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. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The United States, at least, can claim a good and moral reason for going to war. We tried hard to stay neutral, than went to war with Germany when they persisted in sinking our ships.

    This is only true from the American perspective, LT -- although it is a valid perspective.

    Remember that Germany's strategic position demanded an offeensive posture by virtue of geography. So it was true in thier moves against France in 1914, so it was true in how they related to America.

    It was true America was neutral in the conflict, moreso than they would be in WWII before they entered. And it was a more justified position to take at the time. What occurred was not so much that the Germans persisted in sinking American ships -- but they persisted in sinking ANY ships bound with goods and cargo for France and Britain (Russia too, technically, but they didn't really have to worry about that lost cause).

    America would have traded equally with Germany and Britian, but America was not about to run the British blockade of Germany to do it. That blockade -- the British sanction regime -- was winning the entire war (and did win it... never let anyone tell you sanctions DON'T work: they won WWI). The Germans could not afford the passive position of letting America treat both sides equally becuase the British had a much more equal geographic position than the Germans. They had a huge coastline open to America to trade, as did France: Germany did not. Therefore -- unless the Americans were going to stand up and demand that the British allow them unfettered access to German harbors... something even the Germans knew would never happen since it was not incumbent upon them or anyone to do so... they had to equal the playing field and cause issues for Britian's supply lines. Unrestricted submarine warfare was the only realistic way to do that.

    As it turned out, that proved ineffective as well. The British decided on a convoy system and as it turned out, a convoy of ships was no easier for the U-Boat packs to find than a lone stray shup on its own. And they were better defended in a convoy now.

    But that's beside the point. It was if anything an inevitability of geography: the nature of who Germany's foes were in position with America dictated that America and Germany would inevitably come into conflict even if they wished to avoid it. In order to win thier war, they could not afford to not sink neutral ships that traded with thier enemies. With thier ships sunk, America could not afford not to enter the war and treat the sinkings as an affront.
  2. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4

    Jabbadabado
    American isolationism would be disasterous, Britain tried splendid isolationism and it didn't work either. Eventually Pearl Harbour/9-11 happens. Physical distance can no longer seperate us from our enemies

    Gonk why did you post anonymously?
    I don't think being able to bribe your way out of a country constitutes freedom? (and I'm sure you can do that in NK too) And if it does surely that just means freedom for the rich? Not the millions who were impoverished in Saddam's Iraq even when their country was sitting on 1/4 of the world's oil supply?
    Yes, rape and murder happens in every war ever, happened in the US Civil War even though you couldn't argue it wasn't right to abolish slavery? Happened in WW2 even though you couldn't argue it wasn't right to defeat facism. That's just human nature in situations where people are given power, violence is the norm and the restraints of ordinary society are removed. The difference is the army which punishes it's soldiers for it (US and Commonwealth) and those that don't care (Red Army, Wermacht, NVA, Saddams etc).
    Who cares for the Iraqi people? Those who would liberate them and give them hope for a free and prosperous future or those who would leave them to rot under Saddam and his odious sons? Did the anti-Vietnam War protesters really care for the people of South East Asia? They seemd happy to let them die in their millions under the communist tyrannies in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
    Iraqis are now free to vote for Sunni/Bathist extremists who would re-introduce Saddam style dictatorship. By the huge majority, they do not.

    We have discussed The Great War/US Civil War before a few months back. Darth Yuthura you should read 'Castles of Steel', also by Massie, superb book.

    The Great War WAS a war of German aggression, Belgium did not attack Germany. Amongst the German's war aims were to make their conquered countries pay off their national debt (as they'd done before in the Franco-Prussina war). It's hardly unreasonable for their victims to want recompense? And remember the suffering inflicted on those other countries, Britain lost three quarters of a million people in the war (compared to 400,000 in WW2) and maybe the same in the flu epidemic afterwards. And Britain only paid off it's war debt to the US from WW2 in the last decade.

    Unfortunately we will never run out of wars to fight (or discuss).
    "Only the dead have seen the end of war" Plato

    Now, rather than go around and around on Iraq, let's have a vote on it. Here's my suggestions, chip in if you want alternatives;

    1. The liberation was a great thing and the bloodshed afterwards was a necessary evil and in the long term a small price to pay.

    2. The liberation was a good thing but the aftermath badly bungled. Ultimately it will all be worth it.

    3. Too early to say one way or the other, let's see where Iraq is in 5 years time

    4. The invasion was a bad thing and the benefits it has brought do not outweigh the price paid

    5. The invasion was a disaster from beginning to end and the Iraqi people would be better off with having Saddam still in power for the last 7 years
  3. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    I just so happen to have that as well. Thanks for the recommendation; I'll be going through it after I've refreshed my memory of his other book.

    Have you read Dreadnought? If so, how would you compare and contrast these two?

    One alternative that I would like added is this:

    The US president's administration deliberately mislead his state to declare war under a false pretense. And that the US invasion of a sovereign country was driven more by money than moral reasoning. Not to mention ignoring the escalating nuclear threats of both Iran and North Korea.
  4. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Saturn5:

    Busy right now for lengthy posts. I'll say that the anonymous post was due to the fact I was working from home and running tests on a page for a new site I'm helping to build, and the way the page base is set up, it will sometimes get caught in an infinite loop of trying to access the error page if you shut out your browser too early when it's redirecting. And in order to get back to the login screen you have to clear out your cookies and start fresh.

    I had the page of my response open in another tab. So when I finally took a break and posted, it no longer knew who I was. Thus, the anonymous post. It was either that or type it all out again and no way in hell I was going to do that...
  5. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Probably not spreading democracy to where it hadn't existed before, but if democratic nations spawned of their own accord then it's hard to imagine that America wouldn't have had long-term relations with them. And if we had diplomatic and trade relations with said theoretical democratic nations, then it's just a matter of time before it's followed up with a defense pact.
  6. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Diplomatic and economic relations, yes... not sure about a defense pact.

    NATO was our first, and is I think our only, defense pact. And that was only formed in response to the Soviet Union. No World War I, no Soviet Union threat, no NATO.
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Ultimately, given the political position pre-WWI and the advent of nuclear weapons 30 or so years later, we might find that in the greater realm of possible scenarios, we are better off that WWI happened.

    In most view I think you can look at it and say it was a total waste of life. And in many terms it was. There was no real "better man" in this conflict save to some degree the United States, even if Great Britain made some pretenses to the fact.

    But there is another way of looking at it: had the political tensions of Europe pre-1914 existed until the dawn of atomic weaponry without a clear and singular example of its destructive power (i.e: Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the results would have been absolutely catastrophic. Yes, we can say we are uncomfortable with ICBMs in the hands of Castro, of Stalin. But for whatever thier crimes (and Stalin's are far, far greater), thier conscious immorality might pale in the grand fate of the human race to the incompetence of the Romanov or Hapsburg Royal Families.

    Ultimately I often take the road that despite the many people that died for the sake of petty power struggles, given the hurdles of scientific advances that were to come the human race was lucky to make it out of the 20th Century intact and with one of the few proven cases of two states being at desperate odds for a long period of time without it once degenerating into open conflict (The Cold War). If WWI, for all its inexcusability, was somehow directly or indirectly responsible for that human success, it would not be for me to say that it should not have happened.
  8. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    No, there's also the Rio Pact and ANZUS. And previously, SEATO. They're all Cold War animals though.
  9. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    I think with the way China and North Korea are acting ANZUS and SEATO may not be the Cold War relics they once were

    Britain makes no 'pretenses' at moral superiority in WW1, we were superior. We, Beligium and France are free and democratic countries attacked by Germany which was a military dictatorship. Their war aims were aggressive and materialistic to gain greater power, conquer our territory and steal our wealth. The idea that The Great War was somehow everyone's collective fault is propaganda Germany spread to try to escape reparations. Our war aims were simply to stop them. Belgium didn't attack Germany.
    During the Christmas truces German soldiers used to say to the British tommies that they should stop fighting and be friends. And the tommies would always reply ok, you get out of France and Belgium and we'll all be friends. And the germans had no comeback.
    If you believe the western Allies were partly to blame for WW1 then the US must surely be responsible for Pearl Harbour with it's oil embargo and territorial ultimatums against Japan?

    The US spread democracy in Central/South America? That would be news to the countless ditactorships the US supported there over the years (justifiable in terms of the Cold War, not so much when it was purely commercial)

    To get back to my questions I think Darth Yuthura probably means option 5. There's no evidence that either administration deliberately misled anyone over Afghanistan/Iraq and I don't see how this could be about money. As for Iran/NK I think we would have intervention there if the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan hadn't been so disasterous. And doubtless people who complain about Iraq and Afghanistan would complain about that too?
  10. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    The Germans didn't invade Belgium in WWI just for the fun of it, they did it because militarily it made the most sense to attack France by going through Belgium. A comparative example would be Britain and the USSR invading Iran during World War II because Iran was an important geographical route to providing Lend Lease weapons and supplies to Russian forces fighting the Germans.
  11. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Or us invading Iceland in WW2 even though it was strictly speaking neutral? But again, why is Germany invading France in the first place?

    As to our old discussion concerning the Iraq death toll;

    http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
  12. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    So, maybe an additional 15,000 civilian deaths above the Iraq Body Count number as documented by the new WikiLeaks publications.
  13. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Or us invading Iceland in WW2 even though it was strictly speaking neutral? But again, why is Germany invading France in the first place?

    Because if they didn't, France would most certainly have invaded them. Not becuase they had treaty obligations to Russia (though they did), but because France was at this point Germany's sworn enemy, or as close to that as you could get at the time.

    They were as much at one another's throats... probably more so... than the US and USSE would be 30 or so year later.
  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    As to our old discussion concerning the Iraq death toll

    I've gone to great lengths as to why IBC is not particularly reliable as a source of information. Jabba's footnote is a case in point: from one report their numbers just jumped by something like 15%.

    Most of the numbers of the other sources remain unchanged by this new information: those numbers were already no doubt accounted for in thier results.
  15. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    France did not want to attack Germany, the German's were looking for an excuse for the war and in Serbia they found it. France mobilised because they knew Germany planned to attack them first in any conflict with Russia, the Schliffen plan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schliffen_plan . France had no plan to attack Germany, she mobilised only after Germany did
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I

    I'm sure the French would have been quite happy to keep on enjoying La Belle Epoque with Gaston and Gigi. The idea of the Great War being the result of collective guilt is propaganda used by the Germans to avoid reparations much as people tried to pretend that the Cold War was equally the fault of the USSR and the West

    But we seem to be getting off topic, again

    Surely an organisation such as the Iraq Body Count cannot be seen to have a pro-Iraq liberation agenda? Quite the opposite in fact? And now even with the release of secret documents they still estimate it at 100,000-200,000?
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Their agenda is perpetuating their own methodology as a valid means of getting at the data, which it never was. So, Iraq Body Count's primary objection to the statistical approaches was that it didn't match their own results.
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    France did not want to attack Germany, the German's were looking for an excuse for the war and in Serbia they found it. France mobilised because they knew Germany planned to attack them first in any conflict with Russia, the Schliffen plan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schliffen_plan . France had no plan to attack Germany, she mobilised only after Germany did
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I


    saturn5, you should go back and read the opening posts between Danaan and myself when we first started this thread. Did you read the posts then? We dealt with much of this when I was debating him on the signifigance of the alliance system.

    The Germans were NOT looking for an excuse for war. Not particularly with anyone at the time, but even if they had been, it would have been solely with the French. However the French were actually more antagonistic at the time towards Germany due to the question of Alsace and Lorraine. The Germans were concentrating at the time on expanding into a colonial empire and competing with Britian, who had done very well with thiers (and France was kept competitive on the continent with thier own, although by now inferior to British possessions since they lost a lot of thiers in wars with Britain). This dream never got off the ground, and they had only holdings in Africa at the outbreak of WWI, which they quickly lost.

    In fact, the Germans had been hoping for a more peaceful arrangement with Russia. Due to their need to keep Austria-Hungary in line though, they were unable to get anything going in that regard, since Austria-Hungary had so many issues with the Serbs and Slavs, and thus, would for the forseeable future be at odds with Russia.

    In fact, Danaan had quoted that France and Germany mobilized at about the same time. Germany requested the French to acknowledge that they would remain neutral in the conflict. The French refused. What then, were the Germans to do? Just turn thier backs on the French and presume thier greatest enemy would not attack and create a two-front war?

    Also, the French were not, as far as I know, aware of the Schiefflin plan. If they were aware, they had forgotten its importance by 1914. We know this becuase the first offensive of the War was actually undertaken by the French. I'll have to look it up, but their most experienced veterans were actually lost in almost the first engagements somewhere around the Ardennes. Intelligence then came to the French commanders that the Germans were comin in through Belgium at an incredible rate considering they were marching on foot (General von Kluvk kept them moving) and the only ones in the area were the BEF. The BEF actually had an incredile advantage at this point and could have engaged the Germans to stop the advance, but nobody -- the French, the Germans or the British -- was able to get a correct assessment of what was going on. The French ordered a massive retreat and ended up moving faster than the British could keep up.

    The Germans then came within striking distance of Paris itself, then noticed before the Allies that they were terribly exposed, and began thier own tactical retreat. The French though everything was in thier favor again and followed suit until the Germans dug in and stopped everything in its tracks. Attriction began.


    I'm sure the French would have been quite happy to keep on enjoying La Belle Epoque with Gaston and Gigi. The idea of the Great War being the result of collective guilt is propaganda used by the Germans to avoid reparations much as people tried to pretend that the Cold War was equally the fault of the USSR and the West

    Why would we have been particularly susceptible to German propoganda, and why would that propoganda have any effect today, and what interest would the Germans still have in dealing it out? this is three or four full-government sytems ago (You have to go back past both the Nazis and Weimar to arrive at the Kaiser).


    But we seem to be getting off topic, again

    Surely an organisation such as the Iraq Body Count cannot be seen t
  18. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Have a gander-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemberprogramm

    The collective guilt theory was what appeasers came up with, that everyone was equally to blame and if we just treated the German's ok it would all be good. The French could hardly have just stood by and let the Germans conquer the Balkans/Russia, they knew they would be next (and indeed the UK participated in the Great War because we could not allow the new German coast to be visible from Dover)
  19. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Have a gander-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septemberprogramm

    The collective guilt theory was what appeasers came up with, that everyone was equally to blame and if we just treated the German's ok it would all be good. The French could hardly have just stood by and let the Germans conquer the Balkans/Russia, they knew they would be next (and indeed the UK participated in the Great War because we could not allow the new German coast to be visible from Dover)


    Part of your link actually supports what I'm saying. Look at when that document was drawn up -- 5 weeks into WWI. It was not drawn up beforehand. It shows that the Germans got into the War before actually figuring our what thier intentions were.

    You're also somewhat confusing what I say: the Germans were themselves no angels. In thier moves against other states they were not particularly apologetic over what they had done and were doing. They moved over states rights for the sake of expediency and were fully complicit in the lives lost. And they had been this way in the past: the Septemberprogramm proves that at the time they were still thinking in a pre-20th Century convention of acquiring land from the defeated party, and would have themselves imposed a reparations scheme had they won. The allies were not particularly innocent on the other side of the coin, though. Britain, probably had no designs on acquiring territory on the continent, but Italy was wooed over to the Allied side with assurances they would be able to keep whatever possessions they could render from Austria-Hungary once they opened an offensive against them (the Italians were prompty thrown out of Austria-Hungary, rendering that promise nill).

    That said, I hardly doubt wither the British or French cared overmuch over the state of Russia. The French certainly did not want the Germans getting stronger and so theoretically cared, but that was out of fear of Germany, not concern for Russia. The British had even less concerns since they were, at the time, not nearly comitted to viewing Germany as an enemy until the outbreak of war (it was only later on that this became very ingrained after WWI and during WWII). They had concerns about German ambitions of a colonial empire, but the state of Russia and the Balkans were not really part of that. The British also did not want the Germans extending thier coastline -- but they were no more concerned about that than the French extending THIER coastline closer to Berlin. The days of the Napoleonic French Empire were not nearly as forgotten in 1914 as they are now in 2010.

    We should remember that at this time the capacity of Russia was vastly overestmated. Like people of today, people of 1914 thought of the next major war in terms of the last major war. The Russians has played the pivotal role in the collapse of the French Empire (his defeats pre-Waterloo) and at that time during 1800-1815, there was less of a difference between the Russians and their European counterparts in terms of technological advancement. But by 1914, the Russians had missed out on much of the Industrial Revolution that the Soviets would later pull them into. The Russian losses during the Sino-Japanese war were actually unexpected and a loss of prestige for Russia -- but not so much that people were ready to anticpate the Germans would be able to hold them off so handily.

    But thiswas not really common knowledge in 1914. Given a war between Russia and Germany, it was no doubt thought that Russia could likely take care of herself. Probably most people thought such a war would end in the German victory, but that it would be a quick war and Germany would gain only modest territorial concessions. Nobody anticipated just how unprepared Russia was for war -- the Russians themselves included.
  20. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    I think Britain and the other western democracies favoured Russia as a balance to Germany and vice versa and that continued virtually through WW2 and even the Cold War
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