At the moment over twenty conflicts are going on around the world.
At the top of the list is the “War on Terror”.
This concerned my buddy Tom and I as we climbed up on our green padded stools.
The barkeep brought our pints and said:
“I’m at war with my beer supplier, he’s late again!”
“See Tom, you can’t get away from war.”
“The majority of the conflicts now, are in Africa and the Middle East,” said Tom, soberly.
“There’s one in Mexico, Tom, it’s the drug war, the cartels fight for territory, cash and power. The US wants to tighten the border to halt drug gangs from coming into the country.”
“Of course, Dave, all this fuels weapon manufacture and arms trade. The military-industrial complex is making billions!”
“Yes Tom, I suspect the complex pushes for war.”
“So many global conflicts are bubbling, I hope our leaders can handle them carefully and diplomatically otherwise violence could escalate very fast.”
Tom and I sipped our beers and stared at the sign behind the bar:
“The only war worth waging is one against the poverty of ideas.”
“That sign is food for thought,” said Tom.
“Tom, lets list some of the reasons for war.”
“Okay Dave, you start off.”
“I’ll start with making a comment, I think violent conflict is hard-wired into the human psyche since primitive times. The first reason for war is Defense against an aggressor or potential aggressor.”
“Another reason is Economic Gain, to take control of another’s wealth, oil, etc. Or to protect a country’s economy.”
“Here’s one, Tom, Territorial Gain, the want or need to get more land or take back what was lost.”
Here’s a big one, Dave, Religion, different religions fight each other, such as Protestant vs Catholic or Sunni vs Shia. Religions have deep roots and any conflict can get very volatile.”
“There are a few others such as Nationalism, Civil War within a country, Revenge, to punish or redress a grievance, and last is Revolutionary, where a large section of a population revolts against their rulers because they are dissatisfied with their leadership.”
“Wow! Dave, that’s quite a list.”
“Tom, lets discuss a little about: How we decide to support our country or any country, when it enters into war? We can look at this question with The War on Terror in mind.”
“Well, I guess what we have to do is examine the reasons to support or not support a country when it enters into armed conflict.
Punishment is a reason. President Bush said after 9/11:
“Make no mistake the USA will hunt down and punish those responsible for these attacks.” Bush wanted justice, the evil doers needed to be found and punished.”
“Yes, but Dave, in the legal sense bringing one to justice requires capture and trial and Bush said he wanted bin Laden dead or alive.”
“Also, what forms of punishment are justified when maybe innocent people will be killed?”
“In any war there is collateral damage.”
We both sipped our beers and pondered…
“What about National self-interest to support a conflict? When a country is threatened by hostile aggressors, then self-interest is a vital factor.”
“Are we saying that self-interest is a justification for war?”
“Many are against self-interest as a justification. I can see their point.
Think about it, Tom, if nations were justified to go to war whenever it was to their advantage, there would be no good guys or bad guys, it would be every country for itself.”
“The other thing in the equation is Appeasement (the policy of giving in to aggressive powers to keep the peace).
George Bush after 9/11 was using anti-appeasement to rally the civilized world to America’s side. He was raising the fear that if we didn’t stand up to evil now, further and greater wrongdoing would follow. So it is necessary to go to war in order to prevent even worse bloodshed in the future.”
“Yes Dave, I can see that is a powerful argument to go to war. But there is sometimes a downside, such as the case in Afghanistan, did we reduce the threat of terrorism or did it just create people sympathetic to the terrorist’s goals?”
“Well Tom, it’s too bad the world is NOT 100% in favor of Pacifism, the extreme opposition to war.”
“When you talk about the morality of war the subject gets complex.”
We both agreed.
Here are some thoughts on war:
Why worry about the future? Between the bomb and pollution, there may NOT be any.
History reveals that wars create more problems than they solve.
In the war of right and wrong, we can’t afford to be neutral.
Tom and I drained our glasses of beer and left the building.
Also published on Medium.