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  1. #1

    Morally ambiguous situations in history?

    In a fit of boredom last night I started writing a fantasy story and well I began to dwell into research about events in history where two opposing factions or countries were competing for some kind of resource and really both sides weren't right or wrong (directly at least) I was curious to see if anyone else had a favorite specific scenario. It can be real life or related to some kind of game.

  2. #2
    Herald of the Titans Nadev's Avatar
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    I don't know if I'd classify it as "competing for some kind of resource", but the atomic bombings in WWII are a fun topic for ambiguity.
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    Pandaren Monk Mnevis's Avatar
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    The fun thing about human conflict is that everyone believes they're in the right.

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    Fluffy Kitten Baiyn's Avatar
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    The Bolshevik Revolution and their subsequent years in power before Lenin's death in 1924.

    English Civil War and Cromwell's years as Lord Protector.

    Bonaparte's reign.

    Vietnam War.

    (The moral integrity of pretty much every revolution in history is highly disputed.)

    Oh and my favourites would be the October Revolution and the years before Stalin and the Spanish Civil War.

  5. #5
    everything is ambiguous, as everything has two or more sides lol

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    The fun thing about human conflict is that everyone believes they're in the right.
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  7. #7
    how about the israel/palestine issue? neither side can even acknowledge any validity in the other's position

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by smelltheglove View Post
    how about the israel/palestine issue? neither side can even acknowledge any validity in the other's position
    That is not ambiguous though, the country belongs to palestine and israel violated the agree'ed territory terms after the land was given to them after ww2.

    joooking, everything is ambiguous, everything, not just conflict.
    But that one is a fairly clear violation from one side, surely they had their reasons for it but still.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurioxan View Post
    That is not ambiguous though, the country belongs to palestine and israel violated the agree'ed territory terms after the land was given to them after ww2.

    joooking, everything is ambiguous, everything, not just conflict.
    But that one is a fairly clear violation from one side, surely they had their reasons for it but still.
    as i read the first line i thought you were making my point for me, lol. then i got to the second. yeah, i think there have been a multitude of wrongs from both sides, so many that not much happens but finger pointing when a resolution is sought. of course i expect people to weigh in from both side telling me how wrong i am because "we did this because they did that!"

  10. #10
    Morally ambiguous....

    How about the United States war against the Native Americans? I'm reasonably sure that it was morally ambiguous at the time and remains so to this day.

    Almost no one will say that the way we treated the Natives was acceptable... and those same people would never suggest we give them their land back either.

  11. #11
    Pandaren Monk Mnevis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davendwarf View Post
    I don't know if I'd classify it as "competing for some kind of resource", but the atomic bombings in WWII are a fun topic for ambiguity.
    Dropping the bombs was morally equivalent to shooting someone that picked a fight with you in the kneecap after you've beaten them to a pulp and had them on the ground and your friend just showed up, just so your buddy didn't get any ideas of his own.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    Dropping the bombs was morally equivalent to shooting someone that picked a fight with you in the kneecap after you've beaten them to a pulp and had them on the ground and your friend just showed up, just so your buddy didn't get any ideas of his own.
    While I agree the dropping of the atomic weapons on Japan is a wonderful subject to debate, your example is fundamentally wrong.

    Dropping the bombs was the morale equivalent to choosing to shoot someone that picked a fight to the death and you finally knock them down; you can either choose to reach down and choke the life from them while getting stabbed (severe injury but not fatal) as your opponent goes at you one last time with everything they have left, or stand back and shoot them in the head ending the entire situation with little harm to yourself and the same exact outcome.

  13. #13
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    That depends, pretty much every war up to and including WW1 was led as a purely territorial affair - the goal was to enlarge ones country, I suppose you could call it morally ambitious, but I wouldn't find the story particularly compelling.

    As for Bolsheviks, pretty clear there, they were persecuting their opponents from day one and fairly soon went on to butcher their opponents en masse. I dont understand why some people still subscribe into the good Lenin bad Stalin mindset.

    If you want a revolution pick the 1789 one, but this has been done many times.

    I suppose you could go with the treatment of the indigenous people of both Americas, although that was just a case of might is right.

    Come to think of it I have a fairly interesting one: the position of Finland and to a certain degree Romania and perhaps the Baltic states - first attacked by one brutal dictatorship they eventually decided (or were pushed to) to ally with another of the same kind.
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    Herald of the Titans Beavis's Avatar
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    Pretty much every conflict in human history, to some degree. Even the best "good" war, WW2, is full of moral ambiguity.
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  15. #15
    Any violent dictatorship and/or socialist government rising to power. The more recent, the more ambiguous, which is a depressing trend.

    There are plenty of people who will defend Communism despite the fact that implementing and enforcing it has caused governments to collectively murder 100 million of their own citizens. Apparently, to some people, there's some ambiguity there.

  16. #16
    Pandaren Monk Mnevis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensim View Post
    While I agree the dropping of the atomic weapons on Japan is a wonderful subject to debate, your example is fundamentally wrong.

    Dropping the bombs was the morale equivalent to choosing to shoot someone that picked a fight to the death and you finally knock them down; you can either choose to reach down and choke the life from them while getting stabbed (severe injury but not fatal) as your opponent goes at you one last time with everything they have left, or stand back and shoot them in the head ending the entire situation with little harm to yourself and the same exact outcome.
    And I think most Americans' understanding of the situation is fundamentally wrong. Yes, when I was growing up, that is what I believed, that we would have had to fight our way to Tokyo and millions more would die, but that simply wasn't the case. That's the myth.

    "During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude..."

    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Now, he was mostly a European Theater guy, so maybe he didn't know what the situation was.

    "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."

    - Norman Cousins, one of MacArthur's advisors, in his book The Pathology of Power

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mnevis View Post
    And I think most Americans' understanding of the situation is fundamentally wrong. Yes, when I was growing up, that is what I believed, that we would have had to fight our way to Tokyo and millions more would die, but that simply wasn't the case. That's the myth.

    "During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude..."

    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Now, he was mostly a European Theater guy, so maybe he didn't know what the situation was.

    "When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."

    - Norman Cousins, one of MacArthur's advisors, in his book The Pathology of Power
    You can't seriously fathom the U.S would let one of the most psychopathic regimes of WW2 be reinstated. (I recant, I would call them THE MOST psychopathic regime of WW2, and probably beyond). The dropping of the bombs is a clear cut action. They lost, end of story, they have no bargaining rights and are subject to our demands. We just wanted to end it earlier than risking more American lives.

    And I'm not surprised Truman didn't talk to MacArthur. He's an egotistical jerk that would have wanted to win the war his way, and not the way that's beneficial to both nations.
    Last edited by Foosha; 2012-10-03 at 12:48 AM.
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  18. #18
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    My country during WW2

    4 things that comes to mind...
    - Sold iron ore to Nazi Germany
    - Was a safe harbour for loads of European jews(hungarian and danish in particular)
    - Let the Nazis use our railroads for troop transports
    - Sold ball bearings to the UK
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    Dreadlord Drekker17's Avatar
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    My favorite is the situation between Colonists/Americans and Native Americans, specifically during the western expansion after civil war. For a long time the Indians were portrayed as horrible, nowadays the White Man is portrayed evil. In reality they were both absolutely horrible to each other.

    Trojan war is another, whether it really happened or not I was oddly always in favor of the Trojans. The Greeks sounded like jerks. I mean if you read the Iliad it is really hard to pretend the Greeks were the good guys, maybe the Iliad was saying that, but the ancient Greeks didn't realize it.

    Vietnam just before the war. I hate the communists...but when you look at Diem and stuff it seemed like the Vietnamese commoners were in a lose-lose situation for the most part. However, I still consider the US a good guy.
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  20. #20
    Mechagnome Krunsh's Avatar
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    Everything is morally ambiguous. It just so happens that there is a generally agreed upon set of things that we should/shouldn't do. Doesn't make that "correct" or any laws "correct" for that matter.

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