me asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

Why is the department of defense called that? Shouldn't it be the war department?

After all, we used to call it just that..the war department in more honnest times. Does this have anything to do with why we have fought so many wars since world war 2 that were not officially "wars". Like Iraq is not really a war...it was never declared a war by congress. Does calling our military the "defense" department make it more pallatable that they are not used for actual declared "Wars"..while given the delusion that military aggression that these military actions are for the "defense" of the USA?

Before you start with the name calling, this is a legitimate question..think about it. We used to call it the war department..then 3 things changed. 1) we changed the name to "Defense" and 2) then we started having more "Wars"...but only 3) we stopped declaring wars "wars". So go ahead, hurl an insult, but at least to be intellectually honnest.....answer the question.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    <<Prior to World War II, many countries had a Ministry of War which was responsible for national defense. However, in the aftermath of the carnage of WW II, governments came to the conclusion that the use of the word “war” added, if not assumed, a bellicose attitude towards military preparedness. Thus, the late 1940s and 1950s witnessed the renaming from “War” to “Defense” in most countries around the globe. One vestige of the former nomenclature is War College, where military officers of the United States are still trained in battlefield strategy.>> [Wikipedia]

    The US changed the name of the Department from War to Defense in 1947, not 1948. But Orwell had been writing about the exploitation of the deterioration of language since 1946, criticizing contemporary writers' preference of the abstract to the concrete as impairing precise thought. And of course, this "newspeak" has been used to disguise and justify wars of aggression; Iraq is a prime example.

    By the way, this is the principle difference between Barack Obama's flights of rhetoric and Hillary Clinton's precise attention to concrete details. We have a chance in this election to reverse the trend by voting for Hillary. The fact that Obama is so articulate in his abstractions (such as "change") obscures the fact that his fuzzy language has much in common with that of the inarticulate George Bush. He also tacitly admits his resemblance to Reagan, whose B-movie charm got the United States into so much trouble. Hillary offers concrete solutions and is not afraid to lay them on the table, unlike her opponent(s).

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  • 4 years ago

    The name was changed to the Defense Department right after World War ll and after the Pentagon was finished. The thought was there would never be another Pearl Harbor. Therefore, the military was for the defense of the United States. And the Defense Department was born.

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  • Somebody said the name WAR DEPT sounded to aggressive, not PC enough.

    Since WW2,we've fought "Police Actions",fight a little war to hopefully prevent a big war.

    Don't forget all the "BANANA WARS" between 1898 and 1939.

    Simply put,there have been a number of "Pirate / Bandit" nations that started doing things that didn't sit well with us.

    Things like attacking our merchant ships,killing our civilians,blowing up plane loads of people,or supporting those that did those things.

    Diplomacy and negotiations got us nowhere,they did not chose to listen and something had to be done.

    So,like it or not,we had to smack them down to protect our interests.

    Whether we called it the War or Defense Dept,really made no difference,when we've had too ,we've fought.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It should be called the "Department of Offense", because the US has NEVER fought a defensive war, and because current illegal wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are offensive to many Americans.

    A spade should be called a spade without political "weasel words" trying to make it sound better.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Ironically, prior to WWII it WAS called the Department of War, but was primarily used for defense.

    Since WWII it has been called the Department of Defense and has been primarily used for starting wars.

    Not coincidently, this change in name was made in 1948, the same year that George Orwell published his novel, "1984" which introduced the term "Newspeak" for the propagandist tool of government wherein it calls things the opposite of what they really are.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Department of defense is more politically correct , and sounds less aggressive .

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  • 1 decade ago

    The original purpose was defense only according to our constitution .

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  • 1 decade ago

    Because the DoD protects classified information 18 levels above top secret. If any of this info is made public, our country is pretty much screwed.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    So what would you as a lib want it to be called?

    "The Let's Sing Coombaya as You Behead Me Department"?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    just propaganda,as it is hard to remember if the US ever fought a war for defense.

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