War in Iraq: An Application Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2751 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology

In Coser's view, whether or not conflict is a good thing is dependent upon which parties are in conflict and the reasons behind it. The motivations behind conflict are as important as the conflict itself, if not more important (Conflict, 2003).

This is applied to the war in Iraq by looking at the motivations behind Saddam Hussein's regime in comparison to the motivations behind what the Iraqi people do. Unfortunately for the people of Iraq, it appears that Hussein's motives are not good ones. He is not looking for a form of conflict that can cause the society to change and grow into something better. Rather, he is looking for the kind of conflict that only comes from one person telling a country what it will or will not do.

Modern theorist Randall Collins holds the opinion that while human beings are social creatures they are also prone to conflict. There are many reasons for this conflict, and Collins talks of Marx and Weber as well as other theorists when discussing why conflict occurs (Collins, 1974). In looking at Collins' opinion of in a conflict, it becomes clear that conflict, in his opinion, would occur regardless of whether or not a people were oppressed by someone else. Conflict is not something that comes out of war or oppression, but it is something that comes out of existing and being human. If this is the case, then the war in Iraq is not really a significant event, but rather just something else that is expected in the lives of human beings.

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Whether this may or may not be true, it is certainly arguable that the war is a significant event in the lives of the Iraqis, and also in the life of Saddam Hussein who may or may not still be living. Whether Saddam Hussein survives or not is largely insignificant in the actual war. The United States arrived to remove the oppression that the Iraqi people have been facing for so many years, and once Saddam is removed from power that oppression will cease, regardless of whether Saddam Hussein survives.

Term Paper on War in Iraq: An Application Assignment

It seems, though, that Hussein has become a target not just for removal from power but for removal from existence. This is an expression of conflict based on such instances as September 11, 2001, the gulf war, and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait several years ago. There is a great deal of pent-up conflict between Hussein and most of the rest of the world that is likely being expelled during this war.

The last modern theorist to be considered, Immanuel Wallerstein, is classified as a neo-Marxist theorist. Where Randall Collins got many of his opinions from Max Weber and was therefore classified as neo-Weberian, Wallerstein gets many of his beliefs from the works of Karl Marx. Wallerstein talks of the differences between those who have power and money and those who do not. He does not take a position as to whether having or not having is particularly bad or good, but rather he indicates that the only way to remove much of the social conflict in the world is for individuals and societies to open themselves up to each other. Without doing this, conflict will continue and grow worse as time progresses (Wallerstein, 1997).

Over in Iraq, the citizens for the most part have opened themselves up, both personally and collectively, to the coalition troops that now cover the area. Had they not done this, it would have made the job of the military much more difficult. Since they are in an unfamiliar country, they can use all of the local help that they can get. Allowing the Iraqi people to help them out allowed the military to make great strides in a short period of time, including the rescue of a POW who was held by Iraqi authorities.

Without the opening up of the Iraqi people the United States might likely have never rescued the POW, and the more resistance that the troops met with, the longer it would take them to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. It is also true that excessive resistance to the coalition troops could be taken as meaning that the Iraqi people did not want Saddam Hussein removed, and if this were the case then the war in Iraq would be basically a futile exercise. It would then be reduced to conflict between two countries, the United States who wanted to stop terrorism and Iraq who wanted to keep their president, instead of a conflict between the a country and its leader.

Conclusion: Comparison and Contrast

In comparing the various theorists, it can be seen that both Karl Marx and Max Weber had great influence on the modern theorists of today. Theories that were created or mentioned quite some time ago have been modified somewhat by a few theorists, but the basic principles of the social conflict theory established by Karl Marx still hold true today. Theorists like Marx and Wallerstein are concerned with money and power and what these things do to those who have them, when they are confronted with those that do not. Theorists such as Weber, Dahrendorf, and Collins are more concerned with the status and class of individuals and how this can lead to conflict between those who consider themselves to be of a high or ruling class and those that are not. Lewis Coser, on the other hand, seems to hold an opinion that is somewhere in between what the two schools of thought seem to currently be.

He is uncertain as to whether conflict is indeed a good idea, and seems somewhat more interested in exploring whether it is good or bad, as opposed to why it is at all. The reasons for the existence of conflict vary depending on which theorist is presenting them. It does seem, however, that discrepancies between groups of individuals are what cause conflict. The fact that we are human is always going to cause conflict for us, and there is no way to avoid that conflict. What can be done is to learn to turn that conflict into an advantage, rather than using it to harm other people.

Unfortunately, harming others is so often the desire of many people who have a great deal of power. Because of the power or status that these individuals have, they can essentially get away with harm to other individuals without any trouble. Saddam Hussein is a good example of this. There are terrible horror stories of how many individuals he has killed; some of them his own people.

Because of his status and power in his country, however, no one has ever really challenged his authority and his right to do as he pleases with the people of his country. To him, the people are basically useful property. They provide him with money and food and everything else that he needs, but their lives are not really worth anything as individuals.

Works Cited

Collins, Randall. "Conflict Sociology." New York: Academic Press, 1974. 56-61.

Conflict. 2003. 10 April 2003 http://www.sunflower.com/~syber/sociology/html/conflict.html.

Dugger, William M., & Howard J. Sherman. "Institutional and Marxist theories of evolution." Journal of Economic Issues, 31 (1997): 991-210.

Introduction to sociological theory. 2003. 10 April 2003 http://www.dustbunny.fsnet.co.uk/Soci1.htm.

McClelland, Kent. Conflict Theory. 21 February 2000. Theoretical perspectives in sociology. 10 April 2003 http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/soc/s00/soc111-01/IntroTheories/Conflict.html#Marx.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. "Differentiation and reconstruction in the social sciences." 6 August 1997. ISA Research Council. 10 April 2003 http://fbc.binghamton.edu/iwdiffn.htm. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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