Annual Fundraising Appeal
 Here’s an important message from John Pilger on why the Left needs CounterPunch:
Pilger
John Pilger is one of the world’s most courageous journalists. He’s been contributing to CounterPunch for years. But as he notes, the old media establishment is crumbling around us, leaving precious few venues for authentic voices from the Left. This collapse makes CounterPunch’s survival an imperative. We’re not tied to any political party or sect. Our writers are free to speak their minds. Let’s keep it that way.  Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Bush is No Sun Tzu War Rules

War Rules

by DIANE CHRISTIAN

"All’s fair in love and war."
-popular saying

"All’s fair in love and war" is usually taken to mean that nothing’s fair in love or war, that anything goes, and regular rules don’t apply. Concepts like ‘crime of passion’ and ‘fog of war’ indicate reduced responsibility. You may do things in the extreme states-like have and revenge sex, and kill-which you cannot do otherwise. Honor killing to avenge sexual misconduct or shame is sanctioned in some societies and war is sanctioned in most.

What are the rules of war? For us, the Geneva Conventions-distinguish combatants and civilians, and care for the wounded, prisoners of war, victims of armed conflicts. Also don’t use asphyxiating or poison gases, expanding bullets, or bacteriological weapons. (Forbidding land mines continues to be debated in international forums.) The great Chinese warrior Sun Tzu suggested in the sixth century BCE that there should be some limit to the waging of war. The idea of ‘rules’ suggests limit and control and reason. In practice the rules are often ignored or waived as stopping war is more difficult than starting it. The Marine appetite to ‘get some’ is not easily converted to ‘humane care.’ The soldier you shoot who dies is enemy dead; the sniper you wound who languishes is your humane responsibility. In the US Civil War, Confederate Officer Henry Wirz was executed for murdering Federal prisoners of war. Robert MacNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, mused in the film "The Fog of War" that the civilian bombing of Tokyo he planned in World War II, would have been a war crime if we had lost the war.

In pursuing the invasion of Iraq, the US administration flouted the UN international forum, contemned and then announced compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and sought legal opinions arguing that when in a state of war the President has absolute and overriding powers-specifically with regard to torture and detention. The Executive Director of Human Rights Watch said "the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not simply the acts of individual soldiers. Abu Ghraib resulted from decisions made by the Bush administration to cast the rules aside."

War rules for Caesar were absolute and overriding-he razed, decimated, destroyed every resisting inhabitant, sowed salt in the earth. He led his legions personally, as did Napoleon and Sun Tzu. Our war president has not. Like his major war counselors, he pursues war from a safe distance, as do proponents of torture like Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, whose legal reasoning is basically that all’s fair in war.

Whereas nothing’s fair in war.

DIANE CHRISTIAN is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at University at Buffalo and author of the new book Blood Sacrifice. She can be reached at: engdc@acsu.buffalo.edu