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Who's a pacifist?

(18 Posts)
Baggy Sat 23-Jul-11 07:11:09

Rather than hijack the arboretum thread, I thought I'd add my name here to the pacifist list. Is war ever a good idea? It seems to cause so much 'collateral' damage as to be not worth it, not to mention the financial costs. But we do seem to be a very warlike species. I suppose it originates in territorial defence, which is about guarding food supplies. Other animals do it too.

pompa Sat 23-Jul-11 08:09:23

I cannot see war ever as a good idea.
However, defence becomes necessary to protect our freedom. Had we not defended ourselves from Hitler, it is unimaginable where the world would be today.
The big problem today is the International threats that exists, the general public will never get the whole truth about these threats and just how they might impact on the rest of the world. We have to rely on our own, (and unfortunately other governments) security services to determine the level of threat.
Whilst the tragic loss of life in conflicts like Afghanistan, often appears pointless, we cannot know what would result if we did nothing.
My greatest concern is the way certain major countries try to influence the politics of others because they do not comply to their own policies.
Am I a pacifist - I would like to think so - but should I be the one at risk, I guess not. I am immensely proud and grateful to our armed forces who risk and give their lives defending our freedom, if they are misguided, that is the fault of our politicians.

helshea Sat 23-Jul-11 08:16:20

Baggy I really am not sure where I stand on this one, it would take a lot of careful consideration. I just wonder that maybe war is the lesser of two evils, but I will get back to you on this one confused

ElseG Sat 23-Jul-11 08:26:13

Without war we would be speaking with a different accent and as much as I like the Germans this I should not have wanted. I suppose therefore I am not a pacifist but I hope that I would not dive into just any fight, there would have to be a major principle involved.

On another tack but of a similar vein, I could not push the button to execute a criminal.

Baggy Sat 23-Jul-11 08:57:50

helshea, I think I'm actually with you there. I hate what war does but what pompa says is good sense too. There is an interesting letter in the online Independent today about defence and aid in India, which kind of links in to this thread. Maybe my true stance is "wish I could be an out and out pacifist, but ..."

goldengirl Sat 23-Jul-11 10:36:43

My answer is 'I don't know'. Reading about WW1 fills me horror at the futility of war. It's Jo Blogs on the ground who suffers not the duffers at the 'top'. WW2 was horrific but seems, from what my parents said, a necessary evil. I was dead against the Iraq War and Afghanistan seems fruitless and endless causing suffering all round. However if it was on my own doorstep I have to admit I might feel differently. I do think our country tends to rush into areas without proper consideration and I think Tony Blair was hoping taking the UK into battle would make him look good in the public eye. It certainly didn't have that effect on me angry. I have a great respect for conscientious objectors - I don't think I'd be brave enough.

jangly Sat 23-Jul-11 10:53:47

War is just so old fashioned. You'd think by now we would have found a better way to resolve arguments worldwide.

grannyactivist Sat 23-Jul-11 13:03:11

When the UK went into Iraq I was really upset and frustrated. At the time the Iraqi people were desperate for food, medicine, educational supplies etc. Can you imagine the positive outcome if the US and UK had 'love bombed' the Iraqi people with parcels of said items? The costs of war in terms of lives lost, maimed or traumatised is incalculable. The financial costs are obscene.

However, I have moved my position to where I do accept that some of the decisions made regarding countries in conflict are extremely complex and may result in the need for intervention. The film 'Hotel Rwanda' demonstrated that very well. When/how/should one country intervene in another's governance are questions that are difficult to answer in the abstract and need to be examined case by case.

Granny23 Sat 23-Jul-11 13:38:10

I would call myself a pacifist. I have thought about this a lot both in the personal (No to smacking, Zero tolerance of Domestic Violence, a hard line on Violence of any kind, bullying, football hooliganism, etc.) and the political, whether sending troops to fight on one side or the other in a conflict or starting a conflict or keeping one going endlessly e.g. NI Israel/Palestine.

However, I do support the concept of Policing, where the object of the excercise is to get between the warring factions and keep them apart/under control until a resolution of the dispute is found through mediation, discussion, bargaining. Again this is personal - e.g standing between siblings who are knocking strips off each other, and political - e.g. Nato forces going into an area to enforce a cease fire.

absentgrana Sat 23-Jul-11 14:28:00

I'm with you all the way Granny23. I believe violence in any form is simply wrong, including self-defence (but we don't need to go there right now). I would add that I do not believe that there is such a thing as a just war – a phrase coined for political expediency. Furthermore, if the allied politicians hadn't behaved so badly at the end of World War I, when they were triumphalist, puffed up with self-importance and become a bunch of bullies, it's quite likely that Hitler would never have become the German Chancellor and World War II, the example often given as being a necessary war, would not have taken place.

helshea Sat 23-Jul-11 20:44:55

ok I will throw this in. If you found someone seriously hurting a family member would you just stand back? If not.. can you call yourself a pacifist?

absentgrana Sat 23-Jul-11 20:48:42

helshea Of course you don't stand back, but you don't have to be violent. What you have to do is risk being hurt yourself to protect (victim) and restrain (attacker). Hard decision and maybe painful – been there, done that.

FlicketyB Sat 23-Jul-11 22:39:32

But pacifists kill people too. When the decision whether or not to go to war is made it is not usually a choice between people being killed or people living, it is the decision over who will be killed. I was opposed to the Iraq war but I knew by making that choice I was choosing between the people who would be killed in the war and those who would be killed by Saddam Hussein and his henchman if he remained in power. You do not have to fire the gun to kill someone.

Faye Sun 24-Jul-11 01:19:08

I think its time the leaders of this world went to some island where no one lives and fight these wars themselves. Leave the rest of us alone.
I don't think Saddam Hussein would have killed quite so many people as have been killed since the war in Iraq started. I heard that the reason that the US wanted to go to war help the people of Iraq is because in 2000 'Iraq said it will no longer accept dollars for oil because it did not want to deal in the currency of the enemy.' The US depends on other nations dealing in US dollars otherwise they will be down the gurgler. Which it looks like they are going that way anyway.
The second reason is because Iraq has oil. You don't see the US rushing in to save countries when they don't have oil.
Imagine all the trillions that has been spent on just this war alone. Think of all the starving people living miserable lives that could have been helped. Think of all the free health care the Americans alone could have had. There are people who make millions out of wars. These bastards leaders don't give a toss about anyone but themselves. Its all about power and greed!
Yes I believe I am a pacifist. I can barely watch what is happening in the world any more, it makes me sick to my stomach!!!

Faye Sun 24-Jul-11 02:23:14

I think the word pacifist is in regard to wars. Correct me if I am wrong. Maybe I am just an anti war monger. confused
I do believe in stepping in and helping. I have often stood up for people who are being bullied. I had a bus driver abuse me one day when I told him to let a young teenager off the bus. She had gotten on a bus that didn't stop at all stops and he wanted her to stay on the bus for another 40 minutes and let her get off at a stop that was not the safest place to be at night waiting for a bus. That teenager was not the only girl I had called out to the bus driver to let off on that route for the same reasons. I was always baffled that no one else on the bus ever said a word.
When living in England I chased a man wearing a ministers collar down the road when I saw him driving his scooter along side a distressed boy who was running away from him. Turns out I did the right thing.
I believe very strongly in standing up for the underdog or anyone in need of help but I believe we are invading other countries and lots of people are dying and it can't be right!!!

Joan Sun 24-Jul-11 05:02:52

I think most of us are pacifists at heart, we just have different ideas about when war or conflict is necessary, to allow people to live in peace. WW1 was not necessary, for instance, but WW2 was a no choice situation:Hitler had to be stopped or many more deaths would have followed, including mine (Jewish grandfather). May conscientious objectors for WW1 volunteered for WW2.

I was sick with horror at the invasion of Iraq, but glad there was intervention in Afghanistan because of the way women and girls were treated by the Taliban. Now I think that giving safe passage and asylum to victims and potential victims of the murderous Taliban might have been better.

I realise oil or other resources are behind many conflicts, religion or idealism behind others. This is unacceptable. The sooner we find alternative energy sources, and get rid of religious nuttery the better.

I won't hold my breath.

Joan Sun 24-Jul-11 05:03:55

Last line first paragraph I meant many not may.

helshea Sun 24-Jul-11 09:16:35

I know the OP mentioned war specifically, but to my understanding pacifist is someone that is against violence as a means to settle disputes of any sort.