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Friday, Jan 18, 2002

unbearable fruits

"The idea that certain fixed laws should apply even amid the violence and anarchy of war isn't new. The saying may have it that all's fair in war, but restrictions on battlefield conduct have always been recognized. The Hebrew Bible forbade soldiers from, among other things, destroying fruit-bearing trees in hostile lands, and chivalric codes existed in the Middle Ages. It was the Dutch philosopher Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), however, who came to be seen as the Solon of today's laws of war. His influential 1625 work On the Laws of War and Peace argued that there exist natural laws, independent of any individual state's legal system, that are apparent to human reason and should prevail even during hostilities."