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What makes a justified/morally correct war? Now discussing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Nahh, it'd just switch what's basically a back-and-forth over a current set of exceedingly bad political decisions to a somewhat less current set of even more exceedingly bad political decisions. :p


    I'm not sure you can call anyone as really being on the right side of WW1; you could easily describe all the major players as being the aggressors and you'd basically be right. Not to mention that virtually all sides participated in chemical warfare to some extent or another; even without that, you've also got the fact that the bad decisions of WW1 eventually led to World War II, the current Arab-Israeli issues, the genocide in Yugoslavia during the 1990s (which is still being occupied by US and European soldiers today) and the Cold War, and therefore all the nastiness involved on those occasions when the Cold War went hot.

    Just a giant, giant balls-up that still causes problems long after all the major players and practically everyone who actually fought in the war are dead.
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm old enough to have known a world war I veteran, a second generation German-American who went to Europe as an 18 year old U.S. soldier at the very tail end of WWI. It's amazing to me that Germany continued reparations so long, paying and paying for a world war that although tied to its imperial ambitions, was not completely its fault. A recipe for world war 2.

    A European-wide war seems so far fetched now, the Balkan conflict being the closest anyone has come to seeing such a thing in recent decades. That's why I think the U.S. needs to end all NATO commitments and remove every last soldier from European soil. What are we doing there still? Why do we continue to pay Europe reparations for a (different) war we helped them win? Why do we subsidize the defense of a richer economy than our own? The cold war is over. Russia is now the energy lifeline of Europe.

    Bring our troops home from all foreign lands!
  3. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    PS: the anonymous post is mine.
  4. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6


    ...and asked for comment on the street, one German was heard to exclaim "Oh God, let's not do THAT again, shall we?"
  5. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Can we please leave the subject of the Iraq war? As far as I'm concerned, those who believe in it will continue believing in it, despite whatever details or facts are presented. Unfortunately the real impact of the war will not be seen for many years to come, so it's best not to try and convince people who've already made up their minds.

    I would like it if this thread could move in a not-so-Iraq war direction.
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    We've tried to leave the Iraq war alone for several months now. :p
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Can we please leave the subject of the Iraq war?

    No. Absolutely not. Don't you understand?

    Someone is WRONG on the internet.
  8. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Have we run out of wars to discuss?

    Then why don't we go back and address more of the Great War again? I feel that it hasn't been fully covered, as it only represented two pages' worth of exchanges. I've been reading through 'Dreadnought' again by Robert K Massie and there are a number of topics he's addressed that I found most interesting. Somewhat revolving around the first all-big guns battleship, Massie actually goes into great detail about the politics and into the personalities of the people who orchestrated the naval power rivalry before WWI began.

    I was really hoping that I could throw some topics from the book and get some feedback from people. It might help me clarify some details about the book and maybe expand on other people's knowledge about the naval power rivalry which escalated after the construction of Dreadnought. I do find the book quite interesting, and would like to discuss its relevance to WWI with others.

    Or would someone else like to start discussing the American civil war, instead?
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    You can join the ongoing discussion of World War I if you like. :p


    A recap of my earlier post: It's my opinion that WW1 is a war where all sides can take blame for starting it, and that the end results (in particular, the German "reparations" for a war that they weren't responsible for actually starting) were beyond horrifying. In a way, any discussion of wars after WW1 is WW1 discussion, as virtually all conflict in the last century or so can be linked back to problems starting with the end of WW1 and the state it left the world in.
  10. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    A recap of my earlier post: It's my opinion that WW1 is a war where all sides can take blame for starting it, and that the end results (in particular, the German "reparations" for a war that they weren't responsible for actually starting) were beyond horrifying.

    Sure, and what's the main lesson?

    1)Never get involved in a war when Gary Cooper is fighting against you.
  11. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I might agree that every war following WWI was linked in some way to that particular conflict, but only for the reason every major nation in the world had been involved. It would be then like saying the Japanese involvement in WWII was influenced by the events of the US annexation of the Philippines and other US involvement in SE Asia from decades before.

    I would say that WWII was merely a continuation of the original conflict which was not properly resolved after Germany surrendered. WWI essentially lasted all the way until 1945 and it would not be accurate to say every conflict since was just an extension of the original conflict. If anything, the majority of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Southern Asia can be traced back to colonialisation of the European powers.

    The point I'm trying to make is not to point out which conflict started when, but rather to point to a particular time period and discuss the mindset of people who were involved during those events.
  12. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Heck, if you want to look at it that way then war is a perpetual aspect of human existence. There will always be someone who wrongs someone else, and then someone who overreacts and decides to retaliate.

    Speaking of World War I: http://teacherweb.ftl.pinecrest.edu/snyderd/MWH/Webquests/8-WWI/Churchill%20Interview.htm

  13. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Yes, but that's not nearly as convincing an argument as not having gone to war with each other in the first place. Because yeah, it was America forcing that hand of thiers...
  14. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Well, a lot of the trouble in the Middle East can be traced back to the British and the French breaking the Sykes-Picot agreement. They promised the Arabs independence if they helped overthrow the Ottoman Empire. They did, and then Britain and France carved up the Ottoman territory between themselves.

    World War II really is the conclusion of World War I. In my international relations class, we studied three points in history that completely changed the international landscape. The Peace of Westphalia, the wars of Napoleon, and World War I. As destructive as it was, World War II didn't fundamentally change the world in the way World War I did, it just cemented the changes made in World War I that were being challenged by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

    What Europe used to look like:
    [image=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Europe_1914.png]

    But the war itself was completely pointless, a bunch of petty reasons leading to the most destructive war in history (at that time). The "war to end all wars" became the war to start all wars, with most conflicts since being rooted in WW1 in some way. I think its stupid beginning went something like this:

    *European states have been building up their militaries and empires during a time of relative peace, with newer states like Germany being eager to catch up, and a wave of Pan-Slavic nationalism spreading through eastern Europe
    *Gavrilo Princip, of the terrorist Black Hand organization, assassinates the heir to the throne of the A-H empire
    *A-H gives ultimatum to Serbia which they knew would be rejected, Serbia only agrees to 8 of the 10, A-H declares war
    (think I missed a step? How did A-H go from a terrorist assassinating their heir to declaring war on Serbia? Yeah, I wonder about that too)
    *Russia goes to intervene on behalf of Serbia, for balance of power to keep A-H from getting too strong, because of the Slavic heritage they share with Serbia, and just to protect a smaller nation against A-H aggression
    *Germany sees this could lead to Russia encircling and expanding their influence, identifies with the Austrians because of their common heritage, and has entered into an alliance with A-H, so they declare war on Russia
    *France is allied with Russia, and has been furious that Germany has possessed the coal mines of Alsace-Lorraine for the last 40 years, so they declare war on Germany
    *Looking to stop the Western front as soon as possible so they can focus on the east, Germany invades Belgium to use it as a staging ground to dive into the heart of France
    *The United Kingdom declares war on Germany because of their aggression to Belgium

    And then we know how it goes basically, with the Western front getting stuck in trench warfare, German subs trying to break the supply lines aiding their enemies in the Atlantic, Germany dragging their secret ally the Ottoman Empire and Bulgarian Kingdom into the war, British and French enlisting the Arabs to break the supply lines (such as the Berlin-Baghdad railway under constructi
  15. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    *A-H gives ultimatum to Serbia which they knew would be rejected, Serbia only agrees to 8 of the 10, A-H declares war
    (think I missed a step? How did A-H go from a terrorist assassinating their heir to declaring war on Serbia? Yeah, I wonder about that too)


    Wasn't it because Austria-Hungary wanted to go to war in the first place or something? The Austrian monarch didn't even like the Archduke/Prince/whatever guy (was it because of who he married?) and didn't really care when he got shot....but since he did get shot they used it as an excuse.

    How would the world have turned out if World War I had never happened? Would colonialism still be around today? I know the Ottoman Empire was on the decline, so maybe the Middle East would've turned out better if Arab groups were free to break away on their own? No Holocaust = no Israel? At least that whole region wouldn't be our mess to fix. What about the Russian, British, French and Japanese empires? Canada, Australia and the Philippines seem to be examples where decolonization/independence occurred nicely, but Algeria and Vietnam are not.
  16. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    It's almost impossible to tell how different the world would be without World War I, but I'll try :p . There probably would have been another large-scale European war, or at least proxy wars and more competition between empires in Africa and possibly Asia. The Industrial Revolution was in full gear, the automobile and airplane were already invented, so technological progress probably wouldn't be too different. There most likely wouldn't have been an Israel, Palestine would have been just another Arab land to eventually break away from the Ottoman empire. There most likely wouldn't have been a Soviet Union or People's Republic of China. Japan would have probably had more colonies and a greater influence in East Asia and the Pacific Ocean. The United States may have become the new Switzerland of the world, being an economic and technological powerhouse, but never really getting involved in foreign affairs (outside of the few colonies we had already gained from Spain at that point). Europe probably wouldn't be as developed or united as it is today, and a lot less tolerant/pacifist/leftwing and much more nationalist.


    Looking at my timeline of WWI's beginning above, I see the turning point that made this into a tragic World war. Austria-Hungary's invasion of Serbia was idiotic, but it didn't start a world war. I can see Russia going to Serbia's defense, to protect their little ally from the bully (and A-H was actually quite weak compared to the other empires, talk about those in glass houses throwing stones). Germany shouldn't have honored their alliance to Austria-Hungary and gone to war with Russia, because A-H was the agressor and initiator of war... though Germany and Austria have very close ethnic/historic ties so I can see Germany inevitably getting involved. But I think the turning point was France's decision. France and Russia may have had an alliance, but most alliances aren't honored, and France was never really that close to Russia. The French only got involved for two reasons: to take back Alsace-Lorraine, and to make Germany pay for ever being considered a rival to them.

    If France had stayed out, it would have just been a regional war in Eastern Europe, with either Germany or Russia emerging as the regional power.
  17. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Wait so you're saying that there wouldn't be a World War I, but that there'd be another large-scale European war? With all the same alliances in place, I can't imagine that it'd turn out much different than the war that actually did take place.

    And if France was already inclined toward war, then that's not much of a turning point because they were already on a slippery slope as there's no way that they would have mastered their own desire for redemption or retribution. Bismarck even predicted the whole Great War scenario just from his reading of European-wide political sentiments.

    Also, I doubt that America would have become entirely a Switzerland. At some point democracy would have started to take hold in the world, and at that point I'm sure we would have been "morally obligated" to help emerging democratic nations (democracy actually seems to spread in the way Karl Marx said that communism would). And eventually nuclear physics would have come about and America would have seen to it that we would got the bomb first, so we would almost certainly have become a military superpower anyway. Hell, speaking of nukes maybe it's better that the European empires of old blew their national resources killing each other conventionally before they decided to do it with nuclear weapons?
  18. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Robert K Massie addresses this in 'Dreadnought.' From Bismarck's position, uniting Germany with two of the five major powers of Europe would ultimately ensure they maintain the superior position for any potential conflict. What happened differently than what Bismarck wanted primarily focused on the loss of Russia as an ally. Germany also should not have honored its alliance with Austria-hungary, as they were the aggressors. If they had to face Russia without German support, they would have been forced to suspend hostilities, for fear of being overwhelmed by a superior army.
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    No, my post was about two separate things. The first part I was going along with your "what if there was no WWI" and made a few predictions, including there would most likely still be some kind of European war. The second part I put down what I thought transformed a regional war into a world war.

    Europe's alliances were always changing, many of them were secret alliances, many were allied with countries they declared war on, so in the "what if there was no WWI" scenario I just predicted some war would eventually have happened since tensions were high on the continent. Doesn't mean it would have played out exactly like World War I did.

    France may have already been inclined to war, but their entry was still THE turning point that transformed it from regional affair to worldwide crisis.

    I disagree with your interpretation of how American history would have went. I don't see us being more involved in spreading democracy through the world than we were in helping Latin America gain independence. Even now, at heart America does not like overseas wars or imperial ambitions, and we view our role as reluctantly stepping up to the plate after the devastation of Europe. I don't think we would be as isolated or neutral as Switzerland, but we would stay out of outside wars and entangling alliances. We would be a superpower, but not projecting it. I'm not sure if we would have been the first to get the nuclear bomb, Britain and Germany might have been more likely, but as I said, it's very hard to predict.

    Who were considered the five other major powers of the time? UK, France, Russia...? Do the Austrians and Ottomans really count as major powers? Just curious.

    But yeah, what exactly did start the German-Russian rivalry? A solid alliance between those two may have made them unstoppable, with Germany's
  20. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
  21. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Of course the German sub attacks were bad, but we were giving aid to Germany's enemies. Germany was as mad about the United States breaking their Atlantic blockade as the Israelis are about the flotillas breaking their Gaza blockade.

    Plus there's Winston Churchill's theory, mentioned earlier, that our entry really messed things up.

    Russia could claim a good and moral reason, protecting Serbia from Austria-Hungary's bullying tactics. The UK could also claim the same thing about protecting Belgium from German aggression.
  22. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    We were selling war material to the British, not giving it freely. When the Germans sent a merchant submarine to Baltimore, we traded with them too. The Wilson administration was so neutral that they didn't even prepare the Army for war, which seems pretty stupid in hindsight.
  23. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    The five major European powers, according to Massie/Bismarck, were as follows:

    1. Russia
    2. Germany
    3. France
    4. Austria Hungary
    *5. Britain

    I listed them in order from most to least powerful, with Britain standing in a category of their own. Given as they were an island nation, Bismarck did not see them as a potential threat in a continental war like he did with France and Austria. So technically there were really three others that Germany had to contend with. The idea behind his great plan was to unite Germany in an alliance with Russia and at least one other European power, thereby maintaining a superior position against the two.

    The only reason that Britain got involved was because Germany invested heavily in their navy. Why else would a European power build a powerful navy except to challenge Britain? Emperor Wilhelm I was a fool to waste worthwhile resources in an effort to build 'toy boats' for himself in a prideful display to other nations.
  24. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    World War II really is the conclusion of World War I. In my international relations class, we studied three points in history that completely changed the international landscape. The Peace of Westphalia, the wars of Napoleon, and World War I. As destructive as it was, World War II didn't fundamentally change the world in the way World War I did, it just cemented the changes made in World War I that were being challenged by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.

    A very astute observation -- some would say that WWI did not really end until the fall of the Berlin Wall. And perhaps even has YET to end -- the Israeli and Palistinian situation itself is fallout still from WWI.

    Some might say WWI has its own beginnings in other events -- I'm not so sure of that, however. The only conflict that really sets any stage for WWI is the Franco-Prussian War, and I'm not completely certain WWI is the direct consequence of that. The last major wars were the Napoleonic Wars and from 1815-1914 global alliances had completely changed. It could be said though that WWI was the last authentic gasp of modern aristocats. What had begun in the American revolution would now truly begin to spread beyond America and France.

    AJP Taylor's "WWI: An Illustrated History" observes that, had Napoleon lived another 100 years, he would still recognize and understand much of the global situation in 1916. By the end of 1917, would have totally lost becuase of what had changed in that single 1-2 years.
  25. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Wasn't it because Austria-Hungary wanted to go to war in the first place or something? The Austrian monarch didn't even like the Archduke/Prince/whatever guy (was it because of who he married?) and didn't really care when he got shot....but since he did get shot they used it as an excuse.

    Close. Look at Danaan's posts on this near the beginning of the thread. The A-H Monarch did not really want war either, but his Minister of War had wanted to go to war with Serbia for some time. This happened and the Minister of War finally had serious grounds on which to persue what he wanted.

    Even then, the A-H Monarch was not sold on the idea. He said that if Germany would support them, they would give that ultimatum to Serbia. At this point it was not proven Serbia had a hand in this directly, and that has never been proven -- although to this day there are suspicions that the Black Hand recieved monetary support from Serbia.

    The Minister of War set out to secure German support. The German Kaiser was blindsided a bit by this. He was not appraised of the precise situation in A-H, and presmed the entire affair would come to nothing, and made the easiest choice: he told the Austrians that if A-H want to war, Germany would stand behind them. He did not realize the attitude of the A-H Minister of War, nor that of the A-H monarch who was looking to Germany for a green-light.

    Essentially this all spiralled out of control from that point on. The A-H Minister of War did not appreciate that the entire alliance system that was set up would be challenged by his move, and that every state would view the moves of thier rivals as a test of thier own status. Likewise the leaders of the other variaous nations had no desire for War at that time but the railroad systems did not permit for half-measures.

    Germany shouldn't have honored their alliance to Austria-Hungary and gone to war with Russia, because A-H was the agressor and initiator of war

    It's not quite that simple. Again, as stated there was reason to suspect the Serbian government was complicit in the ArchDuke's assassination on some level in the same manner people think Pakistan's ISI has been complicit in relation to the Taliban. And IIRC, to this day that is still an open question.


    But I think the turning point was France's decision. France and Russia may have had an alliance, but most alliances aren't honored, and France was never really that close to Russia. The French only got involved for two reasons: to take back Alsace-Lorraine, and to make Germany pay for ever being considered a rival to them.

    I agree that this was the major turning point -- but remember that France did not Declare War: they simply refused to say they would remain neutral in the affair. The Germans took this as a declaration of War although it was not that: thier strategic position demanded that they could not stand for anything less than an explicit guarentee of non-involvement.

    Essentially it was on many levels the German strategic problem that drove much of the situation.
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