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silverfly's avatar

War made by the USA - necessary or evil?

Asked by silverfly (4027 points ) October 5th, 2011

Dedicated to blackberry for bringing up war (even if it was a subtle joke)

As many of you know, we are now in multiple wars (none of which are technically declared, and UN approval doesn’t count). I tend to take the non-interventionist approach which is to talk and trade with nations but not become entrenched in their affairs. Sometimes this thought is combatted by saying that we need to interfere when one group is being oppressed by another and while I understand this reasoning and agree with its good-natured intention, I struggle to think that the US intervenes without selfish intentions.

Someone said to me recently, “if we don’t deal with these countries, who will?” (referring to Iran obtaining a nuclear missile). Is it ignorant to think that we have the right to tell other nations what to do? I don’t think Iran should have a nuclear weapon but I understand why they would pursue the construction of one. I believe that this kind of bullying has laid the groundwork for so much hatred in the middle east and around the world. If the United States is indeed fighting terrorism as we so passionately express, shouldn’t there be room for exploring and discussing peaceful solutions?

Are we so blind to think that we’re hated and attacked because we’re free and prosperous and because our cultures are so different? Both of our last elected presidents won the vote partially because they campaigned on a non-interventionist foreign policy and bringing the troops home. So, is it necessary that we stay there? Is it our duty to police the world? If so, why?

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22 Answers

dreamwolf's avatar

All war is unnecessary.

Blackberry's avatar

This is an intricate web of protecting interests, the notion that a powerful country must continue to project itself outward, making money, and a whole lot of other stuff. Of course war is not good, though.

Nullo's avatar

Some wars are necessary evils.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

None of the conflicts the U.S. is involved in are not necessary. We are simply keeping our foot in the door in the hopes of scoring oil or other things.

Nullo's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet Are you saying that the current wars are or are not necessary? Your double-negative cancels out, and what’s left runs contrary to the usual message accompanying your second sentence.

njnyjobs's avatar

The war that our U.S. troops fight are all necessary, even only if it were a point in time. If the U.S. doesn’t flex it’s military muscle, there will be more chaos on our shores attributable to radical factions that want to pull the country down to the level of those foreign radicals.

silverfly's avatar

@njnyjobs To suggest that our country needs to flex its military muscle to overpower another country is to suggest that we’re better than them. This is simply not true; we’re just different. Certainly we can disagree with the way women are treated, with their rule of law, or with the way they govern their country but that does not give us the right to interfere and it certainly doesn’t make it necessary!

With our massive military muscle, we could easily defend our shores from radicals while maintaining tolerant attitudes of others. Doing so would reduce hatred and promote peace through acceptance. If we’re so great, we should be setting an example, not parading around the world with our meathead attitude. War on terror? Give me a break, you can’t fight an ideal.

We do not have the right to force (especially through war) our values on others. Our group and its people are no better than any other group and their people. This kind of thinking is what makes genocide and slavery possible – two things I think we can certainly agree were horrible.

njnyjobs's avatar

@silverfly where in my statement led you to believe that the U.S. military might flexing refers to overpowering other countries? All I’m saying is that a show of force will keep does who wish the U.S. harm in check.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Nullo Oops. Not necessary.

silverfly's avatar

@njnyjobs Isn’t a show of force a way of showing that you can overpower? If I show my force toward you, I’m showing you that you’re weaker than I am which is to say that I can overpower you.

Do you think it’s possible that we could spread our goodness by example rather than force?

Nullo's avatar

@silverfly I don’t think it’s about communicating inherent superiority, just military might – lest anyone try to do anything funny.
The most notorious of the terrorists came here legally or were born here, comported themselves well, and then killed a few thousand people.

silverfly's avatar

@Nullo Yeah I suppose but it seems like an awful lot of flexing the military muscle just to prove that we’ve got the biggest one.

Nullo's avatar

Picture it in schoolyard terms, one with indifferent or thoroughly absent yard monitors. Some snotty kid hauls off and socks you in the nose. What do you do? What can you do besides clobber the guy?
The length of the current conflicts is, IIRC, an effort to put back together what was taken apart.

silverfly's avatar

@Nullo Why did the snotty kid sock you in the nose in the first place? Just because? Perhaps the reasoning is worth looking into before taking action.

njnyjobs's avatar

@silverfly…and you think the U.S. just decide to go out and send troops overseas with no relevant reason? In the last 100 years, I can’t think of a major international conflict that the U.S. maliciously initiated… so in retrospect, your Headline “War Made by the USA”, seems flawed.

Nullo's avatar

@silverfly Because he doesn’t like me. He doesn’t like my clothes or my hobbies or my friends or the fact that I don’t worship his god. He might even be afflicted by a hunger for schadenfreude, or that pernicious sentiment that causes one to wish for the unhappiness of a happy person.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@njnyjobs Actually the U.S. gov. does just decide to go to war for their own reasons. look at Vietnam.
The U.S. got in to the war because of the Gulf Of Tonkin . An incident that never really happened. The US made it up to get in to the war. So yes, The U.S. will just up and decide to go to war if we think we have something to gain.

silverfly's avatar

@Nullo So we’re attacked because we’re different? Of all the countries that are severely different from our bully, why aren’t they attacked? Surely they don’t like other countries’ “clothes”, “hobbies”, “god”, etc. What makes the United States different?

@njnyjobs I don’t think we go overseas just for the hell of it. I think we go overseas to protect special interests. We must abandon this notion that war is necessary! How the hell did we get to this point? Iraq, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan… we cannot do this. There is no “winning”. We cannot justify occupying these countries for a greater cause and thinking that it’s not pissing people off.

Linda_Owl's avatar

None of the wars we are currently involved in was necessary & we got into them based upon lies told by the Bush administration. There may have been some justification for the attack on Afghanistan, considering what we have been told about the attacks on the Twin Towers in NYC, but we have no real way of knowing if what we have been told is actually true. But Bush’s decision to attack/invade Iraq diverted weapons & soldiers from Afghanistan, putting us into two wars at the same time. Fighting a war on two fronts has always been a disaster & the decision to attack/invade Iraq was to make sure that the US had continued access to the oil in that country (Haliburton & BlackWater have both made a fortune off of the war in Iraq). Our invasion/occupation has destabilized the entire mideast & given the people there something to rally around. Mostly they hate our guts because we have destroyed so many lives & they are willing to band together (even those who do not like each other) so they can try to kill us. I have to wonder who we are going to declare war on next – Pakistan maybe, or Iran?? Ultimately, we cannot win the war in Afghanistan & the military personnel know this – have you read the current figures for the suicide rate among our troops? They know they have been sold a pack of lies. They are not protecting our freedom, they are simply keeping access to Afghanistan’s natural resources available for our big corporations. Our troops are coming home (when they live to come home) maimed & crippled & burned & brain damaged. The only difference between the wars now & the Vietnam War is that the Vietnam War was fought by draftees, where-as now our military forces are all volunteers. Unfortunately, they have no idea just what they have volunteered to do until they get there. And we just keep pouring our taxes into war & the military, instead of using this money to create jobs & rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. American Imperialism is alive & well.

Nullo's avatar

@silverfly Your mistake lies in assuming that only the United States was attacked. Spain got a metro station bombed (the EU reported some 500 instances of terrorism across Europe in 2006 alone), for instance, and not too long ago, Israel had more poppers than a bowl of Rice Krispies. We’re just the only ones who decided to go to war over it.

dabbler's avatar

The US has made way more influence around the world, with positive results for us, through commerce than war.
Especially when we were a more dominant industrial power people knew our products everywhere and chose them when they could.
These days there is still a global audience for the output from Hollywood that spreads our American culture (for better or worse). And designs from SiliconValley are still popular, even if they aren’t manufactured here.

Diplomacy has great potential for those patient and intelligent enough to use it.

And it’s a damnable shame that the military-industrial complex has convinced everyone there is a weapon and a military solution to every difficulty.
It’s important that we have a strong military, but even more important to exercise it as a last resort.

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