Does anyone here support the Hague Convention?


June 26, 2003, 07:33 PM
Specificially, its prohibition against the use of "dum dum" or SP bullets in warfare. The US never ratified it, but the doctrine has long since become accepted International Common Law. NATO certainly follows it, along with most other industrialized nations.

Esp. given that many of the enemies our troops face WANT to die and EXPECT to die, any notion of "shooting to wound" is even more bogus than it used to be.

So does anyone actually think we should retain the policy, and if so, why?

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El Tejon
June 26, 2003, 07:41 PM
Maybe we should smear the bullet of our cartridges with pig fat instead?:D

June 26, 2003, 07:47 PM
el tejon, i told a few of my buddies before they went to iraq and afghanistan to take a tub of lard with them to dip their bullets in.....they just kinda looked at me like i had lost my mind.

El Tejon
June 26, 2003, 08:00 PM
Too late for me, cook.:D

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
June 28, 2003, 03:03 AM
I'm not so keen on the Hague Convention, but I've been told I had fun at Shriner's conventions.

I think the Russians had a pretty good idea in place when they were involved in the Great Unpleasantness in Afghanistan with the development of the 5.45x39 high-upset round. Seems the little internal airspace cavity lent itself to tumbling rather violently when it encountered tissue. Looks like a FMJ and is, for all intents and purposes. The innards slide forward and make it inherently unstable so it will yaw on impact, creating a larger than expected permanant wound cavity.

Of course, dipping the rounds in pig fat can be the psychological equivalent of poisoned bullets in some cultures, but I'm just being 'culturally insensitive' now.

With the skinnies taking multiple hits with .223 and still having the will to resist maybe we should have Birdman Weapons Systems submit a bid.


Mark Tyson
June 28, 2003, 07:19 AM
Sylvilagus Aquaticus

Can you point me to a source for that information on the 5.45x39 mm wound ballistics? I want to read more about that.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
July 2, 2003, 09:37 PM
Mark, if you'll be kind enough to PM me I'll send you the reference. Sorry for the delay in responding.


Tommy Gunn
July 2, 2003, 10:59 PM
What is "international law" but a violation of national soveriegnty?

Why should we give foriegn powers the right to make laws over our land?

Maybe we should have another war for Independance.

WR Olsen
July 2, 2003, 11:40 PM
Strange as it may seem, but the Inernational Rules of Land Warfare (what you call the Hague Convention) is designed to bring civility to war. If it were not for the Conventions any belligerent could do anything they wanted, such as freely hanging prisoners, or forcing them to slave labor. The use of poison gas is also prohibited. As well as many other actions that we as a free country find objectionable.

So over all I would say that the conventions are something good and they should be perserved and perhaps even expanded.

Byron Quick
July 2, 2003, 11:54 PM
What is "international law" but a violation of national soveriegnty?

For international law to be binding on the US, a treaty must be signed by a duly authorized representative of the US government. It must then be ratified by the Senate. It can later by rejected by the US government. In what way does this process violate national sovereignty? The process is laid out in the Constitution. How can the Constitution violate our national sovereignty?

Why should we give foriegn powers the right to make laws over our land?

We have never done so. There is a distinct difference in negotiating a treaty with a foreign power, signing that treaty, and having the Senate ratify the treaty; and having a foreign power make a law over our land.

Maybe we should have another war for Independance.

OK, from whom?

July 3, 2003, 12:03 AM
With the skinnies taking multiple hits with .223 and still having the will to resist maybe we should have Birdman Weapons Systems submit a bid.

Perhaps if we were still using our own "high-upset" rounds, rather than the newer stuff designed to shoot through BMP side armour, we wouldn't have had this problem? (55gr 5.56 did everything 5.45 did, in spades...)

July 3, 2003, 12:23 AM
YOu don't need these archaic conventions to maintain civility in warfare. For one thing, the conventions do nothing to prevent the sort of yahoo dictators we go up against these days from killing prisoners. It sounds brutal, but the way you keep your enemy from killing prisoners is killing his people. That's the basis of international law in a nutshell. Do ut des, the Romans called it.

Sure, some would complain if we switched to proper SP ammo. THe Germans, certainly. But these are the same Germans who complained when we used shotguns during WWI. We wisely ignored them. The "civilized" nations of Europe are rarely worth listening to.

Byron Quick
July 3, 2003, 12:51 AM

Have you ever read "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu? If not, I recommend it. It will tell you why not.

There are benefits both tactical and strategic to avoiding extremes.

Wounding folks takes up more of the enemies' resources than killing them.

Even when it's a brutal dictator's soldiers, they are human beings. The brutal dictator will be forced to provide some level of medical care for his wounded. If he does not, it will destroy the morale of his troops. In either scenario, we benefit more from wounding than from simply killing.

There's an advantage to leaving your opponent a way out of the trap...or at least what appears to be a way out. You really don't want to face a trapped opponent with no hope of escape or surrender. Ever faced a cornered rat.

I've been beatened badly four times in my lifetime. Twice I was in a fight and forgot to check my six. Once I was assaulted with no warning from behind. The other time, I made the mistake of forcing a fight for the one time of my life. I chased him for about six blocks. He tried to cut through a fenced tennis court. I cut him off before he could reach the exit and hemmed him in a corner. After running for six blocks, this terrified pipsqueak turned around and tore me a new one. I'll not make that mistake again. Hell, I won't force a fight again.

Many, if not most, of the provisions of the International Law of Ground Warfare are to our benefit.

Oh, yeah...archaic? The conventions are not that old. You might want to check out the practices employed before then.

Romans? If a city did not surrender before the first battering ram touched the wall...the citizens of that city had no rights. It was open to sack: the men killed or sold into slavery. The women and girls raped and sold into slavery. The children sold into slavery if old enough...if a child was too young for an economical price he or she was killed on the spot.

Is that an improvement? Oh, and that was pretty much the way it went in Europe, except for the slavery during a sack of a city up until about 1700 or so. Instead of selling the survivors into slavery, they were usually just killed.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
July 3, 2003, 02:06 AM
Right, Tamara...
Trouble is, many years ago somebody thought it was a better idea to 'improve accuracy' in our GI 5.56 weapon by increasing the rate of twist to 1 in 9 (or 1 in 7) from the old standard of 1 in 12 which does tend to tighten the grouping a little as well as lengthen the effective range, but it negates the inherent upset of an otherwise spectacular dynamic wound channel at that rate of twist.

In my interpretation they wanted a 30-06 in a .223 package.

I agree that they've modified the cartrige enough for a ground war against opponents with body armor, but that threat is not what we face these days. Maybe we should revisit the idea of slowing the spin and stopping the foe.


July 3, 2003, 02:14 AM
I have heard over and over again that the FMJ limitation was placed on bullets so that they would wound rather than kill. Not only is this notion undercut by the actions of all the great powers in adopting high-velocity spitzers, but I know of no support for it in the record. I strongly suspect it is after-the-fact rationalization.

The drafters of the Hague Convention appeared to be upset by the nastiness of the wounds inflicted by early dum-dum bullets. It tore the bejesus out of the bodies. No open casket funerals. Very uncivilized and dirty. From a modern perspective, such thinking is pretty bizarre considering the way everything else in warfare tears the bejesus out of soldiers. Of course, the Hague Convention pre-dates even WWI. The drafters were thinking in Napoleonic terms, with set-piece battles fought more like ornate games of chess than what we would consider war.

When you are actually in combat, you want to KILL your foe. A wounded enemy can still blow your face through the back of your head, esp. if he's cranked up on whatever weed or pill the locals like to use to get cranked up.

July 3, 2003, 04:39 AM
Read "Goodbye to All That", the autobiography of Robert Graves. Somewhere in there he discusses atrocity complaints re his service in the Royal Welch Fusiliers (excellent Sousa march of that title, too:cool: ) in WWI. I believe he wrote that the Germans complained about the .303 MkVII cartridge because it "tended to turn on striking." We have a "MkVII" for a member here who knows all about it.:D On the .223: The story I read said that the original bullet was just barely stable in air, but after going through about 6"-10" of one's soft pink body would start tumbling. I'm SO glad I'm skinny! I think the faster twist was brought in to stabilize a heavy tracer bullet. I'd appreciate anyone with solid information speaking up on this subject.

Edit: changed "was" to "said" after the word "read" in the sentence beginning "On the .223:..."

Mark Tyson
July 3, 2003, 07:34 AM
Does it matter if you're shot with a soft point or blown to pieces with artillery? War is about winning - nothing else. The "wounding is better than killing" mentality is a relic of industrial era warfare. Most of our enemies these days are guerillas and sub-national actors who have little medical infrastructure and less concern for any human life, including their own.

July 3, 2003, 07:48 AM
remember by not using hollow points you theoretically streamline medical services and surgeries. just like in self defense the purpose is to stop not to kill, the purpose of war is to reach your objective and not to wipe out the population or even the other military necessarily.

if someone is going to live with a bullet wound, but needs surgery, it's a hell of a lot easier to pick out one bullet than to find all 23 shards of copper jacket from a +p corbon. it's a bit more humane.

not saying i necessarily agree, but i think this point is important.

personally, i'm ok with ball only on rifle ammo, but would probably prefer JHP on handguns.

July 3, 2003, 07:55 AM

I beleive the restriction was to reduce the grievous wounds suffered by the people that were not killed. The purpose was not to wound rather than kill, but to make the wounds on the people who were not killed less serious. Little holes are easier to fix than big holes. An FMJ will kill just as dead, just as fast as anything else if the person is centerpunched.

However, a FMJ wound that doesn't hit anything important will probably heal up fine. The torn, shredded wound from an expanding bullet is more likely to get infected, and cause a long, lingering painful death. Why would we want to inflict that on someone that is out of the fight? Especially with our "wars" lasting only a few weeks.

I don't have a problem with the Hague Convention. The point of war is much different than the goal of self defense.

July 3, 2003, 01:01 PM
I just don't buy it. First the FMJ defenders claim that the point is to deliberately wound, thus taking up valuable time. Then they switch around and say it's to make it EASIER to heal the wound. If you don't want to kill them, don't shoot them or bomb them. If you shoot them, I'm assuming you need to kill them or be killed. Otherwise our guys should be using less-than-lethal ammo to deal with the threat.

I think my point is extremely topical, BTW. Look at all the suicidal yahoos coming out of the woodwork to attack our troops. Shooting to wound is hardly a viable policy in such cases. You want to tear the SOB apart, and the way you do that is with proper SP ammo, hopefully from something with more punch than a .223.

Mark Tyson
July 3, 2003, 01:10 PM
I agree with Cosmoline, especially as he points out we are dealing with suicidal Jihad warriors.

July 3, 2003, 01:14 PM
An FMJ will kill just as dead, just as fast as anything else if the person is centerpunched.


Plenty of cases of well-documented, unproductive thoracic cavity FMJ hits since the 5.56 switch Tam noted.

You guys are underestimating Cosmoline a little here...he has a pretty good handle on the situation.

Has he read The Art of War? I'm betting he read it by age 12...

Byron Quick
July 3, 2003, 01:17 PM
Open casket funeral?

Cosmoline, at the time the Hague Conventions were'd count yourself lucky to know where a particular soldier was buried in a mass grave more often than not.

Even if the soldier was killed a hundred miles away and died from a fall of a broken the time the body was shipped home...there would definitely not be a open casket funeral.

Think about it: Battle death occurs. How long before the dead are picked up? In horse drawn wagons. A day, 2 days, more? What's the condition of that body if it's above fifty degrees? OK, we've made pickup. How long till embalming? Is embalming even available? OK, say that embalming is available within 2 more days...say three days from death. Ever seen a three day old corpse that has not been warm weather?

You're not going to have the possibility of having open casket matter what they were shot with under those conditions.

July 3, 2003, 02:53 PM
"Open casket" is just a figure of speech. The point is they did not like the mangling effect. I don't think they cared too much whether the soldiers died, but they certainly wanted them to look nice and orderly.

But I will admit that I can't really get into the minds of the drafters. I do know that they lived in an utterly different universe, safe in a Victorian Europe that had no clue what horror was coming its way. Interestingly, though, the British troops who first used "dum dum" bullets were facing a threat from Indian natives not all that unlike the threat our troops face today. There's an interesting article discussing the development here:

We need to take some advice from those front-line British soldiers who exposed the lead core on their .303's, and we need to give the austere European diplomats the old drop kick. If you're in the middle of it, who are you going to trust? Some suited Frenchman or a soldier who's seen it all?

July 3, 2003, 11:47 PM
Yes, with regard to regular uniformed members of the recognized armed forces.
No, with regard to irregulars, like Hamas and other combatants of that ilk.

July 4, 2003, 01:46 AM
The first priority in war is to win. While I am not saying you can justify cruelty such as mistreating prisoners and such, the goal is to take the other SOB out of combat. If soft/hollow points do this better, use them. If FMJ do it better, use them.

As for the idea that S/HPs will shred the flesh of someone not hit in a vital area, you got it! You made the connection, you have found the point to it all! To inflict a lot of harm on the other person. If I were shot in the arm with a SP 308 then it would likely tear more flesh than an FMJ. And that is the point. It is more likely to remove them from combat.

If hollow/soft points don't make it more likely that you will kill the enemy then there is no point in using them. But if they do it might save lives on our side.

July 4, 2003, 02:30 AM
one of the reasons for the madate for the exclusive use of FMJ military rounds was a result of advances in ballistics tech made just prior to WW1. and some mis-steps made due to inadequate understanding of particular aspects of the physics involved.

can't remember where i first ran across this, but in the time between the adoption of the first "spitzer" type rifle rounds and the beginning of WW1, it was discovered that (like most rifle competitors know) that a Boat tailed Hollow point was the most accurate of the basic bullet shape. problem was that in many early Bolt guns (the mauser and SMLE among them) the magazine/feed systems had a tendency to hang up on the early HPs. the solution was to place a friction fit, plug or cap at the end of the bullet to facilitate smoother functioning.

the brits used a "fibre tip" ( i think this maybe the MKVII round) the germans used a wooden insert (pics i've seen make it look like a looser version of the polymer bit in a Nosler "Ballistic tip"). i'm not sure exactly what we americans did, evidence suggests that Springfield Armory may have solved the problem through a change to the gun, or we may have just gone directly to the final 30-06 round design.

the german beleif was that the "plug" would drop off or otherwise leave the bullet upon firing. this did NOT happen and if/when the bullet hit flesh, the tip itself would shatter, sending small jagged slivers of wood throughout the wound. due to the state of systemic infection control (ie very little, or none) at the time, this would result in a wound that was hyper-prone to infection, resulting in gangrene etc.
the germans never intended this result, but the allied armies, observing the effects first hand, fully and understandably came to the conclusion that these "poison bullets" were an intentional development.

the british rounds on the other hand, did not show a tendency to shed the tip material in the same way. but, as noted the rounds had a tendency to upset upon impact/entry of body.

after the war both sides, still fully believing in variations on the "war as a giant bloody game of chess, strove to have rounds that resulted in "undue suffering" removed from both their enemy's and their own arsenals.

personally, i think that the type of rounds used should depend on the type of solider, fighter, or fanatic being encountered. and that the goal should be to protect the members of your military forces. but that rounds should NOT be designed to kill the enemy through "secondary means" (poison, infection etc) if you're gonna wound him wound him, if you're gonna kill the guy kill him NOW not a month from now rotting to death in a hospital.

July 4, 2003, 01:46 PM
Here read the thing.$File/irrc_849_Coupland_et_Loye.pdf

I believe your lot did finally sign it shortly after WW II. Your lot just ignores the parts they don't like. Kind of the way your lot ignored all the treaties made in the 19th century Indian wars.

July 4, 2003, 02:09 PM
Yeah, so does every other nation, with every other treaty. This notion that treaties are sacrosanct is nonsense. International law is about give and take, and if treaties don't change they should be discarded. There is no reason to expect treaties to have the same iron-clad permanence as a constitution. In fact, a rigid construction leads to the preservation of very dangerous loopholes, since they will not be able to keep pace with developments in warfare. You don't have to look very far in the current war on terror to see many of these loopholes in operation.

The prohibition on SP's is a classic case of an outmoded notion costing lives. Frankly we've broken treaties before without anywhere near this much justification.

BTW, where does a CANADIAN find the audacity to lecture us about broken treaty with natives :D I'm not trying to start a flame war, but really. I know enough natives from the Yukon and NWT to know "your lot" have dished out your share of hypocrisy and mistreatment, and that "your lot" continue to do so. No nation in the new world (except maybe Belize or something) comes that that issue with clean hands.

July 4, 2003, 09:05 PM
War is a survival situation, you do whatever you need to do to survive and help your buddy survive.
The most successful armies have been the ones which have given no quarter and have expected none. I'm not saying that they had righteous goals but they were successful.
If a people haven't the stomach for the bloodiness and gruesomeness of war then they are already an extinct people.
I don't know what to think of the Hague Treaty. It appears that some people were attempting to instill civility in the madness of it all.
Armies of past have had different ideas regarding the treatment of their enemies.
The Romans made slaves of them, some were treated well as I understand, and others were to be mince meat in the arenas.
The Mongol hordes on the other hand destroyed and killed everything in their path, no prisoners and I don't believe they were ever defeated, they just plain got tired of it all.
But one thing remained constant for the victorious, they made the rules. They didn't compromise, they didn't get together in a focus group and promise not to intentially strike at the enemies genitalia, they ruled without boundaries, without exemptions and they were unstoppable.
They were feared, respected and left alone. Their demise came from within not from outside enemies.
So where am I going with all this? I don't trust other countries, I don't even trust my own government. Who is the enforcer of the Treaty? What if the most powerful country in the world breaks the rules, who will punish them? At this stage in world military might it would take the efforts of over half the countries in the world to attempt it, and more than likely they will choose appeasement rather than get their hands dirty. Or better yet create a multi-national scientific organization to study their behaviour to explain what might have caused them to break the rules.
So this Treaty is like any other law or rule, it is only effective as long as those involved in hostilities abide by it.

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