Memorial Day

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(photo by Ernst Haas)

Nobody in the entire photo is looking at the photo within the photo of the dead hero, the poor woman’s missing son. Last Memorial Day I wrote a post “Name Me a War That Was Worth It”. My belief is that 60 year olds should never send 18 year olds to be killed. Of course the 18 year olds are heroes. Nobody disputes that.

And of course the government convinces them and lies to them that they are killing others, killing civilians, killing other 18 year olds, killing and maiming each other, all for a good cause.

It’s never for a good cause and for every single war you can always trace it back to who is making the most money. Back to the Civil War (the North wanted its share of the Southern cotton tariffs) and even back to the Revolutionary War (the myth of “taxation without representation” and now, 240 years later, I am taxed Federal, State, City, Sales, Luxury, Property, and god  knows how many other places.)

But I wrote that post and put it here and also on the most pro-peace site I could find. I never got so many  hate-comments. Most of them came from the pro-peace site. In general, people talk their good theories, but when you touch the chord of hate inside of them, that’s when their real crap comes out. And it stinks.

In the above photo, everyone is looking at the returning hero. Even the mother who is holding up the picture of her son, the hero who died in the war, desperately hoping that someone has seen him. Not a single person is looking at the photo of the dead 18 year old. The real heroes are forgotten. The real histories are made up mythologies. The “good” reasons always hide the real reasons.

The above photo is a picture within a picture. It’s a photo for all of us, where we live our lives being fooled and hypnotized, while searching for the real heroes who might lie dormant inside of us. We mostly die without ever finding them.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/Adam_8020 Adam

    Amazing post James. Just breathtaking. Maybe your best and most profound yet.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Thanks Adam

      • Ron

        We want the concept of a “just war”, but we just get war. The biggest increase in pro-American sentiment came after a billion dollars in aid post-tsunami in Indonesia (ref. “What Terrorists Want”- Louise Richardson). But the truth is that there is far more money to be made in killing machines and war than in humanitarian endeavors.  The neocons still want war in Iran, not satisfied with the stale wars we’ve fought. And yes, I had ten years of military service…

  • GK

    man, those last few lines “…while searching for the real heroes who might lie dormant inside of us” — goddammn it.  Its so good.  

    A picture is worth a 1000 words – is hardly a understatement.  Great post James. Keep it up. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Thanks GK. This picture really moved me.

  • http://www.rebeccarachmany.com/ Rebecca Rachmany

    Once upon a time, war made (a tiny little bit) of sense. Having more territory meant you had more resources and so you had some kind of financial justification. Of course, killing people in exchange for property is wrong, but let’s just say you could potentially understand some kind of justification for it. If you had a drought on your piece of territory, you might take your tribe and conquer some piece of territory where there is water. 

    I remember in junior high school learning that war was good for the economy. I am not going to go over whatever twisted argument they gave for that, but now as someone holding a fancy MBA, I can assure you, it was twisted.
    Today, there is no justification for any war of any kind. Nobody is better off financially, and if you think that the “war” industry is better off, take a look. Ultimately, business people could do better selling stuff to non-dead people than making stuff that creates dead people. Nobody is better off emotionally. Nobody who has witnessed war is ever the same emotionally.

    If you look at armed conflict today, almost nobody thinks any of the armed conflicts are going to end in victory by one side or the other. They will end in negotiation. So why bother? Just talk about your differences. I can’t understand how politicians continue to convince people that violence will resolve anything. I live in a country with mandatory conscription. I pray that by the time my kids are old enough, war will have become as unacceptable as slavery.

    As a final note, I forbid my kids from playing violent video games. My son was about 9 when he asked me “When will I be old enough to play those games?” I said “When do you think it will seem like a good sport to kill people?” He said “Oh”. 

    We never had to discuss that again. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Rebecca, that was a great response to your kid. Thanks for the comment.

    • http://twitter.com/socrates1998 socrates

      While I agree with your stance on war, I disagree with the stance on video games.
      Video game violence has not been traced to increased real world violence, this is a misconception. See here 
      http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html
       Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it is bad.
      Your stance on violent video games would be the same as mine on shopping. 
      I dislike shopping in malls and I think that it creates a society that values consumerism, so I will not let me daughter shop there.

      • http://www.rebeccarachmany.com/ Rebecca Rachmany

        Agreed Socrates. I don’t think my kids will become violent. As stated, my kid will be enlisted whether I like it or not, so preventing him from pointing a gun at other people isn’t exactly in my hands. The boundaries we give our children give them a message about our perception of the world.

    • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

      Both sides must be willing to talk – and only talk – about their differences for your proposed system to work.  In the real world, the prisoner’s dilemma prevails.    

      Unfortunately, the use of force works.  As does a threat by the powerful.  While it may not be as cut-and-dry as winners and losers, the stronger does indeed have power and influence over the weaker.  To ignore this fact is to deny reality. 

      Good intentions are useless without power.  Gandhi – after all – was responsible for the mass exodus of twelve million people (half-million died) because he was not willing to use force while Mandela had the luxury of being magnanimous in victory because he was.

      • http://www.rebeccarachmany.com/ Rebecca Rachmany

        Please provide an example of where force works.

        • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

          Mandela created MK or Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) in 1961 after he became convinced that passive, non-violent resistance would not prevail.  He was right.  He won. 

          Your fellow citizens can pray at the Western Wall because they fought and won the six-day war. 

          • http://www.rebeccarachmany.com/ Rebecca Rachmany

            Preemptive, that is an excellent example of where war was able to acquire something priceless.

            At the same time, I think, what would happen in a world where war was unacceptable? People would come purchase land and settle where they want (which is what happened with large swathes of this nation), and then ultimately, if there were enough of them, they’d put up a government. Borders would be established along the lines of whoever chose to be in that “country”. You could skip the whole war thing. 

            In this case, let’s just say if it were enough for the UN to declare Israel’s (and Palestine’s) borders, we could pray at the Western Wall under one of two conditions. Either our neighbors would grant visas and make money from tourism, or someone with a lot of money could purchase the land. War is only necessary as long as convention says it is necessary. 

            I know that’s crazy talk, but somehow it just SEEMS less crazy than going around killing people to get stuff.

          • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

            A world where war was unacceptable….. a noble goal.  As a mother whose children will likely be conscripted into a military at constant war, you have a clearer view of what that word – war – means than most of us. 

            It does indeed seem crazy to kill people to get stuff.  That is, until you consider that the ‘stuff’ you can get might very well be less killing, less pain, less suffering, less injustice.  The best least bad option. 

            While we may not agree on the means, I think we both agree on the goal. 

        • http://www.preemptiveplacebo.com Preemptive Placebo

          Incidentally, this was a lesson I learned nearly twenty years ago on a tour of Yad Vashem.  A group of young female IDF recruits stood in front of a photograph the guide, a holocaust survivor, was trying to show us.  The recruits all had their machine guns slung over their shoulders.  The contrast was shocking. 

          Here’s a link to that photo.  That one image shows how force works or, more to the point, how a lack of force fails in the face of those willing to use force. 

          James should put it up next to the photo he chose above. It is lazy thinking to think things are always so simple and force/power/war is always bad.

          http://www1.yadvashem.org/IMAGE_TYPE/847.jpg

          For the record, I’m not Jewish.

    • JP


      I remember in junior high school learning that war was good for the economy. I am not going to go over whatever twisted argument they gave for that, but now as someone holding a fancy MBA, I can assure you, it was twisted.”
      Winning a World Leader war is excellent for the economy of the victor because the victor gets to dictate trade terms for a generation.How do you think the dollar got to be the world’s reserve currency and the United States became so wealthy?*That* is why Great Powers try to win the Great Game.

  • http://ifconfig.blogspot.com Fred Woodbridge

    It’s not just 18-year-olds who die in war. 39-year-olds die, too.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Very true.

  • http://www.pointsandfigures.com pointsnfigures

    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. ~ John Stuart Mill

    I know many people that have been in wars, and it’s a horrible experience.  But I don’t think WW2 was about money for the US.  We were attacked.  There was a terrible risk that the entire earth was going to be swallowed up by totalitarianism.  

    The war today is messy, without the bright lines between sides like WW2.  It makes it a lot tougher to understand.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Jeff, I might agree. But we were attacked on Pearl Harbor. Then we nuked millions of civilians and babies. Firebombed a few hundred thousand others. And what was the result. We didn’t prevent 6mm jews from being killed (in fact, we turned away the jews who tried to escape, sending them back to Germany). We then made a crooked deal with Stalin and he killed another 20mm people. Then Mao killed another 20mm people because we were too preoccupied with Stalin.

      So I’m not so sure what was so great there. 50mm people died, at least. And we did nothing.

      • http://adamokane.com/ Adam O’Kane

        We did nothing? You’re very fond of blanket statements…it makes you come off as sloppy and thick-headed at times.

      • Mihai-Radu Onofreiciuc

        James, would you do anything?

      • http://www.pointsandfigures.com pointsnfigures

        65M people died in WW2.  More would have died had we not acted.  As far as Hawaii, it had been in US hands since before 1900.  Pearl Harbor was a naval base, and it was a territory.  

        The nuclear bombs ended the war in the pacific. Saved many US lives, and Japanese ones too.  Not to mention all the lives that were created because the bomb was dropped.  Dead people can’t have kids.  

    • Tor Munkov

       P&F: Hawaii did not vote to become a state untill 1959. The vote was a false choice between remaining an occupied terriory with no rights, or being a state with a few rights. The option they really wanted was the return of their sovereignity stolen from them in 1898 by a few powerful European & American robber barons.
      FDR was a horrible old liar and tragically crippled crappy person with no real life of his own. You have swallowed the lies of the state. FDR was the snake oil salesman du jour for a brutal totalitarianism that has swallowed much of the world. A world held in the arthritic clutches of senile men with no moral right to deny the world to the young and the living.
      I highly doubt John Stuart Mill or the men who have died and had time to reflect would approve being used to justify the anonymous random murdering of people on the other side of the world in the name of war profiteering and fear mongering.

    • Justme

       I have heard that we had advanced warning before Pearl Harbor happened. The truth is that most in higher levels of government are liars. History and events are changed in order to get the people behind their agenda.

      • http://twitter.com/tbird2252 Tom Willis

        Re; your comment: ”
         I have heard that we had advanced warning before Pearl Harbor happened”… The Military Channel has been running a series on espionage during WWII…There is an episode about counter intelligence and the individual whom the author Ian Fleming modeled after James Bond.

        This individual in fact alerted J Edgar Hoover of this very fact in August of 1941. Hoover thought the individual was a double agent and ignored his warning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lovebob Robert J. Love

    Last night on the Mil Channel “Narrow Escapes of WWII.”  Somehow, a program titled something like “Those Who Left Behind When ‘Abandoned Ship’ Was Called.” wouldn’t have the same impact.

  • http://twitter.com/myTraderGang Trader Gang

    Building 7 explosions and missiles into the pentagon…hence why I don’t have a cable box.

  • Pat

    Societies should not send 18 year olds to fight and die in wars that make old men rich and fat. While I agree with this in principle, this won’t prevent the mistake from being repeated over and over. James, you and I are about the same age and so you probably recall as I do back in the early 80s when Vietnam was far enough in the rear view mirror for people to acknowledge that it was a tragic waste of a good portion of a generation of young men. We’d be smarter next time. As a society, we didn’t have to wait too long to test that new found conviction, and again just like every conflict before, there was no difficulty finding a supply of young to do the fighting of the old.

  • billgncs

    Not opposing Hitler would have been a good idea?

    • George D.

      Of course, the answer is “No”. However you won’t get straight answer for this from the “no war” adepts. But the same old demagogy about corrupt governments and how the whole WW2 can be avoided if some miracles happened instead.

      • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

         Well, it is complicated. BUt…A) WWII absolutely could’ve been avoided if the economic war with them hadn’t started in the 20s which resulted in them becoming fascist.

        And finally B) what good did we do there? 6mm jews still died. We didn’t save them. And then we gave half to the Soviet Union, we gave all of Eastern Europe to them, and then they killed 20mm more civilians. So what good did it accomplish. I’m sure you can find anecdotal good it did but on the macro scale, looks like we accomplished nothing or even worse than nothing. I don’t view that as demagogy. I view it as 30mm dead people.

        • George D.

          > WWII absolutely could’ve been avoided if the economic war with them hadn’t started in the 20s which resulted in them becoming fascist.

          And what about Stalin and USSR? They weren’t particularly peaceful as well. They start WW2 with Hitler by invading Poland, Baltic states and Finland. And the Communist party have worldwide revolution on their agenda.

          > B) what good did we do there?  

          West Germany, France, Holland, Austria and the whole Western Europe was saved and remained free. If the were no involvement of the USA and the UK, Stalin would build communism there like he did in Easter Europe.

        • Jazeapokergod

          All true points… but what would a western europe controlled by the Nazi’s have been like?  The socialism that took over is bad enough, but slave states? At least only the eastern part was lost, for a time… I guess Europe was going to suffer regardless of how the war went. Now the inevitable economic collapse from all the governmental overspending. When I hear the phrase “western civilization” I am always shaken by the irony…

        • Michael

          There were WAY more than 6mm people that were killed in WW2. The estimates are 50mm – 75mm.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FVAXY5OZTYZ2D35XXYJLNEJVBI Bullocks

    Paul Fussell explains what war is really like:

    http://harpers.org/archive/1982/01/0024716

  • Otaddy

    Chris Hedges wrote:  War is a force that gives us meaning.  

    And so many of us are so empty inside that it is easy for the drums of war to resonate within.  

    So many join the cause enthusiastically, but a few will have their eyes opened.

    But in America today, Memorial Day is just another excuse to get drunk and to not think about what is really going on.  Hero has become another empty word that only vaguely resembles its true definition.  

    • http://www.rebeccarachmany.com/ Rebecca Rachmany

      Cheering on a sports team is good enough for plenty of people. 

  • http://twitter.com/tbird2252 Tom Willis

    During the Civil War, believe it was publisher Horace Greeley or someone of his stature who coined the phrase “It’s a Rich Man’s War, But a Poor Man’s Fight”… 

    • George D.

      Good point. In WWI the was also conception of proletariat fighting 
      each other for the interest of bourgeois. However when bourgeois where literally destroyed in Russia and moved away from power in Germany the new socialist governments of working people have started greatest and bloodiest war in history. So that was not rich vs poor war.

  • George D.

    I was born in USSR. And I know very good what totalitarianism is. Orwell’s 1984 is not that far-fetched as it can be seen from the USA. In my view (it’s very personal view not an abstract claim) cold-war and collapse of the soviet empire was absolutely justified, world became much better place because of it. James, how do you think, was it worth to fight for the freedom of Korea (South Korea) in 50-53 when communists started a war? 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Definitely not worth the fight in Korea or Vietnam. Just my opinion. But why did American 18 year old young boys get told to fight in these wars and then get told to die in these wars and kill and main in these wars. Was that really fair to them? The Congressmen that sent them there should’ve gone instead.

      • George D.

        For sure you know how much differ North and South Koreas. The freedom of South was bought by the price of lifes of 50,000 USA soldiers it’s true. But millions of Koreans remained free and contributed so much to the progress of mankind and not died of hunger because of
        idiotic tyrannic leaders. If the USA let commies to ate Korea and not confronted them in 53, sooner or latter they would come directly to the USA, absolutely no question about it.

  • Justme

    The ironic thing about war is that each side has to vilify the other side in order to make the justification for killing. Those people are against freedom, against democracy, are terrorists, are communists, the list can go on and on. The ironic thing is that on both sides the people fighting and killing each other have loved ones who want them to come home alive, they have families, hopes, dreams, they do good things as well as bad things. They are like us and we are like them. The only difference is the language we speak. People all over the world are the same. Yet our governments try and teach us that those who do not hold are same values are evil and bad and most be forced to conform to our way; because our way is the right way.Of course if you started thinking about the enemy as a human being it makes it a lot harder to kill them and for them to kill you (at least for those with a conscious
    ). There will always be those psychos that want to kill for the fun and thrill of it.Everybody thinks that they are better than they actually are. They justify their actions and behaviors with those gray areas and are able to make a wring seem right and a right seem wrong.

  • romeobravo

    James, I like your writing but your thoughts here are painting with way to broad a brush. All wars are bad? So just submit to violence done against your country? Have no national interests some of which compel you to fight? Often times war comes down to slavery for your entire popultation or freedom with some small percentage of your population dying.

    I think war in all of our history has taken fewer lives than diseases. So maybe that is the real enemy?

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       I agree. Disease is an enemy also. Tell me which war brought freedom with only a small population dying?

      • romeobravo

        Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Barbary War, just to name a few. Preparing for war, and or being vigilant has also prevented many wars, resulting in millions of lives being “saved.”

        Your thought are just to simplistic. Is fighting bad? OK then parents, couples, etc. shouldn’t fight. But sometimes fights can let emotion out and leads to better relations?

  • JustMe

    I did a little research into that photo, and rather than a US homecoming, it appears to be the return of Nazi POWs to Vienna:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Haas

    “His [Ernst Haas] photo essay for the magazine on prisoners of war coming home to Vienna won him acclaim…”

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

       Still, mindless young kids on every side went missing, dead, their mothers mourning, their mothers not finding, nobody caring.

    • Jazeapokergod

      Thank you for posting that article, I enjoyed it immensely…. I enlisted right out of high school for the “college money”… I learned more in the Army than I did at university. Sad that, but true. I am blessed to have known many that served for what we all thought was right and good.  There is evil in the world, and it must be opposed. For all our problems, I still believe in our country, and I will watch what the politicians do, as always.  

  • romeobravo

    And as a side note, most primitive societies suffered roughly 25% of their male popultation dead from combat. Even during the height of WW 1, the most brutal large scale war in the last 100 years, that was not achieved. We are getting more civilized!

  • tvn_vn

    James, your last few posts have been awesome. Reading your blog is part of my DP. You’re also on my “Grateful List”… thanks much for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-C-Webb/666543181 James C. Webb

    War is a horrible tragedy every time.
    I would say, though, that evil must be confronted.
    Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge, etc…
    I would say that those that enjoy the benefits of freedom have a moral obligation towards those that suffer unjustly under evil.
    That busnismen profit from any war is a sickness and an evil … No support here.
    The world is a better place when it is absent of Nazi’s, Soviets, and Bashar Assads.
    On this Memorial I treasure those who gave their lives for what they believe is good.

  • http://twitter.com/TraderDiver Mark Ferrari

    Spending millions in these conflicts while ignoring the real domestic key issues.It is a cycle created by the governtment arms contractors and their rich and powerfull shareholders.The ignorance of the American people in political elections keep these war cycles appearing every 10 to 20 years.

  • Mike

    James – I’m from England and I can’t off hand think of anytime during the last 1000 years when my countrymen weren’t in conflict with some other country, empire, or peoples.  But who benefited?  None of these wars were worth a candle for the common man or woman; the only people who truly benefited were the kings and queens and the aristocracy that surrounded them.  

    The only exception, I think, is the second world war.  That one had to be fought.

    • http://twitter.com/scrobTV SCROB TV

       RE WWII refer to my other comment.

  • http://twitter.com/TraderDiver Mark Ferrari

     Nothing will change and the military industry keeps getting more rich at the expence of domestic education and welfare.

    • romeobravo

      Mark, education and welfare now have their own strong “defense industries” and defenders.  It has become the new military industry.  Follow the money…

  • Anjanikumar

    James! iam greatly impressed with your recent makeover in terms of assimilating your thoughts in a nutshell. Way to go! 

  • POB

    I don’t think of the soldiers as “heroes”.  I think of them as unfortunate pawns. There is nothing heroic about dying for these elitist leaders and their quabbles.  I think it much more heroic to refuse to fight.  

    Also….in any country, the biggest threat to your liberties is always you OWN country’s military. 

    With this said, I will remember all who did and fought in wars.  I feel bad for them.  War is hell. And we’re supposed to be civilized??

  • http://Www.trackingbreakthroughs.com/ Denise

    James,

    This is my favorite line: ” It’s a photo for all of us, where we live our lives being fooled and hypnotized, while searching for the real heroes who might lie dormant inside of us.”

    You’re too pessimistic, though. I think many heroes come alive!

    (Also, I recommend (re) reading Golding’s Lord of the Flies. That island of boys – a microcosm of humanity – is one of the best explanations of war: One grand illusion mixed with fear and inner darkness. That and Plato’s story of shadows on the cave’s wall…)

  • Mykoheleth

    No argument war is horrible and should be the very last resort.

    But there is real evil in the world. Are we not morally required to repel it when all other means fail? War is irrational, but too many people are irrational.

    And yet some things are worth fighting for: your spouse, your kids. Your future kids you will never know.

    You do raise a good question. Wars are messy and their results will always thus be.

    It’s horrible how many teens die or are maimed by car accidents every single year. Yet we still drive. Not the moral equivalent, but death is death. Heart disease and cancer win every year.

    • bthewall

       I think that James’ point is that we are manipulated into believing that there is real evil.

      In the 1930’s, the National Socialists told the German citizens that they were fighting not just for their country but for Western Civilization. And that their country and culture was about to be destroyed by the godless forces of evil communism–which, in an ironic twist, did actually destroy their country.

      When the Germans invaded Poland in Sept, 1939, the German newspapers carried the headline “We’re shooting back.”, as to suggest they were just defending themselves. Now we know that the Germans launched an attack, not a counter-attack as reported in their press. Pure manipulation.

      WMD, anyone?

      • http://twitter.com/scrobTV SCROB TV

        More ironic even once you find out that Germans funded Lenin and the communist movement in Russia. Similar to the US training and financing Bin Laden’s and Jihadists to fight Russia. It always comes back, right in your face.

  • http://twitter.com/StevenStCroix1 Steven St. Croix

    -“And of course the government convinces them and lies to them that they are killing others, killing civilians, killing other 18 year olds, killing and maiming each other, all for a good cause.”-
    A very similar observation was made by Prof. Paul Fussell, who had fought in WW2 and had some enlightening thoughts on the change that occurred in him from being the young man in combat to the war survivor and how the doctrine of being a hero was the most important virtue held at that time, regardless of the actual terrible costs of war on the surviving generation. 
    I could not stop reading until the end; a deeply compelling read. ( full disclosure- I have family in Special Forces)
    http://harpers.org/archive/1982/01/0024716

  • http://twitter.com/gcpursley Chase Pursley

    War is when the old men send the young men to die for the mistakes of the old men. How heroic.

  • JFKarink

    James is a heathen or someone that only lives for his own personal pleasure without consideration for anyone else.

  • TrglBryan

     How cute. As hard as James tries, he’s still not a very good writer.

  • Thomioh

    Your hackneyed attempts at sincerity about Memorial day are really off-putting, James. 

  • Tscarborough

     Didn’t the people responsible for the towers and the pentagon have to pay.  I admit our response   was larger than needed (Iraq), but if we had not responded at all would’nt we have been hit again? 

  • http://theghettolibertarian.com/ The Ghetto Libertarian

    James, all I can say is “Word!”

  • http://planetoplano.blogspot.com/ Leonardo

    The problem with war, besides the suffering it inflicts on innocent people, is that it strengthens the state and therefore it tramples individual rights, (the first being obviously the right to life).
    I think this is the issue of our time: how do we preserve individual freedom and at the same time fight the enemy who unfortunately exists.
      

  • JP

    To answer your question, James, about what WWII accomplished, is that it answered the question as to which empire was going to ultimately prevail in the most recent of the imperial struggles of the West.

    When the war began, there were three possible outcomes for imperial victory.  The U.S.S.R., Germany, and the United States.  The British Empire, to the extent that it survived was subsumed into the United States empire.  They were not a contender this go-round.

    Had the U.S. not gotten involved, I expect that the U.S. would have ended up being a dependency of the German Empire, much like the South became to the North after the Civil War.

    So, from a macro scale, there you have it.

    Somebody was going to win because somebody *always* wins.

    The West has been playing this idiot game for centuries.

    So, in sum, having the U.S. become the empire was ultimately the best outcome for the world.

    So, it is about the money.

    And here the question was “who gets the money”?  The Germans, the Russians, or the Americans?

    Of course, the U.S. empire is now beginning to show it’s age, and enter its inexorable decline.

    War never changes.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Its a theory but probably does not hold up. We had all the natural resources and two oceans defending us. Plus, after WWI we had the dominant navy in the world no matter what Germany did. 

      • JP

        We needed markets to sell into.  Germany would have dictated terms.  That’s what I mean by a dependency.

        If we wanted to actually sell our products, and not just our natural resources, to the German Empire, what were we going to do?  Pull Gunboat Diplomacy?

        Again, money.

        France tried to lock up trade during the Napoleonic Wars.  Didn’t work because England won through the use of *military force* and it’s “dominant navy”.

        We would have had to *use* the navy.  And that would have involved a war.  With Germany.

        Somebody always dominates Western Civilization because that’s how it has rolled since about 1500.

        Generally, the naval power wins.

        I’m not saying “but war is happy and a fun adventure”.  I’m just saying that Germany would have been the Superpower.

        I’m also pretty sure that this is why China is currently hyperventilating about the South China Sea.

  • CliffElam

    Really?  WWII or Korea or the Civil War made no sense to fight?  The Revolutionary War?  Vietnam (read history)?

    Unsubscribe. 

    I like your stuff in a nihilistic sort of way, but the wrong day for this particular argument.

    _XC

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

    We all find war interesting, because it is one of our behaviors, and it teaches us who we are.

    But human nature alone does not dictate what happens.  The composition of the world helps determine our behavior.

    We understand the nuclear stalemate.  Einstein – “WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones”.

    The world continues to change, and greater technology is coming.  Small robots and drones will replace human soldiers, and after that, even greater changes will develop.  Humans will remain the same for a while, but our technology will change what war is.  Dumb old men will still make rotten decisions.  But the time of the human soldier, hero or not, is nearing an end.

  • http://twitter.com/unmaskd Unmaskd

    Wars are ugly and stupid. They have the same roots as clashes of savage tribes thousands of years ago. They are horrible and make millions of innocent people die whether in uniform or not. But as of now, at this point in human history, they are reality. Governments around the world ultimately respect only one thing when it comes to dealing with other countries: strength. When you’re strong your opinion counts. When you’re weak it doesn’t. Until this situation changes wars will go on and some people will fight them, while others — protected by their fight — will protest. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/yitz.jacob Yitz Jacob

    Israel’s six day war.  Definitely worth it. Just saying.

  • http://twitter.com/scrobTV SCROB TV

    I find the pro-war example of WWII intervention questionable. 1. Most Americans were not interested in a conflict until Pearl Harbor which quite possibly was provoked to get the US population to chime in.

    2. America at the time was not pro-Jews. Hitler had a huge Henry Ford picture in his office for a reason and observing concentration camps from above didn’t cause the US to do anything. It wasn’t important enough to start a war yet. Afterwards it’s used as the prime justification. Same for Pro-Negro propaganda to get soldiers motivated, at the time you got similar hate for suggesting to make lynching illegal as you get today for criticizing the Afghanistan and Iraq missions with 25-33% of female vets sexually assaulted by their male peers. And of course they have to pay for their own abortions after being raped pregnant by a mob after months and years of not even seeing an enemy, thanks to bible swinging women’s groups, but I digress.

    3. Wasn’t the management of the Holocaust IBM’s first major application of the punch hole card system? Seems unrealistic the US government knew nothing about it.

    4. Nuking mega cities in Japan was not what Einstein had in mind when he decided to help the US, neither the production of ten thousands of warheads we have trouble keeping track of, some of which ironically are placed in Germany today while the CIA still uses torture methods obtained from the Nazis at the end of WWII.

    All of this could have been solved earlier in a much smoother and less destructive way. Historically there is a benefit to mankind in fighting wars, as it forces us to advance and develop new technology, but we now have enough problems to work on together and develop technologies for.

    • casper

      >  All of this could have been solved earlier in a much smoother and less destructive way.
        Like how exactly ?   Hitler , Stalin ,  Japanese wouldnt listen to anything less than world domination .

  • Benjamin Dunphy

    If wisdom were a stock, the ticker symbol would be JTUCH. 

    Or some other awesome nickname.

  • Martin

    Umkhonto we sizwe did not end apartheid. Apartheid was ended through a peaceful process including economic sanctions, and the last whites only referendum that was called by FW de Klerk that resulted in an overwhelming “yes” to continue with democratic process. I am South African.

  • Martin

    Rebecca here is an example of where force works to further the aims of the Sudanese Government.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKHJ7c_wAX4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mark.L.Carson Mark Carson

    No, the 4 guys behind her are looking at the back of the photo (they obviously can’t see the front so what do you expect). Perhaps it has a photo of her cute daughter on back – that would explain a lot.

    How are you so sure the guy in the photo is 18? She looks a bit old to have an 18 year old son. Who knows…
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1567127659 Mary McNamara

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Isaac Asimov

    It really is that simple.