Arthanari Chandrasekaran

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What can one achieve through war?

What motivates people to wage war, or even fight, let it be at any level with neighbor, state, or across country.

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    • Jul 23 2012: I agree that war and armed conflicts are terrible way to solve problems and lead to great suffering.

      Now is this true every time? How do you see freedom movements in countries like Libya and Syria? It seems that people in these countries have tried hard to overcome regime peacefully for decades with no effect. At the end arm struggle seems like the only unfortunate option that is necessary in order to end suffering that occurs under "peaceful" dictatorship?
      • Jul 23 2012: "peaceful dictatorship" is not so peaceful for those thrown in jail and tortured.

        Violence is abhorrent, but there is an important moral distinction between initiating violence and reacting violently as a means of self defense. I admire Mahatma Gandhi and his principles, but I am not convinced that his methods will always be effective. If we take nonviolence as a moral absolute peoples might suffer under tyrants forever.
        • Jul 23 2012: I just want to clarify:

          "peaceful dictatorship" is not so peaceful for those thrown in jail and tortured.

          Yes exactly. I used the term to contrast it to actual war with visible casualties. Under dictatorship to outside observer it might seem that no one is dying but in reality that is not true as people are tortured and killed for their beliefs.
    • Jul 23 2012: "most circumstances" ???

      Under what circumstances would you consider war desirable?
  • Jul 22 2012: War is a consquence of giving to others the fate of our destiny. Our social structure promote this.
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    Jul 22 2012: I want stuff... You have stuff... I think I can take you. It's how human beings lived for 10's of thousands of years, and we're only begining to rise above it.

    I think war is only legitimate when used to stop an agressive group from performing genocide. I'm respect American, Canadian, and Australian involvement in World War 2. Canada and America had almost nothing to gain... We made bad decisions leading up to the war, America did certainly... but, I believe it is morally right for the world to unify against any nation, or group, or tribe, which believes only its members should be allowed to live. Nazi's were worth going to war with.

    To paraphrase, two quotes, which straddle the edge of contradiction

    "Demons run, when a good man goes to war." Doctor Who

    "War... Huh. Yeah! What is it good for, absolutely nothing... Say it again yall. War, has shattered, many a young mans dream, left him disabled, bitter and mean. Life is much to short and precious to spend fighting war each day. War can't bring life, it can only take it away..." The Temptations
  • Jul 26 2012: Profit for the rich and death for the poor.
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    Jul 26 2012: One hundred and fifty years ago, the southern states of the US wished to continue enslaving its black population. War achieved freedom for them. Seventy years ago, the Nazis murdered 3 million Jews before war stopped them. In the 1990s it took military intervention to stop the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo. These are only a few examples. The reason for war is not lack of understanding. The reason for war is one group of people wishing to deny another one of their human rights.Ending slavery and slaughter, that's what one and achieve though war.
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    Jul 24 2012: The reason for war is lack of understanding. The terrorists don't understand American society because of how they were raised, their environment/society. And as for Americans and the whole "war on terror," we fear what we don't understand. And what we don't understand we may take extra precautions or drastic measures.

    So the cause of all issues in the end is a misunderstanding in some form or some way. That's the FUNDAMENTAL problem imo
    • Jul 24 2012: I think another reason that conflicts exist is because certain individuals and groups want to gain (unlimited) power and want to control the destiny of their citizens? They have certain beliefs and ideologies that will help them to get to and keep their power (communism, socialism, fascism, dictatorships etc).
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        Jul 24 2012: So why are there guys who want unlimited power and want to control over others? Why are these guys greedy and power hungry?
        • Jul 25 2012: I think there are several reasons. One of them is that dictators are psychopaths. Or they were abused and neglected as children and now they care only about themselves and no one else?

          Some people are being brain washed into believing certain ideology and not being given access to objective information.
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        Jul 25 2012: And so then why were they abused or neglected by the ones who raised them? I think that it was a serious misunderstanding by the ones who raised them. If a parent wants to change society for the better, would that parent think the best way to do that is to ignore and abuse his/her own kids? If the parent knew that neglecting or abusing the kid is harmful to society, then the parent wouldn't do it. But if the parent didn't know, then there is the possibility that the parent could have done those awful things. So how do we fix this issue? We somehow educate the parents who will educate the kids. So really, this was a cause by a huge misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.

        So, then look at us. I bet everyone here at TedTalks has been given access to that objective information or education at some point in their life. Or else we wouldn't be on TedTalks. I think you and I have now realized what the problem is, is that maybe it's all because the children weren't raised in a way where he/she viewed society positively. I bet that would explain the DKR shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, etc. And it, like you have said, could explain why we have power hungry people and corruption.
  • Jul 23 2012: War is organized destruction and death. I have studied war, and I hate war.

    The question is "What can one achieve through war?"

    My earlier post was intended to show that war can achieve goals. Believing that war solves nothing is unrealistic. It may seem useless and senseless to you, and for many people, but for some people it is effective for achieving goals. People who initiate wars are not crazy. They often carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of going to war, and factor in the risks involved, and then make what they consider a very rational decision to proceed with war.

    If we consider the perpetrators of war as sick or defective or somehow profoundly different from ourselves, then we are not seeing the truth. The truth is that the perpetrators have morals that consider war acceptable under specific circumstances, and values that make war worth the price and the risk.

    Consider living under an oppressive dictator. Even under the most egregious conditions, war must be considered a last resort. All non-violent means must be exhausted before going to war. When those means are exhausted, living your own life under an oppressive dictatorship might still seem acceptable for you personally. Now consider your children and your grandchildren and their children and their children. Envision your descendants being brain washed into voluntarily going to war for the person who is enslaving them. How many generations of suffering are enough to justify a war that is truly an act of self defense?

    Random Chance says: "Get rid of the reasons, causes and benefits." I agree completely.

    If you want peace, work for justice.
  • Jul 23 2012: More war and everything it entails.
    Certainly not more peace.

    Humans worship lies.
    Some will even use examples of wars that worked, but that is the lie masquerading as the truth and that is accepting the lie as the truth. It also serves to cause confusion and doubt in those who favor no war.

    Get rid of the reasons, causes and benefits. That is possible but most are so dominated by the false belief that it is human nature, cannot then fathom anything truly new and never begin designing it because they listen to an embedded lie that it is all human nature and always will be.

    Thus, most don't really want to end human trafficking, drugs, crime or all the other horrible conflicts we are forced to live with because they cannot imagine a new way that doesn't have all their old conflicts present: in order to feel comfortable with what they are too familiar with. They are adjusted to the bad, thinking they are well-adjusted when what they really are is extremely mentally ill.
  • Jul 22 2012: Victory, and/or defeat.
  • Jul 22 2012: War has been very common throughout history, and its primary purpose has been to gain power. That sounds incredibly evil, but the truth may not be as malicious as it seems. First we must look at what has been considered power throughout history. Wealth, land, and resources have been some of the primary forms of power, and many wars have been fought to obtain them. This goes back to the natural human instinct to get as many things and to live as prosperous life as possible. Sometimes other people have what we want, so, if people aren't willing to give it to us, we take it. The other people don't want to give up whatever they have, so they fight back. This is war.

    That being said, war, like many other parts of history, should be seen for its benefits and detriments to society. War has done horrible things and caused many to give up their lives for a cause. However, war (and the expansion of nations that has come with it) has played a large role in defining our world today. The Roman empire, through war, brought many cultural and technical advances to places that were very far from Rome. Cyrus the Great used war to pursue his own kingdom, but also united a large span of the middle east. Examine what the United States did to the Native Americans. (It is was more like a forced removal, but it is close to war) The US is seen as morally corrupt for removing Native Americans, but also the US brought a whole new society. The US was pursuing its own motives, but the Native Americans eventually were assimilated into western culture. (Which I consider a big plus) While war is normally bad, I think that it needs to be seen for its true impacts on society.
    • Jul 23 2012: We cannot possibly know the true impacts of war. How many geniuses have been killed that could have advanced human progress? How many leaders that might have taught us how to get along without war? You cannot possibly weigh the benefits and detriments when the detriments include slaughter of innocents.

      "benefits and detriments to society" -- society is just people, and the benefits are never beneficial to the dead.

      I think we agree about one thing. It is very important to understand war for what it is. In this area, only cold realism will produce answers.
  • Jul 22 2012: Hello Mr. Chandrasekaran,

    Most citizens of the USA would say that our War of Independence achieved a just purpose. The justification for this war was set out in the United States Declaration of Independence, available here:

    That war is a model for peoples who believe they are being treated unjustly and have a legitimate right to obtain justice by means of war.

    More recently, the people of Libya fought a civil war to remove a tyrant.

    In a different context, war achieved the unification of North and South Vietnam.

    I think there is no doubt that war can achieve political goals. No one knows how many of its victims would say that the goal was worth the price.