The Morality and 'Politics' of Weapons of War

You are spot on - I have latched onto your post but my rant was also referencing what was being said a few posts prior.

Rants are exactly what I was hoping to not have happen.

On the risk of coming off as a godawful pedant, allow me to describe my technique of de-rantifying myself.

First I write the rant. Full of expletives and bad spelling and anger and all that.

Then I do not click the post button. Very important step this, easy to accidentally skip!

I look at something else. Anything else. And I start going over my writing like an editor. Fix a spelling mistake. Make up a clever way to not have to use those fookin’ expletives. Read it over to see if it makes sense logically. Get some empathy going, how will this be received?

And that’s when you press ‘post’.

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Its hard to modulate emotion with stuff like this. Lots of time, people, hurt and growing up listening to our elders talk of darker times. Its all what makes a society. Some hate runs deeper than others. Some sins cannot be forgiven or undone. But @schurem is correct, wounds heal. Shattered lives can rebuild with time. People have a wonderful way of just…carrying on, and there is a beauty in that.
We have a duty to remember the past lest it be forgotten. I myself have posted countless pictures of my boy and I at museums. He’s 3. He is not going to understand the difference between a German and a Nazi. He just likes looking at the cool planes, the heavy tanks with the camouflage paint and massive cannons. But I try very hard to educate as much as I can as well. He understands good and bad. So while it may be crude (or possibly even incorrect or abhorrent for some) i teach him that world war was a fight against bad ideas. Not bad people. I don’t want him to grow up thinking Germans or Japanese are “the bad guys” or “evil” because it isn’t remotely true. I say the flag (you know the one) represents bad thinking, bad ideas and when bad ideas start hurting others you sometimes have to use these beautiful static items we are looking at to push back and fight against the ideas. It doesn’t make people bad. It just needs stopping sometimes. It doesn’t make the machines used bad, they are just tools and when it’s all over and the fighting stops we can enjoy the machines for what they are most of the time. Static, Quiet and beautiful

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While there are always a few “bad apples” on both sides, and sometimes pockets of evil where entire groups feel they have free reign to mete out whatever pain they can manage because “it’s war”, the main reason wars are possible at all boils down to two things:

One - making the “others” appear inhuman, subhuman, or just plain animals. The leadership basically attempts brainwashing, of the civilians as well as the military, to ease those consciences so that their aims–which require killing of the adversaries soldiers and even civilians–can be met.

Two - fostering esprit de corps, or whatever you want to call it, among the soldiers. Even if you fail to get your rank and file to hate the enemy, if you can get them to care about their fellows, then they will fight to preserve the lives of those beside them. Then the leaders just deploy their troops in places the enemy doesn’t like, to draw their fire because THEY feel they will be killed if they don’t, and they fight back. The simple message “the enemy will only stop shooting at you and your friends when we take hill X” or whatever objective gets them to band together to preserve their own lives by achieving it.

If for some hypothetical reason you can imagine an attacker swoops in and the defenders refuse to fire on them, my guess is that while the attackers would just march in they would have some serious unrest in their ranks as the rationale for them being there would be much harder to justify. Looking over history at many different conflicts, quite often the stated rationale for the conflict doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, especially when it’s based on ideological grounds - that “if we don’t fight them, we could become them” - when it has been proven that killing the messenger, or the army of the messenger, never kills the idea. Only a more popular idea can kill an idea.

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Nice one, very wise.

But a tank can’t kill an idea. It kills those who believe enough in the idea to step in front of it.

True. But as tools, as any artifact really, they are also symbols. They carry meaning through story, function and form. Now one can choose to tell the story in such a way that parts are separate. This is a wise way to teach a child to interpret these symbols.

It would not be right if the most extreme parts of its symbolism came up at the mere sight of a toy gun. My parents tried that, and it sucked. Some of it stuck however, and I personally cannot but see the swastika on the tail of a Heinkel and be reminded of far too much of the story.

Does this mean I’d rather shy away from these images? Rather play in a sanitized, pretend not-this-world? No! I relish in shooting down stukas and messers and fokkers, both as playing a reenactment of a heroic story of my culture and as sport. most sports have more or less remote connections to war, from running to spear-chucking

This also brings us back to the sight of Aleppo burning in the video that started off this thread. That story is raw, and fresh and the afterimages of the suffering beneath those burning buildings are still with us. It is hard (for some of us) to see those depiction and not immediately imagine what went on.

Yup. Disney, Levis jeans and the Coca Cola company won the cold war.

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Wartime history, and history in general, is too complex to dismiss with a right or wrong.
Resisting the occupation was by the German occupants regarded as terrorism.
And this is how the Norwegian resistance would’ve been remembered had Germany won WWII.
They lost, and the resistance are celebrated as heroes.
When the German Battlecruiser ‘Blücher’ was sunk in the Oslo inlet, many of the German soldiers couldn’t believe what was happening. According to their indoctrination they were coming to Norway to rescue the Norwegians from British imperialism. Why were they shot at?
Many Germans were decent persons, who quietly disobeyed orders and treated the Norwegians fairly, while others took it upon themselves to enforce the laws of the Reich to the letter.

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Not at all splitting hairs here as I agree with your sentiment here, but i would also maintain that without a willing person sitting behind the gun sight or the steering wheel the tank is just a hammer laying on the ground waiting for the carpenter to pick up.
I’m sure that isn’t comforting for people who have seen these things being used against them or their homes, but for my pampered children, its an invaluable way of teaching what happens when ideas boil over into hate and oppression. Sometimes we NEED to stand our ground and push back. Hopefully peacefully. Sometimes not.
This kind of is how I feel about our hobby and the Syria map in DCS. My hope is one day when he’s a bit older that I can teach my kids to fly a proper fighter plane in VR. We can do all the silly stuff like shooting down people from NL in spitfires and flying under bridges. I want to show him how to land on a carrier and drop a cluster bomb on a group of trucks. But once that’s all done how (phrasing, I know) awesome would it be to fly around Aleppo in a helicopter and show him the before and after. Damage off…damage on. All that death and destruction. Just by pulling that little trigger. That’s a teachable moment. Actions, consequences etc.

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The discussion is both civil and informed. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over something like that.

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No, I don’t think I will. :slightly_smiling_face: While you and I are able to have a polite and well mannered exchange of views, despite our different political persuasions, IMHO that doesn’t seem hold true for some others. As I don’t feel like being insinuated as intolerant or my expressed thoughts labeled racist rhetoric, I’ll happily forgo the opportunity.

As always, by quoting von Clausewitz you demonstrate your solid grasp of the concepts involved in this discussion. If I didn’t know better, I would think that you are an Honor Graduate of the US Naval War College. Well doe Sir! :grin:

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Did he, though…?

I guess that as with most important books, we end up studying the translation… :wink:

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What a great discussion! Every bomb that is dropped has the designed potential to turn lives inside out. Are we celebrating that? The answer exists in the mind of every player. A small few probably really do fantasize about a human cost to their pull of the trigger. A level of bloodlust exists in all of us. But most are just putting the thing on the thing in the hope that they pass the mission or win the map. At least in flight sims, we’re not mousing around some muscley tatooed avatar screaming “GIT SOME!” when the lead starts flying. But maybe even that opinion has a basis in reality. Pilots are more detached from the carnage they cause than is infantry. I do get uncomfortable with this sometimes. And when I do, I invest a week or two in X-Plane (or KSP where if truth be told the real carnage happens.)

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The real life story of “Rescue Dawn” should cool your jets if you want to be a real life combat pilot.
"Dieter Dengler (CHRISTIAN BALE) dreamed of flying since his childhood in wartime Germany, which is why he volunteered to become a Navy pilot after his family moved to America. The only place he ever wanted to be was in the sky, but now, on his very first top-secret mission over Laos, his plane is shot down to earth. Trapped in an impassable jungle far from U.S. control, Dengler is soon captured by notoriously dangerous Pathet Lao soldiers. "

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Fortunately, the author, James R. Holmes is

a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College where he specializes in U.S., Chinese and Indian maritime strategy and U.S. diplomatic and military history

I don’t recall him in the lecture line up so he must have been after my time. Regardless, I trust that he is ensuring that the correct translation of Herr Clausewitz is being taught at my alma mater. :slightly_smiling_face:

So true. For example I find that the Epic of Gilgamesh is much more insightful when read in the original Sanskrit…wouldn’t you agree? :wink:

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Years ago I was on a Dostoyevsky tear. I had a Russian acquaintance who was the father of my daughter’s best friend at the time. We invited them over for Thanksgiving dinner and after some liquid lubrication I worked up the nerve to talk about my obsession with Russian authors–which he shared! The thing is, he didn’t enjoy any of them in Russian. Instead, he preferred the English translations by Constance Garnett. He liked her writing style better and didn’t feel that any of the nuance was lost.

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And one can hope, not only the translation but also the importance of critical analysis.

The original language of Gilgamesh was Accadian… :wink:
It was translated into sanskrit.
I have read the swedish school translation. It didn’t contain anything about prostitutes… :wink:

Thing is that a lot of the litterature we base our education on, has been translated several times recieving both cultural and political influences that causes text to be altered, added or removed.

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Of course not. I’m sure many comparisons to teachers would’ve followed.

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I wonder, is it the same thing if you cheer because you are playing NHL 20XX or NHL 20XX and you injure the star player on the other team? Maybe not the same as dropping a virtual cluster bomb on a virtual city, but same moral issue no? I mean most of us wouldn’t wish that sever injury on that player in real life (some would, I know sports fans), but can you make the same, or similar argument for other games then? GTA, every FPS known to man, Pac-man stealing fruits (ok too far).

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Yeah, didn’t they call Doom (the first one), “Murder Simulator”? Or one FPS along about that time.

As far as flight sims go (my preferred outlet), to me it’s mostly about mastering a skill. The usefulness is open to debate of course. I just understand it as fun. I don’t do crossword puzzles :slight_smile:

Doom and Falcon were the reasons for my first computer purchase (not counting a Vic 20 before that) lol. What does that say about my morality :slight_smile:

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It says, “It’s old!”

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