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Is War Justifiable Debate?

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Oakshaft
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#1

Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:07 AM

Ok so in my history class me and a few others are doing this debate thing, our topic is |is war justifiable" we are on the side that says "yes it is", So I figuered I would come here and ask your opinion on this/ask for some good "knockout" points.

This is what I got so far:

I think war is justifiable in the case of ancient greece, all the city states were violent and fiercely independant, obviously they needed resources as the islands of greece were fairly small. So war is justifiable in the need for resources.

Chunkyman
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#2

Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:24 AM

A defensive war is justifiable because it is considered a legitimate function of government to defend it's people. Offensive wars are not justifiable because they are not about the defense of the citizens, but an increase of power for the state, which is immoral.

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#3

Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:37 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Wednesday, Apr 25 2012, 21:24)
A defensive war is justifiable because it is considered a legitimate function of government to defend it's people. Offensive wars are not justifiable because they are not about the defense of the citizens, but an increase of power for the state, which is immoral.

By current standars. Wich makes the idea of it unjustifiable for moral reasons void.
In my opinion, war is Justifiable. That's why it's so common.

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#4

Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:48 AM

War is confined in its justification.

Defensive war, as stated, is pretty much always justifiable. The individual, and thus the group, has the right to defend itself.

Offense may be a little different. Offense in defense of the self (ex: going to war for resources or pre-emptive action) may be justifiable, but it depends on other factors (ex: how'd the offender come to lack the resources, how credible a threat is the enemy).

Following that framework, so long as your defense is the justification you should be good as far as anyone will care.

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Irviding
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#5

Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:51 AM

QUOTE (Chunkyman @ Wednesday, Apr 25 2012, 19:24)
A defensive war is justifiable because it is considered a legitimate function of government to defend it's people. Offensive wars are not justifiable because they are not about the defense of the citizens, but an increase of power for the state, which is immoral.

I disagree. What about making the citizens of your nation more economically prosperous by using war? What about protecting interests abroad? What if China invades the Philippines, would that be justifiable?

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#6

Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:45 AM Edited by Chunkyman, 26 April 2012 - 04:52 AM.

QUOTE (Irviding @ Thursday, Apr 26 2012, 03:51)
What about making the citizens of your nation more economically prosperous by using war?

That's easy to say if you're not the country being invaded and who's people are being slaughtered. Killing is never morally justified unless in self defense, and that applies to both people and governments IMO.

I think China invading the Philippines for economic interests would be wrong, yes. War is a horrible thing that should be avoided (unless it's self defense).

I'll use the Romans as a historical example. Did Roman conquest help the Roman people economically? Yes (A lot of the time). Was it worth all of the people who died? No.

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#7

Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

War can be justified, but in my mind the overwhelming majority of wars that have ever been waged lacked legitimacy. I am not a pacifist, in fact I totally reject it as a mantra. Violence and conflict are part of what makes us human, and I sincerely hope they remain so for the sake of our species' survival.

Certain conditions must be met for me to consider a war justified:

The war must be fought in the name of: removing oppressive forces, liberating a distinct ethnic/social group, overthrowing a corrupt political system, defending a polity against invasion and/or as a preventive measure against a potential, highly likely aggressor. I feel conflicts such as World War II and the IRA's campaign against the British are therefore justified by these parameters.
It must never be waged for self-gain, be it economic, territorial or political. The list of wars waged with such intent is near-impossible to list, though the most flagrant example in recent history for me is the Iraq War.
War ought to be launched only when diplomatic means have been exhausted and proved ineffective. There must be a logical chance for success in the conflict.
Morality should not go out the window. The intentional killing of non-aggressors, wanton destruction of property and any unnecessary harassment of the citizenry are completely unacceptable.
Opportunities for peace should be seriously considered, but not where they significantly undermine the goals of the war.

I want to make it clear that I am not a warmongerer by any measure. As aforementioned, war should be a last resort, and it should be viewed regrettably.

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#8

Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:04 PM

My answer- it depends on the nature of the conflict.

I make a distinction between "limited" and "unlimited" conflict in this aspect. If one assumes that all belligerents in a limited conflict take the correct measures enshrined in law to prevent unnecessary casualties, I see little ethical issue in preventing nations from embarking in conflicts for personal gain. However, the costs of such campaigns have to be weighed up against the outcome for the victor, which means that they're very rarely of any kind of benefit. And engaging in a conflict that isn't likely to lead to benefit for it's belligerent is not only stupid, it's equally as morally questionable as any other military intervention as it places undue and unwarranted stress on two (or more) nations and their populations for no real identifiable purpose. With my Realist hat on, I'll say that powerful nations will always look for excuses to exploit and enhance that power but on the flip side doing so in the bounds of limited warfare limits their ability to do so, and unlimited warfare is almost universally pyrrhic in it's nature for any real victor. So, in the real world, there are limitations placed on the execution of offensive rather than defensive conflict which more often than not render it a bit of a futility.

The idea of not fighting a conflict for self-gain is all well and good in principal, but no nation involves themselves in anything that they don't benefit from in some way, because, well, why would they? It's counter-productive and counter-intuitive to place additional stress on a nation, it's government and populace without some meaningful and beneficial end-game. Even defensive wars, or wars of intervention to prevent atrocities or overthrow corrupt governments (which in itself I think is a bit of a poor example- by whose definition is the government "corrupt"?) will have some positive impact on the victor. Pre-emptive military action, and most kinds of responsive military action, are directly beneficial in their results. Now, if you said "wars conducted solely for self-gain" I'd be more inclined to agree, but only in terms of practicality- the list of conflicts that nations have engaged in solely for self-gain and benefited directly from in the long-term is so small as to be essentially non-existent.

In terms of "unlimited" war, the only permissible unlimited conflict is one of defence against a belligerent whose only aim is complete annihilation of an adversary in political, economic or military terms.

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#9

Posted 28 April 2012 - 09:11 AM

War may have justifiable reasons. However, it is justifiable in the grand sense of the word? That all depends on where you lie. Are you the ones(s) attacking/invading, defending, or are you the one(s) in the middle i.e. civilians? Depending on where you lie, and if your civilians which side (attacking or defending) will tell you whether or not war is justifiable. It's all on a case by case basis. As for me it's neither justifiable or not justifiable, it just is what it is - war. If it wasn't for war my parents wouldn't have had and do have their jobs and I wouldn't be getting one come June.

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#10

Posted 30 April 2012 - 02:28 AM

It is justifiable if it's in the name of defending the Good Side, but only if it's been positively proven that the presumed enemy if expressing ill will towards the Good Side (America and all her allies). Look at the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT). It's debated as to whether this horrific event triggered by tensions during World War II was justified or not, or whether there could have been a better solution to force surrender or not. After Japan surrendered unconditionally a few days after the attack, the Emperor stabbed himself with a sword in the stomach as a trademark Japanese way of paying for the shame that he brought upon himself and probably in his family. It's humorously referred on the Internet as "Harry Karry".

Irviding
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#11

Posted 30 April 2012 - 02:32 AM

QUOTE (MIKON8ERISBACK @ Sunday, Apr 29 2012, 21:28)
It is justifiable if it's in the name of defending the Good Side, but only if it's been positively proven that the presumed enemy if expressing ill will towards the Good Side (America and all her allies). Look at the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT). It's debated as to whether this horrific event triggered by tensions during World War II was justified or not, or whether there could have been a better solution to force surrender or not. After Japan surrendered unconditionally a few days after the attack, the Emperor stabbed himself with a sword in the stomach as a trademark Japanese way of paying for the shame that he brought upon himself and probably in his family. It's humorously referred on the Internet as "Harry Karry".

No he didn't? Hirohito remained Emperor of Japan until the 80s. There are photos of him with Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, is your post just like sarcastic and cynical or something because I don't get it?

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#12

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

QUOTE (MIKON8ERISBACK @ Monday, Apr 30 2012, 02:28)
It's humorously referred on the Internet as "Harry Karry".

Harry Karry is not an internet term. It's been around for awhile.

Oakshaft
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#13

Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:19 AM

It isnt "Harry Karry" its "Hari Kari"

Well, thats how I've always had it anyways

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#14

Posted 30 April 2012 - 07:37 PM

All war is justified, otherwise the men waging it would simply be conceding that they were evil. Do you think Hitler didn't think he was justified? How about the war on the Native American and our notion of justification with "manifest destiny". At the end though, most of these justifications are contested by most, whereas some others are pretty widely accepted. A war for conquest or resources is accepted amongst isolationist cultures, but usually not amongst nations of trade and diplomacy. Meanwhile, a defensive war is often seen as just or ethical by most, but there are still a few "pacifists" who feel any war or killing of any type is wrong.

There will always be those who feel a just war is unjust, and that a just war is unjust... It really matters upon which side of the war you are on, and the reality hear is that history is written by the victors. Of course they will depict their interests and motivation for engaging in war as noble, heroic and just, but in the meantime most sensible people realize that it's not always as cut and dry as that. I don't think that any war has been led in America for shear monetary advancement, but on the other hand do you think that the stockholders of Haliburton didn't want Iraq to happen? Think the stockholders of Pepsi wouldn't find a way to justify Vietnam? There's always business in war, do you really think the people that are seeking out that business wouldn't find some convoluted way to justify it if there was back was up against a wall? Simply put, there's no one that's going to say, "Oh, yeah, I know war is bad and we shouldn't be fighting it, but I can make a lot of money out of it."

So there's tons of reasons why war is justified, and I'm not saying that it's all about money... It's just a good example of what I'm talking about. I guess you could relate the same things to arms manufacturers. You're just not going to find anyone that's going to say, "Oh, yeah, war is bad... Justified? Hell no... We're just in it for the money." At least not publicly anyway, there is always the necessity to maintain that facade that war is some kind of justified, necessary evil when in reality there is a direct benefit to it.

That is what I find interesting about modern warfare compared to the nation states of Greece. Whereas our wars are usually justified on one thing, and then the benefits are reaped on another, wars of conquest are justified expressly upon their benefits. In the end though, is it really that much difference?

Even when you're talking about defensive wars, there is a direct benefit to that which is pretty obvious. However what about pre-emptive strikes? Not everything can really be so clearly defined as offensive or defensive. Ultimately actions that might be seen as offensive by some, will wind up being regarded as "defensive" or "justified" based on circumstances.

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#15

Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:00 PM

I wish I had read that before I did my presentation today,

I compeltely forgot everything and got nervous (I hate public speaking) I completely forgot to mention my cuban missile crisis idea, and my "history is written by the victor" idea

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#16

Posted 05 May 2012 - 12:42 PM

It would be better if we didn't have to have wars at all, but unfortunately it's not the case. Wars are a fact of life, always have been and unfortunately probably always will be. In some cases, it isn't justfiable but in a lot of cases it is.

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#17

Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:54 PM Edited by Toup, 05 May 2012 - 05:32 PM.

"I have an opinion."

"I have a different one."

Press 1 for war, 2 for debate.
--
Here's my opinion in a short version :

From my point of view, wars are caused by either religion, resources. Basically power.

This leads me to believe war is caused by one's belief in one thing and that right or wrong doesn't exist. So yes, it is justifiable just because you can't change a person's opinion in one subject, and if they see the world a better place if Judaism wasn't practiced, for example, and they start killing Jews, your first instinct as a human being is to fight by the side that you believe is right.

Of course, war can be avoided if one decides to deal with something in a pacific way, of course, not everyone decides to act like this.

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#18

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:50 PM

QUOTE (Toup @ Saturday, May 5 2012, 14:54)
From my point of view, wars are caused by either religion, resources or power.

Aren't these one and the same? Religion is an exercise in power, and resources are both a physical measure power and a product of it. In essence, all you are left with is "power". Which I can agree with as the sole true cause of war.

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#19

Posted 05 May 2012 - 05:30 PM Edited by Toup, 05 May 2012 - 05:35 PM.

Resources = materials. Food, minerals, oil, maybe even water in the future. Allows better health and conditions.

+

Religion= Trying to spread the word of the religion you believe in. More population.

=

Power (better economy and bigger territory, more population.)

So yes, that's what I wanted to say, thanks for putting it in the right words.

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#20

Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:23 PM

Oakshaft: it's too bad that you didn't do as well as you could've in your presentation.

Part 1: Stated reasons for war
[American Wars]
A Global war on terror was declared and Afghanistan invaded in retaliation for the 9/11/2001 blowing up of the twin towers, and in fear of other terrorist attacks.
A Pre-emptive war against Iraq was justified first by imagined connections to Al Queda, then by the fear of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction), and finally by the evilness of the deposed dictator.
Wars during the cold war were justified by the red fear - that the communist bloc would take over countries one by one until the center of the capitalist world was threatened - there were justifications of the material sort (Tin in Vietnam), as well as idealistic justifications ("for their freedom").

monocle.gif
Part 2: Actual reasons for war
At the same time many of these same events are determined by the way the economy interacts with war, and so in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq big government spending on war was an excuse to spend more money on the economy. (The war that was waged was an expensive war, it did not have to be)

Part 3: Thoughts
Justifiable relates not merely to having a reason but a good reason, a "just" as it says in the word, reason. Justice, Morality, Ethics, are the realms of all men
- but are we to weigh the struggle against oppression of the pro-war american citizen from the ghetto against the struggle against oppression of the afghani civilian or nationalist or taliban?
Surely their true enemy is not each other but the capitalist system, the root of all evil in society.

The only war that would be justifiable would be a revolution, like the French Revolution, like the Russian revolution, but in which the people would create a true non-capitalist economic and political system. The only war that is justifiable is that in which the chained set themselves free, and the slavers are beaten by the people.

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#21

Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:09 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole)
Part 2: Actual reasons for war
At the same time many of these same events are determined by the way the economy interacts with war, and so in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq big government spending on war was an excuse to spend more money on the economy. (The war that was waged was an expensive war, it did not have to be)

Is this a juvenile simplification of the Military-Industrial Complex theory? Because that's how it reads. And whilst I agree that such a complex exists, conflict so seldom creates a net gain that it's essentially useless as a force for growth. Saying "wars mean governments can spend money on stuff" is absurdly juvenile and displays a complete lack of understanding about the complexities of globalised economics. There's a reason every state on earth except North Korea operates at the very least State capitalism.

QUOTE (Tom Toole)
Surely their true enemy is not each other but the capitalist system, the root of all evil in society.

Care to quantify this? Because it's one of those absurd sweeping statements that can only really be said by someone unwilling to support their own argument. Primarily because it's utterly nonsensical and completely incorrect to boot. Western Capitalist states are less likely to be involved in military interventions or conflict than just about any other kind of state; whilst Democratic Peace Theory isn't entirely true or accurate, it's a pretty reasonable benchmark.

QUOTE (Tom Toole)
The only war that would be justifiable would be a revolution, like the French Revolution, like the Russian revolution, but in which the people would create a true non-capitalist economic and political system.

You are HydraulicWarri0r AICMFP. Regardless, internal conflict is not war. War is defined by inter-state, not intra-state conflict. Plus, your example of the Russian Revolution is a pretty poor on in light of your argument, which essentially appears to be "capitalism is responsible for enslaving the people. Did you know that the Soviet Union had the largest disparity between rich and poor in the European continent during the majority of the Cold War? Capitalism works for the majority because it's built on the principal that the masses drive innovation, economics and political choice. Non-capitalist system do not work in reality because they are built on principals that discourage individual participation, either through the promotion of dictatorship of the installing of anarchy.

I find the increasing rash of Communist sympathizers on these forums somewhat puzzling. Do people not read history, or is it a case of posters being too young to really understand what they're talking about?

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#22

Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:09 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Sunday, May 6 2012, 23:23)
Surely their true enemy is not each other but the capitalist system, the root of all evil in society.

I'll keep this short and will probably edit a more substantial reply in tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure there was a lot more evil in society prior to the capitalist system. Also countries without capitalism sure weren't evil in the slightest throughout history were they?

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#23

Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:31 AM

The statement below is grossly incorrect.

QUOTE

and so in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq big government spending on war was an excuse to spend more money on the economy. (The war that was waged was an expensive war, it did not have to be)

Regardless of the 2001 recession, we still maintained a surplus and the economy was growing at a relatively robust rate. Both of those wars actually hurt the economy in that they were not paid for and brought massive budget deficits back. There was little to no economic stimulus gained from those wars. Growth spiked sharply after the invasion in 2003 but then fell down almost just as sharply right after. What you said is an even stupider idea than "the war was for oil".

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#24

Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:59 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Sunday, May 6 2012, 23:09)
I find the increasing rash of Communist sympathizers on these forums somewhat puzzling. Do people not read history, or is it a case of posters being too young to really understand what they're talking about?

I'm a bit taken aback by the response, I didn't expect quite so many responses. As to Marx's popularity, it is due to the fact that it much like Chomsky, makes statements that are starkly different from those around it and allows for an understanding of the inner workings of history.
I think "HydraulicWarri0r AICMFP" should join us if he has good things to say, I believe that's a very big accusation you made there of sockpuppetry...
As to reading history I recently read Marx's history of Louis Bonaparte called "The Eighteenth Brumaire". Very interesting read - it's considered one of Marx's three greatest work along with "Das Kapital" and The Communist Manifesto.

I must say that I may have indeed badly analyzed the question of the Iraq War. It makes much more sense to think of it in Global real-politik as was the case with the cold war, Afghanistan and Iraq as proxies and control of global resources and therefore the global economy.

However I must say that the immediate GDP growth is not really an indicator of the real growth of the economy at that time - as I read in the wikipedia article Early 2000s recession monocle.gif that recession was caused by the previous bubble and thus the growth from government spending would not necessarily be sufficient to deter that. There are other considerations, such as that the 9/11 attacks would strike fear into stockholders and that would bring the Dow Jones index lower and so on.

QUOTE ("Irviding")
Both of those wars actually hurt the economy in that they were not paid for and brought massive budget deficits back. There was little to no economic stimulus gained from those wars. Growth spiked sharply after the invasion in 2003 but then fell down almost just as sharply right after. What you said is an even stupider idea than "the war was for oil".

First of all that the war was for oil is rather important, I believe at the time while there was a program of food for oil and numerous scandals related to it, nevertheless there was the economic incentive to open that market (and there was even the unsuccesful attempt to turn over the oil to Western companies' hands) but also in relation to gaining control over these areas and keeping them away from China's sphere of influence.

Also I think there is an important difference between the economy and it's debt and the government and it's debt - it is a very strange link, and in the case of the US even stranger due to it's devaluation due to US debt being cut back due to it's place as the international currency.

QUOTE ("Sivispacem")
The idea of not fighting a conflict for self-gain is all well and good in principal principle,[...]

As Sivispacem defends here the idea of self interest driving wars, within the wide purview of the bourgouis laws on "fair war" (what is fair about a poor man fighting a rich man?), I must say that while that does make sense within the "reasons" for war and thus "justify" it in a causal sense, it is quite another to justify in the sense of "justice" - for to talk of justice is the way things should be. I don't mean to say that to be just is to be immaterial, or ideal, therefore unreal however. Since self interest and justice are together only in the case of the poor and the many against the powerful and the few - and those who have power have little reason to cede power to justice.

Perhaps a more equal society fighting against a more unequal society could be conceived as being "justifiable", but it seems to me that it would only be the case if the more equal society was also the less powerful society.

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#25

Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:08 PM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
I'm a bit taken aback by the response, I didn't expect quite so many responses. As to Marx's popularity, it is due to the fact that it much like Chomsky, makes statements that are starkly different from those around it and allows for an understanding of the inner workings of history.

I agree entirely. Marx is fantastic for gaining an alternate picture of events, and presenting theories that invigorate good debate. As actual political theories, they're pretty dire in my view- utterly illogical, governed largely by fallacies and completely ignorant of human nature, but as I say that's a personal view and nothing more. What Marx's political and psychological theories are good for is making people evaluate their views critically. In that sense, he's rather like a contrived Carl Jung, but with less linguistic skill or understanding of human nature.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
I think "HydraulicWarri0r AICMFP" should join us if he has good things to say, I believe that's a very big accusation you made there of sockpuppetry...

AICMFP is an abbreviation for "and I claim my five pounds". It's not part of the posters name. I only brought him up as I found it odd that two posters expressed strongly Communist or Marxist views within a very short time-scale of each other, and expressed them in a way that wasn't utterly moronic, which is a novelty. There's no accusation there; it's a humorous dig at the idea of different people sharing very similar views on a subject.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
I must say that I may have indeed badly analyzed the question of the Iraq War. It makes much more sense to think of it in Global real-politik as was the case with the cold war, Afghanistan and Iraq as proxies and control of global resources and therefore the global economy.

Again I feel you are still failing to analyse the question properly. Your statements assess the idea that conflict must have an underlying purpose that is valid, accurate and correct. History has shown this not to be the case. The primary goal of conflict is to gain power (with resources, money et cetera being a representation of power) but many modern conflicts have been zero-sum games or even Pyrrhic in their nature- that is to say, the best many nations have achieved from their involvement is status quo ante bellum and the worst is self-destruction. Conflict is seldom driven entirely by resource demands solely because history has demonstrated that conflict very rarely results in a net increase in the power (in terms of wealth or resources) of any nation involved, regardless of whether they are victorious.

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
However I must say that the immediate GDP growth is not really an indicator of the real growth of the economy at that time - as I read in the wikipedia article Early 2000s recession  monocle.gif   that recession was caused by the previous bubble and thus the growth from government spending would not necessarily be sufficient to deter that. There are other considerations, such as that the 9/11 attacks would strike fear into stockholders and that would bring the Dow Jones index lower and so on.

There is no physical way that the conflict in Afghanistan is going to be anything other than a zero sum game at the very best. The US and her allies has already largely destroyed the ability for militant groups to operate international from Afghanistan so continued military involvement for the purposes of creating a more stable nation, regardless of how successful, is going to have inflicted at least an equal toll on the US both economically and politically. This isn't because of wealth or any other factor, but is due to a lack of effective planning or strategic foresight. Iraq has been a negative sum game- the net result of the Western intervention being the rise of sectarian violence and internal strife. Again, the root cause is a lack of strategic planning and not any other factor.


QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
First of all that the war was for oil is rather important, I believe at the time while there was a program of food for oil and numerous scandals related to it, nevertheless there was the economic incentive to open that market (and there was even the unsuccesful attempt to turn over the oil to Western companies' hands) but also in relation to gaining control over these areas and keeping them away from China's sphere of influence.

"War for oil" is a logical fallacy which has been discussed many a time previously. History teaches us that conflicts always, and I do mean always, result in a greater net resource loss for the victor regardless of the intensity of their victory than they will ever gain. And even if this were not the case, post-conflict US involvement in Iraq (which I assume is the point of discussion here as Afghanistan has so little oil to essentially be null and void in this argument) has not demonstrated any great demand for resource gain. If the US wanted to gain from the conflict in Iraq, then why is it primarily Chinese companies and contractors who assisted in rebuilding Iraq's oil infrastructure? Why did US companies only bid for a few percent of available oil contracts in Iraq in the post-war period?

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Monday, May 7 2012, 15:59)
As Sivispacem defends here the idea of self interest driving wars, within the wide purview of the bourgouis laws on "fair war" (what is fair about a poor man fighting a rich man?), I must say that while that does make sense within the "reasons" for war and thus "justify" it in a causal sense, it is quite another to justify in the sense of "justice" - for to talk of justice is the way things should be. I don't mean to say that to be just is to be immaterial, or ideal, therefore unreal however. Since self interest and justice are together only in the case of the poor and the many against the powerful and the few - and those who have power have little reason to cede power to justice.

Perhaps a more equal society fighting against a more unequal society could be conceived as being "justifiable", but it seems to me that it would only be the case if the more equal society was also the less powerful society.

With all due respect, principals of "fairness" and "justice" have no place in the morally bankrupt world of international relations. The weak do not prosper because they are weak, and the strong will always reap the spoils because they are strong. The only way that great powers ever fall is either by failing to adapt to changing times (irrelevance), or by overstretching their power base or facing an adversary they do not understand (incompetence). Thus it has always been, and always shall be. Aside from the basic laws of war which are designed to protect people on a human level, there is no morality and no ethics in conflict. How can you have morality and ethics on a macro-national level when these concepts are creations of individual societies?

As I said before, "class war" as you quite eloquently present it is not war. (Hypothetical) conflict yes, war no. I also don't agree with it's characterisation. Keynesian economics and representative democracy have created a world far closer to Marx's "classless" ideal than any attempt at actually following his principals ever has; especially at a national level. Remember, even the most staunchly Communist states have resorted to State capitalism to survive. A true Capitalist economy rewards people primarily on the basis of merit, which is something an ideology which actively discourages innovation, growth or personal gain can never achieve.

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#26

Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:52 PM Edited by sivispacem, 08 May 2012 - 06:56 AM.

QUOTE

However I must say that the immediate GDP growth is not really an indicator of the real growth of the economy at that time - as I read in the wikipedia article Early 2000s recession monocle.gif that recession was caused by the previous bubble and thus the growth from government spending would not necessarily be sufficient to deter that. There are other considerations, such as that the 9/11 attacks would strike fear into stockholders and that would bring the Dow Jones index lower and so on.


Is this directed to me or sivis? If it is directed towards me I don't understand the relevance to this and what I said. If not, just disregard.

QUOTE

First of all that the war was for oil is rather important, I believe at the time while there was a program of food for oil and numerous scandals related to it, nevertheless there was the economic incentive to open that market (and there was even the unsuccesful attempt to turn over the oil to Western companies' hands) but also in relation to gaining control over these areas and keeping them away from China's sphere of influence.

There was the incentive to open Iraq to the world markets in general, absolutely, and that is something I believe we can certainly say was a positive out of the war and perhaps even a secondary motive. Regardless, it is absolute hogwash to claim that the sole reason for the war in Iraq was to open markets. And trust me, if we wanted those western companies to have that oil, they'd have had it.
The Middle East is pretty much in the US sphere of influence, especially the Persian Gulf. China really has not expressed interest in displacing the US there. Africa, that's another story.


QUOTE

Also I think there is an important difference between the economy and it's debt and the government and it's debt - it is a very strange link, and in the case of the US even stranger due to it's devaluation due to US debt being cut back due to it's place as the international currency.

What do you mean by a strange link? And how is it relevant to this discussion?

QUOTE

History teaches us that conflicts always, and I do mean always, result in a greater net resource loss for the victor regardless of the intensity of their victory than they will ever gain.

Do you think that's true for say, 19th century colonial wars? Your statement made me think to past wars and those came to mind as something that might go against the theory.

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#27

Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:09 AM

QUOTE (Tom Toole @ Sunday, May 6 2012, 22:23)
Oakshaft: it's too bad that you didn't do as well as you could've in your presentation.

I panicked and forgot everything XD I hate going up in crowds

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#28

Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

Short answer: no. Long answer: Yes, but it depends on what you consider a war. Obviously a large, powerful, industrialised nation such as those in the West waging full blown war on a small, predominately agricultural nation (as was the case with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam) is completely ridiculous, but involvement in other countries' affairs isn't out-and-out wrong. Libya is best example I can think of of interventionism not sending everything totally tits-up.

Great powers going to war could of course be justified, but it's a moot point, since all of the world's most powerful nations have mutually beneficial relationships with each other and at least some degree of economic cooperation.




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