Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Center/Program

Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security

Center/Program

Center for Law and Philosophy

Abstract

War is with us more than ever. This is true despite the efforts of the United Nations Charter to ban the concept of war from the vocabulary of its member states.1 The preferred term is armed conflict. True, the Charter does refer to the Second World War, but apart from this concession to historically entrenched labels, the W word appears only once-when the Charter refers to ridding the world of the scourge of war.2 The Geneva Conventions, adopted a few years later, follow the same pattern.3 George Orwell could not be more amused. We change the vocabulary and think we have changed the world.

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