Coming to grips with war:†Professor Al Gillespie with the first three volumes of A History of the Laws of War.
A 10-year study of the history of the laws of war reveals that human beings are reacting and fighting over the same issues as they were 5000 years ago.
Professor Al Gillespie from Waikato University's Faculty of Law says our emotional intelligence hasn't changed since the Stone Age.† "It doesn't matter whether the fighting's this year in Syria, or we're storming a fortress full of civilians at the time of Christ, our responses are often the same. The difference now is the technology we have the technology of the gods.† We can kill a whole lot of people at once instead of one or two.† How we relate to each other as countries I'd put us in the Middle Ages."
Three of five volumes of Professor Gillespie's work have been published.† They cover 5000 years of combatants and captives, civilians and weapons and also look at environmental destruction, starvation, civilians under occupation and theft and destruction of property. The next two volumes will focus on the causes of war.
Professor Gillespie sourced his material from works as diverse as the bible to Security Council Resolutions and has also found written records dating back as 2400 BCE.†
"I've studied Greece, Egypt, Europe, India‚Ä¶and you start to see patterns.† As long as we've been waging wars we've been looking at ways to legitimise different forms of combatants and ascribing rules to them, protecting civilians who are caught up between them, and controlling the use of particular classes of weapons that may be used in times of conflict."
Professor Gillespie says we all have opinions about war, but it's not always natural to think of the laws that surround it, and yet the law impacts on military operations at all levels.† It should be an essential area of study, he says.
Source: The University of Waikato http://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-events/media/2012/03waikato-university-professor-publishes-history-of-the-laws-of-war.shtml