Politics Of War
Why war? What is war? Well every war has two things, a purpose and a price. Now listen I am not against the war, instead I want to better understand where it comes from. What do my brother and his friends fight for? Why do we have boot camp? What do military strategists formulate ideas and plans day in and day out around?
When someone asks me why war? I think well for control, for power, for the right of freedom. But really what is war? Dictionary.com defines war as a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state. That’s great, that answers my second question of what is war. However why war? Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, policies lived on through his words, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” There’s nothing in there about actually having to swing it right?
I found my ideas surrounding the influences and instigators of war to be best described by “War” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published in February of 2000 and than revised in July of 2005, Edward Zalta’s research combined the minds of over 50 individuals and their works pertaining to war. So why war? Despite the brutality and devastation, war remains essential to human history and social change. What is war in a philosophical sense? “Philosopher of war” Carl von Clausewitz suggested that war is “the continuation of policy by other means.” What did Clausewitz mean by this? Imagine if Teddy Roosevelt’s image did not work to get his message across. Clausewitz would say that war would be the way to go about getting Roosevelt’s message across. Start swinging Teddy! Now Clausewitz can answer what war is and why war is essential. War according to Clausewitz, is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.
When has war ever had a purpose behind it to compel an opponent to fulfill the will of an advancing force? World War I began when a member of the Black Hand in Sarajevo assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in June of 1914. Much like Al Qaeda is identified with Muslims and Arabs, the Black Hands were known to be a Serbian nationalist secret society. Whether or not the Serbian government actually had a hand in this assassination, no one knows, but much like the modern day “immoral war” between the Middle East and America, an act of terrorism created a spark that ignited a war. The purpose of the war ultimately was for the Austro-Hungarians to take the opportunity to stamp their authority on the Serbians and cement their influence in the Balkans. Hmmmm sound familiar? Now the political web that is woven through war can be seen. Austria-Hungary had close connections with Germany, Russia backed up Serbia, and France was bound by a treaty to Russia, therefore joining that side. Britain was allied to France by a loose treaty, but still a political tie, therefore bringing the British Colonies of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa into the mix. Ah the politics of war.
World War II followed suit in the same fashion of allies teaming up and causing others to than stand up and pledge their military and resources. Vietnam was no different as France failed to suppress the nationalist forces in Indochina as it struggled to restore its power in the colonies she had prior to World War II. The United States was pulled into the Vietnam War after formulating the Domino Theory. John F. Kennedy justified sending 4,000 troops into the foray in 1962 by the Domino Theory’s central concern, that if South Vietnam fell to Communism, Southeast Asia in its entirety would fall shortly after. Once again, a political agenda behind the war.
On November 14, 2005, Fred Hiatt, posted an article in the Washington Post, entitled the Politics of War. Centering around Iraq’s vice president, Adel Abdul Mahdi, Hiatt was able to build two different platforms for the Iraqi and American agenda’s in this modern day war we are currently still in. “Iraq’s is a life-or-death agenda — how to build a democracy,” Mahdi told Hiatt in his interview with the Washington post. “Others’ are political agendas.”
I remember hearing many claims that President George W. Bush Jr. was the man responsible for the United States involvement in the Middle Eastern war. Conspiracy theorists went on and on about how he even helped the terrorists hijack those planes. Or that the top advisors under President Bush, had lunch with the terrorist pilots just days before the September 11 attacks. Could they be true? Honestly I don’t believe anything unless I see it with my own two eyes, and evidence can be stirred up in multiple angles of this argument. The point of all of this is that there was a political agenda here.
Now what many may not know is the history of Iran and how the United States played a crucial role in the overthrowing of the democratic Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. I have my ways of hearing of this, but I found it alarming to know that Persians refuse to call themselves Iranians and perhaps the turmoil we are currently facing with Iran could ultimately link back to the 19th day of August in 1953. Now most of my knowledge of this comes from an actual first hand account, however the individual requested to remain anonymous, therefore I will also reference Internet sources for this analysis of the political agenda behind this “war”.
President Dwight Eisenhower summed up in a National Security Council meeting what has distressed all administrations since “it was a matter of great distress to him that we seemed unable to get some of these down-trodden countries to like us instead of hating us.” For more on TPAJAX, visit All The Shah’s Men.
The Huffington Post did a piece on the “Immoral War” highlighting the tragedies and horrors that our boys are now facing when they return. But this war on “terrorism” is not just affecting the lives and mental health of American soldiers. The Sydney Morning Herald posted an article depicting the fight that the Australian soldiers are engaged in long after they return home from the Middle East.
Why war? Well it seems always because of the purpose behind political agenda. Whether a country is fighting for life, against a tyrannical leader that inflicts death, or power is thirsted for, politics seem to have a heavy hand wrapped around war. What is war? A political agenda that comes with a price. In the second part of this series I will take a look at the Price of War. Until than, be curious, read up and remember, ask a lot of questions and form your own ideas. God bless those who have fought for us, fight for us and who are brave enough to enter into a war that has no face.
THE FOG OF WAR ERROL MORRIS [VIDEO]
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