Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Laws are not Silent in Times of War

CICERO STATED THAT IN WAR there is no law, silent enim legis inter arma, for laws are muted, are silent among arms.*  The force of arms is what happens when the force of law collapses.  But though this is true in one sense, it must not be true in another sense.  There are certain laws which those involved in war must take into account and never transgress.  While war may be morally engaged in if one follows the traditional just war ius in bello principles, these presuppose certain limits.  The Compendium identifies those intrinsically evil acts which are never justified as part of the horrors of war.  They are crimes against God and crimes against humanity.

The first of these areas involves the treatment of the innocent, which is to say the non-combatant.  Those engaged in warfare have a "duty to protect and help innocent victims who are not able to defend themselves from acts of aggression."  This includes those "precepts of international humanitarian law," such as those contained in the Geneva conventions.  (Compendium, No. 504) "The principle of humanity inscribed in the conscience of every person and all peoples includes the obligation to protect civil populations from the effects of war." (Compendium, No. 505)  Wholly excluded from war's destructive force is intentionally targeting innocent civilians. Massacres of innocents, removal of innocent populations from their homes, forced transfers, ethnic cleansings, rape of women as a method of warfare. These are some of the means that are absolutely prohibited.

 "Genocide No. 1" by Daphne Odjig

Genocide is particularly odious:

Attempts to eliminate entire national, ethnic, religious or linguistic groups are crimes against God and humanity itself, and those responsible for such crimes must answer for them before justice. The twentieth century bears the tragic mark of different genocides: from that of the Armenians to that of the Ukrainians, from that of the Cambodians to those perpetrated in Africa and in the Balkans. Among these, the Holocaust of the Jewish people, the Shoah, stands out: "the days of the Shoah marked a true night of history, with unimaginable crimes against God and humanity."

(Compendium, No. 506)

Not only is genocide something absolutely proscribed from a moral standpoint, it is something that imposes upon nations an affirmative obligation to prevent.  Under appropriate circumstances, it justifies the use of force against the wrongdoer.  And those responsible should face justice.
The international community as a whole has the moral obligation to intervene on behalf of those groups whose very survival is threatened or whose basic human rights are seriously violated. As members of an international community, States cannot remain indifferent; on the contrary, if all other available means should prove ineffective, it is "legitimate and even obligatory to take concrete measures to disarm the aggressor." The principle of national sovereignty cannot be claimed as a motive for preventing an intervention in defense of innocent victims. The measures adopted must be carried out in full respect of international law and the fundamental principle of equality among States.
(Compendium, No. 506)

Often forgotten are the means of sanctions and the moral rules that govern their use.  While sanctions are often preferable to war, one must recollect that sanctions ought not to be used as a means to punish innocent populations.  For this reason, economic sanctions--whose effects are indiscriminate and usually fall on innocent populations, especially the weak and vulnerable among them--ought to be used only with great circumspection. 

Sanctions, in the forms prescribed by the contemporary international order, seek to correct the behavior of the government of a country that violates the rules of peaceful and ordered international coexistence or that practices serious forms of oppression with regard to its population. The purpose of these sanctions must be clearly defined and the measures adopted must from time to time be objectively evaluated by the competent bodies of the international community as to their effectiveness and their real impact on the civilian population. The true objective of such measures is open to the way to negotiation and dialogue. Sanctions must never be used as a means for the direct punishment of an entire population: it is not licit that entire populations, and above all their most vulnerable members, be made to suffer because of such sanctions. Economic sanctions in particular are an instrument to be used with great discernment and must be subjected to strict legal and ethical criteria. An economic embargo must be of limited duration and cannot be justified when the resulting effects are indiscriminate.

(Compendium, No. 507)

Cicero, Pro Milone, IV.11


  1. I'm sure glad that the God of the Old Testament, knowing this truth about genocide, did not order the genocide of people in Canaan!

    If this is so bloody true, ask me why God commanded Genocide in the Old Testament!

    Funny, God did NOT read the Compendium of Catholic Social Justice! God is condemned!!!!

    The first point of leadership is "Set the Example". We have some brilliant good examples set by the Hebrews don't we!!!!

  2. So you think the Old Testament justifies genocide?
    Is genocide ever moral?
    When is genocide morally justified?
    If you believe killing peoples for no other reason than they are other people is moral, you are lost, my friend.

  3. Is genocide ever moral? you ask?

    And what is in the Bible?

    Earlier, you accuse me of thinking that God does not operate in history. Now, you are making the case that God does not operate in history.

    Is not God in control? And if God commanded the extermination of a nation, i.e. the Canaanites, is that not His perogative? Who are you to judge? Or is it the opinion, especially among Jews, that the Bible is a book of myths?

    I take seriously every word and action in the Bible. I count at least 9 or more genocides in the Bible. Funny, the Doric Greeks, those people who were the most warlike, never committed genocide.

    Moreover, one of the commandments is that "Not one thing is to be added or taken away from the Bible". Are you not adding to the word of God? Where is Genocide condemned in the Bible? Are you judging God?

    See, I operate on the principle of consistency. Throughout your promotion of the Compendium, you have discrepancies, insconsitencies. And then, how do you answer the inconsistency of the God commanding genocide with the compendium declaring genocide as wrong? Does NOT God operate in the cosmos, constantly directing and punishing in the Temporal Order? I believe. It seems you don't believe a word in the Bible. You don't think God judges Nations in the Temporal Order and within Time? Is it not God's imperative? If He orders the genocide of a people, who am I to stop this?

    How do you answer, God commanded genocide then, but now it is wrong? You're condemning God.

    When Sloban Milosevic was expelling the Kosovar Albanian muslims from Serbian territory, was that wrong? Do you agree with the NATO bombing of Serbia? Do you think Muslims and Christians can live together? For My part I totally agreed with Milosevic's actions for the sake of his people and for the Christian Faith. And then you condemn that in the Compendium? The Albanians were committing acts of terrorism. For that they needed to be expelled. Demographics is a form of invasion. Kosovo was Serbian. Always was Serbian.

    This compendium is nothing but a tract of self-genocide of Europeans.

  4. Is there laws in war? Funny you should ask that.

    The Spartans never ran anybody down. If a man stopped fighting, they stopped. It was beneath them to run unarmed, fleeing men.

    If you read the Bible, the Hebrews spent days running down their enemies. They loved it. They chased them all over the place to chop people up.

    The Spartans were a Warlike people who obeyed the natural law and yet they didn't run people down.

    There is a story of a Roman soldier extending his arm as a sign of mercy to Jews in a cave. They extended a sword in his gut.

    Who is the basis of rules of engagement? A warrior people? Do you need laws? Do you need this compendium?

  5. "Crimes against humanity"

    "Humanity" does NOT exist. Races do!

    This phrase "Crimes against humanity" is Marxist. A world court is Marxist. Marxism is about returning this supposedly "unity of man" and the necessary step is to make this "Crimes against humanity". Funny, I don't see God in the OT obeying this at all! The Hebrews sinned against God and God sent a Persian King to destroy them and move them out. Why? Due to sin.

    God operates and Judges the Nations! God is CONSTANTLY working in History and time. There is NO such thing as "Crimes against humanity" for humanity does NOT exist.

    The Western Way of War is not the Asian/Semitic Way of War! Different peoples do different things. Are you going to enforce the Western Way of War on all peoples everywhere?

    War is a fact of life. Power is a fact of life. "Salus populi, lex suprema" is a fact of life. Funny, how Christian North Africa and the huge populations of monks in the Theban desert were wiped out never to return.

    Nature, by the command of God, punishes fools. You are on a fools trip. I only look at once Christian North Africa and Christian Anatolia and Christian Kosovo to understand that Life is War. I also read One World where this One World is the conception of Karl Marx where Nation is to be put to death! International socialism is about soft genocide. Before my very eyes I am witnessing Genocide and the Roman Catholic church preaches political correctness, which is a form of genocide from the pulpit. But that is alright. The Roman Catholic Church pushes Diversity, which is a form of genocide and nation destroying.

    Genocide is being condoned by that very Compendium from which you quote. Life is War. The Devil has planned the extinction of Europe in order to kill Christianity and that Compendium is nothing but a Marxist Document that promotes subtly the extinction of Europeans and their countries. It is a Judas goat.

  6. To use the term "Crimes against humanity" is the sign of the Marxist error! To use that phrase means one is part of the Marxist mindset.

    No Thankyou!

  7. You have a queer understanding of God, and you've never answered my question. I did not address the issue of God and war in the Old Testament. That's another issue. What may be justified as extraordinary then, does not mean it is justified now. (Another example may be polygamy.) My question was whether the Old Testament incidents of genocide can be used as normative today, so that you take the position that God commands genocide, that genocide is moral as a matter of course today, that genocide can be justified today.

  8. No.

    I'm saying that God moves in mysterious ways. He may move to punish a nation for its iniquities. As a Christian soldier, I would never harm innocents. Nor would I kill a retreating soldier.

    I'm saying that we are intellectuallizing about something we should not be. If it happens it happens, but it is of no concern.

    In an unpublished book of mine, where I am refuting Ben Kernan who wrote on Sparta and Genocide, he goes thru these very steps of genocide. That is NOT our purview. It is outside our human realm. We are given the Ten Commandments. No where in there is any thing about genocide. Clearly, God can not do evil, yet in the Bible, in the OT, it clearly has God commanding the genocide of Canaan. At the End of Time, God will have his Angels, in a sense, commit genocide, when every human will be put to the sword. At the final conflagration, God will annihilate the whole human race for its evil; in a sense committing 187 genocides, or wiping out all 187 nations upon the earth. Genocide.

    I'm a Greek, a Dorian. I am superstitious in that I stay within the boundaries. I don't go afield. I don't trespass where I am not supposed to be. Genocide is not the purview of Morality. Morality is, in the Old and New, between individuals, between the members of the community, amongst kinsmen. That is where morality exists. It is when the stranger lives INSIDE the community that he is treated with justice.

    In my unpublished book, that outside, between nations, is the Law of the Jungle. Between Christian nations there can be laws of war and decent treatment of people. Outside of the community, it is the Law of the Jungle.

    Genocide is not moral. It is just an act. God acts in history and we are not to tie his hands. We are not to condemn him either. I think you and this Compendium are going TO FAR AFIELD into areas where we don't belong. Not given. This genocide bullcrap is from a Jewish Rabbi and is an innovation within Western Culture and Civilization. When the Bible clearly states NOT to ADD to the Bible, this Jewish Rabbi does when he invents this "Genocide is a crime thing". You have Ben Kiernan going back into history and then condemning Sparta which never committed a genocide. When does the Christian Church take up the teachings of infidels?

    This whole thing is an innovation in Western Legal theory. It is Marxist.

    When the Catholics surrounded the Carthusian city, the soldier asked how he was to separate them out. The lord returned the reply, "Kill them all and let God sort them out". These were all Catholics! If genocide is immoral, it is immoral from the beginning! If it was immoral, then these Catholics in history would have recognized it! If genocide is immoral, the Bible would have said something about it!

    In all these cases, there is NO history of it, no teaching! The only ancient people that never committed genocide was because it was beneath them to kill innocents. They practiced the virtue of magnanimity, of being great-souled.

    This is NOT a legal matter. But a matter of spirit. I don't trespass where we are not supposed to go. "The beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord and all who have that shall have great understanding". I render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, I render unto Christ what is Christ's and what is of God's, I leave to God. The Church has the power to remit sins, not rework the Ten Commandments.

    Genocide is an evil thing. It happens. And some things are to happen. There is nothing we can do about it and we shouldn't. We teach our soldiers to be Christian and act Christian but to go above and beyond that, is not our purview.

    The Church needs to stay out of the World Making business. The Law of Nature is Righteousness. All things are constructed to do ONE thing. As Nature is, so shall the Church. The Church is constructed to do ONE thing---Save souls---NOT FIX the World!