“From our founding we have made these kinds of moral demands of our soldiers. It starts with the oath they swear to support and defend the Constitution, an oath made not to a flag, or to a piece of ground, or to an ethnically distinct people, but to a set of principles established in our founding documents. An oath that demands a commitment to democracy, to liberty, to the rule of law and to the self-evident equality of all men. The Marines I knew fought, and some of them died, for these principles.”
“United States military and counterterrorism officials have never forgotten where that detour into darkness led — unreliable intelligence, demoralized interrogators, terrorists who still cannot be tried in a court of law because they were tortured and a stench that still clings to America’s counterterrorism reputation these many years later.”
A really interesting video giving visual representations of the deaths during World War II. Watching this raises many interesting questions.
How do these visual representations give us a different sense of the war than history books would or simply looking at numbers on a page?
How can we accurately communicate truth?
What does it mean that after a certain point, numbers get so large that that we lose any sense of reality with them?
What is also interesting is that our sense of World War II is painted by our involvement in the war but when you look at the number of people killed, the United States was far from the worst off nation. Because the Soviet Union became our enemy after the war was over, we never really learn about (or care about) how disastrous the war was for them or how much they lost during the war.
How does our historical perspective distort our sense of accuracy and historical truth? What role do our emotions play when it comes to topics like this?
Here is a link to a basic outline of an ethical theory of when wars can be considered just or moral.
“Should we allow generals and politicians to hide behind phrases such as ‘friendly fire’?”
“As revelations of deaths of coalition troops caused by allies surface in Iraq and Afghanistan, an issue for editors is whether the phrase “friendly fire” should have quote marks around it.
“It is a military term, designed to shield the horrors of death and prevent animosity towards a war mission, argues one camp; so why should we be the agents of the phrase’s recognition? It is as if we accept its premise – that it is just one of those things that happens in war, and we should just, you know, get over it.”