Could you fight in the Civil War?
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14-10-2012, 12:48 AM
Could you fight in the Civil War?
Normally, a soldier is able to kill another human being with a cognitive disconnect. They tell themselves that they are in the right and that the person they are killing is "the other." They disconnect themselves through anything different about the person. Their strange language, or culture, or skin color. These dark skinned Africans with their barbaric culture of genocide on their own people. Or these uneducated Middle Eastern men with their crazy religion and misguided morals. We take whatever is different about our enemy and we construct a mindset around it, numbing the pain of the act of murder by likening small differences to alien proportions.

But in the American Civil War (or any civil war your particular country might have fought), you are ordered to kill your own kind. There's no "strange land of savages far across the sea" to go "save." These are people you know; relatives, friends, fellow countrymen. They speak and look the same as you. The only difference between you is a matter of opinion over slave legality.

I don't know if I could do it. Fighting in Iraq is easier, because you can tell yourself that you are liberating oppressed women or cleansing a chaotic nation of an infectious terrorist plague. But if the president told me to head a few states south, where I know people and used to vacation as a child, and kill another American because he disagreed with the majority opinion, I don't know if I could. No matter how strongly I felt about the issue, there HAD to be a better way to resolve it than war.

But then I start to think about those same Iraqis. There had to be a better way. I think that if we are going to invade another country (and not just defend our homeland), then the soldiers who go to fight should have to legally live there for several years. You should be forced to get to know the families of those you killed and understand that their reasons for fighting you were just as compelling as yours for fighting them. Would make volunteers for the military during times of invasion all but disappear, and rightly so.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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14-10-2012, 02:26 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
There is no justification for the Iraq war, and there most definitely were better ways.

At least in Afghanistan we had a casus belli, Al Qaeda was definitively, no fooling, blatantly connected with the Taliban on multiple levels; there was a regiment of over a thousand Al Qaeda soldiers integrated into the Taliban's army, Osama bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan. And when we attacked Afghanistan, it was Afghanis who did most of the heavy lifting, the Northern Alliance, the pro-democracy or at least non-theocratic groups who provided the manpower, whose soldiers did the majority of the killing, while the American/Canadian forces restricted themselves to airstrikes, high value assassinations, and strategic/tactical advice and intel gathering.

The Afghanis were willing to fight a civil war, and many still are. I don't know about the political climate in 1860, but if we replace the issue of slavery with something more relevant to us, to me at least... Say theocracy versus democracy. Then hell yes I would pick up a rifle and fight.

Fortunately I don't think it will come to that. Definitely not for the foreseeable future, and almost certainly not this side of 2050.

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14-10-2012, 02:40 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
(14-10-2012 02:26 AM)Phaedrus Wrote:  ... Say theocracy versus democracy. Then hell yes I would pick up a rifle and fight.

That would probably be the first war in the history of wardom where only one of the combatants would claim to have god on their side.

Where do I sign?

It would be pretty strange though. They would be dashing babies against rocks (like their good book says) and we would get a free lunch outa the remains.

Mmmmm. Nice.

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14-10-2012, 10:07 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
Fareed just had an interview on his show today, with people behind Death and the Civil War, a book made into a documentary, and they kind of touched on this a bit.

One of them said that Christians, given that majority of the population was made up of Christians, obviously, were actually expressing justifications for both the all of the killing and all of the dying going on, and I'd assume that was from both sides, to make it out as honorable to both die and kill for their causes.

So basically, the same types of things you expressed as going on during other wars, were going on during the civil war as well. People felt they were fighting, dying and killing justifiably.

One thing pointed out was how Lincoln brought it all back together with his speech:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.....

....-- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."


The fuzzy thing for me is, and I don't know if other people feel this way or not, is the South in all of this. How things affected them during the war, after the war and if, and how, this relates to the problems all the way up until today?

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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14-10-2012, 10:08 AM
Could you fight in the Civil War?
What's so civil about war anyway?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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14-10-2012, 10:12 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
To me, killing someone in another country is exactly the same as killing someone in your own country.

I don't agree with that "killing your own kind" phrase... everybody is my kind, we are all human. I don't care if someone was born in the same country as me, it makes no difference.

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14-10-2012, 10:37 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
I could do it but I'd die probably very expediently by some terribly horrifying method.

That was an awfully gruesome war.

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14-10-2012, 10:47 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
(14-10-2012 10:37 AM)lucradis Wrote:  That was an awfully gruesome war.

The U.S lost more soldiers in the Civil War than they did in World War II, just to put that into perspective.

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14-10-2012, 10:56 AM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
What's the difference between killing your countrymen or killing someone from another country? Last time I checked, humans are humans no matter where they happen to have been born. We might come in different shades of colors, and speak different languages, but we all share 99.9% of our DNA with each other.

So if you cut out the superficial racial and linguistic differences, the question you should ask is: Would you be able to kill another fellow human if need be? For me the answer is yes. While I value human life more than anything else, if someone tried to use deadly force against me and it came down to him or me, YES! Likewise, if it was the only way to protect my family, or someone else who was in danger of death at the hand of a vicious criminal, then yes.

As for war, I'm not a big fan of war. But if the war was justified, and sometimes wars can be justified, then sure. However, the United States has not had any war that can be justified during my lifetime. The last one was WWII, which would have been my grandparents' generation.

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14-10-2012, 12:25 PM
RE: Could you fight in the Civil War?
(14-10-2012 10:08 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  What's so civil about war anyway?

MY HANDS ARE TIEEEEEED!

For all I've seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on as the years go by
With no love of God or human rights
'Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars


No but really. Maybe this question is best asked to those who have actually killed another human. You can convince your brain that killing an Iraqi is like killing a space invader, with their funny robes and unpronounceable names. Killing Nazis, I assume, was easy because they represented evil incarnate.

It just seems to me that killing Bob Smith from 2 states down would be harder. I don't want to focus on what killing "should be like" or justification for wars. I want to discuss the mental coping that would have to take place to go to war with your own country.

I guess it may be different for Europeans, who essentially have strangers in all the surrounding "states." In America, we wall ourselves off so effectively with the double ocean border and the lockdown on north and south borders, that it's easier to establish an "us" and "them" mentality.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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