Author Topic: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?  (Read 29364 times)

Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #180 on: November 09, 2007, 03:16:36 PM »

It's hard to know at what level deterrence worked (1945-1991) since our government and the military establishment frequently and consistently exaggerated (and even lied about) the arms strengths and the threat posed by the Soviets.  Mostly, they were terrified of us and the arms race was a response to that fear.

The threat posed by the Soviets was real--domination of Europe was prevented only by threat of unsurvivable retaliation.  Had they been able to invade Western Europe at great cost and yet still survive, they would have--the former Soviets have said as much.  They had a enormous advantage in the size of their standing military and air power.  Having served two tours in Europe during the 1980s (in different command and control centers),  I was intimately familiar with Soviet doctrine and troop strength.  We had to rely upon technological superiority (which spies transferred to the Soviets at an alarming rate) and the reserved first use of nuclear weapons doctrine . Moreover, it is always important to remember that NATO wasn't planning an invasion of the Warsaw Pact; our war plans were purely defensive in nature.  Since Vietnam left us with a "hollow force" in Europe (Vietnam was fought out of hide with manpower and materiel from the European AO), the nuclear option, however distasteful, was the deterrent that kept the Soviets at bay until our final weapons buildup in the 1980s, which destroyed their economy.  Our plans were solely to defend against a Soviet invasion.  That the Soviets were afraid, and thus deterred, was ultimately a great good for humanity and future generations.

Quote
When you spead a lot of time throwing your weight around people are going to view you as a threat and not someone they want to befriend or cooperate with.
 
In the rough and tumble world of diplomacy, it is more important to be feared (than loved) for your power by the likes of Stalin, Hitler, or Saddam---many who befriended those monsters woke up dead.  Khaddafi is a little more managable today, for instance.  As a nation, we don't need love and friendship; alliances depend upon more concrete factors than that (trade, security, mutual interests). 

In a related story, France loves us now and Sarkozy even got all "kissy-face" with our president! ;D What more could we want than this U-turn in French relations?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 03:34:13 PM by Kurt Weinelt »
"Learning about history is an antidote to the hubris of the present, the idea that everything in OUR lives is the ultimate." David McCullough

ptmccain

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #181 on: November 09, 2007, 04:14:24 PM »


Do you know why the French plant such beautiful shade trees along their roads?
So the Germans can march in the shade.

 :)

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #182 on: November 09, 2007, 04:19:24 PM »
Please name one instance in the course of history when we have taken up arms as a first response.

The Mexican War.  Or, as the American Whigs called it, Mr. Polk's War.

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Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #183 on: November 09, 2007, 04:38:04 PM »
Not to mention the Spanish-American War!
Kurt
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Jim_Krauser

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #184 on: November 09, 2007, 04:50:04 PM »
Quote
When you spead a lot of time throwing your weight around people are going to view you as a threat and not someone they want to befriend or cooperate with.
 
In the rough and tumble world of diplomacy, it is more important to be feared (than loved) for your power by the likes of Stalin, Hitler, or Saddam---many who befriended those monsters woke up dead.  Khaddafi is a little more managable today, for instance.  As a nation, we don't need love and friendship; alliances depend upon more concrete factors than that (trade, security, mutual interests). 

I really don't want to espouse a full-blown pacifism, but I am deeply troubled by an all too ready justification of violence and threat of violence as being supported by the Christian faith.  Isn't it better to understand it as the consequences of sin, which we cannot completely escape in this life?  The problem I have is the danger of thinking that violence -- any violence is somehow virtuous.  Can it really represent the heart of Christ?  Can Satan cast out Satan? 

It is one thing to use one on one analogies of stopping a madman or an abusive person as justification to use force to protect another.  But in those examples, the amount of "collateral damage" to bystanders is minimal.  That cannot be said of warfare and beyond that nuclear warfare.  Is it really moral to think that is somehow better that thousands of them are dead than thousands of us?  Is self-preservation at the expense of another life selfish?  Some strains of Christianity have thought so.  It may be too much to expect of the world, but is it too much for Christians to ask of themselves?

How can we accept the Sermon on the Mount and countenence threatening retaliation as a cornerstone of our defense?

Are not our enemies children of the same heavenly Father?  
Is there anything in the Gospels to suggest that we should affirm a fear our enemies? Hate them?  Do anything but love them and pray for them?  Resist them with anything but the weapons of the Spirit?
Is there anything in the Gospels to suggest that anyone, even our enemies, should fear us?
If not, then the justification of violence and warfare is secularist pragmatism at best and meeting evil with evil at worst, isn't it?
In the end doesn't the Gospel give us the advantage over our enemies because we don't fear death; what they can do to us.  What we fear is death working in and through us.  Unlike the terrorists (who also don't fear death) we abhor violence and killing so we shouldn't try to justify it as necessary evil.  It is just evil, like the other parts of the old Adam that cling upon us.
To live is Christ and to die is gain.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 04:54:34 PM by Jim_Krauser »
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navyman

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #185 on: November 09, 2007, 04:55:17 PM »
It eems to me that what EE is trying to say might just be:  If the North had not gone after the South in the 19th century, slavery would not have been abolished.  If that is what he is trying to say- eh! Perhapse.. 

Yet, his point does have a ring in so far that there is an obligation to protect innocence.  When you see a child being stuck mercilessly and violently and relentlessly and you, by seizing the arm that is raised against the child can stop it, then you have an obligation to do.  O.K. you can yell stop a couple of times before you do it but then it has to be on. 

All too often in the course of history, we have resorted to taking up arms as a first response. Is it not possible that a pacifist would step between child and abuser? I know that I certainly would.

John Dornheim


Rev. Dornheim:

How about an armed Robber and the victim, or some druggie, beating his wife, or a fight between to young men with knives, fighting each other?  Or is it better to call 911 and let the police handle it?

Same would apply to a armed military person, who job is to kill or be killed?  Remember all of our military are vounlteers, liberals did away from with the draft, and can't firgure out how come we don't have a standing army to give our troops rest from the fighting.

As well, if you don't know this China has a standing Army of 4 million, and a reserve of 3 million.  Now they have a Strong Naval, larger then ours, and a very strong Air Force, as well as a very powerful Secret Police and Spy network!

Why do you think China needs such a strong military presence in Asia? Can we send a  pacifist delegation to China, and find out why?  Think they would answer your questions?  I think not!  Most likey you would be thrown in jail as spies, and be lost in some work camp some where!

As far as Iran goes, we should send a delegation of pacifist there, and let them talk peace to a people who hate Christian, and everything they stand for, as well the only good Christian is a dead one!

Don
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 04:58:36 PM by navyman »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #186 on: November 09, 2007, 04:55:56 PM »
Please name one instance in the course of history when we have taken up arms as a first response. My guess is there aren't any. Generally, even in the "rush" to war in Iraq, there have been endless diplomatic efforts, economic "persuasions" and so forth tried repeatedly before anyone goes to war. Right now such things are taking place re: Iran and nuclear weapons. Yet, God forbid, if it would ever come to armed conflict with Iran, people will still claim that we're rushing to war and taking up arms as a first response. It is as though dialogue is its own reward for these people and no amount of it is ever enough to justify moving on from it.

The Spanish-American War.  More recently, Grenada.
Well, the only general American history text book I happened to have on my bookshelf (An American Portait: A History of the United States copyright 1980 by Perspectives and Revisionary Press and authored in two volumes by five different professors) doesn't, obviously, say anything about Grenada, but details loads of diplomacy and other strategies to end the problem of Spain and Cuba re: the U.S. before any real miliatry action took place. Just a few snippets: "A ten year Cuban revolt against Spain (1868-78) embroiled the U.S. in the island's affairs. Americans sympathized with the Cubans, whose struggle for independence seemed like their own a hundred years earlier. Various revolutionary Cuban huntas were allowed to operate from New York and other American cities, raising money and men for Cuban independence. At one point President Grant's Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, even offered to guarantee Cuban debts to Spain in exchange for Cuban freedom." Several paragraphs then detail the mounting American sympathy for the Cuban cause, especially when the civil war there erupted again in 1895. It then goes on: "Neither Cleveland nor his Republican successor, William McKinley, was an interventionist. At one point Cleveland told a group of belligerent Congressmen that if Congress declared war against Spain, he would "not mobilize the Army." McKinley's reluctance to take action provoked Roosevelt to exclaim that the President had the backbone of a chocolate eclair. McKinley deplored Spanish policy and hoped to end Weyler's brutal repression. He did not see how if it continued the United States could fail to intervene directly. But he did not insist on Cuban independence , nor did he want to force Spain to move faster than it was politically possible for her leaders to do...In June, 1897 he sent Stewart Woodford, a level-headed New Yorker, to Madrid as American diplomatic representative. Woodford arrived in September and transmitted McKinley's wishes to the Spanish government. The Unites States must have assurrances that the repression would stop. This country would volunteer its good offices to settle the conflict between Spain and the Cubans, but if Spain refused, America would feel free to take action directly....By the beginning of 1898, McKinley, under intense pressure to intervene, ordered the Battleship Maine to Havanna, ostensibly as a friendly "courtesy" but actually to protect American life and property. The Spanish government was not pleased, but when the vessel arrived, spanish officials received the Maine "correctly" and wined and dined the officers and crew. It looked as if the visit might help the cause of peace..." The follows some intrigue concerning various diplomatic, followed by the sinking of the Maine. Then it goes on, "During the next few frantic days, the Presdient cautioned against too hasty a judgment.. "I have been through one war," the former Union Major remarked, "...and I do not want to see another." The jingo press observed no such restraint." Then follows the press and propaganda campaign for a few paragraphs as national sentiment becomes overwhelmingly for war. Then it goes on. "A reluctant McKinley recognized that he had to act. A few days after receiving the Maine Commission report, he instructed Woodford in Madrid to demand an immediate armistice in Cuba and to insist on an end of the reconcentration camp policy. If peace terms were not achieved by October, Spain would have to accept McKinley's arbitration of the Cuban problem...[congressional war hawks mad at McKinley for the delay explained in next paragraph]...The Spanish reply was unsatisfactory [details reasons, plus last minute diplomatic efforts], ...The last section of this war document was the so-called Teller amendment, and expressed the views of many Americans that they would fight for Cuba's freedom, not America's gain." (bold added)

President McKinley would probably object to the characterization of this part of our history as taking up arms as a first response. So try again. When has taking up arms ever been our first response? (Someone else will have to look up Grenada, but I'll bet a lot went on over the years to get the situation to a place where no conflict would arise, but failed).      

navyman

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #187 on: November 09, 2007, 04:56:13 PM »
Not to mention the Spanish-American War!
Kurt

How about the Civil War and Indian wars?

Don

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #188 on: November 09, 2007, 05:00:34 PM »
Funny how then it was the liberals who were the hawkish interventionists and the conservatives the doveish isolationists.

As one who has studied the Progressives a bit, Jim, let me assure you that it wasn't quite that way at all.  The standard-bearers of both interventionists (or "internationalists," if you please) and non-interventionists ("isolationists," if you will) were liberals by just about any standard.  The "isolationists" also tended to be more interested in having a Navy and Army much better equipped, in order to defend the borders -- presciently from the Japanese and Germans!  The Wilsonians were interventionists, and were ready to send the Marines at the drop of a hat.  Alas, they rarely were interested in having them sufficiently-equipped.  (Today we call these kind "neo-conservatives.")

Pax, Steven+
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Steverem

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #189 on: November 09, 2007, 05:03:35 PM »
Okay, personal pet peeve here--on what basis do we claim that all humans are "children of God"?  Surely, we are all created by God, and loved by God, but childhood comes only through adoption--the saving act of Christ's death and resurrection for those who believe.  Are our enemies all children of God?  Some most certainly are.  Others likely are not.  We are to treat all people with whom we come in contact as those for whom God loved enough that he offered his Son as a sacrifice for their sins, but that is not to say that they are automatically God's children--except in the most general sense that He is the Creator of all.  It is also not to say that when those indviduals act in a way that could be described as "evil," or endangers others created by God in His image, that force may not be used to preserve peace and order.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #190 on: November 09, 2007, 05:04:58 PM »
Not to mention the Spanish-American War!
Kurt

How about the Civil War and Indian wars?

Don
I'm not going to look up every war, but suffice to say that if you read about them in any history textbook, you discover a tremendous amount of diplomatic and economic efforts to solve the problem without war. War may not always have been justified, but it was never (I'll stand by that never) the first response. The idea that too often we have taken up arms as a first response is simply a demonstrably false and irresponsible claim to make.

John Dornheim

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #191 on: November 09, 2007, 05:06:55 PM »
It eems to me that what EE is trying to say might just be:  If the North had not gone after the South in the 19th century, slavery would not have been abolished.  If that is what he is trying to say- eh! Perhapse.. 

Yet, his point does have a ring in so far that there is an obligation to protect innocence.  When you see a child being stuck mercilessly and violently and relentlessly and you, by seizing the arm that is raised against the child can stop it, then you have an obligation to do.  O.K. you can yell stop a couple of times before you do it but then it has to be on. 

All too often in the course of history, we have resorted to taking up arms as a first response. Is it not possible that a pacifist would step between child and abuser? I know that I certainly would.

John Dornheim


Rev. Dornheim:

How about an armed Robber and the victim, or some druggie, beating his wife, or a fight between to young men with knives, fighting each other?  Or is it better to call 911 and let the police handle it?

Same would apply to a armed military person, who job is to kill or be killed?  Remember all of our military are vounlteers, liberals did away from with the draft, and can't firgure out how come we don't have a standing army to give our troops rest from the fighting.

As well, if you don't know this China has a standing Army of 4 million, and a reserve of 3 million.  Now they have a Strong Naval, larger then ours, and a very strong Air Force, as well as a very powerful Secret Police and Spy network!

Why do you think China needs such a strong military presence in Asia? Can we send a  pacifist delegation to China, and find out why?  Think they would answer your questions?  I think not!  Most likey you would be thrown in jail as spies, and be lost in some work camp some where!

As far as Iran goes, we should send a delegation of pacifist there, and let them talk peace to a people who hate Christian, and everything they stand for, as well the only good Christian is a dead one!

Don

I already mentioned that I would intervene. Yes, I would and have called 911 but that doesn't mean I would ignore the situation.
Your  asessment of our military force ceases to be accurate after your acknowledgement that they are all volunteers. You have no understanding of the position of the left.
And yes, I will hold that diplomacy is the way to go and if the world stops seeing this nation as an agressor, perhaps talk might be more possible.
I suppose you don't find any validity to Jimmy Carter's efforts in the Middle East?

John Dornheim

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #192 on: November 09, 2007, 05:22:04 PM »
It eems to me that what EE is trying to say might just be:  If the North had not gone after the South in the 19th century, slavery would not have been abolished.  If that is what he is trying to say- eh! Perhapse.. 

Yet, his point does have a ring in so far that there is an obligation to protect innocence.  When you see a child being stuck mercilessly and violently and relentlessly and you, by seizing the arm that is raised against the child can stop it, then you have an obligation to do.  O.K. you can yell stop a couple of times before you do it but then it has to be on. 

All too often in the course of history, we have resorted to taking up arms as a first response. Is it not possible that a pacifist would step between child and abuser? I know that I certainly would.

John Dornheim


Rev. Dornheim:

How about an armed Robber and the victim, or some druggie, beating his wife, or a fight between to young men with knives, fighting each other?  Or is it better to call 911 and let the police handle it?

Same would apply to a armed military person, who job is to kill or be killed?  Remember all of our military are vounlteers, liberals did away from with the draft, and can't firgure out how come we don't have a standing army to give our troops rest from the fighting.

As well, if you don't know this China has a standing Army of 4 million, and a reserve of 3 million.  Now they have a Strong Naval, larger then ours, and a very strong Air Force, as well as a very powerful Secret Police and Spy network!

Why do you think China needs such a strong military presence in Asia? Can we send a  pacifist delegation to China, and find out why?  Think they would answer your questions?  I think not!  Most likey you would be thrown in jail as spies, and be lost in some work camp some where!

As far as Iran goes, we should send a delegation of pacifist there, and let them talk peace to a people who hate Christian, and everything they stand for, as well the only good Christian is a dead one!

Don

I already mentioned that I would intervene. Yes, I would and have called 911 but that doesn't mean I would ignore the situation.
Your  asessment of our military force ceases to be accurate after your acknowledgement that they are all volunteers. You have no understanding of the position of the left.
And yes, I will hold that diplomacy is the way to go and if the world stops seeing this nation as an agressor, perhaps talk might be more possible.
I suppose you don't find any validity to Jimmy Carter's efforts in the Middle East?

John Dornheim

I remember that you  said that you would set in between the perpetrator and his victim.  Not a bad strategy when the perpetrator if Great Britain who pride themselves as civilized.  The boorish types of the world do not much care whether they have to beat you up first in order to get back to punding their wife, kid, whatev.  BTW: the victim don't care that you got killed next to them.  THey are dead.
Peter Kruse

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John Dornheim

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #193 on: November 09, 2007, 05:47:09 PM »
Or, perhaps, the agressor backs down and everyone walks away.

John Dornheim

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Re: Is Taking a Life or Waging War Ever Justified?
« Reply #194 on: November 09, 2007, 06:17:24 PM »

It's hard to know at what level deterrence worked (1945-1991) since our government and the military establishment frequently and consistently exaggerated (and even lied about) the arms strengths and the threat posed by the Soviets.  Mostly, they were terrified of us and the arms race was a response to that fear.

The threat posed by the Soviets was real--domination of Europe was prevented only by threat of unsurvivable retaliation.  Had they been able to invade Western Europe at great cost and yet still survive, they would have--the former Soviets have said as much.  They had a enormous advantage in the size of their standing military and air power.  Having served two tours in Europe during the 1980s (in different command and control centers),  I was intimately familiar with Soviet doctrine and troop strength.  We had to rely upon technological superiority (which spies transferred to the Soviets at an alarming rate) and the reserved first use of nuclear weapons doctrine . Moreover, it is always important to remember that NATO wasn't planning an invasion of the Warsaw Pact; our war plans were purely defensive in nature.  Since Vietnam left us with a "hollow force" in Europe (Vietnam was fought out of hide with manpower and materiel from the European AO), the nuclear option, however distasteful, was the deterrent that kept the Soviets at bay until our final weapons buildup in the 1980s, which destroyed their economy.  Our plans were solely to defend against a Soviet invasion.  That the Soviets were afraid, and thus deterred, was ultimately a great good for humanity and future generations.

Quote
When you spead a lot of time throwing your weight around people are going to view you as a threat and not someone they want to befriend or cooperate with.
 
In the rough and tumble world of diplomacy, it is more important to be feared (than loved) for your power by the likes of Stalin, Hitler, or Saddam---many who befriended those monsters woke up dead.  Khaddafi is a little more managable today, for instance.  As a nation, we don't need love and friendship; alliances depend upon more concrete factors than that (trade, security, mutual interests). 

In a related story, France loves us now and Sarkozy even got all "kissy-face" with our president! ;D What more could we want than this U-turn in French relations?

AMEN! I, too, was in NATO assigments twice (one at SHAPE and NATO itself). We (that is all 16 nations then) were indeed purely defensive.

Although America has a long history of international isolationism, we have now evolved into the only Emperor of the world. Since that is the case, if we are to maintain our values offensive action (like Iraq II) is part of our defense. But as General Shinsiki (former Chief of Staff of the Army) testiified to Congress, we were not well manned and equiped for the follow-on task. We should hope and pray that the present adjustment goes well. Consider the international consequences if it does not. . . .

Peace, JOHN HANNAH
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS