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Rules of War

Anu Anand | 12:45 UK time, Monday, 7 August 2006

Do the rules of war matter anymore? Is it right to hit a building when you know civilians will die if there are fighters inside? Does it help if you use a smaller bomb to be more proportionate? That's what we're talking about today and you can join us by posting a comment below or contacting us. Here's an article written by Moshe Yaalon, former chief of staff for the Israeli Defence Forces. He says Israel is doing its best to observe the rules of war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. And by criticizing Israel, the world is empowering a group that disregards international rules. Keep reading to find out what ideas we're kicking around. And most important-- it's your forum, so join the debate.

Many ancient civilizations had their own ideas on what is and isn't allowed during war. Chinese warrior Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War in the sixth century. Here are some quotes inspired by his philosophy that have made it into today's business world.

Islam, Judaism , Christianity , and Hinduism all have concepts of morality surrounding warfare. And the modern rules of warfare are set out in the Geneva Conventions.

How does an army observing the rules of war fight an enemy that doesn't care? How can American soldiers fight insurgents in Iraq without killing civilians? What's your view on groups like Hezbollah, the Tamil Tigers and Chechen fighters? Should they be made to observe the rules of war? If not, should armies use whatever means necessary to fight them?

What do you think? We're hoping to get Mr. Yaalon on the program along with an international war crimes expert and a former guerrilla or rebel leader to talk about the rules of war in today's conflicts.

You can also post your comments here on the BBC News website.

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