Talk:War of aggression

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This is the discussion/talk page for: War of aggression.

Topics from 2005[edit]

Definition of aggression[edit]

These needs to be fleshed out. The definition of "aggression" used here seems designed to apply the stigmatizing label of aggressor (i.e., evil) on countries which start a conflict (aside from the two exceptions).

So, Iraq was the aggressor when they invaded Kuwait - unless Kuwait was a "province" of Iraq, in which case the US was the aggressor for trying to remove Iraq's forces from their "own" sovereign Kuwaiti territory.

In the second Iraq War, it would then not matter at all how miserably exploited the Iraqi people were, under Saddam's dictatorship (how many Kurds were gassed, how many women Saddam's son raped, how many political opponents were tortured to death, etc.) - the US would be the "aggressor" because they were not responding to an invasion.

Also, the contrast between "war of aggression" and "pre-emptive war" should be fleshed out.

Oh, and what about the Vietnam War? Was the north's invasion of the south a war of aggression, or was the American military campaign against NVA and Viet Cong a war of aggression? The North's term Resistance War Against the Americans to Save the Nation makes it sound like they considered America the aggressors.

Has the United Nations or any group of treaty signatories come up with a definition of "aggression" in this context? Something the International Criminal Court could prosecute, for example? Er, no, I just checked and:

Many states wanted to add "aggression," "terrorism" and drug trafficking to the list of crimes covered by the Rome Statute; however other states opposed this...
isn't "aggression" really just used as an opinion/POV now?
imo, any country that invade without being attack first should be considered the aggressor; unless it is a war of succession or civil war, which they must have no treaties/recognisation/peace to begin with; in which case, i would think the state in civil war must ask for help before you can intefere, but you still cannot occupy the country (as with 1st gulf war). US case against iraq, that they help terrorist attack USA was false (iraq fear extremist as much as USA), as for WMD, it is kind of flaw reasoning since many countries that are more well-known for WMD (eg. north korea) and were not attacked. the UN also did not give it's support for the attack, and now it is jokingly refered to as a "coalition of the unwilling"...
in reply to:"The North's term Resistance War Against the Americans to Save the Nation" to them it is their country, the south is part of their land, they have the RIGHT to fight over it. it would be like saying the union are fighting the confederation during the civil war and another nation is helping the confed, would it not be seen as an aggressors to the union? it is a POV.Akinkhoo 22:35, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Expand the Article[edit]

Would someone please expand the article? Uncle Ed 22:01, August 26, 2005 (UTC)

IMHO, in general, the basic difference between 'aggression' and 'defense' is that 'aggression' disturbs the status quo, while 'defense' seeks to maintain it. However, it's difficult to apply that definition when the status quo is in flux. Mirror Vax 22:29, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
Of course the US and its allies were aggressors in the Invasion of Iraq, they broke the UN Charter, which defines aggression. There is more or less consensus about that question among legal experts. Pre-emptive wars have no legal basis, they are just crimes. 84.59.118.109 21:05, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
While I am glad you have found your voice in the world, please remember to keep the articles nuetral and non-POV based. --DjSamwise 17:22, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Hello. I'd just like to add that your opinions and mine in this matter are pointless POV. What needs to be in this article is the legal definition (concencus on which laws?) of the crime. That's the only way to remove personal POV... maybe. :) The article is a good start but right now it's just a tool of POV spammers in other threads to proove wheatever thier opinion is. --DjSamwise 17:20, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Topics from 2006[edit]

Citations needed[edit]

OK I edited a crapload of material to ask for citations and to demonstrate the UN's willingness to allow force in various situations. Someone please help me edit this and maintain nPOV. --DjSamwise 07:44, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I have re-written the page do you think it better now? --Philip Baird Shearer 15:56, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Wow.. well done and thanks. It looks great. I may do some checking later on to help out but from first (and second) glance, I think you've done a great job at keeping the article very neutral and verifiable. --DjSamwise 13:52, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Removed command responsibillity.. it doesn't really fit here unless you['re trying to make a point out of context.. that current command should be held responsible for something. But in the proper context it doesn't relate. IE. War of agression is a series of commands given from the highest source allready so the topic of who should be held responsible is not an issue here.. it's a crime only perpetuatable by command. --DjSamwise 02:37, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
War of aggression is a war crime. The command responsibility stands for the letgal rules regarding culpability for such crimes. How that is not relevant escapes me. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 08:49, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with DjSamwise. I could be wrong, but I've never heard of command responsibility being applied to the crime of aggression. If you want to make this link, please cite a reliable source. Sideshow Bob Roberts 17:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Topics from 2007[edit]

See also[edit]

I notice some of the links I removed from the "See also" section have been restored. I don't really care about this but I'll point out that the Wikipedia:Guide to layout suggests that this section "should ideally not repeat links already present in the article". I see no reason to link to the UN Charter or Nuremberg Principles when they're already discussed at length in the main body of the article.

Also, it's not clear to me why we should be linking to command responsibility, which is not, as far as I'm aware, a doctrine that applies to the crime of aggression. Sideshow Bob Roberts 17:34, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Command responsibility is applicable since a war of aggression is a war crime, and anybody involved in the chain of command is liable for prosecution under this doctrine. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 00:06, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Although it's often loosely referred to as a "war crime", the crime of aggression is not, strictly, a war crime. It's excluded from every legal definition of war crime that I'm aware of (such as the London Charter and the Rome Statute). In short, aggression is a violation of jus ad bellum, whereas war crimes violate jus in bello.
I'm not saying command responsibility doesn't apply to aggression, just that I've never heard anyone explicitly say that it does so I don't like making the link unless you can cite a reliable source.
But given the terrible state of the whole war of aggression / crime against peace / jus ad bellum area of Wikipedia, I guess this was a fairly petty issue for me to raise. I was probably just annoyed at being reverted. Sideshow Bob Roberts 03:25, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
War of aggression is not equal to the crime of aggression, and is determined to be the ultimate war crime, as this article itself states. Also, it predates the current definitions adopted by the ICC. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 13:35, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Aggression simply is not a war crime. The term "war crime" has a specific legal meaning. It's been defined dozens of times — in treaties, in domestic law, and by international organisations like the ICRC — and none of these definitions (as far as I'm aware) has ever included aggression. If you want to argue otherwise, just quote a legal definition of "war crime" that includes aggression.
And if you want to claim that command responsibility applies to aggression (which I'm not denying) just cite a reliable, published source that explicitly states this. Sideshow Bob Roberts 12:49, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Hi there Bob, no need to split hairs; the judges in the Nuremberg Trials (who are we to dispute their findings?) said that aggressive, unprovoked invasion/war (also called war of aggression, as Germany's invasion of Poland, not just "aggression" as you put it) is the "supreme crime." It's the supreme crime, and it's a war, thus "War crime" is closely related enough to warrant a "See also." No worries mate. Badagnani 16:17, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem including "war crime" in the "See also" section, that's not what we're talking about here. I don't think it's "splitting hairs" to point out that aggression is not a war crime. They're two entirely different concepts, and you will not find a single person who understands international criminal law who explicitly states that aggression is a war crime. It's a common mistake, but a very basic one.
And, incidentally, you won't find a reliable source that distinguishes between "aggression", the "crime of aggression", and waging a "war of aggression". The terms are used interchangeably in the literature. Sideshow Bob Roberts 17:01, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Do we really need three separate articles?[edit]

I've eliminated the article formerly known as Aggression (war crime) but there's still an awful lot of overlap between the war of aggression, crime against peace and jus ad bellum articles. This whole area's a mess and could do with a complete rewrite. I don't think it's clear to the reader how these terms fit together.

Can I suggest we merge Crime against peace and war of aggression? Jus ad bellum probably deserves its own stub, explaining what the term means and directing readers to the main war of aggression article.

What think ye? Sideshow Bob Roberts 03:34, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

They're different. Badagnani 06:09, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, that's very helpful. Are you saying you think the articles are fine just the way they are?
Incidentally, I've just noticed another article called Use of force by states, which covers almost exactly the same material as the other three articles. And there are probably a few other articles I haven't seen yet... Sideshow Bob Roberts 18:59, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

What about the Pact of Paris[edit]

This whole topic depends on the 1928 Pact of Paris that first outlawed agressive war and the 1933 convention on the definition of agression. Shouldn't we discuss them here?70.150.94.194 23:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

If it's relevant, and you know about it and have sources you can draw on, you should add info about this. Badagnani 23:02, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Topics since 2008[edit]

Assessed as Class B[edit]

16-Jan-2008: I have revised the article, checking sources, and judging verifiability. It now meets the Class-B criteria, which I have added (into the top templates "{{WPMILHIST|class=B|...}}"). Concerns above requested formal definitions, which now appear in the article. Verifiability is obvious, because it quotes United Nations and other widely public sources which can be compared to verify. Inline citations are not a major issue, here, because sources can be found anywhere, without having to hunt for rare documents: ergo, not every phrase needs to be footnoted as if people can't find a copy of the UN Charter. However, more inline-citation footnotes could be added, but don't expect people not to constantly argue about an article such as this, regardless of all the footnotes. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:04, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Expect vandalism[edit]

16-Jan-2008: This article is an obvious target for vandalism. Many thousands of articles on Wikipedia never get vandalized, whereas many controversial subjects get hacked every week. If you are interested, please periodically review the past several revisions (by using the History-tab diff comparisons) to look for hacking, which might not be intended as "vandalism" (but of course seems just like it). Yesterday, someone changed Principle 6 to 7 ("VI.a" to "VII.a"), so now I have inserted both numeric forms as "Principle 6, specifically Principle VI(a)" to help spot future tampering. Be on guard. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:04, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Replacement beyond vandalism[edit]

16-Jan-2008: Wikipedia is still struggling with anti-vandalism, which has been a major issue, and policies have focused on "edit wars" for reverting changes. Meanwhile, the world has moved on to major re-writes of history, in the form of replacing whole articles with an alternate POV or, perhaps, to claim "I wrote that" whatever. Beware that this article (of 16Jan2008) might be replaced in entirety with "other" scholarship. Long-term control of information is still a massive problem, with no formal provision, yet, to have multiple articles about the same topic. There is still a misconception that neutrality can be found within one article, such as the "American Civil War" rather than a separate "War of Northern Aggression" or such. No plans have been defined, yet, to allow a confederation of semi-protected articles to cover various viewpoints about a subject, nor is there a provision to allow a "minority report" to add a parting comment after an article has been deleted. Similar articles exist only under alternate names (such as Crime against peace or Jus ad bellum). Wikipedia still supports the mindset of semi-managed "mob rule" and follows the notion that an article will contain "THE truth" (meaning "the one and only true viewpoint"). For example, an article about a wealthy computer executive might proclaim that the "philanthropist gave millions for the education of children" while always suppressing that most of the "education" was in the guise of teaching children to learn, and become dependent upon, the computer products which he was selling to the world, not in funding general schools. Beware that the article "War of aggression" (after 16Jan2008) might also become slanted, or replaced entirely, intending a similar bias. Following the idea that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" the tactic of keeping only one article about each subject has put a lot of "absolute power" into each article. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:40, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Sourcing issues[edit]

Is this source "^ Marjorie Cohn (9 November 2004). "Aggressive War: Supreme International Crime". Truthout.org. Archived from the original on 2004-11-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20041110060613/http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/110904A.shtml. Retrieved on 2008-07-01." really the best citation for the claim "The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."? Do we even need this line? Bonewah (talk) 21:13, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Bonewah I added a primary source for the quote--Yale University's Avalon project. The abbreviated quotation misrepresented the Nuremberg Judgment as saying wars of aggression were essentially evil, when they said that war (in general) is essentially evil. So I changed it to reflect what the authors actually said, which is the first priority. But I'm unhappy with the change because in this more accurate form, the quote no longer starts with war of aggression--the topic of the article--but with war in general, so seems less focused. Also, it spans multiple sentences, so should really be a block quote, which would be better in the body of the article than in the introduction. I'm open for suggestions. As for whether the line itself is needed, since its speakers are the highest legal authority in history to pass judgment on others for planning and waging aggressive wars, their emphasis of the crime's "utmost gravity" and argument for it are paramount among expert opinions cited in the article.Adelphious (talk) 06:29, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Definition using Past Examples: US War Crimes?[edit]

I've been reading about the ICC's plan to prosecte for the crime of aggression by 2017, and I was wondering whether the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan that both came against UN sanction, without a formal declaration of war, and under a 'plot' or 'conspiracy' to invade and subjugate a nation state (Iraq, WMD's that didn't exist, knowingly didn't exist, Afghanistan, Osama Skip-The-Border-To-Pakistan-8/11 Laden).

By the current ICC definition of a crime of aggression these two invasions would definitely qualify, so the question is, how will the ICC prosecute? Will they prosecute for actions retroactively? Will they pretend that the US didn't randomly invade a few dozen countries in the last few decades? Would the ICC actually call the US out on it's criminal behaviour, or dare risk the ire of a superpower pulling it's support thus threatening the legitimacy of it's jurisdiction?

It's a REALLY interesting concept, and it'll definitely be insanely controversial and cause massive drama, defacement, and reversion wars if it's discussed, but it really, really, really should be an element of thought within the scope of this article. I'd also be interested in other elements where us 'good guys' do bad things and get away with it whereas every middle eastern dictator gets shot or hung after a kangaroo court hearing under similar charges. Pmorphsab (talk) 16:54, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

No examples?[edit]

Hey, how about some historically correct examples? Eg Nazi Germany in Poland, Soviet Russia in Finnland141.76.110.235 (talk) 10:06, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

or the USA in Iraq 2003 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.42.252.102 (talk) 21:45, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

And Russia in the Crimea.Royalcourtier (talk) 08:07, 7 March 2014 (UTC)