Should War Have Rules?


Some things are so immoral that they cannot be done even in times of war.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation unless you would consider doing one of these things to prevent a war from being lost.

Q2 Analysis

This may be a Q2 violation if you disagree with an enemy over what is allowable in combat.


It seems that, if war is allowed at all, rules of behavior would be different in a time of war than they would be in peacetime. For example, the government can’t bomb a factory in another country during peacetime without there being significant consequences, but such a bombing would be accepted in wartime.

Before you decide what things should be considered immoral in war you have to decide whether anything should be considered immoral in war. Should a country attempt to win a war all costs? Does having rules for war make war seem more acceptable and therefore make it more likely? Is "wartime morality" an oxymoron?

If there are wartime rules, they are likely rooted in Q2 — things which are so horrible that you would rather lose or prolong a war than have them done to you, so you cannot do them to your enemy. Which (if any) of the following would you consider to be against the rules of war?

Once you have settled on the rules, you still have a few questions to answer:

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on October 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

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