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United Nations Demilitarized Executively Autonomous District
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(+8, -5)
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It's 2002, about time we made good on half-century old visions of World Governments... the UNO should have explicit & settled sovereignty over certain world trouble spots (rather than this half-baked bashful colonialism in Bosnia-Hercegovina, for one...). Give the toothless UN something to get its teeth into, give it a standing army and a local executive structure, let it build up its brand. With mandates to govern for terms of 5 years. Israel is crying out for UNDEAD status, for example. Force peace on em even if it kills em.

UNDEAD. The answer to 'why can't someone *do* something? UNO it makes sense.

General Washington, Aug 29 2002

International Criminal Court http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/icc/
This is probably what I'm referring to. [Aristotle, Aug 29 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Mass Zombification http://www.halfbake...ass_20Zombification
A source of UNDEAD soldiers? [Aristotle, Aug 29 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

(?) G.W. Bush Isolated http://news.bbc.co....le_east/2226519.stm
This is probably the reason that the Halfbakery is currently a bit tense at the moment. [Aristotle, Aug 31 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Unfinest Hour: Britian and the Destruction of Bosnia http://www.amazon.c...202-4819771-2331831
What Really Happened: scorching polemic from one of Cambridge's top minds: the Americans were right all along, and the Brits were wrong (I am both, so no passport-flinging please). I regard this as absolutely essential reading for everyone here. [General Washington, Sep 01 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The Trial of Henry Kissinger http://www.amazon.c...202-4819771-2331831
Christopher Hitchens (a Brit in America) sinks blades into the world's favourite bogeyman [General Washington, Sep 03 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       The question is would Americans politicans tolerate an international army that could be theoretically deployed against them? Given their current issues with the International Criminal Crimes court I think the answer is a resounding "no".
Aristotle, Aug 29 2002

       I think the ICC issue is orthogonol to this idea. While I agree the US might object I doubt that the objections to a UN armed forces would be limited to the US.
bristolz, Aug 29 2002

       And yet the seeds of an empire's nemesis are sewn with imperial blessing... the Americans would naturally have strong control of the first UNDEAD states.
General Washington, Aug 29 2002

       I'm all for it GW. Somebody else needs to do the dirty work. After the way the Western world has rallied around the US over 9/11, next time France gets invaded or the UK gets blitzed, America may opt to stand by with a corncob full of Maui-wowie and watch the fireworks from a safe distance. You know, like, minding our own business.
panamax, Aug 30 2002

       I thought that the US of A was pretty much already in charge of the UN. And as far as the ICC goes....well from where I'm looking, the reason Bush/Cheney don't want anything to do with that is that they are a mite worried that they, as individuals may end up defending their actions and decisions to it.
briandamage, Aug 30 2002

       Do you really think that, [briandamage]?
bristolz, Aug 30 2002

       The UN is not meant to have any teeth. It is just a mouth for debating, not for biting.
ImBack, Aug 30 2002

       panamax, seems like we did rather stand around for awhile the last time they were blitzed, didn't we?
RayfordSteele, Aug 30 2002

       Everyone in Britain was stunned when the U.S.A. actually turned up on time for the "War on Terror".... no, wait, we've been fighting the PIRA for 33 years......   

       1914: Kaiser invades France - Britain fights for Peace and Freedom - America stands by - American ships sunk - America joins war ....   

       1939: Hitler invades Poland - Britain fights for Peace and Freedom - America stands by - American ships sunk at Pearl harbour - America joins war ....   

       1969: Irish terrorists attack rest of UK - Britain fights for Peace and Freedom - America stands by - American buildings demolished by terrorists - America joins War on Terror ....   

       Not wanting to sound bitter at all, but I think we can start to see a sort of pattern emerging here ..... ?
8th of 7, Aug 30 2002

       Yeah, so America is really fucked, stupid, fat, selfish, and all manner of other horrible things. Britain is without fault or blemish, completely altruistic and has never erred or caused any other country or people any harm whatesoever.
bristolz, Aug 30 2002

       [8th of 7] is just saying that America tends to be a reticent when it come to the rest of world unless America is directly effected. He didn't even mention that Americans were the main source of funds for the Irish Terrorists that attacked the UK.
Aristotle, Aug 30 2002

       Of course. Like I said . . .
bristolz, Aug 30 2002

       America also stands for lots of wholesome things like Hostess Twinkies, TexMex Food, MacDonalds, MacJobs and drive by shootings ...
Aristotle, Aug 30 2002

       Absolutely. It is a horrid, horrible place. I find it hard to believe that you would even deign to exchange posts with an American.
bristolz, Aug 30 2002

       [Bristolz] you are experiencing a failure to detect irony.
Aristotle, Aug 30 2002

       … whatever blows your skirt.   

       The US is a common man's life of toil, drudgery, inhumanity, and misery. She's a thinking man's nightmare and a holy man's bonfire of souls; in fact, she's everything the outside is not. I think I'll just stick with what fascinates me.
reensure, Aug 30 2002

       Enough with the nationalism. Every nation, state, nation-state sucks. As for your wonderful history references, each one of those events was caused by mindless nationalism and statesmanship. America is full of stupid, proud Americans. And apparently, if you are any measure, so is the UK.
ImBack, Aug 30 2002

       [8th of 7] is pretty new around here and I was suprised that [bristolz] was so shocked. Do we now have to conveniently forget history when it shows America in a poor light? Do relatively new people have to be treated in such a poor way because of a valid analysis of world events?   

       For the record I have a lot of American heroes:
- the Americans who came to Britain before America decided to fight alongside the Allies only to be branded "premature anti-fascists" when the ones that survived returned home.
- the Americans who fought against prejudice and the KKK in the American Deep South when they could be shot at a whim.
- Jack Kirby who, with the aid of Captain America, helped to get across the idea that you could be a patriotic American and fight fascism.
Aristotle, Aug 30 2002

       "I was suprised that [bristolz] was so shocked"   

       Shocked?  I wouldn't characterize it that way.  Just the opposite, really.
bristolz, Aug 30 2002

       (some editing still going on) As far as 1914 goes, that war was simply waiting for somebody to light the fuse, with all of the crazy tit-for-tat nonsense and mixed alliances beforehand. Domino effect. Smarter local diplomacy might've prevented that whole situation even before it began. And while Europeans might be puzzled about America's lack of interest in their wars, the rest of the world usually tells us to butt out of their own, ie. Vietnam. And Americans are often equally puzzled about Europe's lack of ability to get along with the dinky little countries inside itself. America was in my estimation quite smart for staying out of basically a lose-lose situation, based on what they knew at the time.   

       Who knows? If we would have taken a side earlier on, perhaps we wouldn't be in the position of referee that some parts of the world expect us to be these days.   

       // fighting for peace and freedom // The winners usually get to define the history of what happened. If the UK was so interested in a moralistic peace and freedom at the time, then please explain the rest of the British empire.   

       // [8th of 7] is just saying that America tends to be a reticent when it come to the rest of world unless America is directly affected. //   

       Nonsense. Find me a troubled nation out there in which the US doesn't have some active involvement, usually taking a leadership role by default, or if not, having a pretty good reason to take second-fiddle. Just one more question and then I'll butt out of this flamewar. Why is it always the expected job of America to solve everyone else's problems? I don't see Brazil offering help to deal with Northern Ireland. Why? Because they're neck-deep in their own issues, perhaps? I don't see Japan offering aide or leadership to the Israeli / Palestinian thing. Howabout Switzerland? China? India? Where was the UK during Vietnam? The Chinese Civil War? Korea? The Angola Civil War? The Sudan? Haiti? Guatemala?   

       Everybody gets involved only when their interests are at stake.
RayfordSteele, Aug 30 2002

       //Why is it always the expected job of America to solve everyone else's problems?//   

       I'd like to echo this question, although with very different emphasis. I would also point out that the people experiencing the afore-mentioned expectation are normally american themselves. I for one question the effectiveness america has had in many (although perhaps not all) of its interventions. Who, after all, supported Saddam Husein through his rise to power (to mention just one)   

       //Everybody gets involved only when their interests are at stake.//   

       and here we've supplied ourselves with the answer to the previous question. I'm no IR/politics student, but you name any US (substitute your country's name here) military foreign involvment, and I'd wager I could find a "selfish" reason for it; furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if that reason then went on to link with a vote-winning concept with the electorate. This is because, for better or worse, our capitalist society is based on greed, and our so-called democracy, on popularity.   

       However, it is unfair to simply categorize any faults and lay them in entirety at one nation's feet. America is just the biggest and richest of many capitalist, (pseudo) democratic nations at the moment, and they are simply following out their meme path. If we don't like it, we should be changing the global perception that causes this direction rather than bitch about what it is at the moment.   

       <Caution - controversial opinion follows..>
<p.s. - where were the uk in vietnam? Exactly where the US should have been - at home minding our business. Hindsight, etc...>
yamahito, Aug 30 2002

       As far as Saddam goes, he was the lesser of several evils, or seemed so at the time. Whatever we did to support him was certainly effective; he's still there. Effective, yes. The right thing to do? For the time being. Eventually evolved into an issue on its own? You bet.   

       Vietnam? We'll blame that one on the French.   

       // but you name any US (substitute your country's name here) military foreign involvment, and I'd wager I could find a "selfish" reason for it. //   

       Yeah, probably. Stability is basically what we're interested in, I'd argue, since it generally promotes capitalism and makes the world a less insane place. We're not entirely selfish, but it does play a big factor in getting the wheels moving.
RayfordSteele, Aug 30 2002

       Getting back to the idea, I'm not likely to support any idea that gives an unelected body any sort of governmental power.
calum, Aug 31 2002

       If I may get back to the idea, I don't think the presence of an organization like UNDEAD would change U.S. foreign/military policy all that much. Why should it?
phoenix, Aug 31 2002

       8th, your implication that in 1969, poor Britian became the first nation to have to fight that nasty terrorism (also implied: while everyone else stood around and watched) is not only so much baloney, as you are well aware, but is quite morosely ironic considering that it's the efforts of a group headed by an American (George Mitchell) which has had the most success at resolving the issues in Ireland.   

       Way bad example.   

       Re the idea: what phoenix said. This is just a slightly muscled-up NATO as far as I can see. No reason to expect it would have any more success.   

       The author clearly misses the point for the existence of such organizations as the UN. I really think this isn't much more than an excuse for a really lame pun idea name.
waugsqueke, Aug 31 2002

       Steady on, waugs. UNPROFOR's existence in the FRY was characterized by an inability to take executive decisions backed up by guns. The point in the UNDEAD is the EA: not a new organisation, just a new modus operandi. I think that's more than a pun.   

       Still, I didn't expect it to flush out so much undergraduate-level earnestness...
General Washington, Aug 31 2002

       RayfordSteele- [... Nonsense. Find me a troubled nation out there in which the US doesn't have some active involvement, usually taking a leadership role by default, or if not, having a pretty good reason to take second-fiddle. ...] OK- how about Columbia, Nicargua, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Tibet, Phillippins, Maylasia, Taiwan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Lebenon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, most of Africa... Did I find enough troubled nations we are not actively helping? Note- economic development does not always "help" third world nations in a quantifiable way, so it's not enough to simply say we are creating industry and therefore "helping".   

       [... Just one more question and then I'll butt out of this flamewar. ...] We are not finished with you yet, so you can't leave.   

       [... Why is it always the expected job of America to solve everyone else's problems? ...] Did we ever solve anything except what we messed up? And not always even that.   

       [... I don't see Brazil offering help to deal with Northern Ireland. Why? Because they're neck-deep in their own issues, perhaps? I don't see Japan offering aide or leadership to the Israeli / Palestinian thing. ...] Brazil and Japan didn't back the totally unfair political root of the problem after WWII. Also- as they had no foriegn military presence, they could never arm the Israeli's as we have done.   

       [... Howabout Switzerland? ...] Yeah, how about Switzerland? And Sweden too. Neutral countries that have an absolutely exemplary foreign political policy of humanitarian aid and NO MILITARY AID (though Switzerland's private monetary policies might be very detrimental and Sweden privately sells some weapons, it's still a huge step in the right direction by their governments). No one is attacking the hated Swedes. Just the rest of us- I wonder why?   

       [... China? India? Where was the UK during Vietnam? The Chinese Civil War? Korea? The Angola Civil War? ...] You dare to mention Angola as an example of US "aid" !!!!! There you have it. I suppose it is the prime example of US foriegn aid. This type of misconception is the real cause of Sept 11, not some make-believe oil rich CIA mercenaries from Afghanistan.   

       BTW: I would in no way say that France, Germany or England, China, Russia are any better, so you Brits temped to use my argument in your favor can get on your bikes. Per capita they are all worse- especially France, which seems to have suspiciouisly arrived first at trouble spots the world over and left them for the US to "clean up". The US is simply much larger than these other nations and even more destructive with it's foreign policy.
Autonome, Aug 31 2002

       Just want to remind USAians that in every war fought, with every problem you are "trying to solve" for another country, many of the men fighting and dying alongside you are troops brought in from other countries. You're not doing it all on your own.   

       By the way, I hope you're looking after the many of my fellow countrymen who were recently flown to the US to risk their lives fighting your fires for you.
Helium, Aug 31 2002

       Excellent point, H. All too often the fighting and dying is at the hands of American friendly fire, as in the case of some of my Canuck countrymen a few months back.
waugsqueke, Aug 31 2002

       In the Gulf War the only British people to die died from American friendly fire IRC.   

       I think at the moment a lot of people are waiting for some monumental blunder by Bush, and therefore America, at the moment [see link] and praying that their country will not be part of it.
Aristotle, Aug 31 2002

       Aristotle's third link illustrates rather nicely the problem with this idea. It doesn't matter whether you call your organisation the UN, the USA or the Martians. They can't do a whole lot without getting some help from the neighbours and that's the whole point of the UN 'talking shop'. Furthermore, there are far too many armies dotted around the globe as it is, what on earth makes you think that adding another one to the roster is going to make the world a better place? And that's without addressing the issue of trying to persuade Nation States to surrender up sovereignty to another body. In summary, bad idea and unworkable.

Regarding 8th's first anno. I didn't come across as ironic to me. It came across as lacking in historical accuracy.

1914 Kaiser infringes Belgian neutrality. Britain goes to war to defend the balance of power in Europe (Peace and Freedom? Go tell it to the Boers!).

1939 Hitler invades Czechoslavakia (the only democracy in Eastern Europe). Britain sits on it's fat arse doing nothing and then later declares war in defense of the Polish military state in a belated attempt to maintain the balance of power in Europe.

Before deriding someone else's country perhaps you should take a good hard look at your own one. Mephista's first anno is spot on in this respect.

Now I'm going to go out and hug a tree somewhere.
DrBob, Aug 31 2002

       "My country's better than your country" blah blah feckin blah. I go with Yamahito's comment on this subject - and it's one we've pretty much done to death, usually resulting in this kind of pointless bickering and one-down-manship (as in "How low can we go?"). 8th of 7 simply made the mistake of taking offence to panamax's comment:   

       //After the way the Western world has rallied around the US over 9/11, next time France gets invaded or the UK gets blitzed, America may opt to stand by with a corncob full of Maui-wowie and watch the fireworks from a safe distance.//   

       I don't agree with 7/8's response (too glib) but the statement that provoked it is wrong in so many respects, to my mind, and quite insulting really when you think about it. 9/11 was an attack that took place on American soil but it was targeted at a culture as much as at any one nation. The attack was condemned in no uncertain terms even by countries that hate America for whatever (valid or invalid) reason. America was not alone in Afghanistan and may well not be alone in any potential war against Iraq (regardless of our various opinions of the rightness/wrongness of such a war). As for actually tackling the problem, for all the action in Afghanistan, the real opportunity to track down those who planned the attack has come from Germany, with the arrest of a suspected Al Quaida conspirator/contact by the German authorities. To imply that the Western world has shown insufficient support to the US post-9/11 is tactless, to say the least, never mind the implication that this percieved lack of support would justify inaction as a sort of "retaliation". Shame on you, panamax. Rhetoric is a lovely way to sweep all analysis and critique aside in favour of left-wing/right-wing, militant/pacifist, patriotic/anti-nationalist, anti-US/anti-UK button-pushing.   

       So can we settle this flamewar before someone else dredges up the tired, old "We pulled your asses out of the fire in WWII"? The idea of individuals rallying together to oppose "bad things" is a wonderful ideal, and every nation seems to want to claim to be that ideal incarnate. Let's not play petty games about how much this or that country measures up to that ideal and/or how much this or that country falls short.   

       On-topic: The question of legitimacy is central to any proposal for a UN standing army, so the ICC issue is far from orthogonal, I'd say. I'm all for an international justice system, but an international army to police troublespots is another matter. I'd give the UN a "brain" before I give it "teeth". At the moment all it seems to have is wildly flailing limbs, one, big mouth and various deeply inconsistent drives.
Guy Fox, Aug 31 2002

       Well, I apologize to all for my part in this. Sorry. Truly.
bristolz, Aug 31 2002

       In a world where each of us literally has a different perspective on life you will always get an array of opinions as diverse as people themselves. I would advise people seek to understand other people's point of view and where possible not to take them personally.   

       I hope that on September the 11th people remember terrorist attacks that have happened worldwide and that have been happening worldwide for decades. It is possibly a good time to try to put nationalism aside and to try and think globally as so many terrorists are motivated by the fine details of the political ownership of land. Realistically we are now in for the long haul if our objective is to end terror - we have to think differently rather than bomb heavily.   

       Unfortunately we do this under the shadow of the Bush dynasty's apparent desire for a private war with Iraq.
Aristotle, Sep 01 2002

       Thank you GuyFox for your thoughts on this. You are quite right of course. When I wrote my anno, I had come from reading other HBers comments on America and was in a less than rational frame of mind. I stand chastized.   

       On the other hand, [Bliss] and [Mephista], thank you for those perspectives. Of course it can be so difficult to come to terms with everything that's going on. As an American expat living in what Castro calls the Third World, in a country that was bombed and invaded by the US barely 12 years ago, I "dichotomize" often on US FP. One thing I have learned is that every situation in every country is different, and US military, economic, etc. involvement (and its ultimate results) is different in every situation. Sometimes our participation is more nobly-minded than others, and at other times, the results work out better than at others, regardless of intent. It's difficult to try and justify these things or not, without feeling that one is being unfaithful either to principle or to country. *Whine and Complain* Well INDEED that's what nationalism will do to you. What a pain in the ass. Thanks again guys.
panamax, Sep 01 2002

       Prophetic title... this topic just won't stop twitching...   

       Still, a virtuoso display of halfbaked thinking, and can I link everyone to *the* book on the UN / Bosnia?
General Washington, Sep 01 2002

       Has Britain forgotten already what it's like to be a superpower?
ImBack, Sep 01 2002

       Switzerland is praised for remaining out of the war, or trying to, and the US is blasted for it? WTH? Check into where all that Swiss money came from back during the time of, oh the war, and you'll find some ugly truth. There are no innocent countries out there, and so there is none who can point fingers.   

       // OK- how about Columbia, Nicargua, Panama, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Tibet, Phillippins, Maylasia, Taiwan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Lebenon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, most of Africa... Did I find enough troubled nations we are not actively helping? Note- economic development does not always "help" third world nations in a quantifiable way, so it's not enough to simply say we are creating industry and therefore "helping". //   

       Look closer. Just because it doesn't make the news doesn't mean there's no substantial involvement.   

       If you thought I meant to imply that the US did any better to Angola or China or Guatemala than the UK or anyone else, then you've completely misread my point, which was the final line. "Everyone only gets involved when their own interests are at stake." I did not imply that the US necessarily did any real good there.   

       // Are you unhappy that no one wants to help Bush bomb Iraq? //   

       I'm unhappy that I'm being baited like this. I'm also unhappy that it was allowed to get this far with Saddam. I don't think we should bomb until getting more allies and presented a good case to the world, but I do think the world has rather sat on their hands as far as dealing with Saddam.   

       Like I said earlier, a little proactivity somewhere might have prevented WW1 before it started, and a little might help to prevent whatever nightmare is brewing now.
RayfordSteele, Sep 02 2002

       Meph, then you had misread my point. It wasn't the world savior thing at all that I had in mind, simply a historical perspective issue. And it also irks me when armchair politicians sit back and whine about the state of affairs instead of taking the impetus themselves.   

       A counterpoint: if we hadn't empowered Saddam when we did, some other problems would've arisen as well. Total lose-lose situation.
RayfordSteele, Sep 02 2002

       Wow, respect!! you lot are still at it....
briandamage, Sep 02 2002

       I also am not into personal arguments here. My big problem with US policy is that while some humanitarian aid (much of it private) goes unnoticed, it is SURE that a huge amount of covert military involvement and deals go totally unnoticed as well- that is until it's way too late.   

       The third world pays again and again for our ignorant hypocrisy as a nation. Our Hypocritical drug laws combined with our unquenchable thirst for cocaine is absolutely destroying Columbia- or what's left it. When Columbia finally blows up in our faces in less than 10 years, everyone will pointing their fingers and it will take 15 more years to fix it. Meanwhile we sit up here in our comfortable suburbs and vote for more drug laws which send huge funds to the black market and snort some more cocaine. This corrupts little Columbia absolutely. This is 100% our fault. We do similar things the world over with economic and military aid policies. We also need to take a cue from the Swedes and STOP F*CKING SENDING WEAPONS TO THE THIRD WORLD when they don't even have enough schools and food. Jeez. We don't get it. Vietnam, Angola.Iraq. These problems were 40 years in the making- and now they are real problems, yes. We just never get it.   

       Even pre WWII was a very similar circumstance with the US being quite economically involved in sometimes questionable policies and totally ignoring desperate political warning signs. By the 30's it was clear the war was going to happen and our policy towards Japan for the previous 30 years was flawed.   

       We can start taking a lot less blame for international problems when we stop being a major contributor to problem policies, and start considering sending the third world some autonomy, education and respect instead of lots of weapons and cash distributed though corrupt channels. That includes oil money. As in the Gasoline your car sucks down. As in the Cocaine and Hemp your kids suck down. As in the cheap shoes you are wearing made in Chinese jails. Lets take care of our own problems instead of making the third world pay for them.
Autonome, Sep 02 2002

       // distributed though corrupt channels. //   

       Hence the difficulty.
RayfordSteele, Sep 03 2002

       Helium: Thank your countrymen and countrywomen for their bravery in fighting our fires. One of my favourite rivers is Oregon's Illinois River, and virtually all of the whitewater run through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness was burned by the half-million acre fire that scorched southern Oregon this summer. The "Biscuit" fire is now contained within firelines, thanks to the incredible work of the firefighters. I mourn what was lost, but I also applaud the work of those who stopped the fire.   

       US policy in Guatemala (1980-2000) was immoral, unethical, inhumane, and WRONG. US policy in Iran (pre-Islamic revolution) was WRONG. US policy in Panama (Noriega regime) was WRONG. US policy in Rwanda was too little too late. US policy in Bosnia ditto. US policy in Kuwait (post-invasion) was RIGHT. US policy in Somalia was RIGHT but timid. US policy in Iraq (sanctions) is a humanitarian disaster. US policy in Iraq (proposed invasion) is WRONG.   

       If anyone wants to kick the USA, well, in my opinion we have a very large ass (I am tempted to say that this ass is currently holding the office of the Presidency) and it's hard to miss that target. Andorra, on the other hand, is very hard to fault vis-a-vis foreign affairs, as are New Guinea and Trinidad.   

       Is nationalism a virus of the mind, a meme? Is it an insidious fallacy that ought to be discarded?
Dog Ed, Sep 03 2002

       I'm going to have to shock myself and ally with Mephista at this point. Her annos on this subject have a lot of sense to them. The whole Iraq thing looks to be very misguided. UB is right about Australian involvement. Poor old Aussie is a bit like a dog with no teeth, and far too loyal to the US.   

       Nationalism/Patriotism seems to be a concept that could do with retirement. Many Americans may disagree with me on this, but it seems to be used primarily as a political tool to justify war/reprisals. Otherwise it seems to be used more to promote prejudice than a sense of belonging. I don't think that it's a coincidence that the countries with the most overt displays of nationalism also seem to be the ones that do not try to learn about or understand other countries and cultures.
madradish, Sep 03 2002

       Looks like poor old Uncle Sam can't do right. On one side he's criticised for standing by while other nations are under attack, on the other he's pilloried for poking his face into other nations business.
Quite a few of the arguments here are not really worth responding to, but "Britain fights for Peace and Freedom - America stands by" - utter rubbish.
angel, Sep 03 2002

       [angel:] but you responded anyway.   

       I didn't particularly want to get involved here but with the Bubba hoving into play, well...
I don't see that a war fought for oil is any more sordid than a war fought for an ideal. You need both. Besides, I'm not sure I can name a single campaign fought only for an ideal, not merely disguised by it.

       Taking the view from Mars, ie the one mainly adopted here, wars do seem a futile enormity. But the trick is to follow Foreign Offices'/statesmen's thought processes, which are frequently plausible and just. They don't normally set out to cause trouble (possible exception of H. Kissinger here).   

       All of which is why I commend to the Halfbakery the idea of United Nations sovereign territory...
General Washington, Sep 03 2002

       [GW]: Yes, I did respond, because I felt that the argument to which I responded *was* worthy of a response.
[Meph]: Would you have been happier if, instead of the term "Uncle Sam", I had used "the Government and People of the United States of America"? Bearing in mind that much of the debate here touches on national pride / patriotism, I felt that "Uncle Sam" was valid in context. I see nothing dangerous in the concept.
angel, Sep 03 2002

       I imagine that blood and tears are shed not for a symbol, but rather for that which the symbol represents, which is surely, in the case of Uncle Sam or the Stars and Stripes, those freedoms which the American nation encompasses (at least in the minds of many Americans). In some cases, blood and tears must be shed, or does the phrase "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" mean nothing to you?
If you really believe that a criticism of Bush or Kennedy is a criticism of any individual American citizen, then you are even more keen to assume offence than I had thought.
angel, Sep 03 2002

       [Mephista]: I've just done saying that people don't fight for symbols, they fight for what the symbol represents. Freedom may be 'just a word' for you; try writing the things you write in China (for instance) and you'll find that it's rather more than that.
Of course I grieve for those, including members of my family, who have died in the various wars to which we have been witness, but I would not have the temerity to tell them that their sacrifice was in vain. You should not either. I have a letter sent to my wife's grandmother by her older brother as he left home for what would be the last time. His pride as he told how he was fighting for his country could be a lesson to many today. Don't you dare tell me he was anyone's slave.
angel, Sep 03 2002

       //But all of them died as the most abject of slaves, obeying a master who counted them just as dispensable bodies.// But even that's changing now...and is what is holding America back militarily. Even after 9/11 I don't think the American people are willing to see many bodybags. Just look at the amount of money being spent on UCAVS and Remote weapons.
Zircon, Sep 03 2002

       Are rebels slaves?
If not, and one or more is/are killed, has/have rebel(s) died with valor, or is it pointless, whether in defeat or victory?
If rebel(s) kills enemy slave(s), is the death of enemy slave(s) pointless if rebel victory is not attained, though the rebel lives to tell about it?
thumbwax, Sep 03 2002

       I know this one...its like that old riddle "...that man's father is my father's son.." isn't it?
Jinbish, Sep 03 2002

       //Warfare is wrong. It does no good.//
"In circumstances where the majority refuses to come to an amicable settlement with the minorities, the minorities have no way other than fighting for their right for self determination."

My wife's great-uncle Lance did not die as a slave. He may well have believed that the Great War would "end all wars", although I doubt it. In any event, when his country called he volunteered to do what he believed to be the right thing. No man can do more, and one who does less is no man.
angel, Sep 03 2002

       Alright, let's have no more transatlantic dick measuring. The US and the UK are both Good Things.   

       Must say I'm surprised at UnaBubba's use of 'slavish' to describe Commonwealth backing of the Mother Country in 1939. The Savage / Menzies lending of NZ / Aus armies to Middle East Command does seem ridiculously idealistic, Kiplingesque, but when two-thirds of your trade (in NZ's case) is with London, we-ell...   

       Is this the Cringe Hangover talking?
General Washington, Sep 03 2002

       Yep, that's the bitterness of nationalistic adolescence. alright..   

       But I agree. That NZ and Aus competed in WWI to have the most casualties, to be the loyalest daughter of Empire, is sickening. I also agree about Menzies and Fraser: 'What! Those dear old men,' said Anthony Eden to General Freyberg (1942), 'They would agree to anything.' NZ was left so short of men they had to have the USMC garrison the island (where, incidentally, there were riots because they treated the Maori like, ah, African Americans. Many Marines were killed).   

       My case, though, is that the view from Sept 1939, when the Japanese threat was not an imminent one, is that they chose to fight with Britain because their trade and hence their survival as outposts depended on it. Not as simpering as all that. At least this is true of Savage's decision-process, I assume it of Menzies also.
General Washington, Sep 03 2002

       What is this with all the dredging up history? I wouldn't dream of calling any of the events discussed as irrelevant, but all the finger pointing at US and UK mistakes is inappropriate. Of what importance to the UNDEAD idea are the transgressions of the 2nd world war?   

       The UNDEAD idea is based on resolution of arguments by a multi-national coalition that can impose some kind of rule upon local disputes. The pros and cons, whys and wherefors, morals and ethics of forced intervention can be quite intricately discussed without the evaluation of the participation of US and UK in war. Any pissing contest therein is built on non-sequitors.
Jinbish, Sep 03 2002

       No need, UnaBubba, but thankyou for the offer.   

       Now, rather than moderate this grubby mile-high slanging match, I think all this has got to take an mfd.
General Washington, Sep 03 2002

       you can delete it any time, it's your idea, GW. But I think the discussion's worth keeping.
yamahito, Sep 03 2002

       I love you all.
gootyam, Sep 03 2002

       Mephista, You have to look at the grand scheme of things as much as you look at the specific details of lives of the people affected. If you as a country were invaded, and nobody fought back because the leader didn't feel it his position to play chess with his people, then suddenly your country is no more. Yeah, it sucks, but that's the price of a diverse world with diverse, conflicting ideals.   

       // How many of them would say that they gained what they fought and died for? //   

       That's strikes me as shortsighted. How many of *us* have benefited from what they fought and died for, is rather the question. Or would you rather have preferred to be under the rule of an empire that uses you for slave labor?   

       If there is nothing of value to fight for, then there really is no difference between living here or living in Afghanistan, or perhaps North Korea.
RayfordSteele, Sep 03 2002

       Are rebels slaves?
If not, and one or more is/are killed, has/have rebel(s) died with valor, or is it pointless, whether in defeat or victory?
If rebel(s) kills enemy slave(s), is the death of enemy slave(s) pointless if rebel victory is not attained, though the rebel lives to tell about it?
thumbwax, Sep 04 2002

       what gootyam said.
yamahito, Sep 04 2002

       //your implicit claim that warfare promotes human diversity//   

       I don't see RayfordSteele saying that anywhere. What he says is:   

       //that's the price of a diverse world with diverse, conflicting ideals//   

       Which I read as a pretty much explicit claim that warfare is an inevitable product of human diversity. I don't actually agree with that, but it's a whole 'nother argument from "war makes us more diverse".   

       Way I see it, war is just another choice. There's nothing intrinsically noble about it, nothing intrinsically degrading. Doves talk about hawks "glorifying" war as if war wasn't already glorious. Hawks talk about "glorious" victories, as if slaughter was something to celebrate. War is _more_ horrible because it has that "terrible beauty", and glory, valour, bravery - even heroism - are tainted with that subtle scent of blood. Whichever aspect of war we choose to focus on, I think, at the end of the day, on both sides, it's mostly just words "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". Sweeping generalities, flag-waving or finger-pointing, none of these really get to the core issues: is it ever acceptable to kill another human being? Is it, indeed, ever _imperative_ to kill another human being? Is that merely a biological imperative or is it, maybe, a moral imperative? Hard questions for a self-professed pacifist, I've got to admit.   

       Personally, I think it can be a person's moral duty to pick up a gun and fight against something like, say, fascism. And I think it can be a person's ethical duty to never so much as harm a hair on another human being's head. Some people seem to like to pretend that morals and ethics never conflict, are always black and white, can always be resolved into a "correct" action. You either act this way (the way *I* say) or you are _wrong_. If you fight, then you are _wrong_. Or if you don't fight, then you are _wrong_. Those who submissively accept these authoritative judgements and act accordingly are acting as "slaves", in a way, I suppose, but that holds true on both sides of the equation and to use that type of labelling is in itself an authoritative judgement. If you act as a "slave", then you are _wrong_. Well, maybe it's just another choice: fight; don't fight; kill; don't kill; choose your own path; follow orders; challenge authority; challenge rebellion itself; be a stretcher-bearer; be a conscientious objector; carry out an atrocity; prevent an atrocity.   

       So I choose to be a pacifist. So I choose to reject war. Doesn't mean I'm right and everyone else is wrong. Doesn't mean war is - in and of itself - an abomination in the eyes of some liberal agnostic surrogate-god-kinda "moral principle". That's essentialism and, way I see it, that's an easy, lazy, naive and ultimately "slavish" answer to probably the most complex questions we'll ever have to answer. Is might right... ever... never? Sure it is. Doesn't mean it's the only option.   

       Oh, and... what yamahito said.   

       (Oops, sorry blissmiss. Writing this as you posted. I'm trying to reign in my long-winded, pontificating blah blah yakkety shmakkety tendencies. Really I am. Just. can't. help. myself. sometimes.)
Guy Fox, Sep 04 2002

       Thank you [Guy Fox]. That was refreshing; a realistic view point. If we constantly hold our selves/others up to ideals then we can do naught but be dissapointed.
Zircon, Sep 04 2002

       One final post and I'll be done. Ray's theory of conflicting ideals.   

       Let's say we're given 2 distinct and idealogically incompatible ideals. In order to continue to exist inside a perpetually generational system like a culture or country, those ideals must engage in some form of perpetuating activity; ie. evangelism and / or tradition.   

       At some point in their history, those ideals will meet up with eachother in a battle for territory. At any given boundary point there is a number of possible outcomes, which are never concluded as long as both ideals remain but are continuously adapting as needed to the situation.   

       Outcome 1. ideal 'A' overwhelms ideal 'B' or vice-versa in a conflict, possibly warlike, but not necessarily so.   

       Outcome 2. Stalemate. ideal 'A' and ideal 'B' engage in conflict, but are equally matched.   

       Outcome 3. ideal 'A' and / or ideal 'B' are buffered by an artificial separation. A no-man's land.   

       Outcome 4. ideal 'A' and / or ideal 'B' are modified locally near the border to become more compatible and less rigidly defined. The cross-over zone may or may not resemble the originals.   

       Outcome 5. Compatriots of ideal 'A' and / or ideal 'B' routinely switch sides, effectively buffering the potential conflict zone.   

       Outcome 6. One or more of the ideals retreats or dies off from internal causes that essentially modify its behavior, resulting in outcome 1.   

       I think that covers the possibilities. Apply as needed to religion, politics, war, and even one's own internal beliefs. Note that sometimes, 4 is impossible due to the nature of the ideological incompatibility, (ie. you can't negotiate with a someone who's hell-bent on your own destruction), 3 is getting more difficult, and 2 is unlikely to occur indefinitely. That leaves 1, 5, and 6 as possible outcomes in many cases.
RayfordSteele, Sep 04 2002

       This is what I find hopeless, not the fact that people care enough to get upset and to try to understand with hindsight all the destruction which we whites have succeeded in causing. The hopelessness of getting lost in detail, of still not realising that only a civilisation constructed in peace can live in peace. This is definately beyond us all, it cannot be one man's job, unless that man is God incarnate Itself. When will whiteman reconnect to their spiritual origins, the days of myth and legend, the days when the great 'neolithic' temples were built. All this has been destroyed and lost, but can be reawoken. The answer is not to instruct our neighbour how to live but to change ourselves, to look upwards for the answers. God never answers prayers, because people have forgotten how to pray. They only know religion and rhetoric, this is like a dog chasing it's own tail. Look up for answers, know patience, consistancy and grace, and then there may be room for a little miracle. Presently the only 'miracles' are hideous catalisations of weak human thinking, like 9/11. Put some effort into dreaming Peace, it's all in the mind. Don't talk to me about being naieve, I live in N.Ireland and seen my philosophies at work. ANTUWA MI KAPI.
Borallah, Sep 05 2002

       "Back in the good old days." When did those occur, again?
RayfordSteele, Sep 05 2002

       Before there was a rebel with/out a cause
thumbwax, Sep 06 2002

       Such apathay, feign*dispair!*, there is no hope then eh:)
Borallah, Sep 06 2002

       Mephista, you of course realize that's the same type of argument the NRA makes. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Whatever.   

       Anyway, people live, people die, the cycle continues. Bad ideologies spring out of bad situations and last for generations, and drive people to kill. Go for the root cause, not the symptom.
RayfordSteele, Sep 07 2002


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