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Question about War in General and Society today

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mongoose88, Nov 12, 2004. | Replies: 87 | Views: 2187

  1. Mongoose88

    Mongoose88 Banned

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    Question about War in General and Society today

    Hey guys...I really don't know how to phrase this question well, so, here goes nothing:

    (note): I'd love to keep politics out of this, but knowing that a thread about favorite singers often leads to arguments about abortion, I'm pretty sure that's a futile request

    If America would be called upon today to fight in a "World War III", would they do so? If so, how many casualties do you think we'd suffer? And would the president still have the support of the people?

    I ask this because, looking at the War in Iraq, we have liberated a country and have only lost 1000 men. I'm not saying that the cause was right, because there are no WMD's in Iraq, I'm just stating the facts. We helped liberate a Middle Eastern country and only sustained 1000 losses. Now, I constantly log onto yahoo.com, and notice that the biggest story is always something like "America loses 3 marines in Iraq". I flip on the news, and they are talking about how many losses we have sustained, etc., etc.

    Well, if 1000 losses is A LOT (as I have heard many news networks and friends/colleagues/teachers/family say), what would today's society think of World War I and II, where America suffered 364,000 and about 900,000 casualties, respectively (Note: casualties is deaths and injuries)? Hell, what would they think of D-Day, where we suffered 2,500 casualties in one day? What would they think of the Russians, who experienced 20,000,000 casualties in WWII?

    What I'm saying is that war is war, and people are expected to die. However, in todays world, it seems as though people would not be willing to accept that fact...

    I realize the war in Iraq is an exception, because a lot of people disagree with it, and because it's not really a "war", but I have a hard time imagining the US mobilizing millions of troops and suffering hundreds of thousands of casualties without chaos in the streets.

    Has technology come so far that we are only expected to lose 10 troops a day when at war? I mean, we just had WWII 60 years ago...

    Capsulated into one sentence, my question is this

    " Why are people making such a big deal over 1000 casualties when in past wars we've often suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties?"
  2. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    different war, different scale, different enemy, different time.

    Apples and oranges

    EDIT: and different cultures. Russia used the same tactics when they were fighting Napoleon (probably misspelled that, I always do)
  3. Freemason

    Freemason Banned

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    It's impossible to keep politics out of this. Politics is the very reason why it's an issue.

    Basically a Republican dared to do something. He's also a religious man. He had the audacity to get something done instead of talking about getting something done. It's no more complex than that.

    This is no different of a reaction than the one Pres. Reagan got by having the audacity to use action instead of words. He was hated for it. Pres. Clinton on the other hand talked a lot and did little. And he's loved. You figure it out.
  4. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    let me get this straight, Bush invades without using as much diplomacy as some people wanted and people hated him for it. Reagan did the same and people hated him for it. Clinton relied more heavily on diplomacy and people didn't hate him. I think they just may be a factor you are overlooking here.
  5. Nerf-Herder

    Nerf-Herder IncGamers Member

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    if there is a direct and continuing threat to the US, things would be different -- if we are backed into a corner and left with no other option, you wouldnt see too many people protesting and//or moving to canada

    you must remember that war, violence, and force are LAST resorts -- they are not to be used as diplomacy -- these are things that occur when diplomacy fails

    unless you are from texas...


    and its "only" 1,000 casualties until you and//or someone you know//love become part of that statistic -- then it may become the preamble to your being put on trial for an assassination
  6. Freemason

    Freemason Banned

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    No, I got it right. Pres. Reagan and Pres. Bush both saw the point where diplomacy ceased to be useful. After that time it becomes anything to avoid military action (aka cowardice). Welcome to the modern world, governed by a bunch of cowards.
  7. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    To the best of my knowledge, "casualties" has always included killed and wounded. By that definition, the US casualty count for Iraq according to the DoD is 9607. That's in about 1.5 years, giving us a casualty rate of approximately 6400 a year (just a little over that).

    WWII using that same concept with your numbers comes out to about 225,000 casualties per year, or roughly 35 times our Iraq casualty rate. The problem in such a direct comparison, though, is that WWII pitted us against an extremely powerful group of enemy nations who had overrun a not-negligible portion of the planet, whereas our enemies in Iraq are a bunch of goons with outdated weapons running around a desert.

    So, in my mind, the rate of casualties between the two wars aren't very distinguishable once scale is taken into account.

    Edit: Let's drop the diplomacy/political/whatever-your-pet-issue-is talk. He asked for a numbers comparison, and unless your calculator has a spin button, there's no possible way for your political ideology to be a factor in your response.
  8. i always hated this kind of response, there is no need for you to bring in love/personal relations into this, what we are talking about here is merely the numerical comparison, 1000 vs. millions, well no **** if your friend/family member is in that 1000, samething can be said about that millions, how many more friends/familiy members is that gonna affect? lets try staying on topics this time please.
  9. Wuhan_Clan

    Wuhan_Clan IncGamers Member

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    I can actually use your figures to conclude a non-political reason why the media makes such a fuss over a few casualties. In a war where there are only around 1000 casualties, a few (lets say 3) is going to be 0.3% of the total war's count. In WWII, this 0.3% would be 2700 casualties, going by your figures.
    Also, American's value the lives of American's more then the lives of citezens of other countries. This is why 3 Americans dying in Iraq is more newsworthy then 30 Iraqis dying the same day. There is nothing wrong with this. It's just the way it is.
    Of course, the real reasons are still political.
  10. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    There are no two wars that are alike. WWII and Iraq are so vastly different in scope, size, difficulty and a myriad of other factors that they cannot even remotely be compared.
  11. Nerf-Herder

    Nerf-Herder IncGamers Member

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    emotions and//or personal cost has a significant impact on warfare -- they cannot be reduced to numbers for analysis by statisticians

    the moment a society begins to dehumanize people by turning them into numbers is the same moment that same society deems people as "disposable"

    we almost NEED to detach ourselves in this manner to distance ourselves from the horror and from responsibility

    58,000 dead US soldiers in vietnam -- i found that statistic shocking when i was in high school -- when i graduated and moved to washington DC for college, i went to the vietnam memorial and saw those names on that wall

    to me, they became NAMES of fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, all lost forever -- they were no longer statistics
  12. Freemason

    Freemason Banned

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    It hits harder when you recognize names. The one time I've visited the Traveling Wall I saw names I recognized from books I've read.
  13. yes, im not saying im a cold blooded person who do not care about these people who sacrificed their lives. THE TOPIC is "Why are people making such a big deal over 1000 casualties when in past wars we've often suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties?"
    and you bring up a point, "well, its not just 1000, to those families, friends...", well that could be applied equally to the other side "well, its not just hundreds of thousands, think of THEIR friends and families." your point IS valid but it has nothing, nothing to do with what we are talking about
  14. Nerf-Herder

    Nerf-Herder IncGamers Member

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    it has EVERYTHING to do with the topic -- in warfare, side A sacrifices some of their families to kill side B's families in order to defend whats left of side A's families

    though the silence of the fallen cannot be quantified, we need to feel it is justified

    and then another fight breaks out...

    afterall, it is rather easy to ignore a number
  15. then answer the question already, " Why are people making such a big deal over 1000 casualties when in past wars we've often suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties?" you point DOES NOT answer it, yes, no **** its easy to ignore a number, we all know that, no **** we need to feel justified, but why is it different for two wars?
  16. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    If you forget a group of people's humanity or your love for any individual you lost because you looked at a set of statistics that includes them, then you have much bigger problems than the fact that we're looking at statistics right now.

    Personally, I think not to have and not to discuss the statistics would be the more grievous error. Maybe it's just me, but I can't help feeling a little appalled every time someone spams about supporting our troops and can't even give me a good estimate of how many troop lives that "support" has ended.

    Edit: To add to my first post, I would also like to point out that WWII is, to this day, considered to be "the" war. The memory has not faded even though the number of survivors from that era are beginning to dwindle. Iraq War Part 2 won't be much different from Part 1. Ten or fifteen years after we leave, it'll be mostly forgotten. Despite in my mind the two wars having comparable rates of casualty, our society also places much greater emphasis on the war with the highest raw figure of total casualties anyway, so I'm not sure that there even is much of a discrepancy between the casualties-to-reaction ratio of the two wars.

    The fact that there's more news coverage of Iraq casualties than WWII casualties is just a matter of recency.
  17. Freemason

    Freemason Banned

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    It goes back to politics. The media hates Pres. Bush in an irrational way. Thus they spin everything to make him look like the worst person ever.

    Think of how many people Arafat killed. Yet he's being praised as being a greater man that Jesus could have ever dreamed of being. Why are the deaths he caused ignored? Because the media loves him. Pres. Bush is hated and the world is made to look like it's endiing over 1,000 killed.

    We can break it down even further. Money. Making every single death front page news sells more newspapers. Making political hay out of 1,000 deaths sells even more newspapers. It makes for juicy promos for the nightly news which leads to more viewers which leads to higher ratings which leads to higher costs for advertising which leads to fat wallets for the stockholders.

    Follow the money. It'll lead you to the politics. And then you'll have your answers.
  18. exactly, and there, it has nothing to do with love/family/friends, although i repeat, it is a factor of war.
  19. Steel_Avatar

    Steel_Avatar IncGamers Member

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    You can't exclude politics from the question. If the public feels the war is justified, they will be more willing to accept casualties.
  20. Nerf-Herder

    Nerf-Herder IncGamers Member

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    ok then -- heres my "official" answer:

    it has little to do with bush bashing, the period of time, political climate, etc...

    we place so much emphasis on these 1,000+ deaths because the war is not over

    perhaps at some point in the future we can look back and begin to quantify, qualify, justify, dehumanize these deaths -- until the war is over, we are ALL concerned that one of us or our loved ones could become just one part of that growing statistic

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