War

the first of 2 topics that came up in a conversation with Ben, so WAR, would you ever fight, is it wrong or are there circumstances that demand it?

I think that the question of war is a very hard one because personally I’m torn between two principals. People should defend the principals they believe in. In our postmodern world we’re frequently taught to drop all our standards and just about accept anything as ‘personal expression’. I’m against this and believe we should maintain certain values and principals that we are prepared to fight for (not necessarily in a physical/violent way). Democracy is one such principal that I think it is worth fighting for.

On the other hand, I believe in non-violent methods. I don’t think any of us understand how terrible war must be. We glorify it continually and forget how harrowing an experience it must be. We even ‘celebrate’ war in my opninion on Remembrance Day and it’s not just ‘honouring’ those that died. It’s also glorifying our victory and fighting in general. I also believe that in some ways it’s wrong to interfere in other countries - frequently the West assumes that its methods are best and most civilised and America tries to infringe its principals on other countries on the other side of the planet. This too is wrong.

This is why I’m very unsure at the moment about war - it’s a very difficult question.

while i don’t believe violence solves everything there are some situations taht demand a violence response, eg. the oppression exterted upon the russian people byt the then tsarist regime, the irish civil war and the wholesale genocide that the british inflicted upon the people, etc etc. in cases such as those then i think a violence response is required, but in other situations i think i can be extremely dangerous.

going to war isn’t a step to be taken lightly and every subsequent action has to be weighed, eg Guantanamo bay and the illgeal imprisonment of taliban memebers. but war has been trivialised to such an extent that we are forgetting what it is really like. i talked to my grandfahter who served 2 tours with the RAF in world war two and he is very worried about how uneducated our generation are. we see so called war on the news each night but it is either special forces blowing up compunds of laser guided bombing raids from 40,000 feet. but we don’t know the reality, sure we watch black hawk down and saving private ryan but at the end of it all those are just films and we are still glamorising it.

[This message has been edited by macca (edited 12 February 2002).]

i know it’s probably normally a case of national pride that makes people go to war and fight, but i see war as a complete waste. it’s a waste of lives, a waste of time and a waste of money. and for what? it all seems so futile to me. for instance, the hundred years war thing. surely about 70 years into it people were forgetting what they were fighting about in the first place.
i know it’s not really possible, but things would happen much quicker and much more effectively if the people fighting against eachother would stop and try and talk it through.

war makes me cross because it’s so pointless and never really achieves anything. i hear english people say “We won the war” and i think, no, no one won the war. how can anyone win when so many people died needlessly.

i would hardly call world war two pointless, would you have left the NAzi’s to conquer the world and let them exterminate races?

WW2 wasn’t started to stop the Nazi’s exterminate the Jews. and, on that point, the Nazi’s are not the only ones to blame for the extermination of the jews. i can post my coursework essay if you like, to prove the point further.

and before anyone starts, i am not condoning the Nazi’s, i don’t think for a moment what they did was at all right, but the number of death would have been considerably less had it not been for other groups, like the allies, the church and some Jewish community leaders.

it doesn’t matter why the war was started the fact remains that without the war the nazis would have continued to exterminate the jews etc. you may find it very easy to make judgements on the allied commanders, jewish community leaders, etc, but if you were placed in their circumstances you would probably react in a very similar way.

Wars are without doubt terrible and should be avoided.
But should they be avoided at all costs?

The problem with Hitler and the Nazis was that no amount of appeasement could have prevented war when that was their fundamental aim.

When faced with such an unavoidable war, surely it’s right to fight in order to bring it to a conclusion and protect our loved ones and/or the values we wish to uphold?

Lena: in the Hundred Years’ War, obviously an aggressive aristocracy on both the French and English sides was the root cause of the conflict- but didnt the ordinary people involved in the fighting have a right to protect themselves from invading (and potentially invading) armies?

Macca: the Russian revolution was as much about the high number of casualties on the Eastern Front during WWI as it was about ideology- can you justify the ensuing civil war as rival ideologies fought unecessarily for supremacy?
And if Stalin and his purges, etc were the price of ‘liberation’ from the Tsarist regime, was it a worthwhile sacrifice?

flamin - why were there huge casualties on the eastern front, the simple answer is the tsar, it was a needless war that russia didn’t even need to get involved in. the tsar brought about communism through his own incompetence, disregard for human life and his utter contempt for those who questioned him.

NB Stalin was as much a communist as hitler. calling stalin a communist is like calling hitler a liberal.

who said anything about making judgements? i was merely making a valid point that people stood by and did nothing whilst the Nazi’s killed whoever they wanted out of the way, not just Jews.
and you can’t make judgements on how people would react to certain situations. i very much doubt i would have handed over my own people, but you can never say if you have never been faced with the situation.
so are you saying war is a good thing?

i am saying under certain circumstances war is a necessary evil. eg. WWII should have been fought, WWI shouldn’t have been. to break oppression, create equality, to restore freedom etc then war is acceptable. it is not acceptable for materialistic reasons, land disputes and petty royal squabbles.

okay, i see your point. but would it not be better to not fight at all? surely you can’t deem the waste of thousands of lives necessary?
i just think it would be better if war didn’t have to be necessary, but if things could be worked out without so much pointless death.

i wish it were true, but often countries will come up against un-negotionable situations, eg serbia in 1914, or russia in WWII. and in those situations at least one leader is a dictator and it is usually impossible to negotiate with them.

I see Lena's point of view, but it only works if every party agrees not to fight. Personally I take Macca's point of view that it can be necessary - there are nutters out there who will not negotiate, and if necessary, if one side insists on killing people and breaking fundamental human rights (e.g. Nazis) and doesn't heed negotiations, then force may be necessary. You can't just not fight in such a circumstance because you are letting people die (far more in the long term maybe than if war is taken up and the conflict resolved).

This is exactly the point of view propagated by Hitler to justify his aggressive actions- and it is widely agreed in the historical community that without Hitler the Second World War would not have occurred, at least not on the scale that it did.

I'm sure feminists might also have something to say on the issue. Also your other posts seem to indicate a religious background- how can you therefore advocate such views?

War and conflict are blatantly not the natural state, or why did the Russian Revolution come about (assuming that the First World War was the most significant factor), and why do wars ultimately end?

I’d love to say that war is never necessary and it’s an abhorant waste of life. But unfortunately human nature doesn’t fit this model. Greed, power and money are factors that it seems are more influential than the idea of peace.

Thus situations are created, when war becomes pretty unavoidable, unless you want your land, lifestyle and possibly even life (ethnic clensing) taken away. It’s tragic, but it seems this will always be the case. History has taught us one inaliable truth. Peace never lasts long. Look at the world today for more than one example.

Olly

incidentally - the greeks (well some of them at least i think) thought that war brings out the best in people. honour and duty and brotherhood and all that.

I would not fight in a war. but I would shoot you if you threatened someone I cared about.

I would most definatley fight in a war against the Peoples “Republic” of China. It is extremely corrupt and has a closed society. Even internet content is monitored. I also plan on going the ROTC programs that the Army or USMC has to offer.

Personally I think my generation needs a draft. Just for the purpose of whipping us into shape, physically, and in the sense of respect for authority, discipline and how to be a good citizen. So many of my peers are entangled in the ghetto culture that glorifies criminal activity.

For those of us who have experienced war, especially the kind of “war” nations face today - full of insurgencies, terrorists, and other forces of disorder, it is near impossible to remain detached and say “I would never fight in a war.” Nor is it so easy to opt out through C.O. status after one has seen what the truly evil people in this world are capable of doing. From one perspective the great powers of the world seem to be forcing their own principles on the less powerful nations of the world. However, from another perspective, powerful nations can be pseudo-benevolent forces, even if their true goals are purely self-interested. Can we call this collateral goodness? For example, although the case for the Iraq war is a difficult one, there is without a doubt a battle against very evil people taking place right now…