Will war as we know it ever end?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jefhatfield, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #1
    ...and is the human race any more enlightened in the 21st century?

    i recall talking to my friend, an air force captain, and he basically told me...after all the bs in the press and huge public relations campaigns from the armed forces, his job (and any of a person in uniform), is to kill people...working as a unit with the goal of winning a war, which inevitably ends up in people on both sides dying

    the spartans were the most highly trained warriors of their time and their main goal was to be a huge efficient killing machine of cold hearted killers and this was the mission of west point thousands of years later when they started in the usa...obey and do not think for yourself

    the western mind of most civilians takes from another greek city, athens, which holds a lot of value in the individual and focuses on the good of human nature and its potential

    how long can we live in a world with these dualities?

    "war is hell" says it all
     
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #2
    You certainly have a mistaken picture of West Point. They read Sun Tzu there, as well as do a lot of the rest of us. They also understand Seneca's advice.

    There will be wars of some sort or another, as long as human nature is what it is. That is, there will always be some who want power over others, no matter who's harmed. Those for whom the end justifies the means to that end.

    Similarly, there will always be individuals or small groups of people who are willing to commit some sort of crime for some desired gain. Might be "white collar"; might be robbery.

    There will always be a need for some sort of cop, whether around your neighborhood or on a nation-scale. For the latter, the middle 20th century showed what happens when any country is unprepared for attack.

    'Rat
     
  3. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #3
    There are trends that would point to the elimination of the greatest cause of war: the competition between nation-states. Globalization causes tremendous difficulties, but there is also the trend toward a more integrated and interdependant world. If we survive all the horrible difficulties we will encounter on the way to this new world there is hope for the ending of war as we know it. I have a feeling it is going to be a very bumpy ride along the way. I also know if it is a possiblity none of us will live to see it.
     
  4. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #4
    did you graduate from west point?...if you did, then i apologize if i offended you ;)

    i didn't go to west point but i graduated from the university most air force officers get their master's degree from and i live in the town where most naval officers get their master's from...so i have heard a lot about west point from them even though their academy experience (undergrad level) was air force academy and the naval academy

    i have worked for the CIA and the defense department and some academy officers i met likened themselves to hard core warriors and they made no apologies for their beliefs...my father is a world war II veteran and he believes there is nothing wrong with a lean, mean killing machine...he served in the OSS and they have a few hard cases and from the ashes of his unit, the CIA was formed

    so you can see my point of view...i sit next to a west pointer in monthly business meetings but i will never try and tell you what it is to be a west pointer...they are a very tight fraternity and unless they have lied to me, they are trained to be leaders in war and war is hell...it's comes down to killing

    a naval officer who taught at my school basically told me what it was to be a leader in war in a very blunt way, "if you are on a raft and you have to kick some people off to save the rest, and you can't that, then you have no business being a military officer in war"...of course, he was pretty hard core and had these deep scars where his superiors pushed insignia pins into his chest when he completed of some specialized training :p
     
  5. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Nope, no WPer, me. I saluted some...My objection is to the tie to "cold-hearted killing machines". Sure, there are those who actually enjoy the risks of combat, but in the main most find killing to be a necessary but distasteful part of service. I've known a lot of guys, both officer and enlisted, who served because they saw it as their duty to their nation to serve--and a helluva lot of soul-searching and thought went into the decisions. The hardest for any worth-a-dam leader is to send his men "into harm's way", knowing some won't return at all and others will return harmed.

    Possibly the term "objective" might be better? :) At any rate, when there are folks willing to impose their political will upon you at gunpoint, it's quite helpful to have some warrior types around. My father served in the 3rd Infantry in 1944/1945, under Patton; he had a few stories...

    Sayhey, while in the future there may be fewer of the classic Euro-style competitions between nation-states, it seems to me that the predictions of moe brush-fire hostilities are correct. Witness Africa or the Balkans, for instance. Further, the Al Qaida activities around the world seem to be finding additional adherents to their cause--and not just in anti-US efforts.

    There is a discussion current at Strategic Investment concerning China's long-term competition with the US via economics rather than miltary, which should prove interesting if correct. However, history is replete with examples of economic competitions which resulted in military hostilities.

    Yeah, beyond our lifetimes. Mine, for sure, anyway. :)

    'Rat
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #6
    I'd guess that if we could have a period of relative peace and prosperity for all people for maybe 500 generations or so, we might be able to reduce the specter of war to some infintesimaly small amount. Doubt it will go away though.

    Funniest commentary on this I saw was in Independance Day. The one thing that brings humanity together and has Israeli and Palestinian, Muslim and Christian, and several other ethnic/religious rivalries working together instead of trying to kill each other is making war on the invading aliens.

    Or for those who like to read, Walter Miller's 1959 "A Canticle for Leibowitz" is another good take on the possibility that humans will be able to get over wars. Very funny as well as interesting.
     
  7. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
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    #7
    sorry for any disrespect to the army...i just repeated a term "killing machine" which i have heard refered to the long gray line at west point...but there are some other sayings i have heard among army personnel both at my old defense department job and among many of the local soldiers and their kids, especially, that served at ford ord, CA

    one is "kill them all, and let god sort them out later" or "join the army, see the world and meet a lot of interesting peole, and then kill them" there are even t-shirts that have these or similar sayings...i know that they are tongue in cheek, or at least i hope so

    my dad is from your generation (or a tiny bit older b.1927) and he served in 45-46 and the department of defense was the department of war....a much more direct and accurate term...the mentality drilled into the soldiers then just prior to the invasion of berlin and expected invasion of japan was pretty hard and heartless, being that if the army did invade the mainland of japan, more us troops would have died in one day than all the troops died in all of vietnam...but it's all a guess for historians

    i have a friend who is a military historian, but like many of his peers in the field, never served in the military...his specialty is special forces and light fighters...he is a very peaceful and low key fellow and he does not think war has the intent to kill, but to subdue the enemy...he points to the seals and rangers and says, "hey most of them are familymen who will never have to exercise their combat skills in their whole enlistment"...maybe he's right since he's the expert and he has interviewed all types of soldiers for his work...i am a social worker for the homeless and fro drug addicts and former drug dealers and i often come across vietnam vets who never recovered and some who were never able to turn off their ranger training...some have spent jail time for violent crime in the years after the war

    the other day i compared my clients to his sources, both army personnel from vietnam, and i suspected we just came across diffrent groups of people who served there...he pointed to modern psychological tests which weed out violent people so they won't go to ranger school and delta force school...i just referred him to a story about fort bragg where, in a relatively short period of time, four rangers murdered their wives

    personally, being asian, i have triggered flashbacks among some homeless who burst into tears or a fear reaction who though i was "vietcong" or "VC"...i once let a veteran stay in my apartment and he just flipped and the cops came and i was evicted

    i think different people handle extreme situations differently but i think somebody has to be an expert in the art of war and if some army personnel comes up to me again and says that they are a killing machine...i know and have known that is a lot different than serial killer ala son of sam or a "rambo" character like the movies like to latch onto ;)
     
  8. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #8
    another interesting piece of history at fort ord are the murals the soldiers themselves made in all the years the fort was there...some of them look pretty benign but some of them are downright scary and remind me of a timebomb ready to go off

    my father's generation of japanese americans have a pretty decent combat record in world war II but he told me the abosolute best heroes in combat were the ex-convicts the army used for the most dangerous missions...people so dangerous they were not allowed into society

    he saw these types as absolutely bloodthirsty but he thinks many of those turned the tide of world war II and to this day he thinks following orders and turning off your conscience is the only way to survive in the battlefield...if i repeat the term soul searching to him he and his fellow world war II veterans will definitely laugh

    somewhere i heard somebody on these forums say that blindly following orders and not thinking was akin to the nazis...but killing and fighting in a war and following orders, however distasteful, does not make a nazi...other factors led to the nazis in world war II

    nobody seems to understand the movie saving private ryan and the intense gore and killing spielberg put forward but from every account i have heard or read from world war II veterans, war is that bad and if anything, the movie was an understatement of the hell of war

    ...but nothing compares to the stories i heard of my old college roomate, a sunday school teacher from iowa, who was married to a plo soldier...she had to get divorced from him because he always beat her up...he could not turn off the war machine running through his veins even though at the time of their marriage, he was a peace activist who was very involved in arab-israeli relations and peace in the middle east...she said he was a good man at heart but not a person you wanted to be married to

    i will not repeat the stories she told me because they are far too graphic and sick to repeat here on this forum...but they come a lot closer to "the son of sam" ethic and a few decades of constant war is the culprit of those actions so when i hear of the suicide bombers in israel, i do not justify their actions, but in some way i understand how they could have got there....nobody is born and suddenly one day thinks, "oh, today i think i will strap some bombs on my body and kill innocent civilians"
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    My mother had a job in Manila, 1949-1950, which was my junior year in high school. I saw the aftermath of the destruction, and of course talked with many who had endured and survived. Later, in 1954, I went on occupation duty in South Korea and got a repeat, plus some stories from guys who had seen combat.

    I've not yet really thought it out, but somehow the problem seems more the mindset of a Lenin or a Hitler than "War". The ideology of an Ayatollah Khomeini or the drive for power of a Stalin seems to me to be what leads to so much of man's inhumanity to man. How do you weed these creatures out before they attain power?

    And, closer to home, how do you deal with a sub-culture which has people willing to kill over, "But, he dissed me!"?

    I have no real-world answer...

    Funny...I had my last fight in high school, in 1951. I've rarely had a serious argument with anybody. Peaceful soul, me. But I've had more than one person comment that I'm one they'd like on their side in any sort of brannigan, unarmed or armed. I'm quite competent, either way. I guess it's like any form of insurance: Better to have it and not need it...

    'Rat
     
  10. jefhatfield thread starter Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #10
    at this point in the world's human evolution, being human and all, i think the idea of a military who has the ability to kill and destroy is a reality that's here to stay for a long time

    i kind of like costa rica, with a police but no military and while they are in one of the most unstable regions in the world which is full of atrocities, costa rica has stayed out of most of it...i think the fact that they don't have a military is a big part of it...they are no threat to anybody

    ...and costa rica enjoys a much higher than average literacy rate...i think the example of costa rica can be followed by other nations and in a way, they can be a role model for the world...i don't know if high literacy rate coupled with no military will always avoid wars with one's neighbors, but i bet it is a heck of a lot better than the usual central american "tin horn" dictatorships with a small ruling class, a large poor and uneducated class, and a brutal army and police force rife with corruption

    i sometimes have hope for the human race with no need for a military and no wars on the planet...but the reality of such an existence is so far away that i lose sight of the fact that we can achieve it...i believe the human soul to basically be fallible and prone to evil (by default), but there is a glint of goodness in all humans and the development of this can lead to world peace someday...some religionists say this is "not the will of god", but even reverend billy graham thinks that a lot of positive things can happen for mankind if makind applies himself (or basically it's not god's fault that we are toiling in most of the problems we have today)

    the first reason for a military is to have the ability to coerce with deadly force (whether it be spears or weapons of mass destruction) and then somewhere down the list...to defend one's territory - and to man this military a human being has to be trained to work with other human beings to be able to back this threat of deadly force...yes, there are nurses and chaplains in the service, but why is a military entitiy like the air force called the air force? the force is there to kill people and there are highly trained people who can do that with utmost efficiency and accuracy...i think having military forces to the level the united states has proven to be too much of a temptation and often leads to pre-emptive attacks on innocent nations and people...does the us with their military killing innocent people pre-emptively justify our need to stop terrorists and nations that seem to support terrorism? doesn't that make us in effect terrorists? an eye for an eye will make the human race blind (that being said, i have no problem with our forces engaging the terrorists directly with what weapons they have that they can use to their advantage)

    i am sure ghandi had a hope for his country that many did not have but it was his belief in the good side of man that helped him achieve his legendary status as a peacemaker
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Ol' homo sap is the top predator on the planet. The majority of our predatory males go into business, rather than war--which I guess gives us the Enrons? And, of course it gives us the Sears&Roebucks as well, not to mention all our modern conveniences.

    This country has long been the primary source of technological ideas, which, when coupled with WW II and the Cold War has led to today's military capability.

    On a comparative basis we have no peers at winning a war*. The big problem is knowing what to do after the shooting stops, and our track record after a war just really sucks.

    'Rat

    * During the Paris peace talks near the end of the Vietnamese war, a US Colonel commented to a North Vietnamese Colonel, "I don't really understand. You never defeated us on the battlefield." "That's true, sir--but it's irrelevant." Which is why Sun Tzu is as relevant today as in centuries gone by.
     

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