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Making the "Just War" argument for Iraq

By wrinkledshirt in Op-Ed
Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:38:52 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The "Just War" argument is a special branch of military philosophy and ethics geared towards determining whether or not it is justifiable for one nation to declare war upon another. There are five criteria that need to be fulfilled, and this article will explore each of these five criteria in an attempt to see how they apply to the impending war against Iraq.

Generally, a Just War theorist cannot just assign rationalities to each of the five criteria, but must add context and make comparisons and draw parallels to how their line of thinking on one of the given criterion applies to other wars which were also considered just (or unjust, as the case may be). This article won't go there, nor will it try to promote one view over another, but instead talk about those circumstances which support the five criteria, and those which may not.


Basically, in order to state that a war (or potential war) is just, you need to fulfill five criteria. The Just War theorist must show that:

1. Your country has just cause
2. The war is being declared by a proper authority
3. Your war is driven by the right intentions
4. Your war has a reasonable chance of success
5. The ends will be proportional to the means used

Criterion 1: Does the invasion of Iraq have a just cause?

Reasons to say "Yes": If we expand the scope of analysis to cover the last two decades of history, a case can be made that Saddam Hussein is dangerous, and, therefore, Iraq is dangerous. His crimes against the Kurds and his aggressions upon Kuwait are sufficient reasons to believe that he is a threat to his neighbours. Also, on an economic front, Iraq represents a variance from homogeny in the region, and is widely considered the key power player on the other side of the oil equation. If such a country were able to destabilize the region, the United States' interests in the region, as well as the interests of Israel, are very much imperilled.

Reasons to say "No": Most of the crimes committed by Iraq are not exactly contemporary in nature. Hussein is not in the process of committing chemical or biological warfare upon anyone, nor is he in the process of invading another nation. Our understandings of the suffering of Iraq's people are nebulous -- the West cannot entirely be sure that Hussein is hurting his people more than the West's own economic sanctions currently are. The deposing of a regime is a dangerous and lengthy endevour, and there is no guarantee that the power vaccuum created by Saddam's removal would result in more favourable circumstances for the United States. Iraq has already been made to atone for Hussein's past transgressions, and it is unreasonable to put a nation in a perpetual state of punishment based purely on speculation.

Criterion 2: Is the war being declared by a proper authority?

Reasons to say "Yes": The American Congress, the only government body that can declare war, can be held accountable by its population, therefore it is a proper authority to declare such a war. No other consideration really needs to be made.

Reasons to say "No": This is a Bush Administration initiative being conducted at a time when criticizing the president is tantamount to political suicide. When Bush was elected, it was not with a wartime mandate. As such, he does not necessarily speak on behalf of the people, and an open debate on the issue would show that there is no tangible link between an Invasion of Iraq and the events of September 11th, which are the obvious fuel to the military fire propelling the United States right now. It is immoral to arbitrarily declare a war in such an environment.

Criterion 3: Is the war being driven by the right intentions?

Reasons to say "Yes": Saddam Hussein has already shown himself to be a threat. There should be no statute of limitations considering some of his crimes, and only a fool would entrust such a man with even more powerful weapons than he's already used to having. Iraq has repeatedly thrown up obstacles to UN weapons inspections, which it would not do if there weren't something to hide.

Reasons to say "No": The United States' motives are clouded by oil politics and domestic power-grabbing. If the United States wanted to bring a better form of government to the people of Iraq, it would try to install a democracy, which it cannot do so long as there remains a large anti-American sentiment which could bring about the election of leaders promising a vengeance mandate. Plus, former UN inspectors and others believe that Iraq is no tangible threat to the U.S., or American interests in the region.

Criterion 4: Does the war have a reasonable chance of success?

Reasons to say "Yes": Technologically and militarily, the United States is second to none in the world, on a scale where Iraq barely rates. The primary objective, to eliminate Hussein, is achievable given the military capabilities. There will never be a better time to strike, and the longer the United States waits, the longer Iraq has to prepare competent counter-attacking measures.

Reasons to say "No": If we examine the deeper motives of an attack upon Iraq, namely, to make the world a safer place, one has to wonder if this will be achieved simply with a removal of Hussein. Plus, there are potential PR disasters everywhere: the fact that only the American people are convinced that this war is just, but the rest of the world by and large is wavering; the large number of civilian casualties that are likely to happen; Iraq's recent economic negotiations with Russia (which Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is already trying to spin); the potential parallels with Vietnam; etc. The disasters could have spin-off effects that could compromise the intended aims of a war against Iraq.

Criterion 5: Will the ends be proportional to the means used?

Reasons to say "Yes": The amount of damage that the United States will inflict upon Iraq in this war will be nothing compared to the amount of damage the United States risks allowing happen to itself by doing nothing, since WMDs are not difficult to deploy once produced. Furthermore, if the last three major American conflicts are any measure, there should be very few American casualties. The prospect of a new militarily-aligned nation in the region with access to large quantities of oil would be a very valuable by-product.

Reasons to say "No": A removal of Saddam Hussein is, politically, a cosmetic gesture. The underlying hostilities facing the United States will remain, and possibly increase, in the face of an invasion, and the number of civilians who will likely be killed in an invasion is frightening, particularly given similar casualty rates in other recent engagements by NATO. Furthermore, the potential scope of blowback in the international community is quite large and could ultimately create more hazards than are present in the status quo vis-a-vis Iraq. Finally, if the aim becomes anything more nebulous than the removal of Hussein, there is no longer any guarantee that American casualties will be limited, and an open-ended war could spell economic disaster, not to mention the probability of a Vietnam-like backlash amongst civilians at home.

Summary:

As time winds down on the Bush administration to make a decision on a possible invasion of Iraq, it is likely that we are going to see more debate on the above points. Only criterion #4, the possibility of success, seems a foregone conclusion, but even then only if the scope of the operation is firmly defined from the outset.

Much of the rest of the above is open to speculation, and no doubt we are going to continue to be flooded with talking heads on both sides asking us to accept potentially oversimplified views on which course of action should be taken. There is philosophical precedent in deciding whether a war is just or unjust, and hopefully, before a decision either way is made, the proper case will be offered to the public.

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Poll
Would a war against Iraq be just?
o Yes 11%
o No 64%
o Be just what, exactly? 24%

Votes: 137
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o "Just War" argument
o the Kurds
o aggression s upon Kuwait
o economic sanctions
o no tangible link
o repeatedly thrown up obstacles
o oil politics
o domestic power-grabbing
o no tangible threat to the U.S.
o removal of Hussein
o already trying to spin
o talking heads
o both sides
o Also by wrinkledshirt


Display: Sort:
Making the "Just War" argument for Iraq | 289 comments (264 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
"The war is being declared by a proper author (2.50 / 4) (#11)
by J'raxis on Thu Aug 22, 2002 at 11:40:09 PM EST

The war is being declared by a proper authority

Also note in the No section that the President cannot legally declare a war: he can use troops for something like 60 days but no longer without the consent of Congress. Additionally, there are plenty of people who consider Bush to be illegitimate due to the fiasco shortly after the November 2000 elections.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

But he doesn't have to declare war. (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by dinotrac on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:30:18 AM EST

An oddity in our Constitution:
Congress has the power to declare war.

The Executive has the power to wage war.

The question is whether the Executive needs the Congress to declare war before going ahead and waging war.

The answer seems to be no.  Most Constitutional questions I've heard with regard to the War Powers Act revolve around the question of whether it can force the President to seek a Congressional resolution before acting.

There's a certain sense to that: It's not hard to imagine circumstances where Congress is not in session, has been the victim of a disaster (imagine flight 93 slamming into the Capital instead of rural Pennsylvania), or some such thing.  In such a case, a military response would be needed before legislative action was even possible, though one presumes a declaration of war would be sought as soon as the proper mechanism existed for delivering it.

The truth is, regardless of the Constitutional fine points, a President cannot go to war without the support of Congress, declaration or no.  The Congress holds three major clubs to use against the President:

  1.  The power of the purse.  It is Congress that appropriates funds, and wars ain't cheap.
  2.  The threat of impeachment.  I cannot imagine that a war against the expressed intent of Congress, against the law, against the will of the people, etc, could not be expressed as a high crime or misdemeanor.
  3.  Moral suasion -- the ability to ask the American people if they want their children being killed and killing the children of other nations for the reasons (if any) put forward by the President.
All three are dangerous to Congress.  If the President's actions resonate with the people, Congress risks scorn, rebellion and, for its members, defeat in the next election.

[ Parent ]
Nice to see ya around here, Dean (none / 0) (#124)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:50:38 PM EST

I've always appreciated your comments at Slashdot and Linuxtoday.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Well, gawrsh. (none / 0) (#176)
by dinotrac on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:37:00 PM EST

<blush>
thanks.

[ Parent ]
plenty of people (3.75 / 4) (#73)
by cyberbuffalo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:59:36 AM EST

Additionally, there are plenty of people who consider Bush to be illegitimate due to the fiasco shortly after the November 2000 elections.

I have a feeling you are European. There really aren't plenty of people who think Bush is illegitimate. There was no rioting in the streets, no congressional whatevers, no states seceding. Aside from a few people wearing tinfoil hats, everyone considers him legitimate.

[ Parent ]

Legitimate (none / 0) (#131)
by mold on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:16:27 PM EST

Yeah, we see him as legitimate, all right. Unfortunately, most people that I know (and this is in Missouri, USA, where he was supported rather strongly) would prefer a dancing monkey running their lives than that idiot.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
On Missouri (none / 0) (#172)
by J'raxis on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:21:42 PM EST

Yeah, thanks a lot for giving us Ashcroft. But I think he sings, not dances.

— The Raxis :)

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Sorry about that. (4.00 / 2) (#180)
by mold on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:58:14 PM EST

Yeah, I'd like it noted that I had nothing to do with Ashcroft ;-)

I think the fact that he lost an election to a dead man shows that even we don't like him. Of course, that fact that we voted in a dead man is another issue entirely.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]

Ashcroft's Self-Esteem (none / 0) (#212)
by J'raxis on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 01:21:35 AM EST

Maybe that explains his general pole-up-the-ass behaviour. I mean, losing to a corpse must do wonders for one’s self-image.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Plenty of people (none / 0) (#145)
by aprentic on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:41:25 PM EST

I was born in Europe but I grew up in New York City and I still live here.
Not only are there plenty of people who do not consider Bush to be the legitimate president of the United States, there are substantial arguments to support this.
1)Constitutionally, the Supreme Court does not have any say over the election process.
2)The recent recount of the ballots in Florida show that Gore won in that state and should have gotten its electors.
3)Even if Bush had won Florida he still lost the popular election. While this does not make a difference legally it does undermine he moral imperative as "the leader of the free world."

[ Parent ]
plenty of people (none / 0) (#160)
by cyberbuffalo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:01:54 PM EST

1)Constitutionally, the Supreme Court does not have any say over the election process.

Of course it does. It was a federal election. 2)The recent recount of the ballots in Florida show that Gore won in that state and should have gotten its electors.

It doesn't matter because any recount right now is unofficial.

3)Even if Bush had won Florida he still lost the popular election. While this does not make a difference legally it does undermine he moral imperative as "the leader of the free world."

The free world doesn't vote in our elections, and even so the popular vote doesn't determine who wins. If people want to change the system that's fine. Get an amendment passed prior to the next election.

[ Parent ]

A few points (none / 0) (#162)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:08:29 PM EST

Constitutionally, the Supreme Court does not have any say over the election process.

The Supreme Court has clear jurisdiction over any issue in which their are questions as to what exactly it is that the constitution says. In Bush v. Gore there was clearly a dispute over what the constitution says because the presidential election process is part of the constitution and consequently, any questions arising over procedural issues necessarily involve interpreting the constitution.

The recent recount of the ballots in Florida show that Gore won in that state and should have gotten its electors.

Were those the same recounts which showed Bush winning if different standards of determining valid votes were used? The legal question was which standards to employ, which puts us right back in the domain of the Supreme Court.

Even if Bush had won Florida he still lost the popular election. While this does not make a difference legally it does undermine he moral imperative as "the leader of the free world."

Delusional rhetoric aside, they weren't running for the office of leader of the free world. They were running for the office of the President of the United States of America and legitimacy is a legal question which has settled.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Plenty of people... question Bush's legitimacy (none / 0) (#152)
by Pihkal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:28:22 PM EST

Consider it a mark of civilization that we can question our leader's legitimacy without resorting to rioting and bloodshed. I, for one, don't consider him legitimate at all. There's the unanswered question of blocking minority voters in Florida, (to be fair, Gore tried the same thing with overseas military voters, although he failed), the decipherability of chads in determining who voted for whom, whether or not the Supreme Court actually had the legal authority to decide on the case, and most importantly, the stupidity of the anachronism known as the Electoral College whereby it is possible for one guy to receive more votes and still lose the election. For those who forgot, Gore received 200,000 more votes in the United States than Bush (primarily in California), way more than were in dispute in Florida. Argue about the technicality all you like (and the candidates did), the fact remains that more citizens voted for Gore, and yet Bush is somehow President. This is anathema to the ideals of democracy.

The reason that his illegitimacy was not a big issue, even before September 11th generated a swell of generic good will towards the President, is because most voters couldn't tell the difference between the two candidates. One candidate was slightly more against abortion, and one candidate was slightly more for the environment, but neither of them were going to make a big deal about it. Both of their knees hit the ground at the same speed when corporate cash paid a visit. This was why the race was so close. They ran on practically the same platform. So when candidate A beat out candidate B, most people didn't care, not perceiving much difference.

As for me, my most fervent desire is to remove the corrupting influence of massive amounts of money on the political system. So, I voted for Nader. Even though I disagree with most of his politics, I would have voted for McCain in a second if he had won the primaries.



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
The thing is ... (5.00 / 1) (#199)
by Hektor on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:11:43 AM EST

that even though Bush' election "is anathema to the ideals of democracy", it doesn't change the fact, that the USA is not a democracy; it's a republic.

[ Parent ]
Picky, picky :) (none / 0) (#203)
by Pihkal on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 04:21:15 PM EST

While you are correct, saying "is anathema to the ideals of a republic" just doesn't have the same appeal in modern terms. :) However, what I was trying to convey was that the presidential election is most "democratic-like", in the sense that the president is voted on by all eligible citizens and not, e.g., the Senate. All eligible citizens, that is, except for the ones illegally barred by Data Base Technology, the contractor used to purge supposed felons from the rolls in Florida.

Interestingly enough, a hundred years ago, newspapers commonly referred to our country as a republic and not a democracy. Why did that change, I wonder? Kids not paying attention in civics class? PR flacks and speechwriters trying to convey a sense of more participation in government than we actually have in a media-saturated age?

My quote for the moment: When Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western civilization, he replied "I think it would be a good idea."

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]

There is a good reason (none / 0) (#242)
by CodeWright on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:01:47 PM EST

For the Electoral College -- without it, most of the states in the Union would be at the mercy of Megalopolis 1 (East Coast) and Megalopolis 2 (California). Fortunately, those of us in Flyover Land (everything between the two coasts) have some sort of representation in the Republic.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
On the Raxis Being European (none / 0) (#174)
by J'raxis on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:31:13 PM EST

I have a feeling you are European.

No, but I’ll interpret that as a compliment.

Actually there were protests, but thanks to the General Attention Span most everyone’s interest soon shifted to something more important like what’s on TV tomorrow night.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

"as well as the interests of Israel" (4.00 / 7) (#14)
by ka9dgx on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:05:20 AM EST

Why should I care about the interests of Israel? I'm a US Citizen, and I think we should only worry about our own interests. We shouldn't be a lap dog for Israel.

--Mike--

Erm... (1.66 / 3) (#25)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:37:02 AM EST

...yes you are. Half your banks and generals are Jewish.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Bullshit (1.00 / 1) (#45)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:08:46 AM EST



Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Would it mean (none / 0) (#179)
by luser on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:51:37 PM EST

That half of the "US nation" is Jewish?

[ Parent ]
Innocent (none / 0) (#236)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:47:50 AM EST

No, just the half that REALLY makes the decisions.

Guns and money.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Why should we care about Palestinians? (none / 0) (#34)
by Demiurge on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:04:37 AM EST

I'm not a citizen of the Palestinian Territories. Why should I care if the Israelis bulldoze Palestinian homes and impose restrictions. I say we just keep on selling Israel weaponry, as it helps the US.

I don't want to be a lap dog for Palestine.

[ Parent ]
You suck at analogies (none / 0) (#84)
by decaf_dude on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:03:52 AM EST

Nobody is asking you to go to war with a 3rd paty in order to protect their interests, which is what many argue is the case with the Iraq-USA-Israel love triangle: USA is going to war to protect the puppet state's interests.


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
Palestine (none / 0) (#92)
by ka9dgx on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:39:36 AM EST

Since the subject was justification of a possible war on Iraq. I just wanted to point out that we should only focus on that issue. We shouldn't have to take any other countries position on it, we should think for ourselves.

Palestine has been the subject of a hostile land grab for a long time, and Sharon is doing everything he can to feed Hamas and the other opponents of the legitimate government of Palestine (Arafat won his election, which is more than we can say for Bush).

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

As long as you accept their retaliation (none / 0) (#115)
by sien on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:00:23 PM EST

That's a reasonable position, as long as you don't mind the odd September 11.

[ Parent ]
I may seem like a complete fuck (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by BLU ICE on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:25:18 PM EST

But I think the war on terrorism is a waste.

Sept 11 only accounted for a tiny proportion of the total deaths this year. Other problems such as cancer and heart attacks killed many more people this year.

So, screw anti-terrorism, and use the money we save to combat diseases.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Interestingly... (none / 0) (#166)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:28:28 PM EST

Big Tobacco killed over 400,000 people last year in this country alone.. and Tobacco-related disease is responsible for an estimated 4 million deaths worldwide each year-at least 845,000 of them in the Americas. If the current trend continues, by 2030, 10 million people will die annually as a result of tobacco use..

September 11th was *nothing* compared to the evils caused and to be caused by the Tobacco regime in this country. But I guess we won't be doing anything about that now, will we?

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
We will... (none / 0) (#178)
by luser on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:49:39 PM EST

..make terrorists pay taxes.

[ Parent ]
Orthogonal problems (none / 0) (#185)
by Peaker on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:19:33 PM EST

have orthogonal solutions.

Just because some people are war criminals, doesn't mean that shop lifters shouldn't be fought and arrested.

[ Parent ]

A few comments on #1-#3 (4.10 / 10) (#18)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:18:19 AM EST

Criterion 1:

An argument you missed in favor of invasion holds that state of war between Iraq and the UN coalition has never truly ceased, rather a conditional cease fire agreement was signed and Iraq has never met the stipulated conditions. At the very least, you can't really argue that a state of peace has existed between Iraq and the UN coalition for the last ten years, as both the UK and the US have maintained a military presence in northern and southern Iraq.

An analogy: Someone is placed in jail for committing a violent crime and after serving out his sentence is released on parole contingent upon agreement to submit to observation and conditions including an absolute prohibition on possessing firearms. Once on probation, he refuses to submit to searches and known associates testify to the fact that he has acquired some small calibre weapons and is seeking to acquire larger more dangerous weapons. Is it just to imprison this person?

Criterion 2:

Congress has passed the War Powers Act, which allows the executive branch to use the military for 60 days (+ a 30 day extension) before receiving a direct congressional mandate. I haven't heard anyone suggesting that the War Powers Act be circumvented and there is no chance that the military could be deployed and achieve its objective within the 90 day window.

The War Powers Act may be unconstitutional, but it has never been declared such. Also, Congress has the authority to pass a law nullifying it if it wishes to do so.

Criterion 3:

Importantly, Scott Ritter is absolutely in favor of assuring that weapons inspectors return to Iraq. Why? Because he, like most everyone else who has worked closely on the Iraqi WMD inspections, believes Hussein is crazy and hellbent on regional domination at any cost. He just disagrees on their current capability.

Richard Butler, former UNSCOM director in charge of Iraq, provides an interesting counterpoint to Ritter's opinion of Iraqi capabilities. I watched the first round of the recent congressional committee on Iraq in which Butler testified. I was impressed. The guy is very smart and well informed. The opinions of Dr. Khidir Hamza deserve to be taken into account as well (he also testified at the recent congressional hearings).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


Did we forget? (none / 0) (#40)
by Rogerborg on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:58:33 AM EST

    Congress has passed the War Powers Act, which allows the executive branch to use the military for 60 days (+ a 30 day extension) before receiving a direct congressional mandate. I haven't heard anyone suggesting that the War Powers Act be circumvented

House Joint Resolution 64, voted for by every single member of Congress except for Barbara Lee.

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Iraq, as we've been told repeated, supports terrorism. Perhaps we can't pin "aided the terrorist attacks" on them, but I'm damn sure that we can go in with the "harbored such organisations or persons".

Will George II use this? Maybe not, but he'll for damn sure use it as a bargaining chip with Congress. How about he agrees to let them rescind it without calling them US haters if they agree to let him have his war?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Isn't it George III ? (nt) (none / 0) (#91)
by BCoates on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:36:15 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You're missing an important point... (none / 0) (#119)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:15:41 PM EST

...namely, the War Powers Act requires the executive branch to report to congress for review every thirty days. The Bush administration is currently doing that. Congress has the ability stop any military activity authorized under the War Powers Act and would have no problem doing so. As for the threat of being called unpatriotic, that is hardly much of hammer being held over the head of Congress. It only has currency if the electorate believes it does and with Ashcroft out there playing the part of the little boy who cried sedition, nobody is much paying attention to that line anymore.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Thing that still bugs me (4.50 / 6) (#20)
by khallow on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:01:26 AM EST

Neither the US nor anyone else who wants to invade has yet given an official rationalization for why to invade Iraq now (or at all for that matter). Ie, if it's because Iraq is a year away from nukes, then show the evidence. If it's because Iraq is planning massive military or terrorist attacks, then show the evidence. Instead, it looks to me like G. W. Bush has always planned on invading Iraq whether or not there was a reason. Certainly, what little I read of justifications for invading Iraq are laughable. And I say this as someone who thinks that Iraq is a long term threat to the US and possibly the world. BTW, did Blair ever get around to publishing his rationalization for invading Iraq? I heard he was going to in April, but postponed it indefinitely.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

The New Republic (none / 0) (#44)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:07:59 AM EST

Article with some reasons.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
exactly one reason, to be precise. (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by ethereal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:59:04 AM EST

The argument is that Saddam has used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations and against other militaries, and that this is immoral. Unlike, say, the weapons that destroyed Dresden or Hiroshima.

Not to say that Saddam's actions were justified or defensible at all. But the argument that his actions require the "defense of American values" leaves me waiting for an explanation of how the wholesale destruction of cities by the Allies wasn't also an affront to moral values. Sure, those attacks were in the past, but there has been no official American acceptance that they were unjustified or immoral, even though we hold Saddam to that standard.

Have a war with him if he's provoked it; the only good argument in this regard would be the violation of the cease-fire terms. It's a small legality but it has some reality. But enough of these holier-than-thou arguments that pretend that we have a good moral reason to go to war now. We haven't gone to war for good moral reasons in the past (self determination/democracy, for instance); weapons of mass destruction are a poor moral excuse in comparison since we've been scarcely any more moral ourselves.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

not perfect (1.33 / 3) (#88)
by BCoates on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:19:49 AM EST

The argument is that Saddam has used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations and against other militaries, and that this is immoral. Unlike, say, the weapons that destroyed Dresden or Hiroshima.

The US had very much legal slavery at one point, too. How does not being perfect obligagate a country to never confront evil? (professional courtesy, maybe?)

--
Benjamin Coates

[ Parent ]

Because we admit that slavery was wrong, now. (4.00 / 2) (#104)
by ethereal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:22:59 PM EST

I'm saying that we can't hold some other country to a standard that we ourselves have not embraced. We haven't admitted that it was a mistake for us to use weapons of mass destruction against civilians in the past, so we (as a nation) don't have moral grounds to argue against someone else doing so.

Slavery we admit was wrong, so therefore we can complain about slavery in other nations with proper moral authority.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

WMD not a sufficient cause (none / 0) (#193)
by khallow on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 12:41:28 AM EST

Many countries are developing weapons of mass destruction. It's not clear to me why this should be sufficient in itself to invade Iraq since numerous countries accessible to US military might are developing WMD (eg, Libya, Sudan). For me, I'm more concerned about Iraq's past beligerence in a region of huge military significance to the US. Iraq has started two wars in the past twenty years. Strong evidence that Iraq will continue to invade countries without cause would support the case for an invasion of Iraq.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Evidence (none / 0) (#183)
by Peaker on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:12:36 PM EST

is often in the form of classified intelligence whose publication would do more harm than good.

Either you take the word of the government, or you can try to call the bluff. Both options are equally futile, as the government will ignore you either way (With hard enough evidence, or with a strong enough reason/will).

I personally believe they have evidence of weapons of mass destruction and that they simply cannot expose it.

[ Parent ]

Re: Evidence (none / 0) (#194)
by khallow on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 12:50:08 AM EST

For an action as serious as invading a country without obvious provocation, the US should put forth its evidence. The fact that it would harm US intelligence underscores the accuracy of the accusations.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

why should you (and me) (none / 0) (#239)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:22:11 AM EST

trust your government?
It is your duty as a citizen to require explanations and criticize obscure operations in a democracy.
It is my duty to not accept another nation's government's decisions as justifiable on a matter that endangers world peace without an international agreement and the transparency that comes with that.

"Just causes" for war have never been true, they have always been convenient excuses for propaganda. Real causes for wars are always interests and the US has definately lots of them in the region and at current time these interests are opposing those of the EU and some other "big kids," hence the lack of support for such an action by the international community. You want to go to war for your interests? Fine, but please don't try to baptise your war an "action for everybody's good."

Another crucial issue is what exactly will happen after the war. Fine, you have the technology and power to polverize a country, but then what? Show me at least a schematic proposal of what could follow the conflict that could guarantee peace in the region, stability, absence of world-wide retaliation and perhaps then I won't mind the US going after their own interests in a region that is not related to them. "Shoot first and think after" is a policy that is neither moraly acceptable nor clever even for the very US. Are you expecting to forcebly play cops in middle east against everybody others' and especially arabs' will or at least "advice" without giving people the "justification" on their turn for another WTC-like (or even more dramatic) tragedy? If this whole issue is about terrorism, then my friend you are losing the point: an attack on Iraq will actually strengthen the grassroots religious terrorism far more than anything else. If Bush actually attacks he is going to shoot himself in the foot and there will be nobody to give him condolencies without the necessary "we told you so..." complain.

 
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

Threat (none / 0) (#258)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:29:44 PM EST

I'm willing to accept that Bush may have information that shouldn't be made public. But I'm not willing to blindly trust him just cause he says so! One option is to take it to Congress. I'm sure both sides can point out problems with that, but at least it wouldn't be Bush's unilateral decision; it would be a legal declaration of war.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Granted. And yet.... (none / 0) (#264)
by wilson on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 05:23:55 AM EST

Evidence is often in the form of classified intelligence whose publication would do more harm than good.

The leaders of the US' NATO allies - who would presumably be fit recipients of such evidence - either haven't seen it or didn't find it compelling.

Gerhard Schroeder is staunchly against the idea. France has been generally opposed (but Chirac hasn't spoken out directly on the matter, AFAIK). Pretty much no one but the UK (aka Washington's li'l bitch) will be on board for this bad idea.

Or is the evidence of Iraqi NBC weapons and (possible) intent to use too secret for even our closest allies?

At this point the only reason to support a war is because Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney said so.

And where the fuck is our Secretary of State (a nasty moderate, given to unbecoming attempts at diplomacy and negotiation) during all of this? Doesn't it seem like Rumsfeld is directing our foreign policy these days?



[ Parent ]

International Law (4.70 / 10) (#24)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:27:31 AM EST

You don't mention International Law at all in this article.

There is customary international law that declares under what circumstances a country goes to war. The Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike that is being discussed in the American media violates customary international law.

There is a long article about it here.


International law is not an authority (2.40 / 5) (#27)
by svampa on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:13:37 AM EST

USA millitary only has to obey USA gov.

USA government has said serveral times that it doesn't submit to international laws, USA constitution forbides it.

International laws are menaningless in this ecuation.



[ Parent ]
Not quite right (4.80 / 5) (#30)
by LeftOfCentre on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:00:14 AM EST

On the contrary, the US has stated that it does obey international law and expects others to do the same. The US, like most nations, is a signatory to the Geneva convention. You may be confusing this with the ICC issue.

[ Parent ]
Sovreignty (none / 0) (#246)
by CodeWright on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:00:41 PM EST

Precludes obediance to any foreign power by definition of sovreignty. A sovreign nation may sign a treaty, to which all signatories agree to the terms therein, but a treaty is tissue paper that a sovreign nation tears up at will.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
With all due respect (none / 0) (#75)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:10:24 AM EST

The Japanese took a 'pre-emptive strike' against the US after Roosevelt took steps that threatened their oil supplies.

The US (rightly) regarded that as aggression under customary international law and as a result hanged the Japanese military and political leadership in the post-war Tokyo trials.

With all due respect you are talking nonsense.


[ Parent ]
Pearl Harbor (none / 0) (#164)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:15:01 PM EST

You forgot to mention that the 'pre-emptive strike' was known about in advance..

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
You are mistaken (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by Neil Rubin on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:49:01 PM EST

USA government has said serveral times that it doesn't submit to international laws, USA constitution forbides it.
You really ought to read the Constitution sometime. I quote Article VI:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
(emphasis added) The U.S. Senate passed a resolution of advice and consent to the U.N. Charter in December 1945 and President Truman ratified it. As such, the U.N. Charter, and many other treaties that define International Law, are just as much law in the U.S. as any domestic law. They supersede any state or local law.

If you would like to read 448 pages of Congressional Research Service report on the issue, look here.

[ Parent ]

Eh? (none / 0) (#46)
by Rogerborg on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:11:38 AM EST

Scottish Political Discussion == 500 Server Error.

Is this some sort of statement? ;-)

Which reminds me though (in this context), remember that we're coming up to September 11th. How about an article on September 11th being a date to celebrate peaceful political change as well as to mourn the results of a failure of political and social dialogue?


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Whoops... (none / 0) (#74)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:07:51 AM EST

I'm between hosting and forgot to change my sig (it's gone now...)

[ Parent ]
No such beast (none / 0) (#243)
by CodeWright on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:05:35 PM EST

As international law -- there are treaties to which sovreign nations are signatories, but those are only worth the paper they are written on.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Customary International Law And The Tokyo Trials (none / 0) (#254)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:19:19 AM EST

The Japanese attack on the US at Peal Harbour was aggression under customary international law - the Japanese were not party to any treaty that defined it so and had not abroagated their sovereignty in any way to another body to which the US was also a signatory. The US tried the Japanese political and military leadership and hanged them under customary international law

[ Parent ]
Still no such beast (none / 0) (#257)
by CodeWright on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 10:21:14 AM EST

The Japanese used typical European (and Japanese) strategy in a lightning strike against an unprepared enemy -- the best way to start any war that you intend to win (ignoring for the moment that their intended target was not surprised and had been maneuvering for war for quite a while).

This had nothing to due with customary international law (there being no such beast) and everything to do with a matter of preserving and enforcing national sovreignty.

Furthermore, when the US tried and executed Japanese leadership, that likewise had nothing to do with customary international law and everything to do with appeasing the outraged masses back home with some "human sacrifices". Execution of the opposing side's leaders is an indulgence that only definitive victors can amuse themselves with -- otherwise, the risk is that the tables could be turned.

In any case, it has nothing to do with law and everything to do with expediency and control of popular opinion (a necessity in the maintenance of the exercise of sovreignty by those invested with the right -- in other words, the military, congressional, and presidential vested interests).

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
I am sorry, but you are wrong... (none / 0) (#266)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 08:05:49 AM EST

There is such a thing as customary international law. If, for instance, you look at several recent Israeli court decisions relating to the occupation you will see that several of them are guided by 'customary international law'.

The acceptance of the legitimacy of the Tokyo trials underpins the Japanese constitution including the renounciation of Godhood by the Japanese Royal Family and the constitutional prohibition on having an army. The acceptance (by the US or the Japanese government) that Tokyo was 'victor's justice' would have serious foreign policy implications in the Far East. (See the recent Japanese/South Korean spat over an uninhabited rock in the Sea of Japan last month for instance.)

Post-war politics in the Far East has been bedeviled by fears that sections of the Japanese political classes wish to 'revise' the last war (the Japanese schoolbooks issue, the germ warfare unit trial that are in the paper today, the comfort women compensation claim, etc, etc)

Whatever fancy pose you might wish to strike in the privacy of your own bedroom, customary international law exists, and guides your country and mine. The chances of the US renouncing the legal basis of the Tokyo trials is zero, zilch, nada, nothing...


[ Parent ]
Call a turd an apple (none / 0) (#268)
by CodeWright on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:15:22 AM EST

But it is still a turd.

Your citations of international law are situations where those citing this phantom have public relations gains to be made by presuming upon nebulous third parties to assign blame.

By definition, sovereignty is possessed by those who declare it and are able to defend it. A nation is sovereign by virtue of possessing a sense of self, declaring its borders (physical and metaphysical) and defending those borders against any who might challenge them. If you draw a line in the sand and say "None shall pass" and are able to successfully fend off anyone who attempts to dissuade you, you have achieved sovereignty.

Any nation state which is not a puppet of other forces exists and perpetuates by virtue of exercising its territorial sovereignty (absolute right of force within certain geographic bounds). The absolute right of force within geographic bounds exercised by nation states is both that which grants them their legitimacy as a nation state and permits them to perpetuate that legitimacy. As soon as a nation state is challenged in its sovereign control of a particular parcel of geography, if it does not, by force, reaffirm its control, it has lost it. A nation state which is no longer able to exercise control of any geographic territory is no longer a nation state.

Statehood and sovereignty are mutually inseperable. A state without sovereignty is not a state. Possession of sovereignty over a geographic area, by definition, comprises a state.

Given that a state cannot exist as a state without sovereignty over the territory within its borders, it becomes clear that any state beholden to "international law" is really a client-state of those states which draft aforesaid international law. If you posit a situation where no state exists but what it is beholden to international law, you are describing a world Hegemony -- a single state.

If, on the other hand, some "states" are more equal than others in the application of international law (the USA is certainly "more equal" before the law than any other state given that it adheres or ignores "international law" at whim), then the adherents of international law are little more than client states for the truly sovereign state that dictates the law.

If a massive conglomerate state incorporating innumerable client-states finds that there are nation-states ignoring the Hegemonic imperialism, then of course the Hegemon will adopt the position that non-adherents are "rogue" elements within its Imperial borders.

On the other hand, the so-called "rogue" states are merely exercising their sovereign control of their territory. If the Hegemon cannot effectively remove the sovereignty of the "rogue" states, then they remain truly sovereign and not subject to the Hegemonic "international law" under which the "Hegemon" nation-state attempted to force them to submit.

The world is currently comprised of a variety of nation-states, and many many more client-states of the European Hegemon (the names have changed, but European Imperialism still lives). The cutting edge of the the European Hegemon is the United States of America but, despite the might at its disposal, the Hegemon is unable to effectively eradicate the existance of other sovereign nations on the globe. Those sovereign nations outside the Hegemon are not subject to the laws of the Hegemon (sic "International Law").

Hence, "international law" is a red herring -- if you call it Hegemonic Law, I'll concede the point.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Metaphysics (none / 0) (#270)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:33:00 AM EST

You could substitute a person for a state in your diatribe but that wouldn't mean that 'law' (ie domestic, civil and criminal law) doesn't exist.

I live outside the law as a free sovereign individual (as long as I don't get caught - then I become a criminal) - so what?

There is a thing called international law, we know what it is, and people and states act as if it exists (sometimes to maintain and sometimes in breach of it) but it exists just like domestic law.


[ Parent ]
My comment was intentionally ambiguous (none / 0) (#273)
by CodeWright on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 12:25:11 PM EST

So that you could substitute a person in the argument for a state.

The problem with a person attempting to act like a sovereign state within the borders of another sovereign state is that, sooner or later, the other sovereign state will take notice of it and act.

Do you think that habitual criminals recognize state authority over their actions? I think not. They believe that they are independent of the state and free to act however they choose. The state takes a dim view of sovereigns within its borders and labels them criminals. If the "criminals" are unable to resist enroachments of their sovereignty by the state, they lose their sovereignty.

To put it so that your bleeding-heart world-government commie mind can understand it: State try crush any state it can -- King of Hill.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Thank you for agreeing with me... (none / 0) (#278)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:39:21 AM EST

Habitual criminals dont accept the law applies to them but the law still exists...

Thank you and goodnight


[ Parent ]
...from the horse's mouth... (none / 0) (#267)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 08:19:46 AM EST

Here is the text of an indictment of a Japanese soldier.

The relevant quote is (emphasis mine):
Major-General Fukuchi Haruo was charged of violations of the laws and customs of war in that, as Chief of Staff of the Governor General of Hong Kong he " did, at Hong Kong, wilfully, unlawfully and wrongfully commit " offences described in the same manner as those charged against Tanaka.

Bear in mind that Japan did not recognise the Geneva conventions - but that did not mean the soldiers escaped customary international law.


[ Parent ]
Doesn't support your point (none / 0) (#269)
by CodeWright on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:26:59 AM EST

This is merely an illustrative example of "Victor's Justice" (as you called it). Japan could not "make a fuss" because they had been utterly defeated.

Note that unconditional surrender is the abdication of statehood. In historical European terms, by surrendering unconditionally, Japan became a vassal to the United States of America. As a vassal, it was subject to the laws and/or whims of its conqueror ("Victor's Justice").

Today, the American grip on its Japanese vassal has relaxed, but still remains. The Japanese have not yet chosen to exercise sovereignty, although they have noted in public forae that they possess the ability to do so (see: Virtual Nuclear Power).

Presently, however, the Japanese are content to remain vassals of the United States because they are first among the Asian vassals and are given preferential stewardship of Asia through that privilege. If the USA (read: European Imperial Hegemon) ever causes China to supplant Japan as the preferred Asian vassal (which will likely happen vis-a-vis China within the next century), Japan will have no choice but to re-assert their sovereignty or face becoming a second-class nation.

I suspect that the Japanese will exercise their sovereignty and declare independence from the Hegemon. Fortunately for them, I suspect that the Hegemon will let it happen -- the Hegemon won't be happy, but isn't willing to fight a nuclear war (even with the Chinese bearing the brunt of the fight). I suspect that the reason the Hegemon isn't willing to fight a nuclear war is that it isn't sure that it could win against Japan without unreasonable cost (much like the war that didn't happen between the Soviets and the Hegemon).

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
I'm sorry? (none / 0) (#271)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 11:35:57 AM EST

A trial took place under customary international law and you say that that doesn't prove customary international law exists?

...back in the real world...


[ Parent ]
The Real World; Come Visit! (none / 0) (#272)
by CodeWright on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 12:13:03 PM EST

A trial took place under customary international law and you say that that doesn't prove customary international law exists?
I can call my ass a rocket, but it won't get me to the moon.

A trial took place and someone said that it took place under "customary international law". What actually took place was a trial where the party engaging in the act did so through the exercise of delegated authority in the use of sovereign force -- the type of sovereign force only available to a nation-state. That the Hegemon nation-state chooses to maintain a convenient fiction that the laws it creates and enforces are "international" is the essential point.

Hint: They aren't -- they are intra-national within the borders of the Hegemon.

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
...hmm... (none / 0) (#277)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:36:04 AM EST

...and I suppose Slobodan Milosevic is currently appearing in a new <sarcasm>ballet</sarcasm> in the Hague...


[ Parent ]
is that your new excuse? (none / 0) (#251)
by Lode Runner on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:43:35 AM EST

Are you really going to cite "international law" as your reason for refusing to lift a finger against Saddam?

I guess that you'd rather see the pile of dead Iraqis grow even higher than see America have its way in the region. You'd better let those Iraqi kids know that they're dying for something noble -- containing US hegemony -- before it's too late.

[ Parent ]

I admit it... (none / 0) (#255)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 06:23:48 AM EST

I believe in the rule of law. That's law not "law".

[ Parent ]
so strident... (none / 0) (#260)
by Lode Runner on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:58:17 PM EST

Well, that's what regular exposure to the Guardian does to you. Son, the only "law" you believe in is one that slaps shackles on your political opponents. This is about power, not justice, and it's high time you acknowledged it.

[ Parent ]
...Lode Runner has ESP again... (none / 0) (#265)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 07:53:27 AM EST

I believe in International Law, no more no less.

When the Taliban collaborated with the Al Quaeda murder gang in their attack on the US, the US was both moraly correct and legally entitled to attack Afghanistan and I supported them (and the British forces who took part in that operation). September 11th was clearly an aggressive act under international law - and as such intolerable.

But once again you come wading in with your uncanny ability to read my mind and decide that actually I am an anti-American blah-blah, fantasy-yardle...

For your information I am not exposed to The Guardian, I get it delivered.


[ Parent ]
no, it's called wisdom (none / 0) (#274)
by Lode Runner on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 03:51:22 PM EST

You see, I believe in international law too. And we both can't be right, can we?

It's impossible to believe in "international law" per se. You believe in a particular kind of international law, George Bush believes in another, and I in yet another. The louder we holler ideology-ridden moral justifications for our positions, the sillier we look when somebody comes along and points out the function of our arguments. You can probably guess what kind of order Bush's international law will bring about; now examine the order you hope to bring about through international law.

Yes, the Guardian needs to be read by the informed, but how do you feel about paying for a paper that reported the impending collapse of the Northern Alliance the day Kabul was liberated?

[ Parent ]

What I believe in... (none / 0) (#276)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:32:39 AM EST

The Milosevic trial, the Rwanda trials, the Nuremberg trials, the Tokyo trials, the stoppping of the UK, French and Israeli occupation of Egypt in 1956, Korea, Afghanistan etc, etc, etc... This is supported by the majority of the world, including the UK and EU - which is where I live.

Under the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive strike against represive regimes:
  • India could claim the right to attack Pakistan (direct threat, subversion of India, nuclear weapons)
  • Pakistan could claim the right to attack India (supression of national minorites, direct threat, nuclear arms)
This is not a good thing in my opinion - call me old fashioned if you like.

You claim to support a third sort of international law, but once again with you it is all attitude and very little statements. What do you support?

Please read your statements again before you post. You accused me of only believing in international law to shackle the US - I pointed out that you were talking nonsense and you just shapeshift into "what you believe in objectively is about shackling the US". To argue you really need to advance arguements not simply project motives on people (your speciality).


[ Parent ]
ius > dominium (none / 0) (#280)
by Lode Runner on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 04:51:58 PM EST

that's what I think. As such, I believe that international law should be structured to protect individual interests not national ones.

The kind of int'l law that state worshippers like you are forwarding is basically a tool that nation-states use to impose their will on other nation-states; protection of the individual is, in practice, considered only as an afterthoght. Case in point: you admire the USA and the USSR when they (disingenuously) cited int'l law to displace/subvert the French and British empires during the Suez Crisis. Why? Because you view int'l law as the means to shake up the existing unjust order and perpetuate one that better serves your righteous geopolitical goals?

Of course, your flavor of international law is supported by the majority of states, and that's nothing to be proud of given how most of those states behave. I'm sure my flavor would be supported by the majority of individuals, outside of the Guardian's subscription base, that is.

[ Parent ]

At last... (none / 0) (#281)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 05:46:48 AM EST

...you're putting your cards on the table.

International Law relates to the relations between states by definition it is of and about states.

Please explain to me what sort of mechanisms you think should exist to support your version of international law - then maybe we can have an arguement.


[ Parent ]
we've been arguing all along (none / 0) (#284)
by Lode Runner on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 05:19:31 PM EST

International Law relates to the relations between states by definition it is of and about states.

That's a rather limited definition, n'est pas? States are so nebulous in their construction that only a fool, or somebody who wants something very badly, would claim to back a system that holds states as the lowest common denominator. People are the atoms, not the states.

As for mechanisms for my system, they're still an unknown. We need individuals to agree on common law before any institutions can be designed to execute said law. A conglomeration of states does not universalism make; nor does it carry any moral authority.

Note: the universalist spirit of '89 may, in principle, be the guiding force of present (UN) human rights regmine, but the situation still boils down to one group of people imposing their will upon another. And yes, I often find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the decisions to quash somebody. But I never kid myself that what I --through Bill Clinton and The Hague-- did/am doing to Milosevic is akin to realizing some higher morality or justice. It's about perpetuating and reshaping order, that's all.



[ Parent ]

...and while you are contemplating your navel... (none / 0) (#285)
by the trinidad kid on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 02:48:07 PM EST

...with your own homebrew systems for international relations, back here in the real world life goes on...

You say:
States are so nebulous in their construction
Are they really? In what way is the US nebulous? In the recent war in the Congo, was Zimbabwe nebulous? or any of the countries whose armies were in there?

States exist, international law (customary and otherwise) exists to regulate (in part and imperfectly) their conduct. This is reality. You can sit and postulate and prognosticate about your can's, if's and whatever's but in the real world Pakistan and India are in a state of warm war, the first between two nuclear states. Mayb e the conduct of these <sarcasm>nebulous</sarcasm> entities might need regulating?

As to your statement:
I never kid myself that what I (...) am doing to Milosevic is akin to realizing some higher morality or justice
Well, the current Hague trial of Milosevic for mass murder flows from the Nuremberg trial of the Nazis. And if you think that legal tradition is not about "some higher morality" then heaven help you.


[ Parent ]
what we have here... (none / 0) (#286)
by Lode Runner on Sat Aug 31, 2002 at 03:44:40 PM EST

is a failure to communicate, between us, and states.

You say we must regulate the behavior of states, but thus far you've only cited regimes imposing their will on other regimes as your examples. Under your system, int'l law is just another avenue of power for states, another tool to order the world along lines that one favors.

As for the legal tradition, it's about preserving order; moral authority is a social constuction, nothing more. Read the transcripts of the Nuremberg trial, paying special attention to the arguments of the Soviets, and you'll see the politics of "justice" for what they really are. The same goes for Milosevic's show trial.

The EU, which you seem to fancy as a moral force, will be following a well-trodden path. The tramp in front of you is Woodrow Wilson.

[ Parent ]

Can anyone think (4.60 / 10) (#28)
by Rogerborg on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:24:00 AM EST

Of a war in which both sides didn't claim they were justified, that they weren't involved in a necessary struggle for survival or security?

The winner is justified, because the winner's culture prevails and survives.

Let's be honest. We've already decided that we're going to kick the crap out of Iraq because we want to. After we've won, we can justfiy that any way we like.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

What constitute a victory or win? (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by mami on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:38:36 AM EST

If winning means killing Saddam, I wouldn't know how that would guarantee that US' culture prevails and survives in Iraq.

According to this definition the US has not won the war in Afghanistan. It has destroyed the Taliban regime, but surely hasn't succeeded in prevailing with their own "culture" over the "Afghani culture".  

[ Parent ]

Thanks for the clarification (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by Rogerborg on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:10:19 AM EST

Good point, thanks. I meant winning in the long term, which actually happens long after the shooting stops even in a conventional stand-up fight war. But that's not what Afghanistan and Gulf War 2 were/are about. They were/are minor skirmishes.

The US won the Cold War after forty years of military, economic and propaganda conflict, and so now capitalism and democracy are viewed (by both sides) as being superior to single party communism.

The US is still fighting the War on Drugs after a hundred years. Most commentators would say it's a futile war, but it's still being fought and we can't call it either way yet.

And the War on Terror (which de facto will mean a War on Islamic nations, whether we want it to be one or not) is just getting started. Pick any starting point you like: the creation and support of Israel, Gulf War I, Afghanistan. It's still a relatively recent beginning for such a titanic clashing of idiologies and goals. Political promises about mission creep aside, we're not talking about achieving long term security for US culture with a few CNN friendly military strikes. We're talking about decades or hundreds of years of actions, with the goal being to ensure that Islamic culture cannot challenge the US.

I'm not proposing that this will be an immoral war, or that it will involve a lot of civilian casualties (if we'd stop using so many damn cluster munitions and mines), but let's not kid ourselves that the goal is anything other than to remove the threat by any means necessary.

From a US point of view, that's justified. It's a defensive war. It's about protecting women and children and separation of church and state and all things good and pure and true.

But from an Islamic point of view though, it's also a defensive war, protecting women and children and freedom to join church and state, and it will be fought with just as much commitment.

This one's going to take a long time to play out. I doubt that it'll be in my lifetime.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

War on Islamic nations (3.50 / 2) (#47)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:12:01 AM EST

That war has been going on for 1300 years or so. With heavy fighting in, among other places, Austria and Spain. The Marine Hymn has a line relating to US combat against islamic nations almost 200 years ago.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Sep. of Church and State? (none / 0) (#163)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:11:16 PM EST

I hardly believe that to be true in this country. Check out that dollar bill in your pocket, or what your kids say at school in the morning, or.. better yet, try to buy a beer in Alabama.. or Oregon on a Sunday. Hardly the case here.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#229)
by Rogerborg on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 07:54:36 PM EST

I didn't mean that we'd do it, just that we'd send young men and women out to die to protect the freedom to do it.

No, I don't think that makes much sense either, but it is the way we work.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#240)
by vile on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:19:05 AM EST

Yah.. kinda sucks, doesn't it?

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
comparisons and draw parallels (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by svampa on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:00:01 AM EST

Generally, a Just War theorist (...) must add context and make comparisons and draw parallels to how their line of thinking on one of the given criterion applies to other wars which were also considered just (or unjust, as the case may be). This article won't go there...

I think that doing so you are missing an important point. How important have been those reasons for USA before?

Criterion 1: Does the invasion of Iraq have a just cause?
His crimes against the Kurds and his aggressions upon Kuwait are sufficient reasons
Has agressions to Kurds or minories be considered by USA a reason before (Iran,Turkey, Timor, Rwanda)?
Has invasions to other countries be considered a reason before? (Irak-Iran war, Cachemira)

Criterion 3: Is the war being driven by the right intentions?
Other countries has WMD and doesn't leads to a war (Pakistan, India) ?



re: Pakistan/India (none / 0) (#42)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:05:19 AM EST

Those two countries have (so far...) shown a degree of restraint in that they have not used those weapons against each other, or anyone else. That is the primary distinction between Iraq and other countries with WMD in the past five decades or so. Only Iraq has been shown to have used those types of weapons.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
not true (none / 0) (#64)
by streetlawyer on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:26:41 AM EST

That is the primary distinction between Iraq and other countries with WMD in the past five decades or so. Only Iraq has been shown to have used those types of weapons.

Not true; Iran certainly used chemical weapons during the Iran/Iraq war.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Iran (3.00 / 2) (#83)
by BCoates on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:00:39 AM EST

Not true; Iran certainly used chemical weapons during the Iran/Iraq war.

The US is hardly best buddies with Iran either, but one big difference between Iran and Iraq is that Iran has a serious chance of changing without military intervention.

--
Benjamin Coates



[ Parent ]

You drew the wrong conclusion (none / 0) (#54)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:07:13 AM EST

You can make comparisons and draw conclusions from other wars not hypothetical ones. The US is under no moral obligation to go to war, and therefore one can't use examples of it's inaction as argument against this war (Under the Just War Doctrine.)



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
moral obligation (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by ethereal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:46:31 AM EST

Wait a minute. If the argument for a just war is based on morality (and arguments like "right intentions" and "end proportional to means" sound like moral choices to me), and it is possible to say that it is morally justifiable to enter such a conflict, then in essence we are saying that going to war is the moral thing to do. If it is the moral thing to do, and acting according to our morality is important, then not doing the moral thing to do would be wrong. So from this viewpoint, if a just war is morally positive, then someone motivated by morality would have an obligation to undertake that war. To do otherwise would be immoral.

Or, in other words, if it's moral to save the Kurds, then it must be immoral to not do so. It would be impossible for two opposite courses of action with differing outcomes to both be moral. So if it is also moral to save the [other oppressed minority], then it would be immoral to not save them.

I don't necessarily agree with this argument, since I think it's a slippery sort of slope. I would argue that when the rubber meets the road, morality is often used for propaganda purposes to push a particular war, or used afterwards to justify a war, but the people that really want the war have rarely considered the complete moral arguments for and against a war. Or perhaps they've selectively allowed themselves to see the moral arguments in favor of this war, while allowing themselves to be blind to compelling moral arguments in favor of previous wars.

In the end, wars are about national interest, or maybe the personal interests of those in power. If we were really moral or just in our considerations of the use of force, we would be working to remove the causes of conflict in the first place, rather than allowing them to fester until it's time to send in the Marines.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

You assume we can (none / 0) (#89)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:22:56 AM EST

Military might is very useful, but not omnipotent. Unless genocide is your idea of fixing problems (It does, but...) there's a limit to what we can do. Their demands are impossible, thus war is a neccesity.

As for your argument about not acting being immoral, you are mistaken about which fallacy it is. You are assuming an inverse relationship where none exists. Acting can equal moral, but inaction does not equal immorality. For example, if giving a beggar money is a moral act, then is withholding it not one? No, because you were under no obligation to do so, and he was not entitled to the money. It is a worst, a neutral act.

Personally, I am comfortable with attacking on neutral moral grounds, without Just Cause. There are very valid amoral (not immoral) reasons why we should go to war with Iraq. Their breaking of the ceasefire (See my post farther up) is reason enough. He is our enemy, he wishes undisguised harm to our citizens, thus we should strike him down.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Moral neutrality (none / 0) (#113)
by ethereal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:52:38 PM EST

[This is so far off topic, but very interesting nonetheless.]

Acting can equal moral, but inaction does not equal immorality. For example, if giving a beggar money is a moral act, then is withholding it not one? No, because you were under no obligation to do so, and he was not entitled to the money. It is a worst, a neutral act.

I understand the inverse relationship problem that you describe, and in fact was thinking on this at the time I made my earlier post. I think the difference is whether you feel there is an obligation to act morally, or just to not act immorally. If there is an obligation to act morally, then to not act is maybe not as bad as acting immorally, but it is definitely not to be counted on the side of acting morally, either.

I think that by saying that there is a moral thing to do, but we don't necessarily have to do it, people are trying to pick and choose which morals they live by and which morals they judge others by. If something is moral, shouldn't that always be preferable to doing something that is immoral, or just morally neutral? Not that I always do the moral thing either, but I generally don't justify the actions that I do take on the basis of moral authority either. I would generally support the Just Cause standard if I could be more sure that the people applying it really understand what is Just, rather than using it as a convenient debating argument.

I agree with you on the ceasefire argument; that should be sufficient of its own right to justify actions that enforce that agreement or create a new agreement (possibly with a new Iraqi government). I'm just disgruntled at the talk of morality, since I see it as being used for propaganda purposes only. The administration has no intention of making the decision based on any real moral analysis; they should just admit that and quit playing to people's prejudices.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Well, I essentially agree (none / 0) (#120)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:26:01 PM EST

Inaction can be immoral. But that's an entirely different argument. We are arguing that war on Iraq would be just. If you accept we have proved that it is, you have not proved that inaction would be immoral. It is a separate case. You are correct in saying that acting in a morally correct manner is always preferrable to acting in a amoral or immoral fashion. However, that raises the question of whether countries should always act in a moral fashion.

I concur with your assessment that a moral debate is largely irrelevant. As a democracy, the US has no overarching moral code that it is bound by, as it's citizens vary widely over the definition.

States should act in self-interest, whether blantantly obvious, or more subtle, such as the advantages of treaties and coalitions. A democratic government is established for the care of it's citizens, and that should be it's guiding principle.

It would be nice to be morally justified in this war. But that does not mean that if we are not, we should not pursue it. The administration has a very good reason for catering to such things, as public opinion can sink a war effort. Individual soldiers certainly carry concepts of morality, and can hardly be expected to function well if they believe they are doing something immoral. Whether it's a good argument or not, it's one Bush needs to make.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Just wondering (1.00 / 1) (#32)
by mami on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:45:03 AM EST

if the 5 criterions you mentioned for a war to be defined just were made up by yourself or if they have been discussed and may be pusblished by someone else. Any source for those?

oops, sorry - disregard my previous comment (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by mami on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:48:18 AM EST

I dont't have time to read to all your links now. Obviously all the sources I was looking for are there. Sorry for my previous comment.

Good article.

[ Parent ]

Reasons to Invade (4.66 / 3) (#36)
by Devils Advocate on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:41:59 AM EST

Regarding the "Saddam gassed his own people" argument, according to this and this, it's possible (likely?) that Iran gassed the Iraqis at Halabja.

Further, the clashes between Iraq (or Turkey or Iran or Syria) and the Kurds have arisen because Kurds want to carve out a chunk of Iraq (and Turkey and Iran and Syria) as an independent country. While use of chemical weapons is deplorable, were/are the respective countries supposed to simply give up part of their territory to separatists? Somehow I don't see any country (Eastern or Western) gladly dividing itself up.

As for the invasion of Kuwait, the US knew it was going to happen but had "no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts".

So overall it looks like the best reason to invade Iraq is that the US wants oil, a puppet regime, and military bases. Not that it's a valid reason....

Ack, proxy broke my links (none / 0) (#38)
by Devils Advocate on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:45:50 AM EST

Copy/paste if you're interested

http://supplysideinvestor.com/showarticle.asp?articleid=1920

http://www.polyconomics.com/searchbase/11-18-98.html

http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/glaspie.html



[ Parent ]
That's what armies are for (none / 0) (#53)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:04:29 AM EST

Iraq is quite within it's rights to quash rebellions. However, it should use it's (then substantial) conventional army to do so. Gassing villages is not acceptable behavior, even in the event of a rebellion.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Armies *should* be for defense only (none / 0) (#158)
by Pihkal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:54:18 PM EST

Unless of course, Hussein is Vader and the Kurds the plucky Rebellion, in which case, we know the Rebellion is within its rights and the Iraqi Empire is not. :)

Our decision-makers don't care about Kurds based on principle. Certainly not when Turkey was killing their Kurds before the Gulf War ever started. To them, Kurds are merely a justification for war. The only reason most Americans have ever even heard of the Kurdish people is because they were trumpeted in the media as examples of why Hussein was evil and deserving of what were going to do to him.

Yet another half-truth to obscure the real truth. "All news is factual, but little of it is real." Most of the half-truths are moral, while the real reasoning lies elsewhere. In the case of the Gulf War, the military was sent there to ensure cheap oil, not the rights of Kurds or Kuwaitis, and certainly not the to help the Iraqi people suffering under Hussein.

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]

My Bad (none / 0) (#189)
by Devils Advocate on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:41:28 PM EST

I wasn't agreeing or justifying the use of chemical weapons, although I can see how my post suggests it.

[ Parent ]
Two things to bear in mind: (none / 0) (#67)
by salimma on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:40:30 AM EST

1. The use of WMDs - whether of the nuclear, biological, or chemical type, is frowned upon and considered a crime against humanity

2. Certainly after the Treaty of Versailles, if not before, the right of a nation to self-determination is established - one of the few positive aspect of an otherwise mediocre treaty.

There are separatist wars that are much more dubious that have succeeded in the past, mostly because of foreign intervention (Panama). Considering that the Kurds have a substantial population, a genuine culture, and a proud history (Saladdin was a Kurd), it is criminal that they missed out on the Versailles and post-WW2 waves of independence, and even more so to continue to deny their right to self-determination.

- Michel
- Michel
Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

Eric Blair

[ Parent ]
So.... (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by mujo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:45:33 AM EST

1. The use of WMDs - whether of the nuclear, biological, or chemical type, is frowned upon and considered a crime against humanity

... the USA committed crimes against humanity? Or was it a "just" crime against humanity ???

[ Parent ]
Obviously... (none / 0) (#148)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:58:34 PM EST

it was JUST! hah

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Iran vs. Iraq Context (none / 0) (#190)
by Devils Advocate on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:42:37 PM EST

Make of it what you will, but I think it's pretty clear that Glaspie's comment amounted to nothing more than a statement that the US was not going to officially take position on the exact location of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. The question of Kuwaiti independence was not even on the table at the time.
Perhaps everything is clearer in retrospect. While the quote can be interpreted as merely a "we don't care about borders" stance, after 8 years of war between Iran and Iraq (with US aiding Iraq in battle planning) I think some brass would have figured out Saddam's character and intent. As for motives, I'm open to suggestion. I'll swallow Bush (senior, but also applies to junior today) wanting a war for political reasons.

[ Parent ]
Glaspie Boilerplate (none / 0) (#121)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:32:30 PM EST

Originally posted here

---

The Glaspie transcript is really an interesting demonstration of the role context plays in interpretation. People have determined it to mean all manner of contradictory things. Some important context to keep in mind:

  • Iraq and Kuwait have a longstanding squabble over borders dating back to the creation of both states under the authority of the British Mandate. This nature of this dispute has varied over the years from competing claims as to exactly where the boundary lies up to Iraqi claims that the Kuwaiti state is illegitimate and rightfully part and parcel of Iraqi territory.
  • After the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq attempted to leverage its weight within the Arab world to affect an OPEC production cutback. Kuwait refused to join Iraqi efforts and, by most accounts, was pretty arrogant in negotiations due to its newly strengthened relations with the US.
  • Iraq attempted to strong arm Kuwait by raising a territorial claim. The explicit territorial claim being made by Iraq concerned about 1000 or so yards, which it claimed the Kuwaitis had encroached upon during the Iran-Iraq war.
  • There should have been no question in anyone's mind that the US absolutely supported Kuwaiti sovereignty and independence.
  • US support, both overt and behind the scenes, of Kuwait in its opposition to Iraqi initiatives in OPEC was widely recognized by everyone in the region.
Make of it what you will, but I think it's pretty clear that Glaspie's comment amounted to nothing more than a statement that the US was not going to officially take position on the exact location of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. The question of Kuwaiti independence was not even on the table at the time.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Independence or Unity (none / 0) (#191)
by Devils Advocate on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:47:58 PM EST

Considering that the Kurds have a substantial population, a genuine culture, and a proud history (Saladdin was a Kurd), it is criminal that they missed out on the Versailles and post-WW2 waves of independence, and even more so to continue to deny their right to self-determination.

The Assyrians are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq, and have lived there long before the Kurds arrived. They also have a substantial population albeit less than the Kurds, a genuine culture, and also missed out on post-WW1 (1, not 2) independence. The problem is the area they call Assyria is the area the Kurds call Kurdistan, and Iraq/Iran/Turkey/Syria call Iraq/Iran/Turkey/Syria. If it's criminal that the Kurds are denied the right to self-determination, then isn't equally criminal the Assyrians are denied as well?

Then there are the other ethnicities in Iraq such as the Turkomen and Yezidis, the "minority's minority" if you will. While their case isn't as strong as that of the Assyrians and Kurds, don't they deserve self-determination?

In order to avoid bloodshed, I believe the best solution is a free and democratic Iraq for all the racial and religious ethnicities. It's too bad it won't happen anytime soon. Saddam will pick on Kurds because they're Kurds, and Saddam or the Kurds will pick on Assyrians because they're Assyrians and/or Christians. Whoever you are, it sucks to be in Iraq right now.

[ Parent ]
Interesting: Let's exchange the roles (4.75 / 8) (#39)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:55:07 AM EST

It could be interesting to see the roles inverted, so considering as Iraq if there's reasons for a just war agaisnt USA. I'd like to write it by myself but my english is still very bad to try it...

How much does this really matter? (4.00 / 5) (#49)
by epepke on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:21:54 AM EST

The main question seems to me to be "can you persuade enough people that the war is just?" Everything else is subsidiary. Your taxonomy breaks it up into reasons, which is of some interest, inasmuch as people are occasionally guided by reason. However, that is merely one of the ways of persuading people.

At present, it seems that Bush really wants a war, the American People do not, nor does Congress, nor do America's normal allies. This seems to me a recipe for failure, or another Vietnam.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


american people (none / 0) (#52)
by cyberbuffalo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:40:59 AM EST

At present, it seems that Bush really wants a war, the American People do not, nor does Congress, nor do America's normal allies. This seems to me a recipe for failure, or another Vietnam.

Every poll I have heard about says the American people would support a war with Iraq by about 60% or more. Congress would probably support a war too, although they don't want to go on record as being for it in case the war goes south. The comparison to Vietnam was made about Afgahnistan too, but it hasn't held up.

[ Parent ]

Wait (none / 0) (#70)
by Wah on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:52:00 AM EST

The comparison to Vietnam was made about Afgahnistan too, but it hasn't held up.

Give it 5 more years.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]

> 50% without allies. (none / 0) (#109)
by Genady on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:47:09 PM EST

American people would support a war with Iraq by about 60% or more.

Is this the same poll where support drops below 50% when Allied support doesn't materialize?

--
Turtles all the way down.
[ Parent ]
Re: american people (none / 0) (#171)
by luser on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:02:48 PM EST

The comparison to Vietnam was made about Afgahnistan too, but it hasn't held up.

Now who did the dirty part in Afgahnistan?

[ Parent ]
Just Cause?? (3.66 / 3) (#51)
by lugumbashi on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:30:34 AM EST

Your reasons for just cause are pretty weak.

Saddam's crimes against the Kurds are well documented. What is less well known is that the US and Britain continued to sell arms to Iraq througout the period of these crimes. At them moment the Kurds seem to be doing quite well and are putting together the trappings of a modernstate under the protection of the northern no-fly zone. This is very alarming to Turkey who will no doubt invade and crush this state if it gets an excuse. Lets also not forget that Britain gassed the Kurds in the twenties, something which Winston Churchill is on record as being in favour.

As regards Kuwait, you might argue that Iraq has been soundly whipped for the invasion of Kuwait and there is no sign that they are likely to repeat it.

Your third reason that "Iraq represents a variance from homogeny" is worthy of Stalin. National self interest is hardly a valid reason for a just war, unless you happen to be a genuine Nazi (which I doubt).

The final reason and the only one which makes any sense is that he might have a viable Biological or Chemical weapons capability. OK I accept that, but where is the evidence? I have seen nothing convincing that it still exists.

I have to admit I am suprised that at least something has not been concocted. I expected to hear about Iraqi pitchforking babies at this stage in the phoney war. This leads me to suspect that the Bush adminstration (or at least significant elements of it) are trying to back out of the "regime change" commitment. I mean if some overwhelming piece of propaganda showed that war was absolutely necessary right away, Bush would look cowardly if he didn't act. They might be stalling for time, waiting for some opportunity to present itself (a lull in the violence in Israel and the occupied territories pehaps?).

My own personal opinion is that I would be very happy to see the regime in Iraq overthrown and genuine democratic government installed (mind you I don't like corrupt mafia that he has been meeting with lately). If Bush can do this with minimal innocent casualties then more power to him. Right now I cannot see how he can do this without risking lots of US casualties and creating a bloody mess, run by yet more evil men. I hope I am wrong.


-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"

I agree with the following article (none / 0) (#55)
by gr00vey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:08:36 AM EST

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=editors And no, there is no good moral justification.

Congress hasn't declared a war since WWII. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by Ruidh on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:11:45 AM EST

Given that, have any of the wars fought since then been "Just Wars"?

Probably the biggest concern is the immediacy of the threat. I don't see SH being much of a threat to even his nieghbors right now, much less the US.

If you are going to cite mistreatment of the minority Kurds as a sufficient reason for war with Iraq, then you might as well make a list of all the minority people of the world who are opressed by majorities. Start with Native Americans and the US.
 
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."

What about greater Kurdistan? [n/t] (none / 0) (#94)
by Pop Top on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:44:35 AM EST



[ Parent ]
What *about* greater Kurdisatn? (n/t) (none / 0) (#101)
by Ruidh on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:15:56 PM EST


"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]
Mistreated minorities (none / 0) (#213)
by borderline on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 04:20:06 AM EST

If you are going to cite mistreatment of the minority Kurds as a sufficient reason for war with Iraq, then you might as well make a list of all the minority people of the world who are opressed by majorities. Start with Native Americans and the US.
More relevant would be to start with the Kurds and Turkey.

[ Parent ]
Why would you assume... (none / 0) (#244)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:23:14 PM EST

...that you are privvy to the immediacy of the threat? In any event, the morality of an invasion on Iraq is utterly irrelevant, since this would be a war to take control over Iraq's natural resources. If any justification needs to be made, let it be made in secret meetings between oil execs and the Defense Dept. Those are the people with a long-term vision that will keep Americans powerful. The negative effects on Iraq's local population (and the world at large) will remain to be seen. It's quite possible that Iraqis (with the exception of Saddam and the Republican Guard) will come out of this in better shape than ever before. Think about it.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Not again (4.16 / 6) (#57)
by myshka on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:11:58 AM EST

Why is it that we have to go looking for ethic justifications for decisions that are not made with ethics in mind? Arguing whether Saddam should be deposed because of his malevolence or his country's research into weapons of mass destruction is about as productive as taking a step back and asking What would Brian Boitano do?

It may be more productive to consider the kind of geopolitical factors that have pushed nations into conflict since the beginning of history, factors that seldom involve morality, ethics or Brian Boitano. Such a line of thought would simply consider Iraq's geographic location, the country's natural resources and the benefits that would accrue to the state that lays a successful claim on that key piece of Gulf real estate.

Geographically, a successful invasion of Iraq would put US troops on the borders of two of the most overtly anti-American countries in the region - Syria and, of particular significance, Iran. Iraq has an abundance of fairly modern military installations built with Soviet and Western assistance in the past thirty years, good roads and communications. With minimal work, forces currently present in Saudi Arabia and constrained by the House of Saud's opposition to their presence in the rapidly destabilizing country could be moved to Iraq, thereby easing the tense American dependence on Saudi Arabia as a key "ally" in the region. The Saudis would thus find themselves in the unenviable position of having spurned the United States without much of a strategic advantage going for them.

In addition, access to Iraqi oil reserves probably ranks slightly higher on the administration's list of "good reasons to remove Saddam" than the gassing of some hapless mountain villagers fifteen years ago. Here again exists an opportunity to marginalize the increasingly anti-American Saudi Arabia, as well as securing a voice for US interests in the OPEC, minimizing the energy threat from other Gulf states. Beyond oil, vast economic opportunities for American companies would appear under a new Iraqi government, with contracts for improving every aspect of the Iraqi state - from oil refineries to civil aviation - flowing into American hands.

Incidentally, it is in this last point that I believe we should look for the roots of European opposition to the coming war in Iraq. Morally challenged as European wavering might look in American eyes, there simply is nothing for Europe to gain from Saddam's removal. If anything, any economic links that currently exist between the EU and Baghdad will become irrelevant, replaced by a realignment of the new American vassal with the interests of its puppet masters in Washington. Russia finds itself in the same boat, with the hopes of Iraq's repaying the multi-billion debt dating back to the Soviet days waning as the war and its all but certain outcome draws closer.

And ethic justifications? Well, whatever it takes to get the job done one way or another, depending on which side of the Atlantic you're reading this from.

Straws or camels? (2.50 / 2) (#58)
by dinotrac on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:12:29 AM EST

The notion of a "just war" always sends a shiver down my spine, as all wars have at their inception some grave injustice, whether the start of war itself or the acts and events that provoked the war.

I'm left floundering with Iraq.  There's a lot of "it seems right" to eliminate Hussein, not so much that's concrete.

I'm not too bothered about the lack of allied support.  Allied support is a good and desirable thing, but not essential.  We must determine for ourselves whether war is justifiable.  That is both a right and responsibility of sovereignty.

And our allies are not universally against war.  Israel, the ally most directly threatened by Iraq and by any action we might take (don't forget: Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel during the Persion Gulf War) will be firmly on our side.

I am bothered by the lack of concrete information that Iraq poses a genuine threat of action against the US.  As Al-Qaeda proved on 9/11, genuine threats don't always announce themselves and strike up the band. The question (that I certainly cannot answer) is what level of evidence do we need to satisfy ourselves?

So far, we have not gone to war when Saddam kicked out the weapons inspectors, an action that violated post-war agreements.
So far, we have not gone to war when Iraqi ground forces have fired on planes patrolling the no-fly zone, another condition of the post-war cease fire.
So far, we have not gone to war while Saddam allowed his people to starve in the face of legally imposed UN sanctions, or (as some have reported) diverted humanitarian aid.
So far, we have not gone to war while Saddam has violently repressed certain elements of his population.

We have quite a laundry list of things that have not been sufficient to provoke war -- or, at least, were not sufficient to provoke the previous administration to war.

I hope that we do not adapt a "straw that broke the camel's back" philosophy.  Iraq very clearly is a dangerous regime.  We do not need any evidence of that.  To wage war, however, we need some real evidence (even circumstantial) that Iraq poses a danger of action (not merely talk or desire) that will threaten our interests.

The evidence may already exist, waiting for the appropriate time to be presented.  For all we know, Abu Nidal's remarkable shoot-himself, then shoot- himself-again-and-again suicide may have been part of an effort to "shred" evidence.  As always, time will tell.


Al Qaeda came out of nowhere? (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by streetlawyer on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:23:47 AM EST

As Al-Qaeda proved on 9/11, genuine threats don't always announce themselves and strike up the band.

Other than by attacking the exact same target five years earlier?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Not out of nowhere, but not with heralds either (none / 0) (#175)
by dinotrac on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:34:38 PM EST

>Other than by attacking the exact same target >five years earlier?

First, the earlier attack was nearly nine years earlier and it was not credited to Al-Qaeda, though lots of evidence of Al-Qaeda ties have certainly surfaced.

If you'll recall, there were many who at least claimed that Al Qaeda was not involved with 9/11, or, at the very least, that we had not made a convincing case.

I have a question:

Has Al-Qaeda ever publicly claimed credit for 9/11, for the Nigerian Embassy bombing, for the Cole bombing, or, for that matter, anything?

[ Parent ]

Points of contention (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by Wah on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:21:35 AM EST

So far, we have not gone to war when Iraqi ground forces have fired on planes patrolling the no-fly zone, another condition of the post-war cease fire.

Umm, "patrolling" doesn't normally involve bombing.

So far, we have not gone to war while Saddam allowed his people to starve in the face of legally imposed UN sanctions, or (as some have reported) diverted humanitarian aid.

"In September 1998, Denis Halliday head of the UN humanitarian programme in Iraq resigned claiming he could no longer administer 'an immoral and illegal' policy. His successor, Hans von Sponeck also later resigned, along with the head of the World Food Programme."

So far, we have not gone to war while Saddam has violently repressed certain elements of his population.

Nor have we done so for any number of other regimes that repress their populations, not the least of which include the one whose population now lives in Israel.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]

Points of contention:? (none / 0) (#173)
by dinotrac on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:29:02 PM EST

> Umm, "patrolling" doesn't normally involve bombing.

Umm, depends on what you're patrolling and under what circumstances.  It is perfectly legitimate to bomb threats to your safety, particularly when they violate the terms of the agreement under which you are conducting the patrols in the first place.  This is not a boy scout camp and these conditions did not come about because that nice Mr. Saddam invited us all over for dinner.

>Nor have we done so for any number of other regimes

No, really? Sigh. Did you read my post or simply skim along for words you don't like?  The context should make clear that we have not, to date, considered that to be sufficient justification for war.

[ Parent ]

Small point (4.66 / 3) (#59)
by tzanger on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:14:34 AM EST

Technologically and militarily, the United States is second to none in the world, on a scale where Iraq barely rates.

While I do not doubt the technological advantage the United States has it hasn't exactly helped them find Bin Laden, now has it? The war with the Taleban and Afghanistan is not something I would call a success. It's kind of like using a cannon to swat a fly, turning your house into rubble and the damned thing is still buzzing around you.

I imagine that the Taleban and Afghanistan rate even lower than Hussein and Iraq in terms of technology and military.

This whole "We will root out Bin Laden...er Hussein" thing is silly. (Someone posted a comic about this exact switcheroo in a previous article.) The U.S. couldn't find Bin Laden but by gum they've got to do something so they'll go after Hussein now, especially since George W's daddy couldn't oust him back in the '90s with their superior tech and military.



Al-Qaeda is history (2.00 / 1) (#87)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:10:26 AM EST

They're minus most of their members, and have lost their training camps. No one can find their leader, probably 'cause he's buried under several tons of rubble. They succeeded in destroying two US buildings, but failed to even dent the country as a whole. They aren't completely dead yet, but it's only a matter of time.

We could have ousted him back in the 90's, after we routed his forces. We chose not to do so for what we believed were valid geopolitical reasons. Oops.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
History? (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by Kropotnik on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:09:43 PM EST

Funny, thats not what your defense secretary thinks! http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/07/31/al.qaeda.super.cells/index.html

[ Parent ]
No longer a single working organization (none / 0) (#118)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:14:29 PM EST

Just a bunch of nuts working unconnected. What, you were under the impression that the US would single-handedly stop the entire concept of terrorism by attacking Al-Qaeda?



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Are they any less dangerous? (none / 0) (#167)
by flimflam on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:35:05 PM EST

I think the whole point is that conceptually you can't really have any effect on terrorism through conventional military means.



-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]

Not a bad argument, just irrelevant. (none / 0) (#102)
by DingBat1 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:21:54 PM EST


Your argument isn't bad, but what does it have to do with Iraq?

AFAIK, the americans don't plan on looking for Bin Laden in Iraq, they plan on defeating the country's military and overthrowing the government. If Saddam want's to do a "Bin Laden" and go hide out in caves, the end result will still be the same.

I agree that any linkage between Bin Laden and Iraq is silly. The decision to attack Iraq should be made as if 9/11 never happened. At the same time, please don't compare the hunt for one man to a conventional operation to defeat a nation/government.

/bruce


[ Parent ]

Reasons that do not make sense (4.00 / 10) (#60)
by des mots on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:20:00 AM EST

Well formatted story. But it is difficult to discuss it with such an immoral use of the "just" word. A few comments and questions:
Criterion 1: Does the invasion of Iraq have a just cause?
Reasons to say "Yes": [...] His crimes against the Kurds and his aggressions upon Kuwait are sufficient reasons to believe that he is a threat to his neighbours.
But now his neighbours (except maybe Kuwait, didn't check) do not want a war. There is a contradiction => This theory is not valid, why did you expose it?
Reasons to say "Yes": [...] If such a country were able to destabilize the region, the United States' interests in the region, as well as the interests of Israel, are very much imperilled.
How could it be a just cause? Justice has to be universal, not only for US or Israel. This reason looks totally immoral to me (and I guess to the rest of the world), I hope it is a misunderstanding.
Criterion 2: Is the war being declared by a proper authority?
Reasons to say "Yes": The American Congress, the only government body that can declare war, can be held accountable by its population, therefore it is a proper authority to declare such a war. No other consideration really needs to be made.
This war would occur in a country near mine, and the proper authority would be far away, representing no one in the region involved? How could people of the US have authority on middle-east? This argument is built as if it were a national event, which it is not at all. Why are your "no" reasons only about the US?

I could see an authority if the US were directly threatened. But Irak is not a credible threat, as you pointed.

Criterion 5: Will the ends be proportional to the means used?
Furthermore, if the last three major American conflicts are any measure, there should be very few American casualties. The prospect of a new militarily-aligned nation in the region with access to large quantities of oil would be a very valuable by-product.
This is a totally immoral end. Personnaly I am totally disgusted to see it in a discussion related to the "just" word. Note that it is not a personnal attack. What disgusts me is the newspeak language.

Why do you only write about civilian Irakis in the No reasons? Counting only American soldiers and Irakis civilian implies that Irakis soldiers do not count.

The amount of damage that the United States will inflict upon Iraq in this war will be nothing compared to the amount of damage the United States risks allowing happen to itself by doing nothing.
I think, from the number of deads in the Gulf War, that is is totally wrong. Do you have any numbers?

And it is only a very dubious risk.



not universal (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by wildmage on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:50:37 AM EST

>How could it be a just cause? Justice has to be universal, not only for US or Israel

I don't think the author was claiming a universal morality for his definition of justice. You have to consider the perspective of the person who is making the decision. The Americans.

his neighbours (except maybe Kuwait, didn't check) do not want a war.

The wants of the neighbours are only relevant in how they affect the United States. If they are not vocal enough or do not have a big enough political and economic stick to wave, there wants will be ignored.

This is a totally immoral end.

You may be right. But it only affects the US decisionmakers if the Americans can be made to feel that it is immoral. However, you are confronting a large swath of ignorance that can only be conquered by sensationalism.

Counting only American soldiers and Irakis civilian implies that Irakis soldiers do not count.

You hit the nail on the head. Iraki soldier deaths do not count except as points. The number of soldier or "enemy combatant" deaths rates the success of the mission. As long as the US follows the Geneva convention, no American cares about enemy soldier deaths.

Civilian deaths do matters though. The number of civilians killed always shows up on the news and the US military has set up a special PR branch to deflate the impact of each report.

In all honesty, if a war happens where hundreds of thousands of Iraki soldiers die, the Americans will probably look back at it 5 or 10 years afteward and feel remorse. There will be memorial sites and public apologies, and maybe some dignity medals issued to "Persian Gulf Holocaust" survivors. However, none of this has bearing on an American's deciding whether a war is "just".

-------------
Jacob Everist
Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

[ Parent ]

just or beneficial (5.00 / 1) (#128)
by des mots on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:06:25 PM EST

I don't think the author was claiming a universal morality for his definition of justice. You have to consider the perspective of the person who is making the decision. The Americans.

But in this case it would no more be about "Just War" but about "Beneficial War" (for the US, which it could be). For a war to be "just", it has to diminish the evil for humanity, not just for the decision-makers.



[ Parent ]
Impossible Definition (none / 0) (#144)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:33:27 PM EST

Different segments of humanity have very different definitions of what "evil" is therefore
your definition could never be practical.

My standard would be that in order for a war to be "just" the nation engaging in it must be seeking to protect/enforce rights that legitimately belong to it and must have exhausted all other practical avenues of resolving the issue.

WWII and the War of 1812 are good examples of "just" wars for the U.S.  A nation has a right not to have it's civilian and milltary facilities attacked (WWII) and also has a right to refuse to trade with another nation (WWII). A nation also has a right not to have it's ships stopped and boarded on the High Seas and have it's sailors/citizens impressed into service in a forgien millitary (1812).

Frankly, I don't know if I would consider the impending conflict with Iraq a "just" war, It might be...but we haven't been presented with any evidence to support that yet.  Certainly the Gulf War was a "just" war... a nation does have a right to respond to a request for aid of an ally (Kuwait) who is itself the target of agression.

Prehaps a better question to ask about the current situation in Iraq would be whether an attack was both a prudent and practical course of action and is the desired goal both achievable warrant the suffering, hardship and loss of lives it would engender?

That is one question I don't think any of us are  really in a position to judge at this point because none of us are really privy to the information on which those decisions must be based. Certainly I think, the American public will not support agression unless such information is made available.

As for the rest of the world, I really don't think it matters what they think. Those that would hate us for such an action already hate us... and will continue to do so no matter what we do. Those that would support us in such an action already support us...and likely would not change thier position regardless of our decision on this situation.

As far as support for U.S. actions among middle eastern nations.... I really don't think we aught to be looking for guidence on ethics to nations who would sentence authors to death simply for expressing opinions that were critical of the Koran (Salmon Rushdi).

We may have our flaws...and we certainly have made mistakes in the past but in the grand scheme of things we're far more respectfull of the rights of people and nations then most of the other governments of the World.... perhaps THAT is something which detracters of the U.S. might want to keep in mind. If WE were just like Saddam, this discussion wouldn't be happening because most of you would have been executed for expressing opinions critical of the government.

[ Parent ]

Common evil (none / 0) (#168)
by des mots on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:42:19 PM EST

Different segments of humanity have very different definitions of what "evil" is therefore your definition could never be practical.

Well, same applies for persons, and there is a good (at least practical) solution called democracy. For nations there is the UN. For the practically of it I am not sure, but it is at least a starting point.

Also, when you write about the rights of a nation, this is 'international law', which legitimacy comes from the fact that most (all?) nations agreed to it. So some common notion of evil is used.

And for the definition of evil, they are not different enough to have no common ground. Fear (death) is univeral. Sexual appetite (life) is universal. To starve, to be ill, cold... it applies to all human beings (even if in American movies arab soldiers are killed like dogs.)

Also, most of us have a christian background. Middle-east has a muslim one. This is a huge common base.

And war causes all of these basic evil. War is considered evil by all victims (not dictators or CNN watchers) of it.

As for the rest of the world, I really don't think it matters what they think. Those that would hate us for such an action already hate us... and will continue to do so no matter what we do.

Of course for extremists like Bin Laden it is too late. But for people in general, public opinion changes. Of course it would require quite a major political change, like abandoning military bases, dropping ruthless dictators, giving official excuses... Not going to happen soon, first of all because most arab countries are ruled by horrible dictators, have poor education...

Those that would support us in such an action already support us...and likely would not change thier position regardless of our decision on this situation.

In fact even UK is not really supporting you. European in general do not like wars, not at all, (they almost self-destructed in WWII). And they do not like people making wars (being in Bosnia, Tchechnia or Iraq...) I agree it does not make a policy. But the US will not be appreciated for this war.

we certainly have made mistakes in the past but in the grand scheme of things we're far more respectfull of the rights of people and nations then most of the other governments of the World....

Very true. It think this why you have been helped to get the Bomb before the nazis...

If WE were just like Saddam, this discussion wouldn't be happening because most of you would have been executed for expressing opinions critical of the government.

You are missing the point. Many people have been executed for expressing opinions critical to the governments you helped or even created: Chile, Argentina, Haiti and... Saddam?

The point is that you are very respectful in your country (good point), you are even respectful in other countries (extra-bonus point), but you are heavily sponsoring horrible governments. And you are still doing it (failed putch in Venezuela).



[ Parent ]
A few points (none / 0) (#241)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 11:40:32 AM EST

Some interesting points but I think you also miss a few things. Allow me to point out a few important distinctions that you might be missing.

1)
"Well, same applies for persons, and there is a good (at least practical) solution called democracy....."

This a common misconception that many people in the world have about the U.S.  The U.S. is NOT a democracy nor do most americans find the idea of a pure democracy very attractive. We are a Constitutional Republic with a Bill of Rights that guaranties individuals certain protections despite what the will of the majority might be.

Pure democracies are every bit as capable of horrible excess as totalitarian dictators are. Just witness the actions of the Paris mob during the French Revolution. Remember that Hitler was ELECTED to office in Germany and enjoyed vast popularity even during the darkest days of the 3rd Reich.

This prehaps explains a great deal of trepidation toward the U.N. among the U.S. It is generaly seen as little more as a "Mob of Nations" among U.S. citizens.

At least within the U.S. laws are made by individuals with very similar backgrounds. Really how similar are the backgrounds/world view of people in the U.S., Iran, Congo, Nepal, etc? How could you possibly hope to form a common agreement of ethics and morality among such a diverse group?

Part of the U.S. distrust of the U.N. is the evidence that countries within in tend to only act in regard to thier own selfish interests without any regard for those of other nations. Partly it resides from the knowledge that while all countries are given a voice in the U.N.... very few countries (mostly the U.S.) will be called upon to provide the vast majority of the resources to solve problems.

Partly you might even chalk it upto the frontier experience which instilled a great value for individualism among the American character.

The bottom line is that most Americans view the U.N. as nothing more then an unruly mob of self-interested nations who use the U.N. only as a vehicle for thier own selfish purposes and want to be able to tell us what to do but don't want to actualy shoulder any of the responsibilty for doing it themselves. Most of us would consider ourselves better off without the U.N.

2)
" And war causes all of these basic evil. War is considered evil by all victims (not dictators or CNN watchers) of it."

Almost all americans consider war as evil too. Remember that America is no stranger to war, even on it's own soil. The bloodiest war America was ever involved in was fought on it's own soil .. the American Civil War.

Americans are no more eager to see thier sons and daughters perish in forgien lands then anyone else. Over the years we have lost far too many of our finest people to such endevours.

However, Americans do realize that war is sometimes an unavoidable evil. A diplomatic solution is always prefered but sometimes diplomacy cannot prevail and in such situations it is better to act decisively when conditions are in ones favor rather then to draw things out in a futile effort and give ones enemy more time to prepare. Nazi Germany was a prime example of this.... the policy of Appeasment only served to make the war much more horrible and costly when it did occur.

I think Saddam Hussien is not such a disimilar example. It seems very clear to me that the only thing he understands and respects is raw naked millitary force. Diplomacy with him will achieve nothing if it is not backed up with a credible threat of force. This does not mean that we neccesarly have to use force to achieve a resolution but it does mean that we have to be prepared to use force if neccesary... and Saddam has to believe that we will do so or nothing will hold him in check.

3)
"but you are heavily sponsoring horrible governments. And you are still doing it (failed putch in Venezuela)."

I agree that we have been guilty of this in the past (U.S. Fruit Co.) along with the other great powers. I've heard alot of talk about our doing so currently... but I haven't seen much credible evidence presented to support those contentions.

I'll tell you something which you might not be aware of, the American people really don't like it when our government goes around mucking with other peoples governments for no good cause, and it's still the American people that put our politicians in power.

Look at all the flak caused by the Iran/Contra affair back in the 80's.... and that was a deal that was brokered to get our citizens out of captivity. If you really do have hard, credible evidence of our supporting people that we shouldn't be, then make your case to the american people about it.

But you have to have evidence and you have to make your case using unbiased objective news sources. Alot of the press sources that these sorts of stories come out in are known to have thier own bias and agenda... and have not been above distorting the facts to support that agenda in the past.

If you want people to take allegations seriously then you have to use unimpeachable sources.

[ Parent ]

RE: A few points (none / 0) (#249)
by des mots on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:05:52 PM EST

The U.S. is NOT a democracy nor do most americans find the idea of a pure democracy very attractive. We are a Constitutional Republic []

In fact I was using a loose definition of democracy, the free world, you know what I mean :-)

Pure democracies are every bit as capable of horrible excess as totalitarian dictators are.

I guess by pure democracy you mean what we call in french dictature de la majorité. BTW I live in so-called "direct democracy". Could be interesting but way off topic.

The bottom line is that most Americans view the U.N. as nothing more then an unruly mob of self-interested nations who use the U.N. only as a vehicle for thier own selfish purposes and want to be able to tell us what to do but don't want to actualy shoulder any of the responsibilty for doing it themselves.

very few countries (mostly the U.S.) will be called upon to provide the vast majority of the resources to solve problems

Interestingly many nations view the UN as an ineffective administration that can only achieve something when it matches US goals (ie an extension of the US). I have not choosen my view yet.

For the resources, isn't it a percentage of the GNP or simply something like that ? Of course the US pay more than Nepal. :-) US are also well known for paying late and giving a far smaller part of GNP than Europe to development. This view seems not known in the US.

Really how similar are the backgrounds/world view of people in the U.S., Iran, Congo, Nepal, etc? How could you possibly hope to form a common agreement of ethics and morality among such a diverse group?

Hollywood movies would not be so successful if the good and the villain were identified differently in every country. :-) But my original argument was not about a universal justice system (it's already getting too similar everywhere for me). It was about the justification that interests (note, not security) of the US were imperilled. For me it is a reason for not getting involved. Your judgment cannot be impartial so you cannot do a "just" choice.

Saddam has to believe that we will do so or nothing will hold him in check.

I am no specialist of Saddam. We hear a lot about Saddam, but I have never found something clear. And when I do not understand, my propaganda bell rings. Very loudly in this case. So I use my common sense.

Israel is the big owner of WMD in the region. The US are the biggest owner of weapons (and maybe WMD?) Saddam as always attacked weak neighbors (random Scuds during Gulf War do not count). Saddam is evil. Saddam wants power. If war were a good response to the middle-east security problem, then I guess most neighbors (they are not allied, except maybe Jordania) would be for it. They are not.

When Saddam took Koweit, I think, at least as viewed from Europe, he broke a taboo. This is why a majority was against him. But if the US take Iraq, the same taboo would be broken again. This is why a majority is against it.



[ Parent ]
Support (none / 0) (#250)
by des mots on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:51:46 PM EST

If you really do have hard, credible evidence of our supporting people that we shouldn't be, then make your case to the american people about it. But you have to have evidence and you have to make your case using unbiased objective news sources

For the Venezuela coup it was just a little bit too short (1 day !) for heavy support (like sending troops) and horrible government (like killing the arrested officials). For the source I'll use your own government, I don't think it is biased against itself.:-)

To compare with total official bullshit like Just look for "Venezuela coup" in Google for context.

[ Parent ]
What exactly is this supposed to show? (none / 0) (#262)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:52:23 PM EST

I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to show?

That a coup occured in Venezuela when conflict occured between 2 rival political factions in Venezuela? No arguement there.

That our government officialy recognized a new government which we fealt was freindlier to U.S. interests. I can't see anything to particularly fault there.....heck it looks like we even sought some international agreement about whether the new government was legitimate or not.... one of the links you cited was a JOINT statement issued by the U.S. & Spain.

What happaned when the coup tried to go too far, was overthrown and Chavez was restored? Did the us mobilize the 101st Air Assualt Brig. and send it in... did we fly combat sorties with F16's? We could have... we didn't, it appeared that we let the people of Venezuela try to decide what thier legitimate government should be, what exactly is wrong with that?

It appears to me that the people of Venezuela still haven't decided what thier legitimate government should be - http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0617/p07s01-woam.html

The only thing that I've seen involving any illicit U.S. involvement in the coup were unsubstantiated rumors and inuendo by press who were known previously to have anti-american bias, stating that the ousting of Chavez was in U.S. interests.

Yes it was in U.S. interests, so is getting plenty of rain in Iowa... that doesn't mean the CIA has any control over making it rain. Things can happen that benefit U.S. interests all on thier own you know.

If you contend that the U.S. orchestrated the coup... where is the hard evidence?

[ Parent ]

numbers in the gulf war (none / 0) (#97)
by thunder lightning man on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:08:32 PM EST

i might be a little off, but i heard that the number of iraki casualties in the gulf war was close to 200,000
enjoy
[ Parent ]
re: (none / 0) (#149)
by marc987 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:15:58 PM EST

Anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 .

[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#151)
by marc987 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:23:12 PM EST

1,000,000

[ Parent ]
Justice has to be universal? (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:43:45 PM EST

Ummm. Given differing definitions of what is moral and just amongst various cultures, there ican be no such thing as 'universal' justice.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Same criteria to judge US & Iraq (none / 0) (#133)
by des mots on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:26:14 PM EST

Ummm. Given differing definitions of what is moral and just amongst various cultures, there ican be no such thing as 'universal' justice.

No, but I think that basis that are not universal leads real fast into inconsitencies. I think about basis like 'everyone come to world with same rights'.

Whith this simple basis I can write that I prefer 9 killed babies to 10 killed babies => I prefer 9 killed American babies to 10 killed Iraqi babies; or 9 killed Iraqi babies to 10 killed American babies.

What I also mean by universal is that I judge (or at least try to) Americans (people, leaders, policy...) with the same criteria than Iraqis.



[ Parent ]
We're fine, under the UN (3.66 / 6) (#61)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:23:37 AM EST

We adhere to those treaties we sign and ratify. We ignore those we don't. We signed the Geneva conventions (Most of them) but they don't address causes at all, just the methods of waging war.

In particular, we have permission from the UN to procede, dating from our previous mandate. The ceasefire signed requires that the Iraqis not harbor terrorists, accept UN weapons inspectors until they verified the country free of WMDs, and to cease hostilities with the UN coalition. How much clearer a mandate does one need? If the Iraqis didn't want war, they should have thought about it before firing on our planes.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
US broke the ceasefire first (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by Kropotnik on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:58:05 AM EST

Given that many of the UN weapons inspectors were CIA spies gathering intelligence to help the US with bombing and coup attempts, the Iraqis were within the terms of the ceasefire to ask them to leave.

[ Parent ]
Scott Ritter! (none / 0) (#116)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:09:35 PM EST

...and an unnamed CIA official. Brilliant. However, who broke the ceasefire is irrelevant. It just means the original war is still on. Actually, the ceasefire requires the inspections, but doesn't give any exceptions for them being spies. Therefore, Iraq would be in it's rights to eject inspectors it thought were spies, but not the inspections as a whole.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Clarification (none / 0) (#122)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:33:51 PM EST

While I think that Scott Ritter is a best a loony, and probably working for either the US or the Iraqi government (I pick former,) I don't doubt his word in this case.

Frankly, I would be angry if the US hadn't taken such steps.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Why pick on Ritter? (none / 0) (#125)
by br284 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:56:11 PM EST

Why does everyone think Ritter is looney. I read his report on Iraq. While it is hardly anything a hawk would like to read, why are both the right and left discounting him? I'm curious.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

It is so obvious (3.00 / 3) (#130)
by icastel on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:08:02 PM EST

How can you not think of anybody who tells us something we don't like as a lunatic. We all know that what we only like people who tell us what we want to hear (and only if what we want to hear is good).

Wherever you are, Ritter, don't confuse us with your damn facts!




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
No it's not (none / 0) (#132)
by br284 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:18:41 PM EST

You have failed to explain why both the right and left have it for this guy. Every comment that I've seen made about him is something along the lines that he's working for the Iraqis, or he's working for the evil US military-industrial complex. There has to be more than him just presenting facts that are contrary to what each side wants to hear.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

It Doesn't Matter ... (3.33 / 3) (#138)
by icastel on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:43:05 PM EST

... which side you're on (left or right). The explanation remains valid.


-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
Ok, I'll do a diary or article on this (none / 0) (#140)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:54:30 PM EST

I've posted several times, with links as why he's not credible, but I think it deserves a full story. I'll do one soon. It primarily centers around:

He's a former marine, who was always loyal to his country and supportive of US efforts right up until the end of inspections. Then he does a complete 180, spouts gibberish about how wonderful the Iraqi government is, and says stuff that flies in the face of what he and the other inspectors saw.

The Iraqis don't trust him either, and in fact initially refused his participation, as a spy.

He gave earlier testimony to the US senate about how dangerous the Iraq regime was and how damning the evidence he had uncovered was. He now seems to completely ignore his earlier testimony.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Looney? (none / 0) (#215)
by Kropotnik on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:08:36 AM EST

Frankly, I would be angry if the US hadn't taken such steps

Why is Ritter a lunatic for saying something you seem to find perfectly plausible?

You are correct though, the Gulf War has never really ended, US and UK have been quietly attacking Iraq ever since the supposed ceasefire. So why do they need to launch an invasion now? The only reason for this war is that it will further the interests of the Bush administration.

[ Parent ]
treaties (none / 0) (#256)
by daragh on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:58:04 AM EST

and you abandon the cornerstone treaties of international peace as they don't suit your rumbling military industrial complex any more...

No work.
[ Parent ]

What is the real reason Bush wants to declare war? (4.66 / 6) (#63)
by hugues on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:24:56 AM EST

Honestly I don't know. I don't buy the Weapons of Mass Destruction stuff. It seems to me that the only way Saddam Hussein would use these weapons (if he has indeed any) would be if his country were invaded and in the process of being routed. That would be ironic, right?

By all accounts Saddam Hussein has no connection with 9/11 other than he was probably mighty pleased.

So what is it? Is Bush trying to make war against terrorism take a more tangible aspect? Does he want to avenge his father somehow? Does he really think that going there all gung ho will solve any of the problems of the middle east?


Why do US ever go to war? (4.50 / 4) (#98)
by Kenti on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:08:58 PM EST

My guess would be the same reason as useal: to secure natural resources. Probably a result of heavy lobbying from large USA based companies.

This was the motivation for the last war on Irak,
and is partly the motivation for the war on afganistan still being fougth.

Evidence for this, like all other far fetched conspirracy theorys and the like, is hard if not impossible to get hold of as it is not likely to be publicly released.

--
just my to shiny pieces of metal
Kenti

[ Parent ]

Precisely (3.00 / 5) (#111)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:49:55 PM EST

We went to war with Imperial Japan becasue they threatened our resources. Pearl Harbor had nothing to do with it, and may even have been faked by the Pentagon!

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Revenge against Iraq for what, though? (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by _cbj on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:46:28 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Re: Precisely... (none / 0) (#157)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:44:22 PM EST

It wasn't faked -- but notice of the impending attacks were purposely withheld from the Pearl Harbor forces, to gain support for an attack against Japan.. to launch us into a War.. for whatever reasons. Messages were intercepted, but not delivered.

Here's some info:
[ http://www.independent.org/tii/news/011203Stinnett.html ]

[ http://www.independent.org/tii/news/001207Stinnett.html ]

[ http://www.disinfo.com/pages/article/id1488/pg3/ ]

[ http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j052101.html ]



~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
It does? (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by Peaker on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:31:37 PM EST

It seems to me that the only way Saddam Hussein would use these weapons (if he has indeed any) would be if his country were invaded and in the process of being routed.

It does?

Then why did Saddam use it on his own people?

What about the several other occasions he has used it in?

[ Parent ]

More questions (none / 0) (#177)
by felixrayman on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 06:48:29 PM EST

Why did the United States continue supporting him after he did it?

Why is it suddenly an important enough reason to start a war of aggression when during the time it was happening we did nothing about it?

Specifically, from a summary of a NY Times article:

"The United States gave Iraq important intelligence assistance during its war against Iran in the late 1980s, even though Washington was aware of Baghdad's plans to deploy chemical weapons against the enemy"

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Irrelevent, Irrelevent (none / 0) (#184)
by Peaker on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:16:35 PM EST

The first question is simply irrelevant and is basically the adminstration's concerns. If we have been wrong in the past, it has nothing to do about the decision whether to start a war now.

The second question and quote's answer is the same, and additionally the common answer of "Our enemy's enemy is our friend" which was the tactic taken there and with the Taliban.
That makes someone your temporary friend but should not stop you from attacking him later if due reasons exist.

[ Parent ]

Re: It does? (none / 0) (#225)
by nhl on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:54:00 PM EST

Then why did Saddam use it on his own people?

He didn't, as Saddam is not a Kurd. While I do not approve of the usage of any weapons of massdestruction (or even the development and storage of them), it is not like Hussein woke up one early morning and in a sudden act of lunasy decided to slaughter a random bunch of people.

The Kurds are having a tough time, both in Iraq and in Turkey. For some reason, the US isn't at all interrested in the Kurd situation in Turkey, which makes the "he uses weapons of mass destruction against his own people" argument a bit shallow to say the least. There have been civil unrest and civil wars in most countries that exist, and especially the middle east is renowned for its tribal wars, and very few leaders in troubled nations have no blood on their hands.

A part of modern warfare seems to be to portrait the enemy head of state as a muderous lunatic who wants to destroy the world. Everything bad in the enemy country is automatically assumed to be the fault of the head of state. Hence we hear how "Saddam has killed his own people" when the orders could have come from commanders way below him in the chain of command. Is G.W. Bush also personally responsible for bombs that miss their targets in Afghanistan and hence a madman?

The irony of the situation is that we have a poor country in which millions are starving. They are led by a dictator who, despite over ten years of heavy sanctions, dares to laugh at the face of the US. He dares to defy the no-fly zones (which have never been approved by the UN, but is something implemented by a few of the allied forces of the Gulf War). And that is what eats and angers the American public and government.

Flamebait: Naturally, such blasphemy against the mightiest nation in the world can not be tolerated and myst be handled by removing the "insane dictator who slaughters his people and is no doubt about to start shooting missiles against Washington" from power! Atleast, let's us not listen to what he is saying about the starving children and the injustice against the Palestines. He is a lunatic after all...

[ Parent ]
my theory (5.00 / 4) (#136)
by Stretch on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:36:01 PM EST

The way I see it, Bush is in a win/win situation. He goes to war, he gets his second term which he so desperately wants. If he doesn't go to war, he still earns the vote of plenty of moderates who like him just because he plays hardball. Obviously the latter is the weaker position for him politically (especially if congress denies his bid for war-which won't happen-if there is a vote it will be an overwhelming yes). But if he was "sitting on his hands" right now the Democrats would be all over him for the little progress on the "War on Terrorism." As long as Iraq is on the front page Bin Laden/Al Qaeda, Palestine, etc are not (which also, short term help Republicans this November) Of course people Americans historically don't vote for the their president on foriegn affairs. Lets see where the economy is in 2003-2004.

[ Parent ]
grr, post != preview *NT* (none / 0) (#137)
by Stretch on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:41:51 PM EST



[ Parent ]
election implications of Gulf War Redux (5.00 / 2) (#181)
by felixrayman on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:07:34 PM EST

I disagree. The last Gulf War didn't help Bush Sr. win reelection, it helped get him booted out of office. Even with Kuwait footing part of the bill the war was extremely expensive, it was one of the reasons Bush Sr. had to raise taxes. It helped throw the country into a recession, which was what got Clinton elected.

Another Gulf War would have an even worse effect on the economy. This time, Arab states won't be footing 2/3rds of the bill. If you are going to remove Saddam, you are going to have to fight a longer war, you are going to have to have troops on the ground doing house to house urban fighting, you are going to have to do it without as many friendly bases in the region, and you are going to have to stay there in force for years after the war. These things cost money ( and we are ignoring predictions like the ones in the news today about $40 a barrel oil prices in the event of another Gulf War ) so Bush Jr. will have two choices: raise taxes ( not likely to happen, he'll definitely lose the 2004 election if he does ) or raise deficits ( interest rates skyrocket, inflation returns, the stock market falls, he'll probably lose the 2004 election ).

What he's probably looking for now is some way to oust Saddam cheaply - assassination or a Special Forces operation. The real failure here is the message the Administration's indecision is sending to the rest of the world - there is a new position on Iraq almost daily and that makes Bush Jr. look incompetent.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
You disagree? (4.00 / 1) (#188)
by Stretch on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:59:02 PM EST

The way I see it, we are in agreement, though I think the end game will be lots of weapons inspectors and total Iraqi compliance with the UN and not an assassination (too much uncertainty w/o troops on the ground). However, if Iraqi links to Al Quaida are actually found the then eminent war (in mid-2003) will deflect enough of the domestic woes (namely the economy) to get Bush Jr. re-elected. Welcome to post-9/11 politics. My point after all of this? Bush may be serious in his desire to remove Hussain (who doesn't want him gone?) but Iraq is never-the-less a short term political gain and will probably be forgotten about after November as long as the UN inspectors go back in. PS: I don't think Bush has been changing his Iraq policy as frequently as you suggest. I think he spoke up about Iraq too soon and was betting some real evidence linking Hussian to Al Quaida would materialize.. which still hasn't happened. His vague comments are the problem and that is only because he buying time for the economy to recover and evidence to appear. Lets call Gulf War II "Plan B".

[ Parent ]
"Just War" theory (4.80 / 5) (#65)
by Irobot on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:29:00 AM EST

The "Just War" argument is a special branch of military philosophy and ethics geared towards determining whether or not it is justifiable for one nation to declare war upon another.
For clarity - the "Just War" theory is a Christian doctrine spawned by St. Augustine. For more information, check this site.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn

Additional material (none / 0) (#217)
by pel on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:55:41 AM EST

An additional, not quite comprehensive, yet thorough take on the Catholic Church's stance on Just War can be found here.

- pel

[ Parent ]

just war theory, realism, pacifism (none / 0) (#232)
by illaqueate on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:18:44 AM EST

From the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy: war

[ Parent ]
just leave me alone (3.66 / 6) (#71)
by turmeric on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 09:54:16 AM EST

go kill yourself, dont expect everyone else to go along with you.

PS. please stop giving weapons and money to insane dictators. I call this the 'just stop it' theory.

I can see the ads now (5.00 / 3) (#80)
by speek on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:49:04 AM EST

Bomber pilot flies his plane over Bagdad(sp?). His finger hovers over the "drop bombs now" button. But visions of dead Iraqi children loom in his mind. He pulls his finger off the button and flies away. We get a brief glimpse of his Nike shoes.

.
.
.
The words "Just Stop It" appear on a black screen above a Nike logo.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

This is a thinly veilled troll (1.41 / 12) (#77)
by ganglian on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:26:10 AM EST

Bent at subtley stating that war against Iraq is unjust. Following the events of 9/11 we should have mobilized the armed forces to wartime capacity and overrun every halfassed hotbed of terrorist sentiment and would some meaning to some of you whiney hippy varmints
You heard me.
And you aren't? (3.33 / 3) (#105)
by Genady on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:34:33 PM EST

I agree that this write up is by someone oppened to War trying to play both sides. It doesn't work well. However, calling for heads on pikes doesn't help either.

This attitude has bothered me, and continues to bother me. Mindless violence such as you propose doesn't resolve anything outside of the movies. Bush doesn't want to garrison the world. Things sure have worked out for the better in Afghanistan haven't they? We went in, created a power vaccumm and now there's anarchy, ripe ground for more terrorists. God Bless the Brits for understanding about peace keeping.

I'm really truely sorry that the problems our country has made for itself can't be solved by Sylvester Stalone in 114 minutes, but such is the world we live in.

The other thing that your forget, and that I CAN NOT excuse is forgetting that Whiney Hippy Varmints have about a 50/50 chance of being Vietnam Vets, and they have a valid point.

The Gulf war was a very bad thing for the United States. It's given us a teen agers perspective on invulnerability.

--
Turtles all the way down.
[ Parent ]

Self-destruction (none / 0) (#135)
by des mots on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:33:30 PM EST

Following the events of 9/11 we should have mobilized the armed forces to wartime capacity and overrun every halfassed hotbed of terrorist sentiment

Remember Anthrax?

Calling for self-destruction?



[ Parent ]
Nice subject line... (none / 0) (#142)
by Eater on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:59:34 PM EST

I don't mean to cry troll, but that subject line really describes your post VERY nicely.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
What about other just wars? (4.75 / 4) (#79)
by daragh on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:47:21 AM EST

There are plenty of situations in the world where you could fight a just war to sort out some madman. Just look at every other continent in the world, there's crazy shit going on all over the place. Dictators are cruel to their citizens, rule number one in the dictator handbook. So I don't think that you can use this as a reason to fight a "just" war, if you are being implicitly unjust by picking out one particular dictator. Especially if that dictator happens to be sitting on top of a whole load of oil.

No work.

That's stupid (none / 0) (#85)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:03:55 AM EST

Why can't we pick him? You seem to be twisting this into somekind of obligation for us to declare war on every tin-pot dictatorship.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
A 'Just War' *is* an obligation (1.00 / 1) (#100)
by Ruidh on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:13:10 PM EST

It is a war that can not be avoided. It is a war which is morally compelled.
 
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]
No, read the definition. (none / 0) (#117)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:10:51 PM EST

Nowhere is the war required.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Why can't we pick him? (none / 0) (#147)
by marc987 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:52:02 PM EST

Isn't picking a fight, even with a bully, stupid too.

[ Parent ]
This is sad (2.00 / 10) (#81)
by hipkit on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:50:21 AM EST

As a nation we have been so quick to forget about the 3000+ people who died in New York and their families who get to watch politicians posture about what we should do or not do. I believe the terrorists count on us being divided, and they thrive on it. I think about it every day because I have a family, and I want my country to be as safe for them as it has been so far in my lifetime.

On Travesty Does Not Deserve Another (4.75 / 4) (#86)
by EXTomar on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:07:55 AM EST

No one will ever question that the lives of those 3000+ families were dealt a huge tragic blow. However running about blowing up people that oppose us without sound rationale isn't justice...that is revenge. That is what this article asks us to evaluate. Is a move against Iraq now just or vengence on a cruise missle?

As much as I want the world to be a happier place, as much as I think the world would be better off if Sadam were to fall into a deep lava pit, I don't have any illusions that killing him for the wrong reasons is a great thing.

As for being divided, of course we are. Such is the nature of an open society let alone a democracy(a system that for it to work properly one must openly question the modivation of elective officals). Why do you want a US that can't tolerate voices of dessent?



[ Parent ]
How Can We Forget? (3.50 / 4) (#127)
by icastel on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:00:10 PM EST

As a nation we have been so quick to forget about the 3000+ people who died in New York and their families who get to watch politicians posture about what we should do or not do.

How can we possibly forget? We are reminded of these people just about every day in the news, by window-mounted flags on every other car, bumper stickers, and on and on and on.

I believe the terrorists count on us being divided, and they thrive on it. I think about it every day because I have a family, and I want my country to be as safe for them as it has been so far in my lifetime.

Of course we all want a safe and nice country. I have a family, too, and what really scares me is the thought that we will invade Iraq, if we are to believe GWB. That would be the quickest way to set most of the world against us.




-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
You can count of Me! (4.00 / 2) (#165)
by jazman_777 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:22:54 PM EST

As a nation we have been so quick to forget about the 3000+ people who died in New York and their families who get to watch politicians posture about what we should do or not do. I believe the terrorists count on us being divided, and they thrive on it. I think about it every day because I have a family, and I want my country to be as safe for them as it has been so far in my lifetime.

You can count on me to stop questioning authority! I will not think anymore, I will just trust my Maximum Leaders, I'm behind them all the way, bombs away!

[ Parent ]

Let us not forget (4.00 / 1) (#230)
by 668 on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:39:38 PM EST

Thousands of people dying in Bangladeshi floods, or children dying of starvation and malnutrition in econmically sanctioned Iraq. What about the millions who died in Rwanda due to ethnic cleansing wars. Those people have been forgotten. Why should WTO be any different?

[ Parent ]
two points (2.16 / 6) (#82)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 10:56:55 AM EST

on "vietnam" comparisons. remember, "hate the war, love the american soldier", whatever action the powers-that-be decide to take.

on hussein. we knew bin laden was planning to attack the united states. there was just no opportune time to get him and thwart his plans. we know hussein is planning to attack the united states, he has stated thus on many occasions. we cannot sit and wait for an opportune time.
--
your straw man is on fire...

justification for ratings of 1 (3.00 / 2) (#129)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:06:34 PM EST

All right. Polk and Buenaventura Durruti rated the comment a "1". obviously it was a valueless troll, not on topic to the subject at hand, etc.

when you disagree, post a reply. rating a comment "1" when you disagree basically labels you a coward.

unless you honestly thought I was trolling or blatantly off-topic, then of course a "1" would be justified.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

1, It's called the damn Shift key. [n/t] (1.00 / 1) (#139)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:49:12 PM EST



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
You are so smart (none / 0) (#155)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:38:59 PM EST

Wow. If only I had known that if I would take the time to format my comments with correct capitalization, spelling, and punctuation, more people would pay attention.

pardon me if i am sparing my pinkeys. i type all day, every day, and if hitting the shift key 20 times less can be done without substantially changing the content, i will not hit the shift key. if you want to rate a comment "1" for failing to capitalize the beginning of sentences, have a good time.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Do use the Shift key (3.00 / 1) (#156)
by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:42:01 PM EST

If you look at the ratings, however, you'll see that I did not give you a 1.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
I didn't rate (1.00 / 1) (#141)
by Bob Dog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 02:55:19 PM EST

But you were posting nonsense.


[ Parent ]
nonsense? (none / 0) (#154)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:35:19 PM EST

perhaps I have trouble expressing things in the English language. to what nonsense do you refer?
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#182)
by Bob Dog on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 07:09:14 PM EST

Blindly loving soldiers is moronic.


[ Parent ]
people like you (1.00 / 1) (#204)
by Burning Straw Man on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 04:21:39 PM EST

are the reason vietnam veterans (mostly draftees) have spent most of their adult lives living in exile from american society. maybe they could have made better decisions, deciding to go to prison instead of serve their country as their president ordered. but once they are there, what is the point of hating them? hate the decision-makers that put them there.

maybe i'm just biased, my father was a vietnam draftee, and my younger brother is in the USAF, and any action in Iraq might involve his unit.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Interesting (none / 0) (#228)
by spectra72 on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 05:22:46 PM EST

Interesting that someone whose father was able to be drafted into an American war 30 years ago and whose brother was in the USAF would try to suggest that he had trouble communicating in the English language.

Is that the K5 catch-all excuse for poor posting these days?

[ Parent ]

Iraq attacking the US (none / 0) (#224)
by nhl on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:31:22 PM EST

we knew bin laden was planning to attack the united states. there was just no opportune time to get him and thwart his plans. we know hussein is planning to attack the united states, he has stated thus on many occasions. we cannot sit and wait for an opportune time

How do you know that hussein is planning to attack the united states. I would very much be interrested in seeing a single piece of evidence that claims that Hussein will attack the USA.

The only references to attacks agains the US that I have seen, have been along the line "we will defeat the US if they attack us". That would be defence, not an aggression.

Then again, I'm only a fool living in the outskirts of Europe, and not a selfproclaimed American god.

[ Parent ]
Where will it end? (5.00 / 3) (#90)
by Nimey on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:27:50 AM EST

Suppose we do invade, and that we do successfully occupy Iraq. Are we going to have another perpetual occupation of "peacekeeping" troops like in the Balkans, in South Korea, and in Afghanistan? How far can the US military be pushed until it reaches the breaking point?

On another note:

Criterion 2: Is the war being declared by a proper authority?

Reasons to say "Yes": The American Congress, the only government body that can declare war, can be held accountable by its population, therefore it is a proper authority to declare such a war. No other consideration really needs to be made

Do you really think Congress is going to have the guts to declare war? The USA hasn't had a Congressionally declared war since World War II. More than likely it will be yet another abuse of the War Powers Act, or maybe Congress will simply agree to the war without actually declaring one.
--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

Didn't you hear? (none / 0) (#150)
by Wah on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:16:10 PM EST

Are we going to have another perpetual occupation of "peacekeeping" troops like in the Balkans, in South Korea, and in Afghanistan?

We don't do "peacekeeping" any more.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]

Why would we need to keep the peace? (none / 0) (#245)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:33:17 PM EST

Are you aware that Iraqis desparately want Saddam Hussein liquidated? I think they'll be pleased as punch to see him go. I doubt it would take many Americans to keep them in line, considering what a tremendous favor America would have done them. In any event, once Unocal seizes the oil fields, it won't really matter what the dissenter Iraqis think -- they'll be even more powerless than the Republican Guard is today. As in everything else in life, it will be the opportunists in Iraq that recognize the shifting seat of power and get buddy-buddy with American oil concerns that begin to see the advantages in keeping Iraq trouble free. Another thing to keep in mind: Iraqis have proven again and again that they are all talk and no action. They just aren't playing the game at the same level as the USA. How could they? Why would they? It's only Saddam (uber-narcissist) that would engage in that sort of folly.

(Anticipating obligatory comments about American arrogance; David vs. Goliath; blah blah blah; Let's talk when you've gathered 280 million people and accomplished what America has...until then, save it for the other cafe communists).
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

Partisans (none / 0) (#282)
by Nimey on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 09:25:43 AM EST

I'd imagine we'd keep troops in Iraq because:

1) It's the thing to do when you conquer a country. Has anyone ever conquered a country and not left a garrison?

2) Partisans. There will inevitably be Iraqis who would rather have Hussein in power, whether because they like him, or hate the US.

3) Foreign powers. Unlikely, but a conquest could piss off a local country or two into invading to save the Iraqi people or somesuch.
--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]

Never Happen (2.28 / 7) (#93)
by shftleft on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:39:43 AM EST

not to mention the probability of a Vietnam-like backlash amongst civilians at home.

To quote Muhammed Ali, when speaking about his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, "ain't no Viet-Cong ever called me n----r." What I think he was trying to say is that the root identity of why we are fighting the Vietnamese was not clearly established. If the Bush Administration can do a good job of convincing the public that a war with Iraq will protect us from more attacks, then the resolve of the country will not waiver no matter how long the war is or how many causualties. Wrong or right, the 9/11 attacks created a sense of bitterness toward the Middle East for most of the American public. Wether it is justified or right or not, I know I feel a sense of hatred toward countries that I am told harbor weapons and the means to use them against US. Bottom line is that we don't want to be attacked again, and we will do whatever is within our means to defend ourselves, Iraq cannot become another Vietnam, because directly or indirectly, we've been attacked.

Bound to happen (4.66 / 3) (#108)
by Kropotnik on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:46:22 PM EST

Wether it is justified or right or not, I know I feel a sense of hatred toward countries that I am told harbor weapons and the means to use them against US

At least you can admit how easily you can be manipulated by the US govt propaganda! Fotunately, I don't think they can fool everyone quite that easily.

[ Parent ]
Not fooled.... (none / 0) (#126)
by shftleft on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 01:57:19 PM EST

These feelings come from a combination of knowledge of history, sense of pride, and possible misinformation by the government, the UN and American media.

[ Parent ]
sense of pride? (none / 0) (#214)
by Kropotnik on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 05:54:44 AM EST

When we're talking about taking the lives of innocent people, your sense of pride should not have any bearing on the situation. Why on earth would Saddam want to attack the US when he knows it would mean his speedy and certain death?

[ Parent ]
Can't comment on that.... (none / 0) (#226)
by shftleft on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 02:01:11 PM EST

Why would he use chemical weapons on his own people, why would he attack Kuwait when he knew it's allies would defend it, why would he deny U.N. inspectors the right to inspect his facilities? I don't know, I don't think anyone else would know. My guess is that he'e a crazy fucker.

[ Parent ]
Not too crazy,,, (none / 0) (#248)
by Kropotnik on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:15:43 PM EST

1. He thought the West would make a lot of noise, but do nothing. And they didn't. 2. He was under the sad misconception that he could get away with it, see 1. 3. As some the weapons inspctors were working with the CIA to help plan a coup he presumably felt he would be safer without them around. Iraq has made several offers to let the inspectors back. Saddam may be a psychopath but he's not stupid. He wouldn't have been in power for so long if his own survival was not his biggest priority, and he knows if there was the slightest suspicion he is behind an attack on the US he would be finished.

[ Parent ]
"we've been attacked" (4.75 / 4) (#112)
by faecal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:49:57 PM EST

We've been attacked...so we should declare war on Iraq, with whom 9/11 hasn't been linked? So, uh, anyone in the middle east is fair game?

I find the "He's a threat" concept to be a rather amusing illustration of the average American's belief that it is his country's destiny to dominate the world. Eliminate all threats? But, uh, lots of countries have armies, right? They're not all threats? Oh, okay, only the ones who don't like us. Is Iraq the only armed nation in the world which does not have cordial relations with the United States? Does it become legitimate for any nation to wage war against another which could potentially mount an attack against it? In 1939, the rest of Europe was a clear and present threat to Germany. Does this legitimise initialisation of conflict by Germany? Ah, but the rest of europe wasn't planning to attack Germany, they just had the capability. So do we believe that Iraq is planning to assault the United States? I've seen no evidence of that, and do not trust Bush sufficiently to assume that he has solid intelligence to the contrary.

It's natural for politicians to spin the issue in such a way to give the impression that they would attack in pre-emptive self defense. However, on k5 we might as well admit that the primary motivations for war are economic and political. Do it for the people of Iraq! To quote Bill Hicks on smart bombs..."Couldn't we conceivably use that same technology to shoot food at hungry people?" - war is an expensive way to alleviate suffering. Let's use the bomb-money to build some third-world economies or feed some southern-africans. But hey, those ways don't get us oil, do they?

[ Parent ]

Re: "we've been attacked" (2.00 / 1) (#146)
by shftleft on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 03:44:08 PM EST

I don't know where to start in responding to so many incorrect assumptions and misused analogies, but I will give it a try.

So, uh, anyone in the middle east is fair game?
No, Iraq has a long history of attacking is own people and others with weapons banned by the UN, for oil, and for coastline to build a navy.

...the average American's belief that it is his country's destiny to dominate the world.
I do not believe this.

Does it become legitimate for any nation to wage war against another which could potentially mount an attack against it?
Yes. When that threat is great enough, i.e. chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks to U.S. citizens, I believe it does.

The whole German/WWII analogy...
This comparison doesn't work with this situation, invalidated.

So do we believe that Iraq is planning to assault the United States? I've seen no evidence of that, and do not trust Bush sufficiently to assume that he has solid intelligence to the contrary.
Yes, Iraq is and has been planning an attack on the U.S. No proof needed, look at the history. Wether or not you trust Bush is irrelevant, there is a lot more to the U.S. government than the President.

It's natural for politicians to spin the issue in such a way to give the impression that they would attack in pre-emptive self defense.
Of course, thats what makes them politicians.

However, on k5 we might as well admit that the primary motivations for war are economic and political.
Only a fool would think otherwise.

Do it for the people of Iraq!
No.

war is an expensive way to alleviate suffering
Agreed, but so is using smart bombs to alleviate hunger

But hey, those ways don't get us oil, do they?
No, they don't, and most of those countries are still reeling from being colonialized by the British and French, where are they? Oh yeah, America saved them from the Nazi's and now the EU takes the moral high ground and doesn't their hands dirty.

Of course I always think I'm right - if I didn't, what would I be arguing for?
I don't know, maybe to make yourself feel smarter and listen to yourself talk?


[ Parent ]
If we're in a dissecting mood... (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by faecal on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:53:07 PM EST

Yes, Iraq is and has been planning an attack on the U.S. No proof needed, look at the history.
No proof needed? No proof needed? Listen to yourself. You want to cause mass loss of life, but you don't think you need proof?

Agreed, but so is using smart bombs to alleviate hunger
I certainly hope that you're just kidding. I was referring to the high price of modern weaponry, and the bulk of food/medicine that can be bought with the same resources that go into munitions.

America saved them from the Nazi's
Your point being...? That it's hypocritical to fail to support a war of aggression (pre-emptive or not) just because the attacker assisted us previously? If we're getting into this silly bitching, then... You didn't bloody pre-emptively attack then, did you? Had to bloody wait until somebody starting killing your guys before our suffering mattered.

Iraq has a long history of attacking is own people and others with weapons banned by the UN
Your reference mentions one incident. You consider that to be a long history? Oh, and any use against Iran doesn't count. Chemical weapons against another nation's army doesn't count as immoral, since european forces did it in the Great War, and American forces were fighting alongside us.

This comparison doesn't work with this situation
Well yes sir, if you say so. If you'd like to convince me, you need to explain. If "it doesn't work" is considered an argument these days, could we not condense your entire comment into "You're wrong"?

My point remains that Iraq is not the threat to US national security that some claim it to be, without falling back on "Our glorious leaders know things that we do not".



[ Parent ]

silly bitching continued... (none / 0) (#187)
by findelmundo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:55:23 PM EST

You didn't bloody pre-emptively attack then, did you? Had to bloody wait until somebody starting killing your guys before our suffering mattered...

Thats right. AND there was NO PROOF at the time re: camps and an extermination policy. Churchill had to beg forever before the US jumped in (with an American population which was extremely anti-war at the time). Most GIs saw camps full of starving/dying/dead jews for the first time once they were fighting IN Europe. Should they have sat at home and waited for PROOF?

Pearl Harbor was the real motivator for the American public and the president was finally able to help Churchill in an openly and outright manner. But anyway, I'm confused...are you for pre-emptive strikes or against them? Or does it depend on whom the discussion is with? When you're country is attacked will that be bloody proof? Or would you like the US to sit back and wait for itself to be directly attacked? If the UK were hit anywhere with a nuclear device of any size, but we couldn't prove exactly WHO did it, what role would the US be expected to play? (assuming that the US didn't have anything to do with it, because it IS the great Satan, you know)

[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#200)
by faecal on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 09:57:59 AM EST

I'm less for any particular course of action than I am against irrational reactionary ideas/arguments. I haven't informed myself sufficently on the subject to believe that I have a suggested course of action that I can solidly back up.

[ Parent ]
Whereas the US... (none / 0) (#233)
by Robert S Gormley on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:36:45 AM EST

... would never deign to do anything to increase its supply of black gold?

[ Parent ]
Rep. Tom DeLay (5.00 / 3) (#96)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:00:13 PM EST

I listened to his speech yesterday and based on what he said, I found there to be no substantiated reasoning to attack Iraq other than "support your president." He was totally pro-Bush and seemed as though he was trying to rally supporters rather than trying to make a case for the attack.

Personally, I'm not sure as to whether we should attack or not -- but I haven't been pushed one way or another yet by any discussions, press releases, claims, evidence (or lack thereof), or conferences.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
The default should be "no go"... (5.00 / 1) (#235)
by kcbrown on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 06:57:54 AM EST

Personally, I'm not sure as to whether we should attack or not -- but I haven't been pushed one way or another yet by any discussions, press releases, claims, evidence (or lack thereof), or conferences.
If you're not sure then your answer right now, if you were asked to make a decision, should be to not go to war.

That's because the decision to go to war is the decision to intentionally start killing people. That's what it comes down to in the end. Because of that, it seems to me that you should go to war only when you're out of other options and a lot of people will die if you don't take action. There should be no doubt of the stakes.

Seems to me that we're not even close to that point with respect to Iraq, which is a clear "no go" indicator to me.

[ Parent ]

Amen... (none / 0) (#253)
by vile on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 05:51:47 AM EST

Point Taken.... very good point.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
ot to vile: (none / 0) (#275)
by BCoates on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:02:28 AM EST

What'd I do?

--
Benjamin Coates

[ Parent ]

Real Reasons: Elections (4.57 / 7) (#103)
by Genady on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:22:18 PM EST

While I can see the logic you're taking here, this War has nothing to do really with Military/Foreign Policy issues and everything to do with domestic politics.

1. Can a war, or build up distract the US Public from domestic issues (Economy, Accounting Scandals, etc) enough to get them to back the current administration and the Republicans in the current Mid-Term Elections?

2. Can the build up and subsequent War be drawn out enough to favorably coenside with the 2004 presidential cycle?

I may just be a cynic, but if I were a betting man I'd say look for evidence of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction to leak out in the next few weeks, followed by rhetoric for a call up of reserves and deployment to the Gulf. I don't think the shooting will start before the November Elections, it would be a catastrophy for the elections if CNN started reporting on US losses. Though if they could be the correct losses with spectacular footage it might give the hawks a bounce, but that's a crap shoot.

The build up may or may not be defused, but it would make sense for a limited offensive to remove a few WMD sites, leaving plenty for the 2004 elections.

Personally I think that Bush's keepers understand that the only way that he and the Republicans can stay in power in the light of recent corporate excess is to divert attention from it. Iraq is just too good of a tool for this type of distraction to pass on.

--
Turtles all the way down.

We wouldn't remove.. (none / 0) (#161)
by vile on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:06:11 PM EST

a president that has carried us so far, and is about to carry us further.. right in the middle of staging attacks against Iraq, now would we? Good thought. Build-up is imminent.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Hey, it's just war! (2.50 / 4) (#107)
by Sacrifice on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:44:33 PM EST

Everyone take a deep breath.

Now exhale.

Speculation (2.83 / 6) (#114)
by n8f8 on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 12:58:03 PM EST

Criterion 1: Does the invasion of Iraq have a just cause?

You come to a conclusion without giving any real evidence one way or another. Since Iraq is essentially a closed country with no free press, most of the contemporary evidence we have is either classified intelligence, public statements of defectors and a few statements made in UN hearings on continuing the sanctions. You can't really learn the first, but you do have some, though limited, access to the second two. Instead you just make some off the cuff statements.

Criterion 2: Is the war being declared by a proper authority?

This one has been beaten to death. Yes, the President has the authority to start a War or any other military action. It is also true that if there is advance warning he should notify Congress. In this case, Congress is regularly briefed on what the Military is doing and why they are doing it. Congress, after all, holds the purse strings. In this case it can be argued that by not agreeing to the terms of the surrender during the Gulf War, their non-compliance is actionable. Another thing to consider is that by OBL and others declaring "war" declared on us put us in a state of war.

Criterion 3: Is the war being driven by the right intentions?

Protecting our national economic interests are just as important as out physical security interests. So there is no "clouding" except to those who aren't smart enough to determine that an attack on our economic system is just as bad as a physical attack.

Moreover, by not enforcing the terms of the original surrender, we are setting a bad precedent for future conflicts. Countries will promise anything on the battlefield then renege as soon as opposing forces have pulled out.

As far as the threat issue, you most damning evidence about Iraq is likely classified intelligence that may or may not be released to the public. In any event, those members of Congress who have access to the intelligence agree that Sadam needs to be ousted.

Criterion 4: Does the war have a reasonable chance of success?

Essentially you are trying to redefine "success". If the goal is to oust Hussein then the answer is yes. I think you fail to see the full picture of the answer of not ousting him. Will anyone ever honor terms of surrender again?

Criterion 5: Will the ends be proportional to the means used?

You really didn't address this at all. Without direct access to any military planning we have no way of knowing. But I don't even agree with the philosophy of this criterion. We have a better chance of using every advantage on the battlefield to achieve your goal.

You also make a false inference. If we choose not to attack it does nothing to prevent the backlash you discuss. It is also arguable that by showing each offender that we won't back down and that we'll pound back twice as hard that they better think twice.

It sounds really ugly, but in comparison, is Israel continues to go after family members of suicide bombers and Terrorist leaders, those terrorists are going to start thinking twice. Right now their families are rewarded for their actions.

Summary:

The jury is still out and a bunch of armchair quarterbacking and conclusions drawn from little or no research serves little purpose other than pushing an agenda.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

The lessons of Munich. . . (none / 0) (#159)
by Pop Top on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:58:17 PM EST

. . .and Versailles

Those determined to topple Saddam will sometimes make reference to the appeasement of Hitler and say we cannot allow that with Saddam. Fair enough.

However unless we reverse the USian loathing of "nation building" and commit the necessary political and financial resources to "win the peace" after we win the war then killing Saddam will remove a loathsome dictator (a good thing) but will NOT win the "War on Terror" nor make much long term progress in assuring US security.

I do very much fear that the US will eliminate a legitimate threat only to create a bigger threat because GWBush lacks the attention span and generous nature which will be needed to build a stable Iraqi society post-Saddam.

Will GWBush insist that we spend as many or more of our US tax dollars re-building Iraq as we spent destroying it?  I am not confident of that.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#195)
by influx on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 02:34:40 AM EST

I do very much fear that the US will eliminate a legitimate threat only to create a bigger threat because GWBush lacks the attention span and generous nature which will be needed to build a stable Iraqi society post-Saddam.

Right, the USA has never helped rebuild after the war. Japan, Germany, and the rest of Europe were simply left in ruins, and we all know how South Korea was left to recover with no help from the US. Or wait. Maybe America has been one of the few (the only?) country to rebuild its enemies and allies after the war ends.

So far we're doing a pretty good job in Afghanistan too (though there's a long road to go).

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]

I hope your right. . . (none / 0) (#207)
by Pop Top on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:37:26 PM EST

The Marshall Plan was a masterful political coup turning Japan and Germany from bitter enemies into some of our greatest allies.

But do you really believe GWBush intends to do the same in Iraq? Again - I hope your right but I won't hold my breath.

[ Parent ]

makes sense (none / 0) (#210)
by influx on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:16:48 AM EST

If we can expand democracy in the region, we'd then have Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey in good relations with us. GWB has also said he wants to see a Palestinian state soon, which would hopefully take away more angst in the region.

If we are going into Iraq, we better at least do it right, and for the long haul this time.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]

Dubya is not Marshall (none / 0) (#259)
by Eccles on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 01:44:46 PM EST

Right, the USA has never helped rebuild after the war.

That's not what the original poster said, they said Bush won't. And indeed, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is saying that other countries need to give more to Afghanistan, not the U.S. After all, we've already given a number of soldiers' lives, the rest of us shouldn't have to make any actual sacrifice, should we?

[ Parent ]
You forgot (none / 0) (#202)
by n8f8 on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 12:37:21 PM EST

Proportionality: A better analogy would be: I another country infected the US wheat crop with a virus that killed the plants would the US attack? Yes. Or another, If another country blockaded NY Harbor and Honk Kong Harbor would the US attack?

But my point still stands in your analogy since the US steel tarriffs lead to immediate threats and counter-tarriffs from the EU and Australia- among others. That was their proportional attack resulting from our actions.

By itelf Iraqs threatening the enegy suppy is troublesome. Add ot that past incedents and a refusal to adhere to the terms of cessation you have something larger.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]

Back To Speculation (none / 0) (#222)
by n8f8 on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:25:14 AM EST

You have no idea what information the US has on Iraq since you aren't likely privyt to the intelligence. Also, I would consider anyone who kills his siblings and children a "fanatical lunatic" or a "serial killer".

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Threatening the energysupply (none / 0) (#223)
by nhl on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:15:21 PM EST

Regardless, it is _their_ energy supply and _their_ oil. Not US property, even tho the US would really like to think that it is. Just as no country has the right to declare war on the US for stoping to manufacture cars or aircrafts, it certainly doesn't give the US any moral right to attack Iraq just because they threaten to turn off the oil supply. Besides, it's not even like the US is importing oil from Iraq directly (atleast any significant amounts).

[ Parent ]
Is this "war just" or is it just war. (3.50 / 2) (#153)
by madgeo on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 04:30:28 PM EST

Military people hate the term "police action" but as a metaphor it does have a function. Pacifists will often cry "Peace, peace" and say there is no reason for war, but the fact remains, there are bad forces in the world and sometimes those forces are national.

Sometimes nations have to "police" other nations using military force. Especially when bad guys send out bands of terrorists, SS, kamikazi, or maybe Spetznaz.

the definition of "good" (none / 0) (#220)
by F a l c o n on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:09:46 AM EST

Of course, your whole point falls with the silent assumption it makes: That not only there is an absolute "good", and not only can we know it, but we actually do.
The obvious problem with that is in plain sight: The US say they're the good guys, and Saddam is evil. Most of the near-east considers the US a satanic nation and as close to pure evil as they come.
Of course, both sides also consider themselves right.

I'm fairly sure that both Saddam and Bush would nod to your point. Except that in the back of their mind they draw opposite conclusions (Bush: Nuke Bagdad. Saddam: Nuke Washington).

--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]

Absolute good is relative.... (none / 0) (#247)
by madgeo on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:58:54 PM EST

I do not, nor do I care, whether good is "absolute" in this case. Good is always relative when it comes to large groups of people (read: nations). Many people (mostly left- wingers) do not get that.

However, you can do an analysis of who does the right thing by their own citizens and the citizen's of other countries Let's try a few examples, shall we?

U.S. has an immigration rate inferior to virtually no one. People must like what we stand for.

Iraq has gassed its own citizens fairly recently.

Iraq invaded a peaceful neighbor, just because. I can't recall Mexico or Canada filing grievances lately over our invasion and rape of its citizens.

U.S. government is "by the people"

Iraq is by the whim of a dictator

and on and on....

Now if you are so-inclined, I'm sure you can point to the great evils the U.S. has done over history, and there are some. Everyone makes mistakes. The question is, taken in the whole, LATELY what nations have their proverbial "hearts in the right place", more or less. U.S., Canada, Britain, many other European nations, Japan, and so on come to my mind.

I am comfortable with them "policing" the bad guys into oblivion if necessary.

[ Parent ]

Left wingers? (none / 0) (#261)
by x3nophil3 on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 04:32:52 PM EST

Er, aren't postmodernism and postsructuralism both uber-left-wing 'cultural theories'?

I believe both are predicated on the idea that absolute truth doesn't tangibly exist, much less absolute good.

Traditional moral views, the notion of a 'good' or 'evil' defined by religious or moral authority are usually associated with he right. The left are the 'religion os the opiate fo the masses' type, right?

Cheers,
~x

[ Parent ]

In my experience... (none / 0) (#263)
by madgeo on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 08:10:47 PM EST

serious left wingers (at least in the U.S.) typically think that the U.S., for example, is practically evil. What I was proposing is that their comparison of say the U.S. to some idealized vision of what the U.S. can be is ludicrous. It is only relative to other countries/groups of people that a determination of good/bad can be compared, not some ideal state.

They probably need to read more Keirkegard or something.

Cheers backatya.

[ Parent ]

ethical reasons for war? bah! (4.33 / 3) (#170)
by bobzibub on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 05:53:28 PM EST

The criteria mentioned above are those based on a granularity of boulders.  The justifications for war are based upon the wellbeing of states and not individuals which comprise them.  I submit that this is invalid, because individuals are the correct unit to decide whether a war is just because while states may grow or subside--it is the individuals that truly suffer.

A utilitarian might say that initiating a war would be just if it improves the expected wellbeing of a group of people more than the expected wellbeing of others is harmed.  An expected "net benefit".  Given that many of those who's well being will be harmed will be dead, I don't think many wars could be justified using "ethical wrappers".

Also, the expected cost of war has a near 1.0 probability of killing, where Hussain's expected probability of harming others is somewhat lower.  (Though by no means negligible)  

In any event, no government uses ethics to justify a war to themselves.  Governments use a cold cost/benefit analysis with political, military, and economic variables.  Only after that decision is made, will politicians will trot out the "ethical" reasons for our consumption, but please remember that the whole framework is clearly bogus, and specifically designed to sway your opinion to their favour.

cheers,
-b


Your point confuses me (4.00 / 1) (#209)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 11:31:06 PM EST

Governments use a cold cost/benefit analysis with political, military, and economic variables.
And how are these factors exclusive of ethical reasoning? Especially if we adopt some variant of utilitarianism then political, military and economic varibles do need to be considered as part of the ethical backdrop of the question.

I also think that you underestimate politicians. It seems to me that John McCain's rabid post 9/11 stance was largely due to his understanding of ethics. I also doubt that George W. Bush's use of the term 'axis of evil' was not heart-felt.



[ Parent ]

Good point..but (none / 0) (#211)
by bobzibub on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 01:00:15 AM EST

There is a major difference, between how a politician and an impartial, utilitarian observer would weigh a war.  The simple difference is: who's utility they are considering.

If there is an ethical justification for warfare, my proof would demand that the utility of all parties be considered, not simply mine and that of  those who may vote for me.

If Hussein is evil because he is blatently ambivalent to the wellbeing of those who do not support him, we ought to have a better standard that which does not make us evil too.

And war is a very blunt instrument to use against one individual.  I would be very saddened if many Iraqis and Americans are killed simply to rid the world of Hussein.  

Cheers,
-b

PS.  I respect McCain, he would have been a very good president...

[ Parent ]

Didn't we learn the last time? (4.20 / 5) (#186)
by Anko on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 08:44:10 PM EST

Sorry if this is mostly for the US people here but I wish to raise two points that I have not heard nearly enough in this debate. The U.S. has considered itself to be morally superior to both the Old and the 3rd world, don't deny it. It is an old theme from both isolationist and interventionist times. It's probably a main reason they dislike us so. But our leaders have never been so bold as to create doctrines like 'Preemption' as the current ones have and the U.S has always taken the first blow before coming out swinging in a war. At least in appearance. Not to say that many of these first blows were not manufactured to justify U.S entry into a conflict, for example the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Or we were the victims in a dastardly attack, which we may have known about in advance, like Pearl Harbor. The U.S. has never struck first, it is against our self-assumed nature. The most powerful nation on Earth attacking a country like Iraq without that moral certainty makes us out as the biggest bully on the playground. Assume the war happens. Then what? Generals have already said we would need to occupy Iraq for 18 months to 20 years! I am old enough to remember the last long war, Vietnam, with the body count on the evening news each night like a sports score. Are we prepared to lose 3 - 5 soldiers a day on average indefinitely? Thats not hard for an intransigent enemy to accomplish. e.g. Chechnya. What will happen here? Polls already indicate 1 in 3 in the U.S opposed to it with fully half opposed if the U.S takes casualties. And are we prepared to go through the internal political turmoil again. Vietnam almost split this country violently apart, for example Chicago in 1968. Remember, that year even the Republican ran as a "Peace" candidate. And the incumbent president was so destroyed by the war he "choose not to run for re-election". I truly don't want to hear Don Rumsfeld say "We had to destroy Bagdad in order to save it".

Aggressor decides what is "just"? (4.00 / 5) (#192)
by aralin on Fri Aug 23, 2002 at 11:10:06 PM EST

Come on! This sounds exactly like the "Holy" wars led by vatican. What makes is just? And to who you need to justify your actions? To yourself? Yes, its only to its own citizens that USA needs to justify its actions. I hate the cold war style of brainwashing going on in US because its way worse than any style of propaganda ever seen. US leaders can do ANYTHING as long as they manage to present it to people as them being the "good guys". As long as they can keep this label, they are happy. This is the worst damage that has been done to this nation ever. I'm really sorry for the poor citizens of United States of America.

It is (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by linca on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:18:13 AM EST

These criteria for deciding wether a war is just were invented by St. Augustine of the Catholic church, and hage been used ever since for crusades and others, by the pope.

[ Parent ]
props (none / 0) (#219)
by F a l c o n on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:04:39 AM EST

so what you're saying is that they're just age-old propaganda instruments that everyone and his dog has been bending to support their actions ever since?

I'm pretty sure by those vague standards (and let's face it, Mr. Augustine was famous for vagueness) I could justify any war as a just one.

--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]

Yes and no... (4.00 / 1) (#221)
by linca on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:57:07 AM EST

The big advantage of the standards is that for Augustine the "proper authority" came from God through the pope ; so that any war the later disapproved could not be "Just". A good way of ensuring superioty of the spiritual...

[ Parent ]
God decides what is Just and Morally Licit (none / 0) (#216)
by pel on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:40:34 AM EST

You're warping the conditions for Just War described above in a needlessly inflammatory way. Nothing described in the parent article indicates that Just Cause is determined solely at the whim of the aggressor. Most people interpret God to be the determiner of what is morally licit and just, as the cause for Just War must be dictated by the universally objective source of morality and justice.

The "aggressor" terminology is really a misnomer, anyway, as a nation invoking Just War should be playing the role of a defender, and not an aggressor - either defender of their own people or defender of a people who are militarily unable to defend theirselves.

If you have a beef with United States or the Vatican and particular actions on their part, state them separately. Please do not mix your opposition to the Just War doctrine with your opposition to particular actions of nations unless there is a good reason to do so.

- pel

[ Parent ]

Think consequences (4.20 / 5) (#197)
by kaltan on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:23:22 AM EST

The US fighting a war in the middle east ?

Think 10~20 years of guaranteed terrorist retaliation for the US and it's allies!

Terrorist action is still a counteraction, you have to motivate people to kill themselves. Killing their families is a good start.

No wonder no one supports it outside the US



allowing it encourages it more than anything (none / 0) (#287)
by jeaok on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:24:58 PM EST

Your misconception is that you think Americans need to give terrorists a reason to "retaliate". Terrorism is not counteraction. It has been guaranteed to occur for many centuries. Terrorists simply despise freedom: they hate Americans for who they are and what they represent, and they would go to any length to destroy them, NO MATTER WHAT AMERICANS DO OR DON'T DO. There will always be Islamic fundamentalists willing to give their lives to kill Americans, because they sadly believe they will become martyrs for doing so and that they will live on in eternal bliss. The only hope we have of reducing terrorism is by letting the world know that Americans are good people, and by helping them to discover how good their lives can be if they incorporate a little bit of the modern world into their lives. It is a step-by-step process, and what better way to start helping the situation than by removing a terrorist leader from power and changing the regime to a democracy? This is a war on terrorism, not on a country. I mentioned the fact that there have been haters for many centuries...but there is a country today with the power to slowly but surely rid the world of terrorism after several hundred years, and we have a president with the courage to defend its people's freedom.

[ Parent ]
Distraction (2.00 / 1) (#201)
by epcraig on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:43:54 AM EST

At a time when Osama Bin Laden lives in low-tech luxury somewhere in the Hindu Kush, why are we settling old scores with Saddam Hussein?


There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

10% of known world oil reserves... (n/t) (none / 0) (#234)
by taiwanjohn on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 05:41:38 AM EST



[ Parent ]
proper authority (5.00 / 4) (#205)
by ooch on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:03:17 PM EST

From my onderstanding in international Law the only body which has the authority to declare war, is the Security Council, or the General Assembly. Any country which goes to war without permission by the UN, does so illegally, and hence not on proper authority.Since the chances of the UN voting for an invasion of Iraq are exactly nil, point two fails.

The UN could vote to attack Iraq, but any criteria used, would automatically mean war would have to be declared on half the planet. Ignoring UN resolutions? Half the world does that, Israel is a good example. Having a dictatorship? The whole middle-east is a dictatorship, even the American president wasnt elected by popular vote. Posessing chemical weapons? So does america, russia, china, western-europe, and probably a whole host of other countries. Having used weapons of mass destruction? Think of Hiroshima. Having invaded a foreign country? Think of Panama, Kosovo, the list goes on.

A just war would have to be fought on principle. And principles apply to everybody; to your enemy as much as to your self. At least, if one does not want to become a hypocrite. The US cannot wage a war on Iraq on principle, simply because al of Iraq's evils are the be found in the US itself.

moral ground (none / 0) (#206)
by greywolf on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:43:24 PM EST

I couldn't have said it better myself. However, you are overlooking one crucial factor: America's arrogance. I really think that america would dare to invade Iraq without the UN's blessing. Because, no matter what they might say now, no (western) country would dare go aginst america. They might threaten this and that if america proceeds, but in the end they would be forced to back down for their own economic and political good. I totally agree with you on the hypocricy of the situation but to the american public, the only real people who have any possible influence on the decision for or against war, america stands on such high moral ground, it is practically in orbit.

[ Parent ]
Your understanding is flawed (none / 0) (#231)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 09:13:21 PM EST

The UN is not the only body that may legally declare war.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Is Operation Iraqi Freedom a "Just" War? (none / 0) (#288)
by Seamus Warren on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:34:35 PM EST

Let's start with an examination of what a "just war" means. I'll shameless pull a dictionary definition, as that's the easiest place to start: - Honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions: a just ruler. - Consistent with what is morally right; righteous: a just cause. - Properly due or merited: just deserts. - Law. Valid within the law; lawful: just claims. - Suitable or proper in nature; fitting: a just touch of solemnity. - Based on fact or sound reason; well-founded: a just appraisal. We can dismiss the first, as the US is anything but honourable and fair. Were they honourable and fair, they wouldn't have left the Iraqis to be slaughtered after the previous Gulf War and they'd be fighting using the weaponry as the Iraqi military (as that would be an "honourable and fair" way of doing battle - technological superiority is anything but fair). The fifth also doesn't really apply in this context. The second, third, fourth, and sixth may still apply under the context of the war. To prove that it's a just war, you need to show all of the following: - that the US is doing what is morally right; - that the war is "proper"; - that the war is lawful; and - that the war is based on sound reason. I say all of the following, as we're not talking about something as trivial as a jaywalker here. We're talking about what is arguably the most serious action in humanity. As such, the standards should be higher than anything else. I could have used the following definition: Conforming or conformable to rectitude or justice; not doing wrong to any; violating no right or obligation; upright; righteous; honest; true; -- said both of persons and things. But, that immediately means that the war isn't just. There is demonstrable evidence that US has not been honest in its reporting on the evidence found and it has clearly violated both rights and obligations within the context of aftermath of the previous war (as that is directly related to the people) and this one (through violating the right to life of civilians). So, we'll stick with the first set of definitions, as it give you more room to move. We'll look at them each in turn. That the war is morally right. Interestingly, one of the definitions for "morally right" is that it's based on a strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence. Under that definition, the war is moral. However, that immediately implies that detaining people without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is morally correct, which is a clear contradiction to what is perceived as being "morally right" in our culture. As such, we must either conclude that we use higher standards than "morally right" (and thus we must use those standards), or that that definition cannot apply under the context within which we're dealing. Any other conclusion leads to a contradiction. So, we can discount that one. So, let's turn to the philosophers, as it is they who are normally concerned with matters such as these. To determine whether a particular action is "moral", we need to have a look at normative ethics. We could use the golden rule, but that would immediately preclude your argument, as we should only be able to invade Iraq if we're willing to allow Iraq to invade us. That's clearly not the case. So, let's try another avenue. We have a choice of three: - Virtue theory; - Deontological theory; and - Consequentialist theory. Virtue theory, while interesting, is accepted as being too simplistic. It's based on strong rules that we apparently must learn - namely, wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. The theories of Aristotle and Plato, while interesting, unfortunately don't scale well to nations. If we have a look at deontological theory, Locke would say that we've already voilated our ethical position through killing people without just cause. A "pre-emptive defence" is immoral, as it deprives people of their god-given right to life. If they had actively attacked us first, such an action may be considered moral, depending on the circumstances. However, it cannot be considered moral if they have not attacked first. End of story. Kant's categorical imperative may offer another path to morality. To be moral, we must treat people as an end, not as a means to an end. Taking the Iraqi's oil and using it to cover the costs of the war violates that principle, as is using the invasion of Iraq to create new commercial markets. The actions of the US would be moral if, after defeating Iraq, they handed over all control to the UN and stepped out completely (including opening up Iraq to full competition for services). There is still a chance they may demonstrate their morality here, but it's highly unlikely, especially given the recent debate in Congress about which US mobile phone network to install. So, that's another one down. Ross's prima facie duties are also violated, as one core condition for them is that we have a duty to compensate people when we harm them. Again, taking oil from them to compensate us for the cost of the war is in direct violation of that. You could argue that the oil is to be used to rebuild Iraq, but there are other problems. There is also a duty to for nonmaleficence, whcih the pre-emptive defence also violates. Consequentialism will be dealt with in the next post, but so far, there is no evidence that this war is "morally right". Philosophy, which is the only mechanism for determining whether something is moral or not, suggests very strongly that the war is immoral. Consequentialism is your strongest hope, as it is strongly the domain of the conservative and economist. Consequentialism states that actions are moral if the results of the action are more favourable than unfavourable. We've got three choices here: - Ethical egoism; - Ethical altruism; - Utilitarianism. Ethical egoism would require that you be better off for the war. Given that middle east sentiment against the US increasing (and to some extent by proxy Australia too) and that the a downturn in the US economy is likely to increase the probablity of you facing unemployment, you have to conclude that you're worse off for the war. All of the benefits from the war (oil, contracts, etc) will flow to the US, not Australia. It is therefore unethical for us to be involved in the war. Ethical altruism would require that everyone be better off after the war. That's everyone in Australia, everyone in Iraq, and everyone in the US. It requires you to put everyone else ahead of you. Again, the population of Australia is no better off, and we've increased the probability of both a recession and retaliatory terrorist attacks. So, that one's out too. Utilitarianism has some fundamental flaws in it, but we'll ignore them for the time being. Broadly, however, the same arguments as above apply with regards to us. So, the war is still unethical. Social contract theory falls down as well, as we've violated our agreement with other sovereign nations by invading a country without UN approval. So, it's still unethical. Therefore, at this stage I don't need to go any further. The theories of Betham, Locke, Plato, Artisotle, Hobbes, and Kant would all suggest that this war is immoral, and as such, is impossible to be just. I'll happily address the other points if you can show evidence that this war is "moral". I've only knocked down the first of four so far. However, the burden of proof is higher than just "we're liberating people" - that examines only a small part of the whole picture and is akin to putting blinders on. If you feel the need to continue this, please explain why a particular action is moral and how you came to that conclusion. Morality is a tricky thing, and I'd suggest using the thoughts of those smarter than either you or I to build your arguments, as anything we come up with, they're likely to have already considered. The third and the fourth points are probably the easiest hinge points. I shall say no more on this, however, for fear of giving you something to divert this discussion.

[ Parent ]
Kurdistan (5.00 / 1) (#208)
by Pop Top on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:40:15 PM EST

"If you are going to cite mistreatment of the minority Kurds as a sufficient reason for war with Iraq, then you might as well. . ."

promise them their own country?

Turky and the Kurds (none / 0) (#238)
by drquick on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:43:08 AM EST

The Kurds have often been mentioned as a possible Fifth Column in Iraq. There are a few problems with adding the Kurds to an alliance that includes Turkey.

It should be well know that GWB senior betrayed the Kurds in the Gulf War by encouraging them to rebellion while watching Saddam's Elite Guard smashing that rebellion. So, its understandable if the Kurds are a bit cautious to trust America this time. Their personal experience with America is well remembered.

The USA really needs Turkish support for the war now that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait seem unlikely supporters. Turkey and Israel remain the only regional supporters of the USA. Turkey has however, refused to support a war against Iraq unless the USA guarantees there will be no independent Kurdish state as a result of the war. Their agenda of persecution of Kurds find an opportunity in this Second Gulf War. That makes the Kurds even more reluctant to fight for the USA. What is their incentive?

If the USA is going to support Turkey there will be hell for the Kurds both in Turkey and in Iraq. Turkey will no doubt grab the opportunity to solve their "ethnic problem" with the Kurds, relentlessly as they have in the past. Some links:



[ Parent ]
everyone's here to argue (none / 0) (#237)
by Shren on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 08:15:55 AM EST

This article really proves that everyone is only here to argue. Everybody picks the side that they disagree with, pretends that it's the only thing the author said, then proceed to argue that side into the ground.

Funny, in a way.

Success may not be so easy (none / 0) (#252)
by iidkyimys on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:23:57 AM EST

If and when we do go after Saddam it is going to be bloody. America is great when it comes to fighting in the open. Our cruise missle are free to roam until they fond their target, pilots can make out targets easier. That all fine and dandy if it stays in the desert. However, if we are to take out Saddam, we are going to have to go into Bagdad. The Iraqi army will fight like never before if that happens. Civilans will take up arms to in order to protect the city. America's (modern)military is not used to urban warfare. Look at Mogadeshu. How bad did we get our asses kicked there? Are we willing to have that happen here? Bush is looking to remove Saddam in order to get a 'friendly' leader in place. Then we can get all the low cost oil we want. After all, big oil is who pulls the Bushs (Daddy and Baby both) strings.

Mogadishu (none / 0) (#279)
by NFW on Thu Aug 29, 2002 at 02:32:11 PM EST

Look at Mogadeshu. How bad did we get our asses kicked there?

IIRC, estimates of Somali casualties range from 400 to 1200, with 1000 being the most common figure. American casualties numbered about 19. On the mission everyone talks about - the only mission anyone seems to remember - we went in to kidnap a couple of opposition leaders, and we accomplished that objective.

So, we had a 50:1 kill ratio and the mission was accomplished. You tell me, how bad did we get our asses kicked?

There's also the fact that the soldiers went in without the armor they had requested shortly before the mission, and a couple of people in the chain of command that denied that request ended up losing their jobs over the decision. I think it's safe to assume that the military learned a couple things as a result: going into a heavily armed urban area without armer gets soldiers killed, causes embarassing enemy casualties (1000 dead is nothing to be proud of, even if 99% are dead enemy soldiers), and it causes desk jockeys to lose their jobs.

On the one hand, the mission was successful. On the other hand, I think we'll do much better next time.

On the other hand - and getting back to the real topic here - I really hope we arrange for Saddam to be taken out from the inside, at most. The more involved we get, the more risks we face in the future. Overt war would, I think, suck hard for many reasons, most of which are listed in the article above. On the other hand, if we can arm a few locals and let them stage a successful revolt - and there's surely no shortage of motivation on their part - I think we'll be a lot better off. Saddam is an Iraqi problem and he should be dealt with by Iraqis, even if they have to fire American bullets.


--
Got birds?


[ Parent ]

A scenario I find plausible (none / 0) (#283)
by drquick on Fri Aug 30, 2002 at 10:46:16 AM EST

I found an article on counterpunch that I think describes a very palusible scenario regarding a war against Iraq.

Read and enjoy!

A "Just War"? :o) (none / 0) (#289)
by Seamus Warren on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:43:12 PM EST

Hello forum, :o)

Let's start with an examination of what a "just war" means. I'll shameless pull a dictionary definition, as that's the easiest place to start:

  • Honorable and fair in one's dealings and actions: a just ruler.
  • Consistent with what is morally right; righteous: a just cause.
  • Properly due or merited: just deserts.
  • Law. Valid within the law; lawful: just claims.
  • Suitable or proper in nature; fitting: a just touch of solemnity.
  • Based on fact or sound reason; well-founded: a just appraisal.
We can dismiss the first, as the US is anything but honourable and fair. Were they honourable and fair, they wouldn't have left the Iraqis to be slaughtered after the previous Gulf War and they'd be fighting using the weaponry as the Iraqi military (as that would be an "honourable and fair" way of doing battle - technological superiority is anything but fair). The fifth also doesn't really apply in this context.

The second, third, fourth, and sixth may still apply under the context of the war. To prove that it's a just war, you need to show all of the following:

  • that the US is doing what is morally right;
  • that the war is "proper";
  • that the war is lawful; and
  • that the war is based on sound reason.
I say all of the following, as we're not talking about something as trivial as a jaywalker here. We're talking about what is arguably the most serious action in humanity. As such, the standards should be higher than anything else.

I could have used the following definition:

Conforming or conformable to rectitude or justice; not doing wrong to any; violating no right or obligation; upright; righteous; honest; true; -- said both of persons and things.

But, that immediately means that the war isn't just. There is demonstrable evidence that US has not been honest in its reporting on the evidence found and it has clearly violated both rights and obligations within the context of aftermath of the previous war (as that is directly related to the people) and this one (through violating the right to life of civilians). So, we'll stick with the first set of definitions, as it give you more room to move.

We'll look at them each in turn.

That the war is morally right.

Interestingly, one of the definitions for "morally right" is that it's based on a strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence. Under that definition, the war is moral. However, that immediately implies that detaining people without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is morally correct, which is a clear contradiction to what is perceived as being "morally right" in our culture. As such, we must either conclude that we use higher standards than "morally right" (and thus we must use those standards), or that that definition cannot apply under the context within which we're dealing. Any other conclusion leads to a contradiction. So, we can discount that one.

So, let's turn to the philosophers, as it is they who are normally concerned with matters such as these. To determine whether a particular action is "moral", we need to have a look at normative ethics. We could use the golden rule, but that would immediately preclude your argument, as we should only be able to invade Iraq if we're willing to allow Iraq to invade us. That's clearly not the case. So, let's try another avenue.

We have a choice of three:

  • Virtue theory;
  • Deontological theory; and
  • Consequentialist theory.
Virtue theory, while interesting, is accepted as being too simplistic. It's based on strong rules that we apparently must learn - namely, wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. The theories of Aristotle and Plato, while interesting, unfortunately don't scale well to nations.

If we have a look at deontological theory, Locke would say that we've already voilated our ethical position through killing people without just cause. A "pre-emptive defence" is immoral, as it deprives people of their god-given right to life. If they had actively attacked us first, such an action may be considered moral, depending on the circumstances. However, it cannot be considered moral if they have not attacked first. End of story.

Kant's categorical imperative may offer another path to morality. To be moral, we must treat people as an end, not as a means to an end. Taking the Iraqi's oil and using it to cover the costs of the war violates that principle, as is using the invasion of Iraq to create new commercial markets. The actions of the US would be moral if, after defeating Iraq, they handed over all control to the UN and stepped out completely (including opening up Iraq to full competition for services). There is still a chance they may demonstrate their morality here, but it's highly unlikely, especially given the recent debate in Congress about which US mobile phone network to install. So, that's another one down.

Ross's prima facie duties are also violated, as one core condition for them is that we have a duty to compensate people when we harm them. Again, taking oil from them to compensate us for the cost of the war is in direct violation of that. You could argue that the oil is to be used to rebuild Iraq, but there are other problems. There is also a duty to for nonmaleficence, whcih the pre-emptive defence also violates.

Consequentialism will be dealt with in the next post, but so far, there is no evidence that this war is "morally right". Philosophy, which is the only mechanism for determining whether something is moral or not, suggests very strongly that the war is immoral.

Consequentialism is your strongest hope, as it is strongly the domain of the conservative and economist. Consequentialism states that actions are moral if the results of the action are more favourable than unfavourable. We've got three choices here:

  • Ethical egoism;
  • Ethical altruism;
  • Utilitarianism.
Ethical egoism would require that you be better off for the war. Given that middle east sentiment against the US increasing (and to some extent by proxy Australia too) and that the a downturn in the US economy is likely to increase the probablity of you facing unemployment, you have to conclude that you're worse off for the war. All of the benefits from the war (oil, contracts, etc) will flow to the US, not Australia. It is therefore unethical for us to be involved in the war.

Ethical altruism would require that everyone be better off after the war. That's everyone in Australia, everyone in Iraq, and everyone in the US. It requires you to put everyone else ahead of you. Again, the population of Australia is no better off, and we've increased the probability of both a recession and retaliatory terrorist attacks. So, that one's out too.

Utilitarianism has some fundamental flaws in it, but we'll ignore them for the time being. Broadly, however, the same arguments as above apply with regards to us. So, the war is still unethical.

Social contract theory falls down as well, as we've violated our agreement with other sovereign nations by invading a country without UN approval. So, it's still unethical.

Therefore, at this stage I don't need to go any further. The theories of Betham, Locke, Plato, Artisotle, Hobbes, and Kant would all suggest that this war is immoral, and as such, is impossible to be just.

I'll happily address the other points if you can show evidence that this war is "moral". I've only knocked down the first of four so far. However, the burden of proof is higher than just "we're liberating people" - that examines only a small part of the whole picture and is akin to putting blinders on. If you feel the need to continue this, please explain why a particular action is moral and how you came to that conclusion. Morality is a tricky thing, and I'd suggest using the thoughts of those smarter than either you or I to build your arguments, as anything we come up with, they're likely to have already considered. The third and the fourth points are probably the easiest hinge points. I shall say no more on this, however, for fear of giving you something to divert this discussion.

Thank you. :o)

Making the "Just War" argument for Iraq | 289 comments (264 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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