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  1. #41
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    Gundato, we are coming from this from very different angles, and I don't think they're reconcilable. Granting credibility means jack shit to anyone except US voters-- you don't even get a certificate of participation-- and that kind of thinking is exactly what I'm writing about when I worry about the US's inability to contemplate losing political face. And I can't think of a single time that US voters gave a shit about the opinions of foreign leaders. (Not that we won't use that as ammunition, as the left did against GW Bush, it's just that it's only rhetoric, and not the actual source of the left's problems with Bush.)

  2. #42
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    I read from a local paper (sorry no English source, but I'm sure there will be one soon) that UN confirmed previous number of over 100 loss of HIV experts was incorrect, newly confirmed number is 6 (very high rank in the field though).

    But of course, this doesn't change the fact this is a very terrible tragedy.

  3. #43
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Gundato, we are coming from this from very different angles, and I don't think they're reconcilable. Granting credibility means jack shit to anyone except US voters-- you don't even get a certificate of participation-- and that kind of thinking is exactly what I'm writing about when I worry about the US's inability to contemplate losing political face. And I can't think of a single time that US voters gave a shit about the opinions of foreign leaders. (Not that we won't use that as ammunition, as the left did against GW Bush, it's just that it's only rhetoric, and not the actual source of the left's problems with Bush.)
    Maybe it is just "big dog arrogance", but I specifically mentioned constituents because of the issues regarding that particular world leader and the US's closest ally in the Middle East. Like it or not, there is a very significant group of American (voters) who support Israel, and Ahmadinejad is VERY vocal and "colorful" in his opinions of that nation.

    But, like I said, I think it was more just a symptom of Obama not knowing how global politics work.

    And sadly, rhetoric and "this is just our excuse to bash so and so" kind of DO become "real" to too many voters. That is why I particularly found the "Der, we just went to war to steal oil!" argument so immensely idiotic (seriously, there are MUCH easier ways to give your buddies money without fucking up the nation. Just look at Obama and all his green energy initiatives). But when people like Stewart and O'Reilley start spouting their moronic drivel for the sake of entertainment (at the end of the day, they are both just entertaining their sides of the (american) political spectrum), too many people buy in and actually think it is true.

    As for losing political face: Really? You seriously think most Americans give a shit about that? Politicians will GLADLY reveal their opponents as white supremacist drag queens who want to sodomize The (British) Queen if it gets them the win. Which is why all the bowing stuff was so stupid. But, occasionally, that stuff DOES suggest issues down the line (but not often :p).
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    I specifically mentioned constituents because of the issues regarding that particular world leader and the US's closest ally in the Middle East. Like it or not, there is a very significant group of American (voters) who support Israel, and Ahmadinejad is VERY vocal and "colorful" in his opinions of that nation.
    Possibly I misunderstood you. I consider issues that concern US American voters to be domestic issues. Israel needs the US, not the other way around, but US politicians definitely need the support of domestic pro-Israel votes and funding.

    Again, though, this is something that disappoints me about many of my fellow Americans: that we demand that our leaders strut around beating their chests like this.

    As for losing political face: Really? You seriously think most Americans give a shit about that?
    I absolutely do. I think the US populace has strongly nationalist tendencies which we like to call "patriotism" as if that makes it any different. The right is happy to gut the left, and vice versa, but Americans want to feel like we're the strongest and the most righteous and the smartest, and we want our leaders to act like we're the kid with the gun stuck down his pants.

  5. #45
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Possibly I misunderstood you. I consider issues that concern US American voters to be domestic issues. Israel needs the US, not the other way around, but US politicians definitely need the support of domestic pro-Israel votes and funding.

    Again, though, this is something that disappoints me about many of my fellow Americans: that we demand that our leaders strut around beating their chests like this.
    In this particular case it isn't even so much the chest beating as just "Don't give credibility to the (alleged) holocaust denier who wants to wipe us off the planet". While I am sure many of those who feel strongly want more, the simple fact that Obama has been pulling away from Israel for much of his presidency and nobody really cares says a lot. And while I think that is a HUGE dick move, it may also be the first steps toward an actual peace. So cautious optimism.


    I absolutely do. I think the US populace has strongly nationalist tendencies which we like to call "patriotism" as if that makes it any different. The right is happy to gut the left, and vice versa, but Americans want to feel like we're the strongest and the most righteous and the smartest, and we want our leaders to act like we're the kid with the gun stuck down his pants.
    While there are definitely some who feel that way (see "core values Republicans"), the militaristic tendencies are more just about not wanting to sit idle while bad shit happens in the world.

    Again, just look at the other Ukraine threads and all the people (even some from Europe and Asia...) who wanted the US to intervene. For better or for worse, we have a large military and we like to protect other people (then fuck them over later. See Iraq... both times we went there...), and bad shit tends to be when the toothless nature of the UN becomes apparent. So when the ACTUAL peacekeepers of the world are doing jack shit, people want "the crazy uncle with a shotgun" to come help. Then, when they are less emotional, they realize that they just asked a crazy guy with a shotgun to come help them.

    And don't forget, hindsight is a bitch. Back when we were starting to invade Iraq (round 2!), I was already mature enough to realize I should check multiple news networks to get an idea of "the truth"... and CNN was just as pro-war as FOX. Fast forward a few years when we realized Baby Bush wanted to actually accomplish something (rather than blowing shit up, stirring up a mess, and leaving) and suddenly everyone hated the war. Because it stopped being about "stopping the bad guys" and became about "actually rebuilding a nation that isn't us". Hence, "we were lied to" and "it was an evil conspiracy" rather than the truth: We thought bad shit was going down (in all fairness, bad shit WAS going down, just not bad shit that would have affected the rest of the world for at least a few more years) and we tried to help. Except, instead of there being a big mean rapist it was just a woman who was in to rough sex.

    And honestly, I think the big reason we are more willing to intervene is because we are a pretty young nation (and continent). Europe has been "civilized" for centuries. The US had "The Wild West" up until a bit over a century ago (Wiki says the American Frontier era ended in 1912). We "remember" what it was like to have no real help from the government or authority and having to handle things ourselves, and that cowboy mentality still prevails.
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  6. #46
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    Ukraine is actually a really good example. We're not going to intervene militarily regarding Ukraine. Because that would be about the worst thing it would be possible to do. Maybe I'm overly optimistic. But a war between Russia and the US? It's terrifying to think about. We don't want to sit around idle while bad shit happens. The problem is that military intervention is almost always worse shit.

    And yet: what is Clinton (on the left) saying? Is she doing everything in her power to prevent an awful awful war? No, she's doing everything in her power to prepare her political career in the face of a bunch of "independent" voters who want to vote for somebody that's not afraid to strut. And, again, worrying about giving credibility is chest-beating. Granting credibility costs us nothing except our pride. (And, of course, valuable domestic political support. Which is exactly where the root of our problems lie...)

    The reason the US is willing to intervene is because we, as a nation, have no clue what war is like. The last time we fought a war to actually protect our own borders was 1812 (admittedly, arguable). Go anywhere in Europe, and you will find seventy year old buildings built next to three hundred year old buildings, you will find graveyards full of markers indicating a decidedly non-uniform distribution of dates, you will find people who remember losing members of their families. In the US, we are instead eager to recreate WWII, a just war that led to glory and respect for the US and preceded a period of unprecedented economic growth, a war where only young men died, men mostly too young even to father children to mourn them.

  7. #47
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Ukraine is actually a really good example. We're not going to intervene militarily regarding Ukraine. Because that would be about the worst thing it would be possible to do. Maybe I'm overly optimistic. But a war between Russia and the US? It's terrifying to think about. We don't want to sit around idle while bad shit happens. The problem is that military intervention is almost always worse shit.
    I definitely agree that Putin won the Ukraine. There is absolutely nothing we can do. And, honestly, if it weren't Russia involved we could easily argue it was just people making "bad decisions" and that any questionable influence was within reasonable standards (see: Iraq's elections). But, because it is Russia, they are evil and are being subjugated and blah blah blah.

    That being said, I don't believe military intervention is almost always worse shit. If one nation is invading another (Desert Storm) or the leaders of a nation are committing genocide against their people, intervention is definitely something to consider. One just has to think of the consequences in terms of additional interference (Russia and the Ukraine) or just having to pick up the pieces (Iraq).

    And yet: what is Clinton (on the left) saying? Is she doing everything in her power to prevent an awful awful war? No, she's doing everything in her power to prepare her political career in the face of a bunch of "independent" voters who want to vote for somebody that's not afraid to strut. And, again, worrying about giving credibility is chest-beating. Granting credibility costs us nothing except our pride. (And, of course, valuable domestic political support. Which is exactly where the root of our problems lie...)
    Granting credibility gives pundits around the world the ability to say "'murica supports Iran, they hate the Jews!" and all that idiotic bullshit. Similarly, getting buddy buddy with your ally's worst enemy is also a REALLY bad thing to do.

    And, to get a bit more into the Israel deal (which I still don't know how that became a thing in this thread...): take Palestine. Over the decades, various acts led to the Palestinians getting enough credibility to be recognized as a nation. And in a lot of ways, that is a good thing. But it ALSO pretty much guaranteed that any hope of a peace that didn't involve redrawing borders (which is a lot more problematic for obvious reasons) was forever off the table. Maybe it was never on the table, but that is why giving credibility to groups and viewpoints, as a super-power, is a dangerous thing to do and is more than just chest-beating about pride.

    Don't get me wrong, I think our politicians are self-serving assholes (Democrats only care about lying to look good for the next election. And Republicans are just insane)

    The reason the US is willing to intervene is because we, as a nation, have no clue what war is like. The last time we fought a war to actually protect our own borders was 1812 (admittedly, arguable). Go anywhere in Europe, and you will find seventy year old buildings built next to three hundred year old buildings, you will find graveyards full of markers indicating a decidedly non-uniform distribution of dates, you will find people who remember losing members of their families. In the US, we are instead eager to recreate WWII, a just war that led to glory and respect for the US and preceded a period of unprecedented economic growth, a war where only young men died, men mostly too young even to father children to mourn them.
    Uhm... you DO realize there is a giant-ass wall in DC that lists all the american soldiers and marines that died in Vietnam. And that we also lost a lot of people in both World Wars (the first almost purely by our own stupidity...).

    You're right, we haven't had a war on our borders since the American Civil War. Maybe we don't "understand" the horror to us as a people, but we understand the loss of life and the horror of war. That is WHY we are willing to send our men and women overseas. To prevent that. And a lot of that DOES boil down to WWII where we definitely helped out to a large degree (also, that led to the death of quite a few american soldiers, not just glory and respect).

    But got it, war is bad so fuck everyone else, we only care about ourselves. You don't have an army to protect you? Piss off, this one is ours. Or was that not the point of that?
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  8. #48
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    Is Afghanistan better off for our military intervention? Is Kuwait? It's questionable. What is certain, otoh, is that many people were maimed and killed. Our soldiers lost their comrades, but they didn't lose their sisters, their wives, or their babies. They didn't return to find their home a crater. That is the part of war that the US can only understand in theory and not in practice.

    I don't want Americans to die, and I am selfish about it-- if somebody has to die, I'd rather it's not me, I'd rather it's not my family. But while the cost to the US of war is large, it is unimaginably vast to the people who live where that war is actually waged.

    Nobody outside the US follows the US lead in deciding who to support. If anything, the US is the Call of Duty of nations. Even if we were to do everything perfect-- and we don't-- people would hate us because we're the bigwigs. Most of our allies' populations despise both Iran and Israel.

  9. #49
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Is Afghanistan better off for our military intervention? Is Kuwait? It's questionable. What is certain, otoh, is that many people were maimed and killed. Our soldiers lost their comrades, but they didn't lose their sisters, their wives, or their babies. They didn't return to find their home a crater. That is the part of war that the US can only understand in theory and not in practice.
    Kuwait I would say is definitely better off. Rather than being a territory of Iraq (and, based on evidence found, probably ethnically cleansed), they are a high income economy. Iraq, not so much. And Afghanistan is just a mess, period.

    And I still don't know what you are arguing. Because nobody has invaded us (mostly because we are on a different continent and the logistics are hell), we aren't allowed to ever intervene if we see signs of genocide and invasion? Because our bombs aren't the most accurate in the world (well, actually, they kind of ARE... it is just that the bar is REALLY REALLY low) we should give all the whackjobs in the world free reign to roll through and blow up and murder everyone because they want their neighbors' wheat fields? Because I'll tell you something: The world leaders who are crazy enough to actually start a war tend to not be the ones you want in charge of your nation (Putin, arguably, is an exception since he is smart crazy. Not inbred crazy).


    I don't want Americans to die, and I am selfish about it-- if somebody has to die, I'd rather it's not me, I'd rather it's not my family. But while the cost to the US of war is large, it is unimaginably vast to the people who live where that war is actually waged.
    So basically "Fuck it. The guys who are invading you and possibly ethnically cleansing you can have fun. If we send anyone over not only will we get hurt, but you guys will too!"

    Like I have been saying, the second Gulf War is a MUCH MUCH murkier subject, but the first is pretty straightforward. Either way, it becomes a question for those in charge of: Will the collateral damage caused by our intervention outweigh what the people we are intervening against would do?

    Nobody outside the US follows the US lead in deciding who to support. If anything, the US is the Call of Duty of nations. Even if we were to do everything perfect-- and we don't-- people would hate us because we're the bigwigs. Most of our allies' populations despise both Iran and Israel.
    People hate us, but we also still have quite a bit of pull in a lot of ways. It is a balancing act.
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  10. #50
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    I think the Allied intervention to "protect" people line would work far better if Military doctrine wasn't based around bombing the shit out of every square inch of infrastructure and ignoring collateral damage during a campaign. After the first Gulf war Iraq went from a reasonably developed country to a back water, that was exacerbated by years of sanctions and then bombed to shit again.

    I'd have more respect for interventionism if it actually minimised civilian losses. Note I said allies as I consider the UK government just as complicit in all of this.

  11. #51
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    i would have more respect for interventionism if that was actually our stated goal, we were trying to protect people from dictators or whatever at least that would be honest. But we don't do we intervene in Zimbawe? do we intervene in North Korea? Do we intervene in a lot of countries in the past that had as bad ethnic cleansing or dictators? No we don't we pick and choose based on the best outcome for us.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    There's also the question of why did USA go to Vietnam after the French were just there and told them not to go... I'm sure Colin Powell would like to answer that question.

    USA's brilliant foreign policy suggested to France "do you want a nuclear bomb?" Thankfully, France refused. USA involvement in Vietnam war was a similarly huge mistake like Iraq. The chemical weapons use and spilling Agent Orange into the rivers of Vietnam also resulted in hundreds of thousands of babies being born with gross deformities. USA only last year agreed to help clean this up IIRC.

    I agree with Xercies, I might have more respect for interventionism if it wasn't so selective. If Western nations gave a shit, maybe they would help out the situation in CAR too? But they don't.

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    Gundato, you may be correct. Looking back, I'm uncomfortable with how much certainty I've been speaking, when my own knowledge is very, very limited. I adopted a rant tone early and kept with it, and now I'm bowing out.

  14. #54
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Gundato, you may be correct. Looking back, I'm uncomfortable with how much certainty I've been speaking, when my own knowledge is very, very limited. I adopted a rant tone early and kept with it, and now I'm bowing out.
    Meh, if we just consider the past two "wars" you are pretty much spot on, although I would argue that ousting the fundamentalist Muslims was a good cause, but it wasn't why we went there and pulling out basically fucked over EVERYONE who had crawled out of the woodwork.

    But my point is more that we HAVE done some good too. Desert Storm was good for Kuwait (shitty for Iraq for the same reasons the second Iraq war was...). Same with a few of the more minor interventions. Of course, we have also fucked up massively as well.

    You are definitely right, we are way too quick to get involved (as Obama and Biden learned when they started "talking shit" and Putin called our bluff...). But getting involved isn't always the wrong move, and there are a lot of situations where even just the threat of intervention can keep the peace (see the Norks). It just annoys me when people pretend all we ever do is money grubbing atrocities, so I may have gotten a bit heated for that.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    I definitely agree that Putin won the Ukraine. There is absolutely nothing we can do.
    You don't have to do anything. Separatists will lose within a week regardless of who shot down the plane.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    That being said, I don't believe military intervention is almost always worse shit. If one nation is invading another (Desert Storm) or the leaders of a nation are committing genocide against their people, intervention is definitely something to consider. One just has to think of the consequences in terms of additional interference (Russia and the Ukraine) or just having to pick up the pieces (Iraq).
    You're right - and it's easy to forget that.


    The most recent examples (add Vietnam into the list) are ultimately 'failures' in that they don't support that. But standing idly by and wringing your hands allowed the Nazi war machine to roll through Europe with laughable opposition... although we Allies share the blame for making post-WW1 Germany ripe for a nationalistic nightmare to rise to power. Point being that diplomacy is impotent without power to enforce it. For example, nobody gives in to North Korea's demands because they can't really do anything except launch a few missiles and wave their flags - any major military action by the DPRK would result in its ultimate destruction. A power like Russia on the other hand is an entirely different kettle of fish. That power might not necessarily be in being able to bomb the ever-loving faeces out of your opponent's bowels, but might be based in economics or access to resources.

    It's all well and good for people to talk of 'peaceful diplomatic intervention', and it's obviously preferable to going to war, but when diplomacy fails your options are to either let it go or take up arms.
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  17. #57
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    The reason the US is willing to intervene is because we, as a nation, have no clue what war is like. The last time we fought a war to actually protect our own borders was 1812 (admittedly, arguable). Go anywhere in Europe, and you will find seventy year old buildings built next to three hundred year old buildings, you will find graveyards full of markers indicating a decidedly non-uniform distribution of dates, you will find people who remember losing members of their families. In the US, we are instead eager to recreate WWII, a just war that led to glory and respect for the US and preceded a period of unprecedented economic growth, a war where only young men died, men mostly too young even to father children to mourn them.
    Strongly agree. I think opinions might drastically change if this wasn't the case. US and Canada are the most insulated countries IMO against war time experience. I think that insulation changes perspective of war greatly as well. Similarly.... our countries are havens for vaccine deniers.... well because of their huge effectiveness in insulating people from those problems.

    I think those of us here who are promoting military intervention are just not appreciating how destructive it has been. The two world wars might be glaring exceptions in the necessity of intervention, and as isolated events there is much to say about how many countries cooperated to end those two wars, but they aren't good arguments for other military action.

    Has Israel's current action been "justifiable" in Gaza currently? I really disagree with that, in the same vein I disagree with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The chain of recent events as I followed are...

    1. 3 Israeli children are kidnapped and murdered
    2. 1 Palestinian child is murdered
    3. another rocket by Hamas passes the Iron Dome killing an Israeli civilian

    Right now the reported death toll is 20+ Israeli soldiers, 2 Israeli civilians, 500+ Gazans, about 100 of whom are children. Hamas death toll, not sure I never read a number. What did Israel achieve...? I think nothing. No guarantee of protection better than they had before. But they did manage to kill 20+ of their sons and possibly many Gazan civilians.

    Keep in mind that Israel thinks that a small strip of land, with a density of about 5000 persons/km squared, like the size of a large rural city center, is the largest threat to their independence. I struggle to see that there was no other "military action" other than missiles. Surely Israel, such a militarily powerful nation, can use some other strategic means without such incredible and vast collateral damage? It's not like they had to travel halfway across the world like NATO either.

    Iraq is the same but worse to me. The conflict, regardless of whether or not US and UK and western world benefits, leveled a country for the second time and resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqi people, 4000 US soldiers, hundreds of soldiers of French, UK, and other NATO countries, and injured or maimed thousands more of allied troops. The financial burden... another ridiculous cost I'm sure.

    Is that justifiable on the pretense of "we have to show our guns to make people scared." I don't think so. I think it's silly to imagine that will control potential extremists. The gun show of USA is very much performed daily on the seas anyway, no country in their right mind doubts them. To say that the military action "makes them more scared" I think is not right IMO.

    There are countries who have spent more of their wartime dollars building countries up rather than tearing them down. We just don't do it enough.

    P.S. Who won the war of 1812? And why did it start btw? Who invaded who? And if anyone did win... why did the borders not change because of it? :P
    Last edited by rockman29; 22-07-2014 at 03:01 PM.

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    I agree with rockman on this one, with the added caveat about how the basic reasons for killing so many people in Iraq are shaky moral foundations and even if they were solid ones I don't think the means could be justified by those goals anyway.

    War of 1812... Britain pissed the US off during the Napoleonic Wars by impressing former British citizens into the navy and imposing trade barriers as they tried to starve off Napoleon. The US got pissed and invaded Canada, though a bunch of US politicians considered parts of Canada theirs as part of the colonies before the revolution. The Canadians sent them packing. The British mounted some successful raids (burning down the President's residence causing it to be re-painted white), but busy fighting Napoleon mounted a fairly limp invasion which the US repulsed. So the whole thing was just a stalemate hence the border not changing.

    Also when the star spangled banner was written. Can't remember if that was Baltimore or Boston though, one of the Bs.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    Strongly agree. I think opinions might drastically change if this wasn't the case. US and Canada are the most insulated countries IMO against war time experience. I think that insulation changes perspective of war greatly as well. Similarly.... our countries are havens for vaccine deniers.... well because of their huge effectiveness in insulating people from those problems.
    I disagree - and Australia's similar to Canada in that we've very rarely come under direct threat of invasion and have therefore been 'insulated' from war (if that's what you're suggesting). The closest we came was in WW2 when Imperial Japan was carving up the Pacific. But both Canada and Australia, like the US, have fought in plenty of wars, including WW1 and WW2, and the horrors of the wars weren't lost on the populous at home. WW1 was probably the first war to really hammer home the horrific loss of life and shattered the illusion that war was glorious.

    Vaccine deniers are just idiots who cling to pseduoscience and think they're smarter than the general populous, as well as being dismissive (not ignorant or insulated) of the threat. Those who believe that sometimes military intervention is your last resort are well aware of the consequences of action, but more afraid of the consequences of not acting.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    I think those of us here who are promoting military intervention are just not appreciating how destructive it has been. [...] Is that justifiable on the pretense of "we have to show our guns to make people scared."
    Again I refer you to WW2 - how far did diplomacy get the Allies with Nazi Germany? How far did diplomacy get people with WW1? Hell, WW1's convoluted system of alliances and agreements, combined with imperialistic aspirations, only helped push the world towards war. War isn't inevitable, nor does it mean it's the ultimate solution to every conflict, but hoping words will protect you when the enemy charge with bayonets fixed is foolish. You can't equate that line of thinking with 'war solves everything' because that's taking things to the extreme - all I'm suggesting is that sometimes diplomacy, without the threat of force, will buy you absolutely nothing. History proves that point.

    That's not to say that conflicts like we're seeing in the Middle East are justifications for war - I don't know enough about the Israeli issue to comment much there, but in terms of Afghanistan and Iraq all that blood hasn't bought us anything. But here's the thing: you say that the insulation from war leads towards people wanting intervention, but here's another perspective - my generation, or really anybody from the baby boomers onward, have been insulated from total war such that we can't appreciate what it's like. There has never been another war like either of the World Wars since WW2 - nothing has even come close to that scale. WW2 in particular is a case where diplomacy bought nothing and war was the last resort.

    Accepting that military intervention is sometimes the only option available doesn't make you a warmonger, nor does it mean you're closed to the suggestion that diplomacy can yield results (the Cold War shows that). You're looking at military intervention from a purely modern perspective - where superpowers are fighting what amount to insurgent cells (Israel notwithstanding). Should we ever slide towards a conflict between major nations, things change entirely.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Accepting that military intervention is sometimes the only option available doesn't make you a warmonger, nor does it mean you're closed to the suggestion that diplomacy can yield results (the Cold War shows that). You're looking at military intervention from a purely modern perspective - where superpowers are fighting what amount to insurgent cells (Israel notwithstanding). Should we ever slide towards a conflict between major nations, things change entirely.
    We are not talking about "any circumstance" though. We are talking about a specific scenario. And nowhere in this thread has anyone said that military intervention is invariably wrong. There is simply a huge question lingering over why the Iraq invasion happened. What was it's purpose? Is there any possibly reason to justify that *specific* military action, given the outcomes?

    If I take WW2, I cannot simply say "war is almost always justified." Similarly I can't take Vietnam war and say "military intervention is invariably corrupt." I'm not saying that.

    I do agree that World War 2 was a time of outstanding circumstance and military force was probably in every possible scenario quite justified. I'm not the greatest historian of the world wars, but I do think the justification came from the frank invasion of countries all over Europe, the bombings over Britain and France, the occupation of Poland or other countries by the Axis countries, and more.

    I'm not at all using the Iraq War as a reason to say "all military intervention is unnecessary." That isn't the discussion. But I am still of the opinion that the invasion of both Iraq and Afghanistan were irresponsible messes that unnecessarily endangered and destroyed the lives of many Americans, British, French, Canadian, soldiers of other NATO countries, and was frankly an unspeakably horrible crime against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And I find it incredibly poor standard by US media also who does not ever mention that the US apparently trained these so-called Taliban and Al-Qaeda and supplied them with weapons during the time they were having pretty little proxy wars with Russia. So that's another probable scenario of "hey, we probably shouldn't have done that."

    I don't mean to say the US is solely responsible, but there also doesn't seem to be any justification, in my mind, for the actions they took in these areas over many years, which resulted in the destabilizing of the region and deaths of not even just a few (and that is still bad), but millions of people.

    That the circumstances of World War 2 were an excellent justification for military intervention, boots on the ground, and mobilizing literally an entire country for the machine of war... is not related to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    P.S. While Australia may have participated in the Iraq War (I don't know), I am proud of Canada that we *refused* to join the Americans. We did however enter Afghanistan with a mission to rebuild the country (build schools, housing, etc) and use the military force to protect civilians. I think our Canadian military action in Afghanistan was justified.
    But here's the thing: you say that the insulation from war leads towards people wanting intervention, but here's another perspective - my generation, or really anybody from the baby boomers onward, have been insulated from total war such that we can't appreciate what it's like. There has never been another war like either of the World Wars since WW2 - nothing has even come close to that scale. WW2 in particular is a case where diplomacy bought nothing and war was the last resort.

    Accepting that military intervention is sometimes the only option available doesn't make you a warmonger, nor does it mean you're closed to the suggestion that diplomacy can yield results (the Cold War shows that).
    That is an interesting possibility. But I still think the US approval rating for declaring war in Iraq (I think it was 90% at the very beginning?) was a function of an America that has not experienced war on its own soil since... WW2 I guess? And the media inspiring a bloodlust over the events in 2001.

    I don't think I posted this here, but here is a very interesting story of "boys being boys", young and naive (not that I am so wise) when it comes to declaring war, and the desire to "be there."

    There was no electricity. Sunlight slanted horizontally into the dusty, dim corridors and I saw at the end of the passage, outside my room, two figures silhouetted against the white glare of the sun. As I approached I saw that they were soldiers, their uniforms stained with the mud of the Tigris valley, Americans, for they were cradling US Army assault rifles in their arms.

    They were an intimidating presence. Until they spoke. "Sir," one of them said, and there was a quiet, shy deference in his voice. I saw that they were young, achingly young, perhaps 19 years old, lettuce-fresh faces above long, lean, loose-limbed frames - no more than boys in the grown-up garb of desert camouflage. "Sir," he went on, "we heard that there was a satellite phone in this room. We haven't been able to call home in four months."

    They were the first in a little trickle of young US servicemen who would come to my room for this purpose in the weeks that lay ahead. What struck me with great poignancy was this - that almost always they phoned their mothers. From the other side of the room you would hear the phone sound in some far place in Kentucky or Idaho. The boy would say "Hi Mom!" and then you would hear the excited, disbelieving scream of delight echoing down the line.

    This vast military machine that we had watched assemble itself in Kuwait with its hardware and its discipline and its resolution and unshakeable belief in the virtue of its mission. It was composed, in part at least, of boys who - more than anything - missed their mothers.

    ...

    What happened to Nevinson, the hawkish young man who had spoken, earlier in the war, of adventure and courage and risk and daring, that he should, by war's end, have abandoned his brutal modernism to produce this gentle, elegiac naturalistic image of two anonymous dead boys in the mud of the Western Front?

    ...

    In the early part of the last century the poet AE Housman addressed this in a little four line poem that is a contemplation of a World War One cemetery. It goes like this: Here dead we lie/ Because we did not choose/ To live and shame the land/ From which we sprung. / Life, to be sure/ Is nothing much to lose, / But young men think it is/ And we were young."

    But it is an old man's sentiment. The young are strangers to its undercurrent of regret and loss.

    ...

    Why do the young - and young men in particular - want to go to war? Why do they dread being left out of their generation's fight? Why, indeed, did I, when the opportunity to become a war reporter arose, seize it?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27903827

    Are we destined as a species to treat war like this in our "modern, developed societies?" I strongly question the attitude of Americans towards the Iraq War at its start. I do not know the crux of it. I do not know if it was a cultural thing. I do not know if the media is the one to blame, or the US government at the time.

    But I am pretty confident in saying... something was seriously wrong about the attitude towards the war overall at the time, and my gut feeling is that a big part of it is that we do not understand what it is like for a missile to destroy our neighbour's house or our own.

    War of 1812... Britain pissed the US off during the Napoleonic Wars by impressing former British citizens into the navy and imposing trade barriers as they tried to starve off Napoleon. The US got pissed and invaded Canada, though a bunch of US politicians considered parts of Canada theirs as part of the colonies before the revolution. The Canadians sent them packing. The British mounted some successful raids (burning down the President's residence causing it to be re-painted white), but busy fighting Napoleon mounted a fairly limp invasion which the US repulsed. So the whole thing was just a stalemate hence the border not changing.

    Also when the star spangled banner was written. Can't remember if that was Baltimore or Boston though, one of the Bs.
    An interesting thing is how the US was mobilized. Apparently, not everyone even wanted a war, but somehow the US ended up declaring it, but apparently they didn't come into the war very tightly organized.

    And war was ended, because they realized "hey, what the hell are we doing, we're losing money waging this stupid war" from all sides, the British had a naval blockade going on, and other sorts of things too or something... lol.

    Everyone in the War of 1812 pretty much lost. 1000s of soldiers of every side, including the Indians, most deaths on the US side apparently. Most soldiers apparently died of disease rather than actually fighting though.

    The true losers were the Indians however. One of instigating factors IIRC was the desire of a nation for the Indian. The British and British Canada were allied with the Indians on the subject of having them have their own land, to which the US objected. They did not get a proper land grab at the end of the war either. Quite unjust :(

    Also it was Baltimore, the British and Canadians were shooting rockets at the Americans, heh. And yes it was indeed a stalemate, but that won't stop me from saying Canada won by fending of US invaders :)

    I think Britain burned the whole of Washington or something, or maybe just a lot of it, iirc.

    P.P.S.

    To end of this huge rant... what I am interested in is this, a global change in perspective of war. I hope it is less like this:





    And more like this, two faceless dead boys of The Paths of Glory

    Last edited by rockman29; 24-07-2014 at 01:50 AM.

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