View Full Version : The Case Against the War

Chris Alger
02-21-2003, 05:47 AM
In Winners & Losers, her collection of essays looking back on the war in Vietnam, Gloria Emerson wrote: "If, years from now, Ameriocans are willing to read any books about the war being so quickly forgotten, let them be The Village of Ben Suc and The Military Half by Jonathan Schell. They tell everything."

Here's a link to Schell's argument against the coming invasion of Iraq: http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030303&s=schell

02-21-2003, 01:34 PM
Nice article - the opening quotes are priceless.

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time...I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."
--President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953,
upon being presented with plans to wage
preventive war to disarm Stalin's Soviet Union

"Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions."
--Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,
the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials,
in his opening statement to the tribunal

What's especially interesting about the 2nd quote is that the US has systematically violated nearly every principle which it relied on during the Nuremberg trials. The Nuremberg Fallacy (by Eugene Davidson) is a fascinating analysis of the hypocrisy behind the positions of the Allied prosecutors - the US prime among them.

John Cole
02-21-2003, 01:37 PM

A couple months ago, I watched one of the cable "news" stations and saw a discussion of those countries which possessed nuclear weapons. A map of the world displayed, in red, those countries which possessed nuclear arms (or were suspected of possessing nuclear arms), and the countries without nuclear arms were displayed in blue. As the camera pulled back to reveal the entire map, I noticed that the US was colored blue. Perhaps this shows just how invisible nuclear weapons really are to those countries that possess them.


Chris Alger
02-21-2003, 02:09 PM
That's funny. Reminds me of a story I heard from a Cuba specialist about the loss of tourism after the revolution. She was looking at some early-1960's ads from a cruise line that showed its routes throughout the Caribbean. The ad apparently used an earlier map with a noticeable deletion. The routes inexplicably circumvented a big patch of ocean in the middle, the part where Cuba used to be.

02-21-2003, 02:22 PM
I think only democratic-style governments should have nukes--and no further proliferation. All governments and political/ideological systems are not created equal.

Schell's article also echoed the familiar (and false, to my view) refrain of the USA as an imperialist nation. Just what is imperialist about wanting open markets and free enterprise, which benefits all people? What is imperialist about championing democracy vs. totalitarianism? Where are our "colonies", if we're imperialist? Did we take over Japan? Germany? Serbia? Afghanistan? It's a great big crock--we aren't imperialist. Sure we have our fingers in a lot of pies--as do all large countries--that's part of interacting on a large scale. But "imperialist"? It's an absurd notion, IMO.

nicky g
02-21-2003, 02:31 PM
"I think only democratic-style governments should have nukes".

Why do even they havethe right to nukes? A democracy has the right to take decisons that affects itself. It doesn't ahve the right to take decisions that affect others adversely, just because it's a democracy. THat's what I don't get about the argument that the US and Israel are deomcracies, and therefore shouldn't come in for so much flack, buyt should rather be venerated. They treat their own citizens well (well, most of them), sure, which is admirable, but they don't treat other peoples in a manner consistent with democracy.

02-21-2003, 02:36 PM
I think the USA today treats others very well--heck the USA gave 60% of all the food aid in the world last year--we aren't out doing all the bad things we did during our Cold War years of struggle--and Israel is so wrapped up in its own struggle with the Palestinians that that's an issue unto itself.

John Cole
02-21-2003, 05:17 PM

As you know, I'm sure, the US ranks far down the list of aid given to other countries based on percentage of GNP. And, I'm not even sure that we should call 30 billion to Turkey, and money given to other countries, "aid" to begin with. Of course, I'm not sure that other developed nations don't include bribery as aid either.

Also, you can claim that the US is not an imperialist nation based on the logic that we haven't established "colonies" around the world, but a more useful term, rather than "imperialism," might be "hegemony."


02-21-2003, 07:03 PM
OK, but I'm sure those receiving the aid care more about how much they actually get than what percentage of GNP it represents.

Could there be something of a double-standard involved when it comes to judging the actions of nations?

I'll have to think more about in what ways "hegemony" might or might not be truly appropriate as a term, but "imperialist" is certainly thrown around a lot, and I think it simply doesn't fit for a number of reasons. It also has serious negative implications which I believe don't exist in this case. If I'm right, then it is squite inaccurate for people to use as Schell does--and such use of the term casts an undeservedly dark shadow on the USA.

02-21-2003, 07:54 PM
try to get job as poltical shill, maybe u can be next rush l. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

02-21-2003, 08:38 PM
And you could be the main heckler in the audience.

02-21-2003, 08:39 PM
And you could be the lead heckler in the audience.

02-21-2003, 11:19 PM
You'd need to say something original to have an audience.

02-21-2003, 11:34 PM
I'm glad you brought this up, because I was regretting naming brad the lead heckler when that honor should clearly be yours.

02-22-2003, 12:15 AM
Schell used the term "imperial," not imperialist. The Untied States is certainly an empire. It was meant to be so. George Washington spoke of the United States as "a rising empire" in 1783. The Founding Fathers had an imperiumin mind--a state that would expand in population and territory, and increase in strength and power. Benjamin Franklin had been writing in terms like this for forty years. The declared purpose in fighting the War for Independence was to create a new empire.

While we no longer seek additional colonies, we certainly seek to maintain the empire we have, a strong and powerful empire. Our diplomacy is not different or purer than that of other powers.

02-22-2003, 02:01 AM
thats complete and utter nonsense. remember school ? heh