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Is War Ever Justified?It seems to me that more and more people in our society believe...

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 6, 2008 at 11:27 PM via web

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Is War Ever Justified?

It seems to me that more and more people in our society believe that war is never justified.  Books like My Brother Sam is Dead even call into question whether the War for Independence was justified.  I think this is a naive view.  As a student of history, it is apparent to me that there have been leaders and rulers in history who were simply evil and there are causes that are simply right.  Slavery in the United States was wrong, and it is too bad that our country had to suffer terribly from the Civil War, but if that is what it took to end slavery, that is what it took.  Adolf Hitler was evil.  He killed millions of people for nothing but their race.  Neville Chamberlain tried negotiation with him, but Hitler broke the pact as soon as it was convenient.  Evil people do not keep their promises. They say one thing and do another.  How can we negotiate or compromise with someone who does not keep their word.

There are still some things worth dying for and things like the freedom to worship as we choose, the right to a fair trial before imprisonment, the right of people to live in safety without constant fear, the right of women to be treated as humans not animals.  These are things worth fighting and even dying for.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 7, 2008 at 9:49 AM (Answer #2)

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If we could all agree...all humanity...that war is not justified, then there would be no need for it.  We could all just meet in the town square over coffee and settle our differences.  Or, like Lysistrata, just cut off the physical pleasure until the soldiers agreed to come home for good.  However, since all humans aren't wired the same way and opinions will always differ, we will never get away from violence as a way to settle differences and regain a balanced peace.  Your examples of Hitler and slavery as well as Hussein, and countless others we can name will always be present.  Greedy, power-hungry, evil people will always crop up.  Lord, the Antichrist is foretold to come soon.  I hope we can all find the backbone to fight against him when he shows his ugly face.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 16, 2008 at 7:15 AM (Answer #3)

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Call me a cynic, but the chances of all humanity gathering together to form a great pact ending all fighting is slim to none. It used to be, years ago, that wars were suspended during the time of the olympics. But such days are past.

We live in an age where war is not only justifiable, but necessary. The forces of evil that conspire against our freedom daily are numerous and powerful. If ever there were a time to break some eggs and make an omelette (metaphor), today is that day.

It is naive indeed to believe that if we all would just put down our weapons, the other side would quit fighting. Perhaps in the drug-induced fairy tale world of the hippies, such an option was available. In today's world, however, it's best to stick to our guns, both literally and figuratively. 

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 16, 2008 at 8:01 AM (Answer #4)

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Many books have been written on this subject, and I don't think we'll ever have a final answer to the question. It's easy to say in hindsight that it was a mistake to become involved in a war, but in the heat of the moment, it is easy to understand why we went to war. When we watched the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down by the Iraqis, we all cheered. Several years later, however, we've forgotten that passion and are calling it all a huge mistake. To quote a very wise man: "There will always be wars and rumors of wars."

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 26, 2008 at 9:09 PM (Answer #5)

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Many books have been written on this subject, and I don't think we'll ever have a final answer to the question. It's easy to say in hindsight that it was a mistake to become involved in a war, but in the heat of the moment, it is easy to understand why we went to war. When we watched the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down by the Iraqis, we all cheered. Several years later, however, we've forgotten that passion and are calling it all a huge mistake. To quote a very wise man: "There will always be wars and rumors of wars."

We may never have an answer, but in response to your statement about Saddam Hussein, there are those of us who still cheer that a tyrant was pulled down - whatever problems there are in Iraq now, it was not a mistake to end his reign of tyranny.  Isn't your quotation biblical?

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olympique | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 27, 2008 at 4:14 AM (Answer #6)

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Many books have been written on this subject, and I don't think we'll ever have a final answer to the question. It's easy to say in hindsight that it was a mistake to become involved in a war, but in the heat of the moment, it is easy to understand why we went to war. When we watched the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down by the Iraqis, we all cheered. Several years later, however, we've forgotten that passion and are calling it all a huge mistake. To quote a very wise man: "There will always be wars and rumors of wars."

We may never have an answer, but in response to your statement about Saddam Hussein, there are those of us who still cheer that a tyrant was pulled down - whatever problems there are in Iraq now, it was not a mistake to end his reign of tyranny.  Isn't your quotation biblical?

I don't believe you can separate the two. Taking down the tyrant cannot be divorced from the chaos, mismanagement, and loss of life that followed-- ironically more loss of life then occured during Huessein's reign.

Invading a sovreign state that had not attacked is something the Communists and Nazis used to do, it's not something I ever thought America would engage in. 

The tyrant needed to fall, obviously, but at the hands of his own people, not an outside force. Saying "at least some good came out of it" is to make a mockery of the suffering the invasion caused for the very people being saved. 

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 24, 2009 at 8:18 PM (Answer #7)

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Starting of a war can never be justified. Alternative means of settling disagreement and difference are always preferable to war. But is a war is forced upon a country, then fighting that war is always justified.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted May 24, 2009 at 9:26 PM (Answer #8)

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War can be justified in the name of self-defense and self-preservation. If one is attacked or going to be attacked, then it is justifiable to defend oneself.  And, for an oppressed people, there is no justifiable defense for aggression so wars for independence are always justified.

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kodasport | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 14, 2009 at 5:06 PM (Answer #9)

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Is war ever justified? Yes, war can be justified, but only in retrospect.  The only wars that can be justified are the wars that ended the way the person trying to do the justifying wanted them to end.  Wars can never be justified in a current event sense because the outcome is unknown.  Leaders that are selling the war can only speculate that the war will be won and therefore the end will justify the means.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2009 at 11:44 AM (Answer #10)

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In regards to the original post, you are right--it has certainly become politically correct to argue that war is never justified.  Perhaps some wars could have been prevented through negotiations, etc.  But how long do humans wait while people die from genocide, terrorism, etc., while negotiate before moving to another means of persuasion?

Post #9, you are certainly accurate in your assessment.  Right now, none of know what the outcome of the current conflicts in the world will be, and it might be years before someone can argue about the justification of those wars.

Post #6, do you have numbers to back up your claim that more people have died during the war in Iraq than during Hussein's reign?  I haven't seen any statistics to support your claim.  Additionally, I currently teach a Kurdish student who feels that even though life has been difficult in Iraq, it is still better than it was under Saddam's reign.  My husband has spent over two years in Iraq and has met many Iraqis who appreciate what foreign soldiers are doing there and who long to rid themselves of insurgents (most of whom are not Iraqi) and establish a nation that most likely would not have been possible under Saddam's rule.

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jku1380 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 10, 2009 at 9:35 PM (Answer #11)

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Yes, I also think war is justifiable if used in an appropriate way. One of the ways is the self-defence part as mentioned in post # 8. People who starts war just for their gains are the ones who are responsible. In some cases war might be used for an emancipation act and other helpful movements around the world. Thus, war can be justifiable.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM (Answer #12)

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I agree with other editors on this one - war seems to be a reluctant inevitability in a world where evil dictators are able to seize power and rapaciously exploit others. There are countless cases where war has been completely justified as a humane act. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of other cases where it hasn't.

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kidhowren | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2010 at 11:00 PM (Answer #13)

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To engtchr5, it is that sort of attitude exactly that will fulfill and sustain such a future devoid of peace. There is only positive and negative energy. Positive energy is the answer to all negative stigmas; to approach them with such characteristically negative actions (such as war, killing others) is counter-productive and will never progress mankind any further. All it will do is keep one mentality or the other stagnant and make the winners of such a conflict feel like their way is the only "right" way from now until the end of time. This sort of attitude is an ignorant and near-sighted way to view the universe, and we cannot limit the scope of our possibilites as a collective and equal race with such close-mindedness. No one religion is better than another; no ideal is better than another. The only "just" wars in my opinion are those for freedom.

Never those over oil, imperialism, or fear. And especially not those over money (like most of the wars in the past 50 years have been). But even just wars don't have to have human lives as a price tag. Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were two very progressive thinkers of the last century and they outright opposed the idea of violent action in order to resolve any real conflict. Yet, they were able to make a huge impact on the independence of those they spoke out for and infect the world with the idea of non-violence a.k.a. "Civil disobedience". (Continued in next post)

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kidhowren | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2010 at 11:07 PM (Answer #14)

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Also, your stereotype of "hippies" is irrelevant and shallow. Such negative associations are ad hominem fallacies which serve as no purposeful arguments to better your point. That is exactly the sort of separatism that breeds the idea of war in the first place.

"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for." - Ghandi

War is only necessary because we allow ourselves to believe it. We can create whatever reality we wish once we let go of associations and prejudice. It is as simple as having a dream, as Mr. King would say.

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kidhowren | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 1, 2010 at 11:17 PM (Answer #15)

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And seriously, there is no comic-book scenario playing out in some secret lab under the ground where mad scientists and foreign leaders plot the demise of our freedom. That is absurd and is the sort of idea propagated by our media networks. The "terrorists" didn't attack the World Trade Centers to destroy freedom. They are humans just like us. They have reasons for their actions and simple human desires like us...including freedom.

Now of course their action was an act of war, and was negative and involved taking innocent lives. That is wrong. And all it did was make us want to fight back. We could have saved a lot more lives by staying out of their country. After all, "terrorism", as defined by the department of Homeland Security, only claims around 97 lives a year. And thus, positive action trumps negative in resolving the issue. Also, terrorism is the use of fear to help acheieve swaying a set of ideals or agendas in motion. Is that not what our government has done to us in the past decade (or really since WWII?)

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." is another great quote by Ghandi. Also, "Trying to hold onto anger with the intent of throwing it at someone else is like trying to hold on to a hot coal... you are the one who gets burned," is another great one by Buddha. And I leave you with this about the terrorist attacks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7aFXRAW7mg

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franzvillan | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM (Answer #16)

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Is War Ever Justified?

It seems to me that more and more people in our society believe that war is never justified.  Books like My Brother Sam is Dead even call into question whether the War for Independence was justified.  I think this is a naive view.  As a student of history, it is apparent to me that there have been leaders and rulers in history who were simply evil and there are causes that are simply right.  Slavery in the United States was wrong, and it is too bad that our country had to suffer terribly from the Civil War, but if that is what it took to end slavery, that is what it took.  Adolf Hitler was evil.  He killed millions of people for nothing but their race.  Neville Chamberlain tried negotiation with him, but Hitler broke the pact as soon as it was convenient.  Evil people do not keep their promises. They say one thing and do another.  How can we negotiate or compromise with someone who does not keep their word.

There are still some things worth dying for and things like the freedom to worship as we choose, the right to a fair trial before imprisonment, the right of people to live in safety without constant fear, the right of women to be treated as humans not animals.  These are things worth fighting and even dying for.

No war is ever justified. have you forgotten that our war heroes are nothing but murderers from the other country's perspective? there is no honor and no sense of patriotism in fighting a war.My old college professor was a soldier and he didn't see any glory or sense of nationalism in war. He saw it for what it was,Bloodshed, he told me that when you take a life you didn't kill an enemy of your country, you killed someone's father,brother,husband or child. The truly naive message is the one that says war will forever be in human nature,Humans are different we have the ability to rationalize, which is Ironically the same trait in us that causes us to justify genocide and to twist the image of war into this patriotic crusade that people want to believe in but it is that same rationality that drives us into innovation, the same rationality that that tels us that war is pointless. Human evolution is far from finished, and it is very naive to think humans will always be like this.People are obsessed with the here and now, what they can see, what they perceive as real but that isn't productive. People can't see a future. a young college student graduates with a sense of idealism,

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franzvillan | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:27 AM (Answer #17)

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, with the thought that the world can change, and what do people do? They force their cynical views about war and humanity upon them, they tell the that it's naive t wish for peace,that it's naive to work towards mutual understanding, in the end they corrupted an idealistic mind into another hopeless cynic, who's only goal in life is to keep spoiling themselves til death, they corrupted hope for the future into into a bitter acceptance of the present, ignoring the fight for change,ignoring the ideals that humanity should follow, in favor of following the easy path, the path of apathy, the path of greed but most of all the path of conflict. National ideologies do nothing for humanity, it's lead us into this bloody state of neo-feudalism where the most trivial of things can escalate into war and the cruel way society treats idealists is proof of the majority of cynics, they are portrayed in the media as Hippies and paranoid anarchists,

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franzvillan | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:27 AM (Answer #18)

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it's a sad world where idealism is consumed by the perverted sense of realism humanity developed.Every war has an ulterior motive I'm sure you people don't need examples and every time war is advertised it's referred to as service to your country but are you really fightng for the common man? or are you settling a deal or struggle between two groups of powerful people? Naive soldiers and media poisoned teenagers always say there is a greater good soldiers are fighting for, but the soldier I met disagrees, he said he joined the military because he had no choice, that it was the only way he could afford an educaton and to support his family. soldiers are not monsters, they are the unfortunate weapons of the government and even those who do feel they are fighting for a good cause are immediatly corrected by the horrors they see. ever talk to a vietnam veteran? all they can say is that they fought a terrible war and the lives they took haunt them. Humanity has to wake up, we have to stop lamenting about the present, stop telling ourselves that what humanity is now.

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franzvillan | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:31 AM (Answer #19)

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is the end all and be all, we have to realize that the potential to break this cycle is what truly makes us human and we have the ability and the compassion to break this killer instinct. we must have faith i the ideals of the young, if we step back and listen, without the cynicism the world has given us, we will see the truth in what they say, we will once again find the hope that lies in humanity's ability for compassion and understanding, I know that many of you here may look down on me for being an idealist, I know that many people still feel that war is the only way to resolve things, can you blame them? it's been our quick fix solution for thousands of years. and lastly and probably the least important, my typing is god awful but I wanted to type this as fast as possible but please don't let that distract you from the content I hope you will at least listen to what I have to say.

 

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