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War - Ethical?

  1. Sep 16, 2004 #1
    From the topic "Acceptable Civilian Casualties"

    Let's have a debate on the ethics of war. When is it acceptable, when is it not.

    Something to start off with:
    I personally think war is never ethical. I don't believe you can jeapardise your countrymen's lives for the sake of war, and I don't believe any leader has the right to say whether his or her country should go to war.

    AMW Bonfire
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2004 #2
    So you think it would have been a better idea to allow Japan to invade Australia? If yo don't resist, there is no war.
  4. Sep 16, 2004 #3
    I heard a pretty good description of why some wars need to happen one time on the radio.

    Say you're saying to someone that you do not believe in violence and before you even complete your statement they punch you in the face and knock you to the ground. You get back up and they grab your shirt to hold you in place, so you can't run, there is no one to help you, and they hit you again. You know that they will kill you if you do not defend yourself. Talking to them has not worked, running is not an option. How many times should you let them hit you before you defend yourself?
  5. Sep 16, 2004 #4
    What is Just War?

    Just War Doctrine
  6. Sep 16, 2004 #5


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    Man those Iraqis were really punching the hell out of us and knocking us to the ground before the war started.
  7. Sep 16, 2004 #6
    Though Christ taught, to turn the other cheek, he did not mean for us to become rugs to be walked on.
  8. Sep 16, 2004 #7
    Yeah, and in that ground is about a million of Saddam's victims.
  9. Sep 16, 2004 #8
    Saddam punched our friend (Kuwait)
    We went over to stop it
    Saddam agreed on conditions of probation or he goes to jail
    We enforce probation
    He tries to attack our enforcing officers (no fly zone)
    He fails to abide by timelines for meeting with probation officers
    We put him in jail.
  10. Sep 16, 2004 #9
    They are part of a war on states that support terrorism. The WTC hit the ground pretty hard.
  11. Sep 16, 2004 #10


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    If someone found himself in that situation and refused to defend himself, I would still be able to respect that individual and accept his choice. I am not sure what I would do in his position, but I would consider it his choice to make.

    Here is another illustration I consider quite illuminating:

    An isolated community lives on a small island. The entire population consists of 100 individuals. 98 of these individuals are absolute socialists (believing that the ownership of any material possession is inherently immoral), and absolute pacifists (believing that the use of force against another human being is always wrong).

    The two remaining individuals are; one little old lady who thinks that it is alright to use force to defend oneself, and that there is nothing necessarily wrong with owning possessions, and one greedy, selfish brute (bully).

    Obviously, the selfish brute will take and whole word whatever material possessions are available, even to the point of depriving his fellow residents of necessities. Being a bully, he will also physically abuse the other people on the island. If they refuse to resist them or fight back, they may die, but that is their choice. If they are committed to the principle of absolute pacifism, and willing to die for that principle, than I do not think it is my right to judge them.

    However, as the selfish brute takes by force items belonging to the little old lady, and inflict injury upon her, I believe the situation changes. If the other residents of the island the side to die for their beliefs, that is one thing. But if they decide that the little old lady must die for their beliefs, then I disagree with them, and find their position morally unsupportable.
  12. Sep 16, 2004 #11


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    While I don't think all wars are unethical (invading Afghanistan to go after Al-Quaida, for example), how is Iraq linked to the World Trade Center?

    In fact, didn't just about every nation previously providing more support for terrorism than Iraq do an abrupt about face after the Afghanistan invasion? (Pakistan, for example, which knew what would happen if the Al-Quaida fled across the border).
  13. Sep 16, 2004 #12
    That choice would certainly be honourable.

    Now lets add a third party. A person walks by and sees the person being beaten, who either cannot, or will not, defend himself, and he continues by without helping. Is his position honourable?

    Personally, I think he should attempt to help, even if it means that he could get harmed in the process, or be forced to harm the attacker. Of course his entering the struggle could even result in more harm being done to the victim (maybe the attacker would resort to a weapon or something), but how would he know this?
  14. Sep 16, 2004 #13


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    Of course this thread moved quickly to Iraq, but the opening post said its never ethical. Even those who support the war (me) agree that its one of the more controversial in recent times. It'd be a lot more helpful if we talked about the clearer cases. WWII, for example.

    The European nations appeased Hitler as long as they could - they let him annex country after country after country. Was WWII avoidable? Sure - Europe could have simply turned over the continent to Hitler. The Jews (and Gypsies, and gays, and blacks and....) could have packed up and moved out. Would that have been ethical? Ehh, no.
  15. Sep 18, 2004 #14
    Iraq may not be linked to the WTC, but they are linked to the Oklahoma City bombing.
  16. Sep 19, 2004 #15
    Haven't we hashed this out a million times already?
  17. Sep 19, 2004 #16
    I don't have an answer to that one. I' m reading about the Taliban. But it doesn't matter anyway. Their all Muslims.
  18. Sep 19, 2004 #17
    People like you are the reason the world has so much suffering.
  19. Sep 19, 2004 #18
    Im guessing Outcast doesnt know any muslims himself.
  20. Sep 19, 2004 #19
    I guess studentx and Smurf have never studied Islam and what it teaches or its history.
  21. Sep 19, 2004 #20
    its not easy to decide what conditions starting a war becomes ethical. its more then im willing to tackle right now anyway.

    however, i think the analogy about pacifism being wrong because it lets bullies win is not entirely sound. if you let the bully take what he wants, you can protest by not making that thing for him. when the bully needs your aid, let him suffer, when the bully tells you will die if you do not serve him, still do not make him stronger by serving him. i think that everyone has some compassion to them and if a nation used force to take whatever they want from other nations and killed people who did not serve them, the citizens of the offending nation would no support the actions either...but that could be thousands or even millions of deaths later so forceful resistance would be called for, but i cant give a distinguished set of rules for war. ill try to form a real response over the next few days
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