Essorant wrote:I was thinking about this earlier but didn't have time to add it to my comment: You could approach law/justice in a similar way as you are approaching war in the poem, referring mostly only to physical aspects and abuses etc: "eye for an eye", prisons, chains, stoning, guillotines, electric chairs, ropes, guns, batons, police brutality, solitary confinement etc. I'm just mentioning things off the top of my head. An expert could fill many books outlining the impliments and horrors that have been involved in applying the law and punishment for breaking it. Is law therefore a crime because of its horrors? No, nor is war. War, just like law, is a way of seeking justice, but the extreme - the last resort when all other things fail or are inadequate. People didn't/don't use the impliments of enforcing laws and the horrors that come long with them for "fun", nor do they engage in war for fun. Law and war at their root are about justice. When people corrupt them with other things, that is their injustice to the pursuit of justice itself; it doesn't make law and war themselves "crimes"...
Thank you again Essorant!
Yes the physical abuses of 'law enforcement' could also be approached in a similar way. And maybe I'll think about that too... and maybe produce a clichéd rhyme or two!
But I still think you have missed the point: war and war crimes are inextricably combined. There has been no war that I know of where wanton war crimes have not been committed by both sides, and on a wide scale.
There are some civilised democratic countries where law enforcement is generally NOT as you have depicted it; of course the US is a horrifying example of where it does happen as you've depicted in part, and there are many other (non-civilized) countries that have an even worse record.
I think I've seen statistics indicating as many as 1000 or more killings per year (2016) by police in the US (I've seen various numbers in various sources). I've seen in internet videos of the way the US police all too often have shot down unarmed men and women, handicapped, etc. I have seen videos of police savagely beating already-subdued persons. (In some states now, I understand it has been made illegal to video the proceedings of a police action/arrest; so much for the liberties we have won through the bloodshed of war.) These crimes should be punished but usually are not.
In the same time period (2016) there were about 4 or 5 persons killed by police in the UK. Good, the UK has a smaller population (about ~64 million compared to US's ~320 million, i.e. ~1/5 = 20% of the number of people, but about 0.5% of the police killings ) and in Germany (population 80 million) there were 2 police killings in 2015, and so on. I haven't seen any videos of European police shooting down unarmed people, or shooting a person 10 or 20 or more times although s/he was already downed and bleeding, and probably already dead.
I could go on, but you probably get the point.
But, in case you haven't: the point here is that some countries have managed to have law enforcement with almost no instances of the brutality, injustices, etc that you have described. In other words, that type of 'law crime' you describe has by and large been eliminated in really civilized countries (US excepted). It is possible!
But apparently the elimination of wide spread war crimes is not possible with war.