Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Matt 24: End Time Signs: "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars"

I have heard it oft quoted that there were more wars in the last century than in all the other centuries put together. I have looked for statistics, which are a bit difficult to find. I do know however that war is being escalated at a horrific rate the past fifteen years or so in particular. Here is a list from 4th century to 2006. You fill in the gaps from there; it's horrific.


  1. Greek Wars, 5th and 4th Centuries BCE
    • Democracies: City-states such as Athens, Syracuse et. al.
    • Rebuttal: Citizenship was limited to an elite minority which excluded women, slaves, foreigners, etc.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Among the citizenry, all voices were equal.
    • Quote: From The Wars of the Ancient Greeks by V. D. Hanson: "[D]emocratic practices abroad meant nothing at home when it was a question of Athenian self-interest -- the Assembly might ...readily fight to exterminate democracies like Syracuse (415-413).... Athenians ... fought for two years against [Syracuse,] the only other large democracy in the Greek World."
  2. Punic Wars, 2nd and 3rd Centuries BCE
    • Democracies: Rome vs. Carthage.
    • Rebuttal, Counter-rebuttal: Same as for the Greek democracies.
  3. American Revolution, 1775-1783
    • Democracies: United States vs. Great Britain
    • Rebuttal: On the one hand, Great Britain was more liberal than most monarchies and it had a reasonably independent parliament, but on the the other hand, the franchise was quite restricted until the Reform Bill of 1832. Also, the United States was run by a provisional coalition during the war, and the country did not become a working democracy until after independence.
    • Counter-rebuttal: One of the most frequently stated goals of the American rebels was that they were entitled to enjoy all the civil rights quaranteed to native-born Englishmen (e.g. parliamentary representation, due process of law), but denied to the colonists. This certainly sounds like the Americans themselves recognized England as a model for their own democratic hopes.
  4. American Indian Wars, 1776-1890
    • Democracies: United States vs. various Native American Indian tribes.
    • Rebuttal: The tribes did not have enough formal structure to be considered real democracies.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Well, just for starters, the Iroqouian Confederation was rather complex.
  5. French Revolutionary Wars, 1793-1799
    • Democracies: France vs. Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands
    • Rebuttal: For Britain, see the comments for 1775. Also, France at this time was lurching left and right, with bloody purges each time, so it hardly qualifies as a stable democracy.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Under the Directory, 1795-99, France was a relatively stable republic.
  6. Franco-American Naval War, 1797-1799
    • Democracies: United States vs. France
    • Rebuttal: It was a Quasi War, for God's sake; even historians call it that. It was little more than a trade war with sporadic ritualized broadsides.
    • Counter-rebuttal: According to official Navy statistics (http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq56-1.htm), the US lost 20 sailors and marines in the Quasi War. Relative to the numbers involved, it was bloodier than the Gulf War.
  7. Anglo-American War, 1812-1815
    • Democracies: United States vs. Great Britain
    • Rebuttal: For Britain, use the same two hands as with the 1st Anglo-American War of 1775.
  8. Franco-Roman War, 1849
    • Democracies: France vs. the Roman Republic.
    • Rebuttal: Both democratic regimes were less than a year old, and therefore don't count as stable democracies.
    • Counter-rebuttal: C'mon, that's just cheating. You're redefining your terms in order to exclude an awkward exception.
  9. American Civil War, 1861-65
    • Democracies: United States vs. Confederate States
    • Rebuttal: The Confederacy was a slave-holding nation and therefore definitely not a democracy -- and while we're at it, the same could be said for the Union as well. Also, "[t]he South was not a sovereign democracy at that time... President Jefferson Davis was not elected, but appointed by representatives selected by confederate states. There was an election in 1861, but it was not competitive." [Rummel]
    • Counterrebuttal: Both nations used almost identical Constitutions, which were easily the most democratic in the world at the time. Both nations conducted state and congressional elections on schedule, despite the difficulties of wartime. They both allowed substantial dissent within their Congresses, even if the opposition in the South never quite formalized into a two party sytem. Every major policy decision in both nations was enacted and approved by elected officials. (And since when is being "appointed by representatives selected by [individual] states" undemocratic? Technically, that's how every American president has been chosen.)
  10. Occupation of Veracruz, 1861-62
    • Democracies: Great Britain vs. Mexico
    • Rebuttal: Yes, democratic Britain assisted France and Spain in seizing Veracruz from democratic Mexico (Juarez had been properly elected.), but this was achieved without fighting. As soon as their French allies geared up for military conquest of the whole country, the British pulled out.
    • Counterrebuttal: An invasion is war, even if the defenders don't fight back.
  11. Spanish-American War, 1898
    • Democracies: United States vs. Spain
    • Rebuttal: In Spain, "the two major political parties alternated in power, not by election but by arrangement preceding elections." [Rummel]
    • Counterrebuttal: It's hardly unknown for rival parties in a democracy to make a time-sharing agreement or grand coalition. In one form or another, it has happened in Austria (1955-66), Columbia (1958-74), Switzerland (from 1959), UK (1931-45). More importantly, when Spain lost the war, prime minister Sagasta resigned, and national leadership passed to his parliamentary opponents, exactly the same as we would expect in any other constitutional monarchy.
  12. Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1901
    • Democracies: Great Britain vs. Transvaal and the Orange Free State
    • Rebuttal: The franchise in the Boer Republics was limited to the white male elite.
  13. First World War, 1914-18
    • Democracies: France, Belgium, Great Britain, the USA, et. al. vs. Germany.
    • Rebuttal: Well, yes, the Imperial Reichtag was democratically elected by universal manhood suffrage, but it was a largely powerless body, like the UN. The real power in the German federation was in the hands of the Emperor who appointed the Chancellor and commanded the Army, and in the hands of the Junkers running the undemocratic parliament of the Kingdom of Prussia, which made up around half the federation.
    • Counterrebuttal: Sure, there were aristocratic privileges and traditions that were inconsistent with one-man-one-vote and full equality under the law, but Germany was every bit as democratic as the United Kingdom (cf. the House of Lords and English dominance over the indigenous peoples of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.) And the Reichtag controlled the budget, which is not exactly "powerless".
  14. Occupation of the Ruhr, 1923
    • Democracies: France vs. Germany.
    • Rebuttal: Germany didn't fight back.
    • Counterrebuttal: The same counterrebuttal as with the 1861 occupation of Veracruz.
  15. Second World War, 1940-45
    • Democracies: Great Britain, United States, et al. vs. Finland.
    • Rebuttal: Finland fought on the same side as the Nazis against the Soviet Union, not against the democratic Allies.
    • Counterrebuttal: Well, the British bombed Finland; that sounds like being at war. And 69 Finnish merchants ships were sunk outside of the Baltic Sea. [n.9] Also, every Finnish soldier fighting the USSR meant that one German soldier could be sent west to fight the Allies. Every Russian soldier killed by the Finns weakened the Allied war effort.
  16. First Indo-Pak War, 1947-49
    • Democracies: India vs. Pakistan.
    • Rebuttal: These regimes hadn't been around long enough to qualify as a stable democracies.
  17. Iran, Guatemala and Chile, 1953, 1954 and 1973 respectively.
    • Democracies: United-States-backed coups in Iran, Guatemala and Chile.
    • Rebuttals: It's not certain how deeply the CIA was involved in overthrowing these democratically elected governments, but even if it was in up to its neck, these were coups and not wars. Covert operations by shadowy, bureaucratic elites are not democratic. They are not publicly debated and approved beforehand by the citizenry.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Technically, every military operation in the modern world is enacted by secretive bureacracies without public debate. (Was D-Day put to a vote?) If using the CIA is undemocratic, then so is using the Army; and if using the Army is undemocratic, then democracies can't fight wars, period. QED.
  18. Lebanese Civil War, 1978, 1982
    • Democracies: Israel vs. Lebanon.
    • Rebuttal: Lebanon hardly counts as a stable democracy.
  19. Croatian War of Independence, 1991-92
    • Democracies: Croatia vs. Yugoslavia.
    • Rebuttal: These regimes hadn't been around long enough to qualify as a stable democracies.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Even so, both nations had government that had been put in place through free elections. Even Weart admits that.
  20. Border War, 1995
    • Democracies: Ecuador vs. Peru.
    • Rebuttal: President Fujimori of Peru had suspended the constitution in 1992, making himself a virtual dictator.
    • Counter-rebuttal: Just as virtual reality isn't reality, so a virtual dictator isn't a dictator. It is usually considered legal for a democratic leader to exercise emergency powers in an emergency, isn't it? Also, when Fujimori lost parliamentary support in 2000, he quit/was fired. Isn't the peaceful surrender of power one of the major tests of true democracy? [see also the 1898 Spanish-American War and the 1999 Kosovo War for similar applications of this test.]
  21. Kosovo War, 1999
    • Democracies: The countries of NATO vs. Yugoslavia.
    • Rebuttal: Milosovic was a dictator.
    • Counter-rebuttal: In the legislative elections of Nov. 1996, Milosovic's supporters won a mere 64 out of 138 seats in parliament, and control of government probably would have gone to the opposition had not infighting and internal divisions prevented them from claiming their place at the helm. In 1997, Milosovic was re-elected president by a plausible margin of 59% to 38% [n.1] which suggests that these elections were not entirely rigged either. In October 2000, a soundly beaten Milosovic actually conceded defeat after an apparently free presidential election. Sure it took a week or so of prodding to get him to vacate the presidential palace, but a concession is a concession nonetheless. (and he gave in quicker than Al Gore.)
  22. Fourth Indo-Pak War (Kargil War) 1999
    • Democracies: India vs. Pakistan.
    • Rebuttal: Those weren't Pakistanis. They were independent, volunteer guerrilla forces operating out of Pakistan, not regular troops.
    • Counter-Rebuttal: A technicality, at best. A cover story at worst. According to CNN [n.2], the insurgents were stiffened by Pakistani regulars, and supported by Pakistani artillery firing over the border into the neighboring democracy of India. The nations' air forces raided back and forth regularly.
    • Bad Rebuttal: And Pakistan wasn't even a democracy anyway. I seem to recall that they had a military coup sometime around then
    • Counter-Rebuttal in the form of a brief summary of a rather obscure war: That came later. The Pakistanis were driven back to the de facto international border on 17 July after two months of war. The civilian Prime Minister was deposed in October. The 2-month death toll was 1100, according to CNN.
  23. Israel-Lebanon War 2006
    • Democracies: Israel vs. Lebanon
    • Rebuttal: Lebanon is hardly a democracy.
    • Counter-Rebuttal: "A 100-member European Union (EU) delegation monitored voter registration, campaigns, and voting, and approved the [2005] election as free of foreign influence and fair" (Council on Foreign Relations)

list source: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/demowar.htm