Name Me a Single War that was Worth It?

index_St.Louis

Ugh, it’s Memorial Day (when I am writing this). I’m one of those people who for four generations at least have zero experience at war. I was too young or old to be in any Gulf War. My dad was 5 when WWII started so too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. And his father traipsed across Europe under a fake name (would my life have been different if I kept it – “Greenberg”?) to avoid the front lines of whatever war he was avoiding. Who wants to be dead?

WW 2?

Even WWII. What did we do? What has Europe ever done for us since then?  Good thing we bombed the hell out of Europe so the IMF can go around raping everyone now. We can say, “Well Hitler was killing the jews! We had to go in there!”

Are you kidding me? He KILLED the Jews. It was already over for six million Jews by the time we stepped foot in Germany (and millions more displaced after much anguish). And the gays, the gypsies, France, parts of England, and whatever else Hitler felt like.

We only went in there after the war was already lost. We didn’t help anyone. We didn’t save a single Jew by going into WW II (or, at the very least, from the mid 1930s to 1945 six million jews were discriminated against and then killed without our help). In fact, it’s well known FDR turned away some of the Jews he actually had a chance to save who then ended up going back to Europe and dying (apparently the US had “immigration difficulties”  with them).

(the SS St. Louis containing hundreds of Jews was refused permission to dock in Cuba and the US and many of the passengers ended up back in Europe under German rule)

Plus we kept a bunch of Japanese locked up while we killed millions of their citizens and reduced their culture to making matchbox cars and faulty watches for generations. For what? Because they were trying to take over China? Heck, what difference to us would it have made? I really ask – would it have made a single difference? Are Chinese citizens, 50% in poverty, better because we nuked Japan?

And now Europe mostly hates us. 418,000 American kids killed there.

What war did we really need to go into?

WW I –  I kind of challenge anyone without looking at Wikipedia to even tell me what that war was? Some Archduke was killed. 117,000 18 – 23 year old American boys had to die there because of that?

Korea and Vietnam? – we already know those were a waste (thanks to M.A.S.H. – god bless TV). 33,000 Americans died in Korea (forgetting about the millions of Koreans and Chinese) and 58,000 people died in Vietnam. And by the way, we lost that one.

I’m not trying to be “pro-peace”. I’m more anti-stupidity. What happened there? Was our white picket suburban way of life threatened in those wars?

(the wedding of a 20 year old American Iraq war victim)

Iraq and Afganistan: Over 40,000 American troops have been killed or injured there. Much more than died in the World Trade center. And this ignores the 800,000 Iraqi civilians killed.

 

Tell me a single war that might’ve been good? We destroyed Iraq and now it’s helpless. We can’t even rebuild it. Afganistan is back to the stone ages and it took 10 years to find Osama in a mansion in Pakistan and we still don’t have the full story on that. I guess I’d be a horrible President.

Unless it was war with Canada (to get oil cheap since they are by far our biggest provider of oil) I’d never go to war with anyone. Libya? They blew up one of our planes 30 years ago and we even let the guys free so they could have a hero’s welcome in Tripoli? What’s going on now?

(this 5 yr old girl watched US forces kill her civiilian parents)

There’s a squadron of guys in skirts playing bagpipes outside my door this very second on their way to the river. Down the street there’s a cemetery of crosses to commemorate the day. It’s a horrible day in commemoration of mostly dead 18 year olds. Everyone who goes to war is certainly a hero. But the victims far outnumber the heroes.

I hate feeling like a “pro peace” person. That’s not what this is about. This is about those moments when you kill your own life, your own time, feasting on your own angers, sucking them dry even though nobody’s paying attention to you crying like a baby – when you could’ve been doing so much more. You could’ve been building things. Raising a family. Starting a business. Ignoring the people who try to take you down every day at work, among your colleagues, your family. You could’ve been saving lives. And everything would be so much better.

====

[Update: I put this in the comments but adding it to the article here:

Someone mentioned earlier I was a “lazy ass” because my way of life has been defended and protected in these wars. A couple of points:

A) my way of life certainly wasn’t defended in Vietnam and Iraq. We can argue about the others but whatever.
B) The children in the pics above (and I include the married couple) – was there way of life defended?
C) Iraq was perhaps the first war where I realized that people I held to the highest of respect (Colin Powell, for instance) were going to blatantly lie to me in order to achieve some agenda that had nothing to do with protecting me.
D) my “lazy ass” has hired over 1000 people and invested in companies hiring millions more. Hopefully these jobs create innovation and sustainability that lasts generations. Our way of life is about growth and prosperity. That ultimately leads to less death and killing (look at mortality rates here over the past century). We each should do our part.
E) Nobody is arguing whether or not these children are heroes. They all are. Its just a shame so many of them don’t come back and it’s a shame the many lies that took them there.

]

[Update #2: from a comment below that I gave:

This has clearly elicited a lot of reactions in people. Am I a “political expert” as one person asks? Of course not. Nor would I ever want to be President.

But I look at the pictures above and my gut says, “all war is stupid”. There’s no justification. And everyone then starts giving justifications but these were all fed by massive propoganda machines so big we can’t comprehend. We all agree war is bad so we start diving deeper to find the subtleties. But that little girl up there has no subtlety. The wife of that war hero, and I do mean HERO, has no subtlety. And there are tens of millions more like them. What do we do it for then? For my way of life? You can keep it.

]


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  • http://www.bluechipsdividend.nl/ Aandelenbeurs

    The problem with that statement is that America didn’t enter WWII by own choice. It was attacked at Pearl Harbor, and only then retaliated, first against Japan, then against Germany. In fact, if Pearl harbor was never attacked USA would have never “freed” Europe. They certainly weren’t planning to.

    WWII was a defensive war, not an offensive war. And only this war turned out for the better. WWI, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybya were all offensive wars (unless you justify the war with 9-11) and didn’t turned out for the better, and probably aren’t going to.

  • http://www.benthewriter.com Ben

    Great, courageous post, James. You should check out the poetry of Wilfred Own, who was a soldier killed at the very end of WWI. He wrote beautiful stuff about the idiocy of war.

    • http://www.benthewriter.com Ben

      Sorry, that’s “Wilfred Owen” (typo)

  • marc

    Ironically, we wouldn’t have this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01-2pNCZiNk&feature=related though…

  • http://www.timothysykes.com Anonymous

    You’ve inspired a blog post from me with an important chart to consider :)

  • http://www.ildarshar.com Ildar

    I think if war happened – then all the high level politicians of the country have to be re-elected, since they didn’t do their job properly preventing it.
    We have to understand that War has to be absolutely the last measure, and should be used only for protective puproses.
    Also, history shows that too many wars happen when the officials lie to us (regular citizens), and never tell us about real reasons of going in wars. We’ll start seeing more and more “fabricated wars”, when the real battle will start for world’s resources.

  • http://www.brookefarmer.com Brooke Farmer

    Wait…. you mean today is not just a celebration of the invention of the barbecue? Weird. That certainly is how it’s treated in L.A.. 

    I have the utmost respect for anyone who chooses to serve in the military. But everyone I’ve known who’s done so has come back a very different person. One of them, the husband of a close friend, told his wife he couldn’t drive anymore because he was afraid he would run someone over or ram his car into someone on purpose if they pissed him off. That was five years ago when he returned from Iraq. He still can’t drive. And he developed a crippling drinking problem. I saw the before and after and I didn’t recognize the man who came home. 

  • http://twitter.com/Avatar_Jack Avatar Jack

    and we call those people racists

    • http://twitter.com/duckydan Dan Eveland

      And we call people like you ignorant. The civil war was about far more and it’s result was far more reaching.

  • Festrick Consumme

    I am a big fan of the Civil War.

    It gave us baseball, and allows Dennis Miller to make obscure references to Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  • Joeb

    Anyone interested in this subject– that wars are unnecessary, can be avoided, that there is no “good war”, who starts wars, and so on– should look up Paul Chappell’s book “Will War Ever End?”. You can get some info at http://paulkchappell.com/.  He’s also written a follow-up, “The End Of War.”

    The man served in the military and has a great angle on life, war, conflict, and conflict-resolution.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Thanks, Joeb. I’m going to check it out.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    I wonder if the Civil War was caused because we had the Revolutionary War. Great Britain had already outlawed slavery and considered us barbaric for keeping it. I wonder if they would have ended the issue much sooner and with much less bloodshed if the Revolutionary War never happened.

    • Steven L. Goff

      fascinating theory point/question…..

      • Fubar

        argh. as was pointed out elsewhere in this thread, the american colonists were far from innocent. they wanted england to fund wars against native american tribes in the mid-west to gain new territory. they resented rum and sugar taxes that constrained the slave trade. the colonists in virginia were angry at bad tobacco loans from London banks (some things never change).

        england abolished slavery because the industrial revolution provided a more efficient way to concentrate imperial british wealth: via machines.

        This allowed the british to develop a brilliant “PR” scheme in which they asserted their “moral” superiority over their (politically enslaved) colonies on the basis of their abolishment of slavery!

        Please note that the lucrative european silk, spice and opium trades were dependent on maintaining free shipping lanes from China and India through the middle east. This required domination of the middle east to thwart Russian expansion to the south.

        *Islam was deeply structured around a slave economy.*

        Abolishing slavery, and having the Royal Navy enforce the abolition in the seas between Africa and the Middle east, weakened Islamic political opposition to British domination.

        In cultural terms, the american Civil War was an extension of the Revolutionary War, which was an extension of the English Civil War (1640s).

        All those wars were about the conflict between the old agrarian-imperialistic order of landed aristocracy and the new order of modernism (democracy and capitalism: the politics of Reason and Liberty, science, separation of church and state, technology, etc.).

    • Paul

      Possibly Britain wouldn’t have been so eager to end slavery if they were still able to profit from colonies that owned slaves!

  • http://twitter.com/Real_Leiderman Real_LEIDERMAN

    I become a bigger fan with each entry of yours. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheAcsMan George Acs

    James, as the child of Holocaust survivors, I too often wonder why the United States didn’t act sooner. For your purposes of hyperbole, the 6 million slain Jews did not all meet that fate by the time the US intervened. In fact, the Nazis accelerated their slaughter when it was clear that the Third Reich was going to be annihilated, in part, due to the US military intervention.

    But using your reasoning, World War II would have been worth fighting, if the US had entered the fray sooner.

    Other than the isolationists and the appeasers, most would agree that would have been a wise decision.

    So perhaps it’s not always a question of “Name Me a Single War that was Worth It”, it may be “Name me a Single Correctly Conceived Strategy for Entering Into War”.

    Ah, still love your boyish charm. Who could stay mad at someone like that. Now, if you had gone and said that Apple was poised to be a 2 Trillion Dollar company, well, that’s different. There’s no foregiveness there.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      George, if we had intervened at the first hint of a western power treating a population (jews) the way they were, I think all of WW II could’ve been avoided, at least on the European front. Its amazing how much havoc we caused in WW I and then remained isolationist until it was too late in WW II. Both wars were a travesty against the planet.

  • Derp

    How about, all wars ever, otherwise this planet would have been overpopulated and stripped of its resources long ago, and we would have died out sooner.
    “all mankind can fit into bla bla bla [insert realitywise idiotic claim here]”, that is a idiotic philosophy that would never work for reasons you can count for 10 years and never stop.

  • http://twitter.com/Avatar_Jack Avatar Jack

    If anyone is interested in learning of the potential source of our next war… http://avatarjack3d.blogspot.com/2011/04/civil-war-150th-anniversary-will.html

  • http://twitter.com/jaykza Jason Kim

    Interesting points. And as it is impossible to objectively quantify “the worth” of a war or how much more valuable one life is over another, this post is eliciting a lot of emotional response. So…I’ll just comment on questions you asked.

    “For what? Because they were trying to take over China? Heck, what difference to us would it have made? I really ask – would it have made a single difference? Are Chinese citizens, 50% in poverty, better because we nuked Japan?”

    No, because they were taking over all of Asia. Particularly in Korea, a country was annexed, it’s people were forced to take on Japanese names, the speaking and teaching of the Korean language was made illegal, and the culture was being systematically wiped out. So yes, it made a single difference and over 50 million Koreans in Korea and all around the world owe a debt of gratitude to America and the soldiers who sacrificed themselves to help those in need.

    With the Korean war, I would just point out the current status of life in north Korea vs. South. From a personal perspective, I would probably not exist had it not been for the united states as at one point North Korea had basically taken the entire peninsula and I’d probably be in a Korean concentration camp or eating grass and the bark off a random tree right now if no help arrived.

    In the end, you can’t put a value on this because you can’t account for what the world would be like had the the US not participated in these wars. In the end, today is a day I think about these things and am very grateful to be a citizen of this wonderful country and thankful for the sacrifices that have been made so that others in the world have an opportunity to enjoy the freedoms that we do.

  • Jmadden76

    Your argue that no war has been worth it and then you say we should have gotten into WWII sooner. This seems like a huge contradiction to me. If you believe that war is never worth it then why would you advocate an earlier entry into WWII? The fact that many people had isolationist views like yours in the early 20th century is precisely why we didn’t get involved in WWII sooner. You would have fit in perfectly back then arguing that no war was ever worth it while Hitler was killing those millions of Jews you wrote about. Then you would have no doubt chastised our government for entering the war too late after you had the 20/20 hindsight of history on your side.

    Speaking of the genocide, you also say that because of our late entry into WWII we accomplished nothing because Hitler had already killed all the Jews. I’m pretty sure there are still a lot of Jews living today, many of whom probably would not be alive if we had not entered WWII at all.

    Your entire article is supported by controversial arguments and photos that undoubtedly hope to elicit an emotional response from readers in an attempt to cloud their judgement and ability to see through your week argument that is full of contradictions, half-truths, and a complete lack of understanding of war and history.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Maybe. At the same time…so many needless deaths. And yes, six million jews killed before anyone stopped it. We were so obsessed against communishm we took the eye off the ball in the 20s and 30s on a country and an economy we destroyed in WW I and hand-gave to Hitler. I know its easy to Monday morning quarterback but its all a shame it had to happen at all and I believe that the US, while heroes later, were cowards in the beginning  – for decades.

      • Jmadden76

        By saying the US were cowards in the beginning is like calling yourself a coward because you are espousing the same ideas as those of the early 20th century who believed that no war had been worth it, especially the most recent WWI. Your exact ideas and analysis of history was prevalent back then and led to the isolationist views that kept the US out of WWII for so long. You can’t have it both ways by saying on one hand that no war is worth it while on the other hand we should have entered WWII earlier.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          Not at all, in the 1920s we had the economic resources to rebuild a country that was destroyed before they could turn it over to fascism and racism. Which, in turn, gave fuel for the Stalinists later. I’m not arguing for any isolation. I AM arguing we never send 18 year olds to do what we now send them to do.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    I don’t know. Didn’t that happen? And it was the Soviet Union and China instead of Germany and Japan. Net-net nothing was accomplished. Only the enslaved people changed. And genocide happens every day around the world and the main war that succeeds against it is when we get rid of corruption at the top, inject economic growth, and take away the guns.

  • http://actionableintelligencealert.blogspot.com/ John P.

    Quite frankly I am sick and tired of letting sophistry like this slide. First Bill says war is never worth the cost. Then he somehow ties our ability to live in a Western Democracy with “brave americans” protecting our freedoms. I would suggest the two moats around the US, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans,  have had more to do with protecting us from those who wish to do us harm then our trillion dollar per year military. Do you really believe that Nazi Germany was going to invade the US? They could not even mount an invasion of the UK. Do you people really believe that today seventh century islamists have the ability to invade our country? They have no economy, no sea lift capability, no way of sustaining an invasion force even if they could put one together and get it here. You people are nuts.Before going out ot your backyard and gourging on beer and brats and thinking about our military for a whole day because it is memorial day why dont you go down to a VA hospital and talk to soem of theguys that are even in worse shape then the melted marine in the photo. Some of these guys have been warhoused in the VA system since korea and Vietnam. Ask them if having their entire lives wasted was worth it. Thank them for their service asshole and see what they say back to you. They never got to work a job, go to college, marry, or have kids. Their life is about colostomey bags and wheelchairs and they dont think it was worth it.

    • Jmadden76

      The US was more concerned about Japan invading us then Germany, so your point about Nazi Germany not being able to invade us is meaningless. Japan did have the capability and if we had allowed the Axis powers to take over Asia and Europe then consolidate their power towards us, facing a war on our soil becomes highly probable.

      Today we aren’t worried about an Islamic country invading the US with a traditional army requiring sea lift capability. We are worried about another terrorist attack that might contain WMD and cause exponentially more casualties than 9/11. Sound unlikely? I’m sure if you could go back in time to the early 20th century and warn people about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany they would have laughed in your face.

      Finally, who voted you the voice of all our wounded veterans? Speak for yourself, but please don’t pretend to know how those wounded vets feel about their service and if it was worth it or not.

    • Chris e

      No it isn’t pretty. And I am not sure how you got the idea it should be. Memorial day is not to play armchair war historian, but simply say thank you and remember. But the bloggosphere never sleeps and the counterpoints must be taken to pull us in.

    • Anonymous

      Actually they were inventing some pretty advanced weaponry and preparing to wage war on America. The Germany of 1940 would have been very different than the Germany of 1946 if ppl like you were in charge.

  • Todd_Andelin

    I like the last paragraph.  Lets all talk about that.

  • Todd_Andelin

    That last paragraph reminds me of Dylans “last thoughts on Woody Guthrie” poem…if you have 7 minutes listen to it  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFRvlpO9lFI

  • UraniumC

    James…

    very sorry to see you post this comment.  not because I disagree, but because you rose to the bait.  I even marked it ‘liked’

    you have a lot of which to be proud in point D.  but no obligation to have done any of it.

    The only obligation any of us have is to take care of ourselves and our childern, making sure we and they are never a burden to others.  that’s it.  anything else is a gift we might choose to offer, but not an obligation others are intitled to demand.

    when you start hearing folks yammer on about ‘duty’ and ‘service’ and ‘obligation’ you can be pretty sure they are on the recieving end of your efforts.  or else they’ve swallowed the kool aid and want to make sure everyone else suffers the same.

  • Sundar

    Revolutionary War

  • Imzato321

    ” Are Chinese citizens, 50% in poverty, better because we nuked Japan?”
    Yes, I’d have to say so. It’s 50% rather than 100%. 

    Nobody likes war, so being a pacifist is easy. My thought is the cold war would not have succeeded without the recent brutal experience of WWII. It would’ve ended in a hot war.
    And the world would be a worser place for it.

    I don’t agree with you on WWII. We really tried to avoid that one, including turning away the boat with Jews least it would piss off Hitler.

    Vietnam and Iraq were clearly not worth it though.

  • Spider Ninja Baby Tomatoes

    Dude, you should know better than trying bring into sense war supporters. It’s about education, they trully think war is actually necessary, because they’re scared, and well… they’re not very smart, OBVIOUSLY.

    You know there’s something terribly wrong with your education when you think harming and killing other is the solution. U.S.A. is well known lacking in education. They excel in their industry, economy, technology and military, but they’re no better than any other 3rd world country in other areas, like education, health care, culture, crime rate, etc. Heck Cuba’s doing better at education and health care than the US. 

  • http://twitter.com/zaqqus Zach Dexter

    I don’t believe the US is answerable for WWII in any way. We didn’t create that situation, we just had to deal with it. It’s not like FDR just up and decided to invade Germany and Japan one day. That’s not how it went down. They declared war on us, and we gave them what they wanted.

    It wasn’t for the Jews of Europe that we intervened; as you said, by that time it was a lost cause. But I would guess there are a lot more British and American Jews alive today as a result of our actions.

    WWI–same deal. We didn’t enter that war because a guy got killed. German U-boats sank a British civilian cruise liner (the Lusitania) with Americans on board, and we gained evidence (the Zimmerman telegram) that Germany was trying to get Mexico to declare war on us. We dealt with it.

    Black Americans might suggest the Civil War was worth it. But again, we didn’t start that war. The South fired on us first.

    Perhaps the American Revolution was worth it? It’s nice that we can make and sell our own finished goods without always having to buy them back from Britain. Also, the reason why Britain couldn’t stamp out the revolution immediately? Their ongoing war with France. So from an American perspective, that war was worth it too.

    I see what you’re saying, though. War sucks. It destroys lives and infrastructure. It erases human progress. But it can also be said that blind pacifism is rarely worth it either. If we had stopped Hitler early in Munich, for example, there might still be some Polish Jews around.

  • Master of bunnies

    What if USA hadn’t gotten into WWII, what would happen? 

    Maybe we’d be living in a world where people hate each other, there’d be constant wars, and where people think killing other people is the way to go. 

    Wait, that’s what we got right now. 

  • Rabbit monger

    If a coupe of middle east terrorist put the US to their knees, china would rape the yanks beyond repair. USA is made in china anyway

  • http://twitter.com/TheAcsMan George Acs

    James, my mother called my Georgie.You may do so, as well, but tell no one.

    The US did learn some lessons from WW I. As opposed to its very late enrty into the fight in WW I and its extraordinarily quick exit from the stage, which no doubt helped Hitler to enter the stage. We did at least stick around much longer following WW II and set the stage for more meaningful post-war governments in those nations not usurped by the Soviets.Albeit, some resented the American presence, but no doubt they woulod have resented a quick exit even moreso.
     
    It’s strange how isolationism and a reactive strategy worked against us in the earlier part of the 20th century, whereas a proactive strategy seems to befuddle us today.
     
    The reality is that in hindsight nothing can ever be fully correct or even comprehended, as the lens continually changes our ability to perceive in a contextually appropriate manner.

    The previous paragraph means nothing. It was really just a smorgasbord of words that individually make a person sound somewhat intelligent. If you add enough of those kind of words and modifiers into a single sentence, the average reader will just shut off all cognitive functions and assume that it was a cogent thought, accepting it as truth.

    But you already knew that.

  • http://www.dinosaurtrader.com dinosaurtrader

    Way to put it out there.

    And anyway, why hate feeling like a “pro-peace” person? What’s so bad about that?

    -DT

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yeah, good pt dt. Maybe there was a shame factor in there somehow

      • Christofurio

        As to the difference between being pro-peace and being anti-stupidity, I thought you were making a valuable distinction.  After all, in 1938 Gandhi wrote a rather fatuous essay on the ongoing persecution of Jews in Germany (which was of course still, as we can say in hindsight, in early stages), and I submit that his essay to which I will link you in a moment shows the limitations of what it means to be a peace person.  He said: “But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the godfearing death has no terror.”

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/JewsGandhi.html 

        If THAT is pro-peace, then pro-peace is pretty stupid.,  I think in retrospect at least there might be a lot more Jews in the world today than there are had there been more resistence: two, three, four, a dozen Warsaw uprisings. 

        On the other hand, the wars that you reference don’t have a lot to do with the Warsaw ghetto uprising.  So, yes, I saw your point (if this was your point) in dissassociating yourself from sentiments like that on one hand, while opposing the stupidity of war on the other.

        I hope you don’t abandon that distinction entirely.  

  • Jmadden76

    Maybe if we hadn’t went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Saddam and Osama would have gotten together and figured out how to acquire a nuclear bomb and detonate it in the U.S. Would those wars be worth it if you knew that this was the ultimate outcome? Sound preposterous? Try going back to the early 20th century and telling people that a crazy man named Hitler would convince an entire country that it was a good idea to start a world war and exterminate an entire race of people only 20yrs removed from the horrific WWI. You would have no doubt been laughed at and called several names. Trying to prove or disprove a hypothetical is impossible. We will never know what would have happened if we had not gotten involved in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan or how things would be different if we got into WWII sooner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=544216716 Yuri Litwinski

    You listed too few wars. There are many more:
    http://killinghope.org/

    • http://twitter.com/TheAcsMan George Acs

       Hardly anyone can find fault with the Peloponnesian War, not even James ALtucher, but I think he may not be willing to admit that fact.

      Pride can be an ugly human trait

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

        Well, to be honest, I don’t find anything one way or the other about it. It was 2500 years ago. And guess what, none of those countries even existed a few hundred years later. So whatever. They all should’ve stayed home. I think also its comparing apples and oranges when comparing wars 2500 years ago with wars of the past century.

        • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

          The technology, the mechanisms of death (and sadly, of survival) are so much different. The stakes are so much higher. Its just different and sad to compare them.

  • Anonymous

    Wow – learned a lot from this post and even more from reader comments.  Great topic.

  • Anonymous

    You are the worst kind of person.

    That’s all.

  • Doc

    James

    All war is about one thing. Money. Usually a lot of money to a few
    people or keeping the oil flowing which keeps the masses pacified.  It’s
    about money and guns. We have the most guns. That does not make us right just allows us to toot our horn more.

    Though all wars are stupid one of the messages you benefited from when you were in India was the knowledge that since you are an American Citizen there is a limit for which you will be messed with and somewhere there is some adventurous 19 year old itching to make sure that happens. In India it will be a much older operative however. In the world outside of our bubble protected by two huge ponds there are people who are dedicated to kill as many of us as possible.
     
     Some  of them have good reason like the 5 year old some do not. In short you would be screwed without those kids watching your back. Their sacrifice not the politician’s is what the day is for. Yes the military adventurism is vastly overkill since we outspend the next 12 militaries combined.

    Most warriors signup cause it’s
     1. Adventure  <- Me
     2. Rebellion
     3. Tradition
     4. Economics

    For whatever reason they signed up you do have Pax Americana which allows you to apply your talents to flourish.

    For us Flag and country are out the window when you receive your first IED. It's about you and your buddies from then on. Officers still like the (Are you mad they hate America) crap but it's mostly ignored, For me I went to Iraq at the tender age of 48 with no illusions. I do not regret the trip but I feel the war was not needed and the Arab Spring would have handled things with much fewer deaths.

    You are right about the WWII Jews.

    Your best bang for your buck is a smaller highly trained force loaded with snake eaters and spooks (CIA) backed up by a highly trained rapid response conventional force. Then we'd probably only outspend our next six militaries combined.

    I personally believe each President who starts a war should send someone in his immediate family there as Roosevelt did. Give them personal skin in the game. 

    Please name one democracy who has declared war on another. (Or Republic). It's rare cause the citizens are too busy making money with eachother. You points there are well taken.

    The Vietnam Vets were the greatest generation. They fought the toughest battles for no reward.

    My thoughts Only
    Doc Hawkins

  • Jmadden76

    I certainly don’t believe in petty name calling, but here are some counterpoints of my own:

    A) How do you know? Maybe if we don’t go to Iraq Saddam gets together with Osama and they figure out how to acquire a nuclear bomb and detonate it in your backyard. Sound crazy? Try going back to 2000 and telling people that terrorists will hijack airplanes, crash them into the twin towers, and bring them both down. No doubt people would laugh in your face.

    B) Do you know who the child’s parents were? Maybe the “civilian” parents were part of a terrorist network. Yes the picture looks horrific, but we do not know the details.

    C) Maybe they believed that Iraq did have WMD. We can question their motives, but will never know the ultimate truth. See A for the possibility that this actually did protect you. Again, we will never know.

    D) Congratulation on your success. The point is that you are able to work towards growth and prosperity because people fought and died in the Revolutionary War to gain our independence as a nation and fought and died in several wars thereafter to protect that independence. Again, we will never know what would have happened if we had not gotten involved in these wars. Maybe nothing, or maybe something more horrific and unthinkable than Hitler and Bin Laden’s actions combined.

    E) Agree on the hero part, but not sure it is all lies that send people to war. Ultimately, most politicians could make much more money in civilian life, but choose government work for other reasons. No doubt some selfish, but also because they want to serve their country and make a difference. I doubt they send Soldiers to war without taking that decision seriously and it is easy for us to look back at history to question those decisions made in the present.

    • Anonymous

      A) Very true. The incoming Executive branch in 2001 did indeed laugh in the face of people like Richard Clarke about the threat of terrorism inside US borders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Clarke#Early_warnings_about_Al-Qaeda_threat). However, I think this serves to undermine the point you’re making.

      B) Uh, no. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article504618.ece

      C) Uh, no. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-09-08-powell-iraq_x.htm

      • Jmadden76

        A) Uh, no. This reinforces my point that saying a war is worthless is difficult to prove because we will never know what could happen if we didn’t fight the war. If you knew for a fact that Iraq and Afghanistan were destined to come together to detonate a nuclear bomb in the US, then you might think those wars were worth it. But since we went to war in those two countries we will never know what atrocities we may or may not have prevented.

        B) Thanks for the context of the picture. One could easily put pictures of family crying after their loved ones were killed on 9/11 or pictures of US Soldiers building schools in Iraq and Afghanistan to counteract the propaganda of this photo. These are all meant to elicit an emotional response and do nothing to further this debate.

        C) Thanks for the link. This actually supports my point. Powell says that Tenet believed the information was accurate and that people in the intel community who knew the sources were questionable did not speak up. So, as I said, people like Powell who helped decide to send us to war in Iraq believed the information they had was correct. Of course he regrets it now because we didn’t find any WMD and he was proven wrong. Now if you can find something that proves that it was all fabricated and the administration deliberately lied to us to start a war then you might have something there. As it stands now, they all made a mistake. All that proves is what I already knew, our politicians are not perfect. It does not prove that they are insidiously lying to us so they can start wars.

        • Anonymous

          We are never going to agree on any of these points, so I’m just going to bid you adieu on this thread instead.

    • http://danmar.posterous.com/ jmdanmar

      “most politicians could make much more money in civilian life, but choose government work for other reasons.”

      Most politicians (who are not already filthy rich) choose government in order to make more money once they leave. It takes a lot of money to be elected at the Federal level.

  • http://twitter.com/SasmitoAdibowo Sasmito Adibowo

    My country was able to claim its independence because you guys bombed Japan (and also because it took a while for the Dutch to return, but that’s another issue). Yes, a lot of civillians there got killed and radiated, but it was war and change. If it werent for WW2, we probably will still be exporting spices to Europe under apartheid-like semi-slavery.

  • Index1000

    THere has never been one. Link here to Simon Black’s piece today on the same subject expressed better than i could do it and better than James has as well.
    http://www.sovereignman.com/expat/memoriam

    • UraniumC

      thanks, Index…..

      very insightful and well written

  • Jmadden76

    Too bad we didn’t completely disband the military a long time ago and amend the constitution so that we could never create an American military again. I’m sure countries like Japan, Germany, and Russia would have just left us alone to accumulate our massive wealth. More realistically, they would have invaded us and people like you would have been begging for someone to fight them off and defend your freedom since you are no doubt unwilling to do it yourself.

  • C.S. Michael

    James, your WW2 logic supports the Iraq war.

    If you believe the US should’ve acted in 1935, then similarly the US should’ve acted in 2003 (based upon the actionable intelligence of the time).

    How many people died in the (theoretical) 2006 nuclear attack (financed by Iraq/Hussein, executed by Al-Qaeda) on New York City? NONE. The point of the war was to ensure that such an attack (predicted as a virtual certainty by Warren Buffet) never took place.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Yeah, because Warren Buffett was lying also. The theoretical missiles were missing.

      • C.S. Michael

        Buffet’s “virtual certainty” prediction is still intact. The Iraq war simply pushed that virtual certainty farther (hopefully MUCH farther) into the future.

  • G Caldwell

    Before getting the James’s main point, a few comments on some of the wars people have mentioned:1. The Persian War and the Battle of Thermopylae.Before the Persians showed up, the Greeks lived in little city-states which were almost continually at war with each other. Some of them had a somewhat democratic form of government, some did not.If the Persians had defeated the Greeks, they would have put an end to this interminable, pointless blood shed. We just don’t know much about the administration of the Persian Empire, but there’s no reason to think the Persians would not have interfered much with the local forms of government – like the Romans later, they would have probably contented themselves with levying taxes, keeping the peace and letting the locals fend for themselves.The Spartans at Thermopylae were not democrats and they were not fighting for democracy. They were fighting for their own little sovereignty. Once the Persians were driven off for the last time, the Spartans got into a long war against the major democratic city-state, Athens. This was because the Athenians were incredible swine. The Athenian government was so bad it gave democracy a bad name for 2000 years. The American constitution, as originally framed, was largely anti-democratic (no direct election of the President or the Senate, an unelected Judiciary) to avoid the terribleness of the Athenian democracy.Eventually, the Persians were defeated by a king of Macedon (Alexander the Great), who was nobody’s idea of a democrat.2. The American Revolution.France and Britain were at war with each pretty much continuously for around 800 years. When they came to North America they brought their wars with them. The British dealt the French a crushing defeat in the Seven Years War, which included the French and Indian War. Benefiting from this war were the American colonists, who were saved from the horrors of being ruled by the French. The war cost a hell of a lot of money, and the British had to raise taxes to pay for it. They raised taxes in Britain and in America. These taxes were MUCH HIGHER in Britain than in the American colonies.The leaders of the American Revolution were a bunch of smugglers and slaveholders. (Samuel Johnson said of the Americans at the time:  “Why is it we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?”) They did not want to have to pay taxes for the war that had just been won, they did not like interference with their smuggling, and they did not like the fancy do-gooder ideas coming out of Britain about ending slavery and not colonizing (that is, invading), the Indian lands beyond the Allegheny Mountains.They engaged in criminal acts / guerrilla warfare such as the Gaspee Incident and the Battles of Lexington and Concord (in which government troops were attacked by insurgents trying to seize insurgent arms caches).Pretty soon a full-fledged war broke out, and the French monarchy interfered on the colonists’ side. This was ultimately the decisive factor in the war.Again, the war was hideously expensive, which contributed to the French monarchy’s collapse a few years later. As an American, I’m glad about how the war came out, but I don’t see how the world would be so different if it had never occurred – Canada didn’t turn out so bad, and the French government had no real future. As Jim suggested, the war did prolong the slave trade in North America.3. World War I.There can be no rational explanation for the causes of World War I. It was begun with people with enormous power and no sense at all. There can be no rational explanation for how the US got involved in it. Blaming the terrible terrible treaties that followed the war on the Americans is silly – yes, Woodrow Wilson was a racist nut, but everybody else involved was also a racist nut and/or jackass. 4. World War II.After World War I, nobody wanted another big war. Well, maybe except for Hitler. He came to power by exploiting resentment about the outcome of World War I, preached an ideology that carried to the lunatic extreme the sorts of eugenicist and racialist ideas that were common at the time, and set about grabbing everything in sight, knowing that France and Britain and the US would do just amount anything to avoid a major war.There also arose terrible militarist governments in other places around the world. (During the 1930s, when it seemed that capitalist democracy was a dead end, Mussolini and Tojo  and Stalin and Franco, as well as many smaller players, seemed to point the way toward a future in which autocracies would replace the seemingly failed democratic form of government.) The only good thing that can be said about Mussolini is that he wasn’t as bad as Tojo, and the only good thing that can be said about Tojo is that maybe he wasn’t as bad as Hitler and Stalin. The Japanese exploited the West’s pacifism in wreaking terrible havoc in Asia. Nonetheless, the US began to take measures against them that, one way or another, made the Japanese conclude that war with the US was inevitable.Meanwhile, Hitler overplayed his hand when he and the Soviets invaded Poland. Although France and Britain had a treaty that could have required them to go to war with both Hitler and Stalin, they decided to fight Hitler and leave Stalin out of it. This turned out to be a good choice, but let’s face it, Stalin was bad, bad, bad too.The US sat things out until the Japanese overplayed their hand and attacked Pearl Harbor. Then Hitler, in a spectacularly foolish move even for him, declared war on the US.Given this, the US did not have much choice and had to take part in World War II, which it did spectacularly well. Yes, it was horrible, yes it was the result of many bad decisions extending back to how the US got into World War I, but I don’t know that there is any point in saying it was unnecessary to go to war once once Japan attacked and once Germany declared war.5. So was any US war worth it?Surely the American Civil War was. After the American Revolution and the invention of the cotton gin, chattel slavery was probably only going to be ended by war. The run up to the war was badly handled, and the aftermath was horribly botched. But the end of slavery was and is a good thing.World War II was also worth it – it resulted in the destruction of two horrible expansionist empires. Yes, it kept the Soviets in power for another fifty years, and gave rise to Mao, but (as we can see now) they were not expansionist in the way that Tojo and Hitler were.

  • http://twitter.com/nordtrader máirtín

    The UK had no slavery!? Their empire and the wealth of their nation come directly from it. Take a look at Africa, much of Asia and the middle east. These places and peoples were plundered by the British and are still scarred today because of their legacy, some of it quite recent. I love much of your writing but I think you’re a little off on this one.

    • Fubar

      It may seem odd, but Queen Victoria and the Royal bureaucracy advanced their colonial/imperial geopolitical agenda by abolishing slavery earlier than other countries.

      This was possible because of the england’s industrial revolution. Slaves were not needed because machines had replaced them.

      This gave the British an opportunity to advance their myth of moral (or civilizational)”superiority”, which was a justification for their colonial schemes.

      All forms of mercantile (colonial) economics are based on manorialism (originally feudalism), where a “landed” aristocracy has state supported privileges in the running of trade enterprise (including global trade).

      “Free market” capitalism is just a watered down version of all that that broadens such privileges SLIGHTLY to a meritocratic class.

      In all cases, the colonized people, and the poor or working classes in industrial systems, have severely restricted access to the means of making investments and production of wealth.

      So, in a sense, the difference between a serf (or colonial slave) and a working class or middle class worker is not significant in terms of privilege and class structure.

      What is different is the underlying consumer economy and the industrial system that it rests on.

      An industrial or post-industrial society requires a larger middle class, which in turn requires an increase in participatory democracy and opportunities for investment and wealth building.

      An increase in middle class wealth ALWAYS attracts predation.

      Let me say that again:

      AN INCREASE IN MIDDLE CLASS WEALTH ALWAYS ATTRACTS PREDATION.

      THERE IS A PERMANENT CRIMINAL CLASS OF CORPORATE PREDATORS IN THE USA, AND HAS BEEN FOR 200 YEARS.

      This is the inevitable product of any form of “capitalism”.

      For instance, President Richard Nixon, a lower middle class Quaker, regularly cursed what he called “those Wall Street bastards”.

      The only hope that the working and middle classes have is in waging a permanent political war based on populism, against the corporate predators.

      Whenever false forms of inequality and privilege are brought into existence (which they have since tribalism ended 8,000+ years ago), there is always a corresponding system of social injustice that is dependent on state power to enforce privilege and inequality.

      Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

      • Fubar

        re: “… Queen Victoria and the Royal bureaucracy advanced
        their colonial/imperial geopolitical agenda by abolishing slavery
        earlier than other countries.”

        Forgot to mention that one of the primary purposes was to destroy the slave system that the economy of the Islamic world depended on, principally in east and north africa.

        A weak Islamic world under British domination became a buffer between the southward advances of the Russian empire toward the all important trade lanes of the British silk, tea, spice and opium trade through the Indian ocean, Red Sea, Egypt, etc.

  • Amy

    Or you can argue, as Churchhill did, that WWII shouldn’t have ended when it did, it should have carried on into Russia to prevent that maniac Stalin from killing tens of millions more of his own people. Those people in the gulags might have felt thankful for more war. 

    I don’t necessarily agree with your premise, James. War is worth it for the person who’s life is spared and not worth it for the person who’s life is lost. War is destructive and the other side of building a business, raising a family, ignoring a person who wants to take you down a peg… it’s the large-group/economic version of fighting that person who wants to take you down a peg. It seems like it’s part of the package of humanity and is hard-wired into our DNA. 

    PS: Without googling, WWI was about honouring a treaty. Sometimes bureaucracy is brutal! It was unnecessarily deadly because old thinking and tactics met on a modern battlefield. It was a complete waste of life and in some ways caused WWII. I agree, if we could find a work-around for war, it would be a good thing. But sounds like gum-drop skies and rivers of chocolate to me. 

  • Todd_Andelin

    Pair your comics with controversial topics like this. 

  • Kevin

    Plenty of Jews in Britain in 1941, for instance. They might have a different view on whether or not fighting Hitler was worth it.

    Hitler may have run the board on Jews in those countries he overran, but there were plenty more for the Third Reich picking were it not for Allied resistance.

    That said, Fuck war. 99% of the time it’s the rich and powerful sending the rest of us to die for their interests.

  • http://www.jeffreylu.com Jeff Lu

    WWI and WWII are definitely debatable but every war we’ve been involved with since then was a waste of resources, not to mention lives.

  • Phil B

    Hi James, I discovered your blog a month or two ago (here in
    the UK) and became a big fan, inspired by some of your stories, checking back
    almost every day. However, I really don’t like this post. It makes me feel
    awkward, and a bit embarrassed for recommending your blog to my friends, to be
    honest.

     

    My grandma (a holocaust survivor) would certainly have been
    killed like the rest of her family were it not for the Allies, and America, in
    WW2. Other people have posted similar comments. We’re not wrong. You’ve made
    some incorrect assertions about a serious topic. Yes, America should’ve
    come to help earlier. But as an American (and a Jew…) I’d have thought you should
    feel proud that your countrymen did come to help in the end; proud of the
    sacrifices made, respectful to the families of the fallen.

     

    On Europeans “hating” America: you might be surprised to
    hear that I and many other Europeans actually respect what America stands for.
    We might joke about ‘hating’ America for fast food/fat people/loudness/Palin-style
    geographical ignorance etc etc. and a lot of this probably comes from jealousy
    at the loss of world power. But we’re friends really. Enemies are like Iran,
    DPRK, Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. Regimes threatening lives and freedoms;
    killing people. America, even if sometimes ‘annoying’ to Europeans, deep down is an
    old friend and close ally.

     

    In fact, like you I question the value of recent forays into Iraq/Afghanistan. However, this is not
    the time or context in which to make these points. As another comment says: Memorial Day is like a
    funeral. Please be respectful.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I’m sorry you feel that way, Phil. I feel everyone who has been to war is a true hero. I would just never ask 18 years olds again to ask them some of the things we as a country have asked them to do. Many of those things were driven by things we never understood and still don’t understand. Its a day like today that makes me feel most of all the sadness and horror that has been passed around. For your family, I wish more of them could’ve been saved. Without the wars and followup that preceded it, I feel facism and hitler never would’ve had their chance. All of it is a shame all the way around.

      • Phil B

        Appreciate your instant reply (sorry about the spacing in my comment). I agree with you about 18 year olds taking on unbelievable responsibility. It’s the aggressive/negative tone in your article that I don’t like. I don’t think the guys playing bagpipes today are encouraging or glorifying war -just honoring the dead. And I’m not so afraid of frivolous wars in the future: post-Iraq presidents will really think twice, Osama’s been caught, and twitter/camera phones/etc make it much harder for leaders to mislead. I think it’s worth restating over and over how tragic war is, and how we should avoid it. But saying it is “worthless” and downplaying the achievements of troops on Memorial Day strikes me as very bad taste. 

  • Gtcarroll

    The Rebels’ strike on the Death Star.

  • RobbieR

    This is historical cherry picking isn’t it? At the very least you can’t just say “war” and expect people to agree with you. Right there you are generalising on a massive range of activity. You start generalising on anything that broad and you know you’re going to be wrong at least half the time.

  • PatD

    James A..
    Does anyone here Want to see another War in their Future??

    Respectfully submitted recognising ALL Vets…for their service.and sacrifice…

    @f750e5a5e1aca24c418504991e03ff70:disqus

  • Chris S.

    Historically, wars have been a just another tool of statecraft, called into play for a variety of reasons – usually political or economic.  But improvements in technology have made warfare on a large scale far more deadly and expensive.

    And once a war is over, lives are lost, infrastructure destroyed, and the problems that precipitated the violence still remain and – if they are resolved – they are resolved through diplomacy and negotiation.  The real problems in the world have never
    been solved through violence, no matter how much we might try.

    So how can anyone make the case that starting a war can be worth the cost?

    Let us not conflate starting a war with having a strong defense.  This is not to say that a country should not maintain armies to defend itself or intervene on allies’ behalf.  There are, after all, enough leaders willing to start wars to make this necessary.

    And while Memorial Day does distract us from contemplating our leaders’ roles in war, we should use this day to remember our many young men and women (although too few of our leaders’) who volunteer their wits and their blood to keep the rest of us safe. 

    That our leaders more often send them to die for pointless political squabbles should be something to remember the rest of the days of the year.

  • Alex

    The last two wars were clearly useless discretionary wars, wasteful in both lives and mis-spent money.

    As I see your point, the key is:

    – to let go of fear
    – to let go of anger
    – to let go of ideological stupidity

    …and 90% of wars will never happen.

    I get your ambivalence towards “pro peace” – this is often a keyword for hypocrisy and cowardice.
    Churchill says very clearly in his memoir that, not for the cowardice of British and French appeasers, the WW2 would have never happened in the first place.  

    But salvation of Jews in WW2 was never a priority for any of the Allies.  

    And in post-WW2 Russia, if not for the sudden death of Stalin in 1953, the Jews were about to be deported to Siberia, where 90% of them were expected to die.  The U.S. wouldn’t have done anything to prevent or stop this.

  • Steve

    sigh…

    I hope, sometimes, war is worth something. 

    At least some people in Iraq have had a better few years. 

    My room was a (former) rape/torture room – nice place to sleep, eh?
    Acid burns through a tile floor – hook in ceiling, tie arms and hang, smash into foot thick stone wall, nearly broken through. 

    Tuesdays and Thursdays were killing day… stopped counting mass graves at 5 new ones…

    Yeh – Saddam and his kids didn’t bother ME, so no problem. 

    Lotta Kurds still sucking wind, thanks to us.

    We gave them a shot at choosing the life they want to live. 

    If “it was worth it” – is up to their choices. 

    Time will tell…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Franz-Oehler/1015170828 Franz Oehler

    War has always been the grand sagacity of every
    spirit which has grown too inward and too profound; its curative power
    lies even in the wounds one receives.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    • Steve

      I don’t know if to bless or curse you – ???

      I truly,  thank you for the quote.

      -steve-

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jim.Howard.In.Texas Jim Howard

    James, you really need to stick to money, you really have gaping holes
    in your knowledge of history.

    “We didn’t save a single Jew by going into
    WW II”.  That’s nonsense.  Had we not gone into WWII there would have
    been no invasion of Germany, and nothing to impede Nazi death camps. 
    England and/or The Soviets would almost certainly have lost to Germany,
    or at best become satellite states.  Without American manpower and
    industrial output they didn’t stand a chance against Germany.  

    And of course the Allied air attacks on Germany’s transportation system
    greatly impeded the death camp system, and Allied and Soviet troops
    are the guys who put a final stop to Nazi death camps.  Saving many
    thousands of  prisoners of all kinds of backgrounds from certain death. 

    You do understand that we didn’t ‘choose’ to go into WWII?  We were
    attacked and invaded (yes INVADED) by Japan.  The next day Germany
    declared war on us. (Of course perhaps Germany would not have declared
    war had we not already started a gigantic industrial effort to supply
    England and the Soviet Union with arms and equipment that was absolutely
    essential to their war efforts.)

    And had we done as you suggest and ignored the German Declaration of War
    against the United States do you not understand that in the long term
    they very well might have extended their conquests to South America and
    then Mexico. Because that was their long term plan.

    Do you anything at all about the Pacific War?  Do you understand that
    Japan’s stated aim was physically conquer the entire Pacific Rim. 
    Including Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Coast of the US? 

    Do you understand the absolute and total barbarity that Japan practiced
    on the tens of millions of people they enslaved in China, The Philippines, Malaya, Viet Nam, Thailand, Korea, New Guinea and hundreds
    of Pacific Islands? 

    Do you understand that they most certainly would have invaded and enslaved Australia without our intervention? 

    I defy you to read ‘The Rape of Nanking:
    The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II’ by Irs Chang and then come
    back here and tell us that we should have ignored the attack on Perl
    Harbor.

    I don’t suppose you know much about the American Civil War, so let me
    give a little bumper sticker history lesson.  The Civil War was about
    slavery.  That’s the ‘state right’ that the South was willing to fight
    for. Slavery was why they began leaving the Union even before ‘Black
    Republican’ Lincoln took office after the election of 1860.

    The Democrat Party was then the anti-war party, and strongly opposed
    military action against the South. They too felt that nothing was worth
    fighting for.  Had your argument carried the day in 1860 it is highly
    likely that today there would be a Confederate States of America,
    complete with chattel slavery of millions of black Americans.  

    Really James, stick to what you know.  You know money, you’re really
    talented with money, and you’ve got some good ideas on the general
    conduct of one’s daily life.  Stay with what you know. 

    Stay away from subjects you clearly no nothing about.  Like history.

  • Steven L. Goff

    Freedom in the USA is the biggest illusion going. And if you think for one second that the US Military is out there defending your so called “freedoms” here in the USA….you’re an idiot!  Thats right…I just called ya an idiot. They are where they are and where they ever have been to support or sustain what little is left to the Military Industrial Complex of the USA. that is why the War on terror is now the infinite/never ending war… Like all things going obsolete at an exponential decay rate due to the exponential advancements of modern day warfare tech….. soldiers and needed “boot/foot soldiers is also becoming obsolete soon”
    I think we as a late stage devoleped world need aanother great world war once again. But not fought with “smart bomb” tactics. We need to fight a man to man war again to thin the herd so to speak(population control). I recommend w/ China! The reason nobody cares or even knows we have 2 wars going on right now is because we dont see people comming home in body bags or see it in the evening news. No draft of soldiers. The ill societal effects of a nations war have all been removed/censored. how much footage can ya show of a video smart missile crashing into and blowing up something?… War is not like it was or ever will be again. And people just dont give a shit about wars anymore untill that changes.Screw the poor and the war on poverty…..go get a job or steal something or sell drugs or your ass. I dont give a shit about ya. You are broke for a reason. And it aint my fault. I got my own problems (pay my rent if ya wanna help the poor…I work like a mad man to make ends meet) Another Great Civil war would be awsome in and for the  USA future growth catalyst. Ya have double the national war casualty rates because YOU ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER and not another country. That will bring down the EVER increasing unemployment numbers from here on in this country for sure. Start killing each other off. I strongly recommend you team up with New Jersey in a civil war if reading this…..for we’re  bad ass and can bring the thunder if need be!

    More death and bloodshed/wars have been fought over… or for religious reason than anything else EVER… how B U L L S H I T is that fact!?  lLMAO

    If you were in China and someone told you “wow…you’re awsome James…you’re one in a million buddy”…well guess what > there would be 1400 people JUST LIKE YOU there in China!……..you aint so special and life is cheap in this world.

    “One death is a tragedy….a million deaths is just a statistic”~ Josef Stalin”One death is a tragedy….a million deaths is just a statistic”~ Josef Stalin
    I think we as a late stage devoleped world need aanother great world war once again. But not fought with “smart bomb” tactics. We need to fight a man to man war again to thin the herd so to speak(population control). I recommend w/ China! The reason nobody cares or even knows we have 2 wars going on right now is because we dont see people comming home in body bags or see it in the evening news. No draft of soldiers. The ill societal effects of a nations war have all been removed/censored. how much footage can ya show of a video smart missile crashing into and blowing up something?… War is not like it was or ever will be again. And people just dont give a shit about wars anymore untill that changes.

    Screw the poor and the war on poverty…..go get a job or steal something or sell drugs or your ass. I dont give a shit about ya. You are broke for a reason. And it aint my fault. I got my own problems (pay my rent if ya wanna help the poor…I work like a mad man to make ends meet)

     Another Great Civil war would be awsome in and for the  USA future growth catalyst. Ya have double the national war casualty rates because YOU ARE FIGHTING EACH OTHER and not another country. That will bring down the EVER increasing unemployment numbers from here on in this country for sure. Start killing each other off. I strongly recommend you team up with New Jersey in a civil war if reading this…..for we’re  bad ass and can bring the thunder if need be!

    More death and bloodshed/wars have been fought over… or for religious reason than anything else EVER… how B U L L S H I T is that fact!?  lLMAO

    If you were in China and someone told you “wow…you’re awsome James…you’re one in a million buddy”…well guess what > there would be 1400 people JUST LIKE YOU there in China!……..you aint so special and life is cheap in this world.

    “One death is a tragedy….a million deaths is just a statistic”~ Josef Stalin”One death is a tragedy….a million deaths is just a statistic”~ Josef Stalin

    • Steven L. Goff

      please edit this james it double copied and pasted on me

  • Paul

    There is no way Congress would have allowed entry into WWII without Pearl Harbor.  None.  No way, wouldnt’ have happened.  Hindsight is 20-20.  The fact is that we did not have “world policeman” status back then since we had not yet assumed that role (because we hadn’t fought WWII) so to claim that we should have intervened *even before* Hitler invaded Poland is total second guessing at a level beyond the realm of the potentially doable.

    • http://twitter.com/Jon_E Jon Ericson

      Absolutely true.  Even after Pearl Harbor, there were votes in congress against the declaration of war.

  • http://rodolfogrimaldi.com Daniel Mihai Popescu

    I wish more people in America would have a closer look to the events, to think a little before acting to fulfill any agenda that doesn’t fit the masses interest. Now, US Army is mostly formed with mercenaries, and the good people who enrolled, did it for the money, not even a fantastic amount, coming to that. Of course they were lured to believe it was a “patriotic” act to enroll to killing America’s enemies, but.. with this, America makes enemies almost of everyone out there… 

  • Serghei Dascalu

    * with the voice of HAL-the-Robot from A Space Odyssey *: Stop, James, I’m afraid. James?!…

    It’s interesting that it only took a blogpost to start another war here. So there you have it: in addition to what I aleady mentioned above, this is another war that was worth it. For a host of reasons. Which brings us to the ageless “follow the money” rule, applicable to any war.

  • Andrew

    Here in Australia we have price wars between coles snd woolworths. Great for the consumer.

  • http://colinfraser.tumblr.com Colin Fraser

    So, there are 165 comments on this already; this will probably not be read by anyone. On the off chance that it is though, you should check out the economist Bryan Caplan’s writings on this exact topic. This is a good post outlining his view on the pragmatic case for pacifism:

    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/04/the_common-sens.html

    Excerpt:

    In the real-world, however, pacifism is a sound guide to action. While I admit that wars occasionally have good overall consequences, it’s very difficult to identify these wars in advance. And unless you’re willing to bite the bullet of involuntary organ donation, “good overall consequences” are insufficient to morally justify war. If the advocates of a war can’t reasonably claim that they’re saving five times as many innocent lives as they take, they’re in the wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherf.elad Elad Sherf

    I
    couldn’t agree more. As someone who grew up in a country that is at a constant
    state of war, served in the army for 4 years and have suffered losses and lived
    in fear, I can tell you it is not worth it (I live in Israel, BTW). Just a few
    days ago I finished reading “The Heroes” b y Joe Abercrombie (see here: http://amzn.to/jdhEo5). It is an epic fantasy
    novel. It is also the best description of the futility and stupidity of war I have
    ever read. Here is just one example of many:

    ‘Wars don’t often change much, in
    my considerable experience. Bit here, bit there, but overall there have to be
    better ways for men to settle their differences.’ He thought about it for a
    moment. ‘Kings, and nobles, and Closed Councils, and so forth, I never have
    quite understood why they keep at it, given how the lessons of history do seem
    to stack up powerfully against. War is damned uncomfortable work, for minimal
    rewards, and it’s the soldiers who always bear the worst.’

    I
    think this sums up your wonderful post quite succinctly.

    Elad

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    This has clearly elicited a lot of reactions in people. Am I a “political expert” as one person asks? Of course not. Nor would I ever want to be President.

    But I look at the pictures above and my gut says, “all war is stupid”. There’s no justification. And everyone then starts giving justifications but these were all fed by massive propoganda machines so big we can’t comprehend. We all agree war is bad so we start diving deeper to find the subtleties. But that little girl up there has no subtlety. The wife of that war hero, and I do mean HERO, has no subtlety.

  • http://www.736hundred.tumblr.com 736hundred

    America will continue wars with little to no home-grown opposition as long as there is no draft.  Put a draft in place and maybe the country will take responsibility and stand up for peace.

  • http://twitter.com/C4MyOwnTerms Jared A. Chambers

    I love your blog.  You know a lot of things.  Like all people who know a lot of things, you have good cover most of the time for the things you don’t know… at least until you put them on parade.
     
    But I won’t attempt to debate your understanding of history or geopolitics.  It misses the point, because your premise is incorrect.
     
    Your foundation of this thread is whether the wars we’ve fought should have been.  It doesn’t matter.  If we had refused these, others would have come.  Humanity is many things, but it is not logical.  It is often aggressive.  It can be cruel.  This isn’t an insult, mind you.  Nature is ALL of those things, and we are nature.  The bottom line is that somebody, somewhere is always trying to be the big dog in the yard.  I have a strong preference that it be the USA, because more often than not, we have imparted better lives on those we come in contact with, not worse.  Sure, there are exceptions and high costs.  But as a great, if fictional, logician once said (or will say), “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”  I sleep better at night knowing that though many are actively attempting to weaken the US into “just another country,” that we are the big dog in the yard for now… because there are worse dogs who’d like the role.
     
    Jared A. Chambers

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      I agree with that. humanity is certainly not logical. As Claudia told me before i wrote this post – if you write about war, you’ll get war.

  • Russ

    JA, 

    Quite the hornets nest you’ve kicked with this post. 

    One of the more interesting/frightening thing about the Third Reich is that much of the ideological underpinnings came from Francis Galton, an Englishman, and a leading proponent of eugenics, as well as from America, with our “peculiar institution” and our genocidal campaigns against Native Americans. The analog to Germany’s behavior would be Slavs, Roma, etc were akin to the enslaved African population here, while Jews were the Native Americans. 

    This framework caused a very blind eye to be cast as to what Germany was doing in the 1930’s, and I am being very charitable by saying “blind eye”. From Father Coughlin to IBM to the Duke of York, there was a strong streak of approval for Germany’s actions. 

    Was WWII worth it? Probably, but there was no possible way to intervene earlier, given the lack of political will in the US and the UK. 

    Last war clearly worth fighting for? The Civil War. 

  • George

    I think there’s a fine line between acknowledging the sacrifice of those who have served in the military, and glorifying the largely unnecessary conflicts we’ve sent them into. As someone who grew up during Viet Nam, I’m very suspicious of anyone’s motives for sending armies to another country, ostensibly to “build democracy”, but in the most immediate sense the idea is to kill as many of the supposed enemy as possible, and in that context we’re probably lucky if the military/civilian kill ratio is 50/50 (almost certainly much worse, as most reliable casualty studies will attest). In recent years I’ve noticed it’s become politically incorrect to criticize or question the military, especially from the Fox News crowd and the politicians they support. I don’t disagree with recognizing individual servicemen and women, and providing specific examples of their bravery is inspirational, but perhaps there should also be a day when we mourn the millions of forgotten civilians whose lives were lost in meaningless conflicts wrought by the leaders of senseless governments.

  • Anonymous

    “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu.

  • Wordwrangler

     No, the cover store is patriotism and self-defense.  That’s the bill of goods that Americans have been given.  And that’s what I believed for a long time.  In fact, when people told me something else, I thought they were slackers, disloyal, hippies, left-wingers, peaceniks, unpatriotic and so forth.

    Smedley Butler was a member of the equivalent of the joint chiefs of staff and highly decorated.  No rational person could call him a left-winger, a peace-nik, or a coward.

    What he said decades is sadly still valid today: War is a Racket.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3_EXqJ8f-0

  • Sam

    Great post James.  I think you are correct when you say that if we had remained a British colony through 1861 (i.e. no revolutionary war) then the Civil War would not have been fought — though slavery was only one of many issues.  On the flip side, would we have been better off as a British colony in all other respects?  Not sure, but I tend to think that on balance, we were better off being our own nation.  Though honestly, had I been alive in 1776, I would probably have been a loyalist and not participated in the revolution.  From what I understand, the tax burden wasn’t that heavy anyway, and in return you get all of the benefits of being part of the British Empire (military protection, etc.), so seems like a fair trade-off to me.  But I digress….

    Also on the Civil War, Ron Paul made the point that the UK ended slavery through a buyout system whereby slaveholders were paid by the govt for their property (slaves) and that the US could have done the same — the war therefore was largely unnecessary. 

    On WWII, I believe had we not participated the USSR would have eventually beaten Germany anyway, especially if we provided them with material support — guns, food, planes, etc.  But then all of Europe would have been communist, not just Eastern Europe.  So on that basis, was our participation worthwhile?  In the Pacific theater, an estimated 10,000 a day were being killed throughout the occupied territories of the Japanese — China, Philipines, etc.  The Japanese were just as brutal as the Nazis in that regard.  See wiki snippet below:

    between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly
    3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most likely 6,000,000 Chinese,
    Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. “This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture.”

    Otherwise, Vietnam and Iraq seem like completely useless wars.  Korea?  Well, there was a positive result in that South Korea remained free and not communist.  WWI?  I think eventually the European Nations would have declared some sort of treaty, even if we had not gotten involved, and yeah I’m not really sure how we benefited from getting involved. 

     

  • Retired1

    As a 64 year old, I have asked myself the same question…..was any war worth it?
    Seems like WWII is about the only one that gets a yes.  I don’t think the others were.
    I think the answer as to WHY we went to war is the same answer to most questions…..follow the money!
    War is a money maker for many companies in the military/industrial complex.
    I didn’t used to be such a skeptic about things…..but 64 years of observation does that.

  • Retired1

    As a 64 year old, I have asked myself the same question…..was any war worth it?
    Seems like WWII is about the only one that gets a yes.  I don’t think the others were.
    I think the answer as to WHY we went to war is the same answer to most questions…..follow the money!
    War is a money maker for many companies in the military/industrial complex.
    I didn’t used to be such a skeptic about things…..but 64 years of observation does that.

  • AngelaLord

    I’m with Mark Twain on this one:  “Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is
    attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and
    will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and
    thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God
    for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”   Isaac Asimov, too: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” 

  • Guestocrat

    I guess you, Joe Kennedy and Henry Ford would have gotten along fabulously.  Which is sort of ironic, don’t ya think?

  • http://simpleinvestingadvice.blogspot.com/ Team Dave

    You’re bang on here James. Great post. No war is / was worth it – ever. Germany and the rise of Hitler could’ve been solved if we had just opened up trade with them properly and never imposed such punitive measures on them after the first world war.

    The most recent wars fought by America (and her friends) are even worse than history’s other debacles. Korea and Vietnam were awful, irrelevant wars constructed to deceive the globe to believe that the Soviet Union was coming to get them.  Iraq wasn’t about freeing some people from a despotic tyrant, it was about oil. Libya isn’t about freeing some people from a despotic tyrant, it’s about control of oil supply. Afghanistan isn’t about the twin towers either. Now we fight the invisible, unseen enemy Al Qaeda in strange far-off places that few Americans could locate on a map of the world. The worst tyrant in the world is President Mugabe in Zimbabwe who has raped and pillaged his country, the former ‘bread basket; of Africa, back into the dark ages. Yet we all stand idly by and let it happen because they don’t have any oil to worry about.

    Would be far better to actually address the problem up front and sort out the Palestine / Israel issue, the lack of a renewable energy source, hunger and poverty, rather than blow stuff up.

  • Andrewramponi

    Dostoyevsky poses a question in Brothers Karamazov; If you could guarantee that human kind would be free of suffering for eternity could you torture one small child to death?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Lehmann/100002035189413 John Lehmann

      No.You being a human would suffer that would negate the deal.plus human kind without suffering would not be human.We are what we are.Making deals with Devil never good idea.

  • Ken S

    James – I came across your blog a couple of months ago and have been a regular reader since.  In fact, it’s even given me the final push to get my own blog off the ground (something I’d been thinking about for awhile).

    I’ve enjoyed most of your posts, although sometimes I find your comments silly, sophmoric, juvenille, and/or self-absorbed.  But I write that off as you trying to follow your own advice on being a better writer by using humor, not always successfully.

    I’m even willing to overlook certain factual/logical errors.  For example suggesting that the Abbey Road photo was the tipping point where the Fab Four went from being mere mortals to goddom – they had already achieved that status well before stepping out into the zebra crossing.  But I really liked the pre-crossing photo, which I hadn’t seen before, and understood that you were using it as the prop for your point about taking the leap, so I let it slide.

    But this post and your subsequent responses to comments are another matter altogether.  The facts and the logic are flawed.  The premise is naive and lacks depth of thought.  It has obviously elicited quite a response from your readers and maybe that was your goal.  I’ve been up half the night thinking about it so I’m in no position to give a complete response now.  I’ll post a more complete comment on my soon to be operational blog and send you a link when it’s up.

    In the meantime, I respect your right to your opinion and your efforts to put yourself out there.  Even when the result is a post like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Lehmann/100002035189413 John Lehmann

    In 1970 I received my invitation to the Viet Nam war (draft notice)I said no.I believe there is no good war.WW2 was a consequence of WW1 as Germany was trying to recover from victimization by the winners.Japan was stopped not for humanitarian reasons.They were stopped because they threatened the superiority of the Allies economy.Money is always why wars are fought.Please don’t talk about my freedoms as I was threatened with the loss of mine because I said no.I don’t blame soldiers for creating wars,they don’t but wars can’t be fought without them.Iraq was only a threat because the U.S. & others sold them weapons.The Bush administration had warnings before Sept.11 but did nothing to try to prevent it.I believe some of them wanted what happened to happen to further their own interests.The majority of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia so we invaded Afghanistan;wouldn’t be cost effective to invade the country of Bush’s other family.I don’t support the troops.Not of this country or any other.They put themselves in harms way but they also put themselves in places where they harm others.There is no holiday for people who stand against war,though many suffer &die in that battle.War did not improve Iraq as they still battle each other & burn their own oil.We stay in Afghanistan to prop up the corrupt puppets we put in power.The people of Afghanistan hate us as we ARE invaders.WAR what it is it’s good for absolutely nothing.Heroes from all warring countries have killed children & other innocents.Try the movie The Americanization of Emily,it can add to your perspective.

  • http://www.facebook.com/holanewman Jeff Newman

    the war on marijuana will end this decade in the USA!

  • http://twitter.com/LearningEmpathy Liriel

    I suppose I agreee with you if what you’re trying to say is “there are no wars that could not have been resolved in nonviolent ways.” 

    Where I disagree with you though, is that you also seem to take the stance “we should not correct our mistakes.” 

    What I mean is, yes, WWII would not have been fought had Hitler not taken hold, which would not have happened had Germany not been in worse state than the US at the depths of the Depression, which would not have happened had the Allies not forced Germany into the disastrous Treaty of Versailles, which would not have happened were it not for WWI, which (I do remember) was fundamentally just a massive, bloody, horrific dick-sizing contest among the European empires. 

    YES. That could all have (probably) been avoided if, WWI had not been fought. And given that WWI was fought, WWII could have (probably) been avoided if the US helped to rebuild Germany after the war instead of letting it get infected let a festering wound AND if the US had been less receptive of Hitler as an “alternative” to the scary communists. 

    BUT, given that WWI WAS fought, and that the Treaty of Versailles WAS signed, and that the US DIDN’T help rebuild Germany, and the “Allies” DID welcome Hitler (at first). Given those conditions, with all those mistakes already made, with WWII already raging without the involvement of the US, with WWII (basically*) un-winnable without the involvement of the US, can you say that there would have been an alternative to war at that point? 

    I suppose, I think of war like the amputation of a gangrenous limb: you can use antibiotics, hyperbaric O2 treatment, revascularization, a number of less radical and incontrovertibly BETTER treatments; BUT if those treatments fail or if you just didn’t notice the creeping fleshrot before it got really severe, then you have 2 options. 1) Let it kill you because you made a mistake in not treating it when you could still save the limb. 2) Amputate. 

    • http://twitter.com/LearningEmpathy Liriel

      *Yes, I know, arguments can be made about the Soviets being the real game-changer in WWII, and maybe WWII could have been won without US involvement; but, a comment already rife with hypotheticals, let just, for the sake of sanity, assume that WWII could not have been won without all of its historical participants in both Theatres. As we assume that WWII could have been avoided had the US helped to rebuild Germany after WWI. 

      Also, the question: “can you say that there would have been an alternative to war at that point?” was not rhetorical. I am truly interested in any alternatives you 

      • Fubar

        Stalin chose to let Hitler rise to power for purely cynical reasons.

        Stalin could have easily had his German communist allies eradicate Hitler early on – to great benefit.

        Stalin chose to let the Left be defeated during the Spanish Civil War.

        In both cases, Stalin was acting according to the geopolitical interests of the Soviet Union, which was to foment conflict within and between western european powers to weaken their resistance to Soviet growth and expansion.

        Stalin did not want the Left to be strong in western europe because a strong western european Left could have become a strong internal threat (within world communism) to Stalin’s power.

      • Fubar

        Stalin chose to let Hitler rise to power for purely cynical reasons.

        Stalin could have easily had his German communist allies eradicate Hitler early on – to great benefit.

        Stalin chose to let the Left be defeated during the Spanish Civil War.

        In both cases, Stalin was acting according to the geopolitical interests of the Soviet Union, which was to foment conflict within and between western european powers to weaken their resistance to Soviet growth and expansion.

        Stalin did not want the Left to be strong in western europe because a strong western european Left could have become a strong internal threat (within world communism) to Stalin’s power.

    • http://twitter.com/LearningEmpathy Liriel

      *Yes, I know, arguments can be made about the Soviets being the real game-changer in WWII, and maybe WWII could have been won without US involvement; but, a comment already rife with hypotheticals, let just, for the sake of sanity, assume that WWII could not have been won without all of its historical participants in both Theatres. As we assume that WWII could have been avoided had the US helped to rebuild Germany after WWI. 

      Also, the question: “can you say that there would have been an alternative to war at that point?” was not rhetorical. I am truly interested in any alternatives you might propose because I did read all your comments, but they all seem to focus on intervening in the period after WWI to help rebuild Germany. Given that the US passed up that opportunity, what was the alternative to war at that point? 
      (Sorry, I accidentally posted an incomplete comment previously, if you are able, I would be much obliged if you would delete the other one. Thank you.)

      • Fubar

        Consider that many ultra wealthy americans invested in the industrial build-ups in Japan and Germany before WWII broke out.

        Those same wealthy folk insisted that the US *govt* invest in rebuilding Japan and Western Europe after WWII.

        Thus, they were able to recoup their pre-WWII investments, and more.

        This is CLASSIC “state capitalism”.

        Some historians believe that the nukes were used in Nagasaki/Hiroshima to keep the Russians from invading Japan and “stealing” the industrial base there (which would bave been a huge loss to the american pre-WWII investors.)

  • Anonymous

    War, without doubt, is the most wasteful and stupid enterprise known to mankind. It is sometimes, regrettably, necessary. We are blessed by the far remove of our shores to the zones of conflict, with a few notable exceptions such as Pearl Harbor or our war for independence.

    While the salvation of a race or faith would have been a noble enterprise, our entry into that war occurred after an unprovoked attack upon the aforementioned naval base at Pearl Harbor. Up until that time, we provided aid through lend lease to our treaty partners which largely enabled them to survive the German onslaught and for the Russians to mount their successful resistance to a mentally-deficient attack in winter.

    I am proud of my wartime service in combat operations during Desert Storm and in Kosovo, and I would gladly fight again. I remember clearly the invasion of Kuwait, the ‘yellow rain’ upon the Kurds, and the stench that is ethnic cleansing. Shame on us for not stopping Serbia and the massacre in Darfur. I wish that we had deposed Saddam on the first try.

    If there is any possible defense for war, it is in the protection of the helpless and the meek from massacre by the strong. Sometimes you just have to fight. -Otherwise you are as guilty as the aggressors.

    Will we devolve to the point where this wonderful experiment deteriorates and dies for the lack of a resolve to stand up for what is right? Will we rewrite the histories in a manner that depicts our noblest moments as regrettable lapses into uncivilized action? It seems to me that we are de-evolving into selfish and narcissistic spoiled brats. Neville Chamberlains in hair shirts.

    I say that every war against aggression is just and right. I say that war against tyranny is just. The cynical amongst us point to the venal men and women who lead our Republic and ascribe improper motives to our entry into conflict, yet they vote for them or worse do not vote at all. There was a sad time when our conscripted troops were spat upon for carrying out the will of our elected government.

    As a man who has served his country in combat, I say shame upon a people who will not fight for what they believe in. We who have served and those who have given their lives in the service of this nation deserve better. This odor of self-indulgent angst reflects badly upon us all. While war is folly, the lack of a will to do what is right is just plain stupidity.

    Please keep up the fine work, James.

    • Fubar

      dgarber,

      It is always great to see your comments.

      Sadly, the scene you describe is a fantasy. It was a good fantasy in many ways, but it has almost no basis in reality anymore.

      We can no longer afford such illusions.

      Tribal societies can not be rescued from their own stupidity and backwardness without someone paying an enormous price. (Kosovo was small and cheap.)

      1990s Iraq war was really about Kuwaiti oil. Iraq was not invaded because Bush Sr. knew that a power vacuum would follow removal of Saddam that would lead to expanded influence of Iran. Guess what? After Bush Jr. invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam, Iran’s power and influence widened significantly.

      The action in Libya will never make sense. Same for Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The “evolutionary ratchet” works against a imperial power like the USA’s military industrial complex in “asymetrical” wars like Afghanistan. The tribal natives have learned a huge amount about how to defeat a “superior” force like the western imperialistic military industrial complex. The western military has learned very little about efficient, successful counterinsurgency. The waste is gigantic. The counterinsurgency model being used was originally designed for counterinsurgency operations IN THE WEST – against anti-establishment movements in the USA, etc.! Absurd.

      The national security apparatus in the USA is corrupt, incompetent and a vast waste.

      It’s operations have vastly eroded democracy and are about to bankrupt the economy.

      No “real” patriot would ever defend the current national security apparatus or the military industrial complex. (much of which is run by CONTRACTORS – not the actual military!)

      • Fubar

        A Rand corporation (military think tank) document from the late 1990s was available to the public for some time. I do not know if it is still available, but journalists probably have copies.

        The Rand document was signed by the usual prominent Neocons: cheny, wolfowitz, rumsfeld or those types (got their start under Nixon). It was an appeal to Bill Clinton to invade Iraq. Clinton declined. (1998?)

        The invasion of Iraq after 9/11 had been long planned for geopolitical reasons having nothing to do with 9/11.

        9/11 simply gave the Neocons an excuse to fool the public about the real reasons for invading Iraq.

        Before the Bush Jr. Iraq invasion (after 9/11), I remember some guy name Scott Ridley (or something similar) that was an ex-Marine UN weapons inspector in Iraq. He was on TV all the time arguing that there was no evidence that Saddam had WMDs. No real expert that actually knew what was going on in Iraq had found any evidence of WMDs. None has ever been found since.

        Why did the only guy that was right disappear from public view and memory?

        • SadButTrue

          Scott Ritter. He has some legal problems.

          • Fubar

            Oh, right.

            Found via google search:

            “Ritter says the criminal charge is a smear campaign in response to his
            criticism of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Don’t take off you tinfoil
            hat, Scott, or they’ll be able to read your thoughts too. “

      • Dgarber

        Strangely, I agree with much of what you are saying. -Especially about Afghanistan.

  • http://profiles.google.com/niftyswell Chris Hall

    I think ending slavery was a good result of one of the wars you did not mention, and as far as WW1 and WWII ..well if you go and look there were quite a few actively rescued from these camps. It was NOT over when we got in though in 1940 and I am willing to bet Germany would have marched in and torched quite a few more folks in many other countries had we not gotten in there.

  • Dswardell

    On thing that is not done is to caculate the difference in population today had 117K not been lost in WW1. Since people had large families back then, this would extrapolate to a large number of additional Americans today and the country would be very different. Also it is the “best” who are sacrificed.

  • Fubar

    Human beings are too stupid (in their collectives) to be able to manage major paradigm shifts without instability, chaos and violent conflict.

    Example: in the last 25 years, the ultra-rich have almost completely destroyed what was left of american democracy (the “spirit” behind populist constitutional rule).

    In a sane world, the ultra-rich would be punished by the military -serving populist outrage- for such a grotesque act of treason.

    But of course the military establishment and the ultra-rich serve each other, not the people.

    More boring facts.

    War is bad. Human DNA is also bad. In a world of supertribes (corporations, governments), human DNA does not prepare us for wild, random social instability on a widespread basis. human DNA prepared us to live in small tribes, and to hunt/gather food, and be in harmony with nature. We learned to farm, grew wildly successful, created a bizarre chaotic pattern of “civilizations” that in spite of a bunch of delusional major religions, show no sign of any kind of presence of a “guiding hand of god” that is organized or rational. All the imperial civilizations and religions assumed that war would be constant, as would be slavery.

    Then came the industrial revolution and things got even more sh*tty: war could now be waged by inhuman machines. The good news is that industrial machines made slaves unnecesseary, so the industrial empires could claim “moral superiority” by abolishing it.

    But, be realistic.

    The revolutionary war was relatively painless, and had giant benefits. Unfortunately, the civil war was needed to cement those benefits.

    Wars built a lot of the american economy. Wars allowed america to become an imperialist power, and to exploit the resources of poor, weak countries so america could become rich. One example of many: parts or all of 11 western states in the USA were stolen from Mexico/Spain. Later, huge areas of the world that had been Spanish colonies were taken under american control (Caribbean, Philippines and nearby areas).

    Before that, war on Africa produced enormous amounts of slave labor that made americans rich. Slavery made New York and Wall street what is is. Yes, the North financed the slave trade, and was just as responsible for it as was the South. Northern Rum was needed to keep the “slave triangle” in place.

    WWI was the result of some very bad early, failed, European experiments with socialist economic theory. (PBS had a very good documentary on this several years ago, it should be on their web site.)

    A lot of americans liked early Hitler. It took a while for Hitler lovers like Charles Lindberg (a huge american hero) to come to terms with reality. FDR had to deal with the political realities of all that.

    Churchill understood the problem early, and no one wanted to listen to his “cure” for the disease (Churchill was acused of “imperialist warmongering”).

    Stalin could have easily crushed early Hitler, but did not want to. Stalin hoped that Hitler would attack and weaken Russia’s traditional geopolitical competitors in westerm europe.

    Stalin did not provide any real support for the Left during the spanish civil war, he did not want a major western european country like Spain to become a successful Socialist state, Stalin preferred to keep the western european Left in a state of infighting and bickering over a few scraps. Keep the competition under control.

    Stalin had the entire national treasurey of Spain stolen by some Leftist faction at the beginning of the spanish civil war when the left was in power (during “the Republic”). It was never paid back. Stalin said that the Soviet Navy would “help” the spanish left keep the money out of the hands of the spanish fascists until the left was restored to power.

    Before WWII, the USA was not a major geopolitical force in the classical european sense.

    Before WWII, it was assumed that either Fascism or Communism would eventually rule the world. Capitalism and american “democracy” were considered an odd experiment, outside the norms of where civilization seemed to be headed.

    It was a big surprise that american “democracy” and capitalism prevailed and became a huge power after WWII.

    WWII largely destroyed america’s natural competition for 50+ years. It was only by extending american military posture that american products could be exported to the resulting markets.

    Now, thanks to the rise of the “military industrial complex”, the military establishment is corrupt, and has far more enfluence over the political system than is healthy in a real “democracy”.

    All empires fail because of debt caused by over-extended, corrupt military adventures.

    America is a failing military empire, and will as a result probably soon become a totalitarian state of some form or another (fascism is already widespread on many levels in the culture).

    China, while hugely arrogant, has never been imperialistic.

    The center of power in the world is returning to Asia, which as Stewart Brand points out in his “Environmental Heresies”, has been the center of world civilization for all of “civilized” human history (8,000 years), except for the last 500 years of european domination – a brief anomaly.

    Wars will continue as poor countries undergo paradigm shifts from agricultural to industrial to information economies.

    Human beings are too stupid to be able to manage major paradigm shifts without instability, chaos and violent conflict.

    By 2050, computers are predicted to be as “intelligent” as biological humans. If the robots (or human-robot hybrids) take over the world, they may be able to bring about world peace by reingineering human DNA to get rid of the limitations imposed on us by our genetic tribalism.

    World peace as an abstraction can be “seen” (and discussed) by and between individal human beings, but it can not be “fully embodied” in human consciousness due to genetic limitations in the way that humans organize themselves socially. Human beings can not “extend” the natural compassion and altruism they have for their families (and “tribes”) into the areas of social organization and economics in any sustained manner. especially on a global level.

    • bob

      Fubar, Outstanding post, you totally nailed it.  Modern killing machines have rendered war obsolete.
      Europe and China/Japan figured this out by WW2. The US still hasn’t learned the lessons.

  • Dswardell

    Re: the war for oil with canada, the oil in canada is not oil, its tar. Used by Indians to waterproof their canoes, its not combustable. To make it combustable its mixed with natural gas, a very expensive process itself energy intensive. Its being subsidized by the goverment right now to develop a market for it. When that ends it translates into 8 dollar a gallon gas.

    So here again, the irony of just another useless war…

  • Dswardell

    Re: the war for oil with canada, the oil in canada is not oil, its tar. Used by Indians to waterproof their canoes, its not combustable. To make it combustable its mixed with natural gas, a very expensive process itself energy intensive. Its being subsidized by the goverment right now to develop a market for it. When that ends it translates into 8 dollar a gallon gas.

    So here again, the irony of just another useless war…

  • Dswardell

    Re: the war for oil with canada, the oil in canada is not oil, its tar. Used by Indians to waterproof their canoes, its not combustable. To make it combustable its mixed with natural gas, a very expensive process itself energy intensive. Its being subsidized by the goverment right now to develop a market for it. When that ends it translates into 8 dollar a gallon gas.

    So here again, the irony of just another useless war…

  • Dswardell

    Re: the war for oil with canada, the oil in canada is not oil, its tar. Used by Indians to waterproof their canoes, its not combustable. To make it combustable its mixed with natural gas, a very expensive process itself energy intensive. Its being subsidized by the goverment right now to develop a market for it. When that ends it translates into 8 dollar a gallon gas.

    So here again, the irony of just another useless war…

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • PT

    James, as always I love your blog, couldn’t agree with you more about almost anything you write. People have forgotten that 90% of Americans did not believe that America should have entered World War II at the time, until the attack on Pearl Harbor fired them up. Naturally the president didn’t point out to them that the US first committed an act of war against Japan by embargoing Japanese oil supplies.  You could say that 90% of the ‘greatest generation’ were lazy anti-Semitic appeasers, but I don’t think they thought of themselves that way.

    To all of these gung ho Americans defending my freedom, I would have been quite happy if they had simply refrained from bullying me in school. And to the ones who defended me, a huge THANK YOU! With all the talk of defending Americans, read any story about Marine shitheads, who, when they aren’t murdering civilians, are getting drunk and beating the hell out of other Americans in bars all around the world, completely contrary to their sworn duty to defend America(ns). If anything, their wives and children need to be defended from THEM.

  • Ianzuk

    Personally, I think WWII was worth the fight. I think the World was made a better place because we entered the War. Don’t forget that we fought pretty much alone in the Pacific. The War was not only fought in Europe.

    However, after WWII, it does look like every single War we fought was just a huge mistake – or even worse, we just went in in order to protect the interests of some our biggest corporations. In that sense, I personally feel that, we have failed our troops. They are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect us. In turn, we should only put them in harms way when it is truly necessary. I think we have failed them.

  • Ringlis44

    James,
    Interesting thing few (if any) have mentioned is what war has brought us.  Things like:
    – medicine and surgical techniques that now save lives by the millions
    – technological advances that allow us to even have this online debate with fellow humans from around the world
    – advancements in exploration, genetics, astronomy and I’m sure more

    Many of the very things we enjoy today were either a direct result of war (either treating the injured or finding new ways to kill) or funded by the pursuit of the above in peacetime.

    Like the Chinese Ying & Yang, there is a little good in evil.  Without ‘war’ we might still be living in huts in the Fertile Crescent.  War costs lives but it is possible (in theory anyway) some of those lives might not have existed without war.

  • Steven L Goff

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H66LG8k5hS8  Give it a minute…it is a killer clip and relevant to topic at hand!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Walker/100000233575307 Bill Walker

     Switzerland hasn’t been in a foreign war since 1815, Sweden since 1814. Here’s how they do it:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/walker/walker32.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Walker/100000233575307 Bill Walker

     Switzerland hasn’t been in a foreign war since 1815, Sweden since 1814. Here’s how they do it:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/walker/walker32.html

  • Peper

    I think the problem is not if the war is worthy or not, but:

    a) the US government lies to its own people to justify things  

    b) the incompetence of people in power to manage the wars (like Bush and Iraq). 

    I think you are very wrong about something: the US got a lot of things out of WW2 and other wars (like Cuba war against Spain or others): they got a lot of money, resources or power (and that’s why wars have provide americans with a better life over decades). Not freedom, as the american believe because of government lies.

    WW2 let the US companies rebuild Europe getting zillions from the Europeans long term. Problem is, they tried to do the same in Vietnam or Iraq but the incompetence drove the situation into chaos, huge spendings and an embarrassing withdrawal.

    Congratulations for this controversial post – glad to see some americans actually think about things.

    • Fubar

      Since the 1600s there were two tendencies in anglo-american political culture:

      1) imperialism
      2) liberty

      (John Locke described the pro-liberty choice after the English Civil war in 1640 well.)

      You can divide wars more or less into two categories: those supporting liberty and those supporting imperialism.

      Imperialist wars impoverish the people that are conquered in order to enrich the imperialist state and its economy.

      Imperialistic wars create anti-liberty conditions.

      Global economics have historically created anti-liberty conditions in relation to export commodities like gold, oil, weapons, silk, opium, etc, (Walter Russel Mead)

      Whenever an economy is based on export of such commodities that generate excessive concentrations of wealth, democratizing processes, and liberty, are eroded.

      (This is why the post-WWII National Liberation movements in former “3rd world” colonies tended to side AGAINST US imperialism and in favor of communism.)

      As such, the big oil industry in the USA has corrupted US democracy.

      Big military has eroded democracy and freedom.

      Big banks have eroded democracy and freedom.

      Most people that posture as pro-military “patriots” are idiots that have little or no grasp of the fundamentals of human nature or geopolitics.

      A few people that posture as pro-military “patriots” are cynics, or are corrupted by the opportunities to become enriched by the military industrial complex.

      Real patriots will stand for democracy and liberty against the imperialist-war tendency in anglo-american culture.

      British slavery ended because of the industrial revolution. Machines took over most tasks that has previously been done by slaves. This gave the British a false sense of moral superiority, which they used to justify continued domination of colonies for about 100 years (1850-1950).

      Most of the archetypal elements of an imperialistic slave society were retained in the psychology and culture of the anglo-american world after the formal end of slavery, and are indeed today reemerging in anglo-american global corporate capitalism.

      The currently *uber* wealthy state-capitalist elites are creating a global plutocracy that has its roots in many of the features of the imperialist/colonial slave system.

      http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn112.htm

      excerpts:

      Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy

      Keith Preston

      Economic Notes No. 112

      ISSN 0267-7164
                       
      ISBN 1856376303

      An occasional publication of the Libertarian Alliance,

      Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6HL.

      © 2009: Libertarian Alliance; Keith Preston

      Keith Preston is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard,
      a USA-based tendency committed to advancing the principles of anti-statism,
      personal liberty, cooperative individualist economics, and the sovereignty and
      self-determination of communities and nations.  He is a graduate student in
      history, an independent business owner and entrepreneur, and advocate of a new
      radicalism that reaches beyond the archaic left/right model of the political
      spectrum.  See the ARV website at
      http://www.attackthesystem.com.  He can be contacted at 1108 West Grace
      Street-Apartment 8, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 23220; email:
      kppgarv@mindspring.com; Phone:
      804-355-7161.  This essay is a very slightly edited version of the winner of
      the Libertarian Alliance’s 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize: “Can a
      Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?” 
       

      PLUTOCRACISM AND THE SUBSIDY OF HISTORY

      Perhaps the efficacious gift to the present corporate order
      by the state has been what
      Kevin Carson calls “the subsidy of history,” a
      reference to the process by which the
      indigenous inhabitants and possessors of
      property in land were originally expropriated
      during the course of the
      construction of traditional feudal societies and the subsequent
      transformation
      of feudalism into what is now called “capitalism”, or the
      corporatist-plutocratic societies that we have today.  Contrary to the myths to
      which
      some subscribe, including many libertarians, the evolution of capitalism
      out of the old
      feudal order was not one where liberty triumphed over privilege,
      but one where privilege
      asserted itself in newer and more sophisticated forms. 
      As Carson explains:

      There were two ways Parliament could have abolished
      feudalism and reformed property.  It might have treated the customary possessive
      rights of the peasantry as genuine title to property in the modern sense, and
      then abolished their rents.  But what it actually did, instead, was to treat the
      artificial “property rights” of the landed aristocracy, in feudal legal theory,
      as real property rights in the modern sense; the landed classes were given full
      legal title, and the peasants were transformed into tenants at will with no
      customary restriction on the rents that could be charged…

      In European colonies where a large native peasantry
      already lived, states sometimes granted quasi-feudal titles to landed elites to
      collect rent from those already living on and cultivating the land; a good
      example is latifundismo, which prevails in Latin America to the present day. 
      Another example is British East Africa.  The most fertile 20 percent of Kenya
      was stolen by the colonial authorities, and the native peasantry evicted, so the
      land could be used for cash-crop farming by white settlers (using the labor of
      the evicted peasantry, of course, to work their own former land).  As for those
      who remained on their own land, they were “encouraged” to enter the wage-labor
      market by a stiff poll tax that had to be paid in cash.  Multiply these examples
      by a hundred and you get a bare hint of the sheer scale of robbery over the past
      500 years.

      …Factory owners were not innocent in all of this.  Mises
      claimed that the capital investments on which the factory system was built came
      largely from hard-working and thrifty workmen who saved their own earnings as
      investment capital.  In fact, however, they were junior partners of the landed
      elites, with much of their investment capital coming either from the Whig landed
      oligarchy or from the

      [—>] overseas fruits of mercantilism, slavery and colonialism.

      In addition, factory employers depended on harsh
      authoritarian measures by the government to keep labor under control and reduce
      its bargaining power.  In England the Laws of Settlement acted as a sort of
      internal passport system, preventing workers from traveling outside the parish
      of their birth without government permission.  Thus workers were prevented from
      “voting with their feet” in search of better-paying jobs.  You might think this
      would have worked to the disadvantage of employers in under populated areas,
      like Manchester and other areas of the industrial north.  But never fear: the
      state came to the employers’ rescue.  Because workers were forbidden to migrate
      on their own in search of better pay, employers were freed from the necessity of
      offering high enough wages to attract free agents; instead, they were able to
      “hire” workers auctioned off by the parish Poor Law authorities on terms set by
      collusion between the authorities and employers.2

  • Spencer Gantt

    Maybe you’ll read this, James, when you’re answering some of the 180,000 emails you have hanging around (two are mine, but never mind.) Your article is superb and on-point. No war is worth the killing and destruction that takes place. NONE! People who profit from the war (in money and in power) can, of course, come up with plenty of “good reasons” why Joe Sixpak should get his ass shot off and killed in huge numbers. And, the puppets of the PRCs (as noted in comments) can justify all of this “man’s inhumanity to man.” But, it really all boils down to these words of Benjamin Franklin: “There was never a good war, or a bad peace.” Thanks for the good words.

  • I think he is right.

    I know I am 2 months late to this party but I still feel
    compelled to comment. As humans, we have the natural and inherent tendencies to
    compartmentalize issues into broad categories and to have an “us versus
    them” mentality. These tendencies – instincts really — were probably developed
    over millennia and have had their utility: helping us quickly organize and process data
    and helping us band together in groups for protection and survival.

    These tendencies do not however translate well into the
    convoluted world of global politics. We see everything in black and white and
    do not realize the tremendous gray areas. Was Hitler a bad guy? Of course, no
    question. And most people will say we went to war to save the world from a
    murderous and evil dictator who was trying to conquer and enslave the world. Yet, that is a huge oversimplification of the state of Europe and the events
    that led up to the war. Moreso, it is extremely naïve to believe there were no
    political and economic issues influencing the US’s involvement. If we simply
    went to war to save the world from an evil autocratic regime, why did we hand
    eastern Europe over to Stalin on a silver platter? He very well could have
    killed more people than Hitler. The logic does not stand. Were western
    Europeans somehow deserving of our assistance while eastern Europeans were not?

    Was Saddam Hussein a bad guy? Absolutely! Did we go to war
    in Iraq because he was a threat to us? Again, to think it was that simple and there
    were no other factors involved is naïve. There are a lot of bad guys out there and
    the US supports and endorses many of them until they are no longer beneficial
    or advantageous. The US picks and chooses when it goes to war based on
    political and economic factors. Young men and women, as brave and noble as they
    are, are fighting for wars that are more about money and power than freedom.

    Not only that, but who are we to say that hundreds of
    thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians (many women and children) need to die by
    fire, mortars, bullets, and smoke asphyxiation so the next generations of
    Iraqis can be “free”? Since when is that is not our decision to make?

    Freedom is not free, but that does not mean special-interest
    sponsored officials and bureaucrats who have nothing to lose and everything to
    gain from war should decide when a bunch of young soldiers and innocent
    civilians must die to preserve freedom. The only people who should be able to
    vote on whether or not we go to war are those who would have to die or be
    seriously injured for the cause.

    I am not a big Michael Moore fan, but I admit he made
    an extremely poignant point when he approached Senators and Representatives on
    Capitol Hill about volunteering their kids to go to Iraq. They would never send
    their kids (I think one or two in all of Capitol Hill had a kid in the military). They see themselves as the intellectual aristocracy needed to rule
    over the ignorant masses. Heaven forbid their kids die because then the next
    generation of benevolent leaders will be gone and the US will spiral into chaos without
    their wisdom to guide the rest of us idiots.

    James asked for a single war that was worth it. Excellent
    question. I had never even questioned the legitimacy of the war for
    independence but who knows, had we not gone to war, it is very likely that
    there could have been some democratic and peaceful compromises in not too many
    years. War is rarely if ever the only solution to any of the wars being
    discussed.

    Even if there were a few wars that were truly justified,
    they were a few of many. We could blindly err on the side of not going to war
    even when we think it might be a good idea and would be correct more often than
    not.

    I apologize for going on longer than I anticipated. In
    summary, the more I have read and learned, the more convinced I am war is
    a racket. Read what one of the most decorated Marines in American history had
    to say about war (and keep in mind he is giving figures for WW1, nearly a
    hundred years ago): http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

    • I think he is right.

      Sorry, I meant “since when is that our decision to make”.

  • Guest

    Only in the Soviet Union ~27million people were killed, only 8 million of them were soldiers. ~ 3 million were Jews i.e half of the 6 million Jews killed were Jews from the Soviet Union

    Compare with 420K American soldiers and even 6 million Jews

  • Fubar

    nice sentiment, but does not match reality of human nature.

    (plenty of people in the world would be happy to smash your face in to steal what you and the rest of your family, community and country have.)

    cultural plate tectonics and clash of civilization is based on deep archetypal patterns in human consciousness.

    liberals want to destroy conservatives and vice versa.

    modernist societies believe themselves superior to traditional societies, and allow global economics to ravage the world.

    postmodern and new age types believe themselves superior to conservatives and capitalists, but have little or no idea how to communicate with conservatives or capitalists.

    Arthur Koestler proposed a theory of Holons that Ken Wilber used as the basis for a new model of consciousness called Integral Theory.

    Integral Theory proposes a method of reducing “paradigm conflict”:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptB/part2.cfm

    excerpt:


    The
    point is simply that, in principle, cross-paradigmatic judgments are possible
    because there is not simply one world against which paradigms compete for
    dominance, a kind of king-of-the-hill battle that tosses all losers on the
    garbage dump, because there are no losers. There is not one world over which
    all paradigms are fighting for supremacy, but many worlds brought forth by
    different paradigms, worlds that can be eye-witnessed by the same subjects if
    they submit to the discipline of the paradigms required to enact those worlds.
    And while “the” world cannot contain many worlds, awareness can. And
    because we already know that are in fact many worlds, it follows that we
    already are standing in an awareness that has cross-paradigmatic capacity, a
    capacity that can eventuate in metatheoretical overview, such as the one
    offered by AQAL.6

         These
    three regulative principles–nonexclusion, enfoldment, enactment–are
    principles that were reverse engineered, if you will, from the fact that
    numerous different and seemingly “conflicting” paradigms are already
    being competently practiced all over the world; and thus the question is not,
    and never has been, which is right and which is wrong, but how can all of them
    already be arising in a Kosmos? These three principles are some of the items
    that need to be already operating in the universe in order for so many
    paradigms to already be arising, and the only really interesting question is
    how can all of those extraordinary practices already be arising in any universe?

  • Fubar

    You have no evidence that Hitler would continued expanding to the whole world. The Nazi regime was internally fractured, and those fractures would have widened over time. Hitler was unstable, and his own military tried to get rid of him several times.

    Hitler’s ideas were largely unpopular in modern, democratic societies, as well as communist, and would have faced widespread global resistance over time.

    Fascism was a response to the threat of “godless” communism, it is purely a reactionary, regressive paradigm (arising from romanticism) – not one upon which a sustainable global order could be based on.

    Extended military supply lines would have been highly vulnerable.

    (contrast that to the existing “international order” of global economics which was constructed via quasi-democratic assent by capitalist powers and their allies.)

    What the greeks “invented” was the idea that Reason should be the basis of the dominant paradigm of social organization.

    Without Reason, there can be no Democracy.

    It did take 3,000 years for such a paradigm to become “enacted” as the organizing force for a society, but it has always been one of the archetypes of human consciousness, and was wired into the human brain by evolution.

    Philosophers have been arguing about Reason for thousands of years, both in europe and the middle east, and in both pagan and monotheistic cultures.

    In evolutionary terms, what happened from the 1700s, first on in europe, was that the “Weberian” differentiation of values spheres fragmented Spirit from Reason. (and as Habermas points out, this eventually led to the “colonization of lifeworld by systems” – where money and power destroy culture, the current crisis.)

    This allowed a new paradigm of modernism to flourish free of traditional authority. Science was freed from the ancient metaphysics and superstitions of traditional religion. Economics was freed from feudal and mercantilist arrangements. Politics was freed from Aristocracy and High Church.

    Evolution waits, but does not stop. At some point, Reason, Modernism and Democracy would have emerged in some other cultural context if the circumstances in which it developed in western europe had not happened.

    (also see “Ursprung und Gegenwart” by Jean Gebser “The Ever Present Origin”.)

    Real patriots defend liberty and justice, not imperialism.

    MOST WAR IS IMPERIALISTIC.

    The future world culture will be characterized, in its post-postmodern form, as one in which interdependence, holism and reintegration of consciousness are the basis of the dominant paradigm.

    Holism and Integralism will provide a framework in which liberals and conservatives are able to *potentially* interact without causing such conflict that they destroy their societies while defending their “core” beliefs.

    Similarly, a world police force will act to stop tribal conflicts.

    Some form of regulation of the corrupting tendencies of corporations will be implemented by international agreement to prevent social injustices and halt (real) environmental disasters.

  • Fubar

    Fractional reserve banking is the death of democracy, liberty and social justice.

    It is Treason, and its advocate should receive the punishment for Treason described in the US Constitution.

    The system that is based on it is unsustainable, and was designed to allow a small elite to operate what would otherwise be criminal enterprises under government authority to steal assets from working people.

    Ivan Illich, the “father of the deep ecology movement”, pointed out the culture history of this in the 70s/80s.

    http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Vernacular.html

    excerpt:


    The perception of the outsider as someone who must be helped
    has taken on successive forms. In late antiquity, the barbarian
    mutated into the pagan – the second stage toward
    development had begun. The pagan was defined as the unbaptized,
    but ordained by nature to become Christian. It was the duty of
    those within the Church to incorporate him by baptism into the
    body of Christendom. In the early Middle Ages, most people in
    Europe were baptized, even though they might not yet be
    converted. Then the Muslim appeared. Unlike Goths and Saxons,
    Muslims were monotheists, and obviously prayerful believers; they
    resisted conversion. Therefore, besides baptism, the further
    needs to be subjected and instructed had to be imputed. The pagan
    mutated into the infidel, our third stage.

    By the late Middle Ages, the image of the alien mutated again.
    The Moors had been driven from Granada, Columbus had sailed
    across the ocean, and the Spanish Crown had assumed many
    functions of the Church. The image of the wild man who
    threatens the civilizing function of the humanist replaced the
    image of the infidel who threatens the faith. At this time also,
    the alien was first described in economy-related terms. From many
    studies on monsters, apes and wild men, we learn that the
    Europeans of this period saw the wild man as having no needs.
    This independence made him noble, but a threat to the designs of
    colonialism and mercantilism. To impute needs to the wild man,
    one had to make him over into the native, the fifth
    stage. Spanish courts, after long deliberation, decided that
    at least the wild man of the New World had a soul and was,
    therefore, human. In opposition to the wild man, the native has
    needs, but needs unlike those of civilized man. His needs are
    fixed by climate, race, religion and providence. Adam Smith still
    reflects on the elasticity of native needs. As Gunnar Myrdal has
    observed, the construct of distinctly native needs was
    necessary both to justify colonialism and to administer colonies.
    The provision of government, education and commerce for the
    natives was for four hundred years the white man’s assumed
    burden.

    Each time the West put a new mask on the alien, the old one
    was discarded because it was now recognized as a caricature of an
    abandoned self-image. The pagan with his naturally Christian soul
    had to give way to the stubborn infidel to allow Christendom to
    launch the Crusades. The wild man became necessary to justify the
    need for secular humanist education, The native was the crucial
    concept to promote self-righteous colonial rule.

    [***] But by the time
    of the Marshall Plan, when multinational conglomerates were
    [***]
    expanding and the ambitions of transnational pedagogues,
    therapists and
    [***] planners knew no bounds,

    the natives’ limited
    needs for goods and services thwarted growth and progress. They
    had to metamorphose into underdeveloped people, the sixth
    and present stage of the West’s view of the outsider.

    Thus decolonization was also a process of conversion: the
    worldwide acceptance of the Western self-image of homo
    economicus in his most extreme form as homo industrialis, with
    all needs commodity-defined. Scarcely twenty years were enough to
    make two billion people define themselves as underdeveloped. I
    vividly remember the Rio Carnival of 1963 – the last before the
    Junta imposed itself. “Development” was the motif in
    the prize-winning samba, “development” the shout of the
    dancers while they jumped to the throbbing of the drums.

    [***] Development based on high per capita energy quanta and intense
    professional
    [***] care is the most pernicious of the West’s missionary
    efforts – a project guided
    [***] by an ecologically unfeasible
    conception of human control over nature, and by
    [***] an
    anthropologically vicious attempt to replace the nests and
    snakepits of
    [***] culture by sterile wards for professional service.

    The hospitals that spew out the newborn and reabsorb the dying,
    the schools run to busy the unemployed before, between and after
    jobs, the apartment towers where people are stored between trips
    to the supermarkets, the highways connecting garages form a
    pattern tatooed into the landscape during the short development
    spree. These institutions, designed for lifelong bottle babies
    wheeled from medical centre to school to office to stadium

    [***] begin
    now to look as anomalous as cathedrals, albeit unredeemed by any
    esthetic
    [***] charm.

  • Fubar

    hmmm…. maybe not.

    consider that the “Walmart economy” has transferred jobs to China and established an economic pattern that will destroy the american middle class (and therefore, democracy).

    consider that after WWII, big oil companies needed new peacetime markets. They made oil into chemical fertilizer. Farmers grew “cheap” carbohydrates, which resulted in the junk food industry.

    This resulted in destruction of family farming, environmental damage, and enormous health declines.

    cheap (bad) food is part of a larger pattern of industrial “ugliness” that Christopher Alexander described as being contrary to “life” (a healthy form of spiritual culture).

    http://www.natureoforder.com/

    http://www.natureoforder.com/library-of-articles.htm

    http://www.natureoforder.com/library/commentary-for-readers-of-book2.htm

    excerpt:

    A Commentary for Readers of The Nature Of Order, Book
    2
    By
    Christopher Alexander

    Many millions of people – by some counts (Paul Ray, Cultural
    Creatives) as many as sixty million Americans – are waiting for a
    paradigm change, and believe themselves to be in a paradigm change. They
    are convinced that society must change, that radically new ways of seeing
    the world are necessary in order to for us to get out of our present
    “mess.”

    So far, so good.

    But a real paradigm change – a way of thinking which really and truly
    changes our ideas about war, equality, money, jobs, leisure, family… all
    that may be easy to say, but is nevertheless very hard to DO. It is
    frightening to do, because to do it, we really have to change the things
    we are comfortable with. We may, yes indeed, be conscious of the fact that
    we are screwed up, and we may wish for better things for ourselves and for
    our children – but we remain enmeshed in a system which makes us secure
    (relatively), happy (relatively), morally OK (perhaps), and protected from
    starvation and disease (if we belong to the privileged 10% of the world’s
    population who are economically OK in the world today).

    But, we ourselves are enmeshed, deeply enmeshed, in the production of
    ugliness, zoning, banking, transportation, corporate America, making
    warplanes, destroying beautiful land by permitting and encouraging
    construction of freeways for our cars, and by permitting and encouraging
    the ravages of commercial development and strip malls. No matter how much
    we look down on it, and criticize it as bad, evil, and harmful – still we
    ourselves live off the product of this kind of America we hate. It is
    therefore easier to keep walking as a cripple with a pair of crutches,
    than it is to throw the crutches away, and take the huge effort of
    actually learning to walk again.

    We are part of that which we criticize and part of that which we hate.
    Yet we are sustained by that of which we are a part.

    So talking about a paradigm shift is nice stuff for armchair reading,
    but very much harder to DO.

  • Virginia Farmwife

    My great-great grandfather died while trying to keep the damnyankees out of Virginia.  I don’t object to killing invaders who are trying to kill you.

    • Fubar

      More likely he died because he was a backward fool and a slaver.

      (I have ancestors that were in combat on both sides.)

    • Fubar

      You are just like Rush Limbaugh – everything you complain about, you are yourself.

      Jungian shadow: classic “psychological projection”.

      Virginians were invaders. They were genocidal maniacs that stole land from native americans. They supported the international slave trading system, which depended on invading africa and killing africans.

      Robert E. Lee understood very clearly that for the south to “win” the civil war, it would eventually have to invade the north.

      When the USA invaded Mexico and stole half of that country, most of the military leadership that planned the invasion was Southern.

      During the civil war, the British, the greatest imperial power in the world at that time, supported the south.

      The south was always imperialistic, and always will be.

      The south was always backward, and always will be.

      80% of black men in Mississippi (or is it Alabama?) end up in prison.

      You are doing nothing but projecting the fears of your racist, imperialist slaver ancestors onto the future.

      Stop the lies, stop the stupidity and backwardness.

  • Fubar

    There have always been two tendencies in anglo-american politics:

    1) liberty
    2) imperialism

    Liberty has never caused failure, disintegration, collapse, destruction.

    According to Walter Russel Mead, one of the principle enemies of democracy is global trade in specific commodities that produce large concentrations of wealth.

    Historically, these included silk, spices, tea/coffee, spices, gold, guns, tobacco, etc.

    ALL colonial powers that developed their wealth due to global trade in  such commodities resisted democracy and liberty.

    After WWII, Oil was added to the list of commodities.

    All countries that engage in global trade in oil will develop a tendency to erode democratizing politics and to build elitist politics.

    All elitist politics lead to the encouragement of CORPORATE PREDATORS.

    When the paradigm of corporate predation sets in, it becomes a model that the managerial classes in the public sector adopt.

    Then, public sector systems (military, government, education, universities/colleges, political parties, social work bureacuracies, etc.) become corrupt and dysfunctional.

    http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn112.htm

    | Free Enterprise: The Antidote to Corporate Plutocracy
    | © 2009: Libertarian Alliance; Keith Preston

    excerpt:
    | Contrary to the myths to
    which some subscribe, including many
    | libertarians, the evolution of capitalism
    out of the old feudal order
    | was not one where liberty triumphed over privilege,
    but one where
    | privilege asserted itself in newer and more sophisticated forms.

  • Thomas Rippel

    Truth is, no Americans would have had to die in this war at all and the US would still have won! Japan had no intention of invading the US mainland, at least not in the coming 10 years. In the meantime, the US would have developed the atomic bomb and could have forces Japan into submission just as they did without putting any soldiers in harms way. Germany would have fallen without a single US soldier setting foot on US soil. So forget about that. Any Jews that might have been saved (if you look at the statistics, of the 500 000 Jews that were in Germany pre 1938, only 130 000 were killed in concentration camps, all others escaped. In other countries like Poland or Lithuania, just about 95% of Jews were exterminated) were saved by Russia, not the US…

  • GF

    Speaking as a veteran I agree with the above. Working in my field I know what goes on here, and I for one was tired of being lied to and told to keep my mouth shut and follow orders. There are reasons to defend people and cultures, but there is no reason to end them. 

  • Prior_stuart

    Agree. All war is stupid, it purports to save thousands by killing millions, it’s a seductive narrative where we can paint our countries and therefore ourselves, as heroic. It defines our identity, we worship our dead ancestors because we’re jealous of the sense of purpose they had, even if that purpose was killing other people.

    Wars aren’t fought for freedom of speech, they’re fought for land and resources. 

  • TIII

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1543126764 Spirit Splice

    No James, trotting off to enforce the interests of the elite does not make you a hero, it makes you ignorant and stupid.

  • Lyleholland

    War is not worth it. But it is needed. ask the jews that survived WWII. And doesn’t the leftwing media not have a propaganda machine?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3KPFINHLTQZP3425BTE3242WDM Andreas Moser

    I am glad that you guys liberated my country (Germany) form the Nazi dictatorship so that I could grow up in peace. Thank you!
    I don’t think that most Europeans “hate Americans” as you put it. I am forever grateful to America, whatever its motives might have been behind entering WW2. I applaud that it did.

  • http://CandCShow.com Jeremy Sarber

    I’m sure anyone can find reasons to argue against this article, but I won’t be one of them. If I found myself looking for reasons to defend war–especially those we never officially declared war and never accomplished one thing to actually defend the nation–then I should re-examine myself. What exactly would make me want to defend needless wars?

  • Richard

    Worth it? Depends on the cause. Self defense is just cause. All else would be offense and unjust.

  • Richard

    Worth it? Depends on the cause. Self defense is just cause. All else would be offense and unjust.

  • Nicholas Papindro

    Yes, Altucher takes overly simplified views, but do any of you actually think he is ignorant to history? He is obviously just simplifying historical events to make a point… 
    This site is supposed to be about logical discourse, and I am often appalled at how many people making comments instantly debase Altucher as a fool just to make themselves feel better because they disagree.

    Yes, people have different opinions, but nowhere in this post does Altucher make any notion that he is speaking from a politically motivated point of view, it is just non-biased intellectualism that fuels the fire of his blog post and that is what I find so compelling about this site.

    If you think about it, modern war is based on illogical decisions, plain and simple. For any industrialized nation to get into a war and actually risk our citizens lives is a laughable affront to the numerous ways we have to conduct war without expending a single soldier. 

    And for the personal aspect, I am a former marine. My son wants to join the air force. My wife is a nurse at NSA who transferred to Iraq while I was there during a large portion of the preliminary airlift phase into Baghdad. The important thing here is to realize that Altucher isn’t saying that soldiers aren’t heroes, I would be furious if anyone disrespected the military like that… what Altucher is saying is that war is caused by stupid reasons, out of control of the average soldier who is fighting for other motives. This is something I strongly agree with, when I enlisted I was a youngster at the age of 18 who just wanted to move out of western Maryland and fight for my country. After seeing years of kids just like me who were lied to about fighting for a better cause, you realize something: Every side has two stories. For every 1 family in Iraq that we made better off, dozens more were displaced from their homes, or even killed (by the Taliban or the United States).

    I’m not trying to be a genius here, but what he is saying just makes sense. If you have been to war you understand that there is no good reason for it. We invent “holy” reasons for wars to justify the fact that our friends and families have died. Now I am finally real with myself and my son, explaining to him that if you want to join the military it is your decision, but the whole idea of “defending the American way of life” is a fallacy. Service to the military is a double negative: Not only are you risking your life for the interests of politicians back home, but you are directly hurting the lives of the foreign citizens that you are supposed to protect. 

  • Nicholas Papindro

    Yes, Altucher takes overly simplified views, but do any of you actually think he is ignorant to history? He is obviously just simplifying historical events to make a point… 
    This site is supposed to be about logical discourse, and I am often appalled at how many people making comments instantly debase Altucher as a fool just to make themselves feel better because they disagree.

    Yes, people have different opinions, but nowhere in this post does Altucher make any notion that he is speaking from a politically motivated point of view, it is just non-biased intellectualism that fuels the fire of his blog post and that is what I find so compelling about this site.

    If you think about it, modern war is based on illogical decisions, plain and simple. For any industrialized nation to get into a war and actually risk our citizens lives is a laughable affront to the numerous ways we have to conduct war without expending a single soldier. 

    And for the personal aspect, I am a former marine. My son wants to join the air force. My wife is a nurse at NSA who transferred to Iraq while I was there during a large portion of the preliminary airlift phase into Baghdad. The important thing here is to realize that Altucher isn’t saying that soldiers aren’t heroes, I would be furious if anyone disrespected the military like that… what Altucher is saying is that war is caused by stupid reasons, out of control of the average soldier who is fighting for other motives. This is something I strongly agree with, when I enlisted I was a youngster at the age of 18 who just wanted to move out of western Maryland and fight for my country. After seeing years of kids just like me who were lied to about fighting for a better cause, you realize something: Every side has two stories. For every 1 family in Iraq that we made better off, dozens more were displaced from their homes, or even killed (by the Taliban or the United States).

    I’m not trying to be a genius here, but what he is saying just makes sense. If you have been to war you understand that there is no good reason for it. We invent “holy” reasons for wars to justify the fact that our friends and families have died. Now I am finally real with myself and my son, explaining to him that if you want to join the military it is your decision, but the whole idea of “defending the American way of life” is a fallacy. Service to the military is a double negative: Not only are you risking your life for the interests of politicians back home, but you are directly hurting the lives of the foreign citizens that you are supposed to protect. 

  • KuanYin

    Maybe YOU should check you the history of WWII… I am from Europe and James speak more truth than you will ever know.  There is NEVER a good reason for war, other than self defense on one’s own soil.
    Either you’ve never been in a war or you love to kill.

    • Anonymous

      Germany was developing weapons to wage war on America after he defeated Stalin. He saw Roosevelt as controlled by the Jews and hated America. Read Wages of Destruction, and it will educate you a bit. Its over 700 pages and there are no cliffnotes so not sure youll be able to do it. 

      • R.

        Hitler defeated Stalin? That is news to me and everybody who knows history.

        • Anonymous

          You.misread my comment

          sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

          • crazy_j

             “Germany was developing weapons to wage war on America after he defeated Stalin.”

            I don’t think he misread it.

          • valuewalk

            If things went according to Hitler’s plans, it was very obvious from the comment.

      • Dmpk218

        So Hitler had fantasies of conquering America.  So what?  He couldn’t even cross the English Channel.  He was no threat to us whatsoever.

        • Anonymous

          He almost took over Europe. The war might have turned out differently if not for American intervention. You know nothing about Hitler’s plans to build long rate rockets and get a nuke.

  • Anonymous

    My prescription for the psychological illness of war, is a psychological cure.  Let’s hang all the war criminals in the US Federal govt, in a very public spectacle, so that people will have the immediacy of a reminder that being a war criminal is a bad thing to be. I’d love to see Obama and his entire cabinet and probably most of Congress (at least the ones who cast votes in support of war insanity), swinging from the lamp posts on Pennsylvania Avenue while a bunch of OWS protesters slop day-glo paint on the White House.  But, such a thing will probably never happen. 

    And get Bush and his Administration cronies up there too, they’re culpable. Gather all the inhuman bastards who were a cog in the machine of the government and who had a part to play in the violence that the government levied against anyone, and kill them on live TV. Youtube it, Tweet it, FB it, it would be a media sensation. It would be an unforgettable purge of *some* of the worst and most evil elements of humanity. But it would be effective and would captivate the world, because the USA is the nexus of the collective attention of the world.

  • http://usb3gvn.com USB 3G

    Well, interesting post,
    thanks!

  • PaulO

    I would like to take a moment today to thank the fisherman. These hard working folks suffer a mortality rate that is on par with that of the military, yet they receive none of the honor and distinction. They don’t have a day commemorating their years of service. No uniformed squad to fire guns at their funerals. There are no bagpipe parades. These brave men and women fade into obscurity with no fanfare. 

    Some spend weeks or even months on a boat at sea, working long hours in strenuous conditions, for modest pay ($25-$30k a year). They’re out there on the water catching fish so we don’t have to. All of this helps to preserve many of the tangible freedoms we enjoy today. So as a token of my appreciation of a job well done, today I’m going to eat a can of sardines high in omega-3 fatty acids.

    The next time you see a fisherman, be sure to thank them for their service to our country. 

  • Omuller1965

    Excellent article. Just a few wins with wars.

  • Bill Sanders

    I am a US Navy vet and agree 90% with James. The only disagreement I have is that “everyone who goes to war is a hero.” WTF?

    Other than a demigod, Wikipedia defines a heroes as characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

    Although
    I met a some good men in the military, I met alot of immature, immoral,
    selfish jerks too. The good men (like me) simply did a job. In fact,
    that is why we joined – not because we wanted to sacrifice our lives for
    our country, but because we were unemployed. And now we are suddenly
    transformed from a loser into a hero? Ridiculous!