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war

One of the critiques of Just War Theory that happens to be entirely correct is that, in practice, it is nothing but window dressing for war. That is, the existence of this theory and its various proponents does not constrain war actors that much. It just gives them a language with which to justify things they are going to do anyways. When military acts clearly run afoul of the principles, that doesn’t matter. Militaries still do them if they feel it is necessary and in their interests and supposed adherents to Just War Theory find ways to justify them nonetheless. Just War Theory is window dressing

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War – this war and the many others like it – has changed us. It demands that a young man brutalized in captivity, that over a hundred of his counterparts brutalized daily in Guantanamo, never meet with any compassion from us ever again. And from Iraq to Syria, Afghanistan to the Ukraine, U.S. war makers will demand newer wars of us, more rage, and more fear cloaked in expressions of our exceptional humanitarian concern for others. We are absolutely forbidden ever to walk away from war. Bowe Bergdahl and the Voice of War

War is not a sport. It is about killing. It is dirty, messy and deeply demoralizing. It brings with it trauma, lifelong wounds, loss and feelings of shame and guilt. It leaves bleeding or dead bodies on its fields. The pay is lousy. The working conditions are horrific. And those who come back from war are usually discarded. The veterans who died waiting for medical care from Veterans Affairs hospitals could, if they were alive, explain the difference between being a multimillion-dollar-a-year baseball star and a lance corporal home from Iraq or Afghanistan. At best, you are trotted out for a public event, as long as you read from the script they give you, the one designed to entice the naive into the military. Otherwise, you are forgotten. Kneeling in Fenway Park to the Gods of War

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As Afghanistan has shown time and again, dropping bombs into messy situations we very clearly do not understand will never be an effective, moral, or practical plan, no matter how much we wish it might be. War is just one more big government program

People who carry weapons and travel with armed units have a terrifying God-like power to humiliate, to demand instant and unquestioned obedience and to kill. Those who do not carry weapons live in states of unrelenting terror and powerlessness. The powerless often seek to become invisible, avoiding contact with the hydra-headed groups of killers that roam the landscape and speak in the language of violence. Chris Hedges

I live in a country that is so wealthy we can wage wars and not have to think about them. It is a pathology handed down from generation to generation. We talk about our military. We use words like ‘heroism.’ But when will we start to care about people whose names are difficult to pronounce? The list of people lost is so vast. How do I write about this and share it in a country that does not want to hear it? We want narratives that are easy and complete, ones we can process. We want wars to be recorded the way historians or people who make tombstones in cemeteries do. They give us the start, the duration and end of the war. But for those of us who were in war it does not end. If you talk to my grandfather in Fresno, Calif., at some point during the day you will be in the presence of World War II. Brian Turner

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For the United States, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be over soon. We will leave behind, after our defeats, wreckage and death, the contagion of violence and hatred, unending grief, and millions of children who were brutalized and robbed of their childhood. Americans who did not suffer will forget. People maimed physically or psychologically by the violence, especially the Iraqi and Afghan children, will never escape. Time and memory will play their usual tricks. Those who endured war will begin to wonder, years from now, what was real and what was not. And those who did not taste of war’s noxious poison will stop wondering at all. Pity the Children

I think the assumptions that Just War reflection makes about human kind assumes that we are open to moral argument in a manner that makes our desires, and particularly the desire for vengeance, subsidiary to rational adjudication. And, of course, that’s a very high view of the human - that we are capable of that kind of reflection. The empirical evidence certainly tends to favour the presumption that we are more perverse than we are capable of rational reflection. Stanley Hauerwas

And where are the voices of sanity? Why are the cheerleaders of slaughter, who have been wrong about Iraq since before the invasion, still urging us toward ruin? Why are those who destabilized Iraq and the region in the worst strategic blunder in American history still given a hearing? Why do we listen to simpletons and morons? The Ghoulish Face of Empire

Let’s look at what US military intervention in Iraq has achieved, in Afghanistan has achieved, in Somalia has achieved, in Lebanon has achieved, in Libya has achieved. I mean, ask ourselves the very simple question: is the region becoming more stable? Is it becoming more democratic? Are we alleviating, reducing the prevalence of anti-Americanism? I mean, if the answer is yes, then let’s keep trying. But if the answer to those questions is no, then maybe it’s time for us to recognize that this larger military project is failing and is not going to succeed simply by trying harder. Combat Veteran and Military Historian Tells Bill Moyers, “No Way” Do We Go Back into Iraq

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You know, we live in a country where if you want to go bomb somebody, there’s remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost, even though the costs almost inevitably end up being orders of magnitude larger than anybody projected at the outcome. But when you have a discussion about whether or not we can assist people who are suffering, then suddenly we come very, you know, cost-conscious. Andrew Bacevich

We have moved from a policy of wars that send Americans to kill and die in other countries to one of financing of color-coded electoral “revolutions” and, if necessary, civil wars with less need for invasions of anything but money, weapons and mechanized zombie warriors. Investments of dollars instead of lives are more profitable for warfare capital, especially as more American consumers threaten to become citizens by demanding peace and democracy. People still die but they are almost all foreigners. The profits that come from those deaths increase while the body count losses at capital central decline. Nice. Great economy. Sure. The Warfare State of Capital

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