My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

The rules of war

For the past week we've been watching The Patriot in history class. The movie is moving in some parts. There are incredibly tender moments, like when Susan finally speaks to her father and breaks down just as he's leaving again. That part almost made me cry. Unfortunately, the latter part of the movie lacked that same emotional fervour, simply because I was too busy laughing.

And this is through no fault of the director. The movie was very accurate. I just can't get over how silly warfare was back in that time.

Everyone arranges his- or herself in nice, neat lines. Then the two sides march forward. One side fires, reloads, while the other side fires. If you get shot, you get shot. It is, as Mr. Nowak puts it, "gentlemanly warfare". And watching it on a television makes it look so absurd! The melée part with bayonets and swords isn't so bad. But just the initial firing of musket volleys looks so ridiculously polite that I completely understand why guerrilla warfare surged in popularity afterward. Sure, you had to clean your uniform more often--but at least you were alive.

So that got me thinking. Some current rules of war make sense, like treating members of the Red Cross, Sweden, and American Idol with neutrality, etc. Others are just weird. Like one (well, it's not really a rule so much as a "strategy") is the idea of "mutually assured destruction" as a deterrent to nuclear war. :ermm:

What are some current rules of war or military strategies/policies that you think are absurd?