World War: Campaign for Besland
Copyright© 2016 by Lazlo Zalezac
Heads of State gathered in the general assembly taking seats that would normally have been occupied by their Ambassadors. No one seated there truly knew what to expect today. All they knew was that the countries which had been at war with the Jade Empire had signed contracts that obligated them to certain specific actions on this day. The reason that Heads of State displaced their Ambassadors was simple. The Jade Empire lived and died by the contract. No one wanted anything to happen that might result in them dying by the contract. It was ‘enlightened’ self interest at work.
Secretary General Mr. Jacques Descroix slowly moved to the podium at the front of the general assembly room. All eyes followed his progress. The expressions on people’s faces ranged from anger, to pity. Those who felt that the war was his fault tended to have the more visceral reaction to him, viewing him as an evil force who led them to a costly loss. Those who had sat on the sidelines arguing against the war felt that he was a pathetic figure.
He reached the podium and tapped the microphone. The thump thump that echoed back to him let him know that it was live. He took a deep breath and began his address.
“At the end of the first Great War, the nations of the world looked over the death and destruction wrought by war. Death had struck all walks of life, from small infants, to girls in the first blush of womanhood, teenage boys too young to shave, tired old men and women who struggled to wake in the morning to return to work, and men stout, strong, and brave. They were horrified by what they saw and wanted to prevent such a thing from happening again. War is a horrible thing.
“The authors of the Sviss Treaties felt it was impossible to remove the need for war entirely, since nations come into conflict over matters great and small. If war is unavoidable, let’s just remove the horror from it so that it is not so bad. To stave off the death and destruction, the nations of the world put into place legal restrictions on how a nation is to wage war in the form of two treaties: Sviss Treaty I and Sviss Treaty II.
“It was deemed a great idea to make it a crime for a solider to kill a nonparticipant in a war zone. Mom, Dad, the spouse, and the kids are all exempt from the consequences of war now. That, on the surface, appears to be a good thing. It removes the savagery of making war by removing indiscriminate killing. There’s no raping of the women, killing off of the old and infirm, and enslaving the kids. This gets rid of the death and misery which once was part and parcel of war.
“They added to the law that it was a crime to target residential buildings and hospitals. This way, the cities would remain standing since only military buildings and infrastructure which makes it possible to wage war are to be targeted. This gets rid of the wholesale destruction.
“By avoiding nonparticipants and residences, war becomes a little tiff between volunteers who know why they are there and have agreed to be there. Those volunteers are expendable since they are there because they want to be. Everything is nice and neat.
“NowThen war isbecame a nice little sanitary thing, which can be reported on the evening news and written about in the newspapers. It wasn’t a thing of horror, but a thing of entertainment. A reporter would be able to stand in front of a camera telling about how the war is heating up with a playground filled children playing in the background.
“It trivialized war. You like the color pink and I like to drink gin -- clearly we must fight since we believe different things. You go out and collect your rabble of an army by telling them it is important to the survival of the country. I’ll get my rabble of an army by telling them it is important to the survival of my country. You can sit back enjoying your pink room, and I’ll sit back and enjoy savoring my gin. When it is over, we’ll count bodies and see who won.
“At the end of the last Great War, people took stock and realized war was still pretty horrible. Although war is unavoidable, let’s try to limit war even more. The International Federation of Nations was founded as an organization of peace. It was envisioned as a place where nations could meet and resolve issues without having to resort to arms.
“Peace is founded upon a willingness of nations to subsume individual interests for the greater good and abide by International Laws. As an organization of peace, the IFN has always had a responsibility to enforce respect for International Law upon those nations and organizations who place self interest above the Law.
“As Secretary General I took that responsibility seriously. I watched events in the world and became convinced that Jade Force flagrantly violated International Law. I felt it had to be stopped and took steps to end Jade Force.
“A coalition of nations was formed under a resolution passed by the IFN to capture the International Criminal who led Jade Force in a gluttony of death in the nation of Palarma. In refusing to turn that criminal over for trail in an international court of law, I, and many others, believed that Jade Force proved its criminal nature.
“After years of fighting, all members of the coalition have surrendered. The IFN has been defeated by the so-called Jade Empire. In effect, the whole world has been defeated. Today we find ourselves in a position where the International Federation of Nations must surrender to the Jade Empire.
“As recently as yesterday, I felt justified in everything that I had done. I’m sure that many seated in this room may still feel justified. Then someone pointed out some interesting observations to me that I had missed. At the end of the Great War I, the major cities of Besland were rubble. Millions of people had been killed. Yet twenty years later, those nations which were hit hardest had recovered to the point where they could wage the Second Great War.
“It took those same nations fifteen years to recover from the death and destruction of the Second Great War. My interpretation was that the Sviss Treaties I and II had worked. It was pointed out to me that the ‘winners’ of the war had moved directly against the governments of the ‘losers’ of the war at the first opportunity. It had been a different kind of war than the First Great War.
“I suppose this latest war will go down in history as the Third Great War. Some of the countries who lost may require fifty or more years to recover. The hardest hit countries were the nations of Besland. Jade Force was scrupulous in abiding by the terms of the Sviss Treaties during that phase of the war. Almost no civilians were killed. They went after military targets and infrastructure, exactly as specified in the Sviss Treaties.
“The nations of Besland were, until recently, among the richest countries in the world. At this time, they are among the poorest. They are now having to deal with deaths from starvation and disease. They lack the basic infrastructure to deal with the causes effectively. Those are the same countries who once felt that the infrastructure was a legitimate target of war. The war in terms of bullets and bombs is over for them, but the death and misery caused by war remains.
“Ironically, the other defeated countries, those who were incorporated into the Jade Empire, emerged from this war stronger, richer, and more stable. These were the countries where I felt the greatest violations of the Sviss Treaties occurred. Yet, the war is over and they are now thriving.
“The Jade Empire has demanded that the Sviss Treaties be denounced by the signatories of it. Over the past twenty four hours, nearly every nation who had signed the treaty has denounced it. There are insufficient signatories to consider the Sviss Treaties effective. A vote was taken this morning to end IFN support of those treaties. The vote passed. As a result, the Treaties are null and void.
“As President of the International Federation of Nations, it is my duty to submit for a vote for the surrender of the IFN to the Jade Empire. The document of surrender was distributed to everyone last week. We will hold the vote now.”
In the meeting room of the conference center outside the Jade Academy, a number of people were seated around the table watching events unfold in the International Federation. As if in answer to a roll call of those present on the day the Jade Academy began, the group consisted of Nguyen Dung, General Wynn, Sargent Major Washington, Major Brown, Corporal Marks, and Jennifer Walsh. Sword Jana, Pen Ocival, Pen Hopo, Sword Lina, Shield Pua, and Sada. Privates Shoemaker and Conway, an odd pair of ducks by anyone’s reckoning, were present as well.
While taking a sip of his beer, Sargent Major Washington thought back to the first day he had seen the cadets. They were so small and so young. Now they were warriors, true followers of the Gods of War.
“Our little boys and girls have conquered the world,.” he said.
“Yes, they did,” General Wynn said. He took a sip of his Gin and Tonic and then added, “I’m really proud of them.”