I think it’s safe to say that we all agree that war is a terrible thing and cannot be justified, WW2 excepted.

But it is Civil war that I find perplexing…what drives a man to take up arms against his own countrymen, his neighbours, his own kin, the guy he was having a glass of wine with a few months back.

We’ve had 2 civil wars in the UK because of the stupid actions of King Charles 1, Americans have suffered 1 because of various issues, slavery being primary I believe.

Most countries have had internal conflict but surely these wars could have been avoided if the opposing factions had just got their heads together and worked it out without bloodshed.

“In war there are no winners, just dead people, orphans, widows and destruction”

This would have been a good opener, so why didn’t they do it?

Offhand; because one or both sides wouldn’t listen to reason, or was simply evil/fanatic, or because the people in charge of the opposing factions ( probably accurately ) felt that they personally wouldn’t pay much of a price even if they lost. All sorts of reasons. However :

That is simply wrong; plenty of people support wars and consider them justified. The Iraq war certainly had it’s supporters, and still does; just not as many.

War isn’t nice, period. However, you will find people in favour of a given war and people against it, so without arguing the justification of any war, why should the fact that it’s “civil” have any bearing? How do you define “neighbours” and “kin”? Are the people in the next city sufficiently different to me, or are the ethnically and culturally different folks in Somethingistan on the other side of the planet my brother and sister human beings?

I don’t think national borders have much place in justifying war. I think of war as a last resort which IS sometimes justified (and often not), but I would lump in civil wars together with others when considering that.

OK perhaps my brush was to broad, I should have said the majority and not all.

I may be a bit of a dreamer here but I firmly believe that most of mankind is a reasonable animal, I’m fairly, but not wholly,certain that if the opposition leaders had got together, tried to strike some compromise things may have turned out different.

The loss of life of millions could have been avoided if the obvious had been pointed out

TLD I think you understand perfectly what I mean by neighbours and kin

There are so many cold hearted and totally un-empathetic people who think of the opposing sides’ lives as being worthless. The way we ravaged and decimated the villages of people who were still using buffaloes to plow their fields in Vietnam, while a bunch of fat men in wood paneled offices drank Scotch, for instance. Or the graffiti on the wall of a building that I saw a while ago: “NUKE FALLUJAH NOW!” And I used to be one of those people, in high school - kill ‘em all, they’re fuckin’ towelheads, they’re primitive. I didn’t even think about the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or that the people there were people with meaningful lives. Some people grow out of this cold hearted mentality, but unfortunately, others don’t. And a lot of those others wind up in wood paneled offices, wielding the power to end human lives a continent away.

Now, to address the issue of a civil war, and us being all countrymen and kin - how many people are murdered in America every day by other Americans? I don’t think I even need to say any more.

I think I do, but I’m not sure it’s valid. And even if it is valid, where does one draw the inevitable line?

TLD I do believe you are nitpicking.

A civil war is a war between people living in the same country altho’ unfortunately sometimes people from other countries get involved, ie The Spanish Civil War

Not nitpicking at all, my good fellow. I know what the definition of “civil war” is. I was trying, however, to point out that a civil war may not be necessarily any worse than a traditional international war. They both involve people blowing each other to bits, and I’m asking a legitimate question about how you define “kin”.

Does an Orangeman from Northern Ireland have more or less in common with an IRA member than he does with a Kalahari bushman? I’m not winding you up - this is a legitimate (and I believe eventually unanswerable) question.

Kin=my close family

Not unanswerable in the least

So the entire population of England is your “close family”?*

*Heck, I thought that was just the royal family and a few sheep. (kidding :smiley: )

From Chambers:

Kin: people belonging to the same family,ones relatives.

My last word on the matter of MY BLOODY KIN

You’re a dreamer.

All it takes is a few unreasonable people in the right position, and a dash of charisma, and you’ve something that can’t be solved by any means but duking it out.

Now in the case of the American Civil War, the entire South had a choice between entirely changing their way of life and probably going through several decades of hardship as they adjusted, not to mention having to allow blacks to roam about freely–which was repugnant and potentially dangerous to their families (from their viewpoint)–or to maintain their stance. Remember, it’s the other guy’s fault, so it’s not like you’re being murderous. The other guy is forcing you to have to pick up arms and try and kill him first. So it’s a matter of self-preservation, not a desire to kill.

And from the standpoint of the North, it was an issue of morality (freeing the blacks), protecting their way of life (since they were interdependent on the South for farming and such), and the protection of the Democratic method. If in a democracy, the group who loses the vote splinters off every time, then the future of the country is grim. If the country ended up fragmenting, then the security of its citizens becomes uncertain. So they had to protect themselves by attacking the South.

Righto I’m a dreamer

Wasn’t it the South who attacked first. Fort Sumpter?

Economics have a lot to do with war–money. The Stamp Tax to a large degree motivated the U.S. war of independence. The U.S. Civil War wasn’t only about morality; without slavery, the South would lose all the free labor, and the North would get all that cheap labor for emerging industries. The Indian Wars were largely motivated by the discovery of gold, and the natural resources in the west of America. Cortez wanted gold in Mexico. And some people are making a lot of money out of Iraq.

For the North, it was far from an issue of morality at the time they went to war. Lincoln stated many times in the early days of the war he had no intention of interfering with the institution of slavery - his entiore motive was preservation of the union. The Emancipation Proclaimation, while a profoundly decent act, was also, at it’s heart, a tactic for disrupting the Southern economy and presagaing the wholesale indcution of black troops onto the Union Army.

And what about the Copperheads? The Democratic Party, feilding George McClelland, ran a vile racist campaign in 1864 based on the platform of miscegination. (That said, it must be acknowledged the Republicans handed them their asses on platter for it - but how much of that was support for Lincoln in the light of Sherman’s great victory at Atlanta and general suppor tof lincoln propsecution of the war remains to be seen)

And the South attacked the North.

War is all hell, boys.


Cannot be justified? Sorry. Count me as disagreeing. Count me with von Clausevitz. I fully supported both invasions of Iraq. Not all wars are justified, of course, but that doesn’t mean that no war is justified.

One thing I have learned is that people do not like people who are different. What is classified as ‘different’ can be many things and different things at different times. White / black. Hutu / Tutsi. Protestant / Catholic. Nazi / Jew. It can be as simple as a different accent.

Well I did say WW2 excepted Quartz

But really no poster has yet given me a reason why any person should take up arms against his fellow countryman. What would drive a person to feel so strongly about any issue that he would be prepared to kill the man with whom he was once friends with.

Obviously I talk of warfare and not of finding your best mate giving your wife a savage rogering

There are many justifiable reasons to go to war, but here’s one that springs to mind: how about a war of independence? Take for example the American revolution. Certainly England was not going to declare the colonies independent without a fight. Had you (chowder) been in charge, would you have tried to resolve the situation with the argument that war is bad? Do you think anyone would have listened?

Evidence would tend to disagree with you. People are proud, stubborn, overconfident, ignorant, emotional, frightened creatures with short memories.

War is such an enticing option because people get riled up and think that they are so much superior to their enimies that they can just kick them over with a few bombs. Next thing they know they are entrenched in a quagmire that lasts years and no one knows how to get out of it.

Under your thinking, there should never be divorces, either. Two people should just work it out like responsible adults.

Sometimes that doesn’t work, and you start killing each other. Other times you go to war. :wink: