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Are we at war or not?

#1
During last night's 'This Week', the Beeb's TV programme on politics, Diane Abbott MP criticised Shadow Chancellor George Osborne for his use of the phrase "We're all in this together" at the Conservative Party Conference. I thought I might have misheard one of her statements but I've just checked on i-Player and she did indeed say around minute 38:14:

Diane Abbott MP said:
"...That 'All in this together' rhetoric only works for right-of-centre politicians in time of war."
I know we're having to fight on a reduced peacetime Defence budget and sometimes with a part-time Defence Minister but, with our troops being returned in body bags and on stretchers every day of the week, is this a time of war or not?
 
#2
Dunservin said:
Last night on 'This Week', the Beeb's TV programme on politics, Diane Abbott MP criticised Shadow Chancellor George Osborne for his use of the phrase "We're all in this together" at the Conservative Party Conference. I thought I might have misheard one of her statements but I've just checked on i-Player and she did indeed say around minute 38:14:

Diane Abbott MP said:
"...That 'All in this together' rhetoric only works for right-of-centre politicians in time of war."
I know we're having to fight on a reduced peacetime Defence budget and sometimes with a part-time Defence Minister but, with our troops being returned in body bags and on stretchers every day of the week, is this a time of war or not?
It probably all depends on where you are. If some feckers is chucking live rounds at you in AFG and you are taking sustained cas over a long period then you are.

If you are controlling the Westminister purse strings and playing the media then no!
 
#3
Doesn't there have to be formal deceleration of war against another country, and as we are not fighting a country but a group of terrorists/religious group it doesn't constitute a war but conflict.

Please feel free to savage me at will.
 
#5
Dunservin said:
During last night's 'This Week', the Beeb's TV programme on politics, Diane Abbott MP criticised Shadow Chancellor George Osborne for his use of the phrase "We're all in this together" at the Conservative Party Conference. I thought I might have misheard one of her statements but I've just checked on i-Player and she did indeed say around minute 38:14:

Diane Abbott MP said:
"...That 'All in this together' rhetoric only works for right-of-centre politicians in time of war."
I know we're having to fight on a reduced peacetime Defence budget and sometimes with a part-time Defence Minister but, with our troops being returned in body bags and on stretchers every day of the week, is this a time of war or not?
New Labour have consistantly emphasised that the British military is "on operations" conducting a "mission" in Afghanistan. They have never made a serious claim to be "at war" - except maybe the "war against drugs".
 
#6
whitecity said:
New Labour have consistantly emphasised that the British military is "on operations" conducting a "mission" in Afghanistan. They have never made a serious claim to be "at war" - except maybe the "war against drugs".
Which they are woefully underfunding.
 
#7
Diane Abbot is a moron of the first order. Her only talent is being black which she has made a career out of. She'd never have got anywhere otherwise. Utterly utterly useless.
 
#8
The Army might be but the country isn't. It was the traditional way of doing things right through the Imperial period.

Just out of interest,when was the last time we were formally at war anyway? Falklands?
 
#9
smartascarrots said:
The Army might be but the country isn't. It was the traditional way of doing things right through the Imperial period.

Just out of interest,when was the last time we were formally at war anyway? Falklands?
Falklands wasn't a war either, that was a conflict. I think Korea or WW2 would have been the last time war was declared.
 
#10
smartascarrots said:
The Army might be but the country isn't. It was the traditional way of doing things right through the Imperial period.

Just out of interest,when was the last time we were formally at war anyway? Falklands?
Not even then, SAC. I remember the gov tying itself in knots to avoid use of the term "war": we were "at conflict". I know that there's some legal reason why it's a good idea to avoid formally declaring war on someone if you possibly can, but not sure of the exact details.

Edited to add: beaten to it!
 
#11
smartascarrots said:
The Army might be but the country isn't. It was the traditional way of doing things right through the Imperial period.

Just out of interest, when was the last time we were formally at war anyway? Falklands?
Interesting question. Apparently, the last time was in 1942 according to the 15th Report of Session 2005–06 of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution (link):

WAGING WAR: PARLIAMENT'S ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY

TERMINOLOGY “War” and “armed conflict”

9. “War” is a term that has both popular and legal connotations. Colloquially, “war” embraces conflicts between the armed forces of states and, occasionally, major internal conflicts such as the British or American Civil wars. “War” as a legal institution is a feature of both international and national law. In international law, the distinguishing characteristic of “war” is the legal equality of the belligerents and the special status of those states not taking part in the conflict (“neutral” states). The condition of “war” could be brought about by a declaration of war but one was not necessary (nor, where there was a declaration of war, were hostilities inevitable). Additionally, states could choose to regard a conflict between them as “war” and apply the legal rules accordingly, or neutrals could insist on respect for their rights. “War” as an institution of domestic law did require a declaration, made in the Monarch’s name but by the Prime Minister, acting under the prerogative. This action triggered domestic consequences—nationals of the opponent state became “enemy aliens”, liable to measures of restraint including detention. Property of enemy aliens was liable to seizure. Statute provided for emergency measures—for the call up of troops, the sequestration of property and so on.

10. The United Kingdom has made no declaration of war since that against Siam (modern Thailand) in 1942, and it is unlikely that there will ever be another. Developments in international law since 1945, notably the United Nations (UN) Charter, including its prohibition on the threat or use of force in international relations, may well have made the declaration of war redundant as a formal international legal instrument (unlawful recourse to force does not sit happily with an idea of legal equality). The courts have recently decided that, as a matter of our constitutional law, the United Kingdom is not at war with Iraq because there has not been a declaration of war. In this report, when we use the word “war”, we use it in the popular sense, conscious of its limitations as a definition suitable to our purposes in the modern world. Otherwise, we shall refer to “armed conflicts”, both international and internal, to cover those situations not falling within the popular idea of “war” but where British forces are sent in anticipation that they will or may be involved in lethal exchanges of force or where British air or naval force is used against targets in another state or in international waters. While “international” and “internal armed conflicts” have become terms of art in international law, we do not use them here in their strict legal sense but by reference to an assessment of the risk of military action by British forces.
 
#12
re-stilly said:
smartascarrots said:
The Army might be but the country isn't. It was the traditional way of doing things right through the Imperial period.

Just out of interest,when was the last time we were formally at war anyway? Falklands?
Falklands wasn't a war either, that was a conflict. I think Korea or WW2 would have been the last time war was declared.
I'm not sure about Korea as I think it was UN. Don't the 'Articles of War' have to be signed to be a war? I know there is one nation that we are still officially at war with because we never signed an armistice but i can't remember which one.
 
#14
It is considered War, if there are more than 1000 casualties per annum according to what I have been tought regarding spectrums of conflict. The declaration of war is merely a legal nicetey.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#16
I am pretty sure that it is now illegal, under international law, for one country to declare war on another - after all, it would be an act of aggression, wouldn't it?

From Wikipedia (so it must be true!):
"It has been noted that "developments in international law since 1945, notably the United Nations (UN) Charter, including its prohibition on the threat or use of force in international relations, may well have made the declaration of war redundant as a formal international legal instrument." In addition to this, non-state or terrorist organisations may claim to or be described as "declaring war" when engaging in violent acts. These declarations may have no legal standing in themselves, but may still act as a call to arms for supporters of these organisations."


As for Ms Abbott - I briefed here amongst a party of MPs and Lords in Afgh last year - and to be honest she was one of the sharpest ones there (not tricky, but still). She asked relevant and sensible questions, and appeared pretty knowledgeable. She may be a socialist, but she's not daft, and she does have a sort of a point - we are not in a 'war of national survival' however you look at it. That said, we are at war, however, and should certainly act accordingly.
 
#17
InVinoVeritas said:
It is considered War, if there are more than 1000 casualties per annum according to what I have been tought regarding spectrums of conflict. The declaration of war is merely a legal nicetey.
So, the UK is not at war in Afghanistan according to your thesis since there have been 215 deaths in total over an 8 year period.
 
#18
I have to agree with Old Snowy about Diane Abbott she makes a hell of a lot more sense than many Labour politicians, bit too lovey dovey with that prat Portillo for my liking though.
 
#19
whitecity said:
InVinoVeritas said:
It is considered War, if there are more than 1000 casualties per annum according to what I have been tought regarding spectrums of conflict. The declaration of war is merely a legal nicetey.
So, the UK is not at war in Afghanistan according to your thesis since there have been 215 deaths in total over an 8 year period.
Total deaths per annum including non combatants, enemy and allied forces! :roll:
 
#20
InVinoVeritas said:
whitecity said:
InVinoVeritas said:
It is considered War, if there are more than 1000 casualties per annum according to what I have been tought regarding spectrums of conflict. The declaration of war is merely a legal nicetey.
So, the UK is not at war in Afghanistan according to your thesis since there have been 215 deaths in total over an 8 year period.
Total deaths per annum including non combatants, enemy and allied forces! :roll:
I think you'll find that Dunservin has already given us the definitive answer if you scroll up.
 

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