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The Call to War and morality

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  • The Call to War and morality

    As I have been reading the debate between the supporters of the war in Iraq and those who oppose the war it occured to me to ask those who were opposed just what it would take for them to go to war. I mean a lot of wars are not as clearly defined as WWII, most are based on some moral ambiguity. Should we go to war just because some despot is murdering thousands of people? Well this has happened in the killing fields of Cambodia and is happening all over Africa and no one seems to care. Oil? As I posted before oil is the life blood of a nation, with a cheap source of oil a nation is prosperous without it a nation can desolve into anarchy (no really). Also given that intelligence is never 100%, what would it take for you to go to war? At first I wanted to ask the people who oppose the war in Iraq, but, anyone can answer.

  • #2
    I would go to war if someone attacks my country and that's it.

    I mean, of course it is bad if some Dictator is responsible for the killing of thousands, but to solve the problem you don't have to go to war. (One could also solve the problem of the dictator with a nice 2000 pound GBU)
    "A platoon of Chinese tanks viciously attacked a Soviet harvester,
    which was peacefully working a field near the Soviet-Chinese border.
    The harvester returned fire and upon destroying the enemy
    returned to its home base."

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    • #3
      For me my opposition to Iraq stems from my beleif that it is a bad political/strategic manoeuvre. It will onley worsen the terrorist problem as well as destabilise the region politically.

      As far as humanitarian rescue missions go i beleive yes we should become involved at a certain level to protect the inocents and restore some semblance of governence. However this should be done properly, and not like Somalia, with a certain amount of skill. I support the argument for an independant core of international peacekeepers employed on an individual basis to act as a rapid response force.

      Or if Australia were to identify certain problem areas such as piracy in the Mallacca straits and decided to engage in that area, as long as its done with regional support i would support that.

      In these types of conflicts there needs to be some sort of moral authority governing the actions peacekeepers take, which is very hard to come by.
      Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

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      • #4
        If Finland was attacked, I'd go to war against the invader.

        If Finland was attacked by terrorists from Iceland, I wouldn't join the war against Greenland, even if there were alleged connections with the Icelandic terrorists, alleged WMDs, and more fish...
        “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…” -1984 about the Big Lie

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        • #5
          I would go to war if my own nation was attacked/invaded, or if someone else was attacked/invaded by another country. In the latter case, there would have to be serious international condemnation of the attack. In other words, something pretty obvious like Iraq invading Kuwait, Germany invading Poland, etc. However, since that is somewhat conditional, the only case in which I would consider war to be the only response, would be if my own nation was attacked by another country.

          In the case of civil wars or regional conflicts, I think it's often best to simply let events take their course. But I do believe in a global UN like humanitarian organisation that would involved itself in smaller scale peacekeeping/peacemaking missions, especially when the nation(s) in question request that form of assistance.

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          • #6
            As A Frenchman, if my country was attacked I would colaborate.

            More seriously if France was attacked, of course I would want to defend it, and I would like that my country do everything needed to defend itself.
            As an European I would say that I would hope that my country would defend any european country attacked. But that wouldn't be sure. For example if there was a war between Turkey and Greece, like the one in 74 about Cyprus, I really don't what France would do.

            LaPalice.
            Monsieur de La Palice est mort
            Mort devant Pavie.
            Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
            Il était encore en vie...

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            • #7
              I believe a nation should go to war when her vital interest are threatened. "Vital Interest", at least IMHO, are those conditions deemed vital to maintaining a specific level in the categories a nation depends on for survival. These include political, social, economic, and military categories.

              In the world today, your enemy doesn't have to attack your country with bombs to destroy or control it. If one nation you are at odds with establishes a series of alliances with your neighbors and countries you rely on for vital imports/exports, they could easily destroy your country without ever dropping a bomb on your homeland.
              Last edited by Deltapooh; 30 May 04, 17:41.
              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Deltapooh
                I believe a nation should go to war when her vital interest are threatened. "Vital Interest", at least IMHO, are those conditions deemed vital to maintaining a specific level in the categories a nation depends on for survival. These include political, social, economic, and military categories.
                Do alleged threats to nation's interests legitimize pre-emptive wars?

                Originally posted by Deltapooh
                In the world today, your enemy doesn't have to attack your country with bombs to destroy or control it. If one nation you are at odds with establishes a series of alliances with your neighbors and countries you rely on for vital imports/exports, they could easily destroy your country without ever dropping a bomb on your homeland.
                Is this really a possible threat for industrialized nations in modern globalized world?
                “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed…” -1984 about the Big Lie

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sheik Yerbouti
                  Do alleged threats to nation's interests legitimize pre-emptive wars?
                  Part of the problem with the term "vital interest" is that it can be suggestive. If a nation is capable of determining a "materializing" threat, it should retain the option to act pre-emtively.

                  The problem is analysis. There are plenty of equations and factors analysts look for to determine the credibility of a threat. However, in the end, it usually comes down to predicting what one or two human beings will more than likely do. People are anything, but predictable. For example: in 1995 I believe, Tiawan held elections and China moved a very large naval force into the Straits. The Clinton Administration responded by sailing a Carrier Battle Group through the region. Neither side wanted a confrontation, but could have easily felt threatened enough to launch a pre-emptive attack.

                  I do believe pre-emptive attacks is warranted. Bush basically put a name to what has been common sense policy-making. What one has to be concerned with is what changes have been made to the decision-making process, which determines how a nation interprets and responds to changes in conditions. If that system is flawed, the mistakes can be as bad, or even worse than the events and conditions leaders seek to prevent.

                  Originally posted by Sheik Yerbouti
                  Is this really a possible threat for industrialized nations in modern globalized world?
                  It was a simplistic example. Of course more would need to occur, such as expansion of common political, and social idealogy, while maintaining and expanding economic relations.
                  "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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                  • #10
                    If an ally asks for help then we must answer that request, because we will expect help when we ask for it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Prester John
                      If an ally asks for help then we must answer that request, because we will expect help when we ask for it.
                      It depends on the situation and the kind of alliance. For example, NATO would have never helped the US in Iraq since NATO is a defensive pact first and foremost. Since it was the US who attacked and invaded Iraq, this wasn't considered a defensive move and NATO stayed put. However, NATO did help the US in Afghanistan since it was considered that 911 was a direct attack of Al Qaeda against the US.

                      Personally, I would not agree to support an ally who is doing a "preemptive strike" without clear and solid information about the imminent threat the target is representing. Also, I would need to be convinced going to war is the only solution remaining to us, and that using armed violence is pretty much the only way to improve the situation.

                      I would however agree in most cases to go to war if an ally is attacked.

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                      • #12
                        OK several of you mentioned that you would only consider going to war if and only if your country was attacked. I'm kinda slow so forgive me for the next question. By attack do you mean that foriegn troops have to actually cross your borders and engage you in an armed conflict, or would an attack against your economy count as well. For instance according to many 9/11 was an attack more aimed at attacking America's economy rather than a random act of terror.


                        Disclaimer: This really isn't about Iraq. It's more general in nature.

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                        • #13
                          I would like to add my 2 Eurocents

                          Since the fall of Iron curtain, to put a mass of soldiers under arms through a general mobilisation is no more usefull.

                          If you look at the Belgium Dutch German French Spanish army strategy now, the main goal is the ability to project a "group" of soldier "half" worldwide to protect vital interest of each Country or of the European union, using by instance the eurocorp. Or to participate to a peace keeping process managed by local governement, NATO or UN, see operation LICORNE in Ivory Coast and operation Artemis in Congo at Bunia

                          In this case the basic citizen as very few words to say at first look, only his vote could change this (see spain by instance). Yes few words to say as most of the projected soldiers are professional ones and no conscripts would be involved. Soldiers action are managed by their governements foreign policy
                          It is the governement responsability to promote its action.

                          Things became really differents if the local vital space of the citizens are under an enemy threat. On my own as citizen when I was younger I was so aware of that , that after my conscription period I joined French reserve as volunteer from 1981 up to 2000, where reserve regiments where disolved and new generation of reservists became more professional as US national guards.

                          So yes if France or European Union was under a threat I would acept to join in any manner the armed forces of Civil defence to protect France or European Union

                          Der WanderInvolved
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                          • #14
                            Viva La European Union?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Priest
                              By attack do you mean that foriegn troops have to actually cross your borders and engage you in an armed conflict, or would an attack against your economy count as well.
                              By attack, I personally would mean open aggression by organized military forces of one nation against the sovereign territory of another. On this definition I base an unconditional call to arms and open warfare. With anything less, strong consideration must be given to exhausting political and/or diplomatic possibilities.

                              Attacks against economies are somewhat subjective. At what point is it considered an 'attack'? Attacks vs other economies happen every day in the form of boycotts, sanctions, trade wars, tariffs, duties, etc. These can often have severe political results, such as in the cases of South Africa, Iraq, Cuba, USSR, etc, without actually involving armed forces (organized or not).

                              In cases of terrorism (political or economic), I think open warfare is counter-productive. IMO, the response requires more indirect means, such as ideology, counter-insurgency, internal security, civilian police operations, etc.

                              In the case of a pre-emptive war, I don't think it can ever be fully justified. An attack is never guarranteed to happen, until it actually does happen. A threat is merely a probability of attack and can never be a guarrantee of attack, as the future is yet to be determined. Therefore, if you pre-empt the threat, you'll never know for sure if the threat would have developed or not. Thus you'll never know if the pre-emption was truely justified.
                              Last edited by Martin Schenkel; 31 May 04, 19:59.

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