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Morality and War

This is a discussion on Morality and War within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Does morality have a place in war? While that is the general theme of this thread. I will address some ...


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Old April 4th, 2006   #1
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Morality and War

Does morality have a place in war? While that is the general theme of this thread. I will address some specific issues that seem to come up from time to time. Opinions on why you think certain weapons and tactics should or should not be used. If you can provide a historical reference to back up your feelings please do so. If this discussion is too inflamatory for you please dont get involved so we can keep things civil. Now that we got that out of the way...



1. Preemptive Strikes


--This is the issue that seems to have caused one of the more recent rifts in US-Euro relations. Its obvious anytime you read most international news stories and even here on SP. IN MY OPINION, it is the only way to fight a war. Striking first gives you the initiative and allows you to resolve conflicts or potential conflicts on your own terms. The thought of defensive wars has always seemed an error to me. You are not guaranteed to survive the initial blow! Some examples of nations that did not survive preemptive attacks are France 1939, Kuwait 1991 and Iraq 2003. Only the sacrafice of other nations saved them in the end. But only after they were conquered. In short I dont see anything wrong with throwing the first punch. It works.


2. Terrorism


--A little more controversial topic. But no matter how controversial it is a valid military tactic. Its most often practiced when one side doesnt have the means to fight a bigger power. I mean do you expect the Palestinians to wage Manuever Warfare against the Israeli Army? Nations fight with what means the have available. For some that is the Car Bomb. For others its a JDAM. While I find terrorism to be distasteful. I can not in good faith say that I find anything immoral about it considering the nature of war. Before any of you jump down my throat consider this. IF you lived in a third world country. And for some reason, doesnt matter pick one, a more powerful nation overan your nations armed forces and enslaved your people. Would you not take up arms? And if so. Would you chose to honorably face the more powerful foe where he is strongest, on the battlefield? Or would you strike him where he is weak? In his homeland? His rear area? Or, would you accept being dominated by a foreign invader?


3. Targeting Enemy Populations


--Dresden, Tokyo, Iraq 1991-1998 immediately come to mind. Plain and simple I'm all for it if their is a military objective to be achieved. I mean honestly. Why should the people of a nation be spared the horrors of a war they support IF that support is key to the success of their campaign? If anyone can make a case on behalf of the people and why they should be spared, I would love to hear it. I bet there isnt a single person who can debate me on why this is an invalid tactic without resorting to insults. Genocide IS NOT THE SAME THING. Futher Genocide is a waste of military resources and morally wrong. Genocide is not a method of war, it is a crime.


4. NBC Weapons Use


--I think the time has come to futher integrate Offensive NBC weapons into our(USA) military doctrine. Not only does it make sense, but it may be crucial to our achieving victory in the not to distant future. I agree that in the past, up to about when the USSR fell apart. It was in our(the world) interest to not use NBC weapons if at all possible and then only for retaliation. But contrary to popular belief, I do not feel this was primarily based on morality or MAD policy. I think the reason why we(USA) became so anti-NBC is because we didnt want to face weapons on the battlefield that could give an enemy effective means to fight back. We were so much more advanced in our conventional weapons capability that conventional war was in our interest. Also NBC weapons, especially nuclear, were beyond the means of most of our opponents. The only fear we had was intervention by other nuclear powers. Also in those times. It was still possible to prevent non-nuclear powers from becoming nuclear. Today I think the nature of war has changed. Not only is the list of nuclear powers growing. But some of the defenses of the enemy are only vulnerable to nuclear weapons. Also, nuclear weapons offer efficiency. Compare the destruction of Dresden to the destruction of Hiroshima. Who can argue against the efficiency of the Hiroshima raid? And nuclear weapons, again contrary to popular belief, dont have to be city-busting dirty weapons. Yields and weapons effects are highly controllable. Nuclear weapons represent the future and is a natural progression of things. We should not fear this. Instead, we should use our skills to master it.

--Chemical weapons. These weapons would also be of great use to any military that took the time to develop weapons and tactics to use them. Non-lethal weapons like CS or sleep agents could be used as a non lethal means of dealing with civilians if their deaths would be contrary to our interest. Or lethal agents could be used against enemy units concealed in difficult terrain such as caves or cities. OR to deny terrain. Imagine if we could immediately put nerve gas on the beaches of Taiwan in front of invading Chinese. Or what if after we evacutated Fallujah in November 2004. We took the city after using chemicals to kill the insurgents there. They had no defense and would have been ideal targets. Chemical weapons are simply to valuable to be ignored. In a time where a lot of nations are becoming nuclear capable. I think the taboo surrounding chemicals should be removed. In fact the only reason we didnt used chemicals was to deny it to nations who could not get nuclear weapons and saw chemicals as a cheap substitute. Not because of any moral issues. What difference does it make if I kill a grid square with FASCAM or persistent agent?

--Bio weapons. Ummm, I like the idea. But a little too dangerous for even me to endorse right now. I admit that I have very limited knowledge of Bio weapons and tactics surrounding their use. I dont see it as a moral limitation but more of a safety issue. If the effects can be reasonably controlled then I say use them. But until then I would hesitate to employ such weapons.


5. Torture


--For me morality comes to play if torture is used just for the sake of using it. If it is administered by professionals in a controlled environment for interrogation purposes. Then I dont have a problem with it. You all know the ticking timebomb analogy. That best explains my position.


6. Proliferation


--I see this as a, "At your own risk" activity. I dont blame Iran or NK for trying to get WMD. But dont blame me for stopping them either if I dont like it.


7. Treaty Obligations


-Rubbish. Treaty is created by one power to secure an advantage over lesser power. I have no respect whatsoever for any treaty. We should always do what is in our interest. We own nothing to the world community. ONe of the most brilliant moves I have ever seen a poliician make was when GWB withdrew from the silly ABM treaty.


8. P.O.W. rights


--P.O.W. are at the mercy of their captors. However we should treat P.O.W.s in a professional manner whenever possible. But we cannot allow the media and the enemy to use enemy P.O.W.s as propaganda weapons against us. P.O.W.s are after all people who would kill you if they could. We must never forget that.


9. Media Censorship


--In times of war, the media should be made to understand that they are a possible threat to military operations. There should be a clear line between objective reporting and propaganda. When they cross that line they should be dealt with accordingly. I think Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf dealt very effectively with the media. Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments!


10. Space War


--We should establish a military presence in space. Space is now key terrain in war and as such must be secured by any means necessary. The only people bitching otherwise are those who cant secure it.






These are my posisions. I would love to read anyone elses opinions. I am also open to debate anyone who disagrees or agrees. BUt if you disagree. Be civil and take the time to explain why without making this personal.



Thanks
DA
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Old April 4th, 2006   #2
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WEll, you certainly are an intense conservative.

As to your postions to the use of NBC capability, treatment of POWs, and tourture, they are all counterproductive. The same could possibly be said for preemptive war if it used in the same fashion US neo-cons used it in Iraq. The political cost of these positions is counterproductive. Using chemical weapons in Fallujoa would have provoked an international outcry, resulting in the withdrawl of ttroops from the multinational forces in Iraq, public outrage all through Iraq itself and would have given the insurgents more new men then they lost in the battle. The US takes the same attitude toward torture you do. Look how that turned out. The politcal considerations of actions need to be taken in to account.

And your theory on nukes in the Cold War are well...misguided. The nuclear balance worked in favor of the US. If only conventional forces were taken into consideration, the Warsaw Pact would simply have overrun Western Europe. Their forces were equitable to the Western ones in skill motivation and equipment and they VASTLY outnumered NATO. Nuclear weapons, both tactical and strategic, were the only thing the West had to hold back a Soviet invasion. They kept things in balance.

And I know satillites are very impotant (I wrote like a page about it on Sinodefence) but I don't know if they are so important that you should violate international law to get at them. Especially when you are the US and you have a huge advantage over everyone else. Although I do believe we should go back to the moon before China gets there to preserve that advantage.
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Old April 4th, 2006   #3
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Darth you should really go to library and look at some pictures of the Kurds after the chemical and nerve gas attack in the 80's. I understand your opinion, but I do not believe you have done enough research and reading on the topics of WMD's to give such an opinion.

It is hard to say as an American, that I don't condone nuclear weapons, since we used nuclear weapons in World War 2. I have talked to veterans and know that Japan had large stockpiles of weapons hidden around the country, so probably in reality the nuclear attacks probably saved lives both Japanese and American. Though nuclear weapons never ever should be used again. The idea to tactically nuke a harden target is ridiculous, and our current administration had the idea but many scientist say it is too dangerous with the effects of radiation, especially if the target is in a populated area. If we start using nukes when we feel like it, you'll see situations like Chernobyl all around the world. You mite stand a good chance of also later poisoning your invasion force.

You are correct if developed sleeping agents and paralyzing agents could be used effectively and could be weapons. Remember Russian Special Forces tried using one of those agents in the Moscow hostage situation, but in turn killed many of the hostages. Also to use chemical weapons collectively you have to have a perfect delivery system, which there really never has been one. The system either doesn't work or it works to well. Plus if someone normally survives these attacks they are scared for life and suffer serious genetic damage. The cancer rates in area attacked by Iraq with chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War have some of the highest cancer rates in the world. This is besides that survivors past along serious birth defects to their children.

I recommend you read "Demon In the Freezer," "Cobra Event," and "Biohazard." Ken Alibek, the men second in charge of Russia's bio weapons programs, he describes their efforts to weaponize Smallpox, Tularemia, Marburg, Anthrax, and many others. In the book, Ken says bio-weapons can never be developed or deployed safely.

Targeting enemy populations while in WW2 was an easily acceptable tactic because many of the people especially in Japan built things in their home. With today's technology that kind of tactic is not necessary, nor should it be ever again.

I am sure your opinion of torture would change if you had to experience it, even in the controlled situations you condone. We believe that the human race is bettering itself, so torture should go. Though I know we don't live in a perfect world so it won't ever disappear.

I hope with a little time and research you will change your mind about some of your opinions. I have read enough about some of these topic's to be scared enough to see that some of these tactics and weapons are never used again.
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Old April 5th, 2006   #4
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Darth you should really go to library and look at some pictures of the Kurds after the chemical and nerve gas attack in the 80's. I understand your opinion, but I do not believe you have done enough research and reading on the topics of WMD's to give such an opinion.
Lets see, you do not believe that I have done enough research on the topic of WMD's to give an opinion? Wow, thats a bold assumtion considering you have no idea about ANY of my experience. But you do have a right to your opinion even if its wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerMc
It is hard to say as an American, that I don't condone nuclear weapons, since we used nuclear weapons in World War 2. I have talked to veterans and know that Japan had large stockpiles of weapons hidden around the country, so probably in reality the nuclear attacks probably saved lives both Japanese and American. Though nuclear weapons never ever should be used again. The idea to tactically nuke a harden target is ridiculous, and our current administration had the idea but many scientist say it is too dangerous with the effects of radiation, especially if the target is in a populated area. If we start using nukes when we feel like it, you'll see situations like Chernobyl all around the world. You mite stand a good chance of also later poisoning your invasion force.

I'm trying really hard to form responses to your specifics. But its difficult when you contradict yourself. For example,

1. you acknowledge the FACT that nuclear weapons saved lives on both sides in WW II. Then you proclaim that we should NEVER EVER do that again.

2. Then you reference using nukes against hardened targets as rediculous. I find that particularly interesting considering the previous point and that the alternative is to invade with ground forces and cause a much larger death toll and require a bigger logistics footprint.

3. Then you bring up Chernobyl without regard to the fact that the UN has acknowledged the assessment of the damage cause to be over rated and also without regard to the different types of nuclear detonations. Surface, airburst and subsurface.

4. Finally, in your assertion that we might poison our own forces. You are forgetting that the use of nukes requires very specific use of NBC procedures that would prevent that. Futher, we have done this before in actual combat with great success.


Basically your opinion while noted, isnt supported by facts and contradicts itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerMc
You are correct if developed sleeping agents and paralyzing agents could be used effectively and could be weapons. Remember Russian Special Forces tried using one of those agents in the Moscow hostage situation, but in turn killed many of the hostages. Also to use chemical weapons collectively you have to have a perfect delivery system, which there really never has been one. The system either doesn't work or it works to well. Plus if someone normally survives these attacks they are scared for life and suffer serious genetic damage. The cancer rates in area attacked by Iraq with chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq War have some of the highest cancer rates in the world. This is besides that survivors past along serious birth defects to their children.

There are excellent methods available for delivery. Artillery and UAVs come to mind. And if we were to judge Hostage rescue techniques by your criteria and based on your analysis of Moscow. After Munich, the idea of CQB would be absurd.

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Originally Posted by LancerMc
Targeting enemy populations while in WW2 was an easily acceptable tactic because many of the people especially in Japan built things in their home. With today's technology that kind of tactic is not necessary, nor should it be ever again.
Yet we would impose economic sanctions on Iran to stop their nuclear program. Let me answer with a question. If we would nuked Bahgdad in 1991 vs Operation Desert Storm. Do you think it would have killed more people than are dead today as a result of 15 years of various levels of war and economic sanctions?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerMc
I am sure your opinion of torture would change if you had to experience it, even in the controlled situations you condone. We believe that the human race is bettering itself, so torture should go. Though I know we don't live in a perfect world so it won't ever disappear.

This is another area where you would be wise not to make assumtions or unsupported assertions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerMc
I hope with a little time and research you will change your mind about some of your opinions. I have read enough about some of these topic's to be scared enough to see that some of these tactics and weapons are never used again.

Thank You and I wish you could be correct. But more often than not ideology, reality and practicality have little in common.
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Old April 5th, 2006   #5
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You fail to see that nuking Baghdad would have caused the UN to abandon the US, and subsequently every Arab nation would have cut off our oil and possibly attacked us. It would not have been worth it. You are operating with a WWII mentality that is outdated, along with (almost) any use of WMDs.

However, I agree that the US must evaluate and devlop doctrine for Space War. I have made some myself.
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Old April 5th, 2006   #6
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You fail to see that nuking Baghdad would have caused the UN to abandon the US
Two things. Irrelevant and not likely. Who funds and defacto runs the U.N.? And it isnt like we havent told the U.N. to go pound sand before.

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Originally Posted by thegoldenhorde
subsequently every Arab nation would have cut off our oil and possibly attacked us.
That statement has no basis in reality or even logic. Lets see. Arab nations who are heavily dependent on oil sales to the USA are going to cut off their own economic livelihood right before committing suicide by attacking a Superpower thats just demonstrated a willingness to use nuclear weapons. Sound reasonable to you?


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Originally Posted by thegoldenhorde
It would not have been worth it. You are operating with a WWII mentality that is outdated, along with (almost) any use of WMDs.
Its not a WW II mentality. Its a war fighting mentality. And its timeless even back to the Book of Deuteronomy and beyond!

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Originally Posted by thegoldenhorde
However, I agree that the US must evaluate and devlop doctrine for Space War. I have made some myself.
Agreed
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Old April 7th, 2006   #7
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3. Targeting Enemy Populations


--Dresden, Tokyo, Iraq 1991-1998 immediately come to mind. Plain and simple I'm all for it if their is a military objective to be achieved.
What military objectives were achieved in bombarding civilian populations in Dresden and Tokyo or in embargoing Iraq? None obviously. The allied carpet bombing in WW2 against civilian targets proved to be useless since morality of the population did not degrade as initially expected despite massive damage on civilian targets.
Only when the Allies switched back to attacking infrastructure etc., did they achieve considerable success in slowing down industrial production and therefore achieved a military objective. While at Dresden infrastructure and strictly military and economic installations where targeted as well, this isnt the same as bombing residential areas where no such targets could be found. The Nazis even increased the number of civilian deaths from allied bombing (most notably at Dresden) since they quite clearly recognized that civilian support of their regime would increase out of anger against the enemy. Same goes for the several myths about Dresden which to this day try to increase the aspect of targeting civilians out of certain political views.

Pretty much the same goes for the Tokyo case.

With Iraq the case of targeting the civilian population through the embargo did not overtrow Saddam Hussein, it did not turn Iraq into a willingly cooperating partner and the people there even reinforced their support for Hussein since they very clearly blamed the UN for direct and indirect results of the embargo that hit them.

While I can see why you are including civilians as targets for attacks and while I can see the reasoning behind the idea that civilians are in fact part of the war machine of a country, attacking them directly will change nothing in terms of ending a war, on the contrary. It will always increase the will of these people to fight their enemy, esp. when this enemy is clearly identified as such. Germany was not defeated by killing civilians. With Japan one might argue it was since the nuclear attacks did create high civilan casualties but then the A-bombs had more of a doomsday-device character that threatened the japanese national integrity and their capability of continuing the war in terms of economic and military capability.
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Old April 7th, 2006   #8
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What military objectives were achieved in bombarding civilian populations in Dresden and Tokyo or in embargoing Iraq? None obviously.
Psycological


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Originally Posted by turin
While I can see why you are including civilians as targets for attacks and while I can see the reasoning behind the idea that civilians are in fact part of the war machine of a country, attacking them directly will change nothing in terms of ending a war, on the contrary. It will always increase the will of these people to fight their enemy, esp. when this enemy is clearly identified as such. Germany was not defeated by killing civilians. With Japan one might argue it was since the nuclear attacks did create high civilan casualties but then the A-bombs had more of a doomsday-device character that threatened the japanese national integrity and their capability of continuing the war in terms of economic and military capability.
Nothing will always be anything. Attacking civilians has always been a valid tactic until very recently. But to work it has to be applied with such brutality that the concept is alien to most. In the end its the ultimate tool and is why we never had a US vs Soviet war. While I advocate the tactic, I also think it has to be used very carefully in order to achieve the desired results.
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Old April 8th, 2006   #9
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DarthAmerica, although I respect your opinions but dude what it seems to me is that you agree with almost every thing that I don't:

Torture: Torturing used to work, if it’s just a matter of slapping someone around then I would agree with you but that would not be considered torture. Torturing often increases the moral of the victim and the torturer ends up with no information at all. Terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan are mostly if not all Muslim, and Muslims usually have very strong beliefs and faith (do you not see all these suicide bombers) if they are going to blow them selves up that means that they have made up their minds and if you do happen to capture one of them before they blew up I am pretty sure they are not going to tell you anything. Take the example of Abu-Gharib prison; this is what happens when you torture POW, you saw how the world went against the US forces even nations from Europe and more…

How do you distinguish between good and evil if you don't belong to any of them , I think then you just believe in what media has to offer.

The idea of using nukes is just not even worth debating on because no nation in their right mind would ever use them ever again. And I can't see Iran using them on anyone... (I know this has nothing to do with this topic). Using nukes in now days is like committing suicide and its very self understanding.

The same goes for the chemical weapons I seriously can't see it happening in at least the next 3-5 decades. I don't know how you see it but in don't.

Targeting civilians (Collateral Damage) is a bad way to go too, what you said was that if you were going to use this method than use it so that you can inflict the most damage, so that would 100 % of the rest of the civilians, who did survive would take up arms against the attacking nation because they know that they are going to die even if they are going to sit at home and watch TV, so why not die saving their nation.

What I do agree with is that having weapons in the space because that’s where I see the future going, moon, mars and perhaps beyond so putting a thought there would be a great idea, and I would love to see a lunar base.

Some of these topics that you chose to comment on are just foolish thoughts, its not happening and it’s not gonna happen. Although the main topic of this thread is very wisely chosen and I like it but using factors such as Nukes, Chemical weapons, Torture, Collateral damage and terrorism just increase the moral of the victims than decrease it.

The thing is that war should always be the last option on any nations list, if a nation is so powerful that they can destroy any other army in the world it must mean that they have spent way too much money in that. Sure having an army for defense is good enough but what I am trying to say is that what if this nation spent that much money on researching and figuring out other ways, which involved no deaths, why do we have to fight like I said that it should be the absolute last choice but as of now days it seems to be the first.

Last edited by ThunderBolt; April 8th, 2006 at 05:16 PM.
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Old April 8th, 2006   #10
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Yes...Darth has a way of looking at the world that is, well, flawed by his own power so to speak. He does not realize that with being the world's greatest power, the US has restrictions placed on it. Due to the fact that it is th world's superpower, and the fact that it has proclaimed itself to tbe the world's moral conscience, it is expected to act better than Darth wants it to. This thread offers a choice, for all nations but especially the US. Should we letall pretense of morality be abandoned and let the world decend into "might makes right" order? This certainly would have benefits for some nations, especially the US. Or should we continue to try to be moral, even though there will always be the occasional hypocracy, and even though it seems as if we must "operate with one hand tie behind out back". (Writing this from an Aemrican point of view). I for one choose the second way.


He he look Japan and China are arguing over natural gas fields in the East China Sea!

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Old April 8th, 2006   #11
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Sorry but I agree with Darth in almost every argument. He at least is analyzing the cold hard facts without allowing his emotion and morality get in the way. In WW-ll we were peoples who did what they had to do in order to win. In 1944 & '45 we destroyed entire cities because we "had to". Even if they had no war factories in them "very few didn't in Germany or Japan" they were all enemy bases they provided comfort and aid to enemy soldiers. Tho I have a bit of a problem with Dresden they were all legitimate military targets, in the homeland of a ruthless enemy, and we were right to destroy them.

Nowadays most westerners live a reality they have constructed themselves. Not one that resides in actual facts. The vast majority have never even worn a uniform let alone gone to war so they look at reality in the context of their own personal safety zone. I would say that anyone who thinks nuclear weapons will never be used again isn't living in reality. Anyone who thinks we should never use them first is a little to into his own moral never land. I myself would rather see the enemy go up in a mushroom cloud then my countrymen. I myself would rather see one or two terrorists get "made to talk" then see thousands of innocents die in a terrorism attack.

And until the world reaches the Age of Aquarius, and we all join hands at the equator to dance and sing, I will be in the Darth camp of ripping the guts out of my enemy before he does the same to me. As a big city street cop for a few & 1/2 decades I have a well tuned sense of survival and I dont over-complicate it.

I think some members here should look at those videos floating around of the westerners begging for their lives before these animals behead them and then flaunt the heads as the mouth and eyes keep moving. Maybe doing so would stiffen your resolve.

if I were US President every country that supported these terrorists would be up in smoke. Tho after reducing one to ashes I'd bet the rest would be more amicable to reason.
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Old April 8th, 2006   #12
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Sorry but I agree with Darth in almost every argument. He at least is analyzing the cold hard facts without allowing his emotion and morality get in the way. In WW-ll we were peoples who did what they had to do in order to win. In 1944 & '45 we destroyed entire cities because we "had to". Even if they had no war factories in them "very few didn't in Germany or Japan" they were all enemy bases they provided comfort and aid to enemy soldiers. Tho I have a bit of a problem with Dresden they were all legitimate military targets, in the homeland of a ruthless enemy, and we were right to destroy them.

Nowadays most westerners live a reality they have constructed themselves. Not one that resides in actual facts. The vast majority have never even worn a uniform let alone gone to war so they look at reality in the context of their own personal safety zone. I would say that anyone who thinks nuclear weapons will never be used again isn't living in reality. Anyone who thinks we should never use them first is a little to into his own moral never land. I myself would rather see the enemy go up in a mushroom cloud then my countrymen. I myself would rather see one or two terrorists get "made to talk" then see thousands of innocents die in a terrorism attack.

And until the world reaches the Age of Aquarius, and we all join hands at the equator to dance and sing, I will be in the Darth camp of ripping the guts out of my enemy before he does the same to me. As a big city street cop for a few & 1/2 decades I have a well tuned sense of survival and I dont over-complicate it.

I think some members here should look at those videos floating around of the westerners begging for their lives before these animals behead them and then flaunt the heads as the mouth and eyes keep moving. Maybe doing so would stiffen your resolve.

if I were US President every country that supported these terrorists would be up in smoke. Tho after reducing one to ashes I'd bet the rest would be more amicable to reason.
Look, lets not let this disscussion descend into a "Those terrorists are bad! Lets nuke their ass!" discussion. Please try to stay professional.

Use of nuclear weapons, massive firepower and all the other elements if conventional military power is not effective against terrorists. When dealing with terrorists, it is much more effective to infiltrate their networks and sow distrust, build a network of informants in their homeland and eliminate key members of their groups. This is far more effective than say, nuking Saudi Arabia, something Rich here would advocate. These methods are proven to be effective. Look at Northern Ireland and Israel. The IRA is so infiltrated that it ceased to be effective long ago. The PLO was dismembered by Israeli attacks on its bases in Lebanon and its active program of assasinating its leaders (the movie Munich). Torture of a terrorist is acceptable if there is an attack imminent, that is all I'm gonna say on that.

Away from the issue of terrorism, I would have to say it is acceptable to make a civillian population suffer, but not to directly seek to kill them. For example, it is acceptable to impose a blockade on a country and to attack economic and symbolic targets. For example, let's say the much-vaunted US China War happens. I would completely support an attack on the ports of Shanghai and Hong Kong, even if no naval ships were in the harbor, because of the economic and symbolic signifigance. Picture the Shanghai skyline, symbol of the New China, with dozens of burning ships in the foreground, and plumes of smoke rising from the crashed Chinese fighters on the ground. The economic damage would be real, and the political and symbolic boost would be even greater.

Finally, morality has a place in war simply because it is our duty to try to lessen the suffering of other human beings. I take it that you are all Americans. So am I. The United States views itself as a moral leader in the world. Indeed it is the world's greatest positive influence. There will always be incidences of moral hypocracy (Abu Gharaib). But we must at least try to help other people out. I'm all for winning the war, and when comes down to it, I'm all for hurting them as much as possible, and if necessary, more. But you go beyond that. The pain you are willing to inflict is not just unecessary, it is unwise in dozens of ways as well as immoral.
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Old April 9th, 2006   #13
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Originally Posted by thegoldenhorde
Away from the issue of terrorism, I would have to say it is acceptable to make a civillian population suffer, but not to directly seek to kill them. For example, it is acceptable to impose a blockade on a country and to attack economic and symbolic targets. For example, let's say the much-vaunted US China War happens. I would completely support an attack on the ports of Shanghai and Hong Kong, even if no naval ships were in the harbor, because of the economic and symbolic signifigance. Picture the Shanghai skyline, symbol of the New China, with dozens of burning ships in the foreground, and plumes of smoke rising from the crashed Chinese fighters on the ground. The economic damage would be real, and the political and symbolic boost would be even greater.

First of all let me say that I admire and appreciate your sense of humanity. Unfortunately, our enemies are rather ruthless and could care less about morality, hypocracy or anything short of winning. They look at us with cold and uncaring eyes. Constantly thinking of ways to kill us and carefully laying their plans for just the right moment. More often than not, what prevents wars from happening is 99% of those nations who find that their interest and ours conflcit are smart enough to see that the consequences of war to secure those interest just arent worth it. But what do you do when an enemy percieves a weakness and decides to challenge you?

I dont think we have a duty to be anymore civil whats necessary to achive our objectives. But what will determine success at the end is whether we achieve the objective and not how we achieve it.

Whats interesting is that people often advocate sanctions as a way to avoid war and to seek a peaceful resolution to crisis. The Irony is that sanctions as a rule kill far more people that warfare does. In fact disease and famine are some of our greatest tools of war. When you stop a nation from recieving vital resources it needs to sustain itself, you are killing people. And since sanctions affect the poorest people first which also happens to be the largest sample of most populations. The people dying are more often than not those who have the least influence over the crisis you are trying to stop! So by the time public pressure has built up to the point where the enemy NCA us feeling pressure to change. You have killed millions. And over a longer period than war would be! If war is a terrible thing, then there just is no word that accurately describes what sanctions do to people. War is mercy by comparison. Especially with todays weapons.


P.S. When you sanction. You also lose the initiative to the enemy who may chose to initiate war on his terms rather than die the slow death of sanctions.

Last edited by DarthAmerica; April 9th, 2006 at 03:54 AM.
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Old April 9th, 2006   #14
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Sorry but I agree with Darth in almost every argument. He at least is analyzing the cold hard facts without allowing his emotion and morality get in the way. In WW-ll we were peoples who did what they had to do in order to win. In 1944 & '45 we destroyed entire cities because we "had to". Even if they had no war factories in them "very few didn't in Germany or Japan" they were all enemy bases they provided comfort and aid to enemy soldiers. Tho I have a bit of a problem with Dresden they were all legitimate military targets, in the homeland of a ruthless enemy, and we were right to destroy them.

Nowadays most westerners live a reality they have constructed themselves. Not one that resides in actual facts. The vast majority have never even worn a uniform let alone gone to war so they look at reality in the context of their own personal safety zone. I would say that anyone who thinks nuclear weapons will never be used again isn't living in reality. Anyone who thinks we should never use them first is a little to into his own moral never land. I myself would rather see the enemy go up in a mushroom cloud then my countrymen. I myself would rather see one or two terrorists get "made to talk" then see thousands of innocents die in a terrorism attack.


Rich, you are confused and you are confusing me, first of all you said that killing civilians is okay and they nuking of Japan was okay cause there were enemy bases in the city, do you know how much percent of the population was soldiers, probably even less than 15% but lets say the worst case scenario 50%, that would mean that the rest were "innocent civilians" poor people, young old, women and little children who could have made a difference in today’s world, think of what happened for the next decade after the attack, the aftermaths were horrible, the radiations caused mutations, and innocent civilians died or couldn't enjoy their life properly. And then at the end of the second paragraph you say that torture the terrorists than you would rather see """"""INNOCENTS DIE""""""" WHAT WHAT did I read that correctly, see what I mean, . Man I am confused what you are saying is that killing innocents is a good thing and killing innocents is a bad thing, oh you mean its okay if the Japanese innocents died but its not OKAY if the westerners like us who are innocents die, MAN you are seriously acting racist, even though I am a westerner but this is simply rude.

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I think some members here should look at those videos floating around of the westerners begging for their lives before these animals behead them and then flaunt the heads as the mouth and eyes keep moving. Maybe doing so would stiffen your resolve.


Yeah this is definitely an act of ruthlessness but if the enemy doesn't have another means to fight with, than this is just another way of killing civilians, one of the acts of war that DarthAmerica outlined as an "OKAY" thing to do. Which is wrong, these innocents had nothing to do with war yet they were executed, and my condolences to their families.

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if I were US President every country that supported these terrorists would be up in smoke. Tho after reducing one to ashes I'd bet the rest would be more amicable to reason.


And this is one of the reasons why you aren't one!!!

I am sorry to anyone if I offended them.
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Old April 9th, 2006   #15
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Originally Posted by thegoldenhorde
Look, lets not let this disscussion descend into a "Those terrorists are bad! Lets nuke their ass!" discussion. Please try to stay professional.

Use of nuclear weapons, massive firepower and all the other elements if conventional military power is not effective against terrorists. When dealing with terrorists, it is much more effective to infiltrate their networks and sow distrust, build a network of informants in their homeland and eliminate key members of their groups. This is far more effective than say, nuking Saudi Arabia, something Rich here would advocate. These methods are proven to be effective. Look at Northern Ireland and Israel. The IRA is so infiltrated that it ceased to be effective long ago. The PLO was dismembered by Israeli attacks on its bases in Lebanon and its active program of assasinating its leaders (the movie Munich). Torture of a terrorist is acceptable if there is an attack imminent, that is all I'm gonna say on that.

Away from the issue of terrorism, I would have to say it is acceptable to make a civillian population suffer, but not to directly seek to kill them. For example, it is acceptable to impose a blockade on a country and to attack economic and symbolic targets. For example, let's say the much-vaunted US China War happens. I would completely support an attack on the ports of Shanghai and Hong Kong, even if no naval ships were in the harbor, because of the economic and symbolic signifigance. Picture the Shanghai skyline, symbol of the New China, with dozens of burning ships in the foreground, and plumes of smoke rising from the crashed Chinese fighters on the ground. The economic damage would be real, and the political and symbolic boost would be even greater.

Finally, morality has a place in war simply because it is our duty to try to lessen the suffering of other human beings. I take it that you are all Americans. So am I. The United States views itself as a moral leader in the world. Indeed it is the world's greatest positive influence. There will always be incidences of moral hypocracy (Abu Gharaib). But we must at least try to help other people out. I'm all for winning the war, and when comes down to it, I'm all for hurting them as much as possible, and if necessary, more. But you go beyond that. The pain you are willing to inflict is not just unecessary, it is unwise in dozens of ways as well as immoral.
I totally agree with you, this exactly the way to go, although US bombings killed more civillians in Iraq than it did when it nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think its the same thing, killing innocents over a period of 5 days and killing innocents over a period of a couple minutes.
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