It sends a pretty clear message when you pardon a rabid animal that dresses himself in the uniform of your country’s military after he shoves aside a friendly medic treating a captured fighter to stab him to death and take a selfie, endangers his sniper team by constantly taking pointless potshots at civilians, wastes ordinance with no known enemy forces in the area so he could destroy people’s homes, slaughtering random people left and right bragging about the number of people he’s killed fully acknowledging that these were not enemy soldiers but civilians including women and children.
It says: I like the sound of “The Great Shaitan.” It really makes America, by that I mean me, sound strong and powerful with tremendous power. And it’s so easy. Fuck the Geneva conventions, fuck international law, because it’s better for our allies to fear us than to expect us to hold to any treaties! Let’s show terrorists how their job is done!
I believe War should be where the ugliest side of mankind is shown. So ugly that people would refrain from ever engaging in it except as a last resort.
Because as we all know, war stopped happening in the age of Kublai Khan. And official policies of escalated retaliation don’t create an endless cycle of one-upmanship until there’s no live bodies to throw around. And the savage brutality of a nation’s army, particularly turned against civilian populations, has never united multiple previously neutral or even amicable nations against them once they realized that brutality might be leveraged against them simply to scare favourable trade conditions or maybe contributed to an ancient religious stigma that follows their people far beyond the end of the nations that employed such tactics and indeed the scope of reason snowballing into something truly fucked up that has them driven from countries or subjected to unspeakable atrocities.
If war was fought how you suggest, it simply wouldn’t end until there wasn’t a single human being standing. You say such sadistic nonsense because you believe you speak from a position of such military superiority that such a campaign is effortless, that you can threaten such a thing at a whim and violence will always be this far away thing that can’t touch you. But when the rest of the world sees such willingness - eagerness even - to threaten such barbarity they will be arrayed against you and fighting for their very survival. And if you think there shouldn’t be a distinction between combatants and non-combatants where exactly do you think you’ll be safe? And this is without addressing how international trade would be affected. In a state of total war there is no trade, all production goes towards the war effort and rationing is strict. You would not be living a life of comfort while others do the dying, and your turn on the front line would eventually come. Even should you survive avenues of trade will be closed permanently, means of progress with them, and all effort would basically be put towards gearing up for the next war. Not rebuilding, not growth, preparing for the next war. And it won’t always be of foreign origin, either. What happens then, when it isn’t some distant brown people you have to fear and feel comfortable wiping from existence but your own brother - and their children - you are expected to slaughter? How does genocide sound when it’s your own next generation you’re cutting down? The earth beneath your own feet you’re salting?
We “civilize” war and make these rules because without them civilization eats itself. Humanity dies.