War-is it ever justified?

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Azrael001 » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:59 pm UTC

The exceptions that you used are similar to the one that I described. But Adalwolf said:
Adalwolf wrote:Any war is justifiable, especially resource wars. If country A needs a certain resource for its well being that country B has, then country A can take what it needs.
This does not take into account the fact that country B might need this exact same resource for the same reasons.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dazmilar » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:55 pm UTC

Unless someone has a What-if, alternate-history time machine, I'm going to take any of these claims of what could have been done to avoid a war in specific situations with a tremendous helping of salt. If you're going to take the stance that war is always unjustified, a pacifistic stance, then in my mind, you have the intellectual obligation to answer: What specific measures will lead to a peaceful resolution, what evidence exists that those measures would work, and what criteria do you use to determine whether or not a pacifist approach has failed.

The example of avoiding the American Revolutionary War by stopping shipments caught my eye. First off, what evidence do you have that stopping shipments to England would achieve the ends the colonists were hoping to achieve. Secondly, what evidence do you have that stopping the shipments to England would not cause England to precipitate a military conflict? In this second case, if it's likely that stopping shipments to England would cause military conflict, you're not really taking action that avoids a war as much as you're shifting the responsibility, which strikes me as the playground child's mentality of, "I'm innocent! HE started it! (points a finger)" Thirdly, can it be shown that such an action was even feasible? Remember the context here. We have thirteen separate colonies. How exactly are we going to get all thirteen colonies to stop trade with England? I suppose we could form some kind of... constitutional convention, to get everyone together to talk about it. However, isn't the very act of forming a unified group with sway over the colonies supplanting the lawful government in England and an act of treason?

Also mentioned was the killing of civilians as being heinous or wrong or such and such. Context helps here, too. Because in any total war scenario, the line between military and civilian becomes incredibly blurred. Detroit may be a city populated by civilians, but if you change the assembly lines to manufacture tanks instead of cars, Detroit is now a military target, as are the civilians who work the assembly lines. It's part of the war machine. While civilians died in the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these were both military targets. Chosen because of their importance in part of an invasion of mainland Japan. That is to say, America did not know whether the bombings would cause the Japanese to surrender, and therefore chose sites that were important to their continued strategy in case the Japanese did not surrender.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby crystalguy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:33 am UTC

Avelion wrote:I don't think it is possible for a war to be justified for both sides. A war defending one's own soil could be justified for the defender but not for the attacker. Most wars aren't justified for either side. Even World War II wasn't justified for either if you ask me. From what I understand the original plan was to ship the Jews to Madagascar and the death camps were only enacted once that became impossible. Once we figured out that they were killing them off in horrific fashion it made for some potent propaganda to try to justify the war to the citizens. Of course, having read little about this particular area of history yet, I could be completely wrong.


BattleMoose wrote:The actual holocaust, about 5.8million people, and thats with intervention, undoubtedly this number would have been a great deal higher had England/USA not intervened. And its not a questions of what is worse or not, but wether the war was "justifiable" or not, these are different concepts. And yes, there are many cases that are comparable to the holocaust, Pol Pot, Stalin, Chairman Mao, it really is a very long list.


These ideas show remarkable ignorance as to the causes of World War 2. Honestly, I'm surprised no one's called you guys out on it. Is this the sort of revisionist history their teaching in high school these days?!?

WW2 had nothing, I repeat nothing to do with Germany's treatment of Jews. Most countries views towards the holocaust were ambivalent at best, and moderately supportive at worst. In the early part of the 20th century, eugenics was popular, and hatred towards Jews was pretty much universal. Look into how many countries turned Jews escaping from Germany away (often knowing they would be slaughterer as soon as they returned to Germany). England, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, all of these countries systematically excluded/limited the number of Jews they allowed to immigrate. If Hitler had kept his imperialistic tendencies in check, and focused his efforts entirely on eliminating the Jews of Germany, no war would have taken place. As sick as it may sound, the idea of exterminating the Jews may have even caught on, especially in particularly racist societies such as France.

WW2 started not because of the holocaust, but because of Germany's invasion of Poland. At the moment, alliances kicked in, England and France immediately declared war on Germany (but did nothing beyond that except sit on their collective asses). Things didn't really get rolling until Germany bypassed the Marginaux lane and rolled into Paris.

The holocaust is often attributed as the cause of WW2, but in reality it was basically a non-issue.

Too lazy to look for links, so here's the wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_Second_World_War

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby qinwamascot » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:32 am UTC

Thanatos wrote:
Image


I find this sign to be misleading.

Slavery: was not really ended by the civil war. At the very least, this is not what the war was about. It was about the south seceding. Which was because they all got mad that they lost the election. So basically they were a bunch of losers. The north wasn't really any better, as they tried to force people who didn't accept the social contract into it anyway. I don't think either side was justified here.

Nazism: we didn't enter WWII because of that at all. Personally, I think WWII was totally unjustified on every part. Ending Nazism was somewhat beneficial, but not the intended consequence.

Fascism: this is so ill-defined a term we can't even really classify it as a negative. Ending it was never a goal either.

Communism: I question whether ending this is even a good thing. But regardless, the USSR fell because of internal pressure. Historians generally agree on this.

Basically what the sign is saying is that war is good because we can eradicate opinions that are different from our own. Is that a justification to go to war? Would we be justified invading, say, South Korea, and then adding South Koreanism to the sign? Then, eventually, that would become a negative term. Does that make it any better.

Also, I question whether independence is justification. Can I declare independence by myself then go and shoot random people? What if a few of my friends join me? What if half the country joins me? It's a slippery slope.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dream » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:38 am UTC

I agree, and would add that the sign ignores the possibility of solutions to these problems beyond warfare. Slavery was abolished in Britain, for instance, without any bloodshed whatsoever. WWII wasn't fought to end fascism, it was fought because several totalitarian reigemes overstepped the boundary of what was considered acceptable expansion, and threatened powerful (mostly) democracies. If it were about fascism, why wasn't Spain invaded? And why wasn't Italy invaded for stealing a chunk of Africa? Why wasn't Nazi Germany invaded for re-arming?

Also, I question whether independence is justification.


Independence isn't a justification, but to people who might write such a sign, being a minority in ethnic terms is exactly equal to being persecuted. Therefore, independence is always a good thing, and always worth killing over. Even if it's just about putting someone else's head on the currency. I find it strange that so much thinking along such lines goes on in the world's biggest federated state. In any case, the ultimate means by which independence is ratified and recognised is democratic. I sympathise with people who resist violent oppression, even if they do so violently. But should Catalunya invade Madrid because they feel culturally distinct? No.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Outchanter » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:00 am UTC

crystalguy wrote:These ideas show remarkable ignorance as to the causes of World War 2. Honestly, I'm surprised no one's called you guys out on it. Is this the sort of revisionist history their teaching in high school these days?!?

In my first post in this thread I mentioned that Hitler was only attacked because he invaded other countries. However, without those invasions Germany's genocide would have been much less extensive, since most of the victims were from Eastern Europe - several million Jewish and Catholic civilians were killed in Poland alone.

Dream wrote:But should Catalunya invade Madrid because they feel culturally distinct? No.

But that cuts both ways. If Catalunya peacefully declares independence and sets up an independent governing body, should Madrid invade them?

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:38 am UTC

crystalguy wrote:WW2 had nothing, I repeat nothing to do with Germany's treatment of Jews.


So?

Forgiving the possible historical misconceptions of some of the other posters, does the revelation that countries got involved in World War 2 without any intentions or interest in helping the Jews change the fact that the defeat of Nazi Germany put an end to the Holocaust? The ultimate question of the thread is whether or not War is ever justified. We can argue all we want about the specifics of why every country goes into a war, but we have the ability to look through the lens of history and know not only the reasons why a country entered a war, but also the end result of its entrance into that war. We know the facts of all of these examples. We know, factually, that World War 2 ended the Holocaust. Was World War 2 justified?

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dream » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:55 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:
Dream wrote:But should Catalunya invade Madrid because they feel culturally distinct? No.

But that cuts both ways. If Catalunya peacefully declares independence and sets up an independent governing body, should Madrid invade them?

Of course not. Was that implied in my post? A better example would be Scottish independence, which the UK could legitimately object to with respect to their having invested very heavily in infrastructure in Scotland, and wanting the economic benefit of that investment to accrue to the entire kingdom. The UK would obviously not be justified at all in militarily compelling Scotland to rejoin the Union. Because nothing in the dispute is worth a human life. However, if the UK has a case to argue as to why Scotland should stay in the Union, it can resist the separation in non-violent ways. It can work internationally to withold legitimacy from the new government. It can divest from Scottish business. It could basically bribe Scotland back in with investment promises, made directly to electorates. I don't agree with any of these courses of action, but to argue that war against a minority could be started by that minority unilaterally declaring independence dodges the real issue. The war is started by the people who unnecessarily turn to violence, and unnecessary is any time useful options are available. And those options are there.

Dazmilar wrote:The ultimate question of the thread is whether or not War is ever justified. We can argue all we want about the specifics of why every country goes into a war, but we have the ability to look through the lens of history and know not only the reasons why a country entered a war, but also the end result of its entrance into that war.


When you go into a war for selfish reasons, and afterwards invent altruistic reasons, that's rationalization. It's enough to say that WWII, for most of the allies, was about self defence. That justifies the conflict adequately. But to allow war to be justified by subsequent findings of good effects of the war is crazy. The Iraq invasion, for instance, could be defended in such terms a decade from now, if peace finally is ever achieved, because it ultimately was. But in fact, the reasons for the Iraq invasion cannot account for the High War Crime of Aggression, and the catastrophic consequences for Iraqi citizens. Making something up afterwards merely adds insult to injury.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:04 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:Forgiving the possible historical misconceptions of some of the other posters, does the revelation that countries got involved in World War 2 without any intentions or interest in helping the Jews change the fact that the defeat of Nazi Germany put an end to the Holocaust? The ultimate question of the thread is whether or not War is ever justified. We can argue all we want about the specifics of why every country goes into a war, but we have the ability to look through the lens of history and know not only the reasons why a country entered a war, but also the end result of its entrance into that war. We know the facts of all of these examples. We know, factually, that World War 2 ended the Holocaust. Was World War 2 justified?
There are two closely related questions here. The first is whether or not WWII was justified at the time it was fought, i.e. was it justified for the powers that fought in WWII to enter that war? Note that under this question, the end effects of the war are irrelevant--all that matters is what they knew/did in entering the war. (If you were in 1939 when WWII was first starting, would it have been justified to enter that war.)

The second is whether or not WWII was justified historically. Looking back with the aid of hindsight, was WWII justified? Obviously, this can take into account the causes *and* the consequences of the war.

These two questions may or may not have the same answer. Trying to answer one question through the view of the other is futile.

(For the record, for the first question my answer is Yes for Britain, France, and the USSR, Maybe for the USA, Japan, and Italy, and No for Germany. For the second question, my answer is yes, with the caveat that although the war was overall a relatively justifiable war, certain actions within it are quite unjustifiable.)

EDIT: partially ninja'd by Dream.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dream » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:14 am UTC

Dare I ask, what leads you to think that Japan was justified in "entering" WWII? I was under the impression their imperialism in Asia was well advanced by 1939, and their wars were wholly aggressive/expansionist.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:19 am UTC

Dream wrote:Dare I ask, what leads you to think that Japan was justified in "entering" WWII? I was under the impression their imperialism in Asia was well advanced by 1939, and their wars were wholly aggressive/expansionist.
They had been having some wars with Russia and China, but I'm not sure how much of that was imperial and how much was more justified than that, which is why I put maybe. I don't know enough about why Japan entered WWII to make a concrete decision on whether or not they were justified.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dream » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:23 am UTC

I wonder, also, can intent to fight an unjust war be attributed as a "war aim", even where there are technically other, better justifications. so that revenge for past injustice is properly separated from self defence. I wonder does Pearl Harbour have to justify the atomic bombings, or can the war spiral out of control and not have to have the same aims and justifications at the end as the ones that lined up the belligerents at the beginning.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:33 am UTC

Dream wrote: I wonder does Pearl Harbour have to justify the atomic bombings, or can the war spiral out of control and not have to have the same aims and justifications at the end as the ones that lined up the belligerents at the beginning.
I think so. I prefer to look at wars both macroscopically and microscopically and they can be completely different. The justification for the Vietnam War is different than the justification for the My Lai Massacre. It is very possible for a war to spiral out of control.

Look at it this way, if the justification for war was constant throughout the entire war, then all any nation would have to do is start a war with a good justification and then change the war to whatever they want. Country A can declare war on Country B for self-defense, and then escalate the war to the point where they are slaughtering Country B's innocent civilians and invading neutral neighbor Country C. <sarcasm>But hey, the original cause was okay, so we can do whatever we want now.</sarcasm>
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:41 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:The actual holocaust, about 5.8million people, and thats with intervention, undoubtedly this number would have been a great deal higher had England/USA not intervened. And its not a questions of what is worse or not, but wether the war was "justifiable" or not, these are different concepts. And yes, there are many cases that are comparable to the holocaust, Pol Pot, Stalin, Chairman Mao, it really is a very long list.


These ideas show remarkable ignorance as to the causes of World War 2. Honestly, I'm surprised no one's called you guys out on it. Is this the sort of revisionist history their teaching in high school these days?!?

I wasn't discussing the causes of WWII here, merely only commenting on the idea of using the holocaust as a justifiable reason to start a war. In the event, neither France/England/USA/SU had any idea of what the Germans were doing to the Jewish populations at the time that they declared war/war was declared upon him. And I know my history just fine thank you very much.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby luketheduke » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

This is already a page old, but I want to respond.

Bubbles McCoy wrote:
luketheduke wrote:
pkuky wrote:independence and self defence are abstract principles. your life is worth much more then[sic] them.

Is it?
I don't think my personal life is worth a lot. There are however abstract principles I hold dear. Maybe I would die for them. Now would I kill other people to defend those principles? Not so much, I think.


What would hold you back from killing them? If your own life is worth the defense of these principles, what right to life has another who is trying to force them from you?


Because I have no right nor any accurate method to evaluate the worth of anybody's life apart from my own.
Some things might be worth dying for. But can they ever be worth killing for?

On the other hand, there is killing in self-defense... just happens, I guess.

PS: I will check on it, but I believe Wikipedia gives a rather accurate picture of the causes and reasons for World War II. Me being German means I was taught about it every single year of school, so yeah, to describe the beginning of WWII as "England/USA intervening to stop the Holocaust" is just wrong. A lot.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:27 pm UTC

Yes, there are plenty of things worth killing for. If someone decides to trample your rights for his own sake, he sacrifices his.

Even if WWII wasn't fought over the Holocaust, the Allies had good reason to suspect that they would eventually be Hitler's target if they just waited around for too long... preemtive self defense isn't a bad idea when your opponent has a history of breaking armistices and wanton invasions.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:34 pm UTC

That's what he said:
Spoiler:
Image


Not that I disagree with you.

The problem with deciding on whether or not war is justified is compounded by people's differing values of human life (and the difference between what we say it is, and how we act like it is).
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:44 pm UTC

I know what you mean with Bush and I hestitated even bringing up what I said, but I think there's a key difference between my qualifier and the Bush doctrine. The Nazi's were a much more dangerous enemy and at the time of war had demonstrated their will and ability to invade and dominate what was once thought to be major powers. Saddam, while we arguably had moral standing to remove him after the first Gulf War, was not a threat to any nation when we decided to invade, groupthinked WMD's aside. Hitler was actively demonstrating himself to be a clear and present danger to the world, Saddam was not; therefore war with the former was justified but not with the latter (I know you're not disagreeing with me here per say, but I felt my views needed clarification).

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:52 pm UTC

It's probably for the best that you explained. I understood, and was mainly interested in posting a variation of that's what she said, but there are those that would (deliberately?) misconstrue your words and bad things would happen.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Silas » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:54 pm UTC

Just for the record, Az, Bush's distinctive claim was about attacking potential enemies before they became a threat. There's an important distinction between going to war with Germany because we think they might attack us and going to war with Iraq because we think they might soon become able to to threaten us.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:57 pm UTC

I see. It was too long ago for me to remember clearly, and I don't live in the USA, so I didn't get bombarded by it in the news all that much. (I don't live under a rock, I swear.)
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:06 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:Yes, there are plenty of things worth killing for. If someone decides to trample your rights for his own sake, he sacrifices his.
So you would think that Hitler was justified in starting WWII then? After all, the British and French had trampled the rights and sovereignty of Germany, what with the Treaty of Versailles and all that. I guess he was perfectly justified in fighting against them because they had trampled his (and his country's) rights for their own sake.

What makes this any different than what you were claiming?

EDIT: you cannot make a blanket statement that all trampling of rights are sufficient excuse for war without giving everyone who would start wars a nice excuse to use.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Silas » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:16 am UTC

Please. The rights-trampling terms of Versailles had become moot points long before the Anschluss or the Czechoslovak crisis. Germany's sovereignty had been successfully reestablished with the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the expansion of the SA.

The aims of the war were all about securing land and resources. Liebensraum.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:20 am UTC

Frankly, Germany did have good cause to go to war with France and Great Britain should they have tried to hold up the Treaty, their national structure was severly impeded by their economic meddling/taxing. If Germany built up an army, declared the Treaty of Versailles invalid and fought with whoever tried to make Germany say otherwise, they would not be in the wrong. However, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, the Soviet Union, etc were not countries that they had any moral justification for waring with by my definition.

EDIT - I think Silas did a good enough job of covering this, a bit of a double post

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:23 am UTC

It was stated that someone trampling your rights was sufficient cause to declare war on them. Regardless of whether or not Germany had remilitarized already (which was still illegal at the time, so I'm not sure that you could claim it was moot; the only reason no one had tried to stop him was that the League of Nations lacked any real power), they still could declare war on France/Britain to insure that they wouldn't continue to restrict Germany's rights. He would not have been justified in invading Poland, but he would have had every right to invade France.

Edit:
Bubbles McCoy wrote:However, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, the Soviet Union, etc were not countries that they had any moral justification for waring with by my definition.
I would agree with this.

EDIT:
Silas wrote:The aims of the war were all about securing land and resources. Liebensraum.
Much like every other war, including those that were claimed to have been fought to protect rights/freedom? No matter what the war is really about, people will always claim that they are doing it to protect their freedoms.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Silas » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:32 am UTC

No. The Germans couldn't say they attacked France (of course, they didn't- France declared war on Germany) to get back the right to have a standing army, because the Germans already had one, and the French didn't try to stop them. There was no further issue of Germany's sovereignty being restricted.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:35 am UTC

I guess it boils down to what point in history you're looking at. For a time when France was actively trying to control industrial sectors of Germany, war would have been appropriate. Once they had laid off and the Treaty, while still in place, had little active enforcement and rights were being oppressed in name only, Germany could have just claimed that it has no effect and deal with the resultant consequences.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby les jeux sont faites » Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:17 am UTC

If I may be so bold, I wish to contribute some theory on Just War. In order to justify going to war, the principles of Jus ad bellum are to be observed:

    Proper Authority: The country going to war with another must have the proper authority to do so. This alludes to the UN.
    Just Cause: Self Defence or Grave Injustice (See UN Charter, Chapter VII especially Art. 51).
    Just Intentions: As in, you are not going to war to better your self-interest and the benefits of the war must outweigh the costs.
    Proportionate: The response to wrongdoing (genocide, invasion) must be proportionate. That is, don't fire ICBMs if all that happened was a stray shot.
    Reasonable Chance of Success: Do not go to war unless there's a good chance you will win.
    Force as a Last Resort: Pretty self-explanatory.

Further to this are Jus in bello and Jus post bellum, which tell us how we should conduct ourselves in war and how we should behave when the war is over.

But this is the black and white. War is an instrument of policy, as Clausewitz wrote. He added that one of the components of war was the enmity of the people. This hints at an emotional component to war. Now, neurologists have shown that the 'moral brain' is defined as 'a network of closely interconnected regions that integrates the diverse functions involved in moral appraisals' (Moll & de Oliveira-Souza, 2007). So what has been shown is that moral judgements are made in the emotional centres of the brain.

Furthermore, emotions and moral judgements depend on cultural sensitivities. Thus, unless we find some sort of moral absolutes (something many philosophers are still working on) that are transparent to culture, there will always be disagreements as to moral justifications. The war on terror is a good example: both sides think they're doing the right thing. Are they both right, both wrong, or is one right and the other wrong?

Should a head of state do all they can to safeguard their citizens? Does that include pre-emptive strikes? And when it comes to terrorism, unless you pre-empt an attack, it will be too late, so is that morally acceptable? Suddenly, Just War Theory becomes a little more gray when you start playing 'what-if'.

None of these questions are easy; nor should they be.
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. -Anatole France

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Sockmonkey » Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

I'm put in mind of the prisoners dilemma scenario and the so called drama theory. Even if war results in more deaths than surrender, the fact that the victim is willing to fight a war that may cost the agressor dearly sometimes keeps the agressor from attacking. So in that scenario, war is justified as a preventitive measure.
Conversely, this is also why the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were neccessary because the shock value of this new weapon startled Japan out of it's fight-to-the-death mindset long enough for them to realize that the fight wouldn't be worth it.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Outchanter » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:59 pm UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Even if war results in more deaths than surrender, the fact that the victim is willing to fight a war that may cost the aggressor dearly sometimes keeps the aggressor from attacking.

A good example of that is nuclear deterrence. Is mutually assured destruction (MAD) moral? Even if an enemy country uses nuclear weapons on you, that doesn't mean all their civilians deserve to die. But without the threat of MAD, crazy dictators might be tempted to use nuclear weapons without worrying about losing power, which would be orders of magnitude worse.

Paradoxically the main purpose of nuclear weapons ends up being to prevent the use of nuclear weapons.
Last edited by Outchanter on Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:59 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby functionally_stupid » Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:32 pm UTC

Avelion wrote:I honestly don't know what I would have done. I probably would have tried to go the old fashioned way of taking territory until you get to the enemy's leader and capture him. Or at the very least if the atom bomb was necessary(I think they're an insult to science myself) I would have aimed it at the emperor's head. Seeing their god king die in a hellstorm by our hands would have broken the will to fight of any soldier at the time. Targeting civilians exclusively, however, is such a despicable and cowardly act that I almost wish we had lost so Truman would have went to court for war crimes.


This is the part where I disagree with you on your grasp of Japanese culture, yay!

At the time the atom bombs were dropped, the entire country was ready to fight until every last one of them was dead, in accordance with the wishes of the emperor. They stopped fighting after we dropped the bombs not necessarily because it was a sensible move and they didn't want to be annhiliated, but because their emperor ordered a complete reversal of policy. It would have been inconceivable for them to reverse that policy *without* the will of the emperor behind it. It was only a few decades after the Meiji Restoration - nationalism, specifically loyalty to the emperor, was at an all-time high. If we had killed the emperor at that point, I think it would've been much more likely that Japan would have retaliated in the extreme. Young men *aspired* to join the kamikaze groups - one young man who was dropped out them due to a personnel change actually committed suicide.

Even today... *shakes head* Well, as an example, there was a case a couple of years ago, very unfortunate, where a man accidentally named his infant son Hirohito, having forgotten that the name of the current Emperor was Hirohito. In order to apologize for this and atone, he murdered his baby and then committed suicide.

/rant

To throw my own two cents in: Whether or not war is justifiable depends laregly upon how you define war - and, perhaps more importantly, how you define justice. Those things can be debated endlessly.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Dezign » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:41 am UTC

functionally_stupid wrote:Whether or not war is justifiable depends laregly upon how you define war - and, perhaps more importantly, how you define justice. Those things can be debated endlessly.


This seems to be the crux of the topic. Justice is necessarily idiosyncratic to the society that decides it. It's a subjective construction, and therefore will never be completely decided solely by appeals to carefully selected bits of historic precedence, emotional evocation or intuition pumps. There's no banner colored with Justice we can discern in one army over another, no Justice particles that naturally create the "holy" side of a war. The justification of any conflict can be declared and rationalized by both sides; every culture has an historically documented observer bias leading to an assertion that the winners of history were the "correct" side.

That there is no objectively determined, natural causal factor for "justice" leads to arguments that have the potential to be, by the declared definitions on both sides, definitively unwinnable. That the topic of justification for war is set up in ways that allow for insolubility should show what we actually need is a better question.

Something with a focus on what is objectively warranted, perhaps analyzing the prevention of wars - instead of planning whom war should be declared against by some contrived metric of opinions, no matter how influential or war-supported the culture that holds those opinions may be.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby MartianInvader » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:14 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:There was an interesting blog post by Scott Adams on this subject recently that, summed up, said that Big War is a thing of the past after Iraq and Afghanistan as they have shown us the even "victory" is no longer economically viable. Countries quite simply can't afford to go to war while staring a growing bill in the face with no profit. I don't know if I would say it's over, as I don't want to sound to WWI-esque, but it is an interesting bit of reading.


I don't have the numbers, but I'd be really surprised if the war in Iraq wasn't profitable. Sure, it wasn't profitable for the government, but for a wide array of friends of Bush-Cheney such as Blackwater, Halliburton, and oil interests, it was hugely profitable. Big Wars can continue as long as people in charge are willing to let the country go into massive debt in order to fill their own pockets (i.e., as long as politicians are corrupt). There's an interesting twist on "fighting for what you believe in": What if the soldiers and the country leaders are waging the war for different reasons?

Oh and about the WWII atomic bomb thing - It's my understanding that Japan offered to surrender after we dropped the first atomic bomb, unconditionally except for the condition that we let them keep their emperor. We said no, they had to surrender completely unconditionally, and we dropped the second bomb. After they surrendered unconditionally, we let them keep their emperor.

I'd say that the second bomb at least was unjustified.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:42 pm UTC

According to Wikipedia, they were mulling over terms but had done nothing formal, and they possibly were going to declare martial law to prevent any form of surrender. Perhaps we could have waited a bit longer before dropping the second, but I think without experiencing what America did during the war we have a very bad perspective. Hundreds of thousands had already died, and Japan seemed unwilling to stop at nothing, and the idea to do such an incredible show of power to force them into submission would have been an appealing idea without giving them a chance to really understand what was happening to them, other than that they were completely helpless against your military.

And in what sense do you mean Iraq was profitable? The country has lost a lot of money in it, and the people absolutely hate it by now. It's unlikely that we will ever be scared into fighting a war over WMD's again, and however few billion pet companies have made off of it doesn't come close to total expenses.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby roc314 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:26 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:And in what sense do you mean Iraq was profitable? The country has lost a lot of money in it, and the people absolutely hate it by now. It's unlikely that we will ever be scared into fighting a war over WMD's again, and however few billion pet companies have made off of it doesn't come close to total expenses.
Read.
MartianInvader wrote:I don't have the numbers, but I'd be really surprised if the war in Iraq wasn't profitable. Sure, it wasn't profitable for the government, but for a wide array of friends of Bush-Cheney such as Blackwater, Halliburton, and oil interests, it was hugely profitable. Big Wars can continue as long as people in charge are willing to let the country go into massive debt in order to fill their own pockets (i.e., as long as politicians are corrupt). There's an interesting twist on "fighting for what you believe in": What if the soldiers and the country leaders are waging the war for different reasons?
As for "What if the soldiers and the country leaders are waging the war for different reasons?", I think that this is just a sign that the leaders are fighting for Reason A, but they know that most of the populace/military wouldn't support A, so they claim Reason B is the reason the war is fought. Then the soldiers are fighting for B, but the war is really being waged for A.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:46 pm UTC

Bush isn't a dictator, public opinion is now firmly set against the war. Scott Adams point is still essentially correct, America isn't too keen on waging any more significant wars because we get nothing for the outrageous debt they rack up. People used to think that the biggest threat they faced was terrorists sending anthrax in the mail, now people are much more concerned about the real threat economic decline poses and I doubt we'll forget it anytime soon. No matter how corrupt the president, he can't just give billions to companies he has ties with without Congressional and public scrutiny.

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby MartianInvader » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:42 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote: No matter how corrupt the president, he can't just give billions to companies he has ties with without Congressional and public scrutiny.


Um... he already did? Remember those no-bid contracts? And man, remember the original bailout plan? "Non-reviewable" decisions that the administration would make to give out the $700,000,000,000.00 to whoever they wanted? The only reason they thought they could get away with that was because they already have gotten away with so much else.

As for
Bubbles McCoy wrote: I doubt we'll forget it anytime soon.


I hope we won't forget it... but in my opinion, you've overestimated Americans' memories. I hope I'm wrong but... ten years from now I bet it'll all be happening again.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:31 pm UTC

Bush's handouts to the companies were veiled by the spectre of terrorism, a largely false threat that I think Americans have generally gotten over by now. I suppose our societal memory might be too short, but we have been through shit for the past year and allusions to Bush whenever someone talks about war or deficit spending will continue for years to come.

It's doubtful that Paulson expected that he'd recieve $700 B without strings, he just came up with a plan for how to use the money and presented it to Congress and let them come up with how they wanted it implemented. In all fairness, would you really trust any regulations that Paulson proposed on himself?

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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Thanatos » Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:42 pm UTC

Machiavelli wrote:Politics have no relation to morals.


Wars are not fought for moral reasons, though that can often be a catalyst. They are fought over land, resources, and perhaps preemptively as self defense. To fight a war successfully, though, a ruler needs to have reason, opportunity, and the support of his troops and most importantly his people. Therefore a good opportunity to make war only comes when it can be justified by the government and it's people simultaneously. Justification for the government comes from opportunity to gain land, resources, or self defense. The above is never enough to justify war in the eyes of the people, so morality must be used to gain support where practicality is not enough. Hence the moral reasons which are often incidental, yet quite necessary, are still an "ends" to the "means". I therefore still hold that slavery and Nazism and most other examples which many tout as misleading are, have been, can, and will be ended by war.
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Re: War-is it ever justified?

Postby Veracious Sole » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:59 pm UTC

War is always justified.

Actually, I take that back. Except for wars that happen accidentally (see example 1 in the footnotes) war is always justified. The only thing that an action needs for justification is for someone to think that it is just and there are a veritable laundry list of reasons for a war to be just to a person (see example 2 in the footnotes.) In fact, I can personally guarantee you that someone, somewhere, and quite possibly somehow will believe a war to be just (see example 3 in the footnotes).

After all what makes a war unjust in the first place? If it's just personal opinion (see example 4 in the footnotes) then everything you believe is probably unjust to someone (see example 5 in the footnotes).




Example 1:
Country A is taking one of it's daily strolls through a beautiful botanical garden on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Suddenly, a rabid cat savagely leaps from the beneath the fronds of a particularly vivacious fern. Murder clouding it's slitted eyes. Fearing for it's life, Country A turns and begins to run towards the nearest bastion of safety: a freshly cleaned Men's Room just off the beaten path. Sprinting towards the door, Country A expertly maneuvers around exotic roots and leafy obstructions. The yowling, furry, harbinger of death close on it's heels. The door is close now, only a few feet off, almost within reach, but before Country A can reach the secure arms of the stone facility, a gnarled root hidden within the underbrush snags the country's pant leg.

As the country falls to the ground, it's life flashing before it's eyes, it reaches out it's hands to brace against the fall. Country A hits the ground and beneath it's hand feels an ominous click. It has just landed on a bright-red button labeled war. In bold Print. Before Country A has a chance to press the green safe-button only a foot away, the hunter's claws tear into Country A's soft neck. A comprehensive military assault is launched on Country B.

At precisely the same time, 4,000 miles away, in Country B, a meeting is being held. Leaders from around Country B's various provinces have arrived to discuss the most important issue of the day: Novelty oven mitts.

Much hoopla has been made over these gaudy, fashion faux pas. Some are shaped like ducks, others like 1930's pop culture icons. Some have been outfitted with mini computers programmed to play random songs from the musical "Wicked", others scream out obscenities every time they are inserted into a sufficiently warm container. All of them, however, are considered by right minded individuals to be extraordinarily tacky. The kind of tacky that only supernatural beings could have cursed mankind with.

The meeting today is to determine how to go about contacting the obviously incorporeal mischief makers that are pumping such ungodly filth into the Countries stores. Everyone has different ideas and they are all dissected and examined. Some are too expensive. Others are too short sighted. Still others involve the eradication of half the human species (an inconvenience at best.)

Finally, after hours of protest and politicking a workable solution is proposed by one of Country A's lower provinces: Burn a witch. The idea is passed around the table for consideration and, after a small amount of deliberation of the size of the witch, everyone reaches an agreement. As Country B tells it's secretary to order the burning of a witch cheers break out around the table.

Unfortunately, the secretary can not filter noise well. As she listens to Country B's instructions over the cries of jubilation rising from the gathered provinces she makes a fatal error. Instead of hearing "Burn a 283lb witch on the eve of the 13th of July", she hears "Launch a full-scale, retaliatory assualt on Country A." She trots off into the hallway to follow through on her orders. War results.

Example 2: I couldn't find my list of justifications for war, so here is a list of pants that I own:

- Levi 550's
- Division E's
- Rock Republics
- Lucky: Blue and dark blue
- Mossimo
- Express Black Slacks
- Express White Slacks
- Express Brown Slacks
- Guess: Blue, Dark Grey, and Light Blue


Example 3:
I think every war is just.

Example 4: All of your beliefs are personal opinion.


Example 5: The End.
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"Only when you use a lot to say a little," answered Tock. ~The Phantom Tollbooth~


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