A Guide to War Etiquette
Bitterly researched for the greater glory of the Mother Paper
War is serious business. It requires a significant portion of your daily attention, but you need help. An important element in wartime is to justify your own actions. This is necessary in order to avoid criticism, and, if done correctly, can provide a variety of reasons for hostile action. History is riddled with conflicts that are won or lost based on the following factors, and any aspiring world leaders/ dictators/ dark lords would do well to follow the correct etiquette as set out below. For the sake of this guide, we will be referring to our pseudo-country as ‘Brian’, and the opposing state as ‘My Local Pub.’
During the course of the war, you will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers. It is important to make yourself look as much like the defender as possible, so that people’s sympathies are with you, and not who you are fighting. This can most easily be achieved by rephrasing the statement used by the opposition.
If the newspaper headline reads ‘Brian commits atrocities in my local pub’, you can change it to ‘atrocities were allegedly committed in my local pub by Brian’. This results in Brian taking a passive role in the described events, and adds an element of doubt without outright denying it. This leaves you with a more morally ambiguous and clearer conscience than otherwise, but will require state control of the media.
Brian is a crumbling, middle-aged country that has a failing economy and poor hygiene. My Local Pub on the other hand, is a multicultural and historic establishment that closes early on weekdays, excluding Fridays. These are the facts. However, you can still present yourself in a favourable light and them in a bad one. All that is required is diplomatic tact and a Thesaurus.
Now, Brian is an experienced, time-tested country that has a resilient populace, and mainly exports body spray. These are all positive things, and will help encourage the populace. Alternatively, you could play up the feebleness so that it appears to everyone not involved that you couldn’t possibly be the aggressor. I mean, just look at those big eyes. Awww!
Mockery can be a powerful tool. It takes various forms in everyday life, from enthusiastic amateurs on the playground to professional satirists on stage.
How this affects war etiquette is as follows: the chances are that if you are at war with someone, you are disagreeing with them over at least one point. By riling them up by insulting their political views, education system, and football teams, they are more likely to react in a negative manner. Anger clouds the mind, and on a national level, this can cause havoc. Nine times out of ten the economy will drop into the gutter purely from lack of self-esteem.
In an ideal world, people would all think, feel, and act the same way as Brian. As it is, they do not, and that very much scares Brian. To compensate, you are fully capable of utilising your war propaganda machine to make My Local Pub seem as dark and dirty as you like. Take advantage of the gross stereotypes that your people have created. The judgement of your people is only limited by their experience and thought, which for the purposes of this step, should be as minimal as possible. Knowledge is the bane of prejudice: keeping them ignorant means keeping them aggravated!
This is an obvious step that more than a few people forget to consider. When invading a country, it is helpful to have the ‘liberated’ populace on your side. As such, make sure to affirm to the populace that you are here to help by issuing orders to them, without any room for query or objection on their part. Open-questions are a big no-no. Always be sure to direct them, and to not offer them a podium for counter arguments. If followed incorrectly, this could lead to dissent, rebellion, and smug looks from your peers whenever you walk by.
6. Grammatical Ambiguity
It is largely considered a safe option to be as bias towards your own cause as much as possible. Present your side as ‘liberators’ instead of ‘invaders’, as this reflects positively on yourself and Brian. Or, adopt a more neutral tone to suit the required standpoint. Ambiguity keeps the public calm. Use ‘collateral damage’ to refer to their loved ones, or ‘deliver packages’ to My Local Pub. The more avoidance you deploy, the less it feels like an actual war.
While you’re at it, live in denial and avoid responsibility by distancing yourself from the horrors you inflict. Retreat into a fantasy world. Dive under your covers and stay there. The voices can’t follow you forever…
Scapegoating is so-called because goats were blamed for thirteen consecutive bank robberies in the early twentieth century. It is the act of condemning an innocent soul so as to preserve your own integrity. The trick is to pick a group that is in the minority, which is not so small that people will not have heard of them. This style of accusation is different from a generic style. A generic accusation will usually involve two parties, a judge, and two lawyers with morals as loose as the change in their pockets. Scapegoating is simply pointing a finger at someone else.
8. Divine Mandate
In the modern world, the power of religion is vastly underestimated. As far as war is concerned, proclaiming God as the inspiration for your ‘just war’ will most likely fall on deaf ears. It is far more tactful to drop in the occasional allusion to religious concepts. This suggests a higher moral authority. Having God on your side is a valuable asset in times of war. Stay vigilant in case of enemy spies hoping to steal God for their war effort.
With these tactics in place, you are sure to win the day. Now get out there and show them who's the better warmonger!
(Disclaimer: A Shambles Ramble does not condone the forced vassalization or full annexation of any country, state, or territory. Please consult your local United Nations before ignoring them and doing it anyway.)