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12 February 2015


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Babak Makkinejad


This is fine except that everywhere "US" is mentioned, ought to be replaced by NATO.

In Europe, half the people think that they are morally superior to the rest of the world; thus any war will have a moral character of beating benighted fools who do not have nuclear weapons in Iran and elsewhere into line.


Excellent post, CP.


The Minsk-2 agreement:


CP wrote: "Amusingly, the only thing you didn't find in that museum - dedicated to Austro-Hungarian military history and placed in an old barracks complex that can be described as a cathedral to militarism - was the words 'defeat' and 'Ultimatum to Serbia'."

But one has to admit that in the WWI section -a little bit hidden- there are some critical remarks on Austrian pre WWI politics. :-)

In 2011, I visited the Zeughaus in Berlin and a few days later the Austrian Military Museum, for me the most surprising aspect was how the SYW was handled in both instititions.


In Vienna they had the rudder of a Bf 109 on display. The inscription read: "Rudder of a Me 109 (with the kill markings of the Austrian fighter Pilot Gordon Golob who served in the German Luftwaffe)"

Indeed. He just happened to serve there. Probably by accident. It isn't as if he was an ardent Nazi (he was) and was happy to serve on after the Anschluss (he was).


William R. Cumming

CP! Thanks for this excellent post!

Perhaps a footnote on the proposed AUMF. The draft language proposes repeal of the 2002 AUMF involving Iraq. It can be repealed of course because WE "won"! But the proposed language does not discuss the 2001 AUMF that discussed all necessary force against the perps of the attacks on 9/11/01 against the WTC and Pentagon.

The real reason is that of course that WE have failed to eliminate those assisting in the attacks.

What your post informs US by implication is that violence against non-state actors really a huge gap in International Law from Hugo Grotius to the present.

Oddly I find no links to the LAW OF WAR and its coverage/non-coverage of non-state actors.



This is an excellent article.

I would add some points that have also aided the metastasizing of war today. Sovereign states have been mostly superseded by supranational corporations and institutions like the Eurozone. The only real power left to the State is custody of hydrogen bombs. War profits the connected. Standing armies are gone and a healthy population is no longer necessary to provide soldiers. Thus, the imposition of austerity on the periphery of Europe or the crazy risk taking in the Middle East or Ukraine that invites blowback on the homeland.



There is no gap. Non state actors are covered under Geneva III and IV. The two conventions regulate the matter conclusively. To summarise:

A person is either a combatant or a civilian.

When someone takes up arms and fights in uniform or something close enough that identifies him as a fighter, that person is privileged as a combattant (he may fight and kill) and is to be treated as a POW.

When you don't do that you're a civilian.

If a person dresses as civilian and fights cowardly, that person is then has none of the privileges under the law of war that a combattant enjoys and is a simple criminal civilian.

If the combat takes place in occupied country, the law of that country applies, to the extent that the US can in good conscience apply it (occupying powers are to act in a way as stewards). Iraqi or Afghan criminal law ought to be harsh enough to satisfy even refined American tastes.

And that is it.



There certainly is not a mysterious third class like the enemy combattant, which the US pretended into a messy reality. The US has so much trouble with that category because of its fictitious character and because it is thus irreconcilable with international law.

The idea behind the new category was obviously to find an excuse for saying that for these guys Geneva doesn't apply - after all, they don't mention the enemy combattant.

Well, being conclusive, they don't need to. For the same reason they also don't need to mention the category of "people that Dick Cheney really wants to waterboard".

The obvious conclusion is that the US wanted to violate Geneva protections, and inventing that new category gave them, at least domestically, a superficially plausible excuse to do so. American media bought it hook, line and sinker and there you go.

And just for the sake of being heretical on non state actors:

As far as non state actors go, there IMO is ample precedent. How was that again with Pancho Villa? What again is new about a punitive expedition against a non state force that murders civilians and violates and crosses established borders?



Peace is cheaper than war. However, not so recognized. Real world peace requires (1) better accounting, including for blowback; also, (2) a next-generation game theory, not designed for paranoid schizophrenic frat-boys, that sees exponential cooperative creation (construction) as being more profitable than destruction. Grow the pie, exponentially, instead of stealing your neighbor's slice.

Babak Makkinejad

Multinationals do not have their own navies and armies. The few businessmen that I have known are more interested in Peace than in War.

"Eat small, eat steady" is their motto.

Carnegie and Du Pont did not initiate any wars, or the Rothschilds or the "New York Bankers" prior to the US Civil War.

It is like Rhett said: "Men like war..."


Off topic but, would Putin or could Putin consider finalizing and surrounding Kiev to preclude any chance of US trainers and arms arriving, thereby not holding to our time table for escalation while recognizing our ceasefire stalling tactics. If so, what are US options to re-enforce (personal bias alert) the neo-Nazi Kiev government we have installed?


Yes, Lockeed Martin or Chevron would recoil at being called Warmongers. In fact, I am sure that they deny to themselves that the money made from selling weapons to the USA that are shipped off to a civil war or leases to frack Ukraine’s natural gas are in any way tainted by the blood of the dead. But, war always attracts amoral outlaws. More so now, when ethnic and religious fault lines are exploited not ameliorated.


A minor correction. During the so-called "Schiff era," an influential NY banker Jakob Schiff had provided about half of the finds needed for Russo-Japanese War (1904/1905). He also financed Lev Bronshtein (Trotsky) travel from Bronx to Russia and Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) safe passage through Germany to Russia; both men were highly instrumental in destroying the Old Russia. http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p389_John.html


Mahalo, CP, for the excellent post...! David Swanson covers much of the history of Kellogg-Briand and the Peace movement that led up to it in his excellent book: When The World Outlawed War...!


Babak Makkinejad

You are going too far.

Opel cars are very popular in Russia because they are considered relatively straightforward to repair. GM could sell lots of them there, which they cannot now.

US could sell lots of diesel-electric locomotives to Iran, as well as nuclear reactors, Boeing jets, Caterpillar construction equipment as well as turbines.

This is not about hunting.


re: "Geneva doesn't apply - after all, they don't mention the enemy combattant."

Just to meake it somewhat clearer yet - let's assume you have a legal norm that says 'all men are created equal' and then have the Cheney/Bush laywers come along say:

'Yes, ok, so all men are created equal, but what about them Negroes and them Jews or them Islamics? It doesn't mention them. There is a huge gap! The founders never regulated them subhumans!'

We're speaking precisely about that sort of lawyering.


Correction:In 2011, I visited the Zeughaus in Berlin and a few days later the Austrian Military Museum, for me the most surprising aspect was how the TYW (1618-48) was handled in both instititions.


I didn't spend as much time as I wanted to in the Vienna museum, so I don't remember much about their presentation of the thirty year war and I have yet to go to the Zeughaus. When I do I will give the point a closer look.


I edited a part of the post, marked in red, for clarity.

William R. Cumming

Thanks CP!

William R. Cumming

CP! John Yoo in his "unitary" arguments forgot that the President is Commander-In Chief of the Armed Forces lawfully constituted and "Chief Executive" of the Civil Government and people. But largely ignorant Presidents have used the CIA and other federal components to unlawfully avoid the military chain of command [which still has some integrity, morality, and judgment at to the purposes for which it is employed] whereas the CIA
largely exists to lead the DEEP STATE into eternal darkness. IMO of course.

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming

YUP! Someone once stated that "the absence of war is not peace" with which I agree.

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