Is any war 'Just'?

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Re: Is any war 'Just'?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:19 pm

bodidley wrote:I think that the reasons people see the struggle in World War II as just and the struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan as unjust are social rather than logical. People are far removed from the horrors of World War II and so it's easy to ignore our own atrocities during the war. The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were conducted with remarkable discipline against enemies equally as repugnant as the Nazis, but they threatened people's enjoyment of their apathy.

This is exactly wrong.

Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan were not equally repugnant with the Nazis. For the most part, Saddam Hussein fulfilled a distinct and valuable purpose in the Middle East - he retained the balance of power between the Shia and the Sunni in the region, and kept the religious tensions within his country to a minimum. He might have used morally repugnant methods in doing so, but he did not pose an existential threat to any of his immediate neighbours - not even Kuwait, by the end.

Our current method of fighting wars - that is, by professional standing armies and career generals - actually makes apathy more, rather than less likely. In certain parts of the country it is very rare for people to know anyone personally who has to go off and fight and put his life at risk. On the other hand, the draft was there during WWII. Read Col. Andrew Bacevich's book The Limits of Power to get a better understanding of the dynamics between military and civilian then and now. He served in the US Army, and also had a son who served and died in Iraq.

Thirdly, you count Abu Ghraib as 'remarkable discipline'? Or Fallujah? Or the use of depleted uranium and Willie Pete? I suggest you get your priorities straight.
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Re: Is any war 'Just'?

Unread postby bodidley » Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:16 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan were not equally repugnant with the Nazis.

I wholeheartedly disagree. You're forgetting Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Jaish Al-Mahdi, and you're underestimating the Taliban. Terrorist organizations in Iraq used death squads to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, and they didn't even control a government. Now that they have control of their own territory, they kill any undesirable they can get their hands on. The difference between them and the Nazis is their capabilities not their desire to cause harm. Likewise when the Taliban were at their zenith of power they killed thousands of people in ethnic and religious minorities, especially the Hazaris, whenever they could get their hands on them.

WeiWenDi wrote:Thirdly, you count Abu Ghraib as 'remarkable discipline'? Or Fallujah? Or the use of depleted uranium and Willie Pete? I suggest you get your priorities straight.

The fact that we can point to singular incidents involving one or a couple of people out of the more than one million who served and that those individuals were prosecuted for their misconduct demonstrates that American troops overwhelmingly exercised restraint and obeyed the laws of war.

Your understanding of the toxicity and use of those weapons is also off. Depleted uranium was not extensively used in Fallujah, if at all, because it is used in anti-tank rounds, which were useless in that fight. A depleted uranium round has a half life of more than 4 billion years, compared to a half life of less than four days for radon. You could sit in a tank full of depleted uranium rounds all day every day for a year and suffer no side affects (from the uranium). You would have to ingest it in order to become sick. The Gulf War syndrome suffered by people in southern Iraq and Gulf War veterans was probably caused by the many tons of chemical weapons that were detonated in open air or haphazardly buried after the war. White phosphorous was used in Fallujah to create smoke. It's within the distant realm of possibility that if an artillery canister of white phosphorus landed directly on top of you that you could be burned by it, but it's not effective at all as an anti-personnel round. High explosives were used for that. White phosphorous is also not a known carcinogen, and is not classified as such by the EPA. It takes a fairly small quantity of the substance to produce an enormous amount of smoke, so the total amount of ground and water contamination caused by its use is limited. Rather, a scientific study have pointed to lead as the main culprit in illnesses and birth defects in Fallujah: ... le_817.pdf

The most likely source of contaminants in the area is industrial pollution. I find the view that U.S. munitions used during the war are comparable to the use of chemical weapons to be profoundly anti-science.
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