23 thoughts on “Political Geography – Blog Exercise #2

  1. Nowadays, ISIS is getting bigger and bigger and widening its influence. This organization captured portion of Syria and Iraq. It has a very effective system. It recruits their personnel from all parts of the globe by using SNS (Social Network Service) like Facebook or Twitter. It raise fund from all of the world by using effective propaganda. We cannot ignore this existence anymore. It killed reporters of United States and the United Kingdom. It is a substantive threat to the world including United States.
    ISIS has brought a tension in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, the confusion in the Middle East caused the appearance of ISIS. The government of Iraq didn’t control over their territory effectively because the government has been weak since the United States attacked in 2002. Also, Syria has been in the middle of a civil war in 2011 because of Arab Spring. The civil war is still progressing. ISIS could grow in this area due to confusions of these nations. The region where ISIS is taking possession lies from Iraq and Syria. This shows that the appearance of ISIS is related to these nations’ confusion.
    The appearance of ISIS is accelerating a confusion in the Middle East. Obama Administration decided to intervene in the Middle East again as attacking ISIS. This confusion can make possibility of ethnic cleansing. There has been a conflict among Sunnis and Shia and the Kurds for a long time. ISIS is the Sunni Muslims. This conflict can lead to ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory with the intent of making it ethnically or religiously homogeneous. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), as well as mass murder, and intimidation. Ethnic cleansing usually occurs during a war or an economic stress or a political turmoil.
    The present war of the Middle East can make the chronic ethnic conflict lead to ethnic cleansing. Many people is actually worrying about possibility of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East. ISIS is increasing attacks on Kobane in Syria where many Kurd live. Sherkoh Abbas, president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, told FoxNews.com on Monday that if ISIS is successful, the Kurdish population would be nearly wiped out in northern Syria. Christopher Snyder of fox news said that More than 100,000 refugees have so far crossed the border into Turkey in recent days to escape the violence. This indicates that the concerns of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East is not absurd.
    If ethnic cleansing occurs in the Middle East, there will be catastrophe. Thus, the world has to try to stop tragedy. Obama Administration’s decision is a little bit late but right. France also decided to attack ISIS. Above these nations, many nations will help to repulse ISIS. In particularly, role of neighboring states is very important to prevent ethnic cleansing in the Middle East like Turkey. This is because many ethnic cleansing in the past occurred in the indifference of neighboring states. The confusion of the Middle East can be solved if the world concentrates concern.

  2. The Hague Conventions and Declaration of 1899 was an attempt by nations of the world to establish, regulate, and limit the rules of war. The 1899 convention was considered successful in accomplishing its goals while the 1899 declarations were considered unsuccessful because they were all violated with 20 and a half years later by most countries in World War I. At the end of the 20th Century, the leaders of the nations decided to meet together and control the conduct of warfare because advances in technology were creating new types of warfare. On one level this seems ironic that armies could still face each other in battles and war with the purpose to kill the enemy. However, there was concern as there should be. The countries met in the Hague in the Netherlands from May 18th 1899 until July 29th, 1899, at which time the agreement was signed. The agreement went in effect on September 4, 1900.

    There were three major treaties called convention. The first was entitled Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. It established a permanent court of Arbitration. A descendant of that court the International Court of Justice still exists today in the Hague. The purpose of that court was to resolve disputes between nations. This was ratified by all the major powers in the world at that time: United States, Great Britain, Austria-Hungray, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan and China. The second was entitled Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Law. This was the most detailed section. It stated in Article 4, “prisoners must be humanly treated.” Article 9 stated, “every prisoner of war if questioned is bound to declare his name and rank.” Article 30 stated “a spy taken in the act cannot be punished without previous trial.” This was ratified by all the same nations. The third was entitled Convention for the Adaption to Maritime Warfare of the Principles of the Geneva Convention. This one allowed for protection of marked hospital ships and described how wounded sailors should be treated. In general most of these sections continue to be followed starting in World War 1.

    There were three declarations that were designed to limit new types of weapons. The first declaration prohibited the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons or by other new analogue methods. This was foreshadowing of things to come because airplanes had not yet been invented but this declaration prohibited bombs from being dropped from airplanes. This provision was not ratified by the United States or Great Britain but was violated by countries on both sides when they used airplanes to drop bombs in World War I. The second declaration concentrated on the prohibition of the use of projectiles with the sole object to spread Asphyxiation poisonous gases. This provision was not ratified by the United States but instead was ignored by the countries on both sides who used poisonous gas during World War I. The last declaration prohibited the use of bullets that could easily expand inside the human body. This provision was also ignored when most countries used these bullets.

    Therefore, the 1899 Hague Convention was generally successfully in setting forth general policies of the law. However, the 1899 Hague Declaration was simply a failure in its attempt to limit special weapons, poisonous gases, and special bullets.

  3. International treaties that outline appropriate behavior when states engage in warfare are quite an interesting development over the past century. The Hague, for example, specifically deals with the use of new technology and its implementation in war tactics. It seems preposterous that war has any type of rules or regulations, yet that is exactly what the Hague and Geneva conventions are attempting to do: make war tactics illegal. What stands out the most to me in particular is that the first Hague convention was in 1899 years before the First World War and such large-scale conflict.

    Why would a state want to sign a declaration which limits what options it has when confronted with hostility? Is it so important to be polite when your goal is to eliminate the other side? Perhaps states limit their options knowing that every other state to sign on is giving up their right to use particular tactics as well. The declaration is a kind of deterrent which emphasizes negotiations rather than armed conflict. But what happens when a state signs on to an agreement but does not comply with it? In class we talked about the United States using drone attacks in the Middle East and how the UN Security Council cannot vote on the U.S. committing war crimes because the U.S. will veto any attempts to do so. It seems some states are focused on pursuing their own self-interests rather than complying with international agreements.

    That is, of course, the heart of what a realist will believe. If two or more countries sign an agreement to not use gas warfare on each other, the Geneva protocol for example, then there is a clear benefit for every party involved. The problem with these treaties is that everyone needs to sign them for them to be effective. The effectiveness of a treaty greatly increases when more than two states sign onto it because more actors have a vested interest in not having gas warfare used on them and pressuring other states to follow their example of limiting large-scale war tactics. Take the German-Soviet nonaggression pact for example. The Soviet Union and Germany agreed to not fight each other on paper but Germany ended up violating the pact by sending troops into the Soviet Union a mere three years later. Had international institutions like the International Criminal Court existed to handle such blatant treaty violations then perhaps Germany’s decision to violate them would have been different, assuming of course that Germany would have signed the Rome Statute. Not only is pressure from other states a deterrent to treaty violation, but so is fear of prosecution.

    The United States’ use of double tap drone attacks is an obvious violation of the Geneva conventions, yet there is no fear of prosecution because of the U.S.’s status as a permanent member of the Security Council; the fact that it is unsigned from the ICC only cements the idea that the U.S. is, in a sense, above the law. The point at which treaties become ineffective is when a dominant state decides to not obey them and cannot be pressured by other states into compliance.

  4. The visualization of the ‘reported’ deaths resulting from US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 is
    sobering. The categories themselves are telling – children, civilians, high profile targets and “others” – demonstrating a lack of consensus on the actual militant status of the dead. Almost one-fourth of the victims of these drone attacks are “collateral damage” though the US federal government declares the strikes to be not only accurate but ethical and wise. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/world/obamas-counterterrorism-aide-defends-drone-strikes.html?_r=0) These attacks are declared to be acts of self-defense by the US against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. While the visualization does indicate that strikes in 2013 were more accurate than in previous years, there is no reason to celebrate. Reclassification of all men of age
    to serve as combatants (unless sufficient evidence exists to prove their innocence) has undoubtedly
    contributed to this change. Also, the fact that only 1.6% of the dead were even considered “high profile” targets should incite outrage. Running your cursor over the strikes you find the following: October 30, 2006 – 69 children were killed, 12 civilians and one actual “combatant” at a supposed enemy training facility. June 23, 2009 – 10 children, 22 adult civilians, 42 “combatants” and ONE high profile target were killed by five strikes on a FUNERAL. A few days ago retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley reflected on US citizens’ reactions to beheadings and drone attacks. (http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/30/beheadings-v-drone-assassinations/) First and foremost she emphasized group affinity in basic human psychology – “us” vs. “them”. I believe that people who have little, who live in fear, who are powerless to protect themselves and their loved ones, revert to instinctual, animalistic competition and defend themselves however then can against both real and perceived threats. Not surprisingly, Pakistani citizens think very little of the US. (http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/27/pakistani-public-opinion-ever-more-critical-of-u-s/) Numerous reports declare that the US has likely fostered more violence than it has prevented with the strikes. Just as the title of the visualization of drone attacks declares, the average American is unaware of the strikes. The elimination of a draft and the media’s essential blackout of all things the US does militarily have allowed the Military Industrial Complex to function without meaningful consequence at home in recent decades. Unilateral, or nearly unilateral, action is standard operating procedure. Internationally US hegemony has thus far prevented any significant action against us, though the US may yet be held accountable for what are indisputably human rights violations and war crimes according to definitions solidified over the past century. The reference and training chart of Chemical Warfare Agents describes an extensive arsenal of gasses and the Chemical Warfare Service PSA regarding respirator use both indicate preparedness on the part of the US and tell us the extent of US weapons testing/arsenal building. If the intention of the Hague Conventions and Declarations is to humanize war and create international humanitarian law, the images for this demonstrate that not only has the US government repeatedly disregarded the assumption that all lives are equally valuable but also that the US has yet to be held accountable by the international community. (http://www.highbeam.com/topics/hague-conventions-1899-and-1907-t10145)

    As an aside, I hope we can discuss the “American incongruity” to which Rowley referred and in this
    class (or in Geography of the Contemporary South) I hope we can discuss the poverty draft. (https://

  5. The Geneva and Hague conventions occurred in response to a global need to develop international laws to govern war in the 20th century. Such laws are beneficial to all countries involved. They allow a country to know that its citizens at home or citizens of which are prisoners abroad will be treated in some humane manner during the duration of the conduct of a war. The Hague conventions were designed to govern the use of new technology as weapons of war. The first Geneva Convention (1864) set laws for the treatment of the sick and wounded, the 2nd (1906) for the treatment of sailors and the shipwrecked, the 3rd (1929) for the treatment of prisoners of war, the 4th (1949) for the treatment of civilians. Also in 1929, the Geneva Protocol prohibited the use of gas warfare and was amended in 1972 to include biological and chemical weapons.
    A war crime is an action taken by a country while at war that violates such rules as the conventions set out. Some examples of war crimes may include, but are not limited to double tapping, destruction of buildings and cities not out of necessity, or sending another country’s citizens to a concentration camp.
    Drones are a perfect modern example of how technology is developing faster than lawmakers have the ability to draft laws and NGO’s have the ability to come up with treaties for the protection of civilians at home and abroad. The use of drones under such ambiguity as a person over height “X”, over age “X”, and of nationality “X” being considered a “imminent threat” (where the word imminent does not mean anything close the what a dictionary defines it to means) being enough information to order and carry out a kill mission on said person at times by a gamer in Nevada operating a drone in the Middle East with no skin in the game is hardly ethical and is arguably a war crime. It could be considered a war crime in the sense that the person killed is a non – combatant citizen little to no relations to terrorist cells. Said person is not even a soft – target where a soft – target is defined as a person of interest due to association to for example a terrorist cell, criminal weapons dealers, etc.
    International laws and treaties governing the rules of war are beneficial to all involved, but need to keep up with the times. Technology is changing and we can either meet and anticipate this change or allow it to reap destruction. Drones have been used as an example as they have many uses due to their size in espionage, warfare, or even package delivery. Outside of cyber threats, they are probably one of the most ambiguous technologies as to what they can be used for currently. This gives rise to the question: When will our international leaders feel it is time to “take the bull by the horns” and meet many of these threats with preemptive measures to take away the ambiguity for the safety of the masses.

  6. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, counterparts to their commonly known cousins the Geneva Conventions, were designed to limit in many ways in which nations could use technology in the name of waging war. Much as the Hague Conventions of the 1920s, 1970s, and 1990s limited the use of gas, chemical, and biological weaponry, the earlier conventions were a fairly futile attempt to limit what was at the time cutting edge and deadly military technology.

    To understand the attempted effects and eventual failure of the conventions, it is imperative to note the state of technology at the time and the concerns fostered by the rapidly changing nature of warfare at the time. At the time, bullets and gunpowder weaponry in general were not at the level they are today, as the world was just recently transitioning from the Minie ball to the Gatling gun. It was around this time and the predecessors of modern day hollow point bullets began to emerge; these being bullets with the tendency to mushroom out when impacting a person, causing dramatically increased and vastly less treatable damage. Also around this time, modern naval warfare in the vein of submarines, battleships, etc. was beginning to enter the military scene, along with the upcoming advent of the widespread use of the airplane and the balloon/zeppelin. As with gas warfare and nuclear weapons in the future, at the time while these seem rather standard to us, these weapons were the cutting edge of highly worrisome and effective military technology.

    With these issues in mind, the countries participating in the Hague Conventions, which consisted of almost all of the major and mid-sized players on the world stage at this time, moved to limit and dictate how such issues would be handled in potential future combat. Several declarations and conventions were issued after the completion of the Hague Conventions, which addressed these issues in a variety of ways. In regard to naval matters, particular thought was given to the behavior of countries in response to enemy merchant ships in the immediate aftermath of the declaration of war, and to the application of the codes of the Geneva Convention to naval personnel. The matter of flying craft and their applications in warfare was supposedly dramatically limited as well, as many countries ratified the convention prohibiting the use of balloons “or other new methods of a similar nature” to launch projectiles down to the surface. This would obviously cover the airplanes that saw such tremendous use in World War One. Finally, projectiles that dispersed weaponized gases were also prohibited. Some other notable conventions that did not refer in specific to military technology involved the establishment of the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Dispute, which functioned as an international impartial arbitrational body, sort of like a precursor to the modern day International Court of Justice.

    In the end, however, as is the case with many of the agreements like this, countries with the effective sovereignty and the will do to so broke these accords flagrantly and on an epic scale in World War One, with gas warfare and the use of airplanes being two of the most well-known combat methods employed by both sides. These conventions, just as the other conventions like them set down throughout the years, serve little actual purpose, in my opinion, but as sobering reminders of the crimes people commit upon in each other when they have the ability, the technology, and the inclination to do so.

  7. The collage of images above references two phenomena: non-combat warfare since the late 19th century, including chemical warfare (and, as it appears, drone strikes in Pakistan), and the international efforts to curb the use of such means of waging war. The bottom-left photo and those at the right side of the collage are representative of part of the 20th century experience with chemical warfare, but those on the right specifically document training aids prepared for soldiers to protect themselves against noxious or lethal chemical agents. Notably, the top-right guide to chemical agents has a circulation date of 1942, during WWII, decades after The Hague Conventions were put into place (though they were not universally ratified).

    In the context of political geography, the issues raised by the above collage include what weapons, if any, are so abhorrent that their development and use should be prohibited regardless of the capacity of a state to deploy them? Might a state use a weapon or use a weapon in such a way that would devastate the opposing forces in a lopsided manner, using gases or bullets from which they are unlikely to escape or survive? Are there moral limits to the exercise of state sovereignty, even during wartime? And if there is a majority accord that such limits do exist and must be abided by for the sake of maintaining some nominal humanity, how might these then be enforced within the international community?

    The Hague Conventions sought, through the declaratory tradition, to bind states to what might be called humane rules of war—this at least is what these conventions were meant to approximate. Despite their precedence, however, parties to the Hague Conventions violated them in subsequent wars, as mentioned above. But furthermore and perhaps more immediately pertinent given the inclusion of the image showing (what appear to be) the Pakistani casualties of drone warfare, how responsive can the declaratory tradition of setting international accords be to monitoring, understanding, and dictating the appropriate uses of rapidly advancing technologies?

    Corralling states to cooperatively set the rules of war itself is a process unto itself that involves arbitration and ratification by states in order to be legally binding. Beyond this, to enforce these conventions and prosecute breaches of these conventions further requires states to work in concert. Finally, to adapt, update, and include in later conventions the developing and future technologies of warfare not covered by prior conventions suggests that there may never be a final form to outline the rules of war using the declaratory tradition. It would require the sort of interchange and negotiation that states seem to be least likely to engage in—the kind around military intelligence.

    That we have since transitioned to use bodies of governance above the state to arbitrate between and among them is therefore no surprise, but that is not to say that its results have been superior. We have seen and still continue to see instances of chemical agents being deployed against civilian populations, allegations of toxic gases have been made during very recent conflicts, and of course, we are over a decade into using unmanned aerial vehicles as tactical weapons against so-deemed security threats. The question remains, 115 years after the first Hague Conventions, how can we effectively curtail the savage application of high technologies?

  8. International law exists as a means of obligating particular moral behavior with the hopes of maintaing global safety and interactions. Establishing this base is an ongoing process through a continuous collection of treaties between nations. As a result, those involved must give up certain elements of state sovereignty in hopes of reciprocity and a peaceful global society. Beginning with european trade agreements in the fourteenth through seventeenth century, international law as we know it today has seen a long evolution. During the Crimean war which is known as the first modern war, we began to see for the fist time the issues we associate today with modern warfare. With the new ability to shoot artillery beyond the line of sight, problems such as endangering civilians and treatment of the injured began to surface. With the new found presence and influence of the press these issues were exposed to the public inspiring consideration for soldiers and prisoners of war. As a result, the Hague and Geneva conventions were developed as some of the first formal statements involving the laws of war. The Hague convention of 1899 which took place at the Hague in the Netherlands consisted of a series of treaties and declarations in an effort to maintain peace between nations. Both Hague Conventions discussed disarmament as well as regulation of war and war crimes with a push for the development for an international court to address these issues. The first convention established a court of arbitration which still exists today and laid out laws concerning land warfare. Specifically, the treaties aimed to limit the expansion of armed forces and placed limits weaponry and usage while also applying the Geneva convention of 1864 addressing naval warfare. The second Hague convention of 1907 was somewhat unsuccessful yet aimed to expand on the ideas of the first with extra concern for limiting naval warfare. The geneva conventions were established later on and are comprised of a series of treaties and protocols focusing more on people in war. The treaties address the rights of prisoners of war, treatment of the wounded, and protections for civilians. The geneva protocol of 1925 was developed in the aftermath of world war one and prohibits the use of poison or gas warfare. Pictured above is a chart naming and aiding in the identification of chemical warfare agents many of which were commonly used in world I which some refer to today as the “chemists war.” Also pictured is propaganda addressing the repercussions of this type of weapon as well as reminding soldiers that unlike other types of warfare of the time, gas masks and respirators provided a countermeasure diminishing its use and effectiveness over time. Even before the Geneva protocol this type of military action was technically considered a war crime and violation of the Hague conventions. This breach, as well as the picture above of planes flying overhead spraying gas, speaks to the all too common tendency for the worlds major powers to violate the agreements they helped create. These treaties only apply to signatories yet essentially all of them have been broken by one nation or another. In the past trade sanctions were the only real repercussions for violations while today violators can be brought to the UN and for adhering countries the international crime court.The U.S has refused to participate in the ratification of a number of these treaties as well as the international crime court due fear of loss of sovereignty as well as being targeted “unfairly.” Large powerful countries are often able to circumvent the law or violate these agreements with little to no repercussions while smaller ones are punished.

  9. I am trying to understand something that is not trivial today. The Imperial Laundry Co had a sign encouraging black people in Birmingham, Alabama to not use their facilities. Now looking at it with a business perspective. Why would exclude about 40 percent sales from your bottom line? I have never heard of a company in the business of making money leaving 40 cents on the dollar. However, Imperial Laundry Co. thought that it was a great idea. I am bewildered as well to the fact that black people would even work there considering how they treated their respective communities. This blog exercise is different for me, because for some reason I am taking it personal. I appreciate the fact that my professor allows us to express our ideas and suggestions on a weekly basis. Jim Crow laws not only oppressed black people, but all races in the South. The business decision to cut potentially 40 percent of profit from your business is simply mind boggling to me. I have worked in retail sales for over 20 years. We were told to treat every customer with respect and take their money with a smile of course. I know back in Birmingham the poor white people may have felt like their livelihood was threatened. But if a southern town is 40 percent African American and 10 percent Asian and 50 percent White. Your workforce should be as such. Advertising back then in and today is still an effective tool. That billboard in Birmingham really painted the picture of what Jim Crow laws looked like. Now in Leland Mississippi, black people had their own theater. It was called Rex Theater. It was another painted picture of Jim Crow laws. I am sure that there were black people who were satisfied with the fact that no white people came. But a business decision to exclude 50 percent of your profits was prevalent in black communities as well. Maybe white people in Leland, Mississippi felt strongly against mingling with their black neighbors. But Jim Crow laws forced the separation up to some parts of the South until the 1970s. The Rex Theater sign was dated back to 1937. A period enveloped in the Great Migration. I am sure the revenue fell for the theater since their main customers were African Americans who were moving to the North, Northeast, and the West to start new lives. The Jim Crow laws were a force to reckon with during those eras.
    Rex Theater. (2014, September 29). Retrieved from Cinema Treasures: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/14558
    Vachon, J. (2013, August 9). White Wash 1951. Retrieved from Shorpy: http://www.shorpy.com/node/15805

  10. War crimes have plagued the public for many centuries and still to this day happen and have huge impacts across the globe. Many international treaties like the Hague Conventions have provided guidelines on why these types of atrocities occur and how to prosecute them. But obviously, even the United States with the use of chemical weapons during World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These acts are illegal and some sort of accountability should be have come from prosecution in an international court, but since we did become signed members of the ICC the United States cannot be held accountable. This is tragic that the most powerful country in the world will not stand up for what we have done in the past and take the punishment given. But since we still conduct illegal actions like the CIA “Double Tapping” civilian targets we still don’t want anything to do with having to be accountable in any way. Cowardly I think. For the American public, they don’t really care I think because of the war machine that has been created in this country, they just think that whatever has to be done should be in most cases and don’t really care how that end goal is accomplished.
    Not to say that the United States is the only country that commits or has committed war crimes but in order to have the be better thought of around the world we need to commit to standing up and not committing these senseless crimes then do something to help it come to a stop around the world. In terms of other countries committing war crimes and violating international treaties, it really only done by those in time of war or those poorer countries with a lot of civil unrest in it like some countries in Africa in particular. That civil unrest has come about because of lack of law and ones to enforce those laws. In Africa’s case there are many instances of there being an international presence whether it be from the UN or other international armies to help people in those countries who are in need.
    In conclusion, these war crimes still happen to this day and the only thing we can really do about it is create these international treaties with other nations and organizations like the UN and hope that those governing bodies can deter and protect countries in danger of war crimes happening with in them. For sure the United States can change a lot of its war time policies to help further promote the idea that these things should not be happening in a modern or modernish societies like is trying to be created all around the world at this point in time.

  11. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 were a way for the international community to come together and agree to certain “fair” forms of warfare. Acceptable forms of warfare to save lives while under the auspice of war almost seems redundant. War is war and even at its best, it is horrific to see the casualties that come out of it. At the core of any war is mankind’s attempt to rule, govern, control, or enslave a fellow human being, while taking their land and resources away from them. The acquisition of resources for a country’s survival is understandable but doing so at the expense of other human beings viewed as lesser than oneself is wrong. Forcing ones religious viewpoints on others, especially where freedom and human rights are restricted or taken away completely is also wrong. Unfortunately, these things happen regularly though and the world needed a set of international rules to instruct us humans on how to conduct ourselves in times of war and limit the modes of evil we could inflict on fellow human beings.
    I am amazed that we, as humans, can be so callous and view life, all life, with little or no regard. The use of chemical weapons, as in World War I, is unfathomable to me. The image of a plane looking much like a crop-duster flying over our homes loaded with chemicals intended to kill any human being the chemicals came in contact with is terrifying. Trying to imagine our children needing to be well versed and practiced in putting on a gas mask properly and at a moment’s notice is horrifying, at best. That is the intent. To frighten the public into cooperation and submission by terrorizing them with the threat of chemical warfare or with propaganda. Either way, the thought of one human using chemical warfare on another human became reality during World War I. Chemical Warfare Agents’ Reference and Training charts, complete with nicknames for the gases or chemicals, were created to teach those with evil intent which chemicals to use to obtain the desired results. Such a shame that men didn’t consider this in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.
    While many of the rules of the Hague Conventions were broken during World War I, mankind has continued to work together to limit the atrocities of war and disputes between states by ratifying and/or making additions to the international laws governing war. The Geneva Protocol in 1925 banned the use of gas warfare. In 1972, the Biological Weapons Convention, and in 1993, the Chemical Weapons Convention were added to ensure that future generations were not eradicated by these silent killers. Progress will never be made if we do not learn from our past mistakes. Breaking the rules and laws of international warfare by using illegal weapons against mankind must have immediate consequences and heavy penalties for the offenders. Political differences or political advantages must be set aside for humanity’s sake. The international governing bodies must not allow evil to prevail in our world.
    The U.N. has confirmed the use of chemical weapons in the recent conflict in Syria. Many of those killed were women and children. Swift action should have been taken by the U.N. to punish Syria for violating the Chemical Weapons Convention and those responsible should be brought to justice in the International Criminal Court, just as the Nazi war criminals were brought to justice in the Nuremburg Trials, so must the international community send a clear message that these crimes against humanity using chemical weapons, will not be tolerated.

    • Good réponse about dealing with war crimes, of course the UN can’t act without the Security Council and since countries on the Security Council commit war crimes too, it’s hard to get them to take the issue seriously.

  12. More like an afterthought than a planned occurrence—-that’s how I would describe some of the segregated services (such as the white vs. colored water fountain), but then…. they were an afterthought. For a long time in the south, things were the way things were, and as the nation attempted to repair one of its biggest differences, people were NOT treated equal—-because no one likes being told to do, and like any petulant, resisting child, it’s done in the most ‘minimal effort’-way as possible.

    The rhetoric development was quite interesting through this time period though, and in a way provides a template for how to keep a population divided and empowered over a segment of itself if only for a brief time (though as with any infection, it still resides in the body). In the bottom left, the two lynched men seem to have had rather nice clothing before being lynched, not unlike the white people who are enjoying the spectacle. Treated unequally and certainly irregardless of humanity and the ‘Christian’ way of living, men and women in their Sunday best have turned out for an important event in ‘their’ history and the worst kind of racism (though can you really have a spectrum of racism and rank things by ‘best’ to ‘worst’?): killing because of the hate.

    How does rhetoric get out of control like this? I suppose one answer is that this kind of rhetoric has no one really in ‘control’. I mean, once you label yourself one way and convince other people to be the same, is there really any way of turning back? Not easily, if at all, and certainly not without making enemies of the people who supported and believed your racist spouting. What would happen in the current leaders of the Westboro church flipped sides and admitted they were wrong on gay issues and that homosexuality was an American right that everyone should fight to protect? Would their supporters flip sides too? As my great-grandmother might say, ‘Once you season the pot, you’ve got to eat it.’

    This template of bias exists in many places we wouldn’t think of though. In the game EVE Online, players align themselves to one of two factions—-both of which hate each other on the ‘grunt’ level, and those same players ignore or disregard news items that report on the familiarity and camaraderie that goes on between the management levels of both sides. In fact, a second war has started because of this extreme, rhetoric-emplaced enmity. The sides hate each other enough that we form sides and separate groups at player-events!

    Is rhetoric good for anything? Fox news might say ‘ratings’, but I suppose from an objective standpoint (i.e. biased towards arguing two major sides and not having time to write the hundreds of other minority views that don’t quite lump into each other) rhetoric serves to at least temporarily manage a population and keep yourself in power until you die or lose interest in having that power (or are removed from that power by someone else). The problem is, that once a preacher stops speaking about how blacks and gays and all the other bad people are going to hell, the people who came to listen don’t go home and watch Glee, they go home and look for a new place to go listen on Sunday.

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