Murphy's Law: When Is A War A War

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August 28, 2014: Many businesses in southern Israel want the recent “operations” against Hamas officially declared a war. That’s because insurance companies and government damage compensation programs pay out more if the damage was caused by a declared war, rather than a peacetime act of terrorism (which is what the government considers the current Hamas violence.)

All this is part of an ancient debate. Put simply, when does organized violence between two or more groups move from “disorder” to war. There are a lot of groups who oppose using the “war” designation too freely. Politicians oppose it because involvement in “war” is generally bad for a political career. Insurance companies and government financial officials don’t like the “war” designation because it means higher expenses. Businesses and economists don’t like the “war” tag because it implies more government regulation and often leads to permanent damage to the economy. Then there are the religious and philosophical angles, which feed uncomfortable accusations to the mass media when the term “war” is generally associated with a conflict.

Most countries have specific laws covering the declaration of war and politicians prefer to avoid using this stuff. In short, there is a lot of resistance to officially designating a conflict a “war.”

 

 


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