One of the amazing realities of ISIS was the fact that this terror operation explicitly turned back the clock. It is a sign of our actual commitment to progress that we were shocked. ISIS was a case study in the resurrection of primitive cruelty. We did not reckon on such inhumanity. We thought we were past beheading.

Nor did we realize that ancient ruins of high significance were meant to be plundered or destroyed. ISIS was a wake-up call.

A human rights spur

Actually, ISIS might help nudge the field of human rights.

Even now Human Rights Groups tend to value the so-called Laws Of War as a standard for judging the violations of combat forces.

The problem with this approach is that it assumes the inevitability of war. Most wars are not inevitable. We can see that by understanding the present debate about the American Civil War.

To see war as inevitable is to give up on achieving nonviolence as a universal norm. We need to see war as the signature of a binary culture that refuses to think beyond two sides in any dispute. Most arguments can be nipped in the bud by a triadic approach.

Simply ask of any action if it is tolerant, helpful and democratic. These universal values are the test of any action whatsoever.

There is no problem they cannot resolve.

Triadic needs to be explicit

Human rights groups need to make an underlying triadic understanding plain. There is always a third way. As this is accepted, they will be unable to allow justice to be seen as observing the Laws of War.

Progress in moving to abolish war has been slow but measurable as the recent article noted above suggests.

The existence of nuclear weapons literally littering the globe is unspeakable. The universality of abuse in homes from Manhattan to the rural areas of Manchuria is a preventable scandal. The primitive justice systems that shame us all are still in place. There could be no greater progress than the achievement of universal non-violence.

We do not need laws of war

Existing laws of war make explicit such things as the need to protect hospital ships during wartime. In other words, they see that even in the midst of war there are crimes that might exceed the basic criminality of war itself. The problem with this logic is that it seeks to do good while condoning evil.

Evil is harm of all sorts. We must call it out as it happens. Refusing to flag the big kahuna -- war itself -- is a more and more curious anomaly in an era which calls for the unprecedented as a general approach to everything.