There has been a lot of talk lately about war crimes. The definition of war crimes is very broad, so there are many injustices that fall under the category of war crimes. What used to be customary for past conquerors is now often considered a war crime. To eradicate war crimes, we must abolish war. Since this is currently unrealistic, we should at least spare those who are truly uninvolved, namely children, women, and elderly men. That would be a first step in the right direction.
In ancient times, a victorious king would plunder and take for himself everything his rival king had. It was considered an inalienable right of the triumphant king, and a reward taken for granted.
As humanity’s morals evolved, it determined that such behavior was unacceptable. Since a large part of the population does not make any decisions or take part in the fighting, that part should be excluded from punishment. Particularly, this referred to children, who do not even understand what the war is about, women, who do not participate in the war, and elderly men, who cannot participate in the fighting. All in all, some 70-80 percent of the population should be exempt from punishment or retaliatory actions. This population is also the main focus of the rules that define war crimes, in order to protect those vulnerable and uninvolved populations.
In previous times, wars were largely over territory, since land meant crops, and crops meant provision and wealth. Today, however, territory does not have any role in determining a country’s wealth, so the only incentives left for war are prestige and self-glorification.
While it is understandable that someone would win renown for being a great commander on the battlefield, today’s wars are often fought in cities, in civilian areas, and the majority of casualties are precisely the populations that have nothing to do with the war: children, women, and elderly men. How will a rocket that demolishes an apartment building help the one who fired it win the war?
The self-centered mindset that paying soldiers to fight my wars and blowing my budget on high-tech weapons proves that my ideology is completely irrational. What connection is there between my ideology and killing other people, who may believe something else or believe in nothing at all and want only to live, have children, and lead their lives in peace?
If anything, such a mindset makes my ideology fundamentally flawed. After all, if the result of my ideology is the aspiration to annihilate all other schools of thought and wipe out the people who believe in them, then my ideology is inherently unjust.
The solution to the folly of war will come only when we overthrow our king: our own egoism. We are gradually approaching the realization that egoism is leading humanity to the edge of a cliff. The question is whether we will realize in time that if we let it keep ruling, it will destroy all of us, or wait until we see with our own eyes that there is no limit to what the ego can do. If we wait, the atrocities we have seen so far will be heaven compared to the hell that the ego will bring upon us.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stand next to a mass grave as they visit the town of Bucha, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, outside of Kyiv, Ukraine April 8, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko