Questions about war – please comment

Self-evidently, when my country is involved in a war that is funded by my taxes and driven by the policies of my legal representatives, I have a moral obligation to be as informed as possible about those policies and the war we are engaged in.

I decided to write up an informed essay about each of the war actions my country is currently involved in. I am beginning with the set of basic questions I should seek to answer as I research and write the essays. I ordered the questions from basic to more complex. The aim of the essay is to be as factual and informed as possible; to be balanced by avoiding obscure or mystifying perspectives, and to offer a firm understanding of the complex issues of the war. If you have input or further questions to suggest, I would be very interested.

These will be the questions I will put to the current three war actions the US is involved in: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya:

Questions to ask about a war action.

  • who is at war with whom
  • when did it begin
  • what were the opening battles or exchanges of human-life-harming hostilities
  • how many humans were killed or harmed in the conflict
  • what political entities gained during the conflict and in its aftermath, and in what way
  • what private entities gained during and after the conflict and in what way
  • what were the purely material facts about the war
  • what were the rhetorical justifications or explanations of the war
  • for those who fought in it (for each side, respectively), what did those individuals imagine themselves to be doing when fighting
  • for each side, what were the major symbols, and keywords, of the conflict
  • what is the aftermath of the conflict (for each side, respectively) in material terms, such as destroyed or disabled infrastructure, destroyed agriculture, destroyed property, maimed and disabled human bodies, major population shifts including refugee camps, exiles, and displaced political refugees
  • what is the aftermath of the conflict in cultural, social, and psychological terms, such as political reactions, people’s desires, attitudes and ideas, how they imagine themselves, others, and the country/-ies that they were at war with


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One Response to Questions about war – please comment

  1. Andrea says:

    Your questions are excellent! Even something as simple as “who is at war with whom” can reveal a lot – I never considered whether or not Afghanistan is at war with us. Other considerations like the private entities’ gains and the major keywords/symbols are interesting, but especially I appreciate the emphasis on “for each side.” Also considering the impact of a war on those not directly implicated (the cultural/social/psychological results) is something often missing from evaluations of wars. Thought provoking.

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