The Instigator
blackhawk1331
Con (against)
Winning
42 Points
The Contender
charleslb
Pro (for)
Losing
38 Points

Wars are never good.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 16 votes the winner is...
blackhawk1331
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,939 times Debate No: 13604
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (16)

 

blackhawk1331

Con

I have recently read a post by charleslb where he or she states that all wars are moral and unjust, and they are only for imperialistic reasons. I strongly disagree with this statement.
I'd like to start off by pointing out that EVERY war has a reason. World War 2, which is the war that my opponent poked at, was started because Hitler wanted to take over the world. If it weren't for the allies intervention we'd all be catholic, caucasian, have blonde hair and blue eyes, and be saying "Heil Hitler". I dare my opponent to prove World War 2 was unnecessary and only for imperialistic reasons.

Another war that I will use for example is the American Revolution. This war was totally necessary. If the United States had not engaged in this war, then Americans would have no say in their government, we'd be highly taxed, and we'd be drinking tea every day. Therefore, this war was also totally necessary.

The last war that I will use dates back to ancient Greece. Some of you may relate to this battle from the movie 300. The battle of Thermopylae was between the Greeks and Persians. Xerxes, the Persian king wanted all of Greece to surrender unconditionally. The Greeks, obviously, did NOT want this, and led by Spartan king Leonidas, they marched to battle at the Thermopylae Pass. This was a tight zone where the numbers of of persians did not matter because they would be funneled down. There was a secret mountain pass that was guarded by some soldiers, but the soldiers weren't there when the Persians came through. Leonidas evacuated all of the troops except for his 300 and some other soldiers who wanted to stay. In the end, the Greeks that stayed were slaughtered. That, though, is besides the point. The point is that the Greeks fought this battle, and the war that encompassed it for their freedom. If it had not been for this war, Greece would have died out long before the Macedonians invaded.

In conclusion, I am supporting that all wars have a reason, and they are generally not imperialistic reasons.

I sincerely hope that charleslb accepts my challenge and tries to win this debate.

NOTE: I have no specific internet sites to support my arguments. The information that I have used comes my notes from when I was in High School/ Middle School.
charleslb

Pro

You begin by saying that WWII had a reason, which is that Hitler wanted to take over the world. I agree that Hitler was an expansionist dictator who had to be stopped from gobbling up Europe, but as I assert in my original post Are there Any Good Wars? (in the Politics section), the ruling elite of the Allied nations were themselves guilty of denying self-determination, freedom, and human rights to millions of human beings, not exactly the noble champions of democracy and decency were they. They stood up to Hitler because their own interests and hegemony over much of the world was at stake. They ordered not one bombing raid to destroy the train tracks to Auschwitz, not one op of any sort to slow down the implementation of the Nazi's program of genocide. Because the real goal of the war was not altruistic and humanitarian, it was pragmatic and self-concerned, realpolitik and realeconomik.

You also say that if the Nazis had won we'd all be Catholics. Say what?! The Nazis were hardly all devout Catholics, I think if Hitler had won we'd all be Hitlerians rather than Catholics! But I won't rehash my thoughts about WWII here any further, the next war that you choose to use as an example to make your case that there have been some "good wars" in history is the American Revolution, so I'll move on to that example and focus on it in depth.

As for your contention that the American Revolution was totally necessary, and that if they hadn't fought for their independence Americans would have no say in how they're governed, well, this isn't at all historically accurate. Although they had their legitimate grievances the citizens of the North American British colonies were arguably the freest people in the so-called "civilized world". It was hardly imperative that they launch a war of independence to realize the dream of liberty. What about "taxation without representation" though? Yes, they were eventually heavily taxed but that was largely to help finance an enormous British debt that had been wracked up largely as a result of defending the colonies.

Going to war with the "mother country" for national self-sovereignty was not at all such a cut and dried proposition in the Thirteen Colonies. Estimates vary, according to some historians 20-40% of colonists were "loyalists" and opposed independence, according to other historians a good half of the residents of the colonies remained neutral, in any case those who felt the need to wage war for independence only made up about 40-45% of the population. Clearly it was not an objective fact weighing on everyone's mind that they absolutely needed to make war against the Crown!

Those who led the charge to turn the colonies into politically autonomous entities certainly had their ideals, I'm not going to paint an overly simplistic, black and white picture of them as totally cynical practitioners of realpolitik, however, neither were they the saintly true believers in democracy that they're often portrayed to be in high school American history classes! And neither was the Revolutionary war a noble fight for populist representative government.

Rather, the "Founding Fathers" were worldly men of business and the upper echelons of colonial society who felt that the best of all socio-political systems would be one with a certain degree of democracy to safeguard against tyranny, but in which successful gentlemen such as themselves would really pull the strings.

No, the competence of the common people to actually govern themselves was not all that highly regarded by the aristocratic land owners, merchants, and lawyers who were the movers and shakers of the American independence movement (this fact was vocalized quite a bit at the Constitutional Convention). Their war and their commitment to democracy was largely motivated by their desire to enhance their own political status and power.

Democracy was a part of the zeitgeist of the Age of Enlightenment, it was in the air and to the colonial elite it was a path of progress, progress to their own freedom to be the stewards of American political and economic life rather than middlemen for the British elite. The OGs of American democracy essentially piggybacked their own political ambitions onto the democratic spirit of the age and rode it all the way to independence, starting a war in the process and sending 12,000 British soldiers back home in boxes.

When the leaders of the American "patriots" finally came to power did they radically break from British legal and political traditions? No, because they liked the kind of society they had, they just wanted to be at the top of the power structure and to do that they had to boot the British out, and to do that they waged a bloody war. Their war was just as self-interested as most, and no more holy and just than any other.

Well, I'll give it to you the delicate way that conventional historians put it, one of the main factors that led to war was that the Founding Fathers and the Crown differed when it came to their "views of the relation between the central sovereign and subordinate political units" (John C. Bennett). Translation: the "subordinate political units", i.e., the homegrown business and political Establishment of the colonies didn't like being "subordinate" and resorted to lethal force to separate from the Empire and make themselves big fish in their own fishbowl. I'm sorry but I have to say that the idea that the American Revolution is another example of a "good war" is downright historically uninformed, to put it mildly and gently.

Have you ever noted how in television commercials for pharmaceutical companies the spokesperson will often say that the drug he's pitching was developed to make your life better, as if turning a profit for the company wasn't the real motive. But people usually just let this "nice" idea that megacorps market their products to improve our lives slide, we don't all shout in unison "BS!" This is how were trained under capitalism. Well, we've been taught to take the same tactful tack when it comes to American history, to refrain from standing up and shouting "BS!" when someone parrots the positive view of the Revolutionary War that he learned in school, consequently this view is taken to be the gospel truth when it's really just the conventional spin.

I have an 8 year old cousin who's already been taught to believe the conventional spin of American history, he idolizes the early presidents as if they were genuine heroes of freedom, like the rest of us he overlooks the factoid that some of them owned slaves and that they were hardly radical egalitarians. Although we get a little wiser as we get older, like my young cousin many of us apparently still buy the official, history textbook version of why we go to war as a society, to be skeptical is considered unpatriotic after all.

Yes, when we tell our kids and ourselves that Washington never told a lie, that Tom Jefferson believed that all men are created equal, and that they took it upon themselves to fight a war of independence to secure the blessings of liberty for us all, we're all like the official FBI historian I recently saw on a documentary about J. Edgar Hoover who clings to willful naivet´┐Ż and denial about Hoover's crossdressing. Let's step out of denial and intellectual dishonesty and own the truth that the Revolutionary War was just another war fought by the Establishment mainly for its own benefit. No exception to the rule there. (Here's one interesting source, http://www.religion-online.org...).

I've shot my wad of allowed characters on the American Revolution and haven't many left for the Greco-Persian wars. Suffice it to say that the Greek city-states had an imperialistic ruling class that dearly wanted to retain its power and privilege.

In the light of your examples I still stand by my thesis that wars between states are normally fought for selfish gain.
Debate Round No. 1
blackhawk1331

Con

I'd like to say thank you to my opponent for accepting my challenge, and wish them luck.

First, I'll address the article my opponent posts at the end of their argument. This article starts by saying "in this bicentennial year". That quote right there already means that this article was written back in 1976 (24 years ago). This article, therefore, holds little proof because in the 24 years since it was written, new information could have arisen to change any number of points in that article.
First of all, I didn't say the reason for world war 2 was that Hitler was after world conquest, I said it was to stop Hitler. I would also like my opponent to tell me who these "millions of human beings" were that the allies were "guilty of denying self-determination, freedom, and human rights" to. My opponent also talks about how the Allies never bombed the trains Auschwitz. There are multiple reasons to explain this other than that the Allies were imperialistic. First of all, I just talked to my grandparents(my grandfather was born in WW2 and my grandmother a year after him), and they said that the general public did NOT accept concentration camps because they didn't believe anything so terrible could happen. If the public wouldn't believe in the camps, then there could hardly be bombing on the train tracks. I would also like to direct focus to Elie Wiesel's book Night. Mr. Wiesel is a holocaust survivor. In the beginning chapters of his book he tells about how when the Fascist party took over in his country, he and his fellow jews believed that no harm would come to them because they knew the war was almost over. Even when the Gestapo came and helped deport immigrants, they still believed nothing would happen. Even after an immigrant faked death and came back they doubted it. Mr. Wiesel tells of this immigrants report. According to the immigrant, babies were thrown into the air and used as machine gun targets, people were made to dig their own graves, and and then murdered in mass. The immigrant who reported this escaped because he was shot in the leg and able to fake death. Even after this report, the jews didn't believe in concentration camps. This pattern continues for 2 or 3 chapters. The jews go into ghettoes(they still don't believe), they are deported(nope, still don't believe), finally they arrive at the gates of Auschwitz, and now they believe. If the jews didn't believe the concentration camps were there until they arrived at the gates, how were the allies to know they were there in order to bomb it? Next, for anyone who's seen Band of Brothers, you will know that the soldiers involved in the fighting only believed in concentration camps when they liberated one. This movie, and the book its based on, are reliable sources for accurate information because the soldiers featured in the movie/book comment on how accurate it is with their experiences. *Note: before each part there are interviews with different soldiers featured in the movie. My final point for the lack of ability to bomb the camps is a report from a GERMAN SOLDIER from WORLD WAR 2 that my dad knew. This soldier says that most Germans didn't like Hitler, but couldn't do anything. The only reason they even fought the war was for Germany, not the Nazis. Also, the genocide, while attempted, was never completed because the jews weren't totally wiped out, and that is required for a genocide. I'd also like to point out that this attempt at genocide still hasn't been "stopped" so to speak. If they could, the modern Nazis would pick up right were they left off, they just need a chance to gain unchallenged power again.
As for my opponent's argument about the American Revolution, they state that we were taxed because of a debt to repay for defense of the colonies. I'd like to point out that this is a flat out lie. The taxes were to fill a hole in the British treasury that was made during the French and Indian war. This war fit the British Empire's agenda, not the colonists'. The colonists only fought because they weren't given much choice. I'd also like to point out that 40-45% in favor of revolution that my opponent speaks of is in fact a fallacy. 56 people signed the Declaration of Independence, and at least 51% had to support the declaration. If a majority had NOT wanted independence, then there would have been no war. My opponent has also stated that the revolution was just to increase American politicians' standings. If this is true then why did George Washington refuse to take more than two terms in office? If he had wanted power, he could have easily been president for life, but he refused to let this happen.
Finally, my opponent says his reason for not responding to the Greco-Persian wars is that they don't have enough characters. I say that this is a poor reason to not respond because if my opponent had really had anything substantial to say that would even begin to prove this war was non-imperialistic, then they could have easily made room. A lot of what they said about the American Revolution holds no standing in this debate because it is the same idea said in different was. Therefore, this war holds true as a "good war" because my opponent has been unable to dispute it. The other to wars that I used in example also hold true because I have shown how my opponents points are fatally flawed. My opponent also states at the very end that their thesis was that wars are normally fought for imperialistic reasons. The truth of the matter is that my opponent was accusing ALL wars of being wicked, and in their revised thesis alone has started to show that they are realizing that there are "good" wars.

Since I still have a lot of characters left, I would like to introduce another known war. This is the Civil War(American). This war can hardly be credited to "imperialistic" reasons. The whole reason this war was fought was because Lincoln refused to entirely honor a state's right to secede. When the Confederate states seceded, they wanted more rights, not land. That is not imperialistic. The Union started the war because the "rebels" fired on Fort Sumter. This fort was fired on because Lincoln bolstered his defenses there rather than remove them like he said he would. In this war, the Union was still not out to gain land, they were out to save the Union from dissolving further. This can be proven because Lincoln said that he would keep slavery, abolish it, or mix keeping and abolishing it in order TO SAVE THE UNION!

I have shown how my opponent fails to prove any of the wars that I've listed were for mainly imperialistic reasons, and I've provided yet another war that wasn't imperialistic.

I await a response.
charleslb

Pro

First of all, I'd like to thank my opponent for opening his reply with an expression of courtesy. This is very much to your credit and very much appreciated.

Now then, down to business. You first point out that the article I included a link to is somewhat dated. Sure, it was written back in the year of the Bicentennial, but the basic facts of American history that it deals with haven't changed, haven't been altered by scholarship since the article was written. If you thought that there were any points in the article that have been invalidated by the recent work of historians you should have told us specifically what they are instead of just questioning the reliability of the article on the basis of it having been written 34 years ago.

Next you point out that you didn't exactly say that the reason for WWII was Hitler's appetite for world conquest. Well, it shouldn't be a bone of contention that Hitler had a gluttonous appetite for conquest, he certainly did. And don't get me wrong, by questioning the integrity of the motives of the ruling class of the Allied Powers I was in no way trying to mitigate Hitler's role in helping to cause the war. He was a dangerous and despicable character, it's just my argument that the ruling class of the nations who fought a war with him were primarily selfishly concerned about the danger that he presented to them, to their own special interests, not to the Poles and Jews and Gypsies that he subjugated and slaughtered.

Once again, it's safe to say that the war was fought not because the power elite of the US, Britain, the USSR, etc. altruistically set aside their private interests and chose to sacrifice money, resources, and lives to defeat the twin evils of fascism & Nazism. This is safe to say because the conduct of the politicos and plutocrats who rule the world has historically never been devoid of self-interest, like the mafia they never do anything unless they stand to gain something tangible.

Okay, so what in the case of WWII did the powers that be gain that should make us suspect the purity of their motives? Well, where to start! They gained quite the embarrassment of riches. The US and its Western allies gained control of Western Europe; Stalin retained Russia and gained control of what became the Eastern Bloc; much of the Third World empire of Britain and France, from oil-rich Iran to Vietnam (talk about a booby prize), became the neocolonial empire of the US; both the US and the Soviet Union were able to pursue their geopolitical and economic ambitions all over the globe; and of course the war finally ended the Great Depression in the United States and left it the one and only industrial superpower for a while. To say that the spoils of victory were substantial would be an understatement. Not only did the ruling class of the nations that opposed the Axis defend their position in the war, they significantly enhanced it.

You then say "I would also like my opponent to tell me who these ‘millions of human beings' were that the allies were "guilty of denying self-determination, freedom, and human rights" to." Well, let's see, there were the masses of India who went through that period called the British Raj when they were an unwilling part of UKs former empire. There were the masses of Indonesia who never exactly asked to be governed and exploited by the Dutch. There were the masses of China who were deprived of national self-sovereignty by European powers. There were the people of Algeria who were disenfranchised, dispossessed, and all-around brutally dissed by France who had decided to turn Algeria into France's version of Hawaii, a colony whose native population would become an underclass for a transplanted French population. There were the banana republics of Latin America who were ruled by the business and political Establishment of the US through local client governments. Etc. etc.

You next say that the ignorance of the public in the US and Britain helps explain why there were no efforts made to derail the Nazis from mass murdering Jews & others. Well, firstly, if the Allies didn't know the enormity of the evil of the Nazis this would actually support my contention that the war was not really a great moral crusade to put a stop to a great evil. If the "good guys" didn't really know what the bad guys were doing to their innocent victims behind their lines, well then perhaps the "good guys" were not fighting so much to save these innocents as they were to save their own bacon? But then again, the leaders of the Allied nations had information and intelligence about what was going on behind German lines, they knew that the Nazis were rounding up Jews and carrying out massacres. Ignorance is not an excuse that we can hand them.

Nevertheless, you try to make a case that the Allies were quite unaware of the camps and the lethal cruelty of the Nazis. I'll just quote here from the Jewish Virtual Library: "The Red Cross knew about the Nazi atrocities as early as August 1942. In February 1945, the President of the Red Cross wrote to a U.S. official: ‘Concerning the Jewish problem in Germany we are in close and continual contact with the German authorities.' The fact that the head of the Red Cross would use the Nazi phraseology – "the Jewish problem" – may also be an indication of the organization's attitude that Jews were more of a problem than a people who were being annihilated." Yes, the reason the Allies did nothing for the Jews had more to do with attitude than lack of intel.

The Vatican's official newspaper has also alleged that Britain and the US had "detailed knowledge" of the Holocaust. Apparently Henry Morgenthau Jr., wartime Secretary of the Treasury wrote the following in his diary about the British attitude: "a Satanic combination of British chill and diplomatic double talk, cold and correct and adding up to a sentence of death". (http://www.telegraph.co.uk... )

Sorry if it's a bitter pill to swallow but those wonderful humanitarians who waged war against Hitler knew that atrocities and genocide were afoot, and did nothing specific to slow it down quite simply because that wasn't why they had committed their countries to war.

Let's move on to the American Revolution. No, it's not a flat-out or even a lumpy lie that the colonies were taxed in part to pay for their own defense. They were, the French and Indian war did protect British interests but it also protected the colonies from French expansionism. Which is something the colonists wanted to be protected from, they certainly didn't want to come under French hegemony.

You then say that the Revolution couldn't have taken place without majority support. Well it could because it did. This isn't something that's in dispute by historians so I'll just refer you to Wikipedia, they have the stats.

Okay, so Washington didn't want to be dictator for life, this is your argument that the elite of the colonies didn't have their own selfish motivations for seeking independence?

And yes, I truly did run out of characters when I got to the Greco-Persian wars, the site only allows us 8000 characters and right now I'm at 7441! I'll just say that the Greek city-states were imperialistic and not so beautifully democratic. Their motives for fighting back against Persian expansionism were self-preservation as a ruling elite and self-interest.

And alas, the Civil War was caused mostly be economic factors. Lincoln repeatedly made clear that he had no intention of emancipating the slaves! The industrial North was lording their economic superiority over the backward South and the South wanted out from under. Again, it was economic interests that were at issue and at stake.

I stand firm, war, all of your examples to the contrary, is always a mercenary business
Debate Round No. 2
blackhawk1331

Con

NOTE: I'm going to use roughly half my characters for a little more argument, and then I'll move on to my closing statements.I probably should have done this right from the start, but here's a definition for imperialism.

Imperialism: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Now, I would like to start out by stating that my opponent has once again changed their thesis to support their losing argument. They started by calling all wars wicked, then by stating wars are normally for imperialistic reasons, and now wars are for mercenary business. They have clearly demonstrated that they can't win their original argument, and they have even strayed to a whole new topic. I never stated that there were no spoils of war. I stated that not all wars are imperialistic. My definition clearly shows that this is true. I say this because the people my opponent listed as being mistreated were people who were mistreated before the war. After the war, all the countries my opponent listed, and many more were granted independence. See this link for just some of the countries. http://wiki.answers.com...
If you read the definition that I posted, you will see that this is quite clearly ANTI-imperialistic. I'd also like to point out that when it comes to bombings, ignorance is an excuse not to. We couldn't risk bombing and harming civilians. In reference to "the jewish problem" that is open for interpretation. Clearly my opponent thinks that it means the Russians disliked jews, but from my interpretation it means that what was happening to the jews was a problem. That point can be dismissed. my opponent states "The Vatican's official newspaper has also ALLEGED that Britain and the US had "detailed knowledge" of the Holocaust." The word alleged, which I have capitalized shows that it isn't solid fact that the Brits or Americans knew spit about the Holocaust. Point dismissed. I will address my opponents seventh paragraph later.
Visit this site about the French and Indian war, it clearly states that a cause for the war was NOT French expansionism, so, therefore the colonists weren't being protected from it. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk...
I'd also like to point out that my opponent has told us to use Wikipedia as a source for statistics on how what percent of people voted in favor of revolution. Please dismiss this argument because I can guarantee you that, if I wanted to, I could have Wikipedia's page on the American Revolution say that the British won the war within a matter of minutes.
My opponent made no rebuttal about the Greco-Persian wars, so I will save my one comment for a little later.
For the Civil War, use some logic. WHY would a group of people want to break away from HALF THEIR COUNTRY because that half had a stronger economy? It makes no sense! If part of your country has a stronger economy than you, you stay with them so their economy can hopefully bolster yours. So why did the Confederates rise up against the Union to get away from a stronger economy? THEY DIDN'T! They rose up for more rights, they felt as if they were being oppressed by the rest of the Union, and they were. When Lincoln was elected, the vast majority of the future Confederacy had supported Jefferson Davis, and that means that Lincoln's rise to office proved the south no longer had a say. THAT is why they rose up, not for some made up economic reasons.
I have already addressed my opponents changed thesis, so now onto my opponents fatal flaw.
My opponent, in their last argument, stated that wars were mercenary business. I NEVER said that there were no spoils of war. This debate isn't even about that, it's about the how NOT ALL WARS ARE WICKED. This means that my opponent's last argument was useless for them. Here is the definition for imperialism again since I am about to refer to it.
Imperialism: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
This essentially means that imperialism is one nation extending rule over a weaker one for personal gain. None of the examples I gave have the nation(s) that first declared war fighting for any personal gains.
WW2 - Hitler was imperialistic, but the allies(who fought imperialism) declared war to fight for self preservation
American Revolution - British had imperialistic rule, and Americans declared war and fought to break free
Civil War - Union refused to leave Confederate land, Confederates declared war to fight for freedom
Greco-Persian Wars - Xerxes(Persian king) wanted dominance of Greece, Greece(lead by Sparta) declared war for self preservation
Notice a pattern yet? I hope so because all of the sides who declared war declared it for freedom or self preservation, and neither of those reasons for declaring war are imperialistic.

-Start Closing Statements-

First of all, I have proven that my opponent can't stick with one thesis if they want a snowball's chance in **** of winning. Therefore my opponent has changed thesis twice already, and who knows wether or not they will change again in their closing statements. Just to recap, my opponent first stated that ALL wars are wicked. Then they said that NORMALLY wars are good. Finally, they went totally off topic by stating that all wars were mercenary business. I already showed how this last thesis is not applicable. Therefore, my opponent has most likely recognized that they're losing, and tried to change topics, to no avail.
Next, I have proven that not all wars are for imperialistic reasons. I can't think of more than one war that could be argued in favor of having solely imperialistic reasons from the begging, and that war is the Mexican War. I'm not saying that there weren't more solely imperialistic wars, but I am saying that not all wars were or are solely imperialistic, and THAT is what this debate is about. Wether or not ALL wars are imperialistic. I have proved that there are wars that weren't imperialistic, and even some that were anti-imperialistic. I have given some examples, and even proven them multiple times.
Finally, I have shown that my opponents points are not valid or weak most of the time, and all of them have been easily rebutted.
In conclusion, I have proven that not all wars were imperialistic. I have shown this through examples, strong arguments, definitions, and by showing how my opponent is caving through pointing out r=their ever changing thesis.
Who knows what their next thesis will be. Will it even have anything to do with war? They have been rapidly waning from the original topic.

Now, as a last comment, I would like to first say "thank you" to everyone who read this debate, and an even bigger "thank you" to anyone who votes for me. I would also like to thank my opponent once again for accepting my debate, and say that it has been a pleasure arguing with them.

VOTE CON FOR THE TRUTH!
VOTE PRO FOR LIES AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS!
charleslb

Pro

Firstly, my opponent is being a bit literal by citing my use of the word "mercenary" and my characterization of war as a "mercenary business" as a departure from my fundamental thesis that wars are normally imperialistic. Apparently he's hung up on one usage of the word "mercenary". No, the word doesn't exclusively refer to the war-making of soldiers of fortune. The Oxford Dictionary of English: "primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics". Which is exactly what I've been accusing the business and political elite that starts our wars of all along.

As for my use of the phrase "mercenary business", well, the word "business" doesn't just refer to a business enterprise, the Oxford Dictionary of English again: "an activity that someone is engaged in". War is an activity, and it's an activity that the imperialistic ruling class engages in because it's "concerned with making money" and willing to do so at the expense of ethics, hence war can aptly be described as a mercenary business. Varying my adjectives from "imperialistic" to "mercenary" in no way constitutes "changing my thesis" as my opponent alleges. Sorry to belabor semantics like this but my honorable opponent tries to make me out to be inconsistent by hewing to a limited definition of my terms and so I had no choice.

As for your point that the oppressed people I cited in my previous argument were "mistreated before the war", well, firstly I had asserted that the ruling class of the West had demonstrated that it didn't care that much about human freedom by oppressing other peoples and you asked for examples so I provided some. That these peoples were oppressed before WWII is irrelevant, they were oppressed by the supposedly freedom-loving nations who fought the fascists and this fact convicts those nations of hypocrisy when they claim that they fought the war for liberty and human rights. If Britain, for example, had so much genuine concern for the rights of man it wouldn't have amassed an empire so large that the sun never set on it, as it used to boast! Secondly, how did Britain and other Western nations acquire their empires? By using military technology and force of course, once again we find that the use of military force is normally motivated by greed.

Then you have the chutzpah to say that after WWII the various peoples who had been the victims of European colonialism were "granted their independence"! "Granted"? They won their independence by striving and struggling for it. And they only received independence when the imperialistic powers that had dominated them were weakened by WWII, and when those powers realized that they could no longer maintain control of their overseas empires. Times change, and the age of naked imperialism finally saw its end. But of course it only gave way to neocolonialism, a more sophisticated and veiled imperialism, i.e., the use of economic power to dominate the Third World.

Then you defend the fact that the Allies took no actions during the war to interrupt the Holocaust by asserting that the reason was concern about potential civilian causalities. That didn't stop the bombing of Dresden or Hiroshima. And bombing the train tracks along which the victims of Hitler's hate were transported wouldn't have produced civilian causalities, it would have saved lives. The reason the Allies did nothing to save the lives of the men, women, and children who were being exterminated in the camps was simple, the Allies had other motives for fighting and saving Jewish lives wasn't a priority. The ruling elite of the Allied nations was waging war to keep the world a safe place for themselves and their interests, not for the people being massacred by the Nazis and not for democracy.

Then you seem to become confused about the phrase "the Jewish problem" in a quote I provided in my previous argument. The phrase was a bit of Nazi terminology and the quote that it occurs in is from an official of the Red Cross, that he would use such a loaded Nazi phrase perhaps indicates that the Nazis weren't the only ones with anti-Semitic attitudes, that perhaps the such attitudes were shared by bigwigs in the West.

And I really can't imagine how you get to the conclusion that I was suggesting that a quote from a Red Cross official indicated the attitude harbored by the Russians about the Jews, the Red Cross wasn't exactly a Soviet organization! The Russians had the Red Army but no Red Cross. As for anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union, sure, Stalin persecuted the Jews, but then was there anyone he didn't he persecute? Stalin was a flaming power monger who placed no value on any human life, therefore I don't really have to make a case that he we anti-Semitic to prove that he didn't care about saving Hitler's victims. Clearly the only thing that motivated him to put up a fight was the desire to preserve his repressive regime.

Then you zero in on the word "ALLEGED" to dismiss the article in the Vatican's Newspaper about the depraved indifference of the Allies to Nazi genocide. Sure the article has to use the word alleged, it's not as though the US or UK is ever going to declassify a smoking gun that conclusively convicts Churchill and others of knowing what evil the Nazis were up to and doing nothing. Alleged, yeah, like OJ will always just be an "alleged" murderer.

Then you question the accuracy of the stats on the Wikipedia page for how many colonists supported and opposed the Revolutionary War. Well, I only suggested Wikipedia because it's easy to find online. The percentages I gave aren't really in dispute by historians, and anyone can find this out by doing a Google search.

Then you fasten and harp on the technical definition of the word "imperialism", well, I never put all my argumental eggs in the basket of that one term. My thesis is that war is normally motivated by the self-interestedness of a society's political and economic ruling class. Classic imperialism is only one form and manifestation of the greed that causes war.

Hmm, then you once again assert that my arguments shift gears too much, well, as I clarified above, my arguments only seem so shifty to you because you're cherry-picking straw man key words and fixating on the wrong definitions. It's not inconsistent to call the plutocrats who rule the globe greedy, selfish, mercenary, imperialistic, etc., and certainly not a "fatal flaw". Sometimes it's good to be a stickler about semantics, and sometimes it's just lame.

Then you say that the Mexican War is the only war in history that's clearly imperialistic. Assuming that you mean American history, what about the Spanish-American War that netted the US some foreign colonies? What about the invasion of Iraq, or was that to protect us from those invisible weapons of mass destruction? And if you mean world history then you've glossed over quite a few examples.

Then you try to secure an easy win for yourself by making the question an all or nothing proposition with the world "solely". Something doesn't have to be all black to be bad, or all white to be good. Something can be dark gray or light gray, so to speak. Some wars have perhaps been gray but have been a dark shade of it, being predominantly a product of the economic self-interest of the rich & powerful.

Well, then you declare that you've thoroughly proven your case and utterly demolished mine, I'll let the voters be the judge of that.

As for your capitalized parting words, a little over the top.

War is "politics by other means", and politics is an ambitious, selfish, dirty business. War is no more noble than politics or the politicians who decide when it's "necessary". And under our capitalist system war is no more noble than the corporate kingpins who to a disturbing extent decide for the politicians, and for the rest of us.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by charleslb 6 years ago
charleslb
Reply to JimProfit,

No Jim, I'm neither a card-carrying Marxist-Leninist nor a liberal. In fact I don't self-identify as a liberal at all. Liberal, in my book, are people with some criticisms of capitalism and the political system, but all-in-all they believe in the system and just want to make some reforms, they aren't radically opposed to the fundamental nature of capitalism, as I am. Those of us who want to completely scrap the system and grow a new, more economically equitable and socially just system in its place, who would like to utterly abolish capitalism in favor of what most would label socialism are more appropriately labeled leftists. So, if you're going to slap me with a label I request that you use leftist, socialist, or non-Soviet-style communist.

BTW, unless we're talking about someone who's on the radical right, conservatives also fundamentally believe in the system, despite all their griping about how the "liberals" have run it into the ground. Like liberals, conservatives just want to "reform" the system in certain ways. So, both liberals and conservatives are essentially adherents of the pro-Establishment conventional worldview, aka society's dominant ideology. Conservatives represent a hard form, and liberals a soft form of the same dominant ideology! Those of us who identify as leftist deeply and strongly reject the dominant ideology and therefore don't really fit into the mainstream spectrum of liberal vs. conservative. We are the marginalized dissidents who staunchly refuse to condone the fundamental nature and ethos of the system. Again, we have this in common with extreme rightists, it's just that the rightists have their hearts in the wrong place, and their ideology flows from a primitively macho, alpha male mind-set (see my post on the conservative mentality).

Running out of characters here so, in short, in the future please don't mischaracterize me as a liberal. Thanks
Posted by JimProfit 6 years ago
JimProfit
Why does charleslb even have Karl Marx in his av? He's not a communist, he's just a hardcore, gay parade, throw a fetus around like a football liberal. And I'm not saying that to insult the guy, he's never really targeted me, but it's true. The guy is just a flamming liberal and does not represent the communist movement. Which explains so many of his positions.

Maybe he should have Ted Kennedy in his av instead of Karl Marx.
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
Yea, I agree.
Posted by ewo2 6 years ago
ewo2
why is it that changing someone's view from one side to the other is worth 0 points? that seems to me to be indicative of a victorious debate...
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
lol
Posted by JimProfit 6 years ago
JimProfit
@Roy

You're too uptight man. I want debate to be like jerry springer. blackhawk needs to sleep with charles sister and charles needs to throw a chair at blackhawk.

Also we need Jews riding dinosaurs.
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
When did I accuse Pro of lying and how was my use of references poor?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro relied on ad hom attacks. The approach that a war cannot be justified unless one side is morally perfect. That's not true.

Con accused Pro of lying, bad conduct.

Poor use of references by both sides.
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
Charleslb, comments aren't a no-no, I didn't mean for it to come off that way. I just wanted you to make sure that you explicitly tell people not to let your comments influence their vote. It's the same thing I said at the end of my last comment. I was only saying this because this debate could carry until the end of the voting period if we keep debating in comments. I'd say that we should both post this at the bottom of every comment, like I did on my other one.

"Don't let what I said influence your voting."

That's all, sorry if it looked like I was saying no more commenting.
Posted by charleslb 6 years ago
charleslb
Reply to blackhawk1331

Sorry, it didn't occur to me that replying to comments was a no-no now that the debate is ended, I won't post any more replies. My apologies.
16 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Spritle 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro better
Vote Placed by ethopia619 6 years ago
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