Debate and Discussion

War. What does it teach us?
ozoneocean at 8:48AM, June 16, 2008
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War has always been around, it's always in the news, there is always war somewhere. And when it isn't actively happening in other places, it's just waiting to pounce all over again.

People always get sucked up in the nationalism, supporting THEIR side no matter how unjust or evil the cause and in the end the smarter ones are usually forced to see the horrible dark side- if they hadn't seen it already. The stupid ones go on ignoring the reality of the situation, trying to rationalise some fantasy of a “just cause”, a god sanctioned crusade to smite evil.

But I don't think war teaches us anything at all, other than pessimism about the human condition. We go on repeating the same mistakes and hating millions of people from other countries who we've never met and have no quarrel against us, who're going about their ordinary daily lives, just because some smaller group said we should.

During WW2 alone The German people were taught to hate the Jews, the British to hate the Germans, the Japanese to hate the Chinese, The Americans to hate the Japanese… As an entire nationality, man woman and child, not just as a government or an opposing force.

And of course we have it now… Israelis see Palestinians as less than human, a significant part of the Muslim world hates the Jews, most of the West hates Iran and North Korea (particularly the U.S.A.). And so on. -as a people, as a nationality, as a culture. Often claiming that it's fear: the coward's ruse.

Do you think we'll ever graduate from this behaviour?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
anonymousposterchild at 10:14AM, June 16, 2008
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ozoneocean
Do you think we'll ever graduate from this behaviour?

Yes. We all just need to hate each other a biiiit more first.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
bravo1102 at 12:07PM, June 16, 2008
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War teaches us plenty, but the lessons are either the wrong ones or ignored. We've learned all kinds of faster and better ways to kill each other and many of these lessons have leached out into the civilian world. So we have better stuff and others want it so reasons to go to war mulitply.

We're too good at killing each other. In our heads we humans are still in that tribal group fighting for territory and survival with another tribal group. Those tribal groups are now far bigger and pointed sticks and thrown rocks are now AK-47 assault rifles and B-1B bombers.

No one hates war more than the soldier.

And how long ago did the sage say that only the dead have seen the end of war?
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mapaghimagsik at 12:29PM, June 16, 2008
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I believe the joke is, “geography”

So on to the funny stuff.

There's lots of technological advances made when we're doing military research. Of course, its a matter of that combatants have a need for advantage, and therefor do lots of research.

Medical advances tend to happen a bit faster too. The technological advances in prosthetics and battlefield medical care have increased quite a bit from war to war.

We will always be creatures in conflict. That can be a depressing assessment, but not every conflict has to be all out craziness war. Unfortunately, I don't think we've figured out how to manage certain conflicts any better.

Many times I blame this on the fact we think there's some sort of heavenly reward for being inhuman to each other. However, in all fairness, there's lots of other reasons people do harm to each other.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
kyupol at 4:02PM, June 16, 2008
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War teaches us how easy it is to manipulate the masses.

Propaganda is a science.
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StaceyMontgomery at 4:30PM, June 16, 2008
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War teaches us that it is much easier to destroy than it is to build.

That's an amazingly easy lesson to forget.


I think that War will always be with us - but the the face of war - and the assumptions that we make - change over time. Wars of the future will be different in ways that inspire and horrify us. Just as our wars would inspire and horrify people of past ages.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
lothar at 6:37PM, June 16, 2008
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war will outlive us all. long after humans have all killed eachother , our weapons will still be doing the murderous jobs they were designed for. Man will not outgrow war , rather war will outgrow man !
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HippieVan at 6:52PM, June 16, 2008
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My sister told me that in her anthropology class they were talking about war, and that if, during all known history, you counted the length of time when there were no wars going on in any of the world, that length of time would never be more than a few days at a time.

But I do I think peace can exist. It won't be in the near future, obviously, but really am optimistic that it can happen someday. If everyone is just sitting around thinking that war will always exist then it will. I believe that we will need to change the way we think before we can change what's wrong in the world.

I hate all violence.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
bravo1102 at 8:53PM, June 16, 2008
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mapaghimagsik
I believe the joke is, “geography”



I guess you never saw a second lieutenant try to read a map?

(Or teach a map reading class.)
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Aussie_kid at 9:05PM, June 16, 2008
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War helps us advance our technology. I think we need a war of advancement, where maybe America can declare war on someone else to be the most technologically advanced nation on earth. Imagine what will happen then?

But yeah, war is a lesson that, time and time again, is ignored. If only WWI really was the war to end all wars
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DAJB at 1:08AM, June 17, 2008
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ozoneocean
Do you think we'll ever graduate from this behaviour?
Sadly, not in our lifetimes.

Bullies have always been with us and every time a bully comes to power, there's likely to be a war. You could have 99% of all the people in 99% of all the countries in the world steadfast in their opposition to war but - as long as there is one leader prepared to take his/her country/faction to war - others will be also be forced to fight.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 1:47AM, June 17, 2008
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DAJB
- as long as there is one leader prepared to take his/her country/faction to war - others will be also be forced to fight.
I don't know… That sounds a bit like a justification for war to me. -_-
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
FoxmanZEO at 2:42AM, June 17, 2008
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It's gradually teaching us how to fight one without killing each other.

Non-lethal weapons systems will eventually be capable of shooting at longer ranges and through more solid matter than modern munitions. Also, the drive towards self controlled, robot piloted vehichles is a much needed race that's seen some good progress.

Killing and destruction are old tools for acheiving victory, we've seen the limits of what we need in those respects, and now it's getting a little old.

The change that's intended isn't going to get old though, people aren't going to stop thinking things can be better or more suiting.

I don't think wasting everyone is justified by that, but it's a little closer to alot less noise in the world.
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He who can.'


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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
lothar at 4:47AM, June 17, 2008
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Non-lethal weapons systems are a joke ! even if they manage to make a weapon that doesn't kill the people it is aimed at , it still will kill people, simply by redirecting resources that could have otherwise been used to help feed people or cure diseases . and , anyway, all these weapons of aggression are uused to maintain power systems and states that should be gone from this world.
the only solution to the humans problem is to create some sort of super robot that can divide and rule them like the animals that they are . i can imagine a group of robot samurai , each taking a section of the Earth under their control . they can build 2 kilometer high walls and wall in sections …. maybe 10,000 square kilometers each. there would have to be a supreme robot god to rule the lesser fuedal robot lords . this robot god would live on the moon . they would all have to derive their power from the sun and have to obey Issac asimovs 3 laws of robotics .
because ,if war has taught us anything , it is that War is a toy that humans are too immature to control.
i remember it was Carl Sagan who said ,about space exploration - “humans have finaly found something as exciting as war” but i think he was mistaken. the majority of people will always prefer the anarchy and light saber fights of star wars to the laws and diplomacy of star trek. i know i do. and that is why we need to create some robots to enslave us, for our own good !
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ozoneocean at 6:15AM, June 17, 2008
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The robot enslavement idea has its merits, if they were really protectors, but it sounds too much like being enslaved by a corporation-> your sweat and blood for its profit. You would have to be very careful how you handled it.

Non-lethal weapons are generally used as torture devices and as an adjunct to lethal weapons to make the killing easier. remote operated vehicles and autonomous vehicles (so called robots) are used to kill people while keeping the operator safe. All they do is continue the tradition of the suit of armour, the crossbow, the rifle, the cannon and the nuclear bomb–> you can kill others without risking harm to yourself.

But the weapons aren't important, weapons are interesting and fun, but they don't have as much to do with war as you think. They're just tools. Weapons without the will to use them are like a mechanic's shop without cars, mechanics, or customers: nothing but interesting relics.

If we want to be utopian, then technology isn't the answer. Social management could do it. Systems like the UN and league of nations have been a damn good start at it… the trouble is that the members are not committed and so they fail. Germany thumbed its nose at the league of nations in the 30's. GWB jnr thumbed his nose at the UN in 2003 and now that administration tries to do a back flip and use the UN as a hammer to beat Iran… More commitment to a world government system, with no single nations thinking they're above it or trying to manipulate it, if all were equal in a democracy of nations, you could have an international police force and courts of arbitration to take care of disputes. Armies would be redundant.

At the moment we can dream of stuff like that, but it's utopian dreaming. We're not much closer to that now than we were in the 20's… than we were even in the 1820's!
 
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kyupol at 6:40AM, June 17, 2008
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We humans would eventually wisen up to the evil caused by war. I doubt it though if it will be in my lifetime. Maybe sometime in the future. After Earth has been destroyed by nuclear weapons… and after humans rebuild civilization and destroy it at least 5 times.

Then the Earth would be a peaceful planet.

That would probably be tens of thousands of years in the future. And the souls who are to be born in that time period are very lucky.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
bravo1102 at 10:33AM, June 17, 2008
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There have been proposals and instances of “non-lethal” wars. A battle of champions. Rather than mobilizing a nation, it is just two guys.

According to some anthropologists the first wars were just that. Lots of breast beating, feathers and stomping one guy would go out and taunt, another guy would come out and they'd fight. At times it is recorded that the war was over and peace negotiations started when first blood was drawn. When resources and strength to fight were limited by various factors (only so many guys, gotta get the harvest in etc) wars limited themselves.

The more resources the tribe/city/nation has the bigger the goals of war-fighting and the more things war-fighting is used for. Once there were fixed residences with lots of resources those resources needed to be protected because there was always someone who wanted to come and get it. More people group together and pool their resources for mutual protection and prosperity and other groups want the stuff even more.

You want peace? Get rid of groups and categories and have everyone share for the good of everyone else. No longer be Black, white, Americans, Armenians or Muslims ,Jews or Croats or Bantu, but only human. Humans group each other into US and NOT-US. As long as there are NOT-US(THEM!) there will be another group that can be demonized and warred against.

I'm not saying we all have to be alike or identical, but just realize that we all share the same needs and the same resources and thet together we can be far more successful than seperate. Because in the end nothing does seperate one human from another but a few 1/10ths of a percent of genetic code.

But only the dead have seen the end of war.
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Frostflowers at 2:47AM, June 18, 2008
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War does teach us a lot of things - such as how utterly pointless it is, for example - but those lessons are ignored.

Just look at Iraq. The American forces are fighting on the same battlefields that the British did, way back in 1920 - Fallujah, Najaf, etc., etc. - and they didn't win then either. They're fighting what is basically a guerrilla war - just like they did in Vietnam. Vietnam was a disaster, and yet they have learned nothing. Bombing the entire Middle East isn't going to convince them that the Western world and the United States are the good guys - in fact, if anything, it is feeding the nationalism and the fanatic islamism, which in turn creates terrorists.

Charles XII of Sweden attacked Russia, was soundly defeated at Poltava, which led to the crumbling of the so-called Swedish Empire. Napoleon marched in to conquer Russia, but had to turn back because he was unprepared for the harsh Russian winter. Hitler marched in to conquer Russia, but had to turn back because he was unprepared for the harsh Russian winter, and lost a horrific number of soldiers at Stalingrad. While I can take some bit of ancestral pride in the fact that the Swedes managed to get the furthest into Russia before they had to turn back, that doesn't change the fact that they were basically doing the same thing - and failing in the same way - over and over.

Personally, I can't think of a solution. Those of us who do learn from history are not the ones who start wars. Even if all the available technology - nuclear bombs, missiles, guns, whatever - is taken away, that won't erase the quarrelsome nature of human beings. If we can't shoot the people we don't like, we'll chuck stones at them - and they'll chuck stones right back.
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DAJB at 12:01PM, June 18, 2008
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ozoneocean
DAJB
- as long as there is one leader prepared to take his/her country/faction to war - others will be also be forced to fight.
I don't know… That sounds a bit like a justification for war to me. -_-
No, not a justification for war, just a sad acknowledgement that - like it or not - we have to be prepared for the eventuality.
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bravo1102 at 6:38AM, June 19, 2008
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But the British were successful in Iraq, but it was a much smaller conflict. Well at least according to military historians. They were also sucessful in Malaya. But they knew the importance of hearts and minds and seperating the guerilla from his popular support after learning hard lessons during the Boer War. The US was successful fighting an insurrgentcy in the Philipines. The US military didn't use that example.

The US military learned important lessons from Vietnam, and the modern military is based on traditions learned since Vietnam, however an army always fights the last war and since the Vietnam memory had retired in the 1990s the leadership only had the example of ODS to go on. Well, they did that well. And the Best and the Brightest civialn leadership again didn't listen to the soldiers in the know when it came time for what happened after we accomplished the mission.

Some soldiers remembered and they were successful and once they took over, well we're doing better except the war like Vietnam is expanding. Unfortunately like Vietnam we'd have to expand the war in order to get the victory spoken of by the pundits. Ain't gonna happen.

And the USA was a lot more successful in Vietnam then we are given credit for. We lost that war on the homefront, not on the battlefield. If the USA had been allowed to deploy in force in 1972 and 1975 when the NVA was finally fighting the war we had wanted them to fight for so long, the results would have been much different. Of course in the end we supported the wrong side starting in 1945.
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ozoneocean at 1:33AM, June 21, 2008
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every conflict with every justification they can think of… and even all these years after the latest Afghan invasion stated, Al Quiada are still hiding in the same place. a vivid example of the futility of war.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
DAJB at 6:42AM, June 21, 2008
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ozoneocean
DAJB]No, not a justification for war, just a sad acknowledgement that - like it or not - we have to be prepared for the eventuality.[/quote]Still, seems to me that what you and [b]Bravo [/b]say, in essence, is that "war is going to happen anyway so the best lessons we can learn from it are looking at how we did it last time and see if we can improve upon it so we'll do better the next time."[/quote
Yup. That's about the size of it. I'm sorry if that bursts anyone's idealistic bubble, but the reality is that - even without the Bush/Blair-led paranoia about the Middle East - there are countries and factions out there who are willing to go to war for their own ends.

It has happened and is still happening all over the world and, as long as it is, it's going to be necessary for other countries to be able to defend themselves.
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ozoneocean at 8:35AM, June 21, 2008
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Not really DAJB. That's idealistically BAD in it's own way. It legitimises a status quo… worse; you endorse it.

Of course it's not the only way for the world to be. But if you only think in primitive terms like “attack” and “defend”, you help to make it stay that way.

The so called “cold war” was actually a very long term of peace between two very large and powerful blocks. There were skirmishes, but NOTHING on the scale of what created the cold war (WW2) and even world war 2 would have paled into nothing next to the conflict that the peace was preventing.

On one hand, it was a peace maintained by diplomacy, a balance of power, technology, armies, weaponry… But far more importantly; the populaces of the rival powers so dreaded the potential conflict that neither had any incentive to begin it.

Through history there have been other long peaces, in other ways. So, yes, it's very possible.

The more we think we have to defend ourselves, the likelier it is that we will be responsible for the next war. Israel is currenty trying to use that excuse in order to attack Iran.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:31PM
DAJB at 9:02AM, June 21, 2008
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ozoneocean
The more we think we have to defend ourselves, the likelier it is that we will be responsible for the next war.
Sorry, O.O. but that's just nonsense. In fact, it's so absurd, I'm inclined to think that someone as knowledgeable as you would only say such a thing in a deliberate attempt to provoke a more heated discussion.

As I am sure you are well aware, history is littered with examples of countries that thought they had no need to be prepared for war only to have some other country's army roll right over them.

In fact, most historians would attribute the long period of peace (as you describe it) following WW2, not to diplomacy so much as to the fact that the USSR and the USA were each perfectly capable of wiping the other off the map.
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ozoneocean at 9:51AM, June 21, 2008
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It's not absurd, it's simply another way of looking at things- not from the staid perspective of someone who only thinks in 2 dimensions :)

I don't think you even read all of my post, especially regarding the cold war: I addressed the simple weaponry/technology factor. And that wasn't a stalemate between the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. but rather the blocks they headed, this is why the peace was so remarkable- so many countries held in check.

The obvious current example to prove the veracity of my contention was Israel's current plans to attack Iran, citing “defence” as a reason. That sort of thing is all too common I'm afraid. If for example, Taiwan decided they needed to “defend” themselves so badly that they needed a massive upgrade to their armed forces, this would of course directly encourage China to attack.

And to return to WW2 again, as so many debates do- the main reason Germany was allowed to retain and build up their war capacity was because they used the argument that all countries have a right to self defence… If that basic capacity had been totally denied them and stuck with, things would obviously have been a bit better for the world. ;)
 
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HippieVan at 10:00AM, June 21, 2008
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I just thought of something that will maybe provide a little hope.
The company my dad works for(he actually just quit, I'm so proud of him) makes rockets…not only scientific ones, but the kind that are used in wars. And they are basically going out of business. I guess less people are buying rockets these days.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
DAJB at 10:03AM, June 21, 2008
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I did read your whole post, Ozone. It didn't leave me any more convinced.

If you honestly believe what you're saying (and I still doubt that you possibly can!), then I think this is the point in the thread at which we must agree to differ and each wander off in separate directions, sadly shaking our heads!
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bravo1102 at 5:31AM, June 25, 2008
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ozoneocean
Still, seems to me that what you and Bravo say, in essence, is that “war is going to happen anyway so the best lessons we can learn from it are looking at how we did it last time and see if we can improve upon it so we'll do better the next time.”

As long as humans persist in catagorizing ourselves into US and NOT-US (THEM!) we'll have conflict. It is an undeniable part of human nature that is engrained in our psyche going back to tribal groups competing with each other for hunting and gathering grounds.

All social groups in human history were formed to cooperate in food production and protection. There has always been a THEM out there that needs to be protected against or hunted down and killed.

Until humans learn how to peacefully compete as groups or how to define themselves as a larger more inclusive group our species is stuck with wars. Fortunately history has provided examples of people working together in progressively larger groups like the EU and NATO, but for every one of those there are dozens of little groups massacring their neighbors.

As for the Cold War, take away the nuclear weapons and the USA and USSR would have had numerous wars like the various wars for hegemonic balances of power throughout history from Egypt and the Hittites down to Louis XIV and beyond. TO think otherwise ignores the lessons of history going back 6000 years. (If not more)

Our species has been on this planet 200,000 years if not more and that has given us plenty of time to develop and blast ourselves back to Stone Age several times and not leaving any remnants our archeologists could have discovered.
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beautifully_demonic at 10:03AM, June 25, 2008
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it teaches us to blow stuff up!! *crazy stare!*
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Gamers Anonymous at 2:18PM, June 25, 2008
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ozoneocean
The obvious current example to prove the veracity of my contention was Israel's current plans to attack Iran, citing “defence” as a reason. That sort of thing is all too common I'm afraid.

ozoneocean
The more we think we have to defend ourselves, the likelier it is that we will be responsible for the next war. Israel is currenty trying to use that excuse in order to attack Iran.

Use it as an “excuse”? It's no secret that Ahmadinejad seeks to wipe Isreal from the face of this earth. This, no matter how much he and the Iranian government try to then sweep it under the rug and pass it off as mistranslation or misunderstanding. His words speak for themselves.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM

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