[lit-ideas] Re: CFP: PEACE REVIEW on the PsychologicalInterpretation of War

  • From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2004 16:32:08 -0500 (GMT-05:00)

-----Original Message-----
From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Dec 8, 2004 2:04 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: CFP: PEACE REVIEW on the PsychologicalInterpretation 
of War

A long time ago, when I was 17, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  I didn't
enlist for reasons of comradeship -- I had no friends joining with me.
There was a war going on -- the Korean War.  I don't recall how astute I was
at that age, but the nation declared a need, the sort of need that young men
have been called to meet since the earliest days of mankind's' recorded
history.  I take it that if Koenigsberg were part of our discussion, he
would be interested in my motivations. He would be interested in what sort
of aberration caused me to talk my mother into signing the papers so I could
enlist in the Marine Corps.  But Koenigsberg would be better off examining
the history of the times: the relationship between the USSR and the USA.  He
should read about the Truman administration and learn about the writings of
George Kennan.  The Truman doctrine had been created to combat the USSR and
its influence.  The Korean War was an application of that doctrine.  That
application was the cause of our entry into that War, not my willingness to
join the Marine Corps.

To argue that there could not have been a justification for our going to war
with North Korea implies that we should not have had a policy that opposed
the USSR and that we should have allowed North Korea to invade our ally
South Korea.  To search for the reasons for war in the psychology of
individual soldiers is searching in the wrong place.  It is also wrong to
search for the reasons for this war in the psychology of Truman, Acheson, or
Kennan.  None of those three wanted to go to war in Korea, but they weren't
willing to abandon our ally South Korea.  As an alternative to Koenigsberg's
psychological exercise, consider the psychological implications of American
leaders who at that time could have abandoned South Korea to the North

A.A.  Restating your position, times and countries create war, people don't 
create war.  This begs the question: who creates the times and countries?  


L.H. I am presently reading Ian Kershaw's Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris.  I am on
page 432 and it is 1933.  Hitler has just become Chancellor.  Hitler has
made his policies known.  He intends to go to war - not because he loves
war, although I suppose he loved it as much as anyone.  He wanted to go to
war to give Germans lebensraum and to counter the effects of the people he
called "the November Criminals."  He thought the Germans were the master
race and deserved to gain as much lebensraum as it needed through war.  He
thought the Germans were better at war than anyone else.  It is possible to
examine many of Hitler's motives, but as much as he loved war, however much
that was, it couldn't be said that he went to war because he loved war.  The
objectives of his war were the reasons he went to war.  Lebensraum in the
East and the countering of the effects of the ignominious surrender after
World War One were probably the prime reasons. 

A.A. If he hated war and violence, he would have found another way to meet his 
ends.  He chose instead to go to war, and his people chose to follow him.  He 
hated peace, so he shunned it.


L.H. We are a conflicted people - all of us are.  We engage in conflicts
throughout life.  The nations that represent us also engage in conflicts.
It would be better to focus on the nature and reasons for our conflicts than
in the dubious love of war.  

A.A. So far, through 2004, focusing on reasons for conflicts just has yielded 
one solution: war, ever bigger, ever badder.

L.H. Imagine a nation filled with adults who each
possessed the personality of St. Francis of Assisi.  Perhaps that nation
could avoid war - at least it would stand a better chance than any nation
that exists today.  Now that would be an interesting project, all you
pacifists: give up your verbal violence.  Stop railing against people who
disagree with you.  Become more like St. Francis.

A.A. Bush purportedly is focused on religion, and he started a war that will 
last for years if not decades.  Perhaps we need a president who could lead us 
in becoming more like St. Francis.  Kerry was the man to do that and he was 
defeated.  In fact, he denounced the Vietnam War and was vilified for it.  My 
question to you is, what specifically is verbally violent from pacifists?  

Andy Amago

Lawrence Helm

San Jacinto



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