General Question

Rarebear's avatar

What principles are worth going to war for?

Asked by Rarebear (25144points) April 17th, 2017

I originally wrote “worth fighting for” but the word “fighting” could mean figurative fighting. I mean literal fighting, like picking up a gun and killing people.

The answer could be “no principle”, but I will ask you to justify that answer in the wake of genocide of WW2. Would you have let that continue?

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25 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

There is no set standard. Everyone has the beliefs they are willing to get behind with force, and threat of death.
Are you asking us for our individual inclinations?

Rarebear's avatar

@Patty_Melt Yes, one’s individual inclination. I realize there are no set standards.

funkdaddy's avatar

Individually it seems pretty simple for me, it’s a fairly short list.

I’d pick up a gun and kill people for the direct safety of myself and my family. Probably for friends as well. So “safety” would be the principle I suppose.

There’s also a point where I would for the ability to move freely, that I can’t seem to find a way to define. “Freedom” seems overused, but some level of restriction greater than HOAs and less than imprisonment there’s a line that I would fight to get out of.

It seems more like the question is asking for when I think nations and armies should act. What should they fight for? It’s incredibly complicated and there’s no good answer. WWII made it so we think you can’t just stay out of it long term. Hitler was given time, space, and appeasement and it didn’t work out, so that’s dictated (or been manipulated to) a necessity of action for the last 70 years.

In a perfect world, with perfect information, you’d go to war when the war itself caused less suffering than it alleviated. In the real world, we don’t have that information, so we move early when we have other interests and wait for international agreement only when we don’t.

The principles we should go to war for are the same that you hear brought up when politicians want to attack someone, they’re the right principles, but just overused and have lost meaning. Freedom, security, ending suffering, and protection can all be the right reasons, we’ve just heard it too many times at this point.

Rarebear's avatar

@Sneki95 Nothing? You would have let Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini take over Asia?

@funkdaddy I agree with your last point. Platitudes are one thing and strategy is entirely another. Unfortunately, situations are often too nuanced for politicians to effectively articulate strategy (if they know it), and when they are articulated, people’s attention often drift so they just want to hear the platitudes.

Sneki95's avatar

@Rarebear I don’t care what others do, that is their own shame. I don’t see a single reason to go to war, ever.
War is the most disgusting thing humanity has come up with. It is a product of complete greed, bigotry, hatred and primitive, animalistic desires. Whatever the circumstance, I’d never willingly kill another person, nor support a project of mass murdering a nation. Only the idiots with absolutely no common sense that choose to be slaves to the cunts of the state would think that war is anything good that one should support, justify, or participate in.

Rarebear's avatar

@Sneki95 Okay, let’s say your next door neighbor is systematically killing his children. Then he goes across the street and kills those children. Then he goes behind you and kills those children. Then he turns his attention to you. You’re going to let him kill your children?

Patty_Melt's avatar

I thought this question over, and over, and over.
I honestly believe none of us could define what could provoke us into battle until actually faced with such provocations.
I think this is why one US president after another gets accused of flip flopping. Sometimes they find greater restraint, or fear than they knew they possessed. Sometimes they find themselves pressed beyond boundries they did not know they had.
I bet most of us would surprise ourselves if that ever presented before us.

Rarebear's avatar

@Patty_Melt Thanks for giving it some thought. One of the problems I see with the US system of government is that the Constitution has been ignored since World War 2. The Founding Fathers made it very clear that war was meant to be deliberated and voted upon, just to prevent a flip flopping president.

Sneki95's avatar

What you wrote is not war. It is a case of one person, or possibly a group of lunatics. War does not work like that. War is between nations, millions against millions. Do millions of people attack your children? Does a whole nation threaten you? No. It’s actually only a few “people”, the maggots we call “politicians” and “nationalists”. Sometimes, they call themselves patriots. Praise me, o mouth of mine, no one else will.

If a crazy murderer was roaming around the neighborhood, of course I’d have the need to be aware and call protective services, or even try to protect myself and my family on my own if there is no one else to do the job. though, truth be told, I was never really good in self defence. And I don’t care much about my own safety anyways. A society has an obligation to take care of itself and protect from the harmful members inside if it.

That, however, is not a justification of war. That “they provoke us, we need to defend ourselves” is the populist crap I’ve been listening my whole life. It is the rhetoric that justified mass murders, rape camps, war crimes, militarism and blind, concentrated hatred fancily called “nationalism”, that my country is infected with. It’s the speeches like this that have destroyed my nation and soiled the land I walk on with blood, and still do it. This irrational need to “defend yourself” from “attackers” and “enemies” is why my generation is called “post-war”.
It’s the reason a nation that has existed for over a millennium and has accumulated amount of cultural heritage and wealth one can only be proud of is brought down to a nation of uncultured swines, corrupted thugs, murderers, and barbarians.
Its the speeches like that that I fell ashamed of my own ethnicity, because mu own “patriots” are selling that crap under a fine veil of “patriotism” and “we didn’t do anything wrong” and “they started first”.
It is the story I listen to this every day. “We were defending ourselves”. “We didn’t deserve to get bombed.” “We will do everything to protect our people from Shiptars/Croats/whoever is the villain of the week.” “They attack us, we have the right and obligation to defend ourselves.” I still have to put up with that cunt-mouth thug that is our president now giving those same populist bullshit like “I will do everything in my power to protect our people.”

And for the record, it’s not just my people that sell that story. The opposite side tells the exact same. “They threaten us, we need to protect our land and our children”.

It all boils down to “I need money, and I’m going to make it by selling weapons to the idiots that are all too glad going going around and make that money for me. What? I need some cash, bruh. I don’t give a crap about some peasants.”

It’s all the same shit. There are no villains and heroes. You can find that in the comic books and fairy tales, but not in real life. In real life, you have unscrupulous maggots, sheep that follow them, and the victims that payed with their heads for something they never had anything to do with.

If a crasy ass comes and attacks you, of course you should defend yourself. Does that mean you should go and destroy his family and slay his children, to retaliate for your dead kids? Does that mean you have the right to rape his wife? Should you bomb his house? Shame his friends and family, and all of his descendants? Destroy the lives of everyone he’s ever been in contact with?
If you’re going to do that, go ahead. I don’t care what you do.
But I’m not falling for that crap.

Rarebear's avatar

I will unpack this tomorrow. Thanks for the answer.

What nation are you referring to when you say “my nation”? It will help give me context to your experience.

Sneki95's avatar

I’m Serbian.

Rarebear's avatar

Regular or Bosnian Serb? I was there.

Sneki95's avatar

The “regular” one, from Serbia.

Rarebear's avatar

And last question. Are you male or female?

Going to sleep. But will respond tomorrow.

Rarebear's avatar

Oh I lied. One more question. Did they force you to fight?

JLeslie's avatar

I think I would have to feel I am in a self defense mode, or in defense of my loved ones, especially if I had children, for me to go to war personally. Me physically take up arms and try to kill others.

I think I’m more of a flight than fight person, which maybe makes me weak or a coward.

Separate from what I said above, I want to protect and free people under tyranny or who are being slaughtered or enslaved by countrymen or outside forces. I feel the US didn’t go up against Hitler soon enough, and we should have helped in Rwanda, and the list goes on and on. But, I am sending in other people, soldiers, to take the risks, not myself. I guess they volunteered for it, but I think a lot of them don’t really believe their life is at risk, or are naive in other ways.

It’s a very complicated question for me.

NerdyKeith's avatar

None. Sometimes civil war might be defendable in terms of defending the safety and lives of others.

janbb's avatar

I think about this a lot as I like to call myself a pacifist. However, if a country is attacked militarily, I think they have to fight back. Also, if there is genocide taking place within a country or geographical area and diplomacy has failed, I think a coalition of nations should intervene. Syria appalls me, Rwanda appalled me. I don’t think the USA is smart enough at this point to do anything effective militarily, e.g. in Syria, but I wish there were something that could be done. Nor do I think the USA should be the “cops of the world” in Phil Och’s phrase. I wish the UN peacekeeping force was effective. I also wish there were true arms reduction agreements not build-ups. I despair of a peaceful world coming in my time.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

Principle of equality (of anything worth equality), when negotiation and pacifism don’t work anymore. One way or another something has to be done to end the tyranny and or it’ll become everlasting suffering. I don’t like war and the forseeable loss from war but if it’s the only way then you’ll just have to do it. As the saying goes, if you can’t do it the easy way you gotta do it the hard way.

MrGrimm888's avatar

No reason. Defend my position in regards to genocide? There’s plenty of genocide going on right now. There have been lots of examples since WWII. Only a few have gotten military attention, from an exterior government.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Sneki95 . My condolences for your situation. Your passionate rhetoric is appreciated, and I wish more people thought like you. War is hell. It has no place in humanity.

Rarebear's avatar

I agree with @MrGrimm888 above. I was in Bosnia right after the war was over in the 90’s training ER physicians. I worked with Bosnian Serbs and Muslims. My translator was a Bosnian Serb who fought in Sarajevo against the Bosnian Serbs on the side of Sarajevo. I toured Sarajevo and saw the bombed out buildings. I had to have escorts any time I left the hospital. I was not allowed anywhere that wasn’t certified because of the risk of mines.

Despite all of this, I saw an optimism that things would get better, and the ultimately did. It will never be completely healed but the peace has held.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Invasion of one’s own country would be number one with me. Starving one’s own country by blocking all trade is an overt act of war in my book. In both of these situations, you have no other choice. Your people are going to die anyway. They should fight for the existence of their country rather than die on their knees. In this, I take a page right out of Ho Chi Minh’s book.

ucme's avatar

The systematic rape of a soverign state, that & if your leader wears a big pointy military cap & likes pointing at tanks.

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