Soldiers, lawyers, and soldier-lawyers

Bad law is making a Just War so much harder to fight

John Keegan, who if I recall correctly, didn’t think Iraq should have been invaded:

A lot of the shooting is done, if not by trouble-makers, then by frightened heads of families seeking to defend their hearths. The peace-keepers have little ability to distinguish one sort of shooting from the other, easily mistake the two and, in self-defence, vent their own fears on those a court of law, were it to review the evidence, which is practically impossible, would regard as acting in justifiable self-defence. The circumstances create an impossible situation even for the most law-abiding army.

And he closes with

Good civil law is likely to make for bad military law. Only a lawyer would argue otherwise.

Via Donald Sensing, who adds

Pity John doesn’t seem to get the point of the bad law – to make the use of military force by England and America all the more difficult. John thinks that tying the hands of the two greatest democratic powers is a bug of international law, but it proponents would reply it’s not a bug, but a feature.


  1. Actually, I’d check Keegan a bit more. I seem to recall him being for the invasion of Iraq.