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  • Violence in War

    The "Bronze Star qualification" thread got me thinking about an interesting issue.

    Are wars more or less violent than they were before ?

    In terms of weaponry and application of force, a present USAF Wing or even a US Marine company can carry many times more striking power than their WW II counterparts and can apply that power much more precisely than was possible in WW II. Which raises another interesting question.

    Are the improvements in weapons and targeting technology leading to a increase or a decrease of the violence in war ?
    Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

  • #2
    I guess it depend's on whether your on the dispensing end or the receiving end.The advent of the cruise missle further insulates combatant's from the horror of war.Fire and forget makes violence easier to accept almost entertaining.

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    • #3
      I don't know if war is any less violent now. I think it just has to do with the scale of war nowadays. In the 19th century, you could have tens of thousands of troops within a few square miles, to fight a single all or nothing battle. In WW2, you had dozens if not hundreds of divisions manning a lengthy front line. Perhaps WW2 battles were just as bloody as the 19th century, however this concentrated bloodshed was now stretched out over greater distance and time. In the last Iraq War and in Afghanistan, the battles have essentially been 'reduced' to the platoon and company levels. Multiply Basra or Nasaryia on a WW2 scale, and perhaps the relative casualty figures are similar. Relative casualty rates would be an interesting statistical research project.

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      • #4
        Let's see, in the attack on Betio in the Tarawa atoll we lost almost 1,500 killed in 72 hour's I don't have any ready figures on the amount of wounded but i think 3 to 1 would not be unreasonable this on a island you could walk across in15 minutes scale this up to the demension's of the battlefield's in question and I'll leave the conclusion's to the reader

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        • #5
          Violent how?

          Certainly on the whole its more violent. Weapons have never been so lethal as they are now.

          On an individual scale its less violent though, that's for certain. Smart bombs, gunships (everyone has seen that AC-130 gunship video right? the guys at one point almost seem to think they're playing a video game "oooh got him" or having chuckles when some poor sap on the ground gets nailed with a direct hit from the 105s), etc are doing more to detatch individuals from war than ever before.

          It's not doing the species any favors I can tell you that. If we're doomed to have more war in the near future, and I have a gut feeling that we do, I almost hope the next one will be a bloody one less we grow too fond of it, as the famous quote goes.

          As "clean" as these wars are these days, they really weren't. For one side maybe, but not the other.

          I really think a lot of people are starting to see war as an acceptable extension (without that automatic, knee-jerk reaction of negativity towards war at least) of diplomacy because of the two Gulf Wars.
          "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

          – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

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          • #6
            Are wars more or less violent than they were before?
            Perhaps it is a misposed question. Not all wars are equally violent even in given time periods. Some wars of history have been very short and relatively bloodless. Has technology made wars more or less violent? Since technology has made weapons more lethal, I'd say "Yes, modern warfare is the most violent kind of warfare we have seen." Nuclear weapons can wipe out entire cities. That's extrememly violent.
            Get the US out of NATO, now!

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            • #7
              .[" Nuclear weapons can wipe out entire cities. That's extrememly violent.} Which bring's to mind some idea's I've had on the varying degree's of violence.On the night of Feb.12th 1945 U.S. B-29's destroyed 12 square miles of Tokyo killing over 100,000 people that's more than were killed at Hiroshima,but Hiroshima shocked the world because the attack was carried out by one aircraft.What is the difference if one aircraft kills 100,000 or 500 aircraft reap's the same fearful harvest.I guess logistically it is a benefit to have one aircraft instead of 500 but to the 100,000 it makes no difference.The same applies to Hamburg and Dresden.It is said that Tibbets{the pilot of the Enola Gay}was disturbed by what he had done for the rest of his life.But what of the crew's on the Tokyo raid?Did they justify it in their own mind's that "hey I probably only killed a couple hundred people down there in that firestorm not 100,000 like tibbets"

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              • #8
                What is the difference if one aircraft kills 100,000 or 500 aircraft reap's the same fearful harvest.
                It is a huge difference. Nuclear weapons put more potential for violence in the hands of just the few people who wield them. A nuclear bomb is more violent then the kind of bomb that was dropped in the bombing of Tokyo. The lethality of a nuclear bomb is greater then any other weapon known. The lethality of weapons is a good indicator of the potential for violence in war. Modern warfare is the most violent kind of warfare we have seen because the lethality of the weapons are the greatest we have ever seen.
                Get the US out of NATO, now!

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                • #9
                  Modern warfare is far more lethal than previous warfare. This is why you will likely not see a real war between the major powers. The cost are just too great.
                  Last edited by Chuck?; 24 Jul 03, 17:07.
                  "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                  Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

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                  • #10
                    Modern warfare is far more lethal than previous warfare. This is why you will likely not see a real war between the major powers. The cost are just too great.
                    That reminds me what was said about the Gatling Gun, the precursor to the fully automatic machine we see today. They said that the Gatling Gun was so violent it would make war obsolete. Famous last words.
                    Get the US out of NATO, now!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SparceMatrix


                      That reminds me what was said about the Gatling Gun, the precursor to the fully automatic machine we see today. They said that the Gatling Gun was so violent it would make war obsolete. Famous last words.
                      Yes, if people took their advice there wouldn't of been the terrible destruction of the two world wars. Now all the major powers have atomic weapons that are thousands of times more lethal than the Gatling Gun. Will the next world war be thousands of times more lethal as well?
                      "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                      Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

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                      • #12
                        Let's put aside the nuclear weapon factor since they've only been used twice in 58 year's and since they are so lethal I don't see there use in any future world conflict in fact I don't see the possibility of a world conflict on a scale of WW-II.Over 50,000,000 people died in that conflict a figure that the human mind find's difficult to comprehend.Because of said WMD's, Hitler was the last of the conqueror's.So is today's battlefield more lethal? No,if you understand that the term lethal mean's death . { A nuclear bomb is more violent then the kind of bomb that was dropped in the bombing of Tokyo.}This is true but dead is dead whether you die from nuclear radiation or are pulled into a 200 mile an hour firestorm.They might as well of dropped a nuke on Dresden I really don't think the death tole would have been much higher considering the fact that the death tole there was higher than Hiroshima even factoring the the long term illnesses that later led to death from radiation exposure.One can only imagine the suffering that a nuclear war would entail but you can open a book and see the reality of the suffering that the more conventional type of warfare inflicted on the human race in the second world war

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                        • #13
                          no.. wars violence cant be measured, but their brutality can be. The most brutal wars are long over.. now killing is a far more less personal gig. The civil war was probably the last of the truly awfully brutal wars, but i dont think that WWI or II were exactly nice affairs.
                          Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

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                          • #14
                            I'm certain there are US soldiers, and certainly Iraqi soldiers that will tell you war is anything, but less violent. Technology has changed warfare dramatically. Unlike the machine gun, modern weaponary promotes a doctrine of smaller armies, who are more effective without creating the kind of collateral damage which is unacceptable today.

                            I've seen enough to convince me war is extremely violent. When a 2,000lb LGB hits a building filled with people, everyone inside is assured death. That's different from WWII, where you might have a chance since every aspect of attack was not considered. Today, bombs are calculated to explode in just the right point, with appropriate overpressure to ensure nearby buildings are not destroyed. Those inside that manage to survive one aspect of the attack, die from being hurled through the air at speeds faster than a F5 Tornado, with heat around 2,000 degrees F.

                            The scenes that terrorize veterans of wars past are modernized and implanted delivered to soldiers today, to haunt them for the rest of their lives. Today, there isn't so much destruction. It's not necessary. We can do more with less. Armies are smaller. Wars are faster (thus far), and death more precise.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Headshot
                              no.. wars violence cant be measured, but their brutality can be. The most brutal wars are long over.. now killing is a far more less personal gig. The civil war was probably the last of the truly awfully brutal wars, but i dont think that WWI or II were exactly nice affairs.
                              What about the Hutu/Tutsi war in Rwanda in 1994?

                              800 000 people hacked to death with machetes sounds pretty brutal to me.

                              One of those forgotten wars I guess.
                              Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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