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Codes of War

With Rejali’s interview you should also read David Bosco’s essay in The American Scholar about how modern codes of war (including the Geneva conventions) were developed during the American Civil War. Lincoln issued Lieber’s code as a General Order in 1863, but Bosco notes that even then there was real ambiguity between principle and necessity. The same president who issued General Order 100 also sanctioned the sacking of Atlanta; similarly, the same president whose second inaugural address was a paean to freedom sanctions torture, an affront to basic human dignity and individual liberty.



BTW: Something tells me this comparison to Lincoln (Lincoln:Atlanta::Bush:Torture) is not the comparison Alberto Gonzales is making.

That execrable comparison has been made over and over again for various reasons. It’s baffling. Characterologically the men could not be more different.

Oh, it’s easy to see why they do it. They really only care about propaganda, not history, and nominally speaking, Lincoln is the first Republican president. That is as much fact as they need to write sloppy comparison upon sloppy comparison until their dying days.

Yeah, they’re shameless to be sure, but I thought they could at least choose Teddy Roosevelt or something. There are at least some similarities there, and he’s a little closer to us in time.

True, although Roosevelt was more socially problematic a trustbuster to boot. This crowd coddles wealth like it was helpless. Ignoring Roosevelt could be an effort to keep the rich from becoming nervous.