held anyone accountable for that.

But post Nuremberg, post Yugoslavian civil wars, post Serbo-Coatian Civil war, and Kosovo war the international community has laid teeth to the idea that if you violate the rules of war, the laws of war, you will not get away with it. We are still having discussions about 90-100 year old men maybe having been concentration camp guards or complicit actors to genocide.

That’s complete bullshit. By “international community” you mean that the US and their allies are using those deaths as an excuse to push their agenda on the rest of the world, while turning a blind eye to its own and China’s abuses. (See the Uyghur massacre)

Are there rules of war? I dunno ask those Abu-Ghraib guards who went to prison

Those guys went to prison while even worse abuses were happening in US “extraordinary rendition” policies around the world. Those guys went to jail for embarrassing their chain of command more than for what they actually did.

I would take on the rest of his comment, but it wandered off topic into the reasons why we need to support the Ukraine conflict, nuke Russia, and other neocon warhawk talking points before supporting the Israelis wiping out the residents of Gaza, which of course violates most of the “laws” he pointed out in the beginning, which supports my point-

The point to me saying that there are no laws of warfare other than to win is this- the only people who have ever been punished for violating “the rules of war” are the people who lose the war, because winning the war is the ONLY thing that matters. To the winners go the spoils, might makes right, etc. After the war is over, the winners get to punish the losers by using the “international laws” as a pretext for show trials that are designed to humiliate the losers of the conflict.

Categories: CrimeGovernment


Toastrider · November 8, 2023 at 8:14 am

I would add that if we were to strictly adhere to Scotty’s rules of war (especially the Geneva Conventions), nonuniformed combatants are typically treated as spies and saboteurs, not soldiers.

In other words, we’d have been justified in capping every haji with an AK who shot at our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

GuardDuck · November 8, 2023 at 9:29 am


Can get confusing to people though, when a smaller country is involved. The “winner” may still end up losing via the rules imposed by the “referees”.

Dirty Dingus McGee · November 8, 2023 at 9:30 am

If you’re not in it to win it, you’re just posturing. Since WWII that’s all the US has done; Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, pick any of them.All were a “police action” more than a war. If you’re not willing to stomp a mudhole in their ass then walk it dry, then you’re not serious about it.

Jonathan · November 8, 2023 at 9:40 am

I laugh when people talk about “international law”. There may be agreements, but as you mention they can only be enforced with force – it is one of many ways that Might still Makes Right.

Gerry · November 8, 2023 at 9:44 am

Remember you only are legally bound by a treaty if your country signed on and ratified it as valid. The US never signed on the band of landmines or the use of cluster bombs. During WWII the Japanese never signed on anything about the treatment of POWs. The whole Crimes Against Humanity rational was a new concept to punish the Axis leaders by the Allies.

The soldiers at Abu Ghraib were punished under US Code of Military Justice, not international law. I know of no case were a US serviceman or woman was dragged to The Hague to stand trial.

Winners may not make all the rules but they do decide what gets enforced.

    Divemedic · November 8, 2023 at 10:02 am

    Ah, but that again makes my point. A law is something that you are bound to abide by or will face the punishment, whether you agree to it or not. An agreement that you can choose whether or not to obey is not a law.

      Gerry · November 11, 2023 at 11:48 am


McChuck · November 8, 2023 at 9:51 am

Even the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts saw more than half a million civilian deaths.

90% of which were caused by the Afghans and Iraqis themselves.

    Divemedic · November 8, 2023 at 10:03 am

    According to whom? Are you suggesting that the US military would voluntarily admit to slaughtering innocents? Isn’t that kind of like to police investigating themselves and finding that no policies were violated?

      MCChuck · November 9, 2023 at 6:58 am

      According to me and every other veteran who served there. Also according to every news broadcast over the course of 20 years.

      Do you have any idea what the rules of engagement for US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan were? They were insanely biased against US forces, in favor of the locals. You could not engage terrorists planting bombs if they weren’t actively shooting at you. You could not engage terrorists firing mortars at your base without permission, and not at all after they ran out of ammunition.

Big Ruckus D · November 8, 2023 at 10:26 am

Absolutely. The US has failed to do anything but posture since Korea, and couldn’t even get serious about fighting via a proxy, as it has led Ukraine into a ruinous shitshow (depopulation of both scores of young men killed, and others who have fled, probably permanently) from which it can never recover, with it’s entirely tenuous and unserious “support”, and lack of strategy. Not that I’m suggesting the US should have been fully committed, nor even involved to begin with.

The US has also repeatedly failed to even meet the requirement to properly declare war, always relying on executive and budgetary measures to enable their war making, rather than carrying out the proper, constitutionally mandated congressional declaration of war. This is just another example of how laws – mere words on a page – mean sweet fuckall, and will be dispensed with as soon as they become inconvenient, or just no longer politically expedient. It is chicken shit political maneuvering, and as always, there is no accountability for it, or at least there hasn’t been so far.

Bottom line is that in matters of war, and in the purported treaties and conventions governing what is “disallowed”, every country is a two-faced hypocrite. Which is also why the US is now in big trouble, because we have been weakened to a point where being the winner is not assured, and thus accountability will be imposed via these same rules that used to be blithely disregarded when we were a strong enough country to effectively escape having violations of these so called rules prosecuted. In other words, we are close to facing the reality of being a losing party to a war, and the humiliation ritual that comes with that. Which makes the cockiness on display over US involvement in Ukraine – and even more so in Israel, so ill advised.

The obvious failure of “the international rules based order” to impose anything other than some inconvenience on Russia is a preview of what is to come. The US via it’s neocon shitbum contingent is picking fights that cannot end well for us, the actual citizens of the country, whose interests are clearly not being represented. When the consequences are eventually served, we will be the ones taking the collective punishment, not the slimy bastards who instigated it all.

Dan D. · November 8, 2023 at 10:32 am

This is a great post. I used to believe as this Scotty did then I paid attention. But it did take years. Now the common mockery is to reply “But but but… muh Constitution!” when people discover that civil asset forfeiture is quite real. I try not to view negatively the guys at the men’s breakfast regaled in their “The 2nd protects the 1st” and “We the People… are pissed!” T-shirts from Nine Line or GS.

Keep farming the hopium, guys!

Greg · November 8, 2023 at 11:57 am

Like most of the lefty libtards, “law” is only a useful cudgel to wield over one’s enemies. They have no other use for “law”. Which brings to mind Conan’s answer to “What is best in life?”
I am also becoming more skeptical every day of what purports to be “History”. Along the lines of Churchill’s famous quip: “History will look upon me favorably, for I intend to write it!”

Beans · November 8, 2023 at 12:36 pm

International treaties before WWI also restricted explosive rounds to 37mm or larger, basically because the technology to build effective smaller explosive rounds didn’t exist. And which was violated as soon as tech improved.

Then there’s the whole ‘Soldiers must wear uniforms to distinguish themselves against the general population’ thingy, which insurgencies, civil wars, and other conflicts have seen non-uniformed combatants spring up everywhere. (And we, the US, have been very nice towards all the conflicts we have fought in after signing said treaty in not hanging everyone who fights against us who doesn’t wear an actual uniform, like the VC, the Taliban, the Moro tribesmen, Somalians, etc, etc, etc…)

Rules? Like the naval treaties that we followed but had a list of things to refit on our ships as soon as the rules were violated?

Ha! Rules, yeah, right.

If we were following rules, Guantanamo would be empty, because we, following the rules of war, could have had field courtmartials and hung or executed in other ways everyone we captured who wasn’t wearing a uniform or who’s ‘government’ wasn’t a signatory of any of the above rules.

We, the US, didn’t sign on the Ottowa treaty. And it’s also why the various insurgencies say it’s legal for them to mine, set traps, lay IEDs everywhere.


If we followed the treaties correctly, and not turned war into law enforcement, we would have scared the ever-living daylights out of the ancestors of so many people. Seriously.

Skyler112 the Weird · November 8, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Lt. Calley was court martial for War Crimes in Vietnam. I guess you could argue we were the losers but in 1970 we hadn’t lost yet. He got thirty years but served three under house arrest. He was indicted like the Abu Ghraib guards for embarrassing his superiors and the Administration.

    Divemedic · November 8, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    That’s true, but he wasn’t tried for a war crime. Under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention, civilians of allied nations are not considered to be protected persons. Instead, Calley was tried for murder under the UCMJ. The odd part here is that I don’t think Calley was the only guilty one. Calley pled guilty, but also implicated his company commander giving the orders. You will note that the Capt who gave the order was never charged, nor were the enlisted men who followed the Lt’s orders.
    Calley was the lowest ranking officer that the Army could hang My Lai on, but was obviously not the only guilty party. However, not legally a war crime. Killing your own allies isn’t legally a war crime.

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