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Rican Roll Offline
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Total War - February 24th 2009, 03:49 AM

I've noticed a lot of talk around this area lately about war. More specifically, 'total war'. This seriously irks me. Before I continue, let's define 'total war':

Total war is a conflict of unlimited scope in which a belligerent engages in a total mobilization of all available resources at their disposal, whether human, industrial, agricultural, military, natural, technological, or otherwise; in order to entirely destroy their enemy

I'm sure you've all heard this expression thrown around, I mean, it's been thrown around throughout human history. Every now and then someone likes to claim that country x is in total war with country y, or some variation of such. That is total crap on two basic levels.

First of all, no country or group is ever 100% committed to war; it's just not physically possible. You can have a high percentage, so many people working so hard for so long, but all of the people, all of the time? What about the malingerers, or the conscientious objectors? What about the sick, the injured, the elderly, the very young? What about when you're sleeping, eating, taking a shower, or taking a 'dump'? Is that a 'dump' for victory?

The second reason is that all nations have their limits. There might be individuals within that group who are willing to be martyrs; it might even be a relatively high number for the population, but that population as a whole will eventually reach its maximum emotional and psychological breaking point.

The Japanese reached theirs with a couple of American atomic bombs, the Vietnamese might have reached theirs had we dropped a couple more, but, thankfully, our will broke before it came to that.

That is the nature of human warfare, two sides attempting to push the other past its limit of endurance, and no matter how much we like to use the term 'total war', that limits is and always will be there.

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Re: Total War - February 24th 2009, 04:01 AM

Hey, I see your problem, but I think you're being a bit nit-picky. Also, where is your definition from? This is what I got from the Oxford English dictionary:

Total war, a war to which all resources and the whole population are committed; loosely, a war conducted without any scruples or limitations;
That's pretty much what I used as my definition in the conscription thread, isn't it? I think total war is understood by all to mean war in which the civilian population is also actively engaged in the war: Victory gardens, Victory bonds, food rations, etc. Sometimes, the pourcentage of conscientious objectors is statistically insignificant (Canada during both World Wars, for example). Also, tons of very old people buy victory stamps or take their grandchildren (who can be very young) to tend victory gardens. That's what happens in total war. And if they're too old to be of any use in the war, they don't count as a "ressource," do they?

I don't think the US or Canada has been involved in total war since WWII, and in a country as big as the USA, it's unlikely that any war in the future will ever have a statistically insignificat number of conscientious objectors. Such is the case when your country has as many immigrants from as many parts of the world as the US does.
But you can bet your last dollar that any communist country that goes to war with a Western power will be in total war. That's the great advantage of communism in times of war: it's really efficient in terms of allocating ressources.

One last note: you can hardly call poo a "ressource," (I mean, feel free to make the "fertilizer" case, but it's a stretch) so I don't think you have to conserve it for the war effort. xD Alas, the "victory dump" is not yet a reality.

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Re: Total War - February 24th 2009, 07:17 PM

I must say I agree with Evee. You're really arguing semantics here.

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Blackwing Offline
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Re: Total War - February 24th 2009, 07:20 PM

The only country who would use war against any western country would be china even though they don't need to.

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