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Since we've been on the subject of war(18 posts)

Since we've been on the subject of warcarnageasada
Feb 10, 2003 4:55 PM
Does it seem like our greatest acheivements have been motivated by finding new ways of killing one another? It seems, at the very least, we've been very succesful at inventing horrors. Biological weapons, nukes, stealth bombers, submarines, aircraft carriers. Did the first person to pick up a club say to himself, I bet can whack that liberal commie conservative (choose one) over there in the head with this thing? Is it are nature to do these things and if so is there a way to regulate it?

Flippant responses are perfectly acceptable, I'd give one if someone else asked these questions, but I'm an earnest.
DeterentCaptain Morgan
Feb 11, 2003 6:09 AM
I think a conservative answer would be that these weapons can be used to deter war instead of actually using them. I think it was successful in ending the cold war, for example.

Of course, the liberals might say that this weapon proliferation can lead to imperialism by one country over its weaker peers. I do not totally disagree with that argument, but I would say that if we wanted to, we could kick North Korea's or Cuba's ass, but we don't.
What did Einstein say about thatcarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 7:30 AM
Something about not being able to simultaneusly prepare and prevent war? But I think you have a great point, we could clobber Cuba but we don't because at heart we're not complete bastards. I think we could be alot worse, anyway.
What did Einstein say about thatDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 7:56 AM
Einstein was a mathematician and physicist. Not sure he was an enlightened statesman.

Doug
Einstein was enlightened enoughcarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 9:55 AM
to turn down Isreal when it went looking to him for political leadership so you may be right. On the other hand I think he has a good point, building a gun so you don't have to use it doesn't make much sense.
deterrence?DougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 10:12 AM
If the other guy has a gun and is willing to use it, then what do you do?
Duck?carnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 11:08 AM
But seriously Doug, I agree we need enough weapons to defend ourselves but I think humankind errs to much on the side of blowing each other up.
I agreeDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 11:21 AM
Ok. I'll agree to get rid of my guns if you do. Hmm. How do I know you really did? Better keep one just in case. What, now you don't want to be inspected to confirm you disarmed? Better get a bigger gun just in case, as you are raising suspicion now...

Doug
Struggle is in the nature of humanityMcAndrus
Feb 11, 2003 6:18 AM
You make an interesting observation. Many of the great leaps in technology mankind has made have come during wars and have been pursued as weapons. Radar is WWII becomes the microwave oven in your kitchen. Jet engines that powered German ME242 airplanes in 44-45 were used in commercial aviation within a decade and common within two.

I don't know that this means that technological advances can only come through wars. Personally I think that advances like these are inevitable as we learn more and more. It's just that war speeds up the process as the needs become more urgent.

It's also true that historical turning points are most often triggered by wars. If you doubt this just look at the residue of World Wars I and II. The entire political and economic structure we have today is a result of those wars - including Al Qaeda.

I think it is in our nature to struggle with ourselves, with each other, and with nature itself. We will never change this because to change it means to become something other than human.

But can we control it? Hmm...there's another conversation.
Leonardo da Vinci designed civil fortificationstorquer
Feb 11, 2003 11:45 AM
to pay the bills, and went on to paint the Last Supper and Mona Lisa. (Actually, I'm not sure of the sequence, but it sounds nice anyway.)

Point is, any society will give priority to self-preservation, and will allocate resources accordingly. (At some point the boundaries between defense and offense blur, but that's a separate conversation as well.)

What I find remarkable is the aesthetic pleasure we derive from many of these weapons, at least once they are removed from the context of the killing fields for which they were conceived. For me, no aircraft compare to WW2 era fighters and light bombers, but even I was moved when I saw a formation of bat-like stealth fighters flying up the Hudson River past Manhattan. And I enjoy taking my son to see the Armor display at the Metropolitan Museum.
yup, them or usDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 7:25 AM
Usually its a "them or us" choice that drives these things. We nuked Japan to save American lives. Some keep a gun at home to protect the family. We equip our soldiers better so they have a better chance of surviving. It's pretty simple, isn't it?

Doug
I wish I could say you are wrong. nmcarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 7:45 AM
Leo did some great stuffcarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 7:43 AM
I saw a military exhibit of his one time venice. He had it all figured out: tanks, helicopters. He was Medici's gun for hire if I'm thinking correctly.

But back to our subjec. What ticks me off is that here we are spending billions on military while my 6 year old did not take any field trips this year because of the budget crunch. God knows how much children are suffering in Iraq while Saddam is buying lots of things he won't need very shortly. Why humanity why? From a distance we sure seem like idiots.
If everyone would just play nice...DougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 7:55 AM
I think we'd all prefer to have no need for a military. I'd also prefer not to have locks on my house, a gun in the closet, or to live in a gated neighborhood.

Problem is, there are bad people out there. There are insane, evil, greedy, people who want to kill people or take what they have. We are complete fools if we do not do what we can to protect ourselves and our children. Hasn't 9/11 demonstrated that?

The "why" question is as old as mankind. What did it take, all of 4 pages of the Bible to get to the story of a murder?

Until we live in a world in which everyone is good, then we'll have to keep on fortifying ourselves. To think otherwise not only naive, but irresponsible.

Doug
I often wonder if Gandhi was naive and irresponsiblecarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 10:06 AM
and would destroy anything he took control of. Or if he was a good man, no, a great man who actually would bring peace to the world. Though I don't know where the truth lies, I know where it does not. Anywhere in between.
GandhiDougSloan
Feb 12, 2003 10:11 AM
Gandhi essentially encouraged civil, peaceful rebellion within one country. That's not the same as defending against attacks, routing Iraq out of a country it invaded, or freeing Europe from Hitler's genocides and occupation. Nice thought, though.

Doug
Gandhi did think he could defeat Hitler with non-violencecarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 10:57 AM
With great suffering he admitted, but he believed it could it be done. That's why I think there's no middle ground with Gandhi's politics. Gandhi thought Non-violence could resolve any conflict.

I probably shouldn't give your side of the argument more ammo but not too long ago I got into a long discussion with a friend of mine from Southern India about Gandhi. According to him, Gandhi would have been ineffective if not for a hard core group of Indian terrorists that were sabotaging and killing the Brits. Supposedly it was the terrorists, coupled with Gandhi's non-violent diplomacy, that liberated India from British rule.
It is our naturecarnageasada
Feb 12, 2003 7:34 AM
to struggle with ourselves. I agree entirely. We would not be human without this struggle. Probably the planet would be better off run by non-emotional computers that had no wars and no competition that wrecked everything else but then there would be no Lance Armstong and probably no decent beer either. You've given me food for thought.