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OP/ED: A Referendum For War

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posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 06:40 AM
War. For or against, justified or not, nothing stirs the blood more. The historians study the past ones, we argue and fight over the current ones, and our youth dread the future ones. Some argue that it is human nature to fight. From when the first caveman picked up a bone and whacked another caveman over the head, right up to the modern battle theatre, we've been bludgeoning, shooting, killing, and conquering each other.

Others claim that it is not in our nature; that we are generally peaceful animals and that it is power-hungry, vindictive, or simply insane leaders that send us off to fight while they sit back, thousands of miles from bombs and flying bullets, free from immediate consequence, and ultimately, reaping the spoils.

In the geo-political maelstrom, nothing has the power to affect our lives (and deaths) so much. So why then does the power to send so many to their deaths lie in the hands of so few?

Some dreamers have suggested "Thunderdome" solutions, whereby leaders of different nations who have disputes are thrown into a cage and forced to fight it out between themselves. That would be infinitely amusing, and I think Dubya could definitely kick Saddam's butt, as well as Puny Putin's. John Howard on the other hand couldn't beat up an aggressive third-grader. But that is a fantastical scenario and ignoring the real issue.

The arguments over the justification for the war in Iraq continues, results of opinion polls are constantly paraded in front of us to show support for or opposition to wars, but polls mean nothing when our leaders can ignore them with impunity. To me, it seems that the power to decide whether or not to go to war should be placed in the hands of those whom it affects the most: The People. Sound like a romantic idea? Maybe, maybe not. Governmental policy by public referendum is not feasible for everyday decisions, for obvious reasons, but it is required in most countries for constitutional amendment. If referendum is required for changing the basic tenets of a nation, then why is it not required to plunge the same nation into armed conflict? How many wars could have been avoided if we, the people, made the decision?

If the decision to go to war were made by public referendum, would the United States have invaded Iraq? Would she have entered WWII earlier and perhaps helped to lessen the overall destruction and loss of life? What about Vietnam? Britain in the Falkland Islands? China in Tibet?

And how about Hitler invading Poland? Hermann Goering, Hitler’s Reich Marshall once said, “Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

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"A person is smart, but people are panicky and dumb." Keeping the masses controlled, passive, and collectively supportive while leaders instigate wars is easy enough, as Hitler and others throughout history have so tragically shown us. But what if the decision to invade another country and murder its citizens or the decision to invade a country and restore democracy, the decision to come to the aid of your nation's allies, what if these decisions were made by individual, anonymous, compulsory referendum of the people; checking boxes in little booths? Would the decisions be more acceptable to us, and more beneficial to our respective countries and to the world? Or does the majority not necessarily understand what is best for a nation? Do we, like children, sometimes need to have tough, complex decisions made for us by those who are "wiser" than us? And are they really wiser? After all, politicians are just people like you and me, with the same faults, prejudices, weaknesses and emotions.

This is not meant to be a diatribe on the merits of war. Sometimes war is justified, sometimes it is unavoidable. Nor is it intended to be a comparison between leaders of today and tyrants of the past. Rather it is intended to raise the question of who the decision-makers, who the "war-makers" should be: Those who do the talking, or those who do the dying?

Your thoughts?

Photos courtesy of,,

[edit on 2005/3/20 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 07:53 AM
All these votes to upgrade without a single comment? Let me be the first.

The problem as I see it with the general population making the decision is that we do not have the entire story and therefore cannot decide with complete knowledge of the situation. Obviously, there are things that would jeopardize national security if the entire world knew, and without this intimate knowledge a referendum is held in ignorance.

Edit: By the way, I don't think Bush and Putin's relationship is one where they are at odds enough to take each other on. A perfect example of the kind of misreading of a situation that could make a referendum dangerous.

[edit on 3/20/2005 by Relentless]

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:07 AM
Of course we don't have the entire story 'et al'.
But this is an OP/ED submission and is therefore an opinion, and discussion will follow.

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:18 AM
Can I add that Putin would wipe the floor with Bush in a Thunderdome situation. He has a black belt in Judo afterall

Also a vote on going to war could be nudged in any direction the powers that be wanted. The threat of bombing or attack on the general population by those who the war is aimed at could intimidate the people into a "NO" vote.

By the same token an attack staged by your own government "Reichstag fire" "9/11" could give you the public opinion madate, or "YES" you need to go to war.

My solution? Well I dont have one, this problem is inheirant when democracies go to war. Want to remove the missuse of war? Come up with an alternative to democracy.

[edit on 20/3/05 by subz]

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:20 AM

I thought that is what I was doing, discussing the opinion. I am sure my point will be debated and that is why I posted, to discuss the opinion.

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:39 AM
I'm not for the government making "lone" decisions anymore. The government has shown me that it tends to disregard the people and that is not government's lot.

Should be a concensus. That way, we have time to work out the necessity of it.

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:43 AM

Originally posted by wecomeinpeace
This is not meant to be a diatribe on the merits of war. Sometimes war is justified, sometimes it is unavoidable. Nor is it intended to be a comparison between leaders of today and tyrants of the past. Rather it is intended to raise the question of who the decision-makers, who the "war-makers" should be: Those who do the talking, or those who do the dying?

The leaders.

This is one of the reasons people vote. We all want leaders capable of following the directions of the bankers, right?

No one wants leaders that ask what they should do (publically). We all like the 'strong leader' type. I followed the U.S. elections very closely, I saw all the strong leader hoopla.


posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 08:52 AM
Judging by most of the stories in the news of late, I'd be a little nervous of the general public making those kinds of decisions.

Additionally, the general consensus, as I understand it, seems to think "voting" as a method of decision is an inherently corrupt process anyway. How could we be sure any referendum wouldn't have the same problems as the general elections of 2000/2004?

BUT, I suppose it may be an idea whose time has come. If fact I think referendum may be a method to determine much more than just the decision to go to war.

Hummm...does one really know what the decision would be. It may end up being something you very much oppose.

Aww hell, I don't know where I stand on this issue!

posted on Mar, 20 2005 @ 09:05 AM
It is all about control.

War is a fight between secret societies, religions, and other belief-hypnotic systems. Conflict is quite simple, divide and conquer, that is the formula for an observer who continues observing within his transformation into a controller. Why do you think intelligence agencies are so important? Because observation eventuates into control. All the "cloak and dagger," simply disrupts observations on the part of your enemy, sends a message, and modifies this interconnection of observation eventuating into control such as a chess move.

Why do you think governments are putting cameras everywhere? It is to control you, and to treat you like dirt whenever the opportunity arises. There is enough evidence of that already, think corporate jet nowadays, who needs all the heavy security as currently instituted? Its time to be rich, and the fastest way to get money is to suck it up from the government war-money machine.

Now suppose you dismantle this entire apparency of operation? Suppose the objectives change, and the purpose is to sit back as the best elite of all, and watch a healthy productive population? What would you call that, but a sustaining peace, something that has no counterpart of war.

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