To many people, war, the ultimate legitimization of violence, is a form of organized crime. Like violent crime, war involves aggression against other human beings, and like property crime, it may involve the expropriation of someone else's possessions. Although international law is often broken by warring countries, war is not necessarily illegal or even unethical in the same sense as criminal behavior. Thus, killing in peacetime is murder, but killing during wartime is often considered heroic. Countries may issue legal declarations of war and engage in armed conflict according to certain internationally agreed-upon conventions or articles of war. Still, not everyone who wages war adheres to such conventions, and when their side loses, violators may be branded and tried by a constituted court of law as war criminals.
Unlike political assassinations, genocide, and pogroms, war has usually been viewed as a legal, reasonable, and oftentimes heroic way of settling disputes between opposing groups. All able-bodied men are expected to serve in the military organizations of their country or group, doing their "duty" without question, risking and even sacrificing their lives for the honor and glory of their community or country. To the classical romanticist, the willing-
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Bank Examiner Swindle
A phony bank or savings-and-loan "investigator" calls you or comes to your home. He is very serious and may have brought along deposit slips from your bank or other official-looking papers. He tells you that the bank is checking up on a dishonest employee and explains how you can help. He says he wants to make a test to see what the suspected employee does when a customer draws money out of his account. He suggests that you go to your bank, draw out a specified amount ofmoney, then let him use it for the test. Either he or a "bonded messenger" or some other official will pick up the money at some nearby point. You withdraw the money. Advised of the need for "absolute secrecy" and that the money must be in cash "in order to check the serial numbers," you ignore the bank teller's concern that you are drawing out such a large sum of cash. You give the money to the "examiner," who hands you a receipt, thanks you for your "cooperation," and may tell you how he plans to use it to trap the suspected employee. Once he is gone, you'll never see him or your money again. The bank, of course, has never heard of him.
The victim is approached by one of the swindlers and engaged in a conversation on any sympathetic subject. Let's say the victim is an older man. When the swindler has gained his confidence, he or she mentions a large sum of money found by a second swindler who, at the moment, "happens" to pass by. The victim is led to believe that whoever lost the money probably came by it unlawfully. The swindlers discuss with the victim what to do with the money. One of the swindlers says that he or she works in the vicinity and decides to contact his or her "employer" for advice. He or she returns in a few minutes and states that the boss has counted the money and verified the amount and agrees that because the money undoubtedly was stolen or belonged to a gambler (or some such variation on a theme), they should keep and divide the money three ways, but that each should show evidence of financial responsibility and good faith before collecting a share. The victim is then induced to draw his "good faith" money from his bank. After he has done this, either alone or in the company of one of the swindlers, the money is taken by the swindler to the "employer." Upon the swindler's return, the victim is given the name and address of the employer and told that the employer is waiting with his share of the money. The victim leaves and, of course, cannot find the employer or sometimes even the address. When he returns to where he left the swindlers, they, of course, are gone.
ness to join with one's countrymen in battle was one of the noblest attributes and highest values that a human being could possess. These sentiments are expressed in art and literature, for example, in Shakespeare's King Henry the Fifth:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile.
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here.
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
War may be limited, as when only the lives of members of the military are generally at risk, or total, when the lives of both the military and civilian populations are threatened. In total war, the entire country is considered a battleground, and hence all its resources—people, weapons, and other possessions—are subject to attack. War may also be either external—between two different countries—or internal— involving two or more groups of people within the same country. Internal wars in which rebel forces attempt to overthrow the existing government are referred to as rebellions, insurrections, revolutions, or civil wars.
Certain scholars have characterized the history of the world as a succession of wars separated by intervals of peace during which opposing forces made preparations for the resumption of armed conflict. This picture may be true of certain wars, such as the Hundred Years War, but certainly not all. Peace is not perceived by most political leaders as merely a respite before recommencing armed conflict. Most peacemakers envision peace itself as enduring, and in some cases, as in the nineteenth century, their efforts have contributed to a prolonged period with no significant wars.
A traditional way of ensuring peace is based on the idea that if a country maintains a sufficiently large stockpile of armaments, then would-be aggressors will be unlikely to start something. This was the reasoning in the policy of mutual deterrence practiced by the United States and the Soviet Union for over 40 years following World War 11, a policy that led to a $17 trillion price tag for weapons. Although, in this instance deterrence would seem to have worked at least to some degree, from a historical viewpoint it has not been especially effective in preventing military conflict (Lebow & Stein, 1987). In fact, an analysis of the causes of military conflict over the past two millennia indicates that trying to prevent war by means of military buildup actually increased the likelihood that countries that did so would go to war (Kagan, 1995; Naroll, Bullough, & Naroll, 1974).
Historically, victory in war has been determined not only by the relative sizes of the opposing military forces but also, and often principally, by weaponry, leadership, and bravery. These and other factors, some natural and others man-made, influence the duration of wars. Wars may be fairly shortlived and not entail great loss of life or destruction of property. On the other hand, they can last for years and even decades, causing casualties to run into the millions and property damage in the billions of dollars (see Figure 12-4). During the twentieth century alone, something in excess of 100 million people have been killed in wars, approximately 25 million of them since World War II.
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