Over the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. fought both a World War and a subsequent Cold War in the name of defending and even spreading American values to the rest of the world. War (whether hot or cold) is never easy or pleasant, especially for a democracy attempting to win its conflicts without undermining its core values, and during this period of high tension the U.S. undoubtedly engaged in actions and behavior, both at home and abroad, which challenged its claims to be acting in the name of freedom and democracy. Overall, however, do you believe the U.S. basically lived up to its proclaimed ideals in its struggles against fascism and communism? Or, in the course of these conflicts, did it too often go against its own professed values to be able to credibly maintain that it ultimately upheld them? Was it acceptable for the U.S. to act out of accordance with its core values from time to time in the name of securing them in the long haul? Or could it have successfully reached the same ends in ways that better maintained its ideals?
I believe that the ends justified the means to obtain it, which in this case was to protect the American way and spread it to other places in the world. It was for the greater good of the country that some of its core values such as freedom were stripped away for the country. Some sacrifices had to be made including freedom to protect freedom. It was either us or them. If we didn’t have the stomach as many people do not today we would have lost. There is similarity between then and now post 9/11. The government ramped up security measures such as phone tapping, and spying even on Americans for the greater good of our population. Just think about it for a second. If the United States of America had a better spy and information gathering organization that we had during the cold war in world war two we could have prevented many of these so called atrocities by people after the fact because information is king. We might be able to have prevented pearl harbor. We might be able to have prevented the atom bombs dropping. We might be able to have prevented some of the concentration camps. The list goes on which leads me to my next point. What if? That which we will never know had events gone another way leads many people to forget that we could have easily gone down another road. What if we had attacked Germany earlier when Stalin wanted to? Maybe we could have averted much of the cold war? Maybe not, but we will never know. And that’s what I wish critics would think of when blaming America with their hindsight. Yes some tanks that were meant to float sank in the D day invasion as highlighted by Adams in “The Best War Ever.” But think about the amount of time that researchers had to come up with a “floating” hunk of metal that was never meant to be a boat but a land vehicle. We put twenty plus years in to research and development now for stuff such as our jets. But I think with what America had to work with; we did a pretty good job. Yes it is unfortunate that stuff doesn’t work, but that just lets us improve upon them. We did not have much time for trial and error.
I know people don’t want to think about it, but war is good for advancement of the human race. Think about what the space race or the nuclear arms race did for our country. It gave us satellites and alternative energy from fossil fuels. Sure we eventually would have discovered and made these and other advancements regardless of war or peace, but war speeds these advancements up. Arguably the greatest invention of the latter half of the twentieth century was the internet which was first conceived to be a form of secure communication between the military. Of course we now know the internet as Facebook and Google. I’m not advocating war or saying it is good to fight, but it is undeniable that war is good for the speeding up of the advance of the human race in technological terms.
What were we fighting in...
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