Re: virus: Ethical War - Good or Bad?

Alex Williams (
Fri, 3 Jan 1997 09:56:47 -0500 (EST)

> Each year, the world spends approximately $1 trillion
> ($1,000,000,000,000 US) on military expenditures.
> The combined total cost of various global programs that would solve the
> major human need and environmental
> problems we face today is approximately a quarter of it. See
> for more
> details. So that violent combat is the one to consume resources, not the
> 6 billion siblings that the terran nest hosts. All this provided that we
> limit population growth, otherwise we'll fall into the Malthusian
> thesis.

The problem with this is that I don't buy into it. The major need and
environmental problems we see wouldn't go away no matter /how/ much
money we threw at them, because at heart they're not problems of
expenditure. The problems of behaviour and support. I say we cut off
shipments of food to the homeless and the poor; dead people aren't
hungry. But that's really beside the point.

Yes, armies cost mondo. On the other hand, the feeling of safety you
get from cradling a nice big weapon when you know your siblings would
like to kill you so they could have your resources may very well be
worth that and more.

> soon as they engage in actual struggle. It was the American army who
> used napalm and deforstation chemicals in Vietnam, not the bad guys.

Well, that /was/ because the ostensible bad guys didn't /want/ the
trees and people to go bye-bye, they provided protection. The Viet
Cong did fun things like torture prisoners of war and then lie about
having them; perfectly within their rights, of course, but tacky to a

> Once you abolish all conventions and endanger the leaders' safety in any
> conflict in which they'll be involved, they won't go into conflicts for
> such minor causes.

The leaders will /never/ be vulnerable, no matter what changes you
make to the ethics surrounding war. If, in the end, it turns so that
the leader must lead from the front, you'll see an army of proxies.

> danger to American soil. But today we have terrorists obtaining
> non-conventional weapons, and all sides could be striked on their very
> own soft chest.

Ah, a man supporting terrorism, right after my own heart.

Do note that most terrorist groups have the leader leading from right
up front, taking the danger of being caught and killed pretty close,
and yet terrorism survives and commits acts of atrocities. Also note
that when the first backpack nuke is detonated on American soil (or
anywhere, frankly), you are going to see /such/ a shitstorm with
terrorists being rooted out and wasted you won't believe your eyes.
It'll be the next Noble Cause.