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Is “Humanitarian war” a contradiction in terms”? Essay

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‘Humanitarian war’ is a contradiction in terms. War is an act of force that is used by rival parties for blending the enemies into the favor of their own will. Whenever and wherever any conflicts arise between the two revelries then such predisposition for blending the other party has been being used by the so willing merger party. Another authoritative definition on war can be presented: “War is an act of force which aims at making the enemy comply with our will”, writes Carl von Clausewitz at the beginning of last century. War is one kind of means of” (Ditchev, n.d.) establishing the concerned country’s selfness, recognizance, nationality, and self preservation. Absolute war establishes such a dynamic relationship between one rival party’s own will and the will of the other: one rival party’s will incites the other’s and vice versa. The leading contender parties could compare this to paranoia that is called ‘interpretative mayhem’ as the individual attained by such disarray sees the different elements of realty correctly, but misinterprets the connection between them.

Military Affairs in the Wars

“Most military analysts now agree that advances in military technology require a fundamental reappraisal and revision of operational concepts to ensure that full advantage is taken of them” (Ibrügger, November 1998). Such a revolution in military affairs has happened many times in history for different reasons. The most remarkable cause was technological advancement in war. The invention of gunpowder, the steam engine, the telegraph, railways, the aeroplane, the internal combustion engine, the aircraft carrier and the atomic bomb are some of the most obvious innovations, which has brought radical changes in the conduct of warfare. Many of these technological advances had emerged in the civilian world for creating revolution in military affairs by bringing about social military revolution such as the development of transportation facilities. Merely an agreement on technology is not sufficient to bring about a true insurgency in military affairs, for example almost five centuries have passed on the term of the invention of Gunpowder and its large amount application and exercise on the battlefield. In the early stages of the Second World War, Germany’s innovative operational concept that using communication strategies and technologies to integrate land and air forces became enabled to defeat French and British forces. Military strategy is an act of interpretation of means and goals.

Mechanism in war by tribal group

In war various types of tribal group performed activities for the sake of preserving their identities, self recognizance and self chastity. Sometimes they followed technology baseless mechanism and sometimes they followed their own made technologies for defending themselves. When a war arose the tribes at that time were considered as altogether vicious animal by observing their activities. Tribal distinctiveness expands dominance over that of an individual’s self identity in situations of tribal conflict and competition. Clannish characteristics almost takes over during times of war. Tribe members at such times drive themselves into an extreme an irrational passion. Normal language is replaced by unintelligible animal noises. “Tolaayeey, tolaayeey, Waar Hayaaye”

Tribal war

Basically tribal war is not for political means and a continuation of politics by most effective means. Anthropological researcher has tried to reveal that the most remarkable and notable cause of tribal war is revenge. Tribal groups don’t fight for principles and policies rather they fight for getting revenge. A tribal force is employed to the defence of honour and sanctity of their own lives. Unlike war between states and contrary, it is personal, immediate, emotional and ugly. Revenge is a problematic emotionally charged mode and manner. It has long-term effect on their memory. The tribal groups most often couldn’t forget the miseries which would take place before in consequence of revenge and their demands for taking revenge were above everything. Even their demand of serious revenge got importance more than mere justice, more than mere punishment.

In tribal war dehumanization is a tribal weapon of choice

Tribes in war affairs mostly refer to their enemies as “cockroaches”, “our game”, “mad dogs”, “rats”, “savages”, “slaves” “traitors” etc. The dehumanization refers the tribal killers to get out of the built-in human repugnance to killing members of its own species. Though this is contradictory with humanity and humanitarian war, thereafter dehumanization is the part of all tribal war. In dehumanisation process, the warriors avoid guilt because the enemies were considered by them as parasites, dogs, traitors but not human. At that time “non Isaaq Somalis have exceedingly limited information of the massive destruction of Hargaysa and its population by the fascist regime of Siyaad Barre in the late eighties. Non Majeerteen Somalis know very little about the genocide in Mudug and Majeertenia in the early eighties. Those who do not belong to the Digil/Mirifle tribe remained predominantly unaware about the humanitarian disaster and torment in the “City of Death”. And today Non Hawiye Somalis remain woefully ignorant of the massive human cost of Warlordism. Somalis see only tribes; they see not suffering human individuals of men, women and children with names and families and the capacity to feel pain.”

Iraq war and just war theory

In the finishing time of 2002 and in the springing time of 2003, the just war theory was implemented on Iraq by the Bush administration for the first time. Just war theory indicates that war will be only war for incarcerating and materialising the political policies and means to take reception of rival parties by applying political mechanism and forces only. IN this regard, the invasion of Iraq by U.S and their allies violated the humanitarian war theory on the other hand supported the just war theory. The primary acknowledged justification for anticipatory invasion of Iraq was based upon what the U.S. Senate has since discovered were “overstated”, “unsupported” and “mischaracterized” intelligence reports about Iraq’s Weapons of Mass destruction programs. The role of media at the time of invasion of Iraq played by them was mostly misrepresenting the scope and propinquity of the threat.

Saddam Hussein’s regime presented to the U.S defending mechanism and materialization. In this regard, Susan D. Moeller provides comment over the question of media coverage during Iraq war. He is the researcher of “media coverage of weapons of mass destruction for” (Naval Postgraduate School, n.d.) the University of Maryland’s centre for international and strategic studies. Physical environment, political climate and nuclear attraction provoked U.S and their allies to create invasion on Iraq. In “Humanitarian Action Under Attack: Reactions on the Iraq War,” Harvard Human Rights Journal, Volume 17, Spring 2004, Nicholas de Torrente of Doctors Without Borders presents a revealing study of how the political climate in “Iraq has added to the usual difficulties of humanitarian action. He argues that non-governmental humanitarian organizations need to maintain principled neutrality in order to fulfill their missions. In “Politicized Humanitarianism,” Paul O’Brien offer a critical response to de Torrente’s article” (Rigstad, 2008).

Dan Fahey’s June 2004 article, “The Emergence and Decline of the Debate over Depleted Uranium Munitions,” is the most meticulous and even-handed assessment of the facts, fictions and reservations that I have found. It’s available for downloading from the Review of International Social observations. In a similar case the Bush administration blamed Chalabi and other ex-leaders and led incursion over Iraqi nation and sponsored regime change in their country. However better information was available at the time of war through internet and other system for making change of Islamic politics in Iraq. A study of Johns Hopkins University indicates that the civilian toll in Iraq nearly 100,000 and hiking. This can be considered as a significant outline given that supporters for the war, such as Gerard Alexander, have disputed erroneously that the invasion and occupation has probably saved civilian lives. Civilians were killed at an average rate of nearly 16,000 by Saddam Hussein when he was ruling his regime between 1979 and March 2003. Cost of the War in Iraq: $-, 234,111,177,347.

This thing also goes to the contradiction with the concept of humanitarian war. In Iraq war the weapons which were employed by the Bush administration were mass destructive. The present concept of humanitarian war does not support the inhumane activities during Iraq war which is continuing till today and conclusively present war affairs like Iraq invasion is fully contradictory term with humanitarian war though it connects just war theory.

Afghanistan War

After 911 of 2001 U.S led a mass destructive operation in Afghanistan in 2001. At the first look they run that operation in the name of searching for Osama Bin Laden but at the eleventh hour they became able to remove Taliban ruler from ruling Afghanistan and set up a new government with the help of American allied forces and NATO forces. The weapons which they employed for the operation were totally inhuman and destructive. Many Taliban forces as well as Afghan civilian were killed in a disparaging manner. Still today military forces and civilians are also being killed as a consequence of this operation. Though the American allied and NATO forces are working there, they don’t serve the Afghans rather they serve to preserve their interest for the sake of Bush administration. This is not supportable under humanity and real warfare theory; it is the result of contradiction with humanitarian war.

Disintegrating of war

John Lennon prospected as war is over but still it is continuing with inhumanity and brutality. This is far away from true humanitarianism. A new period of degenerate war has developed across the world in stead of brutal stage putting of the victimization of civilian populations in war. As for example some previous events of war can be presented here as such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic as well as for the warlords and schoolboy killers of Africa followed Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. It has become a hypothesis for rulers today. Gassing Kurds and wiping out Marsh Arabs, burning out, raping and killing populations across Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo have ensured the ugliest situation remaining a central reality of our late modern world. The gist of historical pacifism about the idea of war that is tending to historical redundancy said by Shaw in 1988. As regards old war, the tendency was to demolish the national solidarity and progressive goals by slaughtering the civilians. But in new war, the tendency of the rival groups should be to bulldoze the national solidarity and progressive goals by taking strategy and policy not to kill or slaughter the civilian population. The reproduced combination of racism, authoritarianism, arms markets and brigands. Such said tendencies above apparently shows that disintegration of war is going on the increase but it practically doesn’t go to this view rather it contravenes the concept of the term of humanitarian war.

Changing trend on present war

The present war situation does not support the changing trend on war but in this period the examination of debates about war politics and political theory implicates political economy of civil wars state collapse and new spate of military interventions. This trend includes a number of case studies including Africa conflict civil war and state collapse in Yugoslavia military belligerence in the U.S.A and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism on terror and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The western inclination about humanitarian war has become anticipated and re enforced by coverage and commentary in the passionate of employing new phenomenon for preserving their exact recognizance. From the early twenty first century the return of good war very closed with the term of humanitarian war has been being hampered by some western country’s activities in present wars. Struggling out of the closet and into the limelight of progressive in war is approved. The passionate of Tony Blair’s defence of the air war over Kosovo, which drew Ken Livingstone in its support, how political circles have moved has been showed by it. “Michael Ignatieff’s call (1998), in his eponymous recent book, for restoration of ‘the warrior’s honour’ is an intellectual straw in the wind” (Shaw, 2001).

Societies struggling with their leadership roles have redefined war. Sun Tzu counselled in “ The Art of War” more than 2,400 years ago, that armed force was to be applied so that “victory would be gained in the shortest possible time and possible cost in lives and effort, and with the infliction on the enemy of the fewest possible casualties” (Morris, Janet., and Baines, 1995). He also reported that “to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”. and that “the skill full leader subdues the enemy’s “troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdoms without lengthy operations in the field” (Sun Tzu, n.d.). Clausewitz said on the trend of war that “it is nothing but continuation of policy by other means” (Clausewitz, n.d.) on July 10, 1827.

He also marked that maturation of modern war by conquest has become an instrument of state craft among that very nation whose destination may be regarded as imperialistic, nationalistic, economic, ideological, or some combination of all four. The goals of war are not determined by self-evidence but are determined by the goals of the state. Consequently the benefit of war depends on the wisely employment of the policy. This tendency also supports that the nature of war should be changed from the ancient times and insurgencies. Present complex irregular threats which can not be resolved by military force only. A trinity of war should be consisted of the military, the state and the population said by the 19th century military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. The trinity said by Clausewitz should remain relevant rebalanced to win the fight by the people including military affairs and policies. Savage wars of peace and modern technology have greatly enhanced the insurgent’s speed, reach, and power. Here the main focus on this topic is to realize and take a lesson when they will fight with weapons and when with information, humanitarian aid, economic solution and an advance towards better governance for the concerned people.

Form of Aggression in a new manner

In a new form of aggression, the thing which is considered as an important source of discussion of humanitarian war concept is that aggression was made in previous for retribution of their recognizance but at the present aggression is made for employing the political means and other policies. Sometimes it is considered that employing of political means and other policies by today’s belligerents is to blend the other rival parties into the will of the conquering belligerent. Another vital point of discussion for humanitarian was concept, is aggression for matured diplomatic recognition. As for example, Yugoslavia precipitated at that time for civil war but now it is for blending for the other party. Another aspect in this regard, Germany initially dominated the crisis that the US resolved. They dominated another aspect that is diplomatic recognition for creating military aggression against the Balkans, particularly Serbia Belgrade had been invaded and “occupied in 1915 and again in 1941 after a massive bombardment that killed tens of thousands of Serbian civilians by German troops. Austria-Hungary had annexed” (Carl, 2002).

Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908 in violation of the 1878 Treaty of Berlin violating international law by taking the advantage of German diplomatic support. As practical show it can be presented that in 1941 in Yugoslavia, Adolf Hitler invaded and dominated and dismembered the country at the last created newly independent states, The Independent State of Croatia, and the then Orthodox Serbs Bosnia-Herzegovina. Two eras of a war can be presented such as; Defensive and aggressive war, in this regard the following quotation can be presented as:

“When and where has there been a war since so-called public opinion has played a role in governmental calculations, in which each and every belligerent party did not with a heavy heart, draw the sword from its sheath for the single and sole purpose of defending its Fatherland and its own righteous cause from the shameful attacks of the This legend is as inextricably a part of the game of war as powder and lead.” (Luxemburg, Rosa, 1915).

Present war is considered as politics by forcible means

The present war situation apparently shows that war is for upholding natural justice but practically it is found that it is for capturing the employment of the defeated belligerent. However, the mystification that surrounds war, considering just progressive and worthy of support, and reactionary, on the other hand some times unjust and not worthy of support. In this regard, Carl von Clausewitz proposed that “war is politics continued by other, violent means” (Geier, Summer 1999). The most remarkable fact in this context is that previous war was made for the purpose of protecting themselves and their recognizance but at this time we see that war is employed to capture other’s recognizance and over all to grasp their nationalities for making defeated blend into winning belligerent. At the eleventh hour, it seems to us that the employment of forces, policies, technologies, and weapons by the present war belligerents do not cope with the term of the concept of “Humanitarian war”. The above mentioned fact and article strongly suggests that today’s war is held only for capturing and sometimes preserving self interest and recognizance. So the term of humanitarian war is not taken as the main focus of present war. As referred by various writers and out look from the above discussion it is extracted that ‘Humanitarian war’ is a contradiction in terms with present war thesis.


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"Is “Humanitarian war” a contradiction in terms”?" IvyPanda, 20 Sept. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/is-humanitarian-war-a-contradiction-in-terms/.

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