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None Dare Call It Perfidy

There's this Russian company whose latest marketing video is going viral:

It's a new missile system that disguises its launchers as shipping containers. And in the snappy videos, two countries are shown. One of them -- the "blue" country -- deploys scads of traditional military weapons (my slightly-above-layman's eye recognizes US-made equipment like M1 Abrams tanks, C-5 cargo planes, and Humvees) along the border with the "red' nation. The "red" side then sends out ordinary shipping containers by truck, train, and sea -- one of each is actually a missile launcher, which fires and wipes out "blue's" forces.

It's an ingenious system. Without looking too closely, it's hard to tell which of the generic big steel boxes contains four missiles, and which contains ordinary cargo. There's pretty much no way to tell the threatening container from the harmless ones.

Pity it's a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Article 37.-Prohibition of perfidy

1. It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
(a) The feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
(b) The feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(c) The feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
(d) The feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

(Emphasis added)

The reason for this law, as in so many laws of warfare, aren't based on abstract moral notions. They're based on brutal pragmatism. In this case, combatants are not supposed to disguise themselves as civilians because once that becomes common, then the opposing side will simply decide that any "civilians" might be a threat and react accordingly.

In this case, once it's clear that "blue" has missiles disguised in unmarked shipping containers, then the only logical, sensible thing to do is to attack any and all shipping containers. And if, in the process, a lot of innocent shipping -- and people moving that shipping around -- get blown up, so be it.

This war crime is practically an art form among the Palestinians. Murdoc has a picture that reputes to show a garbage truck converted into a rocket launcher, while their use of ambulances to transport terrorists and weapons is thoroughly documented.

Ambulances, like many civilian institutions, are protected from attack by a tacit agreement: if they are not used for warfare, then they will be left alone. If they are used for openly military purposes, then all such institutions lose their protected status.

Things like cargo containers -- and the vehicles and people who transport them.

Things like ambulances.

Things like schools.

Things like hospitals.

Things like mosques.

We should pay very close attention to any nation or group that buys this missile system. And we should inform them that the instant they do anything remotely hostile, every single cargo container and every single facility designed to work with cargo containers will immediately be considered a valid military target -- because we don't know which ones have the missiles. Every cargo ship, every flatbed truck, every crane, every port cargo-handling facility -- all are on the target list.

And that's simply the way it has to be.


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Comments (12)

Wow, and after all the many... (Below threshold)

Wow, and after all the many times Liberals assisted the Soviets with canceling US weapons programs because they were "destabilizing". Where are the Liberal whiners now? /crickets

Jay, This is inter... (Below threshold)

This is interesting. Let me take the devil advocate role.
We would attack supply lines and warehouse as part of any Air Interdictions campaign.
The USSR had many mobile launch facilities and we also knew they planned to hide their missiles on rail cars in the cold war so we would have hit trains anyway.
This would be akin to German U-boat warfare. For a time the Germans did not attack passenger ships. They would surface. Then the Brits started to arm them and fired on the German U-boats and we had un restricted submarine warfare.
Now schools, hospitals and Red Cross Red Crescent would be exemption and if they were created in launchers like this and selling that a clear cut case.
A weapon system like this is take to develop. So now we know why the Russia hated the idea of their neighbors having a missile shield. It would have denied them a tactical advantage and cost them potential customers.
Well who knew BHO was focused on jobs.

The system has military app... (Below threshold)

The system has military applications, and could be bolted to the deck of some smallish naval vessels. The manufacturere is offering various packagings of the missile system, not just the conned container version. Cost, depending on options will be around 10-20 million dollars.

As far as the Geneva Convention issues, I truly believe we are operating in an Post-Geneva Conventions world. The majority of conflicts currently ongoing are either in direct viloation of the conventions and/or being waged by at least one side that does not recognize, or has never signed the conventions.

Since the end of WWII the Geneva Conventions have basically only been used to punish the good guys, never the bad guys. The rules even state the restrictions only apply to signatories.

It might not be the missile... (Below threshold)

It might not be the missile systems that the Russians want to sell, so much as the countermeasures to those missiles.

The Geneva Conventions? No... (Below threshold)

The Geneva Conventions? Nobody but us gives a damn about those.

That aside, what, if anything, is actually new about this system? Concealing a light SSM launcher inside a cargo container has been possible for years. A standard shipping container is 40 feet long by 8 feet wide by 8-10 feet high -- basically the size of an eighteen-wheeler box trailer. There are any number of surface-to-surface missiles that can fit inside such a box, launcher and all -- Harpoon, SLAM, Silkworm, Exocet, Sea Eagle, ATACMS to name just a few. Even Iran claims to have one -- the Nasr-1. A freighter carrying concealed missile launchers has always been one of the biggest potential terror threats to any port city or coastal city.

"Where are the Liberal w... (Below threshold)

"Where are the Liberal whiners now? /crickets"

Bruce Henry the 8th is preoccupied with picking his ass, steve green has overdosed on cool-aid and the rest of the tards, well, they await sock puppet marching orders.

OK I am no expert but, on a... (Below threshold)

OK I am no expert but, on all the container ships that I have seen, and that is not many, they have been stacked to the top with no room to open up like shown, ditto on the rail lines, no room to open up. The one on the tractor trailer could be done but it seems that the weight from the four missiles would tip it over upon opening it. Good point on the Geneva rules, but Matt is right at #2 the rules just punish the guys who follow them and the ones who do not follow them just get a letter in the mail. A missile defense system plan will be must for the next Admin.

The biggest problem with sa... (Below threshold)

The biggest problem with saying that we won't fallow the Geneva Conventions if our opponent doesn't is our history and our MSM\liberals.

Beside what many liberals have said, we have followed the Geneva Conventions in the past when our opponents haven't even when our opponents use that fact to kill Americans. Using volunteer unarmed women and children to shield their armed love ones come to mind. The MSM\liberals will play up any instances that make the U.S. look bad. The Apache video comes to mind.

PicnicIf you look cl... (Below threshold)

If you look close, the tractor trailer deploys stands to help keep it from doing a wheelie. The container ship only need the one's on top to contain the missiles and be position in a way they can be deployed. Not a big issue. Rail has spaces between cars and wouldn't take much to position it like in video to make it happen. A better solution would be to improve the design of the containers to open up within its given space instead of needing the additional space. One can make it work either way.

it's hard to tell which ... (Below threshold)

it's hard to tell which of the generic big steel boxes contains four missiles, and which contains ordinary cargo.

Target the nice new ones.

If they painted them in mil... (Below threshold)

If they painted them in military camoflage schemes them perfidy would be nulified.

Dana Stabenow used this as ... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Dana Stabenow used this as the basis of the plot for a novel -- written in 2008. Of course in that book, the missile deployers were terrorists and bad guys.






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