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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

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For whom do our soldiers fight?

The United States has started several wars over false pretexts. The Vietnam War was started over the Golf of Tonkin incident in 1964, but we now know that we were shooting at false radar images and not North Vietnamese. But at the time, Congress was told by the US National Security Agency that we were under attack, when we were in fact not under attack. And it was that incident that motivated Congress to authorize President Johnson to pursue the Vietnam War. Enough said there.

We're the only country that has used nuclear weapons, and we ended up killing hundreds of thousands of people. There's the rule about bullies. You have to actually take someone out at some point to earn your reputation for being a bully.

Then we look at the Iraq War. Remember that big U.N. show and all the weapons of mass destruction we never found? Since we started the war there, around about 123,366 non-soldier Iraqis were killed by this war. Another false pretext for starting a war.

And there are enough other examples that this looks like a persistent and very long term pattern.

At the same time, I recognize that there really are "evil doers" in the world that must be stopped with force. No doubt about that. Sure we can work on long term strategies to eliminate that threat, peace and love, but in the mean time, we really do need a military.

But who are the real evil doers? For whom do our soldiers fight? Are we fighting too many wars? Why are we spending so much blood and gold fighting wars?

If you are or were in the military, I would love to hear from you.

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  • Jun 6 2013: Your soldiers fight for your govornment.
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    May 26 2013: My view on this issue is that soldiers don't fight for "whom."
    Honestly, none of these wars truly posed a threat to American citizens because of our geographical isolation.

    My question is "For what do our soldiers fight?"

    To this question there are plenty of answers: greed, democracy, capitalism, freedom, etc.
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    May 26 2013: Armies were created to protect interest of Rulers

    For the masses with unknown faces, a Ruler was replaced by another

    Why it should change now ?

    Rich and powerful are rulers in disguise and so called free citizens are the masses with unknown faces as powerless as before.
  • May 25 2013: Danger - soldiers fight for a country. In the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Gibbons shows us that the ccountry ceases to exist when the average guy won't fight. Same for the South when the average guy who owned no slaves would not fight for slaveowners who were exempt from service. That's why the draft is so important. I have a DD-214, but I should tell you that I served in peacetime. Military Service is fine - at times fun. A stupid war could be very different. This new "better your daughter than my son" seems not a good idea. Maybe wars are very hard to stop - after two atom bombs the Japanese Cabinet was still deadlocked on ending the war. They then heard a voice they had never heard before telling them it was time to surrender. That voice - the Emperor of Japan.
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    May 25 2013: It would be great if every armed conflict on foreign soil could end in such a way that it could be said that the effort was necessary and saved the free world. But real life is less satisfying. Your question asks why, and for whom, those who go to foreign battlefields do it. Unlike the outcome, the reason folks go does not vary much. They go to participate in the endeavors deemed necessary by their nation's leaders. They go to defend what they believe from those who would forbid it and would replace it with oppressive captivity. They go to help other nations struggling for freedom. They go to search and destroy evil maniacs who reign death and destruction upon their own people. They go to do their part in preserving the unbroken legacy of paying the price of freedom. You can question the historical reasons for deploying troops into harm's way, but you should be careful about questioning the motives of those who go so others can stay and continue to speak freely.
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    May 24 2013: danger, I apologize, a TED question has to be written for me usually in a couple of paragraphs, or written with a real punch where every sentence packs a whallop. I wasn't getting that on your question. Possibly you can rephrase.
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    May 24 2013: Conflict is created, it is not created by the 2 who are fighting.

    The first question is who.

    Typically lobbyists from defense contractors. This is called crony capitalism.

    That being said if you are the U.S. do you just let Vietnam succumb to communism? Korea the same, especially when you look at the difference between North and South today. Vietnam is not flourishing today, although better than I would have thought.

    WW 2 had to be fought period.

    Mainly you have to look at who benefits from war.
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      May 24 2013: Thanks Pat - I think I agree with everything you've said, but seek clarification. May I conclude the following from your comments?

      A. Our soldiers typically fight for the benefit of defense contractors.
      B. It's OK to lie to the American people about our enemies to provide a false pretext for going to war, so long as the ends appear to justify the means.