Talk:War/Archive 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Factors Leading To War

In the first paragraph of the section Factors Leading To War, what was "the one hundred years of peace on the Europen continent during the 20th Century"? I assume it means the period from 1815 to 1914, which lacked the huge conflicts like the Napoleonic Wars and the Seven Years War which preceeded it, or WW1 and 2 which followed it. But it still had major wars, off the top of my head I can think of the Franco-Prussian War and the other wars Prussia fought to unify Germany, and the Crimean War. Also, saying one hundred years of peace during the 20th Century implies the whole century, not the first 14 years.Tallastrees (talk) 21:09, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

same with "War almost always results in many unnecessary deaths." unnecessary is very arguable, and also makes certain causal assumptions. i'm removing it.---DWRZ 23:46, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

"Other terms for war, often used euphemistically to circumvent limitations on war, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action." not neccessarily true. while this is sometimes the case, there is a difference between these terms, and the distinctions/gradations they refer to are often honestly used. i'm rephrasing. ---DWRZ 23:57, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

my rephrase hasn't been that successful, so if anybody can think of a better (and more thorough) rewrite, that'd be great. ---DWRZ 00:01, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

i'm going to remove the list of positive and negative effects on war. the list makes several moral assumptions (that are POV, I might add with regret). ---DWRZ 00:05, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


/Archive 1 - Unknown 2004 - June 2006: Information warfare, nuclear war, morality/ideology of war, and various.

/Archive 2 - Unknown 2004 - Nov 2006: Electronic warfare (and various), Information theory and Information examples.

Warfare in the animal kingdom

Are humans the only animal capable of warfare? If Baboons from one tribe attack another tribe with a sticks and stone is that not warfare? If ants coordinate attacks to encircle an enemy and “attack” (bite) all at once and then raid for resources (food), isn’t that warfare? When a plant uses chemical warfare to poison other plants around it, or strangles nearby plants with it’s roots in order to compete for resources (minerals in the soil, sunlight, etc) is THAT not warfare?


OK. But do animals kills a lot? NO. So it is not dangerous.

Animals kill eachother all the time. Almost nothing in nature dies of old age, with the exception of very large animals and very abundant animals. So yes, animals do kills a lot. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:20, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

it is not war in the context it is meant to be represented here... if someone is looking up war, they arent looking for shit about baboons 15:03, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

It is warfare in a polemological sense tho, mechanisms like in animals and plants may give paralels that support analyses of current conflicts, or at least their recognition. Also i would think eg. registering the total nr of commands or strategies of ant_warfare and finding there paralels on say batallion level, might provide outright new strategys. It seems we are trying to draw the distinction between harmless territorial behaviour and early raids or so, but what we are actually looking for is when violence became a concept that was socially accepted. a natural relation of animosity with a next people, instead of incidents and intrusions on individual and ritual (traditional) levels. It is directly related with the population expansion as a result of agriculture that 'war' in that sense becomes a modus. You may wonder if war, and slavery or submission of ppl., were not initially close to espionage, a need to exploit one of these random traditional (military if u go with baboons) victories before war. The paralels are endless. It is quite possible there is for example a (near) set minimum limit nr of echolons to create this sort of impersonal anonymous thing we call war. (talk) 23:42, 13 April 2008 (UTC)









MAN IS MORE WAR MONGERING THAN ANTS ONCE TOLD A —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:21, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Separate page for Theories

I reccomend we place a separate page for theories of why war occurs. Anybody concur/disagree? -DWRZ 19:24, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

There is a difference between why wars occur,(long list between starvation and greed), and why war occurs?. (single disregard for human life). There is also "how war occurs", wich some people would call why wars occur. Am i right you mean : This is not the page for why wars occur, it is the one for why war occurs? In wich case i concur. In the other cases i disagree. (talk) 23:49, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

That paragraph was totally right, but it still made me laugh mvidmaster —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Prisoner's Dillema and Peace War Game Section

I removed this section. It is a ridiculous interpretation and application of the Prisoner's Dillema and game theory, and it does not cite enough sources. Please discuss before reinstating it. -DWRZ 02:21, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm removing this again. The section has a serious error that most game theorists would immediately point out: the payoff matrix for the Prisoner's Dilemma does not accurately reflect all the possibilities and realities of life. War is not necessarily a "3" while peace a "1" or "2". Please discuss before reinstating it. -DWRZ 19:22, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The first serious error I see here is to expect ANY payoff matrix to reflect all the possibilities and realities of life. The second is not to consult the sources. Here, for your convenience is the most readily available.Industrial Organization - economics lecture in which the Peace War Game is an example. You should take more interest, it identifies a war-winning strategy, but requires cooperation. BTW, unilaterally deleting a section then starting a page on it doesn't make it any less an act of vandalism. MBHiii 20:38, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you on expecting any payoff matrix, but some people (not me) are still of the belief that a very extensive matrix could adequately deal with reality. I read through the powerpoint, I'm not sure what you intend I see in it. It's a good powerpoint-- for explaining these and other aspects of game theory-- but it has nothing to do with War. Beyond the fact that the section is problematic it is also far too detailed and extensive to be on the main page (and as a subset of another section). Vandalism? I'm new to wikipedia but I thought I was following the "be bold" policy. No one here has posted anything in the talk page about this section here, and there has been no discussion regarding its inclusion/exclusion. Also, as far as I'm concerned, it's not vandalism if I brought the issue up on the talk page and have good intentions for the article. I don't see how re-including or even writing the section without discussing or posting anything here doesn't amount to vandalism itself, using your definition. -DWRZ 22:24, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Shouldn't just delete things without getting some sense of how many people worked on it. Going back through the history of the Peace War Game will give you an idea. Also, the Hanseatic League vs the Vikings was a war won by cooperative Tit-for-tat. -- 23:22, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't aware of the Peace War Game history, thanks for pointing that out. Next time I will wait a bit longer for replies to posts in discussion. Nonetheless, I stand by the fact that the section should be removed, displaced, or qualified. The Hanseatic League versus the Vikings was not won by Tit-for-Tat. Yes, if you want to generalize and simplify a whole lot, it looks like the actions are like that. Second, one example does not justify a theory that is not generally held or significant. Third, the comparison is worthless even by the description of the Prisoner's Dilemma, which itself states that there are no outside influences and limits variables. I could go on. This section stinks of amateur work to me and its flaws and fallacies are outstanding. Again, like I said above, it also is way too specific for a front page of this entry-- indeed, I think all these theories which discuss why war happens and very little about how it is carried out, ended, and so on... belong a different page. I won't insist on this, it's my POV, but if anyone else agrees or can see where I'm coming from... I think this whole page is in need of a rewrite. -DWRZ 03:21, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

There's quite a bit in the article to suggest how wars are ended - by the development of mutual understanding and agreement. 18:32, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Abraham Lincoln's comment to Thaddeus Stevens when Stevens shouted, "Enemies are to be destroyed!". The president responded, "Mr. Stevens, are not our enemies destroyed when we make them our friends?" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:24, 13 April 2007 (UTC).

War without weapons

The definition is good, but war requires weapons. Try imagining war just fought with fists. Barbara Ehrenreich said in a book review in Foreign Affairs "War is not a barroom brawl writ large." There is an important lethality element to war. There has never been a bare-handed war. Wars are always fought with weapons. WardHayesWilson 12:41, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • This makes sense, Ward, of course. I put or left (I don't recall which) the "usually" in there simply because I couldn't be sure there were no counterexamples. But the requrement is so compelling it makes sense to leave it in until presented with such. Fists could be viewed as weapons, for that matter. With "usually" dropped, though, the sentence needs some rearrangement to read optimally. --NathanHawking 20:37, 2004 Sep 30 (UTC)

The definition is again without weapons. This is a serious deficiency.

Weapons are at the center of war. Better weapons can be decisive in war. Empires (Mongols - reflex bow, Assyrians - iron weapons) have risen on the basis of better weapons. The centrality of weapons is demonstrated by the constant attention to technology throughout the history of war.

Weapons are conceptually necessary. They are the means for separating civilian from soldier. Weapons are key in one of the crucial acts of war: surrender. (How do you surrender? You lay down your weapons.) Weapons make some of the crucial distinctions in war possible and are, therefore, central to war.

Can anyone find a dictionary definition that doesn't mention weapons in its definition of war? The dictionaries I've consulted say "armed" conflict or the like.

Without objection I will re-insert weapons into the main definition.

WardHayesWilson 04:02, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

  • The question to answer is: let's say that, hypothetically, in the middle of WWI, or WWII, or the Franco-Prussian War, or any war, you do away with any kind of weapon imaginable, leaving only humans to use their fists. Would this end the war? Would it stop people for killing each other, even if it means that their country's and people's interests (food, raw materials, security) are in danger? It's hard to say, because it has never happened, and probably never will. But if the option comes to starving to death, or killing another person with your bare hands, I'm willing to bet the latter choice will prevail. Weapons don't kill people, people do. Weapons make it easier (less struggle) and less personal (i.e. you don't have to touch your victim's neck, jugular, and get bloody), but in my opinion, don't define war. It is peolpe's interests and what they are willing to do for it what makes war. To counter WarddHayesWilson's statements: 1. Weapon's are not the central part of war, people's interests are, as I said before. Weapons are merely a tool for war. 2. Weapon's are not conceptually necessary, because you can kill a man with your bare hands. They do not separate the soldier from the civilian, the involvement in the war cause does. What is a soldier? A person with a gun? A person in the military? Surely there's gray area between both these views, But what use would it be to a country's military to give every able person in that country a military weapon, thus inflating it's military manpower, if in the end many of them will not use it? There are military logistics to consider, as well as many other critical issues, that could turn a person into a soldier (i.e. in service of the country's military) without ever engaging in hostility personally. 3. The fact that most dictionary definitions of "war" use the term "armed conflict" as a justification for weapons being a necessity for war is analogous to saying that to call something a "bar-room brawl," the hostilities need to take place within the confines of a bar room. The weapons are there because they make killing easier. If chimps could find, much less fabricate, a tool which they realized will help them wage war against competing chimps, I'm 100% certain they would use it. But because they don't use weapons, you cannot call it war? I disagree. War is an hostile conflict, which necesitates diversion of resources to defeat you competition. If chimps are competeing for females, territory/food to the point where they have to kill other chimps to ensure survival, they are at war, and if they realized their potential for survival would be greatly enhanced by using a weapon, they would use it. But the underlying conflict, competition, persists in absence of weapons. --Rivera151 17:20, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me the article should specially define war HERE as a type of military conflict which includes use of weapons. There is also Economic warfare which often preceedes military action. --Mrg3105 20:14, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

I definitely agree about the necessity of including weapons in the definition. I hope you all don't mind, but I'm going to change the opening sentence somewhat to include weapons. I'm leaning heavily on the definition of war used by Keith Otterbein. Athana 00:40, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. I think that it is an obstacle to understanding war to define it narrowly when the psychology is no different when dealing with small tribes, neighborhood gangs, or nations. Group level violence = war in my book and also in the recent David Livingstone Smith book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

  • War needs weapons. Full stop. However, that said, anything can be used as a weapon... just think about information warfare, trade war, cyber war, propaganda war - even love is a weapon - (case in point - US policy in Vietnam amongst neutral/potential foe hill tribes aka "Winning Hearts and Minds" using medical care and food.) One can even see it in the War on Terror where the terrorist uses simply the idea or threat of attack as a weapon against the moral of the people and their belief in their government...Akitora (talk) 11:26, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

The definition of war is complete without the use of the word weapon or arm, war is a term describing animosities on a by far not individual scale , including weapons would be misleading, since eg. a boykot, or fire (a natural aspect), can be means of war and lethal. (talk) 23:56, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

"just war"

The final phrase of the Morality of war section is: "Today, some see only just wars as legitimate, and it is the goal of organizations such as the United Nations to unite the world against wars of unjust aggression."

This seems to take for granted that "Just Wars" are a kind of war that has been proven to exist while it's only a theory (a doctrine) as following the link teaches us. I'd rather we put in something like:

"Today, some see only some specific wars, which they call "Just Wars" as legitimate, and it is the goal of organizations such as the United Nations to unite the world against wars that do not fit these criteria."

At the very least, I'm going to capitalize "Just War" to emphasize that it's only a theory and not a common noun, if nobody objects or does it before me. Jules LT 18:51, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree. As a pacifist, I see no reason to believe that there is such a thing as a just war. I'd say that this view is probably fairly common among many normal people, and as such using "just war" as a common noun isn't acceptable. 06:16, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

I too am a pacifist, and as such have an interest in removing from the everyday vernacular of many of my friends the term "just war". The article should reflect that there is a group of people entirely opposed to war. Peace unto you. -- SashasOP (talk) 18:38, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Disagree: there is a point defence is not anymore a choice but an option. As a Gandhiist though i think it is the choice you are supposed to make, for a pacifist i prefer to call it a theory (like in the "doctrine" above;) (talk) 00:01, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

No Mention of Warfare in the Animal Kingdom

Humans are not unique among the animal kingdom in waging warfare - Jane Goodall has observed chimpanzees wage warfare and it is also a phenomonen observed among several species of ants. Would it be proper to place these examples in this article? One danger is obviously anthromorphism but it is possible that warfare, in certain cases, can be supported by natural selection. Simfish 01:58, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I think it's difficult to make a case that animals fight "wars" except metaphoricaly.

First, I've argued above ("Wars Without Weapons") that war requires weapons. So I believe you can't have war in the animal kingdom (with the possible exception of some primates).

    • Weapons are defined by this website as: - a tool employed to gain a tactical advantage over an adversary, usually by injury, defeat, or destruction. - By that definition, and ants mandibles are weapons, a bee's stinger is a weapon, a lion's claws and a hyena's jaws are weapons. So war in the animal does involve weapons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:30, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

But even setting that aside wars are increasingly defined as characterized by high-level organization. My reading of the literature is that the consensus among historians is moving toward the notion that war only emerges among humans with the rise of agriculture and considerably-sized cities. The killing done by pre-historic man is less and less referred to as war. (Even though those prehistoric conflicts led, in some cases, to the extermination of whole groups.)

[It is hard to draw bright-line distinctions between war and, say, raids. Is what the Yanamamo [sp?] do war? Or raiding? Could we legitimately call what the Crips and the Bloods do war? (Journalists regularly do, but we aren't trying to sell advertising space.) Even when large numbers are killed we usually don't call this sort of activity war. Conflicts between groups - even those that result in killing - are not necessarily war.]

Finally, war usually requires considerable scale. Even a small war, like the War of 1812 (as we call it here in the States), usually involved battles with thousands of participants on each side.

I agree that group violence in the animal kingdom is fascinating and suggestive for understanding human violence. But I would hesitate to expand the definition of war wide enough to let these conflicts in. WardHayesWilson 04:50, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

    • It seems that you are arbitrarily defining war as a human activity. You could elliminate this whole debate about war being a natural occurance v. war being an exclusively human trait by simply changing the title of this page to "human warfare" and make "animal warfare" a seperate topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


Have you heard about bonobos? These primates are as close genetically to humans as chimps, but are non-violent and very sexual. The only reason you haven't heard more about them is *because* they love sex, and the puritans who run the world don't approve of that. Frans de Waal is a highly respectable primatologist who's written about them. I'd recommend his books -- especially "Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape." Athana 03:32, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I've seen quite a lot of coverage of the Bonobos. Rick Norwood 13:19, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Bonobos are also endangered. I hate when people use animals to make poltical statments. Anyway though not all species have large wars most have small battles. Thats just the way it is on earth. Also you don't need "weapons" to have war. You just need to be capable of hurting something. Needing a third party object to have a war makes no sense. Have you ever heard of a brawl? --Vehgah 03:07, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Maybe a seperate artical on animal warfare not so much chimps but ants and a few other insects (termites) definatly have an arguement but i dont think it belongs in the same category as human war let alone the same artical--Ggohtrin 01:59, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I think a short summary of a potential bigger "animal "warfare"" or "intraspecific and interspecific animal struggle"? article, could be clarifying if it points out that there is a point that human intraspecific violence became unnatural. A point that you can also say war is when intraspecific violence became inhumane. Archeological evidence strongly suggests ancient humans intraspecific violence has remained on a surprisingly low level (for an opportunist animal very much so). That is, untill agriculture and stratigraphical society. Wich is very, very recently. (talk) 00:20, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

war in prehistory

I've reverted a paragraph that asserts that large scale warfare did not occur in prehistory. This romantic idea has no scientific basis. On the contrary, there are large numbers of ancient skeletons that show wounds typical of warfare. Rick Norwood 13:33, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree, some do argue that there was little to no prehistoric warfare, but this issue is already well covered at our prehistoric warfare article. - SimonP 15:47, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Let's be careful. It is true that there was a romantic notion (particularly among anthropologists) in the sixties that argued that since primitive peoples were not very warlike that early hominids must not have been warlike either. Which was wishful thinking. (How did the neanderthals die out? Disease?) But that doesn't make the other view true. War is defined above as "large scale." Unless large numbers (say, 1,000s or even 100s) of pre-historic remains have been found together it probably can't be proved one way or the other. I don't know of any finds where the numbers reach the scale of a real battlefield. My own opinion is that most pre-historic killing occurred during activity like raiding. But my opinion is no more than any other opinion: it's a hunch based on some knowledge. There's no way to know for sure. There is pre-historic evidence of killing in combat. If war is large-scale, is there evidence of war? Do twenty killed together make a war? WardHayesWilson 02:44, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

You make a good point. Maybe the paragraph could be rewritten to contrast the relatively small scale warfare of hunter gatherers with the large scale warfare of city states.

By the bye, "primative" people are often very warlike. Read about the "primative" people of New Zealand, for just one example. Rick Norwood 13:48, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Well also the scale of wars should be considered by the percentage of populations. If you have one cave fighting another, than there will be a very high proportion of people involved, even though it would not even be called a gang war by modern standards. It is also reasonable to assume that there would have been larger coflicts between tribes.(Lucas(CA) 17:54, 10 September 2006 (UTC))
I know this thread is dated, but I think the key point here is that prehistoric peoples were probably just as diverse as modern peoples in their views of conflict. Some were relatively warlike, others relatively peaceful--they can't be lumped together as generic "primitive." This diversity is reflected in existing hunter-gatherer populations. The Yanomani routinely engaged in warlike activities, while Indigenous Australians) gave up war and (at least in some places) don't even have a word for groups of people fighting each other.--Pariah (talk) 19:49, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Quite recently neolithical graveyards in belgium have been discovered and they are no complete exception, but i think agricultural period, 3kA.(prehistorical though) There is a lot of evidence of cannibalism, some suggestingly complex recently again in africa, it is quite probable our christian forefathers neglected unwanted evidence of the paradise myth, similar to the munks removing fossils from churchfronts (etc...). Still most features of war do not represent this usually very ritualised hunting that tends to get bloody most in the most desperate niches, in the case of the yamomani the point can be made they got under pressure through the agricultural incas. Actually even european languages are known to have had no word for war, because there are pre agricultural remains of languages in europe as well. Neanderthaler may as well have died of a flue of us..or anything else, There is no evidence at all for violence between the two species, wich is not very logical, there is no mythological remainder. I would guess most neanderthalers just starved during some bad winter after finding their best spots unretrievably occupied, they used to travel 100s of miles to rather barely survive. Their reactions will have been morphologically different but equivalent to any overpowered natives, and they were not at all very expendable for their groups, that besides neanderthaler remains also show no exclusive signs of intraspecific violence. What does the word war come from anyway? isn't it related to whirl, and wrong? I think there is a few classes of words for war, one of them being prehistoric ones. Usually languages would have 2 natural roots for the word war, the prehistorical one (some ritual), if any, and the technological, (agricultural, metal using, gunpowder, industrialised) one. So it might as well be derived from querre, yet still be a wordplay. (talk) 00:58, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure it's more a case of nomadic hunter gatherers that are peaceful not the vaguely defined 'tribal' peoples in general. Rick Norwood already gave the example of the Maoris which are not untypical of farmers. The rare hunter gatherers that became sedentary but did not adopt agriculture like the Pacific Northwest Native Americans also started wars. Munci (talk) 04:00, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Psychological theories

Other psychologists have argued that while human temperament allows wars to occur, they only do so when mentally unbalanced men are in control of a nation. This extreme school of thought argues leaders that seek war such as Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin were mentally abnormal.

("pls .. reconsideration required about above statement.. a very judgemental statement .. how can we label a man mentally unbalanced just because of the path he took.. who made those rules.. who defines normality? ") Comment by (talk · contribs) moved here from article page.

He doesn't: "other extreme schools of thought" is not labeling them, but mentioning them, from your point of view. The concept is plenty usefull, the perceived psychological flaws of such a person may reflect the social vulnerabilitys of their adherers, dunno what happens if i project that on stalin, guess it would appear in his diplomatical correspondences. (talk) 01:08, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Armed Conflict Map

What definition of Armed Conflict are we using? (eg. Darfur is unmarked) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:33, 8 July 2006.

Neither is Chad. Wally 21:07, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Quote in favor of war doesn't really fit?

"Suppose there are two starving tribes on a field. The potatoes just grow to feed only one of the tribes, who thus acquire forces to go to the other side of the mountain, where there are more potatoes growing; but if the two tribes divide in peace the potatoes of the field, the two tribes are not fed enough and will die of starvation. The peace, in this case is the destruction; the war, is the hope." - from the book Quincas Borba by the author Machado de Assis

To confront this problem the ancient Greek city-states developed the concept of a decisive pitched battle between heavy infantry. This would be preceded by formal declarations of war, and followed by peace negotations. In this system, constant low-level skirmishing and guerrilla warfare were phased out in favor of a single decisive contest, which in the end cost both sides less in casualties and property damage. Although it was later perverted by Alexander the Great, this "Western Way of War", as described by historian Victor Davis Hanson, initially made it possible for neighbors with limited resources to coexist and prosper.

An anon put in the first paragraph, cited from Assis, and the second was added shortly after (which certainly helps to clarify the thing). Nevertheless, I feel that it is not a good fit in "morality of war," as such, so I post it here in hope a better place might be identified. Wally 03:18, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

A quote that might fit as an alternative viewpoint is "War is the health of the state" by Randolph Bourne. It indicates an alternative view of warfare. Sound and Fury 06:06, 21 September 2006 (UTC)


The article mentions terrorism as an extreme form of guerilla war,which implies that acts of terrorism can only be carried by guerillas. Am not sure we can define terrorism in such a way, armies can commit acts of terrorism too, usually labeled as state terror. Therefore i removed the following sentence since it can be misleading (Terrorism can be considered an extreme form of asymmetrical warfare.)

Terrorism is definatly a form of war allbeit the underdogs version (tends to develop from desperation)--Ggohtrin 02:07, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

terrorism is either the applicance of shock awe and physical intimidation, or it is a derogatory attempt to mingle up definitions and blame the freedom fighters. In wich case suddenly strongly the first aspect (their shock or violence) is stressed, completely bypassing the usually completely obvious fact that the actual and armed intimidation is on the other side. Nice dillema, is there a good word for acts of resistance that are bloody? bloody resistance. Dillema stays.. bloody army. (talk) 01:32, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

twisted interpretations

I'm new at this so I could be wrong, but doesn't the following seem a bit like a breach of NPOV rules? It doesn't seem very encylcopædia-like, especailly the last two sentences.

           Religion is often attributed as a cause of war. However, Religion itself teaches peace and understanding. How could that then, cause wars? It is the twisted interpretations of those that follow these religions, that in turn create conflict.

Yup, you are very much right, sounds like a sunday preach to me, I replaced it with the followingDifferent interpretations of religous beliefs may have been the cause of several conflicts throughout history. am sure it can be done in a better way, I just thought the old sentence should be removed ASAP, so if anyone has got a better way of doing it, please go ahead213.42.2.28 10:34, 10 September 2006 (UTC)The man who sold the world

    • The bold sentence should replace Different with Differingand also remove the word may. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:40, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


"On balance, war is probably a bad thing." That really shouldn't be there. Ethical/value assumption. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DWRZ (talkcontribs) 10:23, 14 September 2006.

Songs about war

External link section at the bottom. Can I ask if it is possible to build back into the main page the reference for the link and open up a place in the main body of the text for songs about war discussion please. RoddyYoung 11:18, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Effects of War section revision

I have two problems with this section: 1. The language used is inconsistent throughout. 2. One of the comments in the Negative section is "loss of a countries innocence." This seems kind of silly to me. -Andy, Sept 21, 2006 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Reasons for War

The following reasons are opinions and are not supported by credible sources. It makes biased, unproven accusations and claims and presents them as facts. It is more leftist ranting than encyclopedia article. I am removing it:

   * 1. The companies who supply war materials have always been driven by the profit motive. Now that the United States has privatized many aspects of war-making, these material suppliers have been joined by a burgeoning war services industry. Reference: Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill,Chapter 17, Joseph Schmitz: Christian Soldier. When the only tools you are selling are hammers, every problem begins to look like a nail.

Historical stock prices of military contractors demonstrate this point. Example: Lockheed Martin Jan 28 2000 $16.97, Jan 29 2007 $95.39, plus a dividend yield of 1.3% annually. Return nearly 600% in 7 years.

   * 2. Military and intelligence branches of government that do business with the aforementioned companies are staffed with people who have made a career of war and may expect to be hired by one of the companies they are doing business with after their government service is over. These branches also directly benefit from war by having their budgets increased and their sense of importance raised. When you are walking to work down a well polished hall of a multibillion dollar branch of the federal government, not advocating a war might seem like blasphemy. Aggression is a cultural norm in some environments. Aronson, et al, Social Psychology Fourth Edition p 419. Also, once a war starts, prior intelligence failures or missed opportunities for peace may be glossed over by the perceived need to finish the task that has been started. Critical oversight is weakened.
   * 3. Access to territory and/or the natural resources in it can motivate non-military companies or special interest groups to promote a war as a means of gaining preferential access. Borders don't move freely in peacetime. A motivated faction which wants borders to be redrawn may choose to endure the trials of a war to gain the eventual reward of land.
   * 4. If a religious disagreement is involved, the religious group most savvy in lobbying the government may join forces with the other interest groups to sell the conflict. They may never realize a true long term benefit, but they can vociferously support a war anyway. Religious groups may also be conscripted by clever propagandists to support a war which may clearly be against their moral and religious tenets. (need photo here of German WWII belt buckle featuring Gott Mitt Uns logo)
   * 5. In modern society, the popular media may also be enlisted to sell war. If media outlets find they will be rewarded for sending pro war messages or disseminating false or misleading information, the profit motive may cause them to avoid or minimize anti-war messages or opinions. See Herman and Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, Chapter 1, A Propaganda Model. A threat to withhold the purchase of ad time or to boycott advertised products could also be used to alter the media slant on a conflict. Even letter writing or e-mail campaigns, if well organized, could serve to pressure media to favor a particular line of reasoning. The average citizen writes no letter, sends no e-mail to the media, so a small, focused minority can seem larger than life. Alternately, if well-heeled factions recognize the power of the media to control public opinion, entire media networks may be bought outright in order to control policy via editorial comment posing as "news". See Walter Lippman, "The Pictures in Our Heads".
   * 6. A newly powerful type of media influence in the world is the "think tank". This type of operation can be focused on target groups or even individuals deemed to be powerful or influential. Think tanks can be set up by anyone with sufficient money to hire like-minded advocates, and an invitation to speak or participate in a think tank activity can be a flattering proposition. An example of this can be found in "War and Anti-War", by Alvin and Heidi Toffler, Chapter 20, The Genie Unleashed. In this example the Tofflers are invited to participate in a think tank scenario where North Korea has destabilized and presents a nuclear threat. The psychological technique known as framing used to direct participants thoughts down the avenues desired by the sponsors. The idea that they are taking part in an important exercise reinforces the belief that the frame they are in is realistic. The addition of time limits and a sense of desperation reduces the participants ability to escape the frame. The Tofflers make no mention of who funded this exercise, their motivations, or what criteria were used to choose the participants, which indicates they were captured by the frame provided. (An insider input would be valuable here, regarding who paid for the set in the example and who decided it would be strewn with styrofoam cups, time limits, etc.) Think tanks may also pay speakers substantial fees to come and say exactly what they want to hear, reinforcing the world view of the sponsor on both the paid speaker and the audience. (need some examples here of invitations for a person of interest like Condoleeza Rice to speak at events under control of a think tank, e.g.the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute, and the fees involved)For example, in the Third Punic War,[6] Rome's leaders may have wished to make war with Carthage for the purpose of annihilating a resurgent rival; the army may have wished to make war with Carthage to exploit the great opportunity for plunder while levelling the city of Carthage. But the Roman people may have tolerated the war with Carthage on account of the demonization of the Carthaginians in popular culture, since there had been rumors of child sacrifice. Since many people are involved, a war may acquire a life of its own -- from the confluences of many different motivations. Various theories have been presented historically to explain the causes of war:--> (talk) 13:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Religion should probably be added. --יהושועEric 22:04, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Religion is almost never the cause of war just the political justification for it--Ggohtrin 14:25, 22 April 2007 (UTC) forgot to sign

Resources should most definitely be added. I'm actually shocked that there is little mention for this. The largest conflicts the world has ever seen, and will see, have been sparked by threats to access to key resource areas, or threats to the supply line between the resource area and its ultimate consumer. At the onset of Wold War I, the British declared war on Germany when they invaded Belgium, a previously accorded neutral country. This threatened the security of cargo in Antwerp, a key port in the world, connecting many railways with sea shipping routes. The Balkans were a "powder keg" because nationalist ideals had sparked as a result of foreign occupations (Austria-Hungary in Serbia). Notable is the desire for Russia's "warm water port", and its desire for dissociation of the slavic state from Austria-Hungary to pusue this matter, but it is reasonable to assume that nationalist ideals were a result of foreign occupations exploiting resources and manpower in their benefit, and with little space for benefit to the resource-bearing nation and nationals. It is no coincidence that the war spread into the Ottoman Empire, just around the area where the Suez Canal connects India's ship route to England. And the sinking of the Lusitania that propelled the United States into war was also a result of German military efforts to cut supplies to the English from the USA. All this and this is just in WWI.

WWII has the same pattern, with countries siezing key transit routes to their opponent, and precipitating war. It is no coincidence that the global conflict spread to similar areas of the globe, notably around northwestern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Indo-Pacific.

The scarcity of oil in today's global market, and the dependence of this global market (and it's military apparatus) on oil as a raw material, has bypassed the traditional strategies of cutting intermediary trade routes (of which the Strait of Hormuz comes to mind) and focus on the last source, the Middle East. Rivera151 14:48, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Levels of combat

Some obvious problems with the new list:

  • "Battle" is conventionally used to refer to any cohesive armed engagement, from an encounter between two platoons to a multi-year operation involving several army groups. Certainly, for events before WWII, this is the only usage of the word that is encountered, and it supplants pretty much everything else.
  • "Campaign" generally means a series of battles (of whatever size); I've never seen a different definition used that paid attention to the size of the formations involved.
  • "Operation" is a very vague term that can mean anything from a bombing run to an entire war effort, depending on the context.

Beyond that, the other definitions don't seem to be coming from a reputable source; is there one that's just not cited, or are these original research? Kirill Lokshin 03:09, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

After discussing this with the author, it looks like this material isn't (yet) available from a published source, so I've moved it here for the time being. There's probably something useful as a starting point for a discussion of the terminology, even if we can't cite the particular definitions given. Kirill Lokshin 13:10, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Copied material:

Although not seeking to define war in absolute terms, or suggest ultimate definitions, the list below seeks to suggest a structure for war descriptors as military conflicts at appropriate organizational levels of forces employed.

The descriptors are not used consistently in historical literature, and therefore can not be always applied to specific events uniformly. Definitions are drawn based on earliest occurring general usage and may not conform to use by either professional specific militaries or their constituent Arms and Services, or misuse by non-professionals such as journalists, fiction writers and general commentators at the time this article was created in 2006.

Some examples are historical notables drawn from one war such as the Battle of Britain, which was an air campaign initiated by Germany, the Battle of Midway which was a culmination of weeks-long manoeuvring by US and Japanese fleets, and the Battle of Stalingrad which was conducted by multiple German and Soviet Armies and culminated in a strategic operation Uranus.

Another example is lack of comparative analysis in events such as Battle of Mogadishu as it is sometimes called, involved only 160 US service personnel, and is better termed a skirmish or a combat when considered in comparison with the Battle of Bastogne (1944) that involved a reinforced US 101st Airborne division. Other terms, though appropriate descriptors of historical events; fail to correctly define the scale of combat, for example the Siege of Leningrad, which was a very long Frontal strategic defensive operation. The Tarutino Manoeuver by Kutuzov in 1812 was in fact performed by the entire Imperial Russian Army at hand comprising multiple corps, and was an operation that sought to outmanoeuvre Napoleon. However the battle that resulted from it was conducted on a lower organizational level.

Some descriptors are also used in the English language to describe non-combat activity that may lead to combat such as manoeuvre, which is often used to describe unit movements during changes in positioning within the Area of Operation.

Clash - combat at section, squad, flight crew or part of ship's crew level

Encounter - combat at platoon, flight or individual small vessel level

Skirmish - combat at company, troop, battery, air squadron or large ship's company level

Combat - combat at battalion, squadron, air wing or multiple naval vessels level

Engagement - combat at regiment, brigade or naval task force level

Battle - combat at divisional or naval/air fleet level

Manoeuver - combat at Corps level

Operation - combat at Army level

Strategic operation - combat at Army Group or Front (including supporting components) level

Campaign - combat at level of multiple Army Groups or Fronts (a.k.a. Theatre of war)

War - combat with participation of the whole of available force by participants

Level of combat in a war is determined my many factors, some of which are: number of troops, area over which the combat takes place, number of supporting units available, and goals or objectives the combat seeks to achieve.

morality of war

this section uses a lot of weasel words, and many of its comments need citations. i propose a rewrite, simply stating the pacifist, just war, and realist (soft and hard) views on the matter. i'll wait for a response, then just go ahead. i'll use the following article as a guideline: ---DWRZ 23:53, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


Other terms for violent conflict, sometimes used euphemistically to circumvent limitations on war, include: armed conflict, hostilities, and police action. A time when no formal war is taking place, although there may be international and internal tensions, is sometimes called peacetime or peace. However, some pacifists consider the definition of peace to be more complicated. Baruch Spinoza (1632–77) said, "Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice."

War almost always results in many deaths. In the wars and conflicts of the 20th century, an estimated 130–142 million people died, of which 51 million occurred after the end of World War II.[1]

I've removed the above. It strays too far from the main topic and includes too much detailed (and slightly POV)for the summary/intro to an article.---DWRZ 00:16, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


Some guy deleted all the article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 16:26, 18 November 2006.

Someone else wrote something about "joos" staring a lot of wars. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 11:47, 21 December 2006.


Some immature individual has defaced the entire article on War and now it consists only of one word, repeated several times. It needs to be fixed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 19:53, 18 November 2006.

it is fixed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:21, 18 November 2006.

Vandals!!!:) --Tomi —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:41, 22 November 2006.

Picture of Nuclear bombing at top

It might be a good picture to begin a section on Atomic bombs or Nuclear War, but perhaps it's a not a suitable way to begin the War section, perhaps a picture more representative of traditional warfare (a tank, a soldier, a battle, etc) should take its place? Just a thought. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:05, 23 November 2006.

COuldn't agree more - I have now removed this - PocklingtonDan 19:29, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


This might seem obvious, but i think it would appropriate to have a section in the article with a list of objectives of what a nation intends to achive when going to war. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 12:42, 27 November 2006.

Intend to rewrite and re-organise this article substantively

The structure of the first section as "morality of war" and the next section being named "causes of war" is perojative and shows an wnti-war bias. The morality of war section should not be so prominent. The causes of war section should be subsumed within or renamed to "objectives for war" or similar - "causes" makes the popular assumption it is a negative thing - diseases have causes, medicines don't. Also, there is clearly a need for a "history of warfare" or "historical development of warfare" section even if this is covered elsewhere, noting how warfare existed only on a small scale until groups stopped hunter/gathering and became settled on tracts of land permanently. Its shameful that such a key article is in such a poor state. Any objections to this/ideas towards this? I will probably perform the rewrite in a sandbox and substitute contents all at once. Comments? - PocklingtonDan 19:36, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't see any reason to think that the term "cause" violates neutral point of view. Other mass political phenomena that some people think of as positive and others think of as negative - like revolutions - are also described as having "causes," as are morally neutral natural phenomena, like thunder. The reasons that we don't use "cause" to describe the source of medicine is that we can attribute its creation to specific inventors. War is usually to complex to blame specific individuals; most of the theories under discussion are about structures and institutions, so "Causes of War" is exactly the right terminology to describe them.LauraHW 19:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Dan Pocklington that this section is badly organized and out of shape. I disagree that morality should be stuffed down at the end and out of sight. Morality is one of the fundamental human characteristics. Almost all humans (regardless of culture or historical age) have it. Moral reflections on war are not a condemnation of it. Humans reflect with moral feeling on the important events of their lives. Wars are important events.

Types of war and warfare

Guerrilla isn't the cause of any war, it is a type of warfare which can be used in any war caused by Extortionate and the other reasons listed. Mr.Clown 02:16, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The introduction needs to be changed (would edit it myself, but am *very* busy tonight, might take a crack tomorrow.) It jumps right into types of war and related terms, without ever stating what war is. As a simple fix, at the very least, it *needs* to start like every other article on Wikipedia, with a sentence of the form "War is <insert quick definition of a war here>." Endersdouble 14:09, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

"By cause" section: guerilla

I have been concerned about the "By cause" section listing various conflicts as being caused by guerilla action. I have removed the Vietnam conflict several times with edit summary, because in my (very limited) view, while much of the conduct was guerilla, the cause was a much more complex mix of politics and other factors. However, it is repeatedly reinstated, without any edit summary. Could someone indicate whether I am right or wrong here? I guess if it does not fit, maybe the line could be deleted rather than left empty as an invitation. Notinasnaid 10:47, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Just noticed the comment above. Should probably be removed from the table. Notinasnaid 23:03, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. The term "Guerilla War" was coined because of the Peninsular War in Spain against Napolean. Why don't we just put down that as an example for Guerilla War. Ledzeppelin321295 17:07, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

as with most things zeppelin, you are absolutely correct. As an example of guerilla warfare the peninsular war is a great example. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:16, 29 December 2006.

  • I observe that it has been so added. But this section is called "Cause". Was "guerilla" the cause of this war? It isn't about conduct. Similarly, is "civil" a cause, or a type, of war? Notinasnaid 21:39, 19 April 2007 (UTC)