The Theme of War is a crime of passion not of logic. Logic is and will continue to be humanities’ greatest asset. Yet as a society in general we allow ourselves to revert to instinctive passionate behavior, instead of the rational and calculated ones that we observe today.
As we look at Robert S. McNamara’s “The Fog of War”, discusses the possible necessity of escalating troop deployments after the confusion of the Gulf of Tonkin incident and whether or not it actually happened because of missiles attacks. The belief and seeing are often both wrong and a “just war” can only be fought to “redress” the wrong suffered. Though the United States had put themselves in the “skin of the Soviets” during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the government failed to do so with Vietnam due to a lack of understanding of the Vietnamese’s position. The conflict in Vietnam was seen as a civil war in the eyes of the Vietnamese, not as a Cold War battle that the U.S. or the Soviets thought it was. Admiral Chester Nimitz is responsible for the invasion of the Philippines in October, where he allowed it to proceed because the invasion fleet was already at sea and could not be recalled. The result was a pointless and bloody fiasco.
Looking at how we can’t change human nature, McNamara refers to how complex war is the inability of the human mind to fully comprehend all of those complexities at one time. We look at “The Hardest War” where many mourners were wearing lapel flags or red, white, and blue ribbons. E.B Sledge says “you know patriotism is easy, its war that’s hard and exactly how hard is war.” So how do we look at solving war?
Should one use proportionality as a guideline in war? McNamara poses the question of whether or not it was necessary to drop two atomic bombs on Japan when they were destroying so much already with firebombing. Can it be said by the 14 million tons of bombs been dropped on the Japanese position to no apparent effect except to the countryside and civilian population that the culture of Okinawa had simply been erased from the earth by bombing and shelling. By this the violence used in war must be proportional by using force that is not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered. Will the human race not eliminate war in centuries to come? Can countries reduce the brutality of war and the level of killing?
Among this mass of arguments about targeted killing, the genuine issues of principle are whether self-defense requires it and proportionality permits it. The question of where the zone of combat ends and civilian rules begin is important, but it is a question of line-drawing, not of moral principle. If self-defense is a just cause of war, and if killing is necessary for self-defense, then