Skip

September 19, 2001
6:19 AM   Subscribe

The only "war" I can think of in U.S. history anything like the present situation is the U.S. Navy's war on Caribbean piracy (1814-1825). Stateless, decentralized foe, no defined fields of battle, no "high-value targets"...Again, 1814-1825: eleven years. Any U.S. history majors out there?
posted by luser (19 comments total)

 

The War of Phillipine Indepenence , which cost almost as many lives as the Spanish American War, comes to mind as there was no clear head of nation.

I dislike the whole 'war' metaphor. It sounds good to call it a war, but I think the mistake is that people will keep waiting for an attack against an opponent which may or may not be useful to Bush's goals. Its really a law enforcement issue, although that doesn't sound as good. We need to seriously beef up law enforcement and intellegence.
posted by brucec at 6:34 AM on September 19, 2001


Yo ho, yo ho: The war with the Barbary pirates lasted four years. According to Ambassador Parker, it marked the United States' first foreign military intervention, as well as its first attempt to interfere with the internal politics of a foreign state. Also called the Tripolian war. In Marine lyrics as "the shores of Tripoli".
posted by xowie at 6:37 AM on September 19, 2001


Here's to hoping that the "war" on terrorism doesn't turn out to be as ineffective, mis-aimed and filled with platitudes as our "war" on drugs. That's the only other stateless enemy I can think of.
posted by machaus at 6:50 AM on September 19, 2001


Tripolitan sorry. And it was 1801-1805. PEACE!
posted by xowie at 6:54 AM on September 19, 2001


Machaus - took the words right out of my mouth. I've said a few times that this has the potential to turn into the (WoD + Vietnam) * 100.
posted by Sinner at 6:57 AM on September 19, 2001


The question asked raises a question. When we refer to war we usually mean war against a nation. The "war" given (pirates) is presumbably against pirates rather than the nation that seemingly housed them.
But how many covert "operations" have we had wherein we did not have a declaration of war but instead fought and killed etc?
After all was Korea (1950) a war or, as they have said, "a police action"?
Is a war only a war when it is declared by Congress and our president?
posted by Postroad at 7:28 AM on September 19, 2001


Is a war only a war when it is declared by Congress and our president?

Only Congress has the power to declare war, and presumably a nation can only declare war on another nation, not on an idea. "War" in this sense, however, is simply a political formality; an agreement if you will between nations that they plan on beating each other up as effectively as possible. Under this definition, neither Korea nor Vietnam were wars, although if you didn't know the political background, you probably couldn't tell the difference on the battleground. I get the sense that officially declaring War gets everyone around the world pretty riled up, though.

Note that there is some contention about how much initiative the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has regarding military action if Congress is unwilling to declare War. I'm assuming the War Powers Act is the relevant legislation, but I'm not familiar with its stipulations.

I'll be surprised if we declare War on Afghanistan. If we do, you can expect Islamic nations to be much more reluctant, if not outright antagonistic, to whatever military plans we have in the region. Declaring war is purely symbolic, but it's a very very strong symbol.
posted by daveadams at 7:50 AM on September 19, 2001


Postroad: the matter of the Barbary pirates is even more complicated because Tripolitania was technically under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, but like most outposts of the "Sick Man of Europe", had de facto autonomy.
posted by holgate at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2001


IT WAS CALLED PANAMA. (dam caps) a homegrown version whould have been the assassination of jesse strang. president can bomb or attack anyone he wants."Declaring war is purely symbolic, but it's a very very strong symbol." that is correct, and flying a plane into the largest "war" building is a declaration of war. If we found out they where, say syrian military targets, we would have declared war, next day."Sick Man of Europe" who was that? Nelson thought the Phily raid, "the most daring of the age" alot of big names came from that little invasion like reuben James, i did not know that.
posted by newnameintown at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2001


On a previous thread I read that using the frame 'war' in the WTC-case might have some connection with the fact that insurance claims are avoided if damage is a consequence of war.

From my perspective - across the Atlantic - the WTC-attack was not an act of war. And war-mongering will most probably only serve to widen the gap between the Arab- and the Euro-American-countries.

Reacting to the WTC-attack with new 'acts of war' could have the adverse effect that finding and punishing an appropriate foe takes precedence over finding and punishing the right foe.
posted by FidelDonson at 9:05 AM on September 19, 2001


Hey clavdivs, why'd you go and change usernames? You threw me for a loop there.
posted by ewagoner at 9:11 AM on September 19, 2001


[offtopic]
"Here's to hoping that the "war" on terrorism doesn't turn out to be as ineffective, mis-aimed and filled with platitudes as our "war" on drugs."

The main difference is that most people in the world don't care about the war on drugs and in fact a substantial percentage want more drugs in their lives. Walnuts kill more people than marijuana. It's hard to ask people to make sacrifices to eradicate something like that.

But terrorism is something the vast majority of people can get behind. And make sacrifices for. And demand action on.
[/offtopic]
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:11 AM on September 19, 2001


Leave it to the smart folks reading and posting here to come up with solid info and good answers. for which, Thanks..
posted by Postroad at 9:13 AM on September 19, 2001


Walnuts kill more people than marijuana

wow. i did not know that. no, wait, you mean through allergic reactions, right? i was thinking of people choking, maybe slipping on a stray walnut and cracking their skull or something. not as interesting as i thought.

carry on.
posted by tolkhan at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2001


According to The War Powers Act of 1973, the President may engage in hostilities for 60 days without congressional approval. At the end of the 60-day period, however, the President must have either received a Declaration of War, received authorisation to continue the action for another set period of time, or begin withdrawing the troops. But there is also an exception for situations where there is a direct, clear and present danger to American lives.
So it may be interesting to see how it is interpreted.
As a side note, I ran across an out-of-print book, War Powers and the Constitution. The author? Mr. Dick Cheney.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:53 PM on September 19, 2001


my real name was taken.
posted by newnameintown at 2:06 PM on September 19, 2001


so... (furrowed brow) i picked a fake name.
posted by newnameintown at 2:07 PM on September 19, 2001


OK, as you said "war on drugs" you must mean the recent battle against drugs, not the "war for drugs" when U.S. gunboats were patrolling China to keep the opium flowing.
posted by SEWilco at 4:05 PM on September 19, 2001


"when U.S. gunboats were patrolling China to keep the opium flowing." sorry, that was joint european-american venture, primarily european.
posted by newnameintown at 7:02 PM on September 19, 2001


« Older And the award for the dumbass of the year goes to....   |   An Archived New Yorker Article Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post