Democracies at War against Terrorism: A Comparative by S. Cohen

By S. Cohen

This publication bargains with the trouble democracies face in engaging in uneven struggle in hugely populated components with no violating overseas humanitarian legislation. On a number of events, democratic international locations were singled out by way of human rights NGOs for the brutality in their modus operandi, for his or her insufficient realization to the safety of civilian populations, or for acts of abuse or torture on prisoners. Why do they perpetrate those violations? Do they achieve this deliberately or accidentally? Can democracies strive against abnormal armed teams with no violating international law? whilst their inhabitants is below threat, do they behave as non-democracies might? Does this kind of conflict necessarily produce battle crimes on a kind of tremendous scale?

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See Maurice Vaïsse. “Hiroshima,” in Les villes symboles. Centre Mondial de la Paix, Les cahiers de la paix N° 9, Verdun, 2003. 165–179. 41. Cited by André Kaspi. “Ah, si la guerre était morale,” L’Histoire 131 (March 1990): 71. 42. Vaïsse, Les villes symboles, 172. 43. See Thomas Allen and Norman Polmar. Codename Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. 44. Published in French as Morts pour diverses raisons. Paris: Sand, 1990. 45. Centre des Archives Contemporaines de Fontainebleau, series 940 604 (new series numbering) and CARAN, series 8 306 368 (list of deaths).

1. “Geneva rights” sought to protect noncombatants. The first multilateral text intended to protect noncombatants was, of course, the Geneva Convention of August 22, 1864 on the “the amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field” intended to protect the wounded from further combat injuries. Without doubt it came as a direct result of observing how war was being waged in the second half of the nineteenth century. During the Italian campaign, and during the American Civil War, armies in the field had hardly any medical corps to speak of.

Dresden is the symbolic victim of this political and strategic choice. But in bringing up the issue of Anglo-American strategic bombing of German cities we are by the same token raising a subject that has been manipulated in the memorializing of the past. Exploited by the Soviets during the Cold War, the bombing of Dresden is today a key argument in the portrayal of German civilians as war victims, a theme that certain revisionist historians have made much of. In their treatment of the civilian population of the Nazi Reich, the western allies did not practice systematic vengeance to the extent that the Soviets did in the East, in particular by widespread raping, but some of the statements issued by democratic leaders can give an idea of the discrepancies between the theories proclaimed in the texts and wartime practice.

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