Radhabinod Pal stood among a few that dared to dissent. Without giving into my normal tendency to joke, he sat away from many others in his judgement during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He dared to reject the idea that many Japanese officials were guilty of “crimes against peace”. (These crimes incorporated into the Nuremberg Principles and UN Charter). This tidbit in history sent me in to a shallow dive and helped bring about an inconvenient/popular opinion.
I had read about “crimes against peace”, specifically various wars of aggression. The counts mentioned levied against those Japanese leaders, that were the most notable to me, were waging unprovoked war and waging aggressive war against various other nations.
I largely disagree with what I read, at least in a philosophical sense. I believe that a war is always a provoked war. I also belief that the best wars in human existence were aggressive wars.
The vast majority of wars required violent action. Sun Tzu had mentioned that “there is no instance of a country having benefitted from prolonged warfare”. The Japanese knew their limitations and capabilities. They followed them as well as they could, (but transgressed a few of Sun Tzu’s inviolate rules in regard to battle). They fought hard and they used what they could. I made the argument that an army that doesn’t fight with the utmost tenacity is largely dishonest to the other army.
I believe that Japan owed no explanation for the warfare they employed, the same that they didn’t owe us an explanation in why they declared war. The common sense applies here. Man has declared war over territory and resources. (In an alternative reason, people have warred over other things like dignity, sense of self, perceived insults, etc). Picking through the various pieces of evidence given in testimony from the trials, it was easy to see why the Japanese did what they did. It took someone opening up their eyes.
I wanted to close this post with that much of the UN Charter, on face value, is contrary to what has driven history. The charter is not neutral in regards to physical conflict. UN members are to refrain from using threat or force against the integrity or independence of any state.
War is now being prescribed as a self defense mechanism. My eyes don’t see war in its traditional sense anymore. We look at those that engage in conflict for offensive purposes to be the barbarian. I make the argument that those that don’t are a new barbarian amongst themselves. War has been only done right in human existence. Only as of lately have we started giving service to the idea that aggression doesn’t make sense. We looked past our own skill in killing and subjugation to write new rules for relative peace. (Justice Pal talked about the IMTFE being “victor’s justice”). I say that we should honor those that fight and remember our fighting past for the future.