You write: "Stopping genocide? You would rather sit back and do nothing?"
Those aren't the only two alternatives ...unless one is only capable of thinking in 'black-or-white', 'either-or', terms.
In Value Science the latter is known, technically, as Systemic-Thinking, and is relatively low in value. (See the Chapter on Dimensions of Value, and also Appendix One in the manual, a link to which is available in the signature.)
Well if there are other alternatives, you should at least explicate what those alternatives are. I should also add, it is not fair for me to say that in justified cases for going to war, one is morally obligated
to goto war. Given the harms involved, one must weigh the harms to oneself against the benefits, but for those that indeed choose to goto war, for a just cause, they are morally praiseworthy. So didn't mean to imply a strict dilemma.
In short, people do what they can.
The topic of this thread is not "the justification of war" or its non-justification. It is for the majority of the human family to look at war from a novel perspective which is being suggested here. I say "novel" for it is rather different from the prevailing perspectives on the subject.
The justification or non-justification (both of which are reasons) for war are in my mind, synonymous with one's outlook on war. If we are looking at war as a subject of morality, that is, how one determines the constraints that should be placed on war, it seems to flow from how one morally justifies it, or not.
If one feels that war should be constrained, even in the slightest, you move towards moral constraint. Those constraints require reasons/justification.
His point is given in the very next quotation that you selected, viz., "We have to stop thinking in terms of nominal territories. We have to stop thinking of people with different beliefs as different people." We are one human species, one race - the human race. We have a common interest: which is the sustainability of our species and the cultural advancements it has made. [...the planet will survivie...even if the next war we commit is mostly in outer space (a 'star wars' type of battle, that irradiates most of us into genetic mutants, or hurts us by contaminating our air supply.)]
No doubt individuals prosecute war. Such prosecution has consequences. It is those consequences that are morally relevant.
It is required for the very reason you mentioned in your last observation that "war is not taken seriously enough." What you call 'loading' is emphasis - being emphatic !! - on the point that every human life (from the point of view of Ethics) is of indefinitely-large value, an infinum, in Lattice Theory, and thus is rather precious.
War is horrific, but to label all soldiers who partake in war, especially a just war, as murderer's is an incoherent value judgment. Human life is important, and that is precisely the point why going to war against actual murderers is justified. The absolute label you apply, I think, is unfair.
Your definition would claim that a bar-room brawl is a "war." Any melee becomes a war under your inadequate definition.
On a sufficient level, perhaps it could be. With that said, of course there is no problem in distinguishing different types of war. Take a case like gang-warfare for example. The conduct is similar to notions of international war in many respects, but of course it also differs on a variety of levels, thus making it a distinct type.
But even so, the notion of conflicting belligerent parties in the definition of war, I think is a crucial one.
Dr. Hartman's definition captres the essence of it. There is (often manufactured) malice aforethought in a war. The participants are taught to kill, and to first de-humanize their victims by regarding them as "monkeys", "gooks", "scum", "ragheads," etc. This commits ethical fallacies. Ethics ought to be imporatant to members of this Forum, I would venture to say.
As I've said, the value judgment Hartman implies in his definition is not only arbitrary, but objectively wrong as well, as I have mentioned above.
The training of soldiers to instill combat motivation, indeed, has many moral implications. But even if soldiers were completely brainwashed (which of course many aren't e.g. cases of conscientious objectors), it does not follow they are mass murders. They may hold morally questionable stereotypes, but that does not mean they are murderers.
Historians have made a good case that The Treaty of Versailles, after World War I, led directly to Hitler's being able to mobilize Germans to wage World War II. It is a persuasive argument they make.
I am just not quite sure what connection you are trying to make. Of course from a historical point of view, there are relevant historical circumstances that lead to the breakout of WWII. But from a moral point of view, what are you trying to say?
From my point of view each war is a prelude to the next one; it sows the seeds for a future violent conflict by setting an example that "violence is legitimate, and can solve problems" ...which from an Ethical viewpoint is a whopper if there ever was one.
Ok so I take it this is your argument. You seem to argue war only perpetuates itself, and only for unjust reasons. Well in some cases it definitely is the case. But in others, I would disagree. You forget that going to war, requires reasons for going to war. It is primarily those reasons that I am disputing, and which you are as well.
The only difference is, you think all reasons for going to war are morally condemnable, whereas I argue that in some cases the reasons to goto war are morally permissible e.g. stopping genocide.
I agree with you when you say, " if war is unnecessary, then it is pointless". And would add that war, indeed, is a social invention that we are ready to outgrow. We need only become aware of this. The media can spread the word ...IF we demand it of them. First we must care; then we must mobilize for action. Nonviolent Direct Action can serve as an alternative. It starts locally with conflict resolution in the immediate family; then in the neighborhood; then in the city. We need more people to go into the profession of Mediator; and that of Negotiator.
War really is unnecessary.
If the world was perfect, then you be right. But far from it, the world is not perfect, and acts if immorality on a grand scale will happen. Perhaps Just War theory is a response to those cases of immoral war, and a theory which hopes the influence our normative values of what it means for a war to be just in the first place. So until immorality vanishes all together, if war is to be constrained, we need to know those conditions.
The Afghans today would welcome us if we came as civilians to construct, to feed and nourish, to build, to teach engineering, etc. If we invade and/or occupy as soldiers, or as armed combatants, in or out of uniform, they feel they must drive us out. They see us as they did the British, the Russians, etc. And we will get nowhere. End war now.
I am sure that not all afghans would have appreciated that. I can guarantee that the Taliban would have had a hay day with humanitarian workers.
Still, you are simplifying quite a complex issue. The question is, who is in the just? I think that is still up for debate. Further, concerns regarding the conduct of war e.g. a-symmetric warfare is also a relevant consideration into why the war is perhaps, self defeating.