We'll be back Wed night..until then, here's a reposting.. Enjoy~
originally posted on July 20, 2011
This posting is a little different that normal in that the focus isn't so much on economics and finance as is it the military and the US history of being at war.
I was watching a documentary last night on the Vietnam War made in 1972 where servicemen stationed at various military bases who had been deployed previously and returned, and those about to be sent off, were speaking honestly about the conflict. Many spoke of feeling that Vietnam was not a 'moral and just' war.
And that got me thinking.. In the entire history of the US military from Revolutionary War until the present conflicts, how many wars have we truly fought that were 'moral and just'? Or was the situation in Vietnam something new? So I decided to break down each war the US has been involved in militarily to see if it can fit as 'moral and just'. No judgments are made on those who serve or have served. This exercise was meant to look at government's decision making processes and rationales.
So the masses were riled up into a lather by cheap merchants, and from Boston Tea Party to Boston 'Massacre', the rebellion drum was beaten harder and harder until eventually shots were fired. And if the colonists' cause was so just and moral, why was it that the British offered full freedom to any black man who took up arms to help crush the rebellion? Wouldn't emancipation have been something we ourselves would offer since we were supposedly fighting for it?
Much more I could write but for brevity sake, I won't...
By the time the war began in April, 1861, the fight had nothing to do with slavery on a human level and the Union had zero concerns on the institution or curtailing it. To paraphrase Lincoln, if he could unite the Union by freeing some of the slaves in some of the states or all of them or none of them, the focus was preserving one nation. The Emancipation Proclamation came about in early-mid 1862 as a means to motivate Union soldiers to re-enlist at years' end by making the war a 'moral' one. It turned out to be good propaganda because the ruse worked nd re-enlistment soared by New Years, 1863 even though Lincoln held off releasing it for months until there was a Union victory as not to appear 'weak' and it only freed slaves in states it had no jurisdiction--the Confederacy itself. Border states that aligned with the Union were allowed to keep slavery.
Both incidents were part of the overall reason but in 1917 the war was going badly for the Triple Entente (Britain, France & Russia) When the Russian people rose up and overthrew Czar Nicholas II, that took Russia out of the war. And had Germany won, American investors who had heavily backed England would have taken a Severe financial beating. So they pressured Woodrow Wilson to eventually enter a war he had spent years promising he wouldn't involve the US military in. WWI was not a moral and just war and neither was US' involvement. After the war, Wilson tried to push through his highly idealistic and naive 14 Points, but neither Europeans or the opposition party at home wanted anything to do with it.
The war ended by dropping 2 nuclear bombs on Japan. I am not saying it was wrong since many experts on WWII argue had that action not occurred, it would have taken a million US soldiers invading Japan and many more years of fighting to truly end the war. So one can not discard elements of necessity. But a moral and just war, by definition does not end with the destruction that 2 atom bombs create. Nonetheless, this war was the closest the US has come to fighting a truly moral and just war, especially considering the monsterous enemy which was defeated, particularly in Europe.
American soldiers throughout history have generally speaking, been very moral and honorable men and women. And this posting was not meant to disparage them, There's always exceptions who do not represent the military in its entirety but overall US soldiers over history have conducted themselves admirably.
But in terms of US government policy specifically, the causes and justifications to go to war, and military involvement with adversaries domestic and abroad, America has a very poor historical track record. And even when we fight in wars with moralistic aims and goals, it always seems to take a backseat to the economic interests of special interests and financiers.