War is brutal. However, no matter how furious the war, it is unacceptable to kill the innocent, and this has generally been considered one of the unwritten basic principles of conflict.
However, this principle is gradually being lost with the development of bigger and more effective weapons. Some experts believe that 5 percent of the war dead in World War I were innocent civilians; that proportion increased to 50 percent in World War II and in the Vietnam War, 95 percent of those that died were innocent victims! In the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict, many civilians were also killed. The trend is scary and relates to the development of society.
Increasingly, wars do not have a front. Armies take a more tactical approach that is less likely to endanger the lives of servicemen. Attacks are launched in the form of air and missile strikes. They try to destroy infrastructure such as roads and bridges as well as disrupt important public services like energy, communication, hospitals and schools. Some military theorists believe this is a more successful way to cripple a country than directly attacking military targets. However, this tactic is not always successful. The Israel- Lebanon conflict is an example. Israel's air raids were ineffectual in destroying Hezbollah. These attacks spared the lives of many soldiers but killed many innocent people instead.
An international agreement forbids the use of chemical weapons like toxic gas, but there are no restrictions on any other kind military tactics. This more detached, strategic approach to war is just as dangerous as chemical weapons. It should be prohibited. The instigators of the war who are indirectly responsible for the deaths of these innocents should be punished for crimes against humanity.
It is difficult to determine whether the changes in the mode of war makes people more civilized or more brutal.
By People's Daily Online