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The New War on Terrorism (1 Viewer)

Tori

Senior Member
Sort of an essay more of a result of the many visits I make to a political forum (um yes, I'm addicted to forums why do you ask?)

Did you ever stop to think what was at the root of war? We discuss issues all the time. We lend our ear (or eyes in this case) to supposed truths and biased opinions. We judge everything around us while tip-tap-tap-tapping on our own keyboards. “Discussion will make a difference,” we tell ourselves as we read the many words that creep across the screen screaming to be heard.

Many feel anger and quiet rage well up inside of them as the words before them seem to be a disgrace to all that they believed in. “You are wrong!” they shout in the most elaborate type they can think of. Some type up ridiculous responses that have nothing to do with the topic and are destined to cause shock or a sullen shake of the head. Others nod in agreement with each other and think, “ahhh, I knew I was right! I am not alone!”

And still the war continues on...

A terrorist as defined by the FBI, "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives". This definition includes three elements: (1) Terrorist activities are illegal and involve the use of force. (2) The actions are intended to intimidate or coerce. (3) The actions are committed in support of political or social objectives. (FEMA-SS)

Read this definition over and tell me that the United States of America, along with many other countries of the past and of the present are not terrorists themselves? Let us not pretend that we are innocent and those “terrorists” fighting for the cause they believe in are guilty. We see images and are appalled by what we see. What images do you think these “terrorists” have seen? What causes them to do the things they do? Act the way they act?

When will the world realize that no one is innocent in the game of war and there are never any winners? Even a temporary win can lead to a monumental defeat. The old saying ‘history repeats itself’ is as true and powerful as our world allows.

All of this leads me to my first paragraph where I state that the reason for a forum is so that discussion is allowed and it leads to hope that a difference can be made. Everyone wants to be right and to have a voice.

I believe empathy and compassion is the only way to change anything. I believe that we have an obligation to look at ourselves just as hard as we look at other people. Do not let fear control you for it will most certainly betray you. The power of majority is dangerous and the minority is not always right either. The other side has passion also and a different way of dealing with things. If we never take time to understand and communicate with them…how will we ever expect to understand them? Kill them all off and then tell ourselves we did it because they were trying to destroy us?

Oh…I wonder why history repeats…
 

greggb

Senior Member
At the root of war… is human nature, I believe. You said yourself that history repeats itself. History never changes because those who make history never change. I’m sure that’s not news to you, in fact I think that’s one of the points you were trying to make.

What attribute of human nature causes nations and peoples to go to war? I think more than anything a feeling of being righteous about one’s own beliefs. Call that being self-righteous (I know that’s a point you were trying to make).

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, or thought about it, but people don’t normally get self-righteous about their own personal beliefs. They get self-righteous about their group’s beliefs. Granted most people don’t have their own personal beliefs; they share beliefs with a group, because that provides assurance that their beliefs are correct (if 65 million people believe what I believe, we couldn’t all be wrong… could we?). But that aside, there’s a sort of mob-mentality that’s naturally present in a group of people who are connected by the same beliefs, no matter how significant (or insignificant) those beliefs might be.

A great example is what happens at a Football game. Notice how fans wear their team’s colors, even paint their faces to identify themselves with the group they belong to. They scream and yell at the fans of the opposing team, deck them, even occasionally kill them because they don’t agree that the team they’re supporting is the better of the two.

What a ridiculous thing to get in fights over, even kill each other over. My team is better than your team, if you don’t agree, I’m going to smack you, maybe even strangle you if you really piss me off. How stupid is that?

Put two groups of people in a stadium, one that likes red apples, one that likes green apples, and injuries will occur over the question of which is better. Give them time and someone will die as a result of the disagreement. And again it’s not a matter of the significance of the issue that’s being argued. It’s just that humans are social animals, and they do stupid things when they’re part of a group.

My point is that any common belief, no matter how miniscule or insignificant, will cause a group of people to become self-righteous--to look down their noses at those who disagree with them in even the slightest degree. And not longer after they become self-righteous, they’ll take aggressive action towards opposing groups. In football games it’s a punch here and there. When it comes to a disagreement between two countries, where there is actually something at stake, it’s B-17 Bombers and M-16 rifles.

Anyways, coming back to what you were talking about:

When will the world realize that no one is innocent in the game of war and there are never any winners? Even a temporary win can lead to a monumental defeat. The old saying ‘history repeats itself’ is as true and powerful as our world allows.

Never.

You know, I understand your frustration. If everyone in this entire world could see it the way you see it, they’d realize that war is pointless… they’d love their neighbor and all that, and I don’t doubt that we’d see world peace for the first time. But it’s impossible to make everyone see things the way you see things. Even if you could sit down and spend a year with every person on this earth, there are certain people who will never see it the way you see it, because they don’t have the capacity to.

And even if you could make everyone see it the way you see it, they’d still be left with a decision. Empathy and compassion require a certain degree of selflessness. Do I want to pursue my own selfish ambitions (which might cause a little suffering, though I won’t be directly responsible for it), or do I want to go without and show empathy and make the world a better place.

Me… other people… me… other people. Let me see…
I choose me.

And that’s another thing: making this world a better place will require a lot of personal sacrifice. A small percentage of the population would be willing to make that sacrifice, but the rest won’t. And try as you may, you won’t be able to make them happy about being selfless, because it’s their nature to be selfish; they were programmed that way. The same way that ants are programmed to follow the pheromone trail out the apple 16 feet away from their nest and bring a piece back. It’s their very basic nature.

Oh…I wonder why history repeats…

Because people are the same now as they’ve always been, and the same as they always will be. The human race cannot change, anymore than ants could possibly change. At least not until there’s a very significant change in the DNA that makes up the human race, in which case they won’t be humans any more.
 

Tori

Senior Member
How sad, eh?

Just a few points on your post (which I appreciate and mostly agree with). Nothing in this world is entirely selfless, or at least not in my opinion. Empathy and compassion are what make me feel good and I'm sure if they did not I would not want to practice either emotionl.

The mob mentality...I loved your words on this and completely agree.

And that’s another thing: making this world a better place will require a lot of personal sacrifice. A small percentage of the population would be willing to make that sacrifice, but the rest won’t.

On the above quote...I do not buy this. If they are influenced under the "mob mentality" that you spoke of just above this quote, then they'd be all for it. Just think of all the men and women who blindly sign up to defend their country. I am sure they consider this a selfless act and in actuality I think it is. They are willing to risk their life for something they believe in.

I read your post and thought it was wonderful. I disagree about the never changing thing. I believe in people and to give up would be to not care and to not care would be to not exist for me.

I am not asking for something as lofty as world peace. I just want to see people ask themselves what it must feel like to be the other person before jumping on the bandwagon and destroying life.
 

greggb

Senior Member
Hi, very good points. And since I’ve always loved a good debate, and I believe this to be a good debate, I’d like to add a few comments.

If they are influenced under the "mob mentality" that you spoke of just above this quote, then they'd be all for it. Just think of all the men and women who blindly sign up to defend their country.

First of all, only a small percentage of people sign up to defend their country. I couldn’t tell you how many people are enlisted in the armed services, but I’d venture a guess at less than 1% (in present-day times). I know for sure that far less than 1% have combat duties, where their lives are seriously in danger.

Another thing: enlisting in the armed services doesn’t automatically change your philosophy about life. In order to achieve "world peace” the philosophy of the majority of the world population needs to be changed. And the change required completely contradicts human nature. I’m saying that you can’t induce the kind of change in philosophy in enough of the population to make world peace possible.

And on the topic of world peace… have you read “Brave New World”? I think one of the points Huxley is trying to make is that world peace in a free world is not possible. Only by suppressing the “human factor” can world peace be accomplished. IMO that’s one of the major points Huxley is making.

I did notice you say that you’re not after something as lofty as world peace, so this is kind of a moot point. But I had to get my 2 cents in anyways.

I disagree about the never changing thing. I believe in people and to give up would be to not care and to not care would be to not exist for me.

I know you’re not coming right out and calling me a pessimist, but most people call my spiels about human nature to be pessimistic, because I always say that it’s futile to try and change the human race—and I believe that whole-heartedly. I really do believe that it’s impossible to change people. People will be the same as they’ve always been. But that doesn’t mean I believe the whole situation is hopeless.

My point is that changing people should not be considered as a possible solution to the problem, because it’s impossible. So, I think we need to look for different solutions—ones that are possible to carry out.
 

Tori

Senior Member
Though it is true a small percent are actually enlisted; if the President called in a draft many would go and believe in the values they were fighting for. We have our children sing patriotic songs and stand at attention praising the flag each morning at school just so we can be sure the future generations will remember. Truth be known...I agree with you though, so my argument is wasted.

I am glad you did not miss my point that world peace is not my motive. I have read Brave New World. I took the message differently I suppose. I thought Huxley was trying to say that no matter how hard you try to suppress human nature and will...be it through use of drugs or years of brainwashing...there will always be some that refuse to go along with the "mob mentality" you spoke of before. So even in times of complete repression and sorrow there remains hope.

Maybe it is about balance? I think evil must exist so that there can be good and so on and so forth. But how does one ever pick a side? How can one be better than the other if one must exist in order for the other to exist?

As far as change goes, if you do not believe that people are capable of change how will any solution one offers ever bring about the possibility of change? It is sort of a catch-22. Perhaps you are right. I would be lying if I did not say I agree with you.

It's just the hope factor...you know that thing that Emily Dickinson says has feathers? You still have it obviously. If you have come up with any solutions that don't involve people changing I would love to hear them.
 
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