Lots of good comments, thank you. Most have been along the lines of what I'd have expected.
It depends what war you're talking about yes? What I mean is WW2 was about fighting for our freedom, loss of life was inevitable for the sake of our freedom.
Well, we're talkin about the Iraq war. But your point is well taken that war (in general) has many faces that motivate it.
... Is fighting the Taliban worth it for the Pakistanis? Wouldn't there be less loss of life in the short term by just allowing them to subjugate the rural areas of the country?
Good question - it speaks to the core issue at hand here: Is war justified if we think that it might turn out well. I say "think" because (obviously), we can't *know* what the future holds. My point - and ultimate question - is: Even if we think we do know, is killing on such a large scale every justified preemptively? If so, we have to ethically admit that taking massive numbers of lives is "OK". I don't disagree with you here - your questions are well placed. This all speaks to "Does the means justify the [likely] ends?". I'm not sure it does except in clear cases of self-defense. Even then it can be iffy given 'perceived' threats.
Any society that can even remotely be called 'civilized' sees war as unfortunate and works to prevent civilian casualties to the maximum extent possible. Personally I think history will be very harsh to the instigators of the Iraq war.
I couldn't agree more
A nation's leadership is simply not allowed to start a war and then hope for the best, no more than an ordinary citizen is allowed to blow up a dam with the thought that "everything will somehow work out in the end." The Iraq War may indeed usher in an era of unexampled peace and prosperity to the Middle East. That still wouldn't make it justifiable.
This really summarizes my feelings on the subject. We couldn't have known the outcome, and since we weren't acting out of self-defense (recognizing a clear and present danger), it wasn't justified at all - regardless of how the future turns out
Probably. Of course actions are often judged by their motives...
This, of course, is true. But only to an extent. I know this is probably good fodder for another thread, but motives - I believe - should only play a part in our judgments of something being ethical or not. If we are to stand in judgement of a person; motives should play a large part - for judging the action itself, the effects take the bigger slice. This roughly a generalization, but I think it usually holds true.
Iraq is a soverin nation which you just can't invade, without breaking and violating all the rules of war, for that Bush should have been deemed a criminal and worse, pulling his friendly nations to the war.
This is undeniable. Unless it is proven that an nation is a clear and present ("clear" as in incontrovertible and "present" as in immediate), we can't claim defense. And to my ethical set, defense is the only justification for warring (as I've said, though, even that can be iffy unless the circumstances support the defense claim).
...it seems to me that you need to define what is civilized, because by the criterion you use here, there never has been a human civilization.
Yes, it is a rather "broad" term - tending to mean just about whatever the speaker esteems as good, advanced, refined, etc. But I use it purposefully in this case; and, contextualizing it as a nation's attribute you've indeed taken it as intended. No, no civilization that goes to war - except under the most clear and undeniable threat to their existence - is what I'd call 'civilized'.
As perspective comes into view; That the war's real purpose was to seize resources, fatten both the military industrial complex (and industry in general) the loss of life becomes less justifiable. Add into this dank stew the timing that played off our pain
and need to strike out following 9/11 to gain support - and it becomes a horrid, despicable dishonor
we should all be ashamed of. I'm a veteran, and I know that those in uniform who went, suffered and died for this country did so with the best and most honorable intentions. I don't begrudge them; indeed! I think we should welcome them home with honest care and hefty resources in recognition of their sacrifice. Our nation's dishonor by waging this war is not their dishonor
; I want to be very clear on this. In their minds when their people called they stood and answered the call, as I've myself done. That many did so with reservations speaks more of their love of their people and home. I'm only sorry it was used for such a dastardly deed.
I started this thread wondering if anyone believed there was any future outcome that might have justified the pain and death it brought. The answer I'm seeing is "No, there isn't"