Q&A Friday: When Is War Worth It?
Question: “I want to know how many lives can be sacrificed for the war to still be considered moral. Where is the line that when crossed it could be said that it wasn’t worth it; that more harm than good came out?” — P_Stick
Answer: Imagine if in WW2 Patton was rolling towards Germany and Ike called him and said, “We just crossed this casualty line and that means this war is no longer moral. Turn it around and bring the men home”. There is no such line because wars don’t work like that.
Before you start the war, you have to ask whether it’s worth spilling American blood over, how important it is, whether you’re willing to do what it takes to win, etc, etc. Once the decision to go to war is made, you do whatever it takes to win.
Then once the war is won and things sort themselves out, history will have to be the ultimate guide as to whether it was worth it or not.
But, off the top of my head, the only wars America has fought that probably weren’t worth it in my eyes were the “War of 1812”, the “Philippine-American War” / “Philippine Insurrection”, & Vietnam (which would have been worth it had Lyndon Johnson, who was probably the worst President of the 20th century although Jimmy Carter would give him stiff competition, fought to win).