- May 2014
You are absolutely correct that once one side chooses to ignore the rules of war, the other side could become more likely to likewise ignore the rules of war. This is sort of similar to international law, where if one party chooses to ignore or disregard it, well, other parties might also become more tempted to disregard it if they will feel that they will have a sufficiently good reason to do so.War has rules for reasons. Oppoents rarely disagreed entirely about how tings hsuld function andthere is often agreement about wider power staructures and society even if there is disagreememnt about who hold what posts or posistiuons. War becames for expensive if the losing side keeps mobilizing resources and must be utterly defeated. Almost all wars end in political settlement. If the enemy will not be taken prisoner and they and victories became much more expensive. people will be reluctant to support a regime that makes all of them expendable. Once civislians are legimate targets why should the enemy play by the rules,. How do find who9 is actually the enemy, if just keep killing mostly civilians , your regime will make more enimies.
BTW, would you classify World War II as the exception to the rule in regards to wars ending in a negotiated peace?