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Thread: Command Responsibility and War Crimes: general discussion

  1. #101
    Council Member
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    May 2008

    Default wm: good comments (each worth a post),

    but I'll try to answer the questions:

    Is the listing of your legal domains ordered in any way?
    1. No; not in any deeply thought out scheme as to the four major sets (Domestic, Regional, International, Religious). As to them, I did notice in making the chart that the order grows outward from the viewlens of the primitive "ME" - probably an influence of Churchland, Haidt et al. on my current mindset. To my mind, the sets grow less and less tangible as one moves from Domestic, through Regional & International, to Religious.

    2. I "ordered" subsets of only two main sets (Domestic & International). As to Domestic, I used the US, where the Supremacy Clause gives precedence to Federal Law. However, the US of the Articles of Confederation would give a different answer; and the US of the Declaration of Independence another. Some countries have "Federal-State" divisions; others do not.

    3. As to International, I used the very classical Oppenheim division into Laws of Peace and Laws of War & Neutrality, occupying separate spheres and neither being over or under the other. I didn't explicitly confront the "issue" of how that classic division can be handled in the context of "War in Peacetime" (per our J. Lawton Collins and France's Andre Beaufre), or in the "Three Block War". My mind says that can be handled.


    That is, is it, perhaps, hierarchical in a set theoretical way? For example, is Domestic Law a subset of Regional Law, etc?
    1. No. Definitely not in a formal set theoretical way; although (like Cantor) my mind accepts physical infinity, mathematical infinity and the Absolute Infinite, though it differs with Cantor on infinitesimals. The Absolute Infinite occupies a separate compartment in my mind, divorced from my mindsets directed to science, law and war (where "Gott mit uns" is, in my mindview, a blasphemy).

    2. This needs work, but consider the development of a coalition, into and through a confederation, into a nation-state - e.g., the US over 1775-1865. Couldn't we see in that progression a shift from Regional Law as a "subset" of Domestic Law, to Domestic Law being a "subset" of Regional Law, to Regional Law becoming the new Domestic Law for the nation-state. Perhaps, the development of the EU could be similarly analyzed - any EU legal philosophers ?


    Or perhaps the listing represents a rank ordering for applicability/precedence? E.g., is Domestic more important/more fundamental than Regional, etc?
    1. No, as to the four main sets for either applicability or precedence - unless one is made so over another. For example, a country's Domestic Law (usually in its Constitution or Basic Law) could specify that Regional and / or International Law have precedence over Domestic Law - and a number of states have done just that.

    2. No, as to the four main sets for either more important or more fundamental. There could be a temporal primacy - e.g., my mind says that Domestic Law should be in place before Regional Law is formed. But, mankind has certainly created any number of regional and international organizations without having appropriate foundation blocks in place.

    3. My Legal Domains, as charted, are "fuzzy"; going from the general to the specific is where the work comes in; and might not be worth the effort in a particular case. We see that in science where the generalized wave equation is simple:

    but applying wave equations to, say, the kinetics of a very simple chemical reaction (hydrogen + oxygen > water) is very complex. There are simpler, but somewhat less accurate, ways of getting across the concept.


    A area that needs a bit more explanation is Religious Law. In a culture that is very secular (but still has religious groups), Religious Law applies to the internal workings of the religious groups - each group creating its own law - positing separation of church and state. Of course, the culture (even if very atheistic) may become quasi-religious by finding the source of its laws in some form of "Gott mit uns" - e.g., Nature-Reason as in the French Revolution, or its Political Dogmas (as in the Communist states). Whether religious or quasi-religious, the "Brooding Omnipresence in the Sky" looms large in those cultures' laws.

    In any event, the "Brooding Omnipresence" will become very dominant in a theonomy (e.g., Western Europe of the Middle Ages according to Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought; pp.322-323, sums it up in his words). In my words, almost everyone in the community buys into the same meme - God's Law. Hence it's not imposed on those believers; but springs from their beliefs. Mao's "from the people, back to people" had similar theoretical underpinnings (I'm not arguing that the ChiComs did that in practice). The modern US version of theonomy (e.g., Gary North) has nothing to do with the concept of theonomy used by Tillich and me.

    Today, we are more likely to see theocracies or ecclesiocracies (Wiki), where Religious Law supplants all or part of Domestic Law; and, perhaps, Regional Law. The obvious examples are the Muslim countries, where both Islamic culture and Islamist fervor come into play. Our Islamic scholars here at SWC can better run with that topic than I. We all can conclude that Religious Law has played a material role in our Small Wars of the last 25 years.


    Last edited by jmm99; 08-15-2013 at 08:17 PM.

  2. #102
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Woodbridge, VA


    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Recognition of someone as a fellow Prussian engenders trust. How? Is it merely artifactual or is it necessary? If it is necessary, what is the causal nexus?
    I would say it is largely artefactual, a remnant of of a brain that was only designed to be a member of a small group (less than 100 members). In modern society where there are thousands of people you can interact with you need a shorthand to know who to trust.

    Check out "less than human: Why we Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others".

    Also, along the same lines: "Extreme mass Homicide: From military massacre to genocide." A good read along the us-versus-them line of thought.

  3. #103
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Berkshire County, Mass.


    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Transformational-generative grammar is far from parsimonious. In fact it seems to create more "band-aid" rules every time a grammatical exception pops up. Each of its rules has an extremely expansive ceteris paribus clause. As a result the rules can become rather hard to apply.
    It might amount to a linguist’s aside not very germane to the discussion at hand, nevertheless…

    If I understand correctly, and I might not as I have admittedly never taken a course in syntax (which is the bailiwick of the Chomskyan tradition), TGG takes for granted the existence of certain linguistic capabilities. It’s useful to consider how Chomskyans make use of the term ‘learning.’ They say that ceteris paribus, a child no more learns to speak than to walk. Rather, speech and walking manifest themselves. Grammatical and lexical exceptions are the elements of language that are learned.

    There is some decent evidence for this perspective. The two best are probably the fact that children seem to invariably regularize and have to be taught not to in certain instances (like grammatical gender in Romance languages or umlaut plurals in English—“It’s ‘geese,’ not ‘gooses,’ Matthew.”) and creoles (which are by definition young languages and have very few irregularities). That evidence holds water to a certain extent, but there is counterevidence, too. When you have some knowledge of certain American Indian languages as I do and 1) see a lot more exceptions to rules than you typically do in Indo-European languages and 2) see pride of place in morphology rather than syntax, the foundations of the program appear a bit less stable.

    There are a stock set of responses Chomskyans will make to objections. One is, “It is axiomatic that…”
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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