Name Me a Single War that was Worth It?

Via on May 30, 2011

War! What is it good for?

Ugh, it’s Memorial Day, I say to myself each year.

I’m one of those people who for four generations, at least, have had zero experience at war. I was too young or old to be in any Gulf War. My dad was five when WWII started—so too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. And his father traipsed across Europe under a fake name (would my life have been different if I kept it – “Greenberg”?) to avoid the front lines of whatever war he was avoiding.

Who wants to be dead?

 

WWII?

Even WWII. What did we do? What has Europe ever done for us since then?  Good thing we bombed the hell out of Europe so the IMF can go around raping everyone now. We can say, “Well Hitler was killing the jews! We had to go in there!”

Are you kidding me? He killed the Jews. It was already over for six million Jews by the time we stepped foot in Germany (and millions more displaced after much anguish). And the gays, the gypsies, France, parts of England, and whatever else Hitler felt like.

We only went in there after the war was already lost. We didn’t help anyone. We didn’t save a single Jew by going into WWII (or, at the very least, from the mid 1930s to 1945 six million Jews were discriminated against and then killed without our help). In fact, it’s well known FDR turned away some of the Jews he actually had a chance to save, who then ended up going back to Europe and dying (apparently the US had “immigration difficulties”  with them).

(the SS St. Louis containing hundreds of Jews was refused permission to dock in Cuba and the US, and many of the passengers ended up back in Europe under German rule)

Plus we kept a bunch of Japanese locked up while we killed millions of their citizens and reduced their culture to making matchbox cars and faulty watches for generations. For what? Because they were trying to take over China? Heck, what difference to us would it have made? I really ask—would it have made any difference? Are Chinese citizens, 50% in poverty, better because we nuked Japan? Twice?

And now Europe mostly hates us. 418,000 American kids killed there.

What war did we really need to go into?

WW I -  I kind of challenge anyone without looking at Wikipedia to even tell me what that war was all about? Some Archduke was killed. 117,000 18-23 year old American boys had to die there because of that?

Korea and Vietnam? – we already know those were a waste (thanks to M.A.S.H. – god bless TV). 33,000 Americans died in Korea (forgetting about the millions of Koreans and Chinese) and 58,000 people died in Vietnam. And by the way, we lost that one.

I’m not trying to be “pro-peace.” I’m more anti-stupidity. What happened there? Was our white picket suburban way of life threatened in those wars?

(the wedding of a 20 year old American Iraq war victim)

Iraq and Afghanistan: Over 40,000 American troops have been killed or injured there. Much more than died in the World Trade center tragedy of 9/11. And this ignores the 800,000 Iraqi civilians killed.

Tell me a single war that might’ve been good? We destroyed Iraq and now it’s helpless. We can’t even rebuild it. Afghanistan has been beaten back to the stone ages, and it took 10 years to find Osama in a mansion in Pakistan and we still don’t have the full story on that. I guess I’d be a horrible President.

Unless it was war with Canada (to get oil cheap, since they are by far our biggest provider of oil) I’d never go to war with anyone. Libya? They blew up one of our planes 30 years ago and we even let the guys free so they could have a hero’s welcome in Tripoli? What’s going on now?

(this 5 yr old girl watched US forces kill her civiilian parents)

There’s a squadron of guys in skirts playing bagpipes outside my door this very second on their way to the river. Down the street there’s a cemetery of crosses to commemorate the day. It’s a horrible day in commemoration of mostly dead 18-year-olds. Everyone who goes to war is certainly a hero. But the victims far outnumber the heroes.

I hate feeling like a “pro peace” person. That’s not what this is about. This is about those moments when you kill your own life, your own time, feasting on your own angers, sucking them dry even though nobody’s paying attention to you crying like a baby – when you could’ve been doing so much more.

You could’ve been building things. Raising a family. Starting a business. Ignoring the people who try to take you down every day at work, among your colleagues, your family. You could’ve been saving lives. And everything would be so much better.

====

[Update: I put this in the comments on my blog but adding it to the article here]

Someone mentioned earlier I was a “lazy ass” because my way of life has been defended and protected in these wars. A couple of points:

A) my way of life certainly wasn’t defended in Vietnam and Iraq. We can argue about the others, but whatever.
B) The children in the pics above (and I include the married couple) – was their way of life defended?
C) Iraq was perhaps the first war where I realized that people I held to the highest of respect (Colin Powell, for instance) were going to have to blatantly lie to me in order to achieve some agenda that had nothing to do with protecting me.
D) my “lazy ass” has hired over 1000 people and invested in companies hiring millions more. Hopefully these jobs create innovation and sustainability that lasts generations. Our way of life is about growth and prosperity. That ultimately leads to less death and killing (look at mortality rates here over the past century). We each should do our part.
E) Nobody is arguing whether or not these children are heroes. They all are. Its just a shame so many of them don’t come back and it’s a shame the many lies that took them there.

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96 Responses to “Name Me a Single War that was Worth It?”

  1. SriDTMc says:

    thank you!

    see also: "war is a racket" http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket….
    by General Smedley Butler, one of the most decorated military officers in U.S. history. He lays out the wars he participated in as being part of a gigantic swindle being perpetrated on the people the U.S. and the world. Killing for profit and power."

    • Judy Arbic says:

      That was Some Read !!! Explained so Well the How Wars Are Wrong and for Profit…Sad, But True, and People are Brainwashed into thinking that this is the Right thing to do..I wish that I could Share this in an E-mail, or on Facebook..these Articles Need to get out to the Citizens, they are so Blinded by our Government..Thanks for Sharing What I have been Thinking all Along, but very few people feel like I do unfortunately..

  2. SriDTMc says:

    but wait, why do you "hate feeling like a pro-peace person?"
    don't let over-aggressive war-mongers shame you into feeling like supporting a peaceful agenda is a sign of weakness.
    there is a great gandhi quote, something like "non-violence is a weapon of the strong"

  3. Eric says:

    James, I appreciate your article. It is honest and insightful. I agree with everything you said and I think it takes some balls to call it like it is with respect to war. We romanticise war so poor people won't riot when we force their kids to go fight, usually just for sell the bullets, guns and m.r.e.'s.. We are not the White Knights riding into save everyone. That's just what we like to pretend.

    At the same time there is a part of me that is the hatred and the greed that causes this junk.

  4. NotSoSure says:

    I agree on many of the points you made in this post. The war in Iraq should never have been started. If we were never in Irag then the war in Afghanistan most likely would have turned out much differently. And do you honestly believe that turning a blind eye to the murder of thousands of Americans by a foreign government would have made the world a better place?

    In the interest of brevity, let's examine just one of the many historical inaccuracies found in this post. Yeah, millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals were killed before the concentration camps were liberated by Allied forces. And it is also true that Hitler would have continued to kill millions more in his efforts to rid the world of all people he considered undesirable. Your statement that "we didn't save a single Jew" is not only historically inaccurate but also completely asinine. Err, hello. There were Jews in the camps when the camps were seized by the Allies. That historical fact is all that is needed to prove your statement that "we didn't save a single Jew" to be nothing but an outright lie.

    This post could have been so much better if you had not used an ignorant and skewed view of history to support your arguments. We as a nation have made many mistakes in our choices of conflicts and we do not seem to learn from past mistakes. But using trite and inaccurate observations does nothing to advance your arguments.

  5. JamesAltucher says:

    Hitler did kill millions more after he was dead. He was only called Stalin and Mao then and nobody stopped them. What was all the point then?

    • NotSoSure says:

      Once again, a falsehood. You are really on a roll with the trite and inaccurate arguments. For the record, Hitler did not kill anyone after he was dead. He was freaking dead. Stalin and Mao where also horrible people but they were not Hitler. These were three different people. Look it up if you do not believe me.

      Err, the point of WWII was to stop Hitler. By arguing there was no point of WWII because Stalin and Mao were not stopped is an informal fallacy called the Straw Man Argument. Again, please look it up. By not arguing from a Straw Man position you will improve your ability to make rational arguments.

      Also, I noticed that you skipped over the replies which pointed out that you used completely inaccurate historical "facts" to make your argument. But don't bother replying to me on this point. Harris Mercer did such a fantastic job of completely blowing your use of history out of the water that there is nothing more I can add.

      Once again, I bemoan the fact that this could have been such a good post. Your raised a number of meaty issues. Cultural reasons behind the decision to go to war, lessons learned or not learned, and the juxtaposition of politics vs. moral imperative. But instead you reply that a man who was dead as a stone and whose body was burned in a bunker like the piece of garbage he was still somehow managed to continue to kill millions.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Really interesting to me that people would "vote" me down by pointing out that Stalin and Mao killed another 20-100mm people. The sickness of war infects at every level.

  6. dan says:

    To the victor goes the narrative, yet question it and you are the one revising. Ask why one needs a monster to defeat a monster, and are attacked for being a monster apologist. Etc.
    Yet, no one wins a war, and there are no monsters, just human beings acting like the hateful egoistic greedy beings the hateful egoistic & greedy tell us we are.
    F*ck War. It’s really just that simple. Don’t support it, from others or yourself. Don’t support Bushes or Obamas. Don’t support even the idea of “enemy”.

    • Annon! says:

      You are right. Let's not support war. Let's not go to war. Let's bow down to the dictators of the world to cause genocide with their own people. And yes sometimes going to war to protect the interest of oil prices is worth it – otherwise there will come a day you will see the price to fill your car at $150-200, and you won't be able to complain (well you might also be in a dictatorship as you didn't want to go to war when some other country came a calling…)

      • dan says:

        ? I don’t own a car (too poor and don’t need one), but yea, I see your point- if we didn’t have slave labor, clothes and computers would but outrageously expensive. If we don’t kill *without trial* the monsters we used to support (and don’t mind the “civilian” causalities, as if there were any other kind), we’d be under their thumb. But we are anyway, we’ve just outsourced the suffering.

        • Anon says:

          I hear you, but a no point did I talk about slavery. I love how spun things there. Most things you use are produced in china and Japan today, but the oil comes from these countries we have unfortunately invaded. And am sure you'd be on the streets supporting price reductions at the pumps if all the gas came from western expensively run countries.

          • dan says:

            Saying that it's ok to support dictators financially and militarily is morally the same thing as saying slavery is ok. Chavez bad, forced labor bad, Saudis good, disposable migrant labor (in China or the US) good, certaily tolerated for the sake of our convenience- Bratz dolls, iPads, and fast food. While I'm fortunate to not rely on a car, oil runs my life, and everyone's I know, and dictates all my expenses. Yet, I'm happy to see it rise- it's cost is delegated like any poison, just expensive enough that we don't design better, cleaner ways to live. I cannot live with saying it's ok to suffer another for the sake of my own convenience. Oil is only supporting us as a crutch, and our capacity to heal continues to atrophy. Oil is killing everything, and that includes the perpetual war being waged for the sake of it.

  7. Colin Wiseman Colin Wiseman says:

    "What has Europe ever done for us since then?" Really you ask this? Or were you about to go into a Monty Python sketch?

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Yeah, I really ask that.

      • Anon says:

        Think of all the inventions since, most notable the thing you are currently using, the Internet. Don't be so complacent to think because you are away in your hidey hole in the USA, the what Europe does doesn't affect you. The Allies of the day, let hitler do a lot. They appeased and appeased, until Hitker had gone too far. With hindsight, they should have stopped him a lot sooner.

        But can I flip your question…what has America done for the rest of the world since then? A lot more wars dragging most other nations into them…but am not to judge, it is what it is. The best thing to do is learn, not bitch, about the past, and be the change today.

        All your rhetoric has done has caused more anger and violence.

    • Harris_Mercer says:

      I think he means: apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, fresh-water, and public health, what have the Europeans ever done for us?

  8. A veteran says:

    Actually it offends me that so many people gave up their lives so inane posts like this can exist. Ugh, so ignorant of history and how ungrateful to those who sacrificed so you can be protected.

  9. Qualifier: I am the furthest thing from a history buff. I'm also far from perfect. That said, just yesterday, I told my son to stop banging something–"You're disturbing the peace," I said. He came back with "What peace?There's never peace." I told him there would be if only everyone were at peace with themselves. Who would need war or guns? Unfortunately the reality is there are some messed up people out there. I absolutely hate war. I think Iraq and Afghanistan are a mess, while I don't think a blind eye should have been turned on 9-11—why couldn't we just go in and get the bad guys and be done with it? More importantly, why does our society condone gun/war related 'toys' and games? Altho my son has these fighting toys (thanks to my hubby. Believe me I really really tried + wouldn't allow my son to play with toy guns for at least the first few years. At least my hubby + I agree on this–> Although many 10 year olds own + play Teen rated video games, he is not allowed. Period. We've never bought an electronic game for him–he has to buy his own. I'm guessing he's played some awful video games under the radar at friends' homes). ANYWAY… I refuse to play. If he asks, I tell him–only if this is a peace mission. We adults can argue about what war was right or wrong or what the historical facts are… but until we stop reinforcing war/fighting/violence with our children, it will continue. Guilty as charged–the fact I gave in to my hubby and son + the so-called argument that "that's what boys do" makes me an accomplice of sorts. How can we change this??? It absolutely has to start with our children.

  10. Lisa says:

    I disagree with you, although I am not as well informed as Harris. I DO agree with you about certain wars tho, including the current messes we have started. But I applaud your courage of conviction in writing this piece, especially on Memorial Day. And I love that you call us all to look within, where all the problems ultimately start. Thanks for a thought provoking piece.

  11. Claudia Azula Altucher Claudia says:

    James I also appreciate your article, it does leave me thinking, I am surprised at how sometimes we want to be "right" rather than be "at peace"… and peace starts within, unfortunately until we all stop projecting our angers outside and start looking inside it might be a while…

  12. War sucks but... says:

    I am not nearly as informed as some of the other people who have commented here. However, I disagree with your approach and feel it's just as offensive as those preach war mongering. You are essentially saying that my family and friends who have gone to war wasted not only their time but for some of them, their lives. That their death was pointless. You mention we "send off 18 year olds", we no longer have a draft so these men and women choose to go into the military. You can disagree with wars all your want, but without these people throughout history, you would not have the rights you hold so dear….America wouldn't even exist, what about the civil war….was slavery a worthy cause? I mean, you say that we intervened in WWII after too many Jews were killed, by your standards we should have never intervened at all….so what's the alternative…what would have happened? I agree that there have been cases in history that we should have been involved in, but that nullifies your argument. Yes, some of our actions have been misguided, yes, there have been wars that were not worth the casualties they produced, but you're sweeping statement says that this has always been that case. So, what is the answer then? How would you have gone about solving these problems?

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Actually, i said the exact opposite of that. Please read my article. Then I'll respond to the rest of your thoughtful comment.

      • Gibby says:

        Answer the question James. This is exactly what you said.

      • War sucks but... says:

        Actually James, what I wrote is what you said. Whether or not you meant it, is irrelevant. I read your article, multiple times before I responded and I was unable to find an answer to the questions I raised. So, if you have one, I am honestly interested in hearing it.

        • JamesAltucher says:

          I said the exact opposite of this statement: "You are essentially saying that my family and friends who have gone to war wasted not only their time but for some of them, their lives"

          I'm sorry you don't see that. perhaps some other time we can engage in a discussion.

          • war sucks but... says:

            …they died for whatever cause they were fighting for….the causes that you say weren't worth it. So A+B=C, right? Furthermore, do you know the couple in this photo? or are you exploiting there picture with no regards to their beliefs?

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  14. ilona says:

    This comment is brought to you by the 82nd Airborne which liberated my father, then a teenager, from a Nazi concentration camp in Germany. Am I glad the US went to war against the Nazis? Absolutely. Do I wish the United States had done more to save more Jews sooner? Yes. Then, maybe, I might have met my grandparents and aunts who did not survive. What disturbs me about this article, and that it was allowed to be published in this particular online space was that, as others have pointed out, it simplifies and distorts history to argue a point. I think the following was the point, a line toward the end: "This is about those moments when you kill your own life, your own time, feasting on your own angers, sucking them dry even though nobody’s paying attention to you crying like a baby – when you could’ve been doing so much more." For a spiritual site that is trying to build a subscriber base, I would hope for a more nuanced, balanced and thoughtful consideration to lead up to this conclusion, words that would inspire a reader to keep reading and support Elephant journal. My subscription is already paid for, but if this had been the first Elephant article I had read, I can't be sure I would have visited again let alone paid.

    • Harris_Mercer says:

      Thank you, Ilona. Please stick with elej and keep commenting: I strongly disagreed with James' piece, as you did, but I think vigorous and frank commentary and debate are always good things.

    • Martin says:

      Thank you Ilona. This guy is totally clueless.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Ilona, I wish also the US had acted sooner so you could've met your grandparents. The reality is this was one big war: WW I and WW II. Just like we had no exit strategy in Afghanistan, we had no exit strategy in WW I and that is what created Hitler which killed many members of both your family and relatives of mine. It was horrible. All of these wars are connected and I wish we had stayed out of all of them. For me, there are so many agendas within agendas of wars. We can't even imagine.

  15. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Michelle Tabor Its not the war, its the effort that those men and women put in to it to keep us safe.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Lauren Madden The Civil War.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personMonica Cristina Poujol Fabara likes this.
    #
    Jen Smith Yikes..Might want to give a disclaimer that some of those pics are graphic.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Christopher Saxton Given the fact that evil does exist in the world, some wars must be fought (WWII) to save the world/mankind from horrible people/goverments. Not very pretty, but sometimes very necessary..
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Paula Mac Excellent article.Thank you. No war is, or ever will be worth it.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3 peopleJames Altucher and 2 others like this.
    #
    Jaimi Hollon
    “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
    What have you given? Besides one-sided word vomit. I'm also offended that you would use a photo of an injured war veteran to propgate your …uneducated opinion. He made a SACRIFICE for his country. What have you done? If your going to bash the American way of life, I invite you to go ahead and leave. One more thing, the REVOLUTIONARY WAR gave YOU the right to sit here and spout your bullshit. That's a war that was worth "it".See More
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    James Altucher ‎@Jen, what should the disclaimer be? Its an article about war.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personAmela Avdic likes this.
    #
    Carla Cappiello Golden ‎"Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in another country to make the rich, richer…"
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 peopleJames Altucher and Amela Avdic like this.
    #
    James Altucher ‎@Chris, when is it necessary? How do we decide in advance? Most of the US thought Iraq was necessary. How come Stalin and Mao, who together killed over 100 million, weren't "necessary". Necessary is impossible to know in advance. And by the time something seems necessary its often too late. 6mm died in germany before we decided it was necessary.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    James Altucher ‎@Michelle, who has kept me safe? The soldiers are heroes. Nobody doubts that. But the politicians that send 18 year olds in to do horrible horrible things are not keeping me safe.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 people2 people like this.
    #

  16. elephantjournal says:

    James Altucher ‎@Michelle, instead, by destroying Iraq I feel the politicians have put my life and my children's lives at great danger. I moved 65 miles north of NYC, in part, as a result.
    4 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personAmela Avdic likes this.
    #
    Christopher Saxton James the questions should be this. If the Chinese landed in your country/state/city…"you get the picture", and they started killing everyone that they encountered. When they got to your home, with your family and loved ones inside, would you grab a gun, knife or stick and defend yourself and family, or would you meditate or run, what would you do? I would defend my family at all cost.
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    James Altucher ‎@Chris, i'm not going to engage in that question. It has no answer. Why don't you email me after the "chinese" land in your backyard and tell me what you do.
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personRachel Kluges likes this.
    #
    Christopher Saxton Your answer is no answer at all…..Take a stance!!!! I'm an Iraq Vet and I've pulled the trigger. I know what I would do!!
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    James Altucher You're a hero and I'm not. I'll give them jobs.
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Jessica Loyd Thank you for that. I feel it was very brave of you to write that article. That is pretty much the way I feel about war, but have been too afraid to say it. I have family members who are military and they are heroes, but at some point I feel "patriotism" is war mongering.

    #
    Jen Smith I understand that it's an article about war, but just a disclaimer that there are a few graphic pics would be helpful to those that can't really deal with war-related pics, like the bloody kid.
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    #
    Bill Ferrin The Japanese killed 9 million people prior to entering WWII. The nazis killed 9 million during WWII. The Rwandans killed 800,000 in six weeks. The Cambodians killed 2 million. Sometimes, somebody has to do something even if you dont want to be the one to do it. That is whats known as a luxury problem….should you join the ones who are trying to stop evil, just enjoy the fact that they did it.

    #
    James Altucher Ok, well, nobody did anything about those numbers you said above. There was nothing we could do. And then what happened to the 20mm Stalin killed and 20-100mm Mao killed. Where does it stop? I'm happy if I don't have luxury problems

    #
    John Wade
    Hey James, I like how you 'whatevered' over "other wars". Specifically Afghanistan, if you recall we were attacked first. 2500 Americans ring any bells? Gee sorry you hear bagpipes in remembrance of fallen soldiers, sorry they don't have a …memorial day for writers. I am under no illusions that Jim wilkinson lied to the public on behalf of the president about WMD and the agenda in Iraq, Hell I disagree with Iraq and I've been there, same as Afghanistan. I think the key issue here is reverence and tolerance of which you have neither. I'm with Voltaire on this where I disagree with what you say, but I have sworn my oath to the constitution and I will go to war for your right to say it. Your mockery and disrespect for wounded and dead American soldiers is disgusting, and I am surprised your hateful intolerance is published in the Elephant Journal.-
    Veteran
    #
    Amela Avdic James Altucher, you are one of the smartest people I know of… Great article!

    • JamesAltucher says:

      @John Wade, why do you say I have no tolerance. I think each and every soldier who stepped foot there or even considered it is a hero.

      But the reality is we never had to go there. We had no exit strategy. We have a vague exit strategy now (Obama will pull us out in his second administration – guaranteed) and we dismantled the entire region in a way that was politically unsatisfactory to us. Nobody in our leadership here or in Pakistan, India, and the regions there would deny this. What we did do was create an economic mess in that region, and created more strident anti-American fervor than ever before.

      A recent Gallup poll in Pakistan, for instance, listed the US as Pakistan's #1 threat. How can this be? There are 100s of nuclear weapons pointing from India to Pakistan and yet the Pakistani citizens, many of them poor and likely candidates for a future Al Quaeda, list us as the number one threat.

      What a shame this is for our children who will bear the brunt of this growing anger.

  17. Janet says:

    Not only do I disagree with the premise of this post but find the sentiment a slap in the face to all that have died in war. Sorry that Memorial Day was such a burden for you.

    "We only went in there after the war was already lost. We didn’t help anyone." Are you kidding me. How ignorant and offensive.

  18. dan says:

    War is I think the result of a collective failure to share our needs and recognize humans as equals. Desperation is always an expression of failure. That our desperate failures are "worth it" only shows the very low state we revel in.
    There is no defense of war. What people are defending here is the fight to end war- thus the line is about WW2, the "justifiable" war, the one desperately waged to end war. People who bombed cities and killed other soldiers were doing awful things regardless of whose "side" they were on- "hero" is always in the eye of the beholder. The only "good" to come out of WW2 was the Nuremberg trials, which the US mocks again and again, with the street justice brought on Saddam (with no trial for his crimes against the Kurds), and of course bin Laden, but also with extraordinary rendition, endless detention, "extrajudicial" (read: illegal, above the law) surveillance, and of course other "extrajudicial" killings.
    Our present wars are not ones waged to end a war but to keep them going. Why such heated defense of our worst natures?

  19. john wade says:

    Janet thankyou, I agree wholeheartedly with you, frankly this author is not only a whiner about Memorial day but also a coward, as he doesn't stand for anything except himself, he even admits moving outside of NY because he felt his family was in danger, I think NY doesnt need him, Rudy Guiliani and the real Americans in NY stayed planted and didnt let terrorists make them change their habits or their addresses-
    veteran

    • JamesAltucher says:

      @John Wade, why do you say I have no tolerance. I think each and every soldier who stepped foot there or even considered it is a hero.

      But the reality is we never had to go there. We had no exit strategy. We have a vague exit strategy now (Obama will pull us out in his second administration – guaranteed) and we dismantled the entire region in a way that was politically unsatisfactory to us. Nobody in our leadership here or in Pakistan, India, and the regions there would deny this. What we did do was create an economic mess in that region, and created more strident anti-American fervor than ever before.

      A recent Gallup poll in Pakistan, for instance, listed the US as Pakistan's #1 threat. How can this be? There are 100s of nuclear weapons pointing from India to Pakistan and yet the Pakistani citizens, many of them poor and likely candidates for a future Al Quaeda, list us as the number one threat.

      What a shame this is for our children who will bear the brunt of this growing anger. And yes, our actions in the Middle East have certainly made NY a more dangerous place. I can explain this in a variety of ways but, honestly, not appropriate for this particular forum.

  20. Kevin says:

    Ask the survivors of the Nazi death camps whether WW II was worth it. What a spoiled, self centered human being. How shameful that this was posted on this blog site.

  21. Jay says:

    I’m going to assume you’re American. The Revolutionary war wasn’t worth it?
    Also, you could argue about unnecessary loss of life, but it’s as if the world doesn’t have enough people dying of starvation. Without war being a quasi-population control, more people would be well below the poverty line and dying from a even greater lack of resources.
    I guess since you seem to have the answer, how about you share it with the world? Blogging can release your anger, but it isn’t going to fix anything.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      So…you think a good reason for war is population control?

      • Jay says:

        War has had plenty of benefits. Among them are those handy dandy cell phones that people seem to be unable to live without. Cellular technology was brought about by the military’s desire to improve on radio tech. The internet had military funding, same with GPS tech. In fact, a majority of the modern conveniences people take for granted these days were military projects at one time or another.
        As for population control, I don’t mind it. If the statistics are to be believed, roughly one half of the world’s population survive on less than $2 a day. If not for a form of control that number would likely be higher. Then the amount of natural resources used would be drastically higher, and this would likely cause more famines in places that are already struggling to feed the people they have. It’s an equilibrium thing, the planet barely supports the needs of some people, like Africa. I don’t condone the wholesale slaughter of people for no reason, but war kind of culls the herd.
        It’s nice of you to think you can care about all ~7billion people on this planet, but stopping all wars is a bit out of your league.

        • JamesAltucher says:

          Btw, the Revolutionary war was totally not worth it. What was so great about it? A few people wanted to avoid taxes and sent a bunch of 18 year old farmers to their deaths. What was so great about that? We probably would've banned slavery much sooner, also, if we had remained a colony of GB.

  22. facepalm says:

    I am not even going to touch any of the wars mentioned because there is only one that was worth it. The Revolutionary War. I am not going into disputes over reasons or mistakes or even a philosophical debate over ends justifying the means. The point is that if it was not for the Revolutionary War we would not be a country. We would not have a Declaration of Independence which states all men are created equal. We would not have had the opportunity to draft the Constitution years later that grants each and every person in the United States of America the right to free speech to write odd thoughts on the internet about anything including this asinine back and forth about war and its badness/goodness/why are we even debating the past that we cant change; but you bet your ass you have the right to.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      The Revolutionary War was about a few people not wanting to pay taxes. that's all it was about.

    • diplomacticmeans says:

      You are right, the American revolutionary war was about not wanting to pay taxes nor homage to some king across the sea, but you can not ignore the outcomes. The creation of a country and the declaration of independence are very good points. However, "All men created free and equal"? That part took years to really mean much, which brings me to the second worthwhile war: The civil war in all its forms. The North was not interested in having the South's property flooding their streets, nor was the South interested in losing their investments to the North. A country can not claim 'free and equal' so long as a large population remain enslaved.

      Interesting that you mentioned being willing to go to war with Canada. Is that because you think it won't happen? It already did though it wasn't about oil. Do not underestimate Canadians, 'The true North, strong and free'.

  23. American says:

    That article is appalling and disgraceful. Not only is it filled with historical inaccuracies, but it is tasteless and extremely offensive. How dare you exploit that veteran by posting his wedding picture. You have no idea what he stands for and no idea what he believes in. Typical of someone like you…expressing your views so “matter of factly” and thinking as though everyone depicted in your article feels, or should feel the same way. How dare you represent him in this way! You are a sorry excuse for an American…

    No war worth fighting huh? How about the Revolutionary War?…a war that gave you the right to express your hideous views. Or the Civil War?…a war that was fought to end slavery and provide liberty to every man.

    • Beth says:

      When you realize that the author runs a hedge fund, it make complete sense why he would write something like this. War gets in the way of his dealings with the devil and the money he lines his pockets with. Another disconnect between wall street and main street.

      • sally says:

        That is possibly the most ignorant comment I've read. No war in the last 50 years has been about anything but advantaging wall street, including the war on drugs. Given his profession, it's actually shocking that he would write this.

        • JamesAltucher says:

          Thank you, Sally.

          Also, just to add, I am only invested in peace-related companies. For instance, my biggest invstment at the moment is a company that helps soldiers figure out what the best anti-depressant is for them after they get back from war. Many soldiers come back with some form of depression or PTSD and it takes on average 8 years to find the right medication. Its horrible how little our hospitals are able to help these returning heroes and I am trying to figure out how to help them more in any way I can.

  24. ballsdeep24 says:

    The fact that you can write a piece like this and not worry about being censored or worse is a testament to the freedoms protected by our military throughout the years. Your opinion is valuable. I disagree with it. God bless America.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      I agree. But that has nothing to do with, say, Iraq. Or even the revolutionary war for that matter.

  25. [...] retreat who was quite a piece of work. He was in his late fifties and built like a barrel. A Vietnam vet and recovered alcoholic, he told the same stories again and again. He was often the only man in a [...]

  26. NotSoSure says:

    Ok people, lets stick to a critique of the post and stop with calling the author names. All ad hominem attacks are always pointless. This post is absolutely the least informed,and frankly, ridiculous post I have ever read on EJ. And the all posts he made in defense of the original are even more ridiculous.

    But please do not think this post gives anyone the right to judge his character. I have enjoyed previous posts by Mr. Altucher in the past. He has a wry and self deprecating sense on humor which I personally find very enjoyable.

    Please stick to critiquing the post
    OR
    Please chill the fuck out and stop calling him names.

  27. Robert says:

    You used that Marine's wedding day picture for shock effect. What a disgrace. You have no code. None.

    • NotSoSure says:

      You follow my post about stopping the ad hominem attacks with a fucking ad hominem attack. You do not know the author and you have absolutely no idea as to his "code". Please add something useful to the discussion or take your toys and go home.

      • Mat says:

        @NSS, I appreciate your attempt to moderate the comments here but using aggressive language is hardly the way to do that.

        • NotSoSure says:

          I also used "aggressive language" to refute claims made in Mr. Altuchers original post. You did not complain about my choice of language then. But you do now. Why is that? It seems your dislike of aggressive language is variable based on whether you agree or disagree is the message that is being aggressively put forth.

          I find it curious that all my comments blasting the original post were voted up and all my comments blasting people for making personally insulting remarks were voted down.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      I guess I have more code than people who send 18 year olds to whatever country they want so they can come back like that.

      • American says:

        James…did it ever occur to you that maybe the "18 year old" believed in the cause, willingly joined the military, and was proud to fight for his / her belief, excepting any consequences that may come from it… of course it didn’t, because you could never relate to that way of thinking … a way of thinking that is completely selfless and admirable … every man and women that is overseas wearing our uniform does so by choice and freewill. These "18 year olds" have more honor and courage than you will ever have.

        • JamesAltucher says:

          That makes me even sadder. Since we now know that we were lied repeatedly by our elected leaders. What a shame.

  28. Kristoffer Nelson Kris Nelson says:

    JA –

    I wonder if you thought all this would happen when you wrote your post? I've read your other work and this is by far the seemingly most unconsidered post you've published. It doesn't read well and your bastardization and simplification of history doesn't seem thoughtful. I wonder if this is what you intended? I wonder if you even thought about it?

    One thing seems to be true, your capacity to start a raving conversion and your capacity for moral relativism are both astonishing.

    I don't agree with your post. I feel that all of our human and social experiences are complex, and war is certainly incredibly complex. I don't like how you simplified this complex issue, went on a one sided tyrannical rant, and perpetuate the conversion with comments of greater offense.

    I wonder if you've considered the people that you've truly hurt with this post, and in doing so, in certain terms, completely goes against everything you stand for in this post. Whoever said "when you write about war you start a war" was right. How do you like the war you started? Was it worth it?

    You bring up and interesting point: War in retrospect is deemed moral/just or immoral/unjust, and we can't be clear proceeding war. For most, I think, pre-action is judged on intent; post-action is judged on outcome.

    We for the most part hate Iraq because we judge the intent as a lie and the result as a failure. The loss was not worth the intent or the outcome. (You're a business guy, this should make sense).

    We stand for WWII because the intent was judged as noble (though perhaps delayed) and the outcome was successful. In a sense, it was worth the sacrifice.

    I wonder, other than disliking memorial day (which to me doesn't have much to do with war but instead the people that fought and the families that sacrificed), what was your intent for the war you've started? Is it worth it? And our the outcomes worth the sacrifice?

    I have certainly posted my share of flippant and aggravating posts. Especially the Hummer article (which was really an article about spiritual materialism first and the environment second) and the Osama article (which was really an article about mindfulness and my observations of myself and our culture). I have pissed people off. I sort of like pissing people off. And I have a point to make when I piss people off. And I hope my points are well considered. And I am happy to admit when I've perhaps screwed up.

    Are you arguing at this point to continue arguing? Are you arguing at this point because you don't want to be wrong?

    How's the war, ol'boy?

    • JamesAltucher says:

      I'm honestly really surprised that a pro-peace stance like this is taken so harshly in this forum. So many people eager to go to war at slight provocations and yet we all can enlist. I don't see anyone doing that. Again, really surprised. But war is part of the American religion.

      • JamesAltucher says:

        Although it seems enlisting in war is not if it means your own flesh.

      • Paul says:

        war is part of the American religion

        No wonder you are getting flamed. Why don't you make these statements on one of your interviews on the networks. I'm sure your sponsors will love you.

  29. Robert says:

    The Marine in the picture, his name is Ty Zeigel. Google him. I wonder how he would feel knowing you are using his picture like this. http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2007/03/10/berm

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Ask the NY Times, which originally published the picture. All I'm doing is pointing out how sad it is these heroes are so young. Did they fully understand what was happening? Do we even understand it? No need to attack me. I'm asking reasonable questions.

  30. Colin Wiseman Colin Wiseman says:

    Sorry my mistake. I made a boo boo by calling it the Internet when I mean the World Wide Web (which is known colloquially as the internet these days).

    Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web. Look him up. The Americans invented the internet – at the time called ARPANET, which was (oh this is good) founded by DARPA part of the US Department of Defence to help basically go to war :D But what could be taken from this, is if Tim Berners Lee hadn't invented HTML, the Word Wide Web would be what it is today…and you can thank the Europeans for that. And you can thank America for building a system to help them go to war to be the core of the internet today.

    So can we agree, that Europeans have done 1 good thing? But let's not talk about the Scottish inventing TV, the Germans inventing the computer, the Scottish discovering penicillin in 1928 – ok pre WWII but still a biggie, but first time it saved a man's life was during WWII, 1943 the Swiss invented LSD, Jacques Cousteau invented the aqualung, Dennis Gabor for inventing holograms…am giving up here cause I just used Google to come up with these, so what did the Europeans ever do for the? That. And all that was during a war so wars are good for inventions.

    And sorry you didn't like the "Anon" bit, my browser remember the wrong settings :D Stupid computers and stupid internet :D

  31. Heather says:

    Yes, I wonder also Robert how that soldier feels about using his photo this way but then this site uses provocative photos all the time to get traffic to this site. This is the perfect sleezy storm of bad taste.

    • Sally says:

      I wonder how that little girl feels.

      • JamesAltucher says:

        Yes, I agree Sally. And how she will feel about the US 20 years from now. And how her children will feel about the US. And the millions others like them that are being created ever day sadly.

  32. wbtphdjd says:

    Grossly ahistorical, a killing flaw for an essayist making what is quintessentially a historical argument. At best, the title should be "Name me a single 20th century war that was worth it." The author singularly fails to consider the Civil War, arguably necessary to end slavery, or the American Revolution, unless the author would prefer to be an English colony still. Better evidence for the author's argument, such as it is, would come from Europe's wars of religion in the aftermath of the Reformation. Europeans killing each other over what flavor of Christian to be? Can you say, "pointless"? I knew you could. Please, raise the standard.

  33. JamesAltucher says:

    I think the war in the Bhavagad Gita was pointless. it was cousins arguing with each other. And so tens of thousands more had to pay the price. I prefer to think of the Gita as a metaphor for surrender to Vishnu / Krishna than as any kind of advocacy for war.

  34. JamesAltucher says:

    Sasha, thank you. What's interesting to me is you present a reasoned view: i.e. war is a travesty, and yet your comment was voted to a "-2". I really don't understand the anger some people have.

  35. Caroline says:

    This has been the most intellectually insulting, peace of absolute crap I have had the displeasure of reading. I will not bother pointing out the historical errors because plenty of others already have. I'm assuming you were trying to inject humor in your non humorous topic, when you stated you would go to war with Canada for lower oil prices. Just though I'd let you know we Canadians pay more for our own oil than you American pay, so I think that war maybe pointless just like your writing. I'm not a promoter of war but I'm not a promoter of ignorance either.

    • JamesAltucher says:

      Yes, of course I don't think we should go to war with Canada. that would be nonsense. But, funny that you pay more for your gas thatn we do since Canada is by far the largest supplier of oil to the US.

  36. carlos says:

    Search: Report from Iron Mountain.
    This report seems to be an effort to determine the possibility of a world without war.
    According to this report, it seems that war serves the purposes of holding the very fabric of out civilization together.
    Meaning, that we are shaped, moulded , controlled and manipulated for purposes which are not revealed. Profit? Power? Certainly, we seem to be a digit within a calculation for someone……

  37. Harris_Mercer says:

    You're absolutely right about the economic causes of war; the decision to demand reparations after WWI was among the greatest errors of the 20th century. In 1919, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes warned what would happen:

    "If we take the view that for at least a generation to come Germany cannot be trusted with even a modicum of prosperity, that while all our recent Allies are angels of light, all our recent enemies, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, and the rest, are children of the devil, that year by year Germany must be kept impoverished and her children starved and crippled, and that she must be ringed round by enemies; then we shall reject all the proposals of this chapter, and particularly those which may assist Germany to regain a part of her former material prosperity and find a means of livelihood for the industrial population of her towns. But if this view of nations and of their relation to one another is adopted by the democracies of Western Europe, and is financed by the United States, heaven help us all.
    "If we aim deliberately at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare predict, will not limp."

    "Vengeance will not limp." So yes, World War II was avoidable; Churchill called it "the unnecessary war." But after the mistakes had been made in Versailles and Munich, and the blitz rolled into Poland, Norway, the Low Countries, and France, and the Luftwaffe threatened Britain, then war became "worth it;" it became right; it became just; it became necessary.

  38. SriDTMc says:

    when did MLK and Gandhi realize that violence was the only option? don't recall that one. was it when gandhi and his satyagraha cohort responded to police brutality with staid non-violence? or when MLK refused to surround himself with anyone who was armed with a firearm? talk about revisionist history…

  39. Omar says:

    I don't know if this is a joke or if your distortions of facts are some cruel ploy to get traffic. Shame on Elephant Journal to not fact check the statements of this post.

  40. Harris_Mercer says:

    While King and Gandhi expressed different ideas at different times, at various points both held the opinion that war could be necessary:

    Gandhi: "Fighting a violent war is better than accepting injustice. So, really there is no contradiction in fighting a just war, and believing in non-violence. Both are duties to be carried out to preserve justice and truth." (http://bit.ly/lUTEX6)

    King: "While war could never be a positive good, it could serve as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force. War, horrible as it is, might be preferable to surrender to a totalitarian system." (http://bit.ly/jQ8NQk)

    And, as a bonus since I like the quote, Orwell: "We have become too civilized to grasp the obvious. For the truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil. Those who take the sword perish by the sword, and those who don't take the sword perish by smelly diseases." (http://bit.ly/aPZkFz)

  41. JamesAltucher says:

    As the daughter of a 12 year old and a 9 year old I wish to god 80 year olds had been sent instead of 18 year olds. I'm afraid you want to get deep into history lessons. We can go toe to toe on those. But my main point is: no US involvement in WW I, then no Hitler. No Revolutionary War, then probably there would've been no Civil War. No gulf 1, then probably no 9/11 and no Afghanistan and certainly no Iraq which is a total mess.

  42. Ryan says:

    You just so obviously got ripped to shreds, and you have nothing of substance to respond with.
    Derp.

  43. Judy says:

    I Agree with You James Totally..War Is Wrong, it is Just that Simple..We Need to Take are of our Own Countryand Leave the Rest Alone, Nothing Good has come of our Interactions in Wars..Too Many of Our People Suffer, and We Cause Much Suffering for Others..Keep Up the Good Work..

  44. dan says:

    I’m glad that you wrote this and are willing to defend your position. All the arguments, including yours, are emotion-based, and about what-ifs, and no one article is going to dull the aura of the blessed sainted murder and brutality the “hero” gives and receives; “glory” depends on when and where you are, how you identify yourself. The revolutionary war was not a victory in the chummy sense we have of it now (and certainly not to First Nations peoples, among the first to be shown that the new nation gladly renegotiated its agreements with violence). Not until the landed white male “gave” voting rights to women and then to blacks, a mere 200 years later, was there something resembling a free nation. If you want to see how free blacks are, visit a prison (though obviously more complicated than just that). What I’m getting at is there is plenty of historical support for the worthlessness of war, and don’t worry about supposed smarts of those who disagree with you, as you’ve been only glibly, rhetorically fact-checked, while other obvious wrongs are left to stand, as in the Lusitania being cause for our entry- Germany sunk it, but said they’d stop sinking ships, and did. It wasn’t until some two years later when they said they’d sink any ship in the North Atlantic, proved with the sinking of *merchant* ships, that the US decided to join “the war to end all wars”
    And yes, I disagree that Obama will withdraw from Afghanistan in any meaningful way (And I’ll be glad to eat crow on this, granted that he doesn’t just send “the troops” to kill elsewhere). He has shown himself to be the polite consessioneer at the fore of the imperialist enterprise (imperialism is the leadingest cause of war ever). He is fine killing with robots, and stumped on it in 2008. And yes, robots kill just as many “non-combatants” as fleshy killers do, because fleshy killers are still the non-omnipotent quasi-altruist ones actually doing the killing- but not chushily- they too suffer PTSD.
    You can only win a war if you’re a psychopath and/or a robot, or a nation of psychopaths and/or robots. Which is to say: No war can be won. The killing and destruction might stop, but the shattering of lives lasts over generations. dn! just re-aired their interviews with Gabor Mate, who argues that early childhood stresses, both direct and from parents, creates a mind/body environment where attention deficit and addiction can easily take hold. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/5/30/dr_gabor_mat_on_the_stress

  45. JamesAltucher says:

    I just find it interesting that everyone stops their arguing once I suggest they enlist. I guess everyone can argue behind the safety of a history book but nobody would dare put their own skin at risk for the sake of our supposed justifiable wars.

  46. JamesAltucher says:

    Thank you, Judy. I've been really surprised by the response here.

  47. JamesAltucher says:

    Dan, thanks for this.

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