It Isn’t Antiseptic - A Quote on War

“Please try and understand this.  It’s not an easy thing to hear, but please listen.  There is no morality in warfare.  You kill children.  You kill women.  You kill old men.  You don’t seek them out, but they die.  That’s what happens in war.”

Paul Tibbets, quoted in Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War

Taken from:

Flyboys, James Bradley, Chapter 16, Fire War, pg. 248

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/31 at 07:06 PM
  1. It doesn’t just “happen” - people make it happen.  There’s as much morality in wartime and in warfare as people decide to bring to it.

    Amoralists like Tibbets are sick fuckers, and we should resist the temptation to romantically read “grim wisdom” into their ravings.

    http://www.sniggle.net/Experiment/index.php?entry=06Aug04

    Studs Terkel asked Tibbets whether we ought to use nukes in this “War on Terror” today.  Here’s what he said:

    “Oh, I wouldn’t hesitate if I had the choice. I’d wipe ‘em out. You’re gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but we’ve never fought a damn war anywhere in the world where they didn’t kill innocent people. If the newspapers would just cut out the shit: ‘You’ve killed so many civilians.’ That’s their tough luck for being there.”

    Posted by Dave Gross  on  08/31  at  09:04 PM
  2. Dave people do make it “happen,” as you say.  People from both sides of the equations.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/01  at  06:42 AM
  3. John Venlet: Dave people do make it “happen,” as you say.  People from both sides of the equations.

    So if someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night, and I am forced to shoot them, then it’s just as much my fault as it is the intruders?

    Are both sides of the equation always equally wrong?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/01  at  10:08 AM
  4. No… but while it’s quite possible that they’re both wrong, it’s not possible that they’re both right.

    Posted by Andy Stedman  on  09/01  at  03:12 PM
  5. Ahhh Mr. Stedman, I see that you are “nuanced” and “complicated” just like presidential hopeful John kerry.

    Andy Stedman: No… but while it’s quite possible that they’re both wrong …

    Could you explain how shooting at an intruder to your home in the middle of the night is “wrong”?

    Is self defense always wrong (immoral)?

    Andy Stedman: … it’s not possible that they’re both right. [i.e. the burglar and the home owner]

    Is burglary ever right (moral)?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/01  at  04:03 PM
  6. The Serpent: “Could you explain how shooting at an intruder to your home in the middle of the night is “wrong”?”&
    I’m not saying that in this situation both are wrong, as it’s not the case.  I’m saying that is is possible for both sides in a war, or a simple fight, to be wrong.  i.e. if two rapists are having a fistfight over who gets to go first, they’re both wrong.

    Posted by Andy Stedman  on  09/02  at  10:36 AM
  7. Andy Stedman: I’m not saying that in this situation both are wrong, as it’s not the case.

    People do make it happen – as you say – people from BOTH sides of the equation.

    Andy Stedman: I’m saying that is is possible for both sides in a war, or a simple fight, to be wrong.  i.e. if two rapists are having a fistfight over who gets to go first, they’re both wrong.

    Yes, and people from BOTH sides of the equation (i.e. the two rapists on one side, and the rape victim on the other side) are all equally wrong … is that correct?

    Or like Japan and America at Pearl harbor, or the Islamofacist and America at World trade center … all sides are EQUALLY wrong … right? It’s just like saying that the rape victim is just as much a “criminal” as the rapist.

    So let me ask you this, suppose that one thief (A) steals some previously stolen merchandise from another thief (B).  Are you saying that thief-A has not initiated harm against thief-B? Would you consider stealing previously stolen goods as non-theft?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/02  at  11:44 AM
  8. Serpent makes me tired!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/02  at  11:59 AM
  9. Go back to sleep then.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/02  at  12:37 PM
  10. You need to find a better straw man, Serpent.  I can’t imagine you’re as stupid as you come across as, so I can only surmise that you are deliberately misreading my words.

    I may choose to respond if you stop being such a boor. (sic)

    Posted by Andy Stedman  on  09/02  at  01:02 PM
  11. What straw man Mr. Stedman?

    You are asserting that in a conflict the two parties are BOTH equally wrong … isn’t that correct?

    I am saying that in ANY conflict it is ALWAYS the party that initiates the aggression (harm (negative entanglement)) that has committed the moral violation in reality.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/02  at  03:08 PM
  12. * groan *
    The Serpent: “What straw man Mr. Stedman?

    You are asserting that in a conflict the two parties are BOTH equally wrong … isn’t that correct?”

    No, I am asserting that in a conflict it is possible for both parties to be wrong (or, at least, not right,) certainly not that it is always the case.  I gave a hypothetical example.  Care to assert that one of the two rapists fighting over dibs is not in the wrong?

    Posted by Andy Stedman  on  09/02  at  03:47 PM
  13. I’d say that stealing from a thief is still theft.

    Andy Stedman: Care to assert that one of the two rapists fighting over dibs is not in the wrong?

    I would say that one of the rapists is more wrong than the other.

    It’s kind of like if we are a gang of bank robbers … that would be morally wrong. But if after a successful robbery I shot you and took your share of the loot, that would be even more wrong.

    My original point is that conflicts (intentional (deliberate) harming) don’t just materialize out of thin air of their own “free will”. Instead they are initiated deliberately by specific individuals.

    Asserting that the actions of the individual initiating the violence, are equivalent to the individual responding to the violence is logically fallacious in the extreme.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/02  at  04:12 PM
  14. And I would say, in the case of the two rapists, who hit whom first doesn’t give either one a moral leg to stand on.  Neither one had a right to what they’re fighting over.

    However, if they leave the alley and have a fight later, it might once again matter.

    Posted by Andy Stedman  on  09/02  at  04:55 PM

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