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Davian93
03-09-2015, 05:03 PM
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/republican-senators-iran-open-letter-nuclear-agreement-115888.html

What a joke by a large majority of our GOP Senate contingent. At least 7 of them had the decency not to sign this piece of garbage letter that utterly embarrasses them and us as a country in its complete illustration of our dysfunction politically.

Politics are supposed to end at the water and yet we now have a GOP that is constantly undermining the sitting President by first inviting Bibi to speak in a blatant attempt to undermine nuclear talks between us and Iran and now this "open letter" to Iran published for the world to see.

Way to completely undermine any potential at a lasting peace, dumbasses, that's quite statesmanlike of all of you.

Kimon
03-09-2015, 05:17 PM
This comment by Lindsey Graham is also pretty embarrassing...

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/234993-gop-sen-iran-worse-than-isis

These fools do realize that Israel isn't part of the United States, right? They certainly seem to offer Israel more say in policy than actual parts of the country - like DC.

The only thing that bothers me about the potential of Iran getting the bomb is the probability of a cascading effect throughout the Middle East. We should just sign off on a deal with Iran, and if Israel is unwilling to be a part of the international community, perhaps it's time we finally tell them that they're on their own.

Davian93
03-09-2015, 05:20 PM
This comment by Lindsey Graham is also pretty embarrassing...

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/234993-gop-sen-iran-worse-than-isis

These fools do realize that Israel isn't part of the United States, right? They certainly seem to offer Israel more say in public policy than actual parts of the country - like DC.

The only thing that bothers me about the potential of Iran getting the bomb is the probability of a cascading effect throughout the MIddle East. We should just sign off on a deal with Iran, and if Israel is unwilling to be a part of the international community, perhaps it's time we finally tell them that they're on there own.

If anything, it might stabilize the region. Israel having the bomb for the past 40 years hasn't exactly been awful and they've been far more belligerent than any other power in the region. Iran having it too would balance things out. Besides, despite Bibi's warnings, Iran has been "a couple years away" from getting the bomb for the past 30 years now.

Our ass-kissing of Israel over the past several decades is a joke and it needs to stop.

Kimon
03-09-2015, 05:24 PM
If anything, it might stabilize the region. Israel having the bomb for the past 40 years hasn't exactly been awful and they've been far more belligerent than any other power in the region. Iran having it too would balance things out. Besides, despite Bibi's warnings, Iran has been "a couple years away" from getting the bomb for the past 30 years now.

Our ass-kissing of Israel over the past several decades is a joke and it needs to stop.

I was thinking about Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Iran with a bomb worries me far less than Pakistan already having one. Certainly if they do get one, Iran is far less likely to ever use it than Pakistan.

I completely agree on your last point though. My patience with Israel is gone.

Davian93
03-09-2015, 05:26 PM
Iran of course reacted to the letter...From the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/10/world/asia/white-house-faults-gop-senators-letter-to-irans-leaders.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0):

ran reacted with scorn to the letter, saying it would have no impact on the talks and suggesting that the authors were the ones who did not understand the American system of government in which the president conducts foreign policy.

"In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy," Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said. "It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history."

Mr. Zarif added that a change in administration would not relieve the United States of its obligations under any agreement. "I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with 'the stroke of a pen,' as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law," he said.

So basically, even Iran thinks the GOP is full of idiots.

Terez
03-09-2015, 06:38 PM
Good luck on Israel. Today's Real Christians are convinced that we have to protect Israel because Armageddon is coming and it's in the Bible.

Even Mossad has determined that Iran is not actually building a bomb, but what does Netanyahu care? His speech on Iran was eerily similar to his speech about Saddam's WMDs.

Our main concern should be the potential for nuclear weapons to get into the hands of non-state actors. States won't use them because they fear retaliation. Non-state actors have no address and thus no compunctions about using them. In that sense, both Pakistan and Iran are concerns. But Pakistan actually has nuclear weapons.

This is yet another reason to invest in clean energy research; if no one wants nuclear power then no one will have an excuse to enrich uranium.

Davian93
03-09-2015, 07:06 PM
Good luck on Israel. Today's Real Christians are convinced that we have to protect Israel because Armageddon is coming and it's in the Bible.

Yeah, I know...which is why the Right has such a constant hard-on for all things Israel. Let's just ignore all the human rights violations and virtual apartheid state they've created because we need them for Jesus to come back.

Kimon
03-09-2015, 07:59 PM
Good luck on Israel. Today's Real Christians are convinced that we have to protect Israel because Armageddon is coming and it's in the Bible.



Just about every generation has been convinced that that myth will be fulfilled in their lifetime, you'd think that at some point they'd realize that the author of Revelations was just schizophrenic. Is it too much to wish that we be less crazy than the religious nuts that we are fighting?

Terez
03-09-2015, 08:37 PM
Just about every generation has been convinced that that myth will be fulfilled in their lifetime...
Even the Jerusalem Church believed that, and the verses saying as much have since been taken as somehow allegorical.

ALLEGORICAL

Davian93
03-09-2015, 08:45 PM
Just about every generation has been convinced that that myth will be fulfilled in their lifetime, you'd think that at some point they'd realize that the author of Revelations was just schizophrenic. Is it too much to wish that we be less crazy than the religious nuts that we are fighting?

Sadly yes...as the American Taliban is showing us every single day.

Nazbaque
03-10-2015, 12:13 AM
These people really believe that fighting evil is the same as good, don't they. But at best that stops evil. Yet good is not the same as lack of evil. Evil may be defined as a hinderance of good, but good can never be defined through evil. A claim of fighting for good is only legitimate if one can define the good and the threat to it, but even then the act of protecting good is secondary to the good itself.

So what is the good these people think they are trying to protect?

Ozymandias
03-10-2015, 06:30 PM
The only thing that bothers me about the potential of Iran getting the bomb is the probability of a cascading effect throughout the Middle East. We should just sign off on a deal with Iran, and if Israel is unwilling to be a part of the international community, perhaps it's time we finally tell them that they're on their own.

The ayatollahs ruling Iran have shown in the past a casual, negligent disregard for human life which is consistent with the ideals of Islam, that martyrdom is a goal to strive for. I find it extremely bothersome that a bunch of people who are still living in the Bronze Age, from a philosophical point of view, and who revere death as a desirable outcome might be in possession of a weapon that could conceivably end the human race.

Kimon
03-10-2015, 07:35 PM
The ayatollahs ruling Iran have shown in the past a casual, negligent disregard for human life which is consistent with the ideals of Islam, that martyrdom is a goal to strive for. I find it extremely bothersome that a bunch of people who are still living in the Bronze Age, from a philosophical point of view, and who revere death as a desirable outcome might be in possession of a weapon that could conceivably end the human race.

It's easy to point to their support of Hezbollah and the PLO, but let's be blunt. If this situation results down the road in war, who really has done more to put us there? Iran, or Israel?

Hopefully you see that as a rhetorical question too, as it sure as hell should be.

GonzoTheGreat
03-11-2015, 05:09 AM
The ayatollahs ruling Iran have shown in the past a casual, negligent disregard for human life which is consistent with the ideals of Islam, that martyrdom is a goal to strive for. I find it extremely bothersome that a bunch of people who are still living in the Bronze Age, from a philosophical point of view, and who revere death as a desirable outcome might be in possession of a weapon that could conceivably end the human race.
Yet despite that, Pakistan (which supported the Taliban and thus Al Qaeda during the whole War On Terror and long before that) was and still is a supposed ally over whose nuclear weapons our governments don't make much of a problem.

But, as you point out, the people who were willing to suffer huge casualties in order to fight against Saddam when he invaded are considered a huge threat.
Even though they have very consistently said that their faith (which supposedly is what makes them so "unreasonable") prohibits them from having nuclear weapons.

Terez
03-11-2015, 05:23 AM
Besides, the whole point of these talks is to establish oversight for Iran's nuclear program in exchange for making the sanctions go away, which is a win-win for us because the sanctions hurt the mostly innocent people of Iran more than anyone else. The GOP seems to take the talks as implicit permission for Iran to build a bomb, but it's such a weak concern in light of the fact that Iran's nuclear program will continue without the talks...and without oversight. The only alternative is invading Iran, which the GOP is gung-ho to do.

GonzoTheGreat
03-11-2015, 05:31 AM
Besides, the whole point of these talks is to establish oversight for Iran's nuclear program in exchange for making the sanctions go away, which is a win-win for us because the sanctions hurt the mostly innocent people of Iran more than anyone else. The GOP seems to take the talks as implicit permission for Iran to build a bomb, but it's such a weak concern in light of the fact that Iran's nuclear program will continue without the talks...and without oversight. The only alternative is invading Iran, which the GOP is gung-ho to do.
Maybe Obama should openly start preparing for that, by reintroducing the draft in order to have the army needed for such an operation. Then the Republican led Congress will have to choose: either support the draft (which will cost them their re-elections, something Obama doesn't have to worry about) or oppose an invasion of Iran.

Nazbaque
03-11-2015, 06:05 AM
Maybe Obama should openly start preparing for that, by reintroducing the draft in order to have the army needed for such an operation. Then the Republican led Congress will have to choose: either support the draft (which will cost them their re-elections, something Obama doesn't have to worry about) or oppose an invasion of Iran.

Could the congressmen themselves be drafted? Wouldn't that be the ideal? Let them risk their own lives if they are so eager to have a war.

Southpaw2012
03-11-2015, 12:44 PM
Even though once again the majority of comments on here are pure ignorance and expected blind following of whatever the Obama administration decides to do, I agree the letter was stupid. The whole handling of the Iran situation has been stupid. Now the pathetic progressives in the media can have a blast with destroying the Republicans who sent the letter, but now Obama will seem to have even more leverage.

Ozymandias
03-11-2015, 03:40 PM
Yet despite that, Pakistan (which supported the Taliban and thus Al Qaeda during the whole War On Terror and long before that) was and still is a supposed ally over whose nuclear weapons our governments don't make much of a problem.

I've always felt that a straw man argument is the worst possible response.

Who cares that Pakistan is still an ally? Or, more accurately, who cares in the context of this conversation (since it is obviously an embarrassment to this country)?

Pakistan is also a country with which we should not be allied. But that has nothing to do with the fact that we shouldn't be considering letting Iran have any leeway in getting closer to a bomb.

But, as you point out, the people who were willing to suffer huge casualties in order to fight against Saddam when he invaded are considered a huge threat. Even though they have very consistently said that their faith (which supposedly is what makes them so "unreasonable") prohibits them from having nuclear weapons.

In actuality, most of the human wave casualties occurred during the Iranian counterattacks into Iraqi territory.

That being said, it is impossible for me to reconcile a culture that worships martyrdom with a responsible nuclear power. Yes, fatwa's have been issued regarding the forbidden nature of nuclear weapons. They have also been issued to condone the assassination of Western novelists. No, it has little to do with nuclear proliferation, but I submit that the underlying theocratic and authoritarian impulse is exactly why we should be wary of allowing Iran, or any government run by religious zealots, to have any kind of weaponry at all.

Islam makes very grand claims for itself about being the final word of god. It simultaneously (along with Christianity and Judaism, to lesser extents) makes the claim that it is inviolable from insult or critique. Most Middle Eastern governments have consistently expressed the view, implicit or occasionally explicitly, that publications such as Charlie Hebdo or Jyllands-Posten are basically getting no better than they deserve when they post any image or opinion which Muslims might conceivably find offensive. And, of course, they decide what is and is not offensive.

Freedom of speech and thought and expression is the bedrock of our society. I see absolutely no reason why we should allow ourselves to have the most important foundation of our society held hostage, to a bunch of delusional old men who believe a narcoleptic Bedouin bandit received a message from god, via nuclear blackmail. Can you imagine the haste with which we would have handed over Salman Rushdie if Khomeini had demanded his return by threatening to “misplace” a bomb? As if it isn’t bad enough that this “peaceful” country has been sponsoring quasi-terrorist militias throughout the region for years. This is all part and parcel of the same issue, just on an ever greater scale. The ayatollah’s have essentially made their stand that violence is not only an acceptable response to criticism of themselves or Islam in general, but a response that should be expected as a matter of course. Even the USSR, for all its repression of freedom of expression, didn’t insinuate, much less state to the extent Islamists have, that their regime was immune from criticism by citizens of other countries.

Terez
03-11-2015, 08:28 PM
Even though once again the majority of comments on here are pure ignorance and expected blind following of whatever the Obama administration decides to do, I agree the letter was stupid. The whole handling of the Iran situation has been stupid. Now the pathetic progressives in the media can have a blast with destroying the Republicans who sent the letter, but now Obama will seem to have even more leverage.
This is one of the dumbest things you have ever said on this board, which takes some work as nearly everything you say is a model of stupidity. Obama's willingness to talk to Iran was one of the reasons why we voted for him in the first place, and one of his advantages over Hillary in the 2008 primary. Maybe you are too young to remember that? Because it's certainly not "blind following of whatever the Obama administration decides to do". Pull your head out of your ass.

PS: I love that one of my MS senators, Thad Cochran, didn't sign the letter. He knows he's won his last election and doesn't have to answer to the freak show any more.

Kimon
03-11-2015, 09:12 PM
In another example of just how messed up this situation is, there is the liberation of Tikrit from ISIS control, currently happening, and happening due to the training and assistance that Iran is giving to the Iraqi army.

All of which has led to this analysis by our generals:

"There's no doubt that the combination of the [Iranian-backed] Popular Mobilisation forces and the Iraqi security forces, they're going to run ISIL [IS] out of Tikrit," Gen Dempsey said.

Which sounds pretty good, but then...

There have been concerns about the overt involvement of the Iranian military in the operation, with top Revolutionary Guards commander Gen Qasem Soleimani reportedly overseeing it.

Some analysts have also expressed fears that Shia militiamen fighting alongside government forces may carry out reprisals for the massacre by IS fighters and allied Sunni tribesmen of at least 700 soldiers, most of them Shia, at nearby Camp Speicher in June.

However, Gen Dempsey said: "The activities of the Iranians to support the Iraqi security forces is a positive thing in military terms against [IS]."

But he also added: "The question is what comes after, in terms of their willingness to let Sunni families move back into their neighbourhoods, whether they work to restore the basic services that are going to be necessary, or whether it results in atrocities and retribution."

A legitimate concern, albeit one which we could have used as leverage in our negotiations towards rapprochement with Iran, rather than as another example of how some in this country seem to worry as much about Iran as they do about ISIS. This all sounds disturbingly similar to an infamous comment by Patton...



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31833592

Davian93
03-11-2015, 09:15 PM
This is one of the dumbest things you have ever said on this board, which takes some work as nearly everything you say is a model of stupidity. Obama's willingness to talk to Iran was one of the reasons why we voted for him in the first place, and one of his advantages over Hillary in the 2008 primary. Maybe you are too young to remember that? Because it's certainly not "blind following of whatever the Obama administration decides to do". Pull your head out of your ass.

PS: I love that one of my MS senators, Thad Cochran, didn't sign the letter. He knows he's won his last election and doesn't have to answer to the freak show any more.

I'm just glad someone else said this so I didn't have to.

Davian93
03-11-2015, 09:18 PM
In another example of just how messed up this situation is, there is the liberation of Tikrit from ISIS control, currently happening, and happening due to the training and assistance that Iran is giving to the Iraqi army.

All of which has led to this analysis by our generals:



Which sounds pretty good, but then...



A legitimate concern, albeit one which we could have used as leverage in our negotiations towards rapprochement with Iran, rather than as another example of how some in this country seem to worry as much about Iran as they do about ISIS. This all sounds disturbingly similar to an infamous comment by Patton...



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31833592

If we didn't want Iran to have influence in Iraq, we shouldn't have toppled Saddam. We knew going in that was a natural reaction to removing the Sunni-minority gov't in favor of a Shiite majority gov't. Who else but Iran would a Shiite gov't naturally turn to for almost anything?

Every single person with any level of intelligence on the entire planet foresaw that happening...but the same idiots (Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld) that pushed this war on us and also said we would be welcomed as liberators (references to our liberation of Holland were made regularly in the lead up to the war in 2003) missed that part too in their zeal to line their pockets. Or maybe they knew it would happen after they were out of office and they'd all be ultra rich from their profiteering and they simply didn't give a damn.

GonzoTheGreat
03-12-2015, 05:40 AM
Pakistan is also a country with which we should not be allied. But that has nothing to do with the fact that we shouldn't be considering letting Iran have any leeway in getting closer to a bomb.
But the only "evidence" that they are trying to build such a bomb comes from Israel, which has been consistently saying for 30 years now that Iran is only a few years away from getting nukes. But it did not happen 25 years ago, thus proving Israel wrong. It did not happen 24 years ago, thus proving Israel wrong. It did not happen 23 years ago, thus proving Israel wrong. It did not happen 22 years ago, thus proving Israel wrong. It did not ... How many more do you want Israel to be proven wrong (if not outright telling lies, as seems more accurate) before admitting that Iran may actually be serious about what it says?

I think they are insane (ie. religious) but they do take their insanity serious, so you can trust them both when they say they want to kill writers and when they say they don't want nukes.

If we didn't want Iran to have influence in Iraq, we shouldn't have toppled Saddam. We knew going in that was a natural reaction to removing the Sunni-minority gov't in favor of a Shiite majority gov't. Who else but Iran would a Shiite gov't naturally turn to for almost anything?
They might maybe have turned towards their liberators, if those liberators had actually shown to have the best interests of the Iraqi people at heart. But that was not the case; when law and order broke down, Rumsfeld said "stuff happens" instead of taking measures to help what could have been his newest ally. So it does make sense that this country then looked for other, more dependable, allies, and found them where many of its leaders had already spend years in exile while they were trying to form an opposition against Saddam.

The fact that Iraq turned towards Iran is not an accident, it was a result of a deliberate American policy. If you don't like that policy, then do not vote Republican.

Davian93
03-12-2015, 08:43 AM
No matter what we did after toppling Saddam, Iraq eventually naturally turns to their Shiite neighbor. It was inevitable. Sure, we screwed a ton of things up but all that did was hasten their move towards Iran as a regional ally.

Terez
03-12-2015, 10:38 AM
There has been rhetoric about bridging the Shia/Sunni divide; we will see how far that goes. Meanwhile, American far-righties on the interwebz are going on about the failure of multiculturalism re: Ferguson and No-Go Zones in Europe.

Davian93
03-12-2015, 10:54 AM
There has been rhetoric about bridging the Shia/Sunni divide; we will see how far that goes. Meanwhile, American far-righties on the interwebz are going on about the failure of multiculturalism re: Ferguson and No-Go Zones in Europe.

I can't imagine why the minority population of Ferguson would have reason to be annoyed at a long-term systematic policy of descrimination, racial profiling and bigotry. I mean, the police chief and city planner resigned so we're cool now, right? That solves everything.

Ivhon
03-12-2015, 11:58 AM
I'm...proud (?) that neither of my birth red-state senators signed the letter. And that one - ex-mayor of my hometown - was the first R to call the letter stupid.

Then, there are the senators from my adopted red-state. SMH

EDIT: Im going to disagree with you, T. This is not the dumbest thing Southpaw has ever posted. I fully expected him to be marching in full-on yeehaw lockstep with the 47. I suspect that the vitriol in his post comes from a deep seated embarassment that he has to call out his idols. This is progress.

Terez
03-12-2015, 11:08 PM
Im going to disagree with you, T. This is not the dumbest thing Southpaw has ever posted.
I said "one of the dumbest", and I was referring specifically to his notion that negotiating with Iran is somehow part of Obama's evil master plan with which we blindly go along because he is a rock star and we are low-information voters. Obama was elected at a time when the GOP was looking to invade Iran; it was an important issue in that election cycle. But Southpaw apparently had no idea.

Terez
03-17-2015, 12:00 PM
There has been rhetoric about bridging the Shia/Sunni divide; we will see how far that goes.
So much for that. Sunni militias assisting with the recapture of Tikrit decided that Saddam's tomb needed to be destroyed. Of course, Saddam's body wasn't actually there, but the video of the people who did it is enlightening.

GonzoTheGreat
03-17-2015, 12:23 PM
So much for that. Sunni militias assisting with the recapture of Tikrit decided that Saddam's tomb needed to be destroyed. Of course, Saddam's body wasn't actually there, but the video of the people who did it is enlightening.
Hey, that's a clear example of "bridging the divide", isn't it? After all, ISIS and such also destroy tombs, on the grounds that humans shouldn't worship other humans. Actually, we've had that same phenomenon over here in Europe, during the Reformation, so this could possibly bridge the Islam-Christianity divide too.

Kimon
03-17-2015, 05:34 PM
So much for that. Sunni militias assisting with the recapture of Tikrit decided that Saddam's tomb needed to be destroyed. Of course, Saddam's body wasn't actually there, but the video of the people who did it is enlightening.

My mom, in her semi-retirement, teaches adult ESL now back in Michigan. In Troy, MI that often means Korean women, but there are also quite a few former denizens of Iraq who fled after we overthrew Saddam and let the Shia take over. They all apparently still really love Saddam, and consider him one of the great heroes of Mesopotamia. Mind you, these were all typically middle class secular Iraqis. All pretty pro-west, still obviously friendly with the US. Kind of makes one wonder why we toppled him for yet the thousandth time.

On a more topical note, Israel is seemingly proving to be just as dumb as America yet again. how Netanyahu could possibly continue to survive is mystifying, yet Likud seems to be poised to just barely maintain its hold on the Israeli govt. Seems disturbingly reminescent of Younger Bush vs Kerry. Embarrassingly incompetent neo-con hawk vs dull centrist opponent. Both scenarios wherein seemingly even a modestly decent challenger should have routed the schmuck incumbent.

This is not good news for us. Nor for Israel. Nor Palestine. Nor for any hope for peace.

Terez
03-17-2015, 05:53 PM
Isn't it just exit polls at this point? And nearly-tied exit polls at that? I refuse to be sad about it until it's done.

Kimon
03-17-2015, 06:15 PM
Isn't it just exit polls at this point? And nearly-tied exit polls at that? I refuse to be sad about it until it's done.

Likud is either tied with Zionist-Union at 27 seats each, or ahead by one (28-27). But both sides would have to form a coalition, since neither is anywhere near majority - 61 seats. That last was expected. No one ever gets a majority. With Netanyahu's Likud leading, he will obviously be offered the right to form a coalition govt, and indeed forming a coalition of 61 or more seats will be much harder just from a logistics stand-point for Herzog. There likely just aren't enough seats from the center and on the left, at least not without the Arab seats (who refuse to join in any coalitions - too bad, as they have the third most seats). So Likud and Netanyahu only need a tie to win. It will be embarrassing for him, since he expected a much wider margin when he called these elections, but the path to victory was always narrower for Herzog.

Davian93
03-17-2015, 09:29 PM
Even the best case scenarios had Likud hanging onto the premiership because Israelis are incredibly right wing and stupid (this coming from an American). They were expected to lose a couple seats but they'd still have the most natural coalition regardless...especially as the Arab parties already said they would not participate in any coalition so it would be nearly impossible for Labor and the other centrist/left parties to form a gov't regardless. Its a shame the Arab parties are being so intractable as they'd get a far better deal if they formed a Center-Left coalitiion than they will ever get under continued Likud leadership but that's not gonna happen.

Just as dumb as the Liberal Democrats joining with the Tories in the UK to form a gov't last time around. Sure, Labour isn't what it used to be but forming with the Conservative party over them is utterly stupid. Maybe they won't be that stupid next time and maybe after 6 years, the Brits are past the idiocy that was Blair/Brown's premiership. And hopefully the UKIP doesn't muck crap up...sad they have their own Teaparty movement like that.

Kimon
03-17-2015, 10:42 PM
Even the best case scenarios had Likud hanging onto the premiership because Israelis are incredibly right wing and stupid (this coming from an American). They were expected to lose a couple seats but they'd still have the most natural coalition regardless...especially as the Arab parties already said they would not participate in any coalition so it would be nearly impossible for Labor and the other centrist/left parties to form a gov't regardless. Its a shame the Arab parties are being so intractable as they'd get a far better deal if they formed a Center-Left coalitiion than they will ever get under continued Likud leadership but that's not gonna happen.



Likud actually gained seats, and the how is rather interesting. Likud had 18 seats (of 120 total in the Knesset), but now will have either 27 or 28, assuming the exit polls were accurate. And those gains, and Netanyahu's survival as PM has come by cannibalizing even further right parties to ensure that he stayed just ahead of Herzog and Livni's alliance party of Zionist-Union. And how he was able to pull that support from the ultra-right was by saying things like this...

Claiming that Herzog was selling out Israel to the Arabs.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/After-Netanyahu-warns-that-Arabs-voting-en-masse-Herzog-says-PMs-panic-is-embarrassing-394202

And of course promising that if re-elected, Palestine will never be allowed its own state.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/1.647212

GonzoTheGreat
03-18-2015, 03:46 AM
Just as dumb as the Liberal Democrats joining with the Tories in the UK to form a gov't last time around. Sure, Labour isn't what it used to be but forming with the Conservative party over them is utterly stupid. Maybe they won't be that stupid next time and maybe after 6 years, the Brits are past the idiocy that was Blair/Brown's premiership. And hopefully the UKIP doesn't muck crap up...sad they have their own Teaparty movement like that.
I am not really a fan of the British Conservatives, but I have to give them credit for being sensible enough to leave their Tea Party outside their own party, instead of on top of it as the American Republicans have chosen to do.

Terez
03-18-2015, 08:01 AM
I think the center-Republicans and the Tea Party would be more than happy to go their own way if we had a parliamentary system where they could form a coalition to govern. Since we don't, they have to stick together to try to keep the liberals out of power.

Davian93
03-18-2015, 09:25 AM
I think the center-Republicans and the Tea Party would be more than happy to go their own way if we had a parliamentary system where they could form a coalition to govern. Since we don't, they have to stick together to try to keep the liberals out of power.

That's Libtards, not liberals...get it right.

Davian93
03-18-2015, 09:29 AM
Likud actually gained seats, and the how is rather interesting. Likud had 18 seats (of 120 total in the Knesset), but now will have either 27 or 28, assuming the exit polls were accurate. And those gains, and Netanyahu's survival as PM has come by cannibalizing even further right parties to ensure that he stayed just ahead of Herzog and Livni's alliance party of Zionist-Union. And how he was able to pull that support from the ultra-right was by saying things like this...

Claiming that Herzog was selling out Israel to the Arabs.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/After-Netanyahu-warns-that-Arabs-voting-en-masse-Herzog-says-PMs-panic-is-embarrassing-394202

And of course promising that if re-elected, Palestine will never be allowed its own state.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/1.647212

They actually got 30 seats out of 120...just pathetic. This must be how the rest of the world felt when Bush won his 2nd term.

Funny how his promise to basically form an apartheid state in Israel is what put him over the edge. No way that idea fails long term.

Ozymandias
03-18-2015, 01:10 PM
Kind of makes one wonder why we toppled him for yet the thousandth time.


This is a softball. How about because he was a genocidal psychopathic crime lord who was engaged in the daily oppression, torture, and murder of his own citizens, and only prevented from doing worse because the international community was forcing him, through daily military intervention, from committing genocide against the Kurds and the religious equivalent against the southern Shi’a community? How about what you might call a cultural genocide, whereby he destroyed arguably the oldest culture in the world (the Marsh Arabs) to exert greater political control over southern Iraq. How about because he was beggaring his own population by stealing Oil-for-Food monies, which were supposed to be feeding Iraq and not building palaces for prominent Ba’athists. How about his open and avowed support for terrorism, and his harboring of numerous international fugitives? How about the fact that Saddam offered a cash reward to anyone who could shoot down a manned Allied aircraft patrolling the No Fly Zone? Or the fact that while he did not possess WMD, he was, by all reports from high level members of the regime, actively maintaining the capability to develop them once sanctions ended? Or perhaps it matters more to you that, as a geopolitical player, he was completely unpredictable and did not respond to any means of persuasion, either carrot or stick, and of every head of state in the world was, without question, the most aggressive and warlike actor on the world stage? Or his constant suborning of international officials, especially the French, and also the weapons inspectors, through baldfaced bribery (he offered $2mm to Rolf Ekeus, which he turned down, but you know the same offer was made to every other Oil-for-Food official and weapons inspector on some level, and that many of them must have been accepted)?

As long as one accepts the premise that there is, under any hypothetical scenario, a reason to intervene in another nation state (which seems to be the consensus, seeing as even the UN has agreed this is the case), then it is almost physically impossible to deny that some sort of regime change was needed in Iraq. Saddam was a threat to his neighbors, to the rest of the international community, and most vividly to his own people. The states reasons for going to war, and the subsequent planning of the reconstruction, were done horribly by Donald Rumsfeld and that coterie. That doesn’t mean the intervention was wrong. Even if a couple families in Michigan, who it sounds like were, by definition, prospering under Saddam and thereby at least somewhat complicit in his regime, disagree.

Davian93
03-18-2015, 01:12 PM
Iraq is definitely much better off now than it was under Saddam.

Definitely.

GonzoTheGreat
03-18-2015, 01:26 PM
Ozymandias, why don't the same kind of reasons apply even stronger to the North Korean regime?
Yet, instead of invading that country, GWB let them develop nukes.

Kimon
03-18-2015, 04:54 PM
This is a softball. How about because he was a genocidal psychopathic crime lord who was engaged in the daily oppression, torture, and murder of his own citizens, and only prevented from doing worse because the international community was forcing him, through daily military intervention, from committing genocide against the Kurds and the religious equivalent against the southern Shi’a community? How about what you might call a cultural genocide, whereby he destroyed arguably the oldest culture in the world (the Marsh Arabs) to exert greater political control over southern Iraq. How about because he was beggaring his own population by stealing Oil-for-Food monies, which were supposed to be feeding Iraq and not building palaces for prominent Ba’athists. How about his open and avowed support for terrorism, and his harboring of numerous international fugitives? How about the fact that Saddam offered a cash reward to anyone who could shoot down a manned Allied aircraft patrolling the No Fly Zone? Or the fact that while he did not possess WMD, he was, by all reports from high level members of the regime, actively maintaining the capability to develop them once sanctions ended? Or perhaps it matters more to you that, as a geopolitical player, he was completely unpredictable and did not respond to any means of persuasion, either carrot or stick, and of every head of state in the world was, without question, the most aggressive and warlike actor on the world stage? Or his constant suborning of international officials, especially the French, and also the weapons inspectors, through baldfaced bribery (he offered $2mm to Rolf Ekeus, which he turned down, but you know the same offer was made to every other Oil-for-Food official and weapons inspector on some level, and that many of them must have been accepted)?


Being a bad guy that is bad to a segment of his populace is not a good enough reason to go in and remove him. You do it because it's in OUR interest, or else you leave him where he is. And that's the only thing that should really matter. Was the status quo ante better for us? Yes. Was he also better for his own people than what came after? Yes. Is that partly our fault. Yes. Does that change the calculus? No. Getting rid of him was still stupid. And it is not just Monday morning quarterbacking. These were obvious issues. Issues that even a few prominent Republicans (most notably Brent Scowcroft) tried to point out to the Halliburton cabal to no avail.

The decision to remove a tyrant can't be made simply on the basis of him being a bad guy. And the dangers of doing so can be seen recently not only in the case of Saddam. Gaddafi was also an undeniably bad dude. Libya without him unfortunately is a complete mess. What about Assad? He is at least as bad as those guys, but what besides ISIL would fill the vacuum? A few hundred thousand US soldiers? That's not going to happen. ISIL on the other hand might. Certainly it would have had we toppled Assad two years ago when the hawks wanted us to enter the Syrian melee. Another consideration also must be made. These tyrants were secular, not religious, and what has arisen from the chaos of their wake has been religious extremists. Given a stable secular thug or sadistic religious nuts, I'd prefer stable and secular.

Is that callous? Yes. Is that pragmatic? Yes.

Kimon
03-18-2015, 07:03 PM
Ozy, take a look at this, and ask yourself if we have any right to claim moral authority to decide when another leader deserves to be overthrown for human rights violations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVA11-rfpy8

Ozymandias
03-20-2015, 11:39 AM
Ozymandias, why don't the same kind of reasons apply even stronger to the North Korean regime?
Yet, instead of invading that country, GWB let them develop nukes.

How is that at all relevant? Or even a remotely intelligent comment at all, setting aside its irrelevance? Our non-intervention in one failed state doesn't invalidate an intervention elsewhere. It isn't all or nothing; just because we have not yet freed one group from the grip of a psychotic crime family doesn't mean we cannot free another group of people from a psychotic crime family.

Terez
03-20-2015, 11:43 AM
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/27/4f/83/274f83d9a316835555770c1289373c3c.jpg

Ozymandias
03-20-2015, 11:47 AM
Being a bad guy that is bad to a segment of his populace is not a good enough reason to go in and remove him. You do it because it's in OUR interest, or else you leave him where he is. And that's the only thing that should really matter. Was the status quo ante better for us? Yes. Was he also better for his own people than what came after? Yes. Is that partly our fault. Yes. Does that change the calculus? No. Getting rid of him was still stupid. And it is not just Monday morning quarterbacking. These were obvious issues. Issues that even a few prominent Republicans (most notably Brent Scowcroft) tried to point out to the Halliburton cabal to no avail.

Knowing that the end of every internet debate is when something gets compared to Nazism, I have to ask - do you think the USA should have gotten involved in WWII?

To call Saddam "bad" to his own people is an almost criminally negligent understatement. He committed genocide against his own people (or openly and admittedly tried to). Don't try and marginalize that.

The decision to remove a tyrant can't be made simply on the basis of him being a bad guy. And the dangers of doing so can be seen recently not only in the case of Saddam. Gaddafi was also an undeniably bad dude. Libya without him unfortunately is a complete mess. What about Assad? He is at least as bad as those guys, but what besides ISIL would fill the vacuum? A few hundred thousand US soldiers? That's not going to happen. ISIL on the other hand might. Certainly it would have had we toppled Assad two years ago when the hawks wanted us to enter the Syrian melee. Another consideration also must be made. These tyrants were secular, not religious, and what has arisen from the chaos of their wake has been religious extremists. Given a stable secular thug or sadistic religious nuts, I'd prefer stable and secular.


Saddam Hussein was not secular. He actively portrayed himself as an Islamic leader, especially in the postwar period (Iran - Iraq War, that is). This isn't news to anyone who pays attention. Moreover, while I think my views on religion are well known around here, I do have to ask... why is it better to have an insane, criminal secularist involved in terrorism and waging war on his neighbors, as supposed to an insane, criminal religious extremist involved in terrorism and waging war on their neighbors?

The basis of removing a genocidal criminal psychopath is already in place. He (or she, circumstances permitting) has tried to commit genocide. That is, by every international standard, reason enough for intervention.

However, from your more "practical" standpoint, the case is convincing as well. Saddam was engaged, daily, in an attempt to kill American pilots. He offered a cash reward for it! He had proven himself willing to invade his neighbors and thereby destabilize the geopolitical equation at the drop of a hat, and it was only active armed intervention which prevented this from happening again.

I personally believe that his actions towards his own population more than justified his removal. But even putting that aside, his contempt for the international community, the daily instances of armed violence against peacekeepers, his harboring of known terrorists, and his suborning of the various bureaucratic institutions of the UN through sheer bribery all more than justify intervention based on your criteria as well.

Ozymandias
03-20-2015, 11:51 AM
Ozy, take a look at this, and ask yourself if we have any right to claim moral authority to decide when another leader deserves to be overthrown for human rights violations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVA11-rfpy8

I don't claim we have the moral authority. But genocide is genocide. Supporting terrorism is what it is.

Kimon, you and your ilk think that because the US has engaged in morally questionable actions in the past, or even outright immoral actions, it somehow makes us incapable or should make us unable to make a morally correct judgement elsewhere. Leaving out the logical fallacy of this (everyone has done something immoral once, and therefore no one would be able to judge ethical correctness, which means it doesn't exist at all), it is just a stupid concept. Genocide is wrong. We can all agree on that. Terrorism is wrong too. If ISIS/ISIL went on the news tomorrow and said "Boko Haram is an evil organization and we're dedicating some of our forces to eradicating it," they would still be acting morally correctly. I might look askance at their motives, and it wouldn't excuse their crimes, but it would still be right.

Nazbaque
03-20-2015, 01:15 PM
Fighting evil isn't good by itself Ozy. Even the value in protecting good depends on the quality of the good protected and of course the validity of the threat to it.

Can you give me an actual example of the good your interventions have done to anyone? People are alive? What's the good in being alive if it's only to suffer? Where are the efforts to actually improve conditions? How much money do you put in any foreign actions that don't involve weapons? Hell how much money do you put in improving your domestic conditions?

And as a side note. If you truly thought all human races are equally valuable you wouldn't go on about genocide. A human being is a human being. A slaughter isn't any worse just because it's a genocide or rather a slaughter of people isn't any better just because it isn't a genocide, yet this is what the use of this term implies. It is racism in the opposite direction. Even when you want to help and protect and guide you are still thinking that another race is lesser than your own instead of seeing them as equals.

Ozymandias
03-20-2015, 04:29 PM
And as a side note. If you truly thought all human races are equally valuable you wouldn't go on about genocide. A human being is a human being. A slaughter isn't any worse just because it's a genocide or rather a slaughter of people isn't any better just because it isn't a genocide, yet this is what the use of this term implies. It is racism in the opposite direction. Even when you want to help and protect and guide you are still thinking that another race is lesser than your own instead of seeing them as equals.

I'll address the rest of this in a second, but I think this is an interesting point and I want to get to it first.

I find genocide to be morally repugnant beyond usual murder or mass slaughter not because I value one racial identity over another, but because someone else does. To be targeted solely because of your genetic background is ridiculous. And moreover, our conceptions of “race” often are nothing more than differences in culture, which is a valid way to distinguish between two different people. The Kurds may not be a separate “race” in the quasi-Social Darwinian sense, but they are certainly their own distinct culture. Trying to wipe them out on the basis of either qualification is wrong, and more wrong than someone who kills indiscriminately. This is reflected in US legal code; it is essentially the difference between first and second degree murder but on a cultural or regional scale. It is one thing to kill someone, it is entirely another to target someone for killing. I hope the distinction is clear.

And even if your point was valid, nothing in my response indicated what my value judgment was about Kurds. As someone who was brought up a Jew, I think I can assert that talking about genocide in general doesn’t imply condescension or being patronizing towards the victims.

And I sort of agree that fighting evil isn’t necessarily worth it on its own. There are many levels of evil. I don’t think armed intervention in India is advisable just because they clearly have massive issues with gender based violent crime. I think that if it was shown that the Indian government was systemically endorsing and propagating the rape and torture and exploitation of women as an official government policy, that might be a different story. Saddam was at that level. His government existed to exploit its own population, and did so by means of torture and murder. This is still ignoring all the external-facing reasons for deposing him.

Again, if you believe armed intervention is never justified, that is fine and I’ll let that go. But that also means you forego the right to intervene in ANY circumstance. There is no regime imaginable that could be more cruel and arbitrary and murderous than Saddam’s. If he did not warrant intervention, only a Bond villain-esque despot bent on literally exterminating humanity could justify it. Every evil we have ever seen in human government was basically official policy for the Iraqi Ba’athist Party. If we should not have moved to end their grip on power, then there is no group that warrants it. You essentially consign any non-US citizen to the status of chattel for their rulers. Part of the appeal of a multinational, globalist government center like the UN is that it provides oppressed minorities some recourse to a power higher than the government abusing them.

Kimon
03-20-2015, 04:56 PM
Knowing that the end of every internet debate is when something gets compared to Nazism, I have to ask - do you think the USA should have gotten involved in WWII?


WWII is the last war we fought in which our involvement clearly co-aligned with a clear national interest, and even then there was a healthy debate and a healthy resistance to our involvement in that war until Pearl Harbor. There has not been that same resistance to any war since Vietnam, which is somewhat striking considering how great a failure Vietnam, and indeed many of our subsequent wars have been, but the reason is nonetheless quite obvious. The lack of a draft. So long as the children of privilege, which doubtless encompasses most if not all of us are not forced to take part in war, what real matter does it make to us if we become involved in clearly elective wars when we need not fear being drafted, nor indeed even fear our taxes being increased or our foodstuffs and other everyday supplies being rationed, all of which was the case in WWII. And yet there was no such resistance to our involvement in that war, while there was in Vietnam. The clear difference? WWII was viewed as a necessary war, while Vietnam was not. Would the masses really be willing to face a draft for Syria? Would you? How about for Iran? If the answers to those questions are no, then admit that your stance is nonsense.

If a war isn't worth a draft. It isn't worth fighting.

Nazbaque
03-21-2015, 12:46 AM
I'll address the rest of this in a second, but I think this is an interesting point and I want to get to it first.

I find genocide to be morally repugnant beyond usual murder or mass slaughter not because I value one racial identity over another, but because someone else does. To be targeted solely because of your genetic background is ridiculous. And moreover, our conceptions of “race” often are nothing more than differences in culture, which is a valid way to distinguish between two different people. The Kurds may not be a separate “race” in the quasi-Social Darwinian sense, but they are certainly their own distinct culture. Trying to wipe them out on the basis of either qualification is wrong, and more wrong than someone who kills indiscriminately. This is reflected in US legal code; it is essentially the difference between first and second degree murder but on a cultural or regional scale. It is one thing to kill someone, it is entirely another to target someone for killing. I hope the distinction is clear.
Yes it is clear and it is exactly what I was getting at. Why isn't all that killing bad enough by itself? What do the killer's motives matter?
And even if your point was valid, nothing in my response indicated what my value judgment was about Kurds. As someone who was brought up a Jew, I think I can assert that talking about genocide in general doesn’t imply condescension or being patronizing towards the victims.
But you are still opening yourself to the idea that you can decide if someone is your equal simply by what their race or culture is.
And I sort of agree that fighting evil isn’t necessarily worth it on its own. There are many levels of evil. I don’t think armed intervention in India is advisable just because they clearly have massive issues with gender based violent crime. I think that if it was shown that the Indian government was systemically endorsing and propagating the rape and torture and exploitation of women as an official government policy, that might be a different story. Saddam was at that level. His government existed to exploit its own population, and did so by means of torture and murder. This is still ignoring all the external-facing reasons for deposing him.

Again, if you believe armed intervention is never justified, that is fine and I’ll let that go. But that also means you forego the right to intervene in ANY circumstance. There is no regime imaginable that could be more cruel and arbitrary and murderous than Saddam’s. If he did not warrant intervention, only a Bond villain-esque despot bent on literally exterminating humanity could justify it. Every evil we have ever seen in human government was basically official policy for the Iraqi Ba’athist Party. If we should not have moved to end their grip on power, then there is no group that warrants it. You essentially consign any non-US citizen to the status of chattel for their rulers. Part of the appeal of a multinational, globalist government center like the UN is that it provides oppressed minorities some recourse to a power higher than the government abusing them.
But why are Americans always itching to intervene in something? Why does it have to be you? People are suffering and all you ever see is a chance to feed your nation wide hero complex. And whenever you do intervene you do it in a short sighted fashion with barely a thought to what you leave behind. Why shouldn't the victims on behalf of whom you are intevening see it as being caught up between their personal psychopaths and the American psychopaths? You are giving them a lesser evil when you are actually in a position to give good. All you ever see is a chance to destroy in the name of good and justice. You break the eggs but don't make an omlet.

The Unreasoner
03-21-2015, 04:31 AM
Yes it is clear and it is exactly what I was getting at. Why isn't all that killing bad enough by itself? What do the killer's motives matter?
Well, genocide really is a bit different from almost all other crimes. Many things have to go very wrong for a genocide to occur. It's premeditated murder on an industrial scale. Mass insanity is needed to carry out a genocide.

It's not a survival behavior, genocide. As Leto II would say.

Nazbaque
03-21-2015, 05:33 AM
Well, genocide really is a bit different from almost all other crimes. Many things have to go very wrong for a genocide to occur. It's premeditated murder on an industrial scale. Mass insanity is needed to carry out a genocide.

It's not a survival behavior, genocide. As Leto II would say.

The problem being that with all of humanity already being insane those demands are so easily fulfilled.

GonzoTheGreat
03-21-2015, 06:49 AM
It's not a survival behavior, genocide. As Leto II would say.
White settlers used genocide against lots of Native Americans. The settlers survived and prospered.
White settlers used genocide against the inhabitants of Tasmania. The settlers survived and prospered.
Turkish nationalists used genocide against Armenians. The Turks survived and prospered.

So I would want to see proof for your claim that it is not survival behavior. I don't think it is moral to carry out genocide, but the only time when it seems to be counter-survival is when you try and fail. And, in war, "try and fail" is usually bad for your survival chances anyway, so I don't see why genocide would be exceptional on that account.

Leto II had considered genocide against the Bene Tleilax, by the way, so I'm not sure that he would really rate it as counter-survival.

Kimon
03-21-2015, 11:48 AM
White settlers used genocide against lots of Native Americans. The settlers survived and prospered.
White settlers used genocide against the inhabitants of Tasmania. The settlers survived and prospered.
Turkish nationalists used genocide against Armenians. The Turks survived and prospered.

So I would want to see proof for your claim that it is not survival behavior. I don't think it is moral to carry out genocide, but the only time when it seems to be counter-survival is when you try and fail. And, in war, "try and fail" is usually bad for your survival chances anyway, so I don't see why genocide would be exceptional on that account.

Leto II had considered genocide against the Bene Tleilax, by the way, so I'm not sure that he would really rate it as counter-survival.

One might also ponder the fate of our hominid cousins. We either successfully interbred with our cousins or genocide is the oldest of our survival strategies.

The Unreasoner
03-22-2015, 03:31 AM
Leto II had considered genocide against the Bene Tleilax, by the way, so I'm not sure that he would really rate it as counter-survival.

Hwi wondered if Leto ever thought to kill the Bene Tleilax. Leto responded that the only group he thought of wiping out was the Bene Gesserit.

Killing men, women, and children on an industrial scale is not a survival behaviour. And for genocide specifically, Leto might lament the loss of some important genes that might one day be useful.

GonzoTheGreat
03-22-2015, 05:23 AM
Hwi wondered if Leto ever thought to kill the Bene Tleilax. Leto responded that the only group he thought of wiping out was the Bene Gesserit.Are you suggesting that I accidentally wiped out the wrong School?
I'll admit that it has been a decade or more since I last read the series.

Killing men, women, and children on an industrial scale is not a survival behaviour.In the last 100 years, since killings have taken place numerous times, and many of the perpetrators have descendants still living now. The dead are dead.
I don't particularly like that equation, but I won't deny it.

And for genocide specifically, Leto might lament the loss of some important genes that might one day be useful.
True, but then, that would not really work as an argument unless one can foresee which genes are going to be that important, as there are far too many possibilities to let all of them breed (see Malthus). And if he could foresee that, then he could save the genes he wanted and exterminate the rest.

The Unreasoner
03-22-2015, 06:23 AM
Are you suggesting that I accidentally wiped out the wrong School?
I'll admit that it has been a decade or more since I last read the series.
I know it wasn't really the essence of the point, but you brought it up. It was the Bene Gesserit he thought to wipe out. And that has certain implications that don't translate to the Bene Tleilax.

In the last 100 years, since killings have taken place numerous times, and many of the perpetrators have descendants still living now. The dead are dead.
I don't particularly like that equation, but I won't deny it.
There's also the fact that it is very hard to actually wipe out an entire race of people. The survivors remember, and perpetuate both racial distinctions and violent solutions to problems. Just look at Israel.


True, but then, that would not really work as an argument unless one can foresee which genes are going to be that important, as there are far too many possibilities to let all of them breed (see Malthus). And if he could foresee that, then he could save the genes he wanted and exterminate the rest.
Genocide isn't typically about resources. There are ways to (even violently) reduce a population that are blind to race.

The idea is to keep as many balls in the air as possible, to prepare against future unknown unknowns (iow, unforeseeable crises). Genocide is an extremely artificial population reduction tool. It requires human industrial potential to execute, along with a kind of mass insanity. Human evolution doesn't occur overnight. If you remove a critical gene group from the pool (which isn't natural selection, but human selection), we might go extinct before we mutate again.

Nazbaque
03-22-2015, 06:56 AM
The idea is to keep as many balls in the air as possible, to prepare against future unknown unknowns (iow, unforeseeable crises). Genocide is an extremely artificial population reduction tool. It requires human industrial potential to execute, along with a kind of mass insanity. Human evolution doesn't occur overnight. If you remove a critical gene group from the pool (which isn't natural selection, but human selection), we might go extinct before we mutate again.

The problem there is that it works both ways. If a lethal gene is not removed from the pool it could potentially end the human race in a few generations.

Ozymandias
03-22-2015, 02:29 PM
Yes it is clear and it is exactly what I was getting at. Why isn't all that killing bad enough by itself? What do the killer's motives matter?

Of course it matters, and I'll take the collective wisdom of thousands of years of philosophic and legal pondering on this question over your opinion as definitive. People are killed by other people, by accident, all the time. There is obviously a moral difference between a doctor who suggests a risky surgery to save a terminally ill patient and has it fail, and a guy who shoots up a school. If you cannot agree on that, then there is no point continuing this discussion. So I hope we've all agreed that not all types of killing are equal. If I kill you in defense of my own life, I think I am unquestionably in a morally superior state than if you kill me while mugging me.

In the same vein, the motives matter. A mass murderer with a terrible mental illness might be no less culpable the the person planning his attack, but is certainly more pitiable. Planning to eradicate an entire culture, in order to eliminate that culture, is worse than just killing at random. If you don't see motive as important, then I'll have to move on from this point, but its almost inconceivable to me that any person doesn't hold the believe that motive in murder is immaterial. Parsing shades of gray when it comes to crime is the entire purpose of the legal system.

But you are still opening yourself to the idea that you can decide if someone is your equal simply by what their race or culture is.

Now this is truly absurd. The very fact that different cultures exist in the first place opens that conversation. Opposing genocide is the exact opposite of what you suggest; the idea that we cannot judge the worth of a culture and therefore should work to prevent any of them from being forcibly extirpated from the face of the earth. If your view is that we cannot or should not make distinctions between different cultures for fear of falling prey to the (very human) instinct of making a value judgment, then you will condemn many of them to extinction when less principled people begin making the very value judgments you refuse to admit to, but do so with guns and bombs and chemical gas, instead of words.

But why are Americans always itching to intervene in something? Why does it have to be you? People are suffering and all you ever see is a chance to feed your nation wide hero complex. And whenever you do intervene you do it in a short sighted fashion with barely a thought to what you leave behind. Why shouldn't the victims on behalf of whom you are intevening see it as being caught up between their personal psychopaths and the American psychopaths? You are giving them a lesser evil when you are actually in a position to give good. All you ever see is a chance to destroy in the name of good and justice. You break the eggs but don't make an omlet.

You'll have to provide evidence. American involvement certainly saved, I would argue, the entire world from living under a Nazi despotism. At the very least there are fourteen or so million Jews, at the very least, who are quite glad that Roosevelt and his contemporaries weren't the spineless moral cowards you would have preferred, and another six millions who probably would have wished they had yet more backbone. To say nothing of the gypsies, homosexuals, and other groups who suffered under National Socialism and still would today.

As for why it has to be us, it is because no one else is willing to do so. Perhaps if the rest of the world was half as committed to trying to make the world a better place, American intervention wouldn't be quite as needed and a truly global effort could be made to improve the quality of life of those living under despotism. Certainly, had the French and Russians not been such solid friends (even under inducement of bribery) Saddam might have been removed from power in a less chaotic way that involved less bloodshed. And even as someone who is not a GWB fan at all, I take extreme offense to the idea that he, or almost any other American elected official, can or should be compared to Saddam Hussein. Hate him for his poor planning in executing the rebuilding from Iraq and American/allied withdrawal. He made a mess of it. The fact that he vastly underestimated the work and sacrifice necessary to protect the fledgling Iraqi state does not somehow negate the moral necessity of the intervention in the first place. But to call George W Bush, or essentially any prominent actor in the Iraq War, a "psychopath" on the level of Saddam is not just wrong, it is stupid. If you believe that, you are a stupid, unethical person.

As for your extremely poor choice of an eggs/omelet metaphor, it is obvious, prima facie, that you just are not right. The more apt comparison might be to say that we remove the homicidal maniac in charge of the kitchen from the scene, and then give his oppressed line chefs the opportunity to cook the omelet. Look at the recent gains the Iraqi Army has made against ISIL, and look especially at what the Kurds have done in the north over the last 12 years. That is a stable, functioning, democratic state. Or federal sub-state, whatever. We could have and should have done more to ensure an orderly transition of power (and mind you, the recent it was so messy was in large part because Iran saw an opportunity to back a whole bunch of random religious lunatic militia's; it isn't like US troops started running amok, raping and killing). But at the end of the day, our mandate should have been the provide the framework for the Iraqi's to set up their own functioning government, not to be an American colony. And while our poor handling of the postwar period has doubtlessly set the country back quite a bit, there have been peaceful elections since and a responsible transition of power. It is possible to say that there is on the horizon the image of a democratic and peaceful Iraq, which is more than can be said, at least, of an Iraq ruled by the Hussein family.

Ozymandias
03-22-2015, 02:46 PM
WWII is the last war we fought in which our involvement clearly co-aligned with a clear national interest, and even then there was a healthy debate and a healthy resistance to our involvement in that war until Pearl Harbor. There has not been that same resistance to any war since Vietnam, which is somewhat striking considering how great a failure Vietnam, and indeed many of our subsequent wars have been, but the reason is nonetheless quite obvious. The lack of a draft. So long as the children of privilege, which doubtless encompasses most if not all of us are not forced to take part in war, what real matter does it make to us if we become involved in clearly elective wars when we need not fear being drafted, nor indeed even fear our taxes being increased or our foodstuffs and other everyday supplies being rationed, all of which was the case in WWII. And yet there was no such resistance to our involvement in that war, while there was in Vietnam. The clear difference? WWII was viewed as a necessary war, while Vietnam was not. Would the masses really be willing to face a draft for Syria? Would you? How about for Iran? If the answers to those questions are no, then admit that your stance is nonsense.

If a war isn't worth a draft. It isn't worth fighting.

I know this sounds like a decent argument, and in a more general sense has a lot of merit, but we have a volunteer army for a lot of practical reasons that preclude the idea that we should just have a draft any time armed intervention or defense becomes necessary. And the underlying principle behind your argument is somewhat insulting. Basically, you are saying that unless I am willing to die for it, it is not a valid opinion.

And my taxes are quite high enough already in order to support our national expenditure on "defense". One might say that I've already paid the price in terms of higher taxation in order to support our ability to intervene abroad.

I think people who commit violent rape are evil. I think we can all agree on this. But I am not volunteering to patrol the streets at night in order to find and stop them. For this, we have an group with a supposed monopoly on force called the police, who, much like the army (far too much like, in most respects), volunteer for their job in return for pay and benefits and often ideological reasons, and who do this for me. Is my aversion to rapists somehow worthless because I do not want to be a policeman, or because I am unwilling to risk myself in bringing vigilante justice to the streets? And if not, why is this any different than thinking that removing Saddam Hussein, who was a violent psychopath on an order of magnitude several times greater than any rapist, should have been deposed through force of arms?

I am staunchly pro-gay marriage. However, if you put a gun to my head and told me to vote on a referendum and said you'd kill me if I cast my vote to allow homosexual marriage, I do not think I would have the courage to go through with it. Perhaps I am a coward, but somehow I find it hard to blame myself, or anyone, of preserving their own life as opposed to dying for a cause they truly believed in. Does not make their belief in said cause any less valid.

Kimon
03-22-2015, 03:25 PM
As for why it has to be us, it is because no one else is willing to do so. Perhaps if the rest of the world was half as committed to trying to make the world a better place, American intervention wouldn't be quite as needed and a truly global effort could be made to improve the quality of life of those living under despotism. Certainly, had the French and Russians not been such solid friends (even under inducement of bribery) Saddam might have been removed from power in a less chaotic way that involved less bloodshed. And even as someone who is not a GWB fan at all, I take extreme offense to the idea that he, or almost any other American elected official, can or should be compared to Saddam Hussein. Hate him for his poor planning in executing the rebuilding from Iraq and American/allied withdrawal. He made a mess of it. The fact that he vastly underestimated the work and sacrifice necessary to protect the fledgling Iraqi state does not somehow negate the moral necessity of the intervention in the first place. But to call George W Bush, or essentially any prominent actor in the Iraq War, a "psychopath" on the level of Saddam is not just wrong, it is stupid. If you believe that, you are a stupid, unethical person.

As for your extremely poor choice of an eggs/omelet metaphor, it is obvious, prima facie, that you just are not right. The more apt comparison might be to say that we remove the homicidal maniac in charge of the kitchen from the scene, and then give his oppressed line chefs the opportunity to cook the omelet. Look at the recent gains the Iraqi Army has made against ISIL, and look especially at what the Kurds have done in the north over the last 12 years. That is a stable, functioning, democratic state. Or federal sub-state, whatever. We could have and should have done more to ensure an orderly transition of power (and mind you, the recent it was so messy was in large part because Iran saw an opportunity to back a whole bunch of random religious lunatic militia's; it isn't like US troops started running amok, raping and killing). But at the end of the day, our mandate should have been the provide the framework for the Iraqi's to set up their own functioning government, not to be an American colony. And while our poor handling of the postwar period has doubtlessly set the country back quite a bit, there have been peaceful elections since and a responsible transition of power. It is possible to say that there is on the horizon the image of a democratic and peaceful Iraq, which is more than can be said, at least, of an Iraq ruled by the Hussein family.

Ozy, you're ignoring a couple of issues. The first of which is over the question of whether it makes sense for us to be the police force for the world. While the UN is obviously not up to the task, that does not mean that we should either have the right or the incentive to act in that role. Regarding the former, especially in the case of the Middle East, we simply are not trusted, and hence our involvement often merely exacerbates the underlying tensions, or redirects the hostilities that had drawn our attention against us. While your moral argument is not without weight, it is still as bounded in idealism and naivete as Nazbaque's utopian dreams of somehow altering human nature, which brings us to the latter concern. Does our presence make things better, or worse? In the Middle East, our interventions have had consistently negative results.

It is indeed a situation eerily similar to the hostility that African Americans have to the police. At least with that problem, we can attempt to rectify that mistrust by altering the composition of police forces in African American communities, making them more representative (i.e. hiring more black police officers). Fixing that same issue in our interventions in the Muslim world is more difficult, but while we can't and obviously won't make ourselves Muslim, we can at least attempt to ensure that we create coalitions involving other Muslim countries, so that our coming seems not like a Crusader invasion but like a US led UN mission. The Elder Bush recognized this in the First Gulf War, the Younger Bush did not. His coalition was essentially just us and the British Empire. Not exactly a force designed to put the minds of the locals at ease. The Elder Bush also recognized that pushing Saddam out of Kuwait could be sold to the world, and could be accomplished, but that removing him would create a myriad a potential consequences, most notably a civil war between the Sunni and Shia that could well completely de-stabilize the region. Again, the Younger Bush ignored this issue, and civil war and chaos has been reaped as a result.

Obama at least has put in the effort to create an actual coalition of Muslim nations, and most importantly of Sunni Muslim nations, to combat Sunni ISIS, a force which prior to (an to an extent even after) the immolation of that Jordanian pilot looked like mere window-dressing, but besides us there is really only two other active participants - the Kurds and Iran. The presence of the Kurdish Peshmerga has obviously been much praised and well-received, at least by us, not so much by the Turks, who seem more concerned by keeping their own Kurds repressed than in helping to combat ISIS, but the other, Iran, indeed the most successful of the nations in the alliance, has been openly met with invective and hostility by us, even while they, not us, are taking the most active role in defeating ISIS. You mention the recent successes of the Iraqi govt, but that success has been undeniably due to Iran, indeed with a Iranian general in command of the Iranian and Iraqi forces.

Removing Saddam was a mistake, but that does not mean that he was somehow a good man, or a good leader. There are a lot of awful leaders in the Mideast. Indeed considering Netanyahu's re-election, one could well argue that all of the leaders in the Mideast are awful people. Can you honestly say that what we have expended in terms of lives and money in Iraq actually been well-spent? Have we left that nation in a more stable form than it was before we came, or have we merely replaced a fettered Sunni despot with a feckless and corrupt Shia govt of Iranian puppets fighting a civil war against a force of Sunni guerrillas led by Baathist remnants whom we kicked out of power? Was he really of greater danger to his own citizens than the mess that those citizens now face? Was he really a greater threat to the region and to us than is ISIS?

The consequences of involvement must be considered, and when a pattern is readily apparent, it should not be ignored.

Kimon
03-22-2015, 03:37 PM
I know this sounds like a decent argument, and in a more general sense has a lot of merit, but we have a volunteer army for a lot of practical reasons that preclude the idea that we should just have a draft any time armed intervention or defense becomes necessary. And the underlying principle behind your argument is somewhat insulting. Basically, you are saying that unless I am willing to die for it, it is not a valid opinion.

And my taxes are quite high enough already in order to support our national expenditure on "defense". One might say that I've already paid the price in terms of higher taxation in order to support our ability to intervene abroad.



The reason for the draft and for raising taxes during time of war are in my opinion much simpler. They serve to make everyone feel the pain of the fighting. If neither occur it becomes far too easy for the populace to support elective wars.

I think people who commit violent rape are evil. I think we can all agree on this. But I am not volunteering to patrol the streets at night in order to find and stop them. For this, we have an group with a supposed monopoly on force called the police, who, much like the army (far too much like, in most respects), volunteer for their job in return for pay and benefits and often ideological reasons, and who do this for me. Is my aversion to rapists somehow worthless because I do not want to be a policeman, or because I am unwilling to risk myself in bringing vigilante justice to the streets? And if not, why is this any different than thinking that removing Saddam Hussein, who was a violent psychopath on an order of magnitude several times greater than any rapist, should have been deposed through force of arms?

If a rape (or any other major crime) occurs in say Toronto or London and goes unsolved, do we have the right to intervene and investigate it, even if it is unclear that they want our help? And if it is clear that they do not want our involvement, what then? Do we still assert the right to stick our nose in? Is the implication that some places in the world are adult enough to handle their own problems, but others are not? Who decides?

We have an obligation to act as police and protection for our own citizens, why exactly did we begin to feel that we had the right to act as a world police force?

Edit:

Let's turn this issue around. Our refusal to do anything about global warming could be construed by certain nations as a threat to global security. Would other nations have the right to invade us and impose a regime change here because they thought what we were doing was wrong? If they don't, why do we? Is it just might makes right? Is it just as simple as we have paid so much in defense spending so that we get to act as global bully?

Nazbaque
03-22-2015, 05:26 PM
Of course it matters, and I'll take the collective wisdom of thousands of years of philosophic and legal pondering on this question over your opinion as definitive. People are killed by other people, by accident, all the time. There is obviously a moral difference between a doctor who suggests a risky surgery to save a terminally ill patient and has it fail, and a guy who shoots up a school. If you cannot agree on that, then there is no point continuing this discussion. So I hope we've all agreed that not all types of killing are equal. If I kill you in defense of my own life, I think I am unquestionably in a morally superior state than if you kill me while mugging me.
We were talking about the difference between mass slaughter and genocide. The methods and number of victims are equal. Why is it worse if the victims were chosen for the reason of their race and culture?
In the same vein, the motives matter. A mass murderer with a terrible mental illness might be no less culpable the the person planning his attack, but is certainly more pitiable. Planning to eradicate an entire culture, in order to eliminate that culture, is worse than just killing at random. If you don't see motive as important, then I'll have to move on from this point, but its almost inconceivable to me that any person doesn't hold the believe that motive in murder is immaterial. Parsing shades of gray when it comes to crime is the entire purpose of the legal system.
It may be one of the functions but hardly the entire purpose. Motives are useful information in finding culprits, but in actual punishment they must not have any effect. Self defense denies choice and premeditation so it is a different crime. A mental illness might mean that the perpetraitor is just a different kind of victim. But a premeditated murder is a premeditated murder regardless of motive and must be treated as such.
Now this is truly absurd. The very fact that different cultures exist in the first place opens that conversation. Opposing genocide is the exact opposite of what you suggest; the idea that we cannot judge the worth of a culture and therefore should work to prevent any of them from being forcibly extirpated from the face of the earth. If your view is that we cannot or should not make distinctions between different cultures for fear of falling prey to the (very human) instinct of making a value judgment, then you will condemn many of them to extinction when less principled people begin making the very value judgments you refuse to admit to, but do so with guns and bombs and chemical gas, instead of words.
You are suggesting that an equal number of random victims is less deserving of defense. I am not denying awareness; I am advocating it. Understand why wrong is wrong and it is easier to fix. You are now concentrating on a minor detail. You are assigning special value to the identities of the victims, but that must always be secondary to the fact that they are victims.
You'll have to provide evidence. American involvement certainly saved, I would argue, the entire world from living under a Nazi despotism. At the very least there are fourteen or so million Jews, at the very least, who are quite glad that Roosevelt and his contemporaries weren't the spineless moral cowards you would have preferred, and another six millions who probably would have wished they had yet more backbone. To say nothing of the gypsies, homosexuals, and other groups who suffered under National Socialism and still would today.
You are actually saying that WWII was the same as Vietnam, Korea and however much the Middle-East adds up to? Well let me point out the crucial difference. They declared war on you. You were attacked and retaliated. A terrorist strike, even on 911 scale, is not the same as an official military attack by a ruling government. And further more to the case of Nazi-Germany: at the time no-one in the allied nations knew about their concentration camps. The horrendous crimes of Nazis were never a motive for any declarations of war against Germany. Yes their racist attitudes were public knowledge but not the lengths to which they pursued them.
As for why it has to be us, it is because no one else is willing to do so. Perhaps if the rest of the world was half as committed to trying to make the world a better place, American intervention wouldn't be quite as needed and a truly global effort could be made to improve the quality of life of those living under despotism. Certainly, had the French and Russians not been such solid friends (even under inducement of bribery) Saddam might have been removed from power in a less chaotic way that involved less bloodshed. And even as someone who is not a GWB fan at all, I take extreme offense to the idea that he, or almost any other American elected official, can or should be compared to Saddam Hussein. Hate him for his poor planning in executing the rebuilding from Iraq and American/allied withdrawal. He made a mess of it. The fact that he vastly underestimated the work and sacrifice necessary to protect the fledgling Iraqi state does not somehow negate the moral necessity of the intervention in the first place. But to call George W Bush, or essentially any prominent actor in the Iraq War, a "psychopath" on the level of Saddam is not just wrong, it is stupid. If you believe that, you are a stupid, unethical person.
Ah so here we have two known individuals, GWB and Hussein, some public underlings of each and who knows how many people behind the scenes. You have never actually talked to any of these people yet you declare one of them to be a worse person than another. All you think you know about them is from media and that is never the full picture. And besides I said that the victims might see you as another set of psychopaths. I did not make any rankings on who is worse than who and I didn't say you actually are a set of psychopaths, but did you really make an effort in proving otherwise to the people who had lived through those horrors.
As for your extremely poor choice of an eggs/omelet metaphor, it is obvious, prima facie, that you just are not right. The more apt comparison might be to say that we remove the homicidal maniac in charge of the kitchen from the scene, and then give his oppressed line chefs the opportunity to cook the omelet. Look at the recent gains the Iraqi Army has made against ISIL, and look especially at what the Kurds have done in the north over the last 12 years. That is a stable, functioning, democratic state. Or federal sub-state, whatever. We could have and should have done more to ensure an orderly transition of power (and mind you, the recent it was so messy was in large part because Iran saw an opportunity to back a whole bunch of random religious lunatic militia's; it isn't like US troops started running amok, raping and killing). But at the end of the day, our mandate should have been the provide the framework for the Iraqi's to set up their own functioning government, not to be an American colony. And while our poor handling of the postwar period has doubtlessly set the country back quite a bit, there have been peaceful elections since and a responsible transition of power. It is possible to say that there is on the horizon the image of a democratic and peaceful Iraq, which is more than can be said, at least, of an Iraq ruled by the Hussein family.
Like I said you gave a lesser evil when you could have given good. But since you are so concentrated on Hussein's removal, why didn't you just assassinate him? Would that somehow been less moral than the war and the deaths that brought on both sides? But that would not have been so profitable for the gun industry, now would it. And if you want to extend the metaphor: You violently barged into the kitchen, killed a few and injured several staff members while removing the homicidal maniac and left the room with half the ingredients and equibment ruined.

In general Ozy you are still too focused on what is official. Unofficial will always be the reality and official is just our attempt to direct it. You have too little doubt in the validity of your emotions and opinions and therefore don't seek to improve control on the former nor reanalyze and refine the latter. Wisdom requires a certain level of humility in recognizing ones flaws and also the resolve to overcome these flaws. These two qualities are difficult to balance, but not impossible.

Ozymandias
03-22-2015, 11:20 PM
Ozy, you're ignoring a couple of issues. The first of which is over the question of whether it makes sense for us to be the police force for the world. While the UN is obviously not up to the task, that does not mean that we should either have the right or the incentive to act in that role.

It is a legitimate question, I agree. I happen to believe that genocide is an act worthy of intervention. Preferably that of the international community as a whole, but failing that, by whoever is willing to act. And mind you, we're still ignoring the fact that Saddam actively supported international terrorism, which seemed to be a perfectly fine excuse for deposing the Taliban.

If you believe that we should never risk American soldiers or dollars abroad, fair enough. I think that is short sighted, but if that is your philosophy then I'll never convince you so we can leave it at that. But if you think there is any conceivable reason for American force to be deployed beyond our own borders, then Saddam's Iraq met those standards.

It is indeed a situation eerily similar to the hostility that African Americans have to the police. At least with that problem, we can attempt to rectify that mistrust by altering the composition of police forces in African American communities, making them more representative (i.e. hiring more black police officers). Fixing that same issue in our interventions in the Muslim world is more difficult, but while we can't and obviously won't make ourselves Muslim, we can at least attempt to ensure that we create coalitions involving other Muslim countries, so that our coming seems not like a Crusader invasion but like a US led UN mission. The Elder Bush recognized this in the First Gulf War, the Younger Bush did not. His coalition was essentially just us and the British Empire. Not exactly a force designed to put the minds of the locals at ease. The Elder Bush also recognized that pushing Saddam out of Kuwait could be sold to the world, and could be accomplished, but that removing him would create a myriad a potential consequences, most notably a civil war between the Sunni and Shia that could well completely de-stabilize the region. Again, the Younger Bush ignored this issue, and civil war and chaos has been reaped as a result.

I disagree with this. There isn't a civil war in Iraq. What there is, are a bunch of foreign-backed militias fighting against a legitimate government. Iraq has managed to hold a few elections since the transfer of power from the Coalition, and if they're still working out the kinks of dealing with representative government, at the very least transitions have been peaceful and elections reasonably honest, and all factions have a say in the federal government. That isn't civil war.

You mention the recent successes of the Iraqi govt, but that success has been undeniably due to Iran, indeed with a Iranian general in command of the Iranian and Iraqi forces.

Not ignoring the remainder of your response, just trying to keep the quoting to a minimum.

My answer is; so what? ISIL isn't some random group of illiterate peasants fighting with Uzi's against a modern military - they ARE a modern military, with a great deal of the arms and materiel that they stole from the Syrian army. So the Iraqi government asked for the help of a neighbor, who happens to be a a religious and political rival, to combat a common foe. Far from being a negative, that sounds to me like a functioning state, capable of making rational decisions in its own self interest.

Removing Saddam was a mistake, but that does not mean that he was somehow a good man, or a good leader. There are a lot of awful leaders in the Mideast. Indeed considering Netanyahu's re-election, one could well argue that all of the leaders in the Mideast are awful people.

Please, please, please stop comparing Saddam Hussein with any of the other regional leaders. They are not comparable, not even Khamenei, who is a thanatophiliac zealot stuck in a Bronze Age mindset. I can't stand Netanyahu either, but compared to Saddam he's a harmless buffoon. Saddam Hussein was insane, but more than that, was legitimately evil in way that few people are.


Can you honestly say that what we have expended in terms of lives and money in Iraq actually been well-spent? Have we left that nation in a more stable form than it was before we came, or have we merely replaced a fettered Sunni despot with a feckless and corrupt Shia govt of Iranian puppets fighting a civil war against a force of Sunni guerrillas led by Baathist remnants whom we kicked out of power

Yes, we have left Iraq a better place. For one, it is less of a threat to its immediate neighbors than it was under Saddam. Secondly, while it certainly attracts terrorist elements, it is no longer a safe haven for international criminals as it was under Saddam. As for the Iraqi people, you'd be extremely hard pressed to find anyone or any study which concludes that the total cost in lives for Iraqi's, from both war and the ensuing chaos, was greater than the impact sanctions were having on Iraq. Most studies indicated that anywhere from 200,000 (http://nointervention.com/archive/Iraq/org/excess_mortality_in_Iraq.pdf) to half a million (http://www.public.asu.edu/~wellsda/foreignpolicy/Halliday-criticizes-sanctions.html) children died in Iraq as a result of sanctions, which would dwarf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Body_Count_project) all but the most aggressive estimates of Iraq War casualties

Was he really of greater danger to his own citizens than the mess that those citizens now face? Was he really a greater threat to the region and to us than is ISIS?

Unquestionably yes, Saddam was a greater danger. At the very least, your average Iraqi person now has a military at least theoretically dedicated to protecting their person and property, whereas prior to 2003, the Iraqi military existed in order to allow Saddam to exploit their person and property. However effective you think the Iraqi Army is or is not, they are at least now trying to help and not subdue. This is a fact that cannot be ignored.

Ozymandias
03-23-2015, 12:01 AM
We were talking about the difference between mass slaughter and genocide. The methods and number of victims are equal. Why is it worse if the victims were chosen for the reason of their race and culture?

Because as you say, all cultures are valuable, and genocide is the attempt to eliminate both the individuals and the culture. Both are horrible, one a shade more so. And as with any crime, premeditation is important.

It may be one of the functions but hardly the entire purpose. Motives are useful information in finding culprits, but in actual punishment they must not have any effect. Self defense denies choice and premeditation so it is a different crime. A mental illness might mean that the perpetraitor is just a different kind of victim. But a premeditated murder is a premeditated murder regardless of motive and must be treated as such.

But a crime of passion and a premeditated murder are not treated equally, nor should they be. Genocide is, by definition, a premeditated killing, as it involves targeting specific individuals, whereas a mass killing could at least theoretically be a crime of passion.

But it is more or less irrelevant. As I said, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with your assertion and because I don't have the intellectual or philosophical gifts/knowledge to slap you down, I trust that the entire collective of humanity, in decrying genocide as a terrible crime, is evidence enough for the fact that something deep within a common ethical framework that most humans share on some level despises genocide as a worse form of mass murder.

You are suggesting that an equal number of random victims is less deserving of defense. I am not denying awareness; I am advocating it. Understand why wrong is wrong and it is easier to fix. You are now concentrating on a minor detail. You are assigning special value to the identities of the victims, but that must always be secondary to the fact that they are victims.

I suggest nothing of the sort, and I'll thank you not to assume. All victims are (within reason) deserving of an equal amount of defense. But some crimes are worse than others, and genocide is worse than mass murder. Perhaps it is a minor detail; it is nonetheless important. Dropping a bomb on a formation of soldiers is considered more humane than dropping a bomb on an orphanage, or perhaps more morally correct, despite the fact that said battalion of soldiers might merely be a bunch of orphans drafted against their will. Minor details matter, however much it might seem like so much sophistry.

As I have said, it its most basic level, genocide is the extirpation not only of countless lives, but of an entire way of life. Mass murder is just the elimination of individuals. Which is not a defense of mass murder, before someone decides to jump on my admittedly poor choice of language.

You are actually saying that WWII was the same as Vietnam, Korea and however much the Middle-East adds up to? Well let me point out the crucial difference. They declared war on you.

Wait... what? Maybe I'm missing something, because I don't follow the thread of your response. I will also point out that however aggressive, evil, and despotic Nazi Germany was, they had every justification for declaring war on the United States, who had been acting in an underhanded, if perfectly justifiable, manner in regards to their "neutrality" for years.


You were attacked and retaliated. A terrorist strike, even on 911 scale, is not the same as an official military attack by a ruling government.

Right, I agree. By which you are of course arguing that our intervention in Afghanistan was illegal, while our involvement in Iraq was. You will recall, I hope, that Saddam actually placed a cash bounty for any of his anti-aircraft gunners who could shoot down an allied plane patrolling the No Fly Zone. Not sure how that doesn't constitute an official act of aggression, or official government policy. Because those attacks occurred on a near-daily basis for several years.

And further more to the case of Nazi-Germany: at the time no-one in the allied nations knew about their concentration camps. The horrendous crimes of Nazis were never a motive for any declarations of war against Germany. Yes their racist attitudes were public knowledge but not the lengths to which they pursued them.

It is very much the opposite; the Allies were certainly aware of the camps, and of the systemic persecution of Jews and others that preceded their actual liquidation at the hands of the Nazis. It was merely a question of how to allocate military resources; to speeding the defeat of the Nazis, or liberating the camps. They may have been unprepared for the specific horror of what they found, but they knew. Admittedly, the actual Holocaust didn't begin until after American entry into the war, but obviously the persecution began in the early 30s. At the very latest, the Riegnar Cable in the summer of '42 is incontrovertible evidence that the outside world was aware of Germany's plan to exterminate European Jewry.

Ah so here we have two known individuals, GWB and Hussein, some public underlings of each and who knows how many people behind the scenes. You have never actually talked to any of these people yet you declare one of them to be a worse person than another. All you think you know about them is from media and that is never the full picture. And besides I said that the victims might see you as another set of psychopaths. I did not make any rankings on who is worse than who and I didn't say you actually are a set of psychopaths, but did you really make an effort in proving otherwise to the people who had lived through those horrors.

You don't have to make a ranking, because Saddam is worse. It reflects extraordinarily poorly on your intelligence, on your moral grounding, and on your intellectual honesty that you even try to make this argument. I can provide you with an evil act (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-25363857) relatively low on the list of Saddam's crimes, that still far outstrips anything that can reasonably be laid at the feet of George W Bush.

This just isn't a question. Whether you think we should have removed Saddam is at least open to debate. You open yourself up to a charge of lack of seriousness when you try to argue that GWB was as psychotic or immoral as Saddam Hussein.

Like I said you gave a lesser evil when you could have given good. But since you are so concentrated on Hussein's removal, why didn't you just assassinate him? Would that somehow been less moral than the war and the deaths that brought on both sides? But that would not have been so profitable for the gun industry, now would it. And if you want to extend the metaphor: You violently barged into the kitchen, killed a few and injured several staff members while removing the homicidal maniac and left the room with half the ingredients and equibment ruined.

I am not denying that the transition was handled about as poorly as possible. You'll never hear me deny it. I merely think that the fact that the aftermath was executed poorly does not invalidate the original justification for intervention and regime change.

And assassinating Saddam might well have had the desired effect. More likely, he would have been replaced by some other Ba'athist official, who might have been less cruel but certainly would have maintained a similar despotic grip on power. Do not forget, at least part of the justification for intervention was that the presence of a fully democratic and stable Iraq would provide a more favorable and strategically valuable regional partner than the Wahhabist Saudi government in which we currently place our trust.

In general Ozy you are still too focused on what is official. Unofficial will always be the reality and official is just our attempt to direct it. You have too little doubt in the validity of your emotions and opinions and therefore don't seek to improve control on the former nor reanalyze and refine the latter. Wisdom requires a certain level of humility in recognizing ones flaws and also the resolve to overcome these flaws. These two qualities are difficult to balance, but not impossible.

If your final line of defense is to utter incomprehensible nonsense, then I think we're done here. You are correct; I have no doubt at all that genocide is wrong. I have no doubt at all that the exploitation of millions of people for the aggrandizement of one crime family is wrong. That allowing the infant mortality rate in Iraq to double in order to maintain your grip on power is wrong. That bribery is wrong, that the use of chemical weapons against civilians is wrong, that waging unprovoked war on your neighbors is wrong.

I make no claim at all to wisdom. One does not need to be wise to know that Saddam was a maniacal, murderous despot. Even the staunchest critics of the Iraq War will not argue that. But you are trying to make some ridiculous case for relative moral equivalence between Saddam and Bush. You have made the case that genocide is not a crime worthy of greater moral condemnation than mass slaughter - this is a view that is in direct contradiction to what the vast majority of humanity thinks to be the case (or I will assume; having no global polling data on the subject, I'll take one of the few things the UN community seems to agree upon as species-wide assent).

I will repeat, again: there may be an argument to be made, or at least an intellectually honest position to be taken, that the Iraq War was a foolish waste of lives and money and time, and that even ignoring the poor post-bellum planning, we should never have involved ourselves. That is most certainly NOT what you are arguing. I am well aware of my flaws, both as an intellectual debater and as a person. I think that you, in your attempts to overly deconstruct these arguments to make a point that almost no one will agree with, are the one who should be questioning yourself. There is a reason genocide is universally condemned as the worst crime humanity has to offer.

Finally... learn your facts. I am going on the assumption that you have some knowledge of the events of which you are debating, but I am starting to revise that opinion. On at least two points that I've noticed, you've been outright wrong, and on several others, at the very least ignorant of the prevailing body of evidence. The internet makes responsible research easy. Utilize it.

Ozymandias
03-23-2015, 12:16 AM
If a rape (or any other major crime) occurs in say Toronto or London and goes unsolved, do we have the right to intervene and investigate it, even if it is unclear that they want our help? And if it is clear that they do not want our involvement, what then? Do we still assert the right to stick our nose in? Is the implication that some places in the world are adult enough to handle their own problems, but others are not? Who decides?

These are not equivalent scenarios. If a rape occurs in Baghdad, we have no right to intervene. Theoretically, they will do so themselves. If the government sponsors a systemic program of rape, that is a different story. If the British government makes it an official policy that all people of Welsh descent should be raped or killed, then yes.... I think we have an obligation to intervene.

We have an obligation to act as police and protection for our own citizens, why exactly did we begin to feel that we had the right to act as a world police force?

I freely admit, this is an area in which we perhaps have a philosophic difference. You seem to believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that there is no situation in which the United States is justified in intervening in the affairs of another state, unless there is literally unanimous consent and cooperation from the rest of the world. Regardless of the crime. I happen to think that there are certain actions that are so morally repugnant that they require any ethical homo sapiens to intervene, or at least actively advocate for intervention. Lets not make this one of these stupid "well you should have gone then and let everyone else stay out of it" arguments. Genocide is on the short list of those evil actions.

Let me ask you this; what if there had been incontrovertible proof that Saddam was pursuing enriched uranium? Why is the possession of a nuclear weapon worse than the attempted extirpation of millions of people of a particular cultural background? At worst, a nuclear weapon is only capable of achieving what Saddam had already attempted (and partially succeeded in). At best, he might conceivably (though its a laughably remote possibility) have wanted in order to provide cheap, more environmentally friendly energy to his own population? Would intervention have been justified? Most people seem to think so.

Edit:

Let's turn this issue around. Our refusal to do anything about global warming could be construed by certain nations as a threat to global security. Would other nations have the right to invade us and impose a regime change here because they thought what we were doing was wrong? If they don't, why do we?

That is an excellent question, and if you don't mind, one I would like to spend some time pondering (or, if anyone else has a good explanation... please jump in! Hah). My first thought is that there is certainly an argument to be made about the immediacy of Saddam's threat to his own people and his neighbors, and perhaps also something to be said about the degree of control the US government has over the corporations that do business in its borders. And of course, the idea that at the very least, the pollution firms like Duke Energy create (just got fined a relatively large sum, so very topical) is directed towards a legitimate goal (just not the most efficient), and also that the decisions the US government is making are made by a reasonably democratic and fairly elected governing body. There is certainly a difference of degree when it comes to the egregiousness of one psychopathic dictator making decisions on behalf of a 25 million people who live in terrified fear of him, as opposed to the deliberations of a government that can claim with certainty to represent the beliefs of their constituents, however misguided those beliefs may be.

But again... I'll think about it. I feel as though with some thought, I can at least give you a more eloquent and reasoned answer, if not necessarily a better one.

Kimon
03-23-2015, 12:18 AM
It is a legitimate question, I agree. I happen to believe that genocide is an act worthy of intervention. Preferably that of the international community as a whole, but failing that, by whoever is willing to act. And mind you, we're still ignoring the fact that Saddam actively supported international terrorism, which seemed to be a perfectly fine excuse for deposing the Taliban.



There are times when intervention is warranted even when we have not been attacked. But those times are rare. In WWII we were attacked, but even had we not, coming to the aid of England and France would have been a worthy endeavor, but keep in mind, there was significant resistance even to doing that prior to Pearl Harbor. The attack changed that. Saddam however had nothing to do with 9/11. 9/11 justified going after the Taliban. It did not justify going after Saddam.

If you believe that we should never risk American soldiers or dollars abroad, fair enough. I think that is short sighted, but if that is your philosophy then I'll never convince you so we can leave it at that. But if you think there is any conceivable reason for American force to be deployed beyond our own borders, then Saddam's Iraq met those standards.

If the threat is really worth risking American lives, why isn't it worthy of a draft so that the risk is spread throughout the populace? And again, Saddam in no way meets that criterion. That war was just plain stupid.

I disagree with this. There isn't a civil war in Iraq. What there is, are a bunch of foreign-backed militias fighting against a legitimate government. Iraq has managed to hold a few elections since the transfer of power from the Coalition, and if they're still working out the kinks of dealing with representative government, at the very least transitions have been peaceful and elections reasonably honest, and all factions have a say in the federal government. That isn't civil war.

Was the Spanish Civil War not a civil war either? It drew in international fighters on both sides, including Americans. If you wish to argue that the civil war within Iraq is just one theatre within a larger civil war that also encompasses Syria, and by extension also Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iran, then fine, but none of that changes the fact that it is a civil war between the Sunni and the Shia that began in Iraq, spilled over into Syria, and is now de-stabilizing the entire region, and that it had as its source our overthrow of Saddam's Baathist Sunni regime in Iraq and installation of a Shia govt in its place.

Not ignoring the remainder of your response, just trying to keep the quoting to a minimum.

My answer is; so what? ISIL isn't some random group of illiterate peasants fighting with Uzi's against a modern military - they ARE a modern military, with a great deal of the arms and materiel that they stole from the Syrian army. So the Iraqi government asked for the help of a neighbor, who happens to be a a religious and political rival, to combat a common foe. Far from being a negative, that sounds to me like a functioning state, capable of making rational decisions in its own self interest.

We propped up Saddam as a bulwark against Iran. Then we got annoyed at Saddam and so trapped him in a box. Then the Younger Bush decided that the box, while clearly effective, wasn't as exciting as regime change. So he overthrew Saddam, replaced him with the Shia, and wouldn't let any of the Sunni Baathists in the new govt. The new Shia govt allies with our old enemy Iran and look for revenge against their enemy, the Sunni Iraqis. This creates a hostility that gives rise to ISIS. At first we just try to stay out of this new civil war, even when they spill into Syria, but then they also threaten the Kurds, one of the few reliable allies we have in the area. Now we have to act, but how. The Kurds can't do it alone. We don't want to send troops. Turkey won't do anything as they are hoping that ISIS kills all the Kurds. None of the Arabs want to do anything. So only one nation really cares about helping the Shia. Iran. So now Iran is helping us fight an enemy whom we once sponsored as a proxy in our hostilities against Iran. Are you seeing the problem?

Please, please, please stop comparing Saddam Hussein with any of the other regional leaders. They are not comparable, not even Khamenei, who is a thanatophiliac zealot stuck in a Bronze Age mindset. I can't stand Netanyahu either, but compared to Saddam he's a harmless buffoon. Saddam Hussein was insane, but more than that, was legitimately evil in way that few people are.

Saddam was a thug, but so is Assad. So was Mubarak. So is Netanyahu. You can pretend that Netanyahu is somehow better. Certain we feel far less comfortable criticizing Israel, but what he has been doing in Gaza is despicable. We can try to pretend that the Muslims have no reasons to hate us, but that is naive. Palestine and Mossadegh are both legitimate reasons.

Yes, we have left Iraq a better place. For one, it is less of a threat to its immediate neighbors than it was under Saddam. Secondly, while it certainly attracts terrorist elements, it is no longer a safe haven for international criminals as it was under Saddam. As for the Iraqi people, you'd be extremely hard pressed to find anyone or any study which concludes that the total cost in lives for Iraqi's, from both war and the ensuing chaos, was greater than the impact sanctions were having on Iraq. Most studies indicated that anywhere from 200,000 to half a million children died in Iraq as a result of sanctions, which would dwarf all but the most aggressive estimates of Iraq War casualties

Wow. Read this again Ozy. Do you honestly think that Saddam was worse than ISIS? Do you honestly think that Iraq is safer and more stable today than it was under Saddam? If so, you've been drinking too much of that neo-con kool-aid.

Nazbaque
03-23-2015, 04:55 AM
Because as you say, all cultures are valuable, and genocide is the attempt to eliminate both the individuals and the culture. Both are horrible, one a shade more so. And as with any crime, premeditation is important.
Actually I am saying that culture is just a minor detail and in itself not really worth anything.
But a crime of passion and a premeditated murder are not treated equally, nor should they be. Genocide is, by definition, a premeditated killing, as it involves targeting specific individuals, whereas a mass killing could at least theoretically be a crime of passion.
You are telling me that genocide for some reason can't be a crime of passion, but mass slaughter in similar numbers can? Yet on he basis of everything else you've said, you feel that genocide is worse than premeditated mass slaughter where the choice of victims isn't based on their culture.
But it is more or less irrelevant. As I said, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who agrees with your assertion and because I don't have the intellectual or philosophical gifts/knowledge to slap you down, I trust that the entire collective of humanity, in decrying genocide as a terrible crime, is evidence enough for the fact that something deep within a common ethical framework that most humans share on some level despises genocide as a worse form of mass murder.
You are letting others choose what is right and wrong for you. Certainly one should respect their right to an opinion, but opinion solely based on emotion and the attitude of others is not much of an opinion. I am a mathematician and in that field everything is proven beyond doubt. I apply this approach to ethics in an attempt to clearly define right and wrong. And since I have already established that cultural background must never ever affect the value of a person, a mass slaughter is not any worse just because it is a genocide. If the whole world disagrees then they are not fully logical or at the very least they have erroneus ideas on the value of culture.
I suggest nothing of the sort, and I'll thank you not to assume. All victims are (within reason) deserving of an equal amount of defense. But some crimes are worse than others, and genocide is worse than mass murder. Perhaps it is a minor detail; it is nonetheless important. Dropping a bomb on a formation of soldiers is considered more humane than dropping a bomb on an orphanage, or perhaps more morally correct, despite the fact that said battalion of soldiers might merely be a bunch of orphans drafted against their will. Minor details matter, however much it might seem like so much sophistry.

As I have said, it its most basic level, genocide is the extirpation not only of countless lives, but of an entire way of life. Mass murder is just the elimination of individuals. Which is not a defense of mass murder, before someone decides to jump on my admittedly poor choice of language.
Well this really seems to be a case of "everyone else says the world is flat so it must be true".
Wait... what? Maybe I'm missing something, because I don't follow the thread of your response. I will also point out that however aggressive, evil, and despotic Nazi Germany was, they had every justification for declaring war on the United States, who had been acting in an underhanded, if perfectly justifiable, manner in regards to their "neutrality" for years.

Right, I agree. By which you are of course arguing that our intervention in Afghanistan was illegal, while our involvement in Iraq was. You will recall, I hope, that Saddam actually placed a cash bounty for any of his anti-aircraft gunners who could shoot down an allied plane patrolling the No Fly Zone. Not sure how that doesn't constitute an official act of aggression, or official government policy. Because those attacks occurred on a near-daily basis for several years.

It is very much the opposite; the Allies were certainly aware of the camps, and of the systemic persecution of Jews and others that preceded their actual liquidation at the hands of the Nazis. It was merely a question of how to allocate military resources; to speeding the defeat of the Nazis, or liberating the camps. They may have been unprepared for the specific horror of what they found, but they knew. Admittedly, the actual Holocaust didn't begin until after American entry into the war, but obviously the persecution began in the early 30s. At the very latest, the Riegnar Cable in the summer of '42 is incontrovertible evidence that the outside world was aware of Germany's plan to exterminate European Jewry.
What I am arguing is that Pearl Harbor was what actually turned your attitude around and got you to join the war. Practically every war you have been involved in since then is just you finding excuses to go to war. And at least a part of the reason for that is the gun industry's wish to sell more bullets.
You don't have to make a ranking, because Saddam is worse. It reflects extraordinarily poorly on your intelligence, on your moral grounding, and on your intellectual honesty that you even try to make this argument. I can provide you with an evil act (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-25363857) relatively low on the list of Saddam's crimes, that still far outstrips anything that can reasonably be laid at the feet of George W Bush.

This just isn't a question. Whether you think we should have removed Saddam is at least open to debate. You open yourself up to a charge of lack of seriousness when you try to argue that GWB was as psychotic or immoral as Saddam Hussein.
Hussein may be worse, but there is clear cause for people to call Bush a psychopath too.
I am not denying that the transition was handled about as poorly as possible. You'll never hear me deny it. I merely think that the fact that the aftermath was executed poorly does not invalidate the original justification for intervention and regime change.
No but it does mean that you shouldn't be doing it. You are not good at it so stop.
And assassinating Saddam might well have had the desired effect. More likely, he would have been replaced by some other Ba'athist official, who might have been less cruel but certainly would have maintained a similar despotic grip on power. Do not forget, at least part of the justification for intervention was that the presence of a fully democratic and stable Iraq would provide a more favorable and strategically valuable regional partner than the Wahhabist Saudi government in which we currently place our trust.
Oh so it's back to the cold war attitude of all non-democracies are evil.
If your final line of defense is to utter incomprehensible nonsense, then I think we're done here. You are correct; I have no doubt at all that genocide is wrong. I have no doubt at all that the exploitation of millions of people for the aggrandizement of one crime family is wrong. That allowing the infant mortality rate in Iraq to double in order to maintain your grip on power is wrong. That bribery is wrong, that the use of chemical weapons against civilians is wrong, that waging unprovoked war on your neighbors is wrong.
You do not seek to understand why it is wrong. You are letting emotions do the work of thinking. Why should anyone discuss anything with you when you don't put actual thought to your opinions?
I make no claim at all to wisdom. One does not need to be wise to know that Saddam was a maniacal, murderous despot. Even the staunchest critics of the Iraq War will not argue that. But you are trying to make some ridiculous case for relative moral equivalence between Saddam and Bush. You have made the case that genocide is not a crime worthy of greater moral condemnation than mass slaughter - this is a view that is in direct contradiction to what the vast majority of humanity thinks to be the case (or I will assume; having no global polling data on the subject, I'll take one of the few things the UN community seems to agree upon as species-wide assent).
Well now did the world turn out to be round anyway? Gosh.
I will repeat, again: there may be an argument to be made, or at least an intellectually honest position to be taken, that the Iraq War was a foolish waste of lives and money and time, and that even ignoring the poor post-bellum planning, we should never have involved ourselves. That is most certainly NOT what you are arguing. I am well aware of my flaws, both as an intellectual debater and as a person. I think that you, in your attempts to overly deconstruct these arguments to make a point that almost no one will agree with, are the one who should be questioning yourself. There is a reason genocide is universally condemned as the worst crime humanity has to offer.
There were reasons for thinking the world is flat. And I can explain those reasons. You have yet to explain why everyone is right about genocide.
Finally... learn your facts. I am going on the assumption that you have some knowledge of the events of which you are debating, but I am starting to revise that opinion. On at least two points that I've noticed, you've been outright wrong, and on several others, at the very least ignorant of the prevailing body of evidence. The internet makes responsible research easy. Utilize it.
Why should I? You won't even put thought in your own opinions; so you clearly won't put any to mine.

The Unreasoner
03-23-2015, 05:57 AM
The problem there is that it works both ways. If a lethal gene is not removed from the pool it could potentially end the human race in a few generations.
A 'lethal gene'? Like anemia or cancer? I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. The beauty of 'lethal genes' (as I understand it) is organisms with them don't often live long enough to spread them (and yes, there is a difference between a group's extinction by natural pressures and one by genocide).

On the situation at hand, I (mostly) agree with Kimon. Although I would rather have an America that is overly interventionist than overly isolationist. We're just not very good long-term planners.

Also, part of me wonders if not moving against Assad helped ISIS. The civil war and Assad's atrocities certainly provided a rallying point and room to settle.

Nazbaque
03-23-2015, 06:50 AM
A 'lethal gene'? Like anemia or cancer? I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. The beauty of 'lethal genes' (as I understand it) is organisms with them don't often live long enough to spread them (and yes, there is a difference between a group's extinction by natural pressures and one by genocide).
Well it does get a bit complicated. Lethal genes come in two forms: behaviour and bodily. Behaviour is not really a human thing it's simply proven that certain animal behaviour is directly influenced by genetics such as bird flight patterns. A lethal behaviour gene may cause a bird to crash to the ground. Bodily leathal genes would be genetic diseases that lead to early death due to body malfunction and yes cancer genes are such. Like you said however the very nature of lethal genes makes the spreading difficult. Yet there is a chance of combined malfunctions. Disorders that aren't that harmful by themselves but combined become lethal. Each may spread quite widely by themselves and before we know it every couple has a 10 % chance of giving a child genetics that won't allow it live to teens.

This is of course very farfetched and it shouldn't in any event be taken as a justification for genocide. I am simply pointing out that the other extreme unlikelyhood of removing a necessary gene from the pool is not a solid reason to consider genocide as worse than mass slaughter. Removing a gene from the pool is neither harmfull nor usefull by default. And since there is a chance that some psychopath "finds evidence" that a group of people have harmful genetics and takes action, we really shouldn't open that forum for discussion even to make mass slaughter sound extra bad.

Southpaw2012
03-23-2015, 11:23 AM
Our president, and it makes me sick to type that out, is a disgrace. He's choosing to work with a country that at this moment is chanting "Death to America" while at the same time is undermining our relationship with the only true ally we have in the Middle East: Israel. Of course, it's no surprise that he is against Israel knowing that Israel actually stands up to radical Islam terrorism and isn't afraid to say so. Seriously, any of you who can still defend this joke of a "president" must be enjoying the "free" stuff too much, because this is disgusting.

Terez
03-23-2015, 11:36 AM
Our president, and it makes me sick to type that out...
Might want to see a doctor about that.

Nazbaque
03-23-2015, 11:37 AM
Our president, and it makes me sick to type that out, is a disgrace. He's choosing to work with a country that at this moment is chanting "Death to America" while at the same time is undermining our relationship with the only true ally we have in the Middle East: Israel. Of course, it's no surprise that he is against Israel knowing that Israel actually stands up to radical Islam terrorism and isn't afraid to say so. Seriously, any of you who can still defend this joke of a "president" must be enjoying the "free" stuff too much, because this is disgusting.

Oh that is a blatant lie. You get such a kick out of his doings that I wouldn't be surprised if you have turned it into some sort of sexual fetish.

GonzoTheGreat
03-23-2015, 12:31 PM
Our president, and it makes me sick to type that out, ...
Let me give you some free advice, well worth what you're paying for it: do not seek a Second Amendment Solution to your "presidential problem".

Despite what your Supreme Court thinks, the "well ordered militia" bit in the wording of that part of your Constitution is actually important.

Kimon
03-23-2015, 05:06 PM
These are not equivalent scenarios. If a rape occurs in Baghdad, we have no right to intervene. Theoretically, they will do so themselves. If the government sponsors a systemic program of rape, that is a different story. If the British government makes it an official policy that all people of Welsh descent should be raped or killed, then yes.... I think we have an obligation to intervene.



Do you see the slippery slope? The key there is systemic. Our own justice department found just such amongst the police force in Ferguson, and it would be naive to think that Ferguson was an isolated incident. Would you have a problem with the UN intervening and imposing a UN overseer in Missouri? I sure as hell would. Do you think the same ever applies where we have intervened?

I freely admit, this is an area in which we perhaps have a philosophic difference. You seem to believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) that there is no situation in which the United States is justified in intervening in the affairs of another state, unless there is literally unanimous consent and cooperation from the rest of the world. Regardless of the crime. I happen to think that there are certain actions that are so morally repugnant that they require any ethical homo sapiens to intervene, or at least actively advocate for intervention. Lets not make this one of these stupid "well you should have gone then and let everyone else stay out of it" arguments. Genocide is on the short list of those evil actions.

No justification is far too strong. There will always be times in which intervening will be reasonable. Kosovo comes to mind. The main difference is frequency and hesitancy. I think that one must carefully consider potential repercussions of our involvement, and yes, I also think colder calculations must be made. How important to our strategic interests is this area. How likely is the chaos to spread. Do the belligerents pose a danger to us or to any of our allies? Will our intervention be welcomed, or will our presence be counter-productive if not openly unwelcome. In the Mideast, that last is especially important. I prefer to tread carefully and avoid involvement unless unavoidable, especially in areas where we are so mistrusted already.

Let me ask you this; what if there had been incontrovertible proof that Saddam was pursuing enriched uranium? Why is the possession of a nuclear weapon worse than the attempted extirpation of millions of people of a particular cultural background? At worst, a nuclear weapon is only capable of achieving what Saddam had already attempted (and partially succeeded in). At best, he might conceivably (though its a laughably remote possibility) have wanted in order to provide cheap, more environmentally friendly energy to his own population? Would intervention have been justified? Most people seem to think so.

He wasn't. However, on a related note, I've been quite clear that I am open and desirous of rapprochement with Iran. I'm fine with letting them develop nuclear power for energy so long as they will accept oversight. They might develop a bomb, but honestly, if they want to nothing short of war will stop them, and it is not worth war to stop them. Perhaps we can't stop the Israelis from panicking either, but if Netanyahu does panic and attack Iran, I am of the opinion that we make abundantly clear that Israel is going it alone and that we will take no part in their insanity. Israel frankly worries me more than Iran here.

Sorry I didn't notice these last night when I was responding to your earlier response, I was tired and logged out immediately after posting.

Ozymandias
03-23-2015, 06:32 PM
There are times when intervention is warranted even when we have not been attacked. But those times are rare. In WWII we were attacked, but even had we not, coming to the aid of England and France would have been a worthy endeavor, but keep in mind, there was significant resistance even to doing that prior to Pearl Harbor. The attack changed that. Saddam however had nothing to do with 9/11. 9/11 justified going after the Taliban. It did not justify going after Saddam.

In WWII we were engaging in an unofficial war with both Germany and Japan with almost no provocation whatsoever. Beyond the generic “they are threats to global security” provocation, of course. There is no question, in terms of “legality”, that Saddam did more to warrant our intervention in 2003 than did Hitler in 1941. Even the Japenese, who shot first, so to speak, were 100% correct in perceiving that American economic policy was being deployed as a form of proxy war meant to cripple the Japanese military and economy.
And who said anything about 9/11 justifying the intervention in Iraq? I think that a decade of shooting at American pilots is provocation enough. It became enough of an issue that the Pentagon created contingency plans for rescuing American pilots.

If the threat is really worth risking American lives, why isn't it worthy of a draft so that the risk is spread throughout the populace? And again, Saddam in no way meets that criterion. That war was just plain stupid.

Look, I get the impulse to make this the default argument to prove your point. But in a practical sense, it doesn’t fly. The USA has the most effective military in the world both because of the money it spends on armaments, but also because it is highly trained. It would have taken months if not years to properly integrate drafted personnel into the army, when we had a perfectly adequate and motivated force on hand who had volunteered for the task. I know there are many reasons to join the armed forces, and just having an army/navy doesn’t mean one HAS to use it, but on the other hand, these people volunteered, and the expectation for someone joining a military force has to be that they might be deployed. If deposing Saddam was a worthy objective (and it was), then we should not suddenly feel reticent about asking military personnel to do the jobs they signed up for.


We propped up Saddam as a bulwark against Iran. Then we got annoyed at Saddam and so trapped him in a box. Then the Younger Bush decided that the box, while clearly effective, wasn't as exciting as regime change. So he overthrew Saddam, replaced him with the Shia, and wouldn't let any of the Sunni Baathists in the new govt. The new Shia govt allies with our old enemy Iran and look for revenge against their enemy, the Sunni Iraqis. This creates a hostility that gives rise to ISIS. At first we just try to stay out of this new civil war, even when they spill into Syria, but then they also threaten the Kurds, one of the few reliable allies we have in the area. Now we have to act, but how. The Kurds can't do it alone. We don't want to send troops. Turkey won't do anything as they are hoping that ISIS kills all the Kurds. None of the Arabs want to do anything. So only one nation really cares about helping the Shia. Iran. So now Iran is helping us fight an enemy whom we once sponsored as a proxy in our hostilities against Iran. Are you seeing the problem?

You are 100% incorrect about this. Or maybe not 100%, but 95% (that is a scientific number, mind you). Firstly, the Syrian conflict has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, and everything to do with the fact that Syrians were fed up with the way their (Ba’athist) government had been treating them, which incidentally was far better than Iraq under Saddam. ISIS reformed after being booted from Iraq by (a) taking advantage of the regional chaos which we didn’t bother to stop (but, mind you, nor did we have ANY role in causing) and (b) gaining a leadership cadre from exiled Ba’athist party officials from Iraq!

Our initial support of Saddam is cringe worthy, but should have absolutely no bearing on the calculus of removing him. But your narrative is insanely flawed. We didn’t “get annoyed” at Saddam – he invaded a sovereign state with the intention of annexing it to Iraq and subsequently a unanimous resolution (Resolution 660) was passed demanding he withdraw. This is exactly how the UN is supposed to function when members of the international community get belligerent. Then, when it became clear that that international consensus would not support the overthrow of Saddam, the decision was made to halt active hostilities and impose sanctions on a brutal and aggressive regime, one so immoral that even after a crushing defeat in war the victors were sure reprisals would be carried out against native Iraqi’s! And then, when it became clear that the sanctions were not functioning as they were meant to, because Saddam was diverting money meant to feed Iraq into his own pockets and suborning international officials at the same time through bribery, not to mention supporting international terrorism and engaging in active combat operations against peacekeeping forces, Bush Younger decided that the goals of defeating a haven for international terrorists, liberating millions of oppressed people, and ensuring future regional/global stability were worth intervening again to finish, relatively unilaterally, that which had been cut short a decade before.

Fixed it for you. You cannot just gloss over the invasion of sovereign state by saying we got “annoyed” with Saddam, nor can you whitewash away his open support for terrorism, his oppression of his people, his active violence against American pilots, and his desire for weapons of mass destruction (it has been more or less conclusively revealed that he was maintaining the capacity to restart his WMD program when sanctions ended, even if he did not actually have them at the time) as mere blips on the radar of the decision to go to war. These are all compelling reasons on their own – what more would it have taken for you to support an intervention?

And no, I don't see a problem with changing political realities. We fought Great Britain a whole bunch of times too, and now are close allies. Ditto Germany. I think it would be grand if Iran and the US (and Iraq) ended up sharing more intimate relations as a result of the fight against ISIS/ISIL.

Saddam was a thug, but so is Assad. So was Mubarak. So is Netanyahu. You can pretend that Netanyahu is somehow better. Certain we feel far less comfortable criticizing Israel, but what he has been doing in Gaza is despicable. We can try to pretend that the Muslims have no reasons to hate us, but that is naive. Palestine and Mossadegh are both legitimate reasons.

Yes, Mubarak and Assad are thugs. So is Netanyahu and the entire Zionist right wing in Israel. You won’t hear me deny that; I merely hold, with excellent justification, that Saddam was worse.

Wow. Read this again Ozy. Do you honestly think that Saddam was worse than ISIS? Do you honestly think that Iraq is safer and more stable today than it was under Saddam? If so, you've been drinking too much of that neo-con kool-aid.

I don’t know about ISIS. As far as I can see their goals are more or less equally repressive, if in different ways, and their methods equally brutal. Certainly Iraq is less stable right now than it was under Saddam, but here is the difference. 15 years ago, Iraq had the stability of an abattoir. If constant oppression and starvation and living in a state of fear can be described as “stable” then so be it. I will not fight that. It was stable and there was no hope of it getting better. Now Iraq is instable. Some people are oppressed (though not all) and people live in fear. But there is a conceivable near future in which this is not the case, and Iraq and her people have the ability to bring that vision to pass on their own. So you might convince me that things are equally bad now as they were then, but the difference is that now there is at least hope that things will get better, where before there was none. I don’t think that is “neo-con Kool Aid”. I think it is a truism that is nearly impossible to refute. Yes, the Iraqi’s may screw this up and it may all end up being a theocratic, oppressive regime as bad as before, but at the very least we afforded them to opportunity to better their lives and choose and fight for what they wanted. We did a terrible job of it, but we did do something.

Ozymandias
03-23-2015, 07:01 PM
Actually I am saying that culture is just a minor detail and in itself not really worth anything.

If it is worth literally anything, then genocide is de facto worse than mass murder. I think that you'd find little support for the idea that cultural identity is entirely meaningless, and therefore, genocide is worse than mass murder.

You are telling me that genocide for some reason can't be a crime of passion, but mass slaughter in similar numbers can? Yet on he basis of everything else you've said, you feel that genocide is worse than premeditated mass slaughter where the choice of victims isn't based on their culture.

I am saying that by its very definition, genocide requires prior thought, because at the very least one must identify a cultural/ethnic/religious group. Mass murder does not. There is at least the possibility that mass murder is a crime of passion. Not so genocide.

You are letting others choose what is right and wrong for you. Certainly one should respect their right to an opinion, but opinion solely based on emotion and the attitude of others is not much of an opinion. I am a mathematician and in that field everything is proven beyond doubt. I apply this approach to ethics in an attempt to clearly define right and wrong. And since I have already established that cultural background must never ever affect the value of a person, a mass slaughter is not any worse just because it is a genocide. If the whole world disagrees then they are not fully logical or at the very least they have erroneus ideas on the value of culture.

Right, so this would be where the problem is. Math is empirical. Law, emotion, ethics, morality... they aren't. 2 + 2 will ALWAYS equal 4. Unfortunately, much of our moral and ethical framework is imposed by outside forces, which allows for dissent. You are an intelligent person so you'll understand that not everyone will share your moral values exactly. That does not necessarily invalidate opposing or conflicting ethics.

This goes to your following "world is flat if everyone says it is" point. One of these is a fact, the other opinion. Opinions can differ. Interpretations of facts can even differ. Facts shouldn't differ. You may believe that animals are sentient beings and shouldn't be harmed and enjoy the same rights as humans. I don't think that. There is literally no way to prove one of us right or wrong (on the deserving of same rights question, not sentience).

Well this really seems to be a case of "everyone else says the world is flat so it must be true".

See above. When it comes to our common ethical framework, we need to make the best of a fractured set of opinions. If 99% of people think that genocide is a horrible crime against humanity, then for better or worse, the disagreeing 1% better suck it up and go with it. By your proposition, if there is one mentally deranged person out there who thinks killing other people is fine, than the weight of his one opinion against 7 billion who disagree invalidates the idea that murder is immoral. At some point, overwhelming majority rules.

What I am arguing is that Pearl Harbor was what actually turned your attitude around and got you to join the war. Practically every war you have been involved in since then is just you finding excuses to go to war. And at least a part of the reason for that is the gun industry's wish to sell more bullets.

Fine. What of it? The same can be said of WWI, and WWII, and practically every other war ever fought by any nation. Medieval barons went to war in the hopes of enlarging their domains and gaining more economic and political clout. Roman generals instigated wars to grow wealthy off the slaves they'd take. Every war has some base motivation, no doubt. Isn't it preferable to counter that with at least a small dose of idealism?

Hussein may be worse, but there is clear cause for people to call Bush a psychopath too.

If you want to call Bush a psychopath, I won't agree. I think anyone who believes there is a theistic God is a psychopath who is (sometimes literally) hearing voices.

But it is intellectually disingenuous to even BEGIN to compare the two. One is an anthill, the other a mountain. No self respecting person should be making that argument and it reflects poorly on you that you are trying to continue with this line of thought.

No but it does mean that you shouldn't be doing it. You are not good at it so stop.

I've read this five times and can't make heads or tails of it. What should I be stopping? Denying that we handled the post-invasion period poorly? Because when you say "No but..." that implies agreement with at least part of my point, which you don't specify. Please clarify and we can continue.

Oh so it's back to the cold war attitude of all non-democracies are evil.

That wasn't even a Cold War theory. The US was involved in overthrowing a number of legitimately elected democracies (for which we should be ashamed).

Its back to the basic moral calculus that a dictator who holds his entire nation to be his own personal chattel, and exploits them and the international community to that effect while attempting mass murder/genocide (take your pick) is evil. Whether you think there is a difference between mass murder ad genocide, I assume you agree both are evil? So why are we fighting about whether Saddam was evil?

You do not seek to understand why it is wrong. You are letting emotions do the work of thinking. Why should anyone discuss anything with you when you don't put actual thought to your opinions?

I should hope it is exceedingly obvious by now that I've put a great deal of thought into my positions. You seem to disagree with those opinions, but that doesn't mean they aren't thought out.

Well now did the world turn out to be round anyway? Gosh.


What? I just restated the case that it seems that genocide is worse than mass murder. Your response doesn't follow.

There were reasons for thinking the world is flat. And I can explain those reasons. You have yet to explain why everyone is right about genocide.

Again, you seem to have trouble parsing the difference between a fact and an opinion. The world is round. Those who don't think so aren't misguided - they are wrong. Whether or not preserving unique cultures is something of inherent value isn't a fact, it is an opinion. Your opinion seems to be that culture has a value of exactly zero.

If there are 10,000,000 Kurdish people alive today, and I say I will kill 10,000,000 people tomorrow, your opinion seems to be that there is no difference, in terms of the inherent immorality of an act, that my 10,000,000 could be specifically targeted at killing every living Kurd, or could be a random collection of people.

As someone who believes that individual cultures have merit, however much they differ from our own, it seems self evident that eliminating a culture along with 10,000,000 people is more inherently evil then eliminating 10,000,000 random people. It may be a snowflake in a storm compared to the absolute evil of slaughter on that scale, but it is something, and as a mathematician, I would think you'd appreciate the difference in absolute value.

Why should I? You won't even put thought in your own opinions; so you clearly won't put any to mine.

I've taken the time to back my opinions up with facts, and you have not. You've mewled at me a bunch of nonsense about how even attempting to define genocide means I am looking down on other cultures, when it is the opposite (again, the admission that all cultures are worthy of protection from extinction seems to me to be more equitable than the claim that culture is not worth protecting in any sense).

Kimon
03-23-2015, 08:03 PM
In WWII we were engaging in an unofficial war with both Germany and Japan with almost no provocation whatsoever. Beyond the generic “they are threats to global security” provocation, of course. There is no question, in terms of “legality”, that Saddam did more to warrant our intervention in 2003 than did Hitler in 1941. Even the Japenese, who shot first, so to speak, were 100% correct in perceiving that American economic policy was being deployed as a form of proxy war meant to cripple the Japanese military and economy.
And who said anything about 9/11 justifying the intervention in Iraq? I think that a decade of shooting at American pilots is provocation enough. It became enough of an issue that the Pentagon created contingency plans for rescuing American pilots.



Saddam wasn't a threat. That war was fought due to economics and ideology, not due to the danger posed by the enemy. That unfortunately sounds too imperialistic, which it was, so a new and more honorable casus belli had to be sold to the public so that we didn't feel like a bunch of land-grabbing oil thieves. But it was just propaganda. None of that nonsense they were shilling was true.

Perhaps I was merely assuming that you were using 9/11 to justify Iraq, but if not that, what was your justification? Certainly that war made no strategic or pragmatic purpose - well, maybe for Halliburton, but clearly not for us.

Look, I get the impulse to make this the default argument to prove your point. But in a practical sense, it doesn’t fly. The USA has the most effective military in the world both because of the money it spends on armaments, but also because it is highly trained. It would have taken months if not years to properly integrate drafted personnel into the army, when we had a perfectly adequate and motivated force on hand who had volunteered for the task. I know there are many reasons to join the armed forces, and just having an army/navy doesn’t mean one HAS to use it, but on the other hand, these people volunteered, and the expectation for someone joining a military force has to be that they might be deployed. If deposing Saddam was a worthy objective (and it was), then we should not suddenly feel reticent about asking military personnel to do the jobs they signed up for.

I don't care why men choose to join, I care about making it harder to send the nation to war.

You are 100% incorrect about this. Or maybe not 100%, but 95% (that is a scientific number, mind you). Firstly, the Syrian conflict has absolutely nothing to do with Iraq, and everything to do with the fact that Syrians were fed up with the way their (Ba’athist) government had been treating them, which incidentally was far better than Iraq under Saddam. ISIS reformed after being booted from Iraq by (a) taking advantage of the regional chaos which we didn’t bother to stop (but, mind you, nor did we have ANY role in causing) and (b) gaining a leadership cadre from exiled Ba’athist party officials from Iraq!

Our initial support of Saddam is cringe worthy, but should have absolutely no bearing on the calculus of removing him. But your narrative is insanely flawed. We didn’t “get annoyed” at Saddam – he invaded a sovereign state with the intention of annexing it to Iraq and subsequently a unanimous resolution (Resolution 660) was passed demanding he withdraw. This is exactly how the UN is supposed to function when members of the international community get belligerent. Then, when it became clear that that international consensus would not support the overthrow of Saddam, the decision was made to halt active hostilities and impose sanctions on a brutal and aggressive regime, one so immoral that even after a crushing defeat in war the victors were sure reprisals would be carried out against native Iraqi’s! And then, when it became clear that the sanctions were not functioning as they were meant to, because Saddam was diverting money meant to feed Iraq into his own pockets and suborning international officials at the same time through bribery, not to mention supporting international terrorism and engaging in active combat operations against peacekeeping forces, Bush Younger decided that the goals of defeating a haven for international terrorists, liberating millions of oppressed people, and ensuring future regional/global stability were worth intervening again to finish, relatively unilaterally, that which had been cut short a decade before.

Fixed it for you. You cannot just gloss over the invasion of sovereign state by saying we got “annoyed” with Saddam, nor can you whitewash away his open support for terrorism, his oppression of his people, his active violence against American pilots, and his desire for weapons of mass destruction (it has been more or less conclusively revealed that he was maintaining the capacity to restart his WMD program when sanctions ended, even if he did not actually have them at the time) as mere blips on the radar of the decision to go to war. These are all compelling reasons on their own – what more would it have taken for you to support an intervention?



That was a lot of words, none of which negated anything that I said.

And no, I don't see a problem with changing political realities. We fought Great Britain a whole bunch of times too, and now are close allies. Ditto Germany. I think it would be grand if Iran and the US (and Iraq) ended up sharing more intimate relations as a result of the fight against ISIS/ISIL.

There is a difference between the two that you are overlooking. We (well most of us, certainly it applies to me) carry a kinship with England and Germany that is not just shared culture and shared past, it is shared blood too. Sure we've fought with England, but she is still our loving mother, even if we have been a really crappy and ungrateful son. Achieving a rapprochement with mom is always easier than with a stranger, and the reconciliation will never be as close with the latter as with the former. Still, this reconciliation, is very much in our interest, while continuing to stoke the hostilities between us is only in the interest of Israel.

I don’t know about ISIS. As far as I can see their goals are more or less equally repressive, if in different ways, and their methods equally brutal. Certainly Iraq is less stable right now than it was under Saddam, but here is the difference. 15 years ago, Iraq had the stability of an abattoir. If constant oppression and starvation and living in a state of fear can be described as “stable” then so be it. I will not fight that. It was stable and there was no hope of it getting better. Now Iraq is instable. Some people are oppressed (though not all) and people live in fear. But there is a conceivable near future in which this is not the case, and Iraq and her people have the ability to bring that vision to pass on their own. So you might convince me that things are equally bad now as they were then, but the difference is that now there is at least hope that things will get better, where before there was none. I don’t think that is “neo-con Kool Aid”. I think it is a truism that is nearly impossible to refute. Yes, the Iraqi’s may screw this up and it may all end up being a theocratic, oppressive regime as bad as before, but at the very least we afforded them to opportunity to better their lives and choose and fight for what they wanted. We did a terrible job of it, but we did do something.

Under Saddam life was good for the Sunni and bad for the Shia. The Kurds were already semi-autonomous. Following his overthrow, life got better for the Shia, who now were in control, and bad for the Sunni, who we pushed aside, and did nothing to force the Shia to include them, perhaps because we feared a tripartite partioning of the country. This fear of a fracturing however created a situation wherein the Kurds were not given full autonomy, which they wanted, so as to appease Turkey, who feared their own Kurds clamoring for freedom and/or inclusion within a new Kurdistan. The Shia naturally aligned with Shia Iran rather than us, they also began making life hell for the Iraqi Sunni. Pushed out of govt due to our and Shia short-sightedness, the Baathists bureaucrats and generals who survived the war first began the insurrection, and then later evolved into ISIS.

This civil war between the Sunni and Shia is one that we would obviously prefer to allow to play out while we watch. We were doing so, but ISIS was too successful. They were threatening to not just re-take Iraq, but also were threatening the integrity of the Kurdish semi-autonomous state, which was making us quite nervous enough, but also very much threatening to take Syria as well. They are more of a threat than Saddam ever was.

GonzoTheGreat
03-24-2015, 04:42 AM
In WWII we were engaging in an unofficial war with both Germany and Japan with almost no provocation whatsoever. Beyond the generic “they are threats to global security” provocation, of course. There is no question, in terms of “legality”, that Saddam did more to warrant our intervention in 2003 than did Hitler in 1941.
All right, please inform me: what specifically did Saddam do that was more worthy of an intervention than the actual real declaration of war which Hitler made in 1941?

Daekyras
03-24-2015, 05:02 AM
All right, please inform me: what specifically did Saddam do that was more worthy of an intervention than the actual real declaration of war which Hitler made in 1941?

When did the US enter the war? I always assumed it was after that thing...the michael bay film...Baad Boys? No, not that one. Oh yeah, Pearl Harbour. I'm fairly certain that was an act of war and the US were defending themselves...

GonzoTheGreat
03-24-2015, 06:00 AM
When did the US enter the war? I always assumed it was after that thing...the michael bay film...Baad Boys? No, not that one. Oh yeah, Pearl Harbour. I'm fairly certain that was an act of war and the US were defending themselves...
Yes and no. The USA, for some reason, decided that the Pearl Harbor thing was an act of war, and therefore declared war upon Japan (which, of course, had totally not expected such a reaction). Germany then reacted to this by honoring its pledge to aid its ally, and declared war upon the USA. Thus, if the USA had simply not declared war upon Japan, it is quite possible that Germany would not have seen bound to fight the USA either.
As you say, the only provocation for that entire war (from the USA's point of view, at least) was the Pearl Harbor thing, and that was, according to Ozymandias), far less provocative than whatever* it was that Saddam did.

* I remember that he waved a gun around and then swam a bit in the Tigris, surrounded by lots of bodyguards. I'm not sure that's what provoked Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), though. Maybe there was even more.

Daekyras
03-24-2015, 09:07 AM
As you say, the only provocation for that entire war (from the USA's point of view, at least) was the Pearl Harbor thing, and that was, according to Ozymandias), far less provocative than whatever* it was that Saddam did.

* I remember that he waved a gun around and then swam a bit in the Tigris, surrounded by lots of bodyguards. I'm not sure that's what provoked Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL), though. Maybe there was even more.

Always flying off the handle those Americans.

As for what saddam did? Thats crazy. The UN shoulda stepped in for that kind of behaviour.

Kimon
03-24-2015, 05:24 PM
Always flying off the handle those Americans.

As for what saddam did? Thats crazy. The UN shoulda stepped in for that kind of behaviour.

Heck, Saddam even was letting the weapons inspectors do their job, which unfortunately wasn't enough for Cheney, perhaps because he knew, or suspected, that there was nothing to be found.

Here's what the UN Weapons Inspector said back in 2004:

Speaking on the anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq, originally declared as a pre-emptive strike against a madman ready to deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the man first charged with finding those weapons said that the U.S. government has "the same mind frame as the witch hunters of the past" — looking for evidence to support a foregone conclusion.

"There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction," said Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to serve as the United Nations' chief weapons inspector from 2000 to 2003; from 1981 to 1997 he headed the International Atomic Energy Agency. "We went to sites [in Iraq] given to us by intelligence, and only in three cases did we find something" - a stash of nuclear documents, some Vulcan boosters, and several empty warheads for chemical weapons. More inspections were required to determine whether these findings were the "tip of the iceberg" or simply fragments remaining from that deadly iceberg's past destruction, Blix said he told the United Nations Security Council. However, his work in Iraq was cut short when the United States and the United Kingdom took disarmament into their own hands in March of last year.

Blix accused U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair of acting not in bad faith, but with a severe lack of "critical thinking." The United States and Britain failed to examine the sources of their primary intelligence - Iraqi defectors with their own agendas for encouraging regime change - with a skeptical eye, he alleged. In the buildup to the war, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis were cooperating with U.N. inspections, and in February 2003 had provided Blix's team with the names of hundreds of scientists to interview, individuals Saddam claimed had been involved in the destruction of banned weapons. Had the inspections been allowed to continue, Blix said, there would likely be a very different situation in Iraq today. As it was, America's pre-emptive, unilateral actions "have bred more terrorism there and elsewhere."

I honestly can't believe we keep having to point this stuff out.

Here's the full article.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/03/18_blix.shtml

Uno
03-25-2015, 09:34 PM
Yes and no. The USA, for some reason, decided that the Pearl Harbor thing was an act of war, and therefore declared war upon Japan (which, of course, had totally not expected such a reaction). Germany then reacted to this by honoring its pledge to aid its ally, and declared war upon the USA .

Common misconception. The Tripartite Pact did not obligate Germany to aid Japan unless Japan were attacked. It's therefore not entirely clear why Hitler decided to declare war on the United States after Pearl Harbor.

GonzoTheGreat
03-26-2015, 05:58 AM
Common misconception. The Tripartite Pact did not obligate Germany to aid Japan unless Japan were attacked. It's therefore not entirely clear why Hitler decided to declare war on the United States after Pearl Harbor.
Obviously, he shared the assessment made here that Pearl Harbor was no big thing, and that therefore the US declaration of war against Japan counted as an unprovoked attack, which then prompted him to declare war upon the aggressor.

Uno
03-26-2015, 09:22 AM
Obviously, he shared the assessment made here that Pearl Harbor was no big thing, and that therefore the US declaration of war against Japan counted as an unprovoked attack, which then prompted him to declare war upon the aggressor.

Ok, I see now that I unwittingly waded into an idiotic discussion and that your statement makes some sense in that context, but even then you're still wrong, because Japan formally declared war on the US and the UK within two hours of the Pearl Harbor attack, before Congress had had a chance to declare war on Japan.

GonzoTheGreat
03-26-2015, 10:02 AM
If Congress back then was just as feckless and unwilling to do anything that might be reasonable as it is now, then that wouldn't matter.
However, if at the time Congress was even halfway competent, then I must admit that I don't see what Saddam did that was so worthy of launching an undeclared war either. Maybe someone else can take over this argument again, since I seem to have gotten a bit stuck (possibly because I'm hampered by respect for facts; not everyone has that weakness).

Davian93
03-26-2015, 12:18 PM
I'm lazy so I didn't read the last two pages of very long posts but has anyone asked the following question:

How come containment was a perfectly acceptable national strategy when it comes to the Soviet Bloc but not Iraq under Saddam? Its not as if Saddam's crimes were any worse than anything that occurred under Soviet Russia's domination of its area of influence and they both pale in comparison to the crimes that occurred under Mao and Communist China.

Containment works and it was working against Iraq. All we did by intervening was kick over an anthill and allow an even worse evil to fill the resulting power vacuum.

SomeOneElse
03-26-2015, 01:58 PM
How come containment was a perfectly acceptable national strategy when it comes to the Soviet Bloc but not Iraq under Saddam? Its not as if Saddam's crimes were any worse than anything that occurred under Soviet Russia's domination of its area of influence and they both pale in comparison to the crimes that occurred under Mao and Communist China.

I couldn't see why USA always thinks they have to apply some containment or start a war against Saddam or Soviet Russia or whoever because of their crimes that took place on their territories. It's not of USA business at all what does this or that government in their own country which is also not near the US (actually very far from it)? Why couldn't they just get out of countries that at least are damn far from them (they even don't always know where this ukraine or that Iran actually is)?

As for Saddam it is very simple though. Saddam did a gr8 job against Iran that was ordered by USA (iran-Iraq war that took place after iranian khomeinist revolution of 1979). After that he was involved in sabotaging attack against Israel. Saddam knew to much and that was a problem. Now it's solved though.

Davian93
03-26-2015, 03:46 PM
Because we're the only remaining superpower and, until China overtakes us in the next century, we're in charge of the world. We took over from the UK, who took the reins from the French who took the reins from the Dutch & Spanish, etc etc. Like all those empires, ours will collapse eventually too and, to be honest, likely already is in the early stages of that collapse as we massively overstretched ourselves thanks to GWB.

That's just reality.

SomeOneElse
03-27-2015, 07:05 AM
Because we're the only remaining superpower and, until China overtakes us in the next century, we're in charge of the world. We took over from the UK, who took the reins from the French who took the reins from the Dutch & Spanish, etc etc. Like all those empires, ours will collapse eventually too and, to be honest, likely already is in the early stages of that collapse as we massively overstretched ourselves thanks to GWB.


That has a point, but maybe it's time to change some things? Some things that existed in the past are now gone and maybe imperialism is one of those should be treated.
Though I don't think USA is anyhow near its end cause 200+ years are nothing for a big empire. Actually USA are now rising and being established as a real "empire" (officially proclaiming about being the exclusive world leader etc).

Davian93
03-27-2015, 08:13 AM
That has a point, but maybe it's time to change some things? Some things that existed in the past are now gone and maybe imperialism is one of those should be treated.
Though I don't think USA is anyhow near its end cause 200+ years are nothing for a big empire. Actually USA are now rising and being established as a real "empire" (officially proclaiming about being the exclusive world leader etc).

If anything, we're almost at the exact point that the UK was on the eve or during WWI as far as power goes. We are overexpanded and we can't afford our commitments. We squandered all our good will on a pointless invasion of Iraq. China is starting to overtake us economically (unless their housing boom collapses as more and more analysts seem to think will happen soon) and we're dealing with a massive, nearly unprecedented level of political infighting. There is a complete inability to present a united front to the world on almost any issue, let alone the more important issues of the day. We're collapsing under the weight of our own hubris at this point.

Daekyras
03-27-2015, 06:35 PM
. We're collapsing under the weight of our own hubris at this point.

I have always loved America. From your professional sports for girls to your rocky rolly music. it really saddens me to see that written and have to agree.

Davian93
03-27-2015, 06:45 PM
I have always loved America. From your professional sports for girls to your rocky rolly music. it really saddens me to see that written and have to agree.

It is simply what tends to happen to aging empires. It happened to Rome (who responded by becoming ruthless dictatorship and lasting another 1500 years...hardly a failure I suppose when you think of it that way), it happened to the Brits, French, Dutch, Spaniards, etc.

As a historian, I am fully confident that I will see America's gradual decline during my own lifetime. We peaked as a world power in 1945 and got to experience a Pax Americana from basically 1946-2001 with us at our most dominant during the 1950s due to the utter destruction that weakened all of the other major powers but left us untouched during WWII. We will never come close to approaching that apex again. At best, we should recognize that reality and look to a more collaborative approach before its too late but we seem intent on throwing all our eggs into the military basket and focusing our remaining resources in that area rather than extending our dominance. We've already fallen way behind in very important long-term areas like education, certain technology fields, energy, R&D, etc. Our military dominance will end up serving us about as well as the USSR's military helped them in the 1980s.

It saddens me in a lot of ways but it is our own fault.

Terez
03-27-2015, 10:48 PM
The media is really getting a kick out of the situation with Iran. We are in negotiations over the nuclear deal, and meanwhile we're fighting alongside them in Iraq and supporting a war against them in Yemen. Good times.

SomeOneElse
03-28-2015, 04:09 AM
The media is really getting a kick out of the situation with Iran. We are in negotiations over the nuclear deal, and meanwhile we're fighting alongside them in Iraq and supporting a war against them in Yemen. Good times.
I guess that's because of Israel and zionist lobby inside the U.S.

Davian93
03-28-2015, 09:39 AM
The media is really getting a kick out of the situation with Iran. We are in negotiations over the nuclear deal, and meanwhile we're fighting alongside them in Iraq and supporting a war against them in Yemen. Good times.

Realpolitik at its finest (or worst depending on your perspective).

Ozymandias
03-28-2015, 05:17 PM
All right, please inform me: what specifically did Saddam do that was more worthy of an intervention than the actual real declaration of war which Hitler made in 1941?

He shot at American pilots, on a repeated basis. That is pretty damning in my book.

And Hitler merely formalized a de facto state of economic war that the US had initiated against him years earlier. Not to cut Hitler any slack whatsoever... but the US was supplying his enemies with war materiel. As far as anything he did was rational, he was right to view the US as an active opponent.

Ozymandias
03-28-2015, 05:20 PM
Containment works and it was working against Iraq. All we did by intervening was kick over an anthill and allow an even worse evil to fill the resulting power vacuum.

Without talking about your other points, which are just generic straw man arguments, the answer to this is simple. Saddam was supporting international terrorism. He was starving his own people. There were both geopolitical security issues and humanitarian issues at stake, either of which could have reasonably justified intervention, but together which create a compelling case.

He also was engaging in daily military action against Americans. Icing on the cake.

Kimon
03-28-2015, 05:52 PM
Without talking about your other points, which are just generic straw man arguments, the answer to this is simple. Saddam was supporting international terrorism. He was starving his own people. There were both geopolitical security issues and humanitarian issues at stake, either of which could have reasonably justified intervention, but together which create a compelling case.

He also was engaging in daily military action against Americans. Icing on the cake.

Who exactly were these international terrorists? The PLO? Yes, but supporting the PLO is a statement that could be made about every Muslim leader who was in power during the '80s and '90s. Al Qaeda? Those assertions all ranged from very tenuous to outright fabrications, and the 9/11 Commission could find nothing of substance, unfortunately an assessment made after the war was already ongoing. Ansar al-Islam? Cheney made this claim as well, but Ansar al-Islam was a Kurdish group, hence by no means under his control, and an enemy, not an ally of Saddam. These terrorism claims by Cheney were every bit as nebulous as the nuclear and wmd claims.

GonzoTheGreat
03-29-2015, 05:00 AM
He shot at American pilots, on a repeated basis. That is pretty damning in my book.
Let me ask you: if Iran declared mainland USA to be a no fly zone, and started sending fighter planes over that area to enforce it, would they get shot at or not? And if they would, would that be "pretty damning" in your book, or would it be no more than could be expected in such a situation?

As far as I know, Saddam did not shoot at any US plane above the USA, or, for that matter, anywhere else than in Iraq or at most its immediate vicinity.

So Saddam was defending himself. Hitler, on the other hand, was attacking. If you really think that self defence is worse than unprovoked attacks, then what reason was there at all for the so called* first Gulf War? That was a response to an attack by Saddam, which in your own book is no big deal. Admittedly, Saddam attacked Quwait because the latter had been stealing his oil, which could conceivably have been called an invasion. So if you really want to, you can claim that you were defending an aggressor against an uncooperative victim even then. Me, I would say that both sides were about equally bad (though in somewhat different ways), and I don't think it was a good idea of Bush senior to reinstate the Quwaiti absolute monarchy (an inherited dictatorship, like they also have in North Korea). The US policy of hostility towards freedom is not one of its good points.

* It was actually the second Gulf War; the first one had been the one of just a few years earlier, between Iraq and Iran.

Davian93
03-29-2015, 05:32 PM
Without talking about your other points, which are just generic straw man arguments, the answer to this is simple. Saddam was supporting international terrorism. He was starving his own people. There were both geopolitical security issues and humanitarian issues at stake, either of which could have reasonably justified intervention, but together which create a compelling case.

He also was engaging in daily military action against Americans. Icing on the cake.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...those same "terrorists" were fighting what many would consider to be an illegal occupation by a foreign power who is also guilty of massive war crimes. Hell, Ariel Sharon was a freaking war criminal for his actions in Lebanon and they made him their Prime Minister for a good period of time.

Same with the shooting at our warplanes. Hardly a real threat and hardly the justification for a 10 year invasion and occupation that cost us trillions financially and tens of thousands of casualties.

Ozymandias
04-10-2015, 01:56 PM
Who exactly were these international terrorists? The PLO? Yes, but supporting the PLO is a statement that could be made about every Muslim leader who was in power during the '80s and '90s. Al Qaeda? Those assertions all ranged from very tenuous to outright fabrications, and the 9/11 Commission could find nothing of substance, unfortunately an assessment made after the war was already ongoing. Ansar al-Islam? Cheney made this claim as well, but Ansar al-Islam was a Kurdish group, hence by no means under his control, and an enemy, not an ally of Saddam. These terrorism claims by Cheney were every bit as nebulous as the nuclear and wmd claims.

Abu Nidal, for one. It was an open, acknowledged fact that he was living under Saddam's protection, and it is extremely likely (though impossible to prove) that he was shot on the eve of the Iraq War in order to keep him from being captured and spilling his guts about how involved Saddam may have been in his activities.

Not every terrorist is Al Qaeda or involved in attacking Israel...

Ozymandias
04-10-2015, 02:02 PM
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...those same "terrorists" were fighting what many would consider to be an illegal occupation by a foreign power who is also guilty of massive war crimes. Hell, Ariel Sharon was a freaking war criminal for his actions in Lebanon and they made him their Prime Minister for a good period of time.

Again, you cannot be serious in making this argument. The No Fly Zones and "occupation" were to keep Saddam from liquidating entire populations within Iraq.

If you are taking the puerile, anti-intellectual view that the difference between Saddam and the US is merely one of where you're standing, then you also allow every maniac who has ever lived a safe harbor to hide under.

We should all have the moral courage to declare that certain things are evil and unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Genocide is merely at the top of the list. You are not being "fair" by trying to compare Saddam Hussein to Ariel Sharon (who is also probably a criminal, I admit), you are being a moral and an intellectual coward unwilling to take a firm stance on an issue for fear of having it thrown in your face some time down the line.

Same with the shooting at our warplanes. Hardly a real threat and hardly the justification for a 10 year invasion and occupation that cost us trillions financially and tens of thousands of casualties.

OK... so what is a real threat? Supporting international terrorists is not a threat. Using armed military force to attack Americans is not a threat. What, exactly, constitutes a threat in your book?

And what is the alternative? We'd have spent just as much on sanctions and the constant military oversight of Iraq over the next however many years we'd need until the Hussein crime family was deposed.

Ozymandias
04-10-2015, 02:16 PM
Let me ask you: if Iran declared mainland USA to be a no fly zone, and started sending fighter planes over that area to enforce it, would they get shot at or not? And if they would, would that be "pretty damning" in your book, or would it be no more than could be expected in such a situation?

[QUOTE]As far as I know, Saddam did not shoot at any US plane above the USA, or, for that matter, anywhere else than in Iraq or at most its immediate vicinity.

You mean, after his two unprovoked invasions of his neighbors in which he did all of the above (obviously not shooting above the USA).

So Saddam was defending himself. Hitler, on the other hand, was attacking. If you really think that self defence is worse than unprovoked attacks, then what reason was there at all for the so called* first Gulf War?

Saddam was not "defending" himself, because he wasn't being attacked. It is still unprovoked aggression. This isn't a chicken-and-egg argument. Saddam invaded Kuwait, without justification or warning. He was beaten. He then instigated an openly genocidal campaign, which is basically the only human rights crime that mandates international intervention. So at no point was Saddam pushed into an attack, nor did he find himself on the receiving end of more violence than was absolutely necessary to contain his insanity.

Hitler would have had a better claim to self defense in that he was reversing the bitterly stupid and overly punitive Treaty of Versailles than Saddam did.

That was a response to an attack by Saddam, which in your own book is no big deal. Admittedly, Saddam attacked Quwait because the latter had been stealing his oil, which could conceivably have been called an invasion.

What are you even talking about? To my, admittedly somewhat limited, knowledge there isn't a single reputable source who confirms that, and almost every player involved dismissed it as an accusation made to give a pretext for war. Try again.

So if you really want to, you can claim that you were defending an aggressor against an uncooperative victim even then. Me, I would say that both sides were about equally bad (though in somewhat different ways), and I don't think it was a good idea of Bush senior to reinstate the Quwaiti absolute monarchy (an inherited dictatorship, like they also have in North Korea). The US policy of hostility towards freedom is not one of its good points.

No, you really can't. You know what would have been defensible? Asking a third party arbitrator to come in and determine what was going on. Not, you know... invading. And lets be honest, Saddam didn't do much for his case with his actions later, as he decided to burn all those oil fields.

Your attempts to draw equivalency between non-alike situations is kind of contemptible. To even begin to equate Saddam's regime with the US or Israel is the worst kind of moral cowardice and intellectual ass-covering. To try and argue that Saddam was the wronged party in the Gulf War, despite being the first party to fire a shot without even an attempt at peaceful remediation, is stupid. To argue that he was acting in self defense in firing on American pilots who were only there to keep him from extirpating his own people is even worse.

At some point, one cannot move any further away from a common definition of moral or ethical action in order to justify the actions of a crime lord such as Saddam. There is no "from a certain point of view" case here. There isn't any hard evidence to support that view except the allegations of the most brutal dictatorship in recent memory, and there is plenty of evidence to show that Saddam was quite literally an insane evil maniac. They were digging that evidence up, in the form of dozens of mass graves, for years and years after American intervention allowed the families of the slaughtered the freedom to search for their loved ones.

Kimon
04-10-2015, 02:38 PM
Abu Nidal, for one. It was an open, acknowledged fact that he was living under Saddam's protection, and it is extremely likely (though impossible to prove) that he was shot on the eve of the Iraq War in order to keep him from being captured and spilling his guts about how involved Saddam may have been in his activities.

Not every terrorist is Al Qaeda or involved in attacking Israel...

Saddam had Nidal killed because he was worried that Nidal was working for us. So are we state-sponsors of terrorism? If you are calling Saddam out for harboring Nidal, even though he had him assassinated, it begs the question, if he was working for us (via the Kuwaitis) does that not make us at least as complicit as Saddam in making use of a man with a very checkered past.

Nidal also is a bit of a mixed bag. It's hard to overlook Black September (his involvement therein led to his expulsion from Fatah) and Lockerbie (Gaddafi expelled him from Libya in 1999 in an attempt to distance himself from the bombing), but he wasn't just a thorn in the side of the Israelis and the West, he also had Abu Iyad (the PLO Intel Minister and Arafat's chief lieutenant) assassinated in 1991. Sure he entered Iraq thereafter, but whether that was with the consent of Saddam is far from certain, especially as his actions in Iraq were so adversarial to Saddam. Was he a terrorist? Yes. Did he have any evidence that linked Saddam to Al Qaeda? He didn't ever hand over anything to either Kuwait or us if he did. is silence evidence to the contrary? No, but we could never find anything linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, so it strains reason to think that Abu Nidal would have had anything besides innuendo and empty allegations either. So why did Saddam have him killed? Because he was a foreign spy causing problems, duh.

Davian93
04-12-2015, 07:01 PM
Again, you cannot be serious in making this argument. The No Fly Zones and "occupation" were to keep Saddam from liquidating entire populations within Iraq.

If you are taking the puerile, anti-intellectual view that the difference between Saddam and the US is merely one of where you're standing, then you also allow every maniac who has ever lived a safe harbor to hide under.

We should all have the moral courage to declare that certain things are evil and unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Genocide is merely at the top of the list. You are not being "fair" by trying to compare Saddam Hussein to Ariel Sharon (who is also probably a criminal, I admit), you are being a moral and an intellectual coward unwilling to take a firm stance on an issue for fear of having it thrown in your face some time down the line.



OK... so what is a real threat? Supporting international terrorists is not a threat. Using armed military force to attack Americans is not a threat. What, exactly, constitutes a threat in your book?

And what is the alternative? We'd have spent just as much on sanctions and the constant military oversight of Iraq over the next however many years we'd need until the Hussein crime family was deposed.

My stance hasn't changed. Containment was working fine and was a hell of a lot better than the alternative turned out to be (as any halfway intelligent person knew full well before we invaded. But hey, this ISIS shindig is fun too so at least we have that now thanks to our idiocy. Containment worked fine for 50 years with the USSR and it was definitely working well with a podunk 3rd rate power like Iraq under Saddam.

Davian93
04-12-2015, 07:04 PM
You mean, after his two unprovoked invasions of his neighbors in which he did all of the above (obviously not shooting above the USA).

You're aware, of course, that the Iran invasion was heavily influenced by us...we basically pushed him into it as part of a "strategy" to get back at Iran for throwing out the coup and embarrassing us. Of course, this brilliant "strategy" was created by the same idiots that thought it'd be a good idea to later invade Iraq to topple Saddam so, well, you kinda get what you ask for. So you can't condemn him for Iran since we were in it up to our elbows with him. Kuwait...yes, you can attack him for that.

eht slat meit
04-12-2015, 07:07 PM
You're aware, of course, that the Iran invasion was heavily influenced by us...we basically pushed him into it as part of a "strategy" to get back at Iran for throwing out the coup and embarrassing us. Of course, this brilliant "strategy" was created by the same idiots that thought it'd be a good idea to later invade Iraq to topple Saddam so, well, you kinda get what you ask for. So you can't condemn him for Iran since we were in it up to our elbows with him. Kuwait...yes, you can attack him for that.

Let us not forget also that the WMDs that Iraq was meant to use on Iran, and that we later invaded Iraq for supposedly possessing.... we helped Iraq acquire and develop them.

So yeah, it does appear that atrocity is in the eye of the beholder.

Davian93
04-12-2015, 07:11 PM
Let us not forget also that the WMDs that Iraq was meant to use on Iran, and that we later invaded Iraq for supposedly possessing.... we helped Iraq acquire and develop them.

So yeah, it does appear that atrocity is in the eye of the beholder.

And we were totally FINE with looking the other way in the 1980s when he used them on the Kurds because he was out doing God's work in Iran with his invasion...we only developed a conscience after he upset us with his Kuwait invasion.

Funny how that works. So maybe Ozy's high moral ground has a bit of a sinkhole under it.

BTW, does anyone else remember who President Reagan's "Special Envoy to Iraq" was during the Iraq/Iran war...the point man for all our support?

If you said Donald Rumsfeld, you get a BINGO!

Davian93
04-12-2015, 07:40 PM
We should all have the moral courage to declare that certain things are evil and unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Genocide is merely at the top of the list. You are not being "fair" by trying to compare Saddam Hussein to Ariel Sharon (who is also probably a criminal, I admit), you are being a moral and an intellectual coward unwilling to take a firm stance on an issue for fear of having it thrown in your face some time down the line.

Sharon was directly responsible for the massacre of upwards of 3,500 civilians in a refugee camp during the Lebanon invasion. There's a reason his nickname was "The Butcher of Beirut" after all. It's okay thought because the Israelis thought there might be some terrorists hiding in the camps so the best policy was to just kill them all and let God figure it out. Some would call that genocide but I guess here it was just some good old-fashioned War on Terror freedom-fighting because they're ally and they can thus do no wrong.

So yes, Israel has committed many crimes just as bad as anything the "terrorists" have done over the years but we support them. Why? Why is it okay to support Israel (or any of the other right-wing dictatorships we've supported over the years while they committed atrocities all because they were on "our" side so it was okay. You can't claim the moral high ground as a justification for an invasion when we sure as hell don't have it. You would to justify it by saying they thought it was a good envelopment strategy for Iran? Sure, go for it. It was still stupid but at least that made some sense. (go look at a map and see how many countries we had troops in surrounding Iran after we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. It still was a mistake but at least try to use the justifications that the people in charge were using. They didn't give a damn about genocide or chemical weapons. Those were just the calling cards they used to sell it to us, the American people.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-13-2015, 05:30 AM
my 2 cents:

an attack on a country's citizen is not an attack on that country. Even if it was targeted at that person because he/she was a citizen of that country, it is NOT an attack on that country and does NOT merit military response. Even though this sort of casus belli has been used for centuries as "just" - it is not.

the term "attack" is a tricky one. For me, the clearest international definition that bears with is concrete consequences is in Articles 5 and 6 of the NATO charter:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

Article 6 (1)

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

•on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
•on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.


There is currently international discussion regarding various cyberweapons (Stuxnet et al), but no consensus and certainly no law.

For your reference, the only time in 65 years that Article 5 of the NATO charter was invoked was after the September 11 attacks.

Just FYI, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have invoked Article 4 against Russia, and as a result all NATO members are carrying out economical sanctions and increased military attention to the area bordering NATO (=Ukraine).


Article 4

The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

Obviously, there are lots of emotional reasons why one or another action might be considered to be an attack. But UN is toothless when it comes to actually enforcing any of their resolutions; so we're left with the NATO text, which clearly does not include the attack of citizens as an attack on a country.

Ozymandias
04-13-2015, 09:42 PM
Saddam had Nidal killed because he was worried that Nidal was working for us. So are we state-sponsors of terrorism? If you are calling Saddam out for harboring Nidal, even though he had him assassinated, it begs the question, if he was working for us (via the Kuwaitis) does that not make us at least as complicit as Saddam in making use of a man with a very checkered past.

So... you're position is that Abu Nidal lived a nice quiet life in Baghdad for 3 years, but then, all of a sudden (hahah I first wrote "all of a Saddam"... thats a good one) Saddam decides the man is informing on him to the Americans? That doesn't strike you as a slightly overly-convenient explanation? Saddam was probably the most paranoid person in the world at the time, with good reason. You honestly expect anyone with a grain of common sense to believe that it was mere coincidence that Abu Nidal was eliminated in Aug 2002 after that long under Saddam's protection? Man, have I got a bridge in a very beautiful desert to sell you...

Was he a terrorist? Yes. Did he have any evidence that linked Saddam to Al Qaeda? He didn't ever hand over anything to either Kuwait or us if he did. is silence evidence to the contrary? No, but we could never find anything linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, so it strains reason to think that Abu Nidal would have had anything besides innuendo and empty allegations either. So why did Saddam have him killed? Because he was a foreign spy causing problems, duh.

Again, get off the Al Qaeda train. I don't care about whatever stupid baseless excuse Bush made up to invade. That was wrong and moronic and will hurt his legacy more than anything except perhaps the financial crisis, but I am talking about basic reasons for invasion. My point is that Saddam was involved in sheltering international terrorists, and one just as bad as Al Qaeda. If Abu Nidal had nothing to say, why wasn't he handed over to the West as a sign of good faith? We can play this game all day. All we know is that he lived for three years in one of the most brutal police regimes in the world, one where there were few if any secrets from Saddam, a country nearly impossible to get into, and was killed just months before the invasion commenced. Again, I am sorry, but it strains all credulity to believe that such a sequence of events is coincidence. Perhaps Saddam only killed him in order to hide the fact that he'd been harboring such a man; no matter how you slice it, you have to be pretty gullible to believe Saddam didn't know Abu Nidal was in the country while he was in power and then magically discovered him right as his control over Iraq was beginning to slip.

Ozymandias
04-13-2015, 09:48 PM
My stance hasn't changed. Containment was working fine and was a hell of a lot better than the alternative turned out to be (as any halfway intelligent person knew full well before we invaded. But hey, this ISIS shindig is fun too so at least we have that now thanks to our idiocy. Containment worked fine for 50 years with the USSR and it was definitely working well with a podunk 3rd rate power like Iraq under Saddam.

This just isn't true, and there is plenty of statistical evidence to prove it. From purely a mortality standpoint, the effects of the sanctions and the Saddam regime were causing far more casualties than the invasion and all its associated deaths have, and that is taking out the intangible benefits of giving the Iraqi people some say in their own destiny. Child mortality alone was estimated at around half a million due to sanctions, in the 12 years they were in place. If we had done nothing, you've got no end to that. So we're looking at ANOTHER half million plus dead if we do nothing. At least. And again, from an economic standpoint, you might be right (depending on how long we enforced economic sanctions). Of course, we might have kept it up for who knows how long and it might have ended up costing us trillions more than you expect.

And how did containment work "fine" for the USSR? There were several outright wars, including Korea and Vietnam. Just because said wars were fought by proxy doesn't mean they weren't fought. And, of course, the main difference between Saddam and the various Soviet Politburos was that Saddam was legitimately insane and they Soviets were not. The USSR had some base concern for its own citizens, as evidenced by 40 years of at least attempting to rule well, if misguidedly. Saddam treated his population as slaves.

You're aware, of course, that the Iran invasion was heavily influenced by us...we basically pushed him into it as part of a "strategy" to get back at Iran for throwing out the coup and embarrassing us.

Again, this has no bearing on the conversation, at all. Yes, Kissinger was a war criminal and should long since have been given up to The Hague for prosecution for many crimes worse than that. But again... we didn't force Saddam. We gave him encouragement to do what he wanted to do anyway (and annex southwestern Iran), and provided arms and advice, but none of that somehow invalidates any of the reasons for removing him from power 20 years later. This is a tired argument. There is no connection between our actions in one and the ethical reasons for engaging in the other. Genocide is still wrong. Waging war on legally sanctioned US aircraft is wrong. Torture and random imprisonment is wrong. Harboring international gangsters is wrong. Why does the fact that we made a poor decision two decades previously somehow cancel all that out?

Ozymandias
04-13-2015, 09:52 PM
Sharon was directly responsible for the massacre of upwards of 3,500 civilians in a refugee camp during the Lebanon invasion. There's a reason his nickname was "The Butcher of Beirut" after all. It's okay thought because the Israelis thought there might be some terrorists hiding in the camps so the best policy was to just kill them all and let God figure it out. Some would call that genocide but I guess here it was just some good old-fashioned War on Terror freedom-fighting because they're ally and they can thus do no wrong.

So yes, Israel has committed many crimes just as bad as anything the "terrorists" have done over the years but we support them. Why? Why is it okay to support Israel (or any of the other right-wing dictatorships we've supported over the years while they committed atrocities all because they were on "our" side so it was okay. You can't claim the moral high ground as a justification for an invasion when we sure as hell don't have it. You would to justify it by saying they thought it was a good envelopment strategy for Iran? Sure, go for it. It was still stupid but at least that made some sense. (go look at a map and see how many countries we had troops in surrounding Iran after we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. It still was a mistake but at least try to use the justifications that the people in charge were using. They didn't give a damn about genocide or chemical weapons. Those were just the calling cards they used to sell it to us, the American people.

None of his has ANY relation to the argument. There is no question we have the moral high ground on Saddam. And yes, I agree, we should be using our relationship with Israel to force them to the table. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of stupid evangelicals in the Bible Belt who don't want that. And yes, many Israelis are essentially terrorists with better PR skills. The difference, of course, is that at the very least the Israeli's want something that doesn't equate, on its basic level, to eliminating every value that Western society is built on.

But again, it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Our support of Israel, shameful as it may be, does not invalidate our response to Saddam's atrocities. Just the same as our refusal to end the North Korean regime doesn't invalidate us removing any other evil, maniacal dictator. It isn't an all or nothing decision.

Nazbaque
04-13-2015, 09:59 PM
There is no question we have the moral high ground on Saddam.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Ozy. Until someone else actually uses a nuclear weapon you won't have the moral high ground on anyone.

Ozymandias
04-13-2015, 10:01 PM
I appreciate you tracking down the evidence to prove my point.

my 2 cents:

an attack on a country's citizen is not an attack on that country. Even if it was targeted at that person because he/she was a citizen of that country, it is NOT an attack on that country and does NOT merit military response. Even though this sort of casus belli has been used for centuries as "just" - it is not.

on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.



My emphasis. The sanctions on Iraq were UN mandated and (at least nominally) supported by the international community. Thus, US pilots and aircraft had every right to be where they were, according to international law. And they were fired upon. "An attack on the forces, vessels, [and] aircraft," and it couldn't be any more black and white.

This wasn't a citizen attacked, or a hate crime committed with the tacit backing of local officials. This was an official government policy, to shoot down legally authorized US aircraft. As you say, the true definition of "justified war" is exceedingly narrow. And yet, Saddam managed it. In fact, by this definition, our attack on Iraq was far more justified than the intervention in Afghanistan. Given that the Afghan government was never suspected nor accused of being directly involved in the 9/11 attacks, but merely suspected of harboring Osama Bin Laden, there actually was no justification at all for an intervention there. As opposed to Iraq, where they recognized government was waging an officially sanctioned war on American aircraft, in the region at the behest of the international community to prevent the crime of genocide.

Ozymandias
04-13-2015, 10:01 PM
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Ozy. Until someone else actually uses a nuclear weapon you won't have the moral high ground on anyone.

Genocide is worse. It is the worst crime there is. As such... moral high ground.

Kimon
04-13-2015, 10:07 PM
So... you're position is that Abu Nidal lived a nice quiet life in Baghdad for 3 years, but then, all of a sudden (hahah I first wrote "all of a Saddam"... thats a good one) Saddam decides the man is informing on him to the Americans? That doesn't strike you as a slightly overly-convenient explanation? Saddam was probably the most paranoid person in the world at the time, with good reason. You honestly expect anyone with a grain of common sense to believe that it was mere coincidence that Abu Nidal was eliminated in Aug 2002 after that long under Saddam's protection? Man, have I got a bridge in a very beautiful desert to sell you...


There just anything definitive linking the two men, nor anything indicating that Nidal entered Iraq at the behest and with the cooperation of Saddam, let alone whether they even realized immediately that he had entered the country. The man was a mercenary and a terrorist, and he was obviously in Iraq at the end, but it is unclear even for how long. He was expelled from Libya in '99 and had few places where he was welcome. He had a death sentence hanging over his head from Fatah (Saddam's ally) for the murder of Abu Iyad, so couldn't return to Palestine. He was also persona non grata in Jordan for activities back in the 70s. He was in Iraq by 2002, with a Yemeni passport, but unclear whether he was there for longer than a year at the time of his assassination, and the only clear connections during his time in Iraq have him working as an operative of us and Kuwait against Saddam. There just isn't anything here.

Saddam was a bad guy, but none of the rationales put forward for taking him down make a solid case for it being in any way in our interest to have done so. He was a caged beast, his teeth pulled, his claws clipped. It was akin to shooting an old, crippled lion in its cage in the menagerie. A momentary spectacle for the crowd, but that caged lion wasn't a threat.

Nazbaque
04-13-2015, 10:10 PM
Genocide is worse. It is the worst crime there is. As such... moral high ground.

No it isn't. Every human life is equal. Saying genocide is worse than a masslaughter is to put history and culture ahead of life itself.

Edited to add: From wikipedia:

Halabja chemical attack: 3,200–5,000 killed; 7,000–10,000 injured

Hiroshima: 90,000–166,000 killed

Nagasaki:39,000–80,000 killed

Total: 129,000–246,000+ killed

And Halabja is somehow worse, huh. Those Kurdi really had it going being 40+ times as valuable as the Japanese

GonzoTheGreat
04-14-2015, 04:56 AM
My emphasis. The sanctions on Iraq were UN mandated and (at least nominally) supported by the international community. Thus, US pilots and aircraft had every right to be where they were, according to international law. And they were fired upon. "An attack on the forces, vessels, [and] aircraft," and it couldn't be any more black and white.
I agree, but it is actually black (bad) on the part of the USA, not on that of Iraq. You left out (possibly deliberately, maybe because you did not understand its relevance) what followed the bit you quote. So I'll quote a bit more, emphasizing the bit which undoes your argument: "on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories".
Iraq is not in either Europe or North America, is it? So it was not included in the area where the US Air Force could appeal to this clause.

The only way around that would have been to offer Saddam NATO membership, which would have been pretty ludicrous under the circumstances, I think.

Davian93
04-14-2015, 08:34 AM
The USSR had some base concern for its own citizens, as evidenced by 40 years of at least attempting to rule well, if misguidedly.

I'll just kick this one over to yks to answer...since apparently you're a bit unfamiliar with how "well" the Soviets took care of their own citizens.

Davian93
04-14-2015, 08:40 AM
Genocide is worse. It is the worst crime there is. As such... moral high ground.

So...to be clear, in your mind, the US supporting a gov't that commits war crimes in Lebanon is completely and utterly different than Saddam supporting Abu Nidal and the PLO that was engaging in similar war crime/terrorist attacks in Israel (against that gov't).

There is no connection whatsoever between the two and they were both happening in a vacuum? That's your stance?

You also can't comprehend that we were seemingly completely OKAY with war crimes by Saddam when he was doing what we wanted but were suddenkly AGHAST when he stopped being useful? You can't see the hypocrisy there? And you cant even say it was under a different US gov't since it was all teh same players involved on our side. All the same idiot neo-cons that have been driving us off a cliff since they first came to power under Reagan.

You don't see the lack of a high ground there? Are you daft?

Davian93
04-14-2015, 08:42 AM
No it isn't. Every human life is equal. Saying genocide is worse than a masslaughter is to put history and culture ahead of life itself.

Edited to add: From wikipedia:

Halabja chemical attack: 3,200–5,000 killed; 7,000–10,000 injured

Hiroshima: 90,000–166,000 killed

Nagasaki:39,000–80,000 killed

Total: 129,000–246,000+ killed

And Halabja is somehow worse, huh. Those Kurdi really had it going being 40+ times as valuable as the Japanese

Estimates have our invasion of Iraq causing the deaths of anywhere from 500K - 1 Million Iraqis...mostly civilians. That doesn't include the ongoing insurgency and civil war with ISIS.

Mission Accomplished!!!

yks 6nnetu hing
04-14-2015, 09:06 AM
The USSR had some base concern for its own citizens, as evidenced by 40 years of at least attempting to rule well, if misguidedly. I'll just kick this one over to yks to answer...since apparently you're a bit unfamiliar with how "well" the Soviets took care of their own citizens.

Lol, I managed to miss this one. Let's put it this way: in the USSR, life was perfect. Everyone had a job, although you didn't really get any control over where you worked or in what capacity, and everyone got paid, at least enough for food, of which there was plenty. If you liked potatoes. And there were no terrorists or deviants, no dissidents, no homosexuals (in fact, there was no sex), there were no nationalities (except for Russian), and no classes, no disabilities or mental disorders, no political bickering as there was just the one party... You were absolutely free to travel anywhere, as long as you didn't leave the USSR; and as long as you didn't enter or try to leave any of the places that officially didn't exist (my home town was one of those, fyi).

anyone who disagreed got put in a mental facility and got given electroshock therapy. If they were lucky. If they were unlucky, they were put in jail. You know, after the state mellowed down and stopped shooting people.

Nazbaque
04-14-2015, 09:30 AM
Estimates have our invasion of Iraq causing the deaths of anywhere from 500K - 1 Million Iraqis...mostly civilians. That doesn't include the ongoing insurgency and civil war with ISIS.

Mission Accomplished!!!

Shhh Dav, don't distract him. I want to hear his convoluted logic for how Halabja is that much worse. I am particularily interested in knowing if he is aware that it's status as a genocide is debateable as there are still living Kurdi in the world. I actually went to school with one late 90s, basically an okay guy sometimes an asshole but no more than anyone else.

Now if the target goup is completely eliminated it is clearly a genocide and the guilty party is the one who did the most significant damage and not the random mugger who finished off that last living refugee. But just like a murder doesn't happen unless the victim actually dies, you shouldn't call something a genocide unless the target group is completely eliminated. Of course if you get logical like this then the still living victims of attempted genocides lose one really dramatic victim card, avoiding which has been the core of Israel's foreign politics for the last 30+ years (or significantly longer depending on how you define it being the core)

Davian93
04-14-2015, 10:26 AM
https://deadhomersociety.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/sideshowbobroberts5.png

"Attempted genocide, now honestly did they ever give anyone a Nobel prize for 'attempted chemistry?'"

GonzoTheGreat
04-14-2015, 11:15 AM
Plenty of people got Nobel Prizes for "attempted peace making".

Durvasha
04-16-2015, 05:08 AM
... and as long as you didn't enter or try to leave any of the places that officially didn't exist (my home town was one of those, fyi).


Uh, sorry to detract from the rambling thread, but could you please explain that 'fyi'? :)

Edit: added the smiley.

Nazbaque
04-16-2015, 06:02 AM
Uh, sorry to detract from the rambling thread, but could you please explain that 'fyi'? :)

Edit: added the smiley.

It's short for "for your information"

Durvasha
04-16-2015, 03:31 PM
Ha ha. Sorry for being unclear.

I was asking about the sentence tagged with 'fyi'. Why/how her home town didn't officially exist? I know she is from Estonia. The first I heard the name was after the fragmentation of USSR. But to make a city in a country 'invisible' to the rest of the citizen? I am wondering about the (il)logic behind that. :)

yks 6nnetu hing
04-17-2015, 02:52 AM
Ha ha. Sorry for being unclear.

I was asking about the sentence tagged with 'fyi'. Why/how her home town didn't officially exist? I know she is from Estonia. The first I heard the name was after the fragmentation of USSR. But to make a city in a country 'invisible' to the rest of the citizen? I am wondering about the (il)logic behind that. :)

They did that with places that had crucial military or nuclear infrastructure. In my case, there was a military airport there. Though, to be fair, my town was never made completely invisible on the map, it was restricted access, and in official documents it wasn't mentioned often. The fact that there was an airport could only be found out by seeing the airplanes every now and then. Then again, rather a lot of Estonia was restricted access, seeing as it was so close to the border, they were very afraid of people trying to swim to Sweden/Finland. the "invisibility" thing was more for places where they kept nuclear weapons or infrastructure. If you happen to get your hands on maps from those days, look for roads that lead nowhere or roads that cross, and there's no name for the crossing...

Durvasha
04-17-2015, 04:07 AM
Thank you. So it was not as totally illogical as I thought.

Ozymandias
04-17-2015, 03:45 PM
I agree, but it is actually black (bad) on the part of the USA, not on that of Iraq. You left out (possibly deliberately, maybe because you did not understand its relevance) what followed the bit you quote. So I'll quote a bit more, emphasizing the bit which undoes your argument: "on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories".
Iraq is not in either Europe or North America, is it? So it was not included in the area where the US Air Force could appeal to this clause.


I mean... I thought I was pretty clear in the disclaimer that since this is a NATO specific law, it wasn't relevant to Iraq. transferable to the situation at hand in Iraq, as this was an occupation zone which the entirety of the international community was in agreement on.

My opinion was that the basic principle is the same. The entire world agreed that the crime against humanity that Saddam was committing against his own people warranted a de facto occupation of part of his personal fiefdom, and that the principle behind the NATO bylaw was broadly applicable to this situation as well.

Ozymandias
04-17-2015, 03:54 PM
No it isn't. Every human life is equal. Saying genocide is worse than a masslaughter is to put history and culture ahead of life itself.

No, it is to say that life + history/culture is more important than just life.

And as with the situation at what used to be Nimrud, I think there is a case that the erasure of culture and history is more of a crime than taking a life.


Halabja chemical attack: 3,200–5,000 killed; 7,000–10,000 injured

Hiroshima: 90,000–166,000 killed

Nagasaki:39,000–80,000 killed

Total: 129,000–246,000+ killed

And Halabja is somehow worse, huh. Those Kurdi really had it going being 40+ times as valuable as the Japanese

You realize there was more to Al-Anfal than Halabja, right? Kurds say as many as 182,000 (also from Wikipedia) may have died, while more conservative estimates say 50,000 - 100,000. So lets take a middle number and say 100,000. Now that differential isn't looking so great.

And it doesn't matter, because the UN has described genocide as a crime and therefore, whether you agree with it or not, the US was justified in its intervention.

And of course, there are other differences that make your (bad) argument yet more meaningless. Or less meaningful. First and foremost, many (if not most) of those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were members of the Volunteer Corps, and therefore enemy combatants. I know that to you, Hirohito and Einstein are equally valuable personages, and therefore it should make no difference that the Kurds were civilians slaughtered by their own government for the crime of their ethnic defense, while the Japanese were (mostly) combat eligible citizens of a sovereign state with which we were at war, but I imagine most intelligent people will discern the difference readily enough.

Ozymandias
04-17-2015, 04:05 PM
Shhh Dav, don't distract him. I want to hear his convoluted logic for how Halabja is that much worse.

No convoluted argument, because such an asinine comparison doesn't warrant one. If you are asking by proxy why the Al Anfal campaign was as bad as Hiroshima/Nagasaki, I am happy to have that discussion.

I am particularily interested in knowing if he is aware that it's status as a genocide is debateable as there are still living Kurdi in the world.

No it isn't. I see how you are trying to be cute here, but you are, in a technical sense, 100% wrong. Read Article II on the Convention to Prevent Genocide (or whatever its formal name is). It is very specific that the intent to harm members of an ethnic group is genocide, and it is not merely the successful elimination of that group that counts.

But just like a murder doesn't happen unless the victim actually dies, you shouldn't call something a genocide unless the target group is completely eliminated.

See above. While I've been careful to call it "attempted genocide," what Saddam did is, legally speaking, a genocide. And of course, once you have morally committed to wiping out a group, you've crossed the event horizon and the actual result is only semantics anyway. So from an ethical AND a legal standpoint, it was genocide.

Of course if you get logical like this then the still living victims of attempted genocides lose one really dramatic victim card, avoiding which has been the core of Israel's foreign politics for the last 30+ years (or significantly longer depending on how you define it being the core)


I was waiting for the straw man argument to pop up!

I repeat, and will say it three thousand times if necessary; the fact that the US has done immoral deeds and supported immoral regimes does not somehow make removing an evil and unethical dictator immoral as well. Evil deeds do not cancel out good deeds, and just because the US does not have the most stainless history does not mean that we weren't right to remove Saddam and his vile crime family from power.

Ozymandias
04-17-2015, 04:15 PM
Lol, I managed to miss this one. Let's put it this way: in the USSR, life was perfect. Everyone had a job, although you didn't really get any control over where you worked or in what capacity, and everyone got paid, at least enough for food, of which there was plenty. If you liked potatoes. And there were no terrorists or deviants, no dissidents, no homosexuals (in fact, there was no sex), there were no nationalities (except for Russian), and no classes, no disabilities or mental disorders, no political bickering as there was just the one party... You were absolutely free to travel anywhere, as long as you didn't leave the USSR; and as long as you didn't enter or try to leave any of the places that officially didn't exist (my home town was one of those, fyi).

anyone who disagreed got put in a mental facility and got given electroshock therapy. If they were lucky. If they were unlucky, they were put in jail. You know, after the state mellowed down and stopped shooting people.

First off, my time period was a specific reference to the post-Stalin USSR, which I think we can agree is when they "mellowed".

And even taking all of that into account, it was STILL better than Iraq. Even if actual conditions were equally bad (a claim I would contend is not true, but having lived in neither the worst of the Soviet regime nor Saddam's Iraq, I cannot verify), intent matters. The USSR was ruled, at least nominally, for the benefit of its people. There was an attempt to make food affordable. To provide basic services. Neither of those existed in Saddam's Iraq. The entire country, and all of its people and economic output, were to glorify one man, and to a certain extent his Ba'athist cronies.

Nazbaque
04-17-2015, 11:11 PM
And as with the situation at what used to be Nimrud, I think there is a case that the erasure of culture and history is more of a crime than taking a life.

There is a lot more I could respond to but this...

You've just proven yourself to be a seriously misguided individual and I hope I'm not alone in thinking that.

GonzoTheGreat
04-18-2015, 04:49 AM
My opinion was that the basic principle is the same. The entire world agreed that the crime against humanity that Saddam was committing against his own people warranted a de facto occupation of part of his personal fiefdom, and that the principle behind the NATO bylaw was broadly applicable to this situation as well.
From what I remember, the no-fly zones did not have their basis in a UNSC resolution, but were a decision by the American-led coalition only. Can you prove me wrong in this? Can you refer me to the relevant Security Council resolution which would be needed for this?

If not, then Saddam did indeed have every right to (try to) shoot down unauthorised military aircraft flying over his country. The fact that most other countries either agreed with the USA or did not want to make an issue of it is not relevant when it comes to determining the legalities.

Ozymandias
04-23-2015, 06:10 PM
From what I remember, the no-fly zones did not have their basis in a UNSC resolution, but were a decision by the American-led coalition only. Can you prove me wrong in this? Can you refer me to the relevant Security Council resolution which would be needed for this?

If not, then Saddam did indeed have every right to (try to) shoot down unauthorised military aircraft flying over his country. The fact that most other countries either agreed with the USA or did not want to make an issue of it is not relevant when it comes to determining the legalities.

Actually, you are correct, it was of debatable legality. A literalist will probably argue that the No Fly Zones were illegal. I believe the US & Friends (the band plays on Saturdays, FYI) interpreted the resolution to mean that if Saddam did not stop, they were authorized to make him stop, as the crime he was committing was clearly defined as illegal by UN law.

Given that many of the main architects of the Al Anfal campaign were in fact convicted of genocide (though, admittedly, not at the ICJ), I think we can all safely agree that Al Anfal was genocide.

Beyond that, even after the April 5, 1991 Resolution 688, Iraqi forces were still attacking Shi'a in the south and Kurds in the north (with more provocation from the Kurds, to be sure), and thus violating a UN order. Now, you may have a different opinion on this, but my belief is that if the UN said "you cannot do this" and then Saddam Hussein went ahead and did it, that such an action validates an armed intervention that is made solely to protect the people that UN Resolution 688 was meant to protect. If it does not, then the Resolution itself was meaningless, and any other statement by the UN is meaningless, which means the best form of legal "international consent" is merely everyone sort of sitting around and nodding their heads, which was the metaphorical attitude of the international community at the time anyway.

Ozymandias
04-23-2015, 06:17 PM
There is a lot more I could respond to but this...

You've just proven yourself to be a seriously misguided individual and I hope I'm not alone in thinking that.

People gladly sacrifice their own lives for ideals, for cultures, for religions (sadly) all the time. Most of the greatest heroes of any culture or nationality are people who realized that a single life is relatively meaningless compared to the entirety of a people.

I understand that you find culture to be completely meaningless. You've made the point explicitly on this thread. However, I doubt anyone will agree with that, and since you are incapable of seeing that most people believe in something more than themselves, you won't understand that many of those people believe that something is more important than their life.

Take Nimrud (or the former Nimrud). To me, that site represents a common human heritage stretching back over 3,000 years. Its story is the story of humanity raising themselves out of the dirt to contemplate the stars, of realizing that there is something more over the horizon, that we might be able to work together as a group to achieve more than what we could with merely the product of our own hands. How could any life be more important than that legacy? I would gladly die to have Nimrud back so that future generations of humanity can learn that lesson, can continue to explore one of the older human cities on the planet. How can anything compare to that?

Davian93
04-23-2015, 06:23 PM
Actually, you are correct, it was of debatable legality. A literalist will probably argue that the No Fly Zones were illegal. I believe the US & Friends (the band plays on Saturdays, FYI) interpreted the resolution to mean that if Saddam did not stop, they were authorized to make him stop, as the crime he was committing was clearly defined as illegal by UN law.

Given that many of the main architects of the Al Anfal campaign were in fact convicted of genocide (though, admittedly, not at the ICJ), I think we can all safely agree that Al Anfal was genocide.

Beyond that, even after the April 5, 1991 Resolution 688, Iraqi forces were still attacking Shi'a in the south and Kurds in the north (with more provocation from the Kurds, to be sure), and thus violating a UN order. Now, you may have a different opinion on this, but my belief is that if the UN said "you cannot do this" and then Saddam Hussein went ahead and did it, that such an action validates an armed intervention that is made solely to protect the people that UN Resolution 688 was meant to protect. If it does not, then the Resolution itself was meaningless, and any other statement by the UN is meaningless, which means the best form of legal "international consent" is merely everyone sort of sitting around and nodding their heads, which was the metaphorical attitude of the international community at the time anyway.

You are missing the point. No one is arguing that the war wasn't authorized under the UN resolution. We're arguing that it was stupid and misguided.

Nazbaque
04-23-2015, 07:34 PM
People gladly sacrifice their own lives for ideals, for cultures, for religions (sadly) all the time. Most of the greatest heroes of any culture or nationality are people who realized that a single life is relatively meaningless compared to the entirety of a people.
I wasn't aware that a masslaughter could be done by just killing one person. You were trying to argue that the death of relatively few means more than the death of many if the former is a genocide and the latter isn't.
I understand that you find culture to be completely meaningless. You've made the point explicitly on this thread. However, I doubt anyone will agree with that, and since you are incapable of seeing that most people believe in something more than themselves, you won't understand that many of those people believe that something is more important than their life.
Oh so now my opinion is that something is meaningless just because life itself is more important. I find all life important not just my own. Culture can't be without life, thus life is more important. Now are you done debating against what you doubt isn't the global opinion or are you actually going to try to prove your own point? Seriously it's like you are trying to make reality subject to opinion instead of actually observing it.
Take Nimrud (or the former Nimrud). To me, that site represents a common human heritage stretching back over 3,000 years. Its story is the story of humanity raising themselves out of the dirt to contemplate the stars, of realizing that there is something more over the horizon, that we might be able to work together as a group to achieve more than what we could with merely the product of our own hands. How could any life be more important than that legacy? I would gladly die to have Nimrud back so that future generations of humanity can learn that lesson, can continue to explore one of the older human cities on the planet. How can anything compare to that?
I'm beginning to think that this whole argument is backwards. You value life so little that it's practically inconceivable for you to have anything against masslaughter. Is it that you think the only bad part about genocide is the perceived loss of culture?

For me one of the big failings of humanity is that so many are willing to die for something while so few are willing to think. Big heroes? Hah! That's just leaving behind a name. I'd rather be forgotten and have my wisdom live on with no credit given to me or any group connected to me. Just so long as I come up with something worth remembering. That is a goal that breaks through the trappings of race and culture and serves the whole of humanity.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-24-2015, 03:41 AM
First off, my time period was a specific reference to the post-Stalin USSR, which I think we can agree is when they "mellowed".

And even taking all of that into account, it was STILL better than Iraq. Even if actual conditions were equally bad (a claim I would contend is not true, but having lived in neither the worst of the Soviet regime nor Saddam's Iraq, I cannot verify), intent matters. The USSR was ruled, at least nominally, for the benefit of its people. There was an attempt to make food affordable. To provide basic services. Neither of those existed in Saddam's Iraq. The entire country, and all of its people and economic output, were to glorify one man, and to a certain extent his Ba'athist cronies.

lol, sure, there were mandated prices for most goods. Except, the "stores" were empty so you couldn't officially buy anything, so you went on the black market (which didn't exist) to get your basic supplies. It was all about who you knew. Had an acquaintance at the butcher's? hook them up with another acquaintance from the soap factory and everybody wins. Well, except for the people who didn't know the right people.

I'm not kidding about soap, either. I remember vividly how my grandmother had a whole cupboard full of soap - the nice soft kind; which she'd... arranged from somewhere. So that was used for trade. At the same time, I knew people who had to boil their own soap - which I remember because that STANK. This was in the late 1980's btw.

There is a lot more I could respond to but this...

You've just proven yourself to be a seriously misguided individual and I hope I'm not alone in thinking that.

you know, on this one I actually sort of agree with Ozy. Although I wouldn't put one above the other, I'd say they're equally bad.

Ozymandias
04-28-2015, 06:00 PM
I wasn't aware that a masslaughter could be done by just killing one person. You were trying to argue that the death of relatively few means more than the death of many if the former is a genocide and the latter isn't.

But you have made the point that mass slaughter is no better or worse than genocide. Explicitly, and many times. And since genocide is an attempt to wipe out a culture in addition to lives, it means you think the attempted extirpation of a unique culture is given no weight when judging the heinousness of a crime.

Oh so now my opinion is that something is meaningless just because life itself is more important. I find all life important not just my own. Culture can't be without life, thus life is more important. Now are you done debating against what you doubt isn't the global opinion or are you actually going to try to prove your own point? Seriously it's like you are trying to make reality subject to opinion instead of actually observing it.

Right, but culture has a value all its own. You've denied that, on several occasions. I am merely looking for you to admit it so we can move on and safely ignore your opinion on how we all judge what it means to eliminate culture (your opinion on the issue being meaningless because you assign no meaning to it in the first place).

I'm beginning to think that this whole argument is backwards. You value life so little that it's practically inconceivable for you to have anything against masslaughter. Is it that you think the only bad part about genocide is the perceived loss of culture?

No. As I have repeatedly said, I think mass slaughter is a terrible crime. And only a hair better, so to speak, than genocide because the intent to wipe out culture as well as life is not present. Intent matters.

For me one of the big failings of humanity is that so many are willing to die for something while so few are willing to think. Big heroes? Hah! That's just leaving behind a name. I'd rather be forgotten and have my wisdom live on with no credit given to me or any group connected to me. Just so long as I come up with something worth remembering. That is a goal that breaks through the trappings of race and culture and serves the whole of humanity.

In some cases you are certainly correct. In some, you aren't. Obviously, the value of the ideal being sacrificed for is one very much open to interpretation and debate. However, to tie it a current event, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski risked his life to aid Jews during the Holocaust. He was willing to die in order to help prevent an injustice. I don't think its out of line to consider that an example of a man willing to sacrifice himself for a worthy ideal.

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 04:27 AM
But you have made the point that mass slaughter is no better or worse than genocide. Explicitly, and many times. And since genocide is an attempt to wipe out a culture in addition to lives, it means you think the attempted extirpation of a unique culture is given no weight when judging the heinousness of a crime.



Right, but culture has a value all its own. You've denied that, on several occasions. I am merely looking for you to admit it so we can move on and safely ignore your opinion on how we all judge what it means to eliminate culture (your opinion on the issue being meaningless because you assign no meaning to it in the first place).



No. As I have repeatedly said, I think mass slaughter is a terrible crime. And only a hair better, so to speak, than genocide because the intent to wipe out culture as well as life is not present. Intent matters.

Ah so the problem is that you don't understand how I define the meaning of culture.

This is best illustrated through a food analogy. People need to eat food, but they don't need to know every dish or even have that much variety to get all of the necessary nutrient types in sufficient amounts. In the same way people need their culture. While it's important the specific type matters only to the specific individuals. If recipes for some dishes are lost humanity isn't going to starve. And in the long run if the recipe really was that good some chef is going to create a similar enough dish.

In a genocide the people to whom that culture mattered are dead so the loss is not all that meaningful by itself.

Culture is an extension of a person not the other way around.

If you want a more scientific analogy then culture is something like a catalyst in the chemical reaction of life. Genocide takes it away yes but since it already took away the whole reaction the catalyst became meaningless anyway.

The specific culture's meaning was based on something that was also destroyed in that genocide. Therefore calling a genocide worse than a masslaughter of the same caliber is to concentrate on a meaningless detail and very disrespectful to the victims of the non-genocide masslaughter. It's like saying one corpse is worse than another because it has less money in its pockets.

In some cases you are certainly correct. In some, you aren't. Obviously, the value of the ideal being sacrificed for is one very much open to interpretation and debate. However, to tie it a current event, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski risked his life to aid Jews during the Holocaust. He was willing to die in order to help prevent an injustice. I don't think its out of line to consider that an example of a man willing to sacrifice himself for a worthy ideal.
But what point is there in remembering his name so long as you remember the act? Why only remember his act among other similar ones? What did he do before? Calling him a hero solely based on how and why he died without knowing how he actually lived is to fail to think. He died for something honourable. Did he live for something honourable as well? If you only manage one of the two the ones who did the latter are the ones more deserving of glory.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-29-2015, 05:44 AM
your food analogy is faulty. erasing a culture is not taking some dishes off the menu, it's more like removing entire food staples from the menu and replacing them with something else with no regard to the physiology of the local population and/or environment.

Something like:

replace all meat with milk. The nutrient content is very comparable, after all... except 75% of the local population is lactose intolerant.

Or replace all potatoes with corn. Except it's too cold for corn to grow locally.

I mean... sure, you'd survive... kinda. You wouldn't exactly be healthy though, now would you?

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 06:23 AM
your food analogy is faulty. erasing a culture is not taking some dishes off the menu, it's more like removing entire food staples from the menu and replacing them with something else with no regard to the physiology of the local population and/or environment.

Something like:

replace all meat with milk. The nutrient content is very comparable, after all... except 75% of the local population is lactose intolerant.

Or replace all potatoes with corn. Except it's too cold for corn to grow locally.

I mean... sure, you'd survive... kinda. You wouldn't exactly be healthy though, now would you?

And in which genocide did humanity loose culture of that level? That kind of culture loss would be compareable to an apocalypse which certainly has not been suffered by anyone. Or is there really something so unique to a lost culture that other cultures can't replicate it. There is nothing so fundamentally different about the people who created the culture in the first place.

This is exactly how the food analogy was very nearly perfect. You are simply over estimating the value of specific culture types (the recipe that is lost in a genocide) and equating them to whole categories of culture that are part of humanity as a whole (which would be the actual food staples).

yks 6nnetu hing
04-29-2015, 07:02 AM
And in which genocide did humanity loose culture of that level? That kind of culture loss would be compareable to an apocalypse which certainly has not been suffered by anyone. Or is there really something so unique to a lost culture that other cultures can't replicate it. There is nothing so fundamentally different about the people who created the culture in the first place.

This is exactly how the food analogy was very nearly perfect. You are simply over estimating the value of specific culture types (the recipe that is lost in a genocide) and equating them to whole categories of culture that are part of humanity as a whole (which would be the actual food staples).

you're oversimplifying culture. You say that culture is an extension of a person, but the fact of the matter is, a person without culture is a savage. There are plenty of studies and examples of the "Mowgli" children; in principle, when denied any access to culture or fellow human contact, they revert to being animals. Culture cannot exist without the people but people without culture are simply biological beings.

Speaking of which, even plants don't live in a vacuum, they- much like people - are constantly surrounded by their ecosystem which influences how they grow and procreate.

yes, yes, I'm aware that you didn't mean to take away all culture. But where do you draw the line if EVERYTHING we do and say is cultural? Starting with language and ending with humour. With little things such as social norms and religion mixed into the whole.

Davian93
04-29-2015, 07:29 AM
The novel Tigana comes to mind for this sort of erasure of culture.


Basically, it is only legit to do if that culture kills your son in battle. If you are out for mass revenge (and just happen to be a crazy strong wizard...go for it).

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 08:32 AM
you're oversimplifying culture. You say that culture is an extension of a person, but the fact of the matter is, a person without culture is a savage. There are plenty of studies and examples of the "Mowgli" children; in principle, when denied any access to culture or fellow human contact, they revert to being animals. Culture cannot exist without the people but people without culture are simply biological beings.
You do realize that in a genocide people lose their culture by dying themselves? It does not result with people losing their culture while keeping their lives. Not to the "Mowgli" extent at least. And even if they did that can be replaced. Refugees find places in other countries and cultures. Not easily, I'll grant you but it's still on the level of losing a recipe not a whole food staple.

And no matter how savage we get without culture it is still only an extension. And a replaceble extension at that. Culture isn't something that lasts. It is constantly replaced. That's why there are such concepts as fashion and why recent decades seem so different from each other. One more point where the food analogy works really well. You need new food every day and so your culture supplies need to be renewed periodically. All that remains are the bones by which we can still see the shape of what once was.
Speaking of which, even plants don't live in a vacuum, they- much like people - are constantly surrounded by their ecosystem which influences how they grow and procreate.

yes, yes, I'm aware that you didn't mean to take away all culture. But where do you draw the line if EVERYTHING we do and say is cultural? Starting with language and ending with humour. With little things such as social norms and religion mixed into the whole.

You insist on thinking this in a digital is or isn't fashion. There are levels of importance and subtle differences by category. In a genocide a type of culture is lost but nothing so fundamental or unique that it doesn't already exist in a slightly different form or can't be recreated in another culture.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-29-2015, 08:48 AM
you refuse to understand. It's like... a person with Altzheimer's: the lights are on but nobody's home. Except someone did that to that person. On purpose.

To me it is equally tragic if someone loses their identity or their life by force. From my own very personal view, I think that if someone or something took away my identity... I'd rather be dead than continue living a shell of a life.

now, your example says that those missing bits will be replaced, right? so let's say someone's left half of the brain is replaced for no reason. Assuming that's possible. You're left with scar tissue, things that don't add up and make you think you're going crazy...

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 09:07 AM
you refuse to understand. It's like... a person with Altzheimer's: the lights are on but nobody's home. Except someone did that to that person. On purpose.

To me it is equally tragic if someone loses their identity or their life by force. From my own very personal view, I think that if someone or something took away my identity... I'd rather be dead than continue living a shell of a life.

now, your example says that those missing bits will be replaced, right? so let's say someone's left half of the brain is replaced for no reason. Assuming that's possible. You're left with scar tissue, things that don't add up and make you think you're going crazy...

Exactly how did you end up with these conclusions?

In a genocide the people are dead. They no longer have any use for culture and they can't be cured. They don't have working brains anymore.

There would likely be some survivors but do you think they somehow lost their identities to the point of being referred to as brain damaged. How?

Davian93
04-29-2015, 09:24 AM
We all die eventually...to erase even the memory of us and our culture. That is probably a step above that for crime worthiness.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-29-2015, 10:13 AM
We all die eventually...to erase even the memory of us and our culture. That is probably a step above that for crime worthiness.

Dav said it better

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 10:24 AM
We all die eventually...to erase even the memory of us and our culture. That is probably a step above that for crime worthiness.

Name your great-great-great-great-grandparents. Everyone will eventually die and after that will eventually be forgotten too. But life and memory still go on. If you fear being forgotten do something that is worth remembering. Good enough and it'll be a part of all humanity's culture. But if you are going to go for erasure being a crime then forgetting is to that what manslaughter is to murder. How much guilt are you willing to shoulder over the things you should have remembered? There is a limit to how much worse premeditation makes things.

Davian93
04-29-2015, 10:53 AM
Name your great-great-great-great-grandparents. Everyone will eventually die and after that will eventually be forgotten too. But life and memory still go on. If you fear being forgotten do something that is worth remembering. Good enough and it'll be a part of all humanity's culture. But if you are going to go for erasure being a crime then forgetting is to that what manslaughter is to murder. How much guilt are you willing to shoulder over the things you should have remembered? There is a limit to how much worse premeditation makes things.

LOL...I actually could as my mom is a genealogy nut. Also, I can tell you lots about my Irish/German heritage and a million other things. To completely wipe that off the map though? As if that never existed...for an entire family or person? That's just awful.

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 12:03 PM
LOL...I actually could as my mom is a genealogy nut. Also, I can tell you lots about my Irish/German heritage and a million other things. To completely wipe that off the map though? As if that never existed...for an entire family or person? That's just awful.

And anything else about them? How they felt about the world as it was then? What were their favourite foods and colours? I can go on and on or I could just keep adding the greats. Eventually we will be forgotten. But wiping it off the map won't make it never have been. Our lives happened. It is impossible to make it otherwise. If you think the official matters you do not fully understand your place in reality. And if you think that anything about anyone is remembered for that long you are hopelessly naive about basic human nature.

We are here. This is now. Everything else is of little importance both the past and the future. If you can't detach yourself to a certain extent you can't find peace with your own existance.

Davian93
04-29-2015, 12:10 PM
And anything else about them? How they felt about the world as it was then? What were their favourite foods and colours? I can go on and on or I could just keep adding the greats. Eventually we will be forgotten. But wiping it off the map won't make it never have been. Our lives happened. It is impossible to make it otherwise. If you think the official matters you do not fully understand your place in reality. And if you think that anything about anyone is remembered for that long you are hopelessly naive about basic human nature.

We are here. This is now. Everything else is of little importance both the past and the future. If you can't detach yourself to a certain extent you can't find peace with your own existance.

I disagree...as does most of our species' history given the importance we all place on carrying on and having another generation, etc.

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 12:26 PM
I disagree...as does most of our species' history given the importance we all place on carrying on and having another generation, etc.

Do we now? How much did those past generations care about what we would have to deal with? How much do the powers of today care about what happens two centuries from now? You may like to think that they did care way back then or you may think that we should care a lot about it now, but life doesn't work like that. All that we can truly do and all that we really should care about is making sure that we are a good link in that long chain. Paying attention to the previous links helps us do that and we have a duty to guide those in the next couple of links but going too long in either direction only serves to distract from the duty here and now.

Davian93
04-29-2015, 12:37 PM
For example, one theory among some American historians is that one of the major reasons the American Revolution was successful was the fact that Washington DID NOT have an heir. Had he had one (and thus needed to carry on his family's name and prominence), he would likely have accepted an American Monarchy with him as King. WIthout it, he was more focused on the legacy of his reputation and honor and thus became the super rare military leader who voluntarily gave up power.

Davian93
04-29-2015, 12:39 PM
Do we now? How much did those past generations care about what we would have to deal with? How much do the powers of today care about what happens two centuries from now? You may like to think that they did care way back then or you may think that we should care a lot about it now, but life doesn't work like that. All that we can truly do and all that we really should care about is making sure that we are a good link in that long chain. Paying attention to the previous links helps us do that and we have a duty to guide those in the next couple of links but going too long in either direction only serves to distract from the duty here and now.

Of course they didnt care but they sure as hell cared about their kids and probably grandkids...and so on and so on. We, as humans, have a very strong need to pass something on and have a life of meaning. To erase the very memory of our existence is quite terrifying to most people.

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 01:01 PM
Of course they didnt care but they sure as hell cared about their kids and probably grandkids...and so on and so on. We, as humans, have a very strong need to pass something on and have a life of meaning. To erase the very memory of our existence is quite terrifying to most people.

Which is what I mean by not having peace with your own existance. They confuse erasure of memory with erasure of effect, but the former happens anyway and the latter is impossible. The fear they have is on the one hand utter cowardise in the face of the inevitable and on the other hand it is a childish fear of something that can never happen. Overcoming that fear is a step in reaching a greater level of mental maturity.

GonzoTheGreat
04-29-2015, 01:12 PM
And anything else about them? How they felt about the world as it was then? What were their favourite foods and colours?
Obviously, they know that if they try to answer such question, they'll be thrown off the Bridge of Death into the Gorge of Eternal Peril. So having your remote ancestors fail to answer when you ask for their favourite colour merely proves that they're sensible, not that you don't know them.

Nazbaque
04-29-2015, 01:24 PM
Obviously, they know that if they try to answer such question, they'll be thrown off the Bridge of Death into the Gorge of Eternal Peril. So having your remote ancestors fail to answer when you ask for their favourite colour merely proves that they're sensible, not that you don't know them.

You are incorrect sir. Lancelot answered such a question and was allowed to cross. Galahad was wrong about his favourite colour so he was thrown off. Robin was thrown for not knowing the capital of Assyria and the Keeper of the Bridge didn't know whether the swallow was African or European. So your claim is quite unproven and in fact the only thing that was proven is your poor grasp of Monty Python trivia. Shame on you.

GonzoTheGreat
04-30-2015, 04:11 AM
You are incorrect sir. Lancelot answered such a question and was allowed to cross. Galahad was wrong about his favourite colour so he was thrown off. Robin was thrown for not knowing the capital of Assyria and the Keeper of the Bridge didn't know whether the swallow was African or European. So your claim is quite unproven and in fact the only thing that was proven is your poor grasp of Monty Python trivia. Shame on you.
Ah, but I happen to know that sir Lancelot was not one of my great-great-great-great-grandparents, so the fact that he could pass this test does not prove that my great-great-great-great-grandparents could have done so as easily.

Nazbaque
04-30-2015, 05:04 AM
Ah, but I happen to know that sir Lancelot was not one of my great-great-great-great-grandparents, so the fact that he could pass this test does not prove that my great-great-great-great-grandparents could have done so as easily.

Yet they must have done otherwise you wouldn't be here.

Terez
04-30-2015, 05:28 AM
Ah, but I happen to know that sir Lancelot was not one of my great-great-great-great-grandparents, so the fact that he could pass this test does not prove that my great-great-great-great-grandparents could have done so as easily.
My 10th great-grandfather, Aaron Stark:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/11169957_10152904738962252_3478143554945296415_n.j pg?oh=ddd0731a63d708a641253afe83383151&oe=55C79F89&__gda__=1440269532_35b99d731cb6e310b59ac74aa138b29 9

Nazbaque
04-30-2015, 05:52 AM
My 10th great-grandfather, Aaron Stark:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/11169957_10152904738962252_3478143554945296415_n.j pg?oh=ddd0731a63d708a641253afe83383151&oe=55C79F89&__gda__=1440269532_35b99d731cb6e310b59ac74aa138b29 9

Ah written in old before spelling was invented.

Terez
04-30-2015, 06:59 AM
Ah written in old before spelling was invented.
I believe it's technically Middle English.

Davian93
04-30-2015, 07:48 AM
My 10th great-grandfather, Aaron Stark:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/11169957_10152904738962252_3478143554945296415_n.j pg?oh=ddd0731a63d708a641253afe83383151&oe=55C79F89&__gda__=1440269532_35b99d731cb6e310b59ac74aa138b29 9

Winter is Coming....apparently inside of a cow.

Davian93
04-30-2015, 07:51 AM
I believe it's technically Middle English.

Yes...old would be illegible for a modern english speaker. If you are fairly intelligent (and have a good vocabulary and reading knowledge) you can make out Middle English or at least decipher it.

Do students still have to learn Chaucer in its original prose or do they get the dumbed down modern english version. Chaucer is phenomenal once you get into the real version. Much more phonetic spelling back then...and we hadn't experienced the vowel shift that would occur during early Elizabethan times (IIRC...been a while since I took that class).

Kimon
04-30-2015, 04:43 PM
Yes...old would be illegible for a modern english speaker. If you are fairly intelligent (and have a good vocabulary and reading knowledge) you can make out Middle English or at least decipher it.

Do students still have to learn Chaucer in its original prose or do they get the dumbed down modern english version. Chaucer is phenomenal once you get into the real version. Much more phonetic spelling back then...and we hadn't experienced the vowel shift that would occur during early Elizabethan times (IIRC...been a while since I took that class).

Dumbed down. I taught it this year in Senior English - at least the Prologue, we didn't have time to do any of the individual tales. Any schools that use Prentice Hall's edition get a snippet of the original, Middle English, text, then the rest is translated into more modern English. The Middle English is a bit weird, but definitely comprehensible, but I'd imagine that most who would have their students read any of Chaucer in it would mostly just use a small section, and have them try to make sense of it, transfer it into more modern language. Reading it entirely in that original form would be a bit too time consuming to really lend enough time to look into other interesting things - like what Chaucer reveals about society and its stratification, etc. It is after all, much more cumbersome than just say Shakespeare.

Here's the beginning of the Prologue in the original form:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

Davian93
04-30-2015, 08:04 PM
When I was a HS senior in AP English Lit, we did it in the original. It was great and we had a lot of fun.

This was back in the 90s though and at a very good HS (one of the top in PA and the entire country for public HS actually)

Kimon
04-30-2015, 09:50 PM
When I was a HS senior in AP English Lit, we did it in the original. It was great and we had a lot of fun.

This was back in the 90s though and at a very good HS (one of the top in PA and the entire country for public HS actually)

I teach at a pretty good high school, but this class wasn't AP. For an Honors or an AP class, I could see the point, but not for the middle track. Kids in general these days read almost no poetry, and almost none of the classics. There is far too much emphasis on non-fiction. It's an over-correction due to obsession with raising ACT scores.

Terez
04-30-2015, 11:36 PM
If anyone needs another reason to come to JordanCon in the future...there is a professor named Michael Livingston at the Citadel (RJ's alma mater) who is a Tolkien nut and a WoT nut. He gave a lecture a few years ago on how RJ is the true heir to Tolkien and he repeated it this year with a separate lecture on Tolkien as heir to Beowulf. I believe Marie went to both of those panels; I only went to the one a few years ago.

Anyway, he recites things in both Middle English and Old English, and he's very, very good at it.

Kimon
04-30-2015, 11:49 PM
If anyone needs another reason to come to JordanCon in the future...there is a professor named Michael Livingston at the Citadel (RJ's alma mater) who is a Tolkien nut and a WoT nut. He gave a lecture a few years ago on how RJ is the true heir to Tolkien and he repeated it this year with a separate lecture on Tolkien as heir to Beowulf. I believe Marie went to both of those panels; I only went to the one a few years ago.

Anyway, he recites things in both Middle English and Old English, and he's very, very good at it.

As much as I loved wot, Tolkien's work is as much of a tour de force of linguistics as it is of mythology. RJ fits the bill (to an extent) on the latter, but certainly not on the former. GGK reminds me much more of Tolkien, albeit the HBO version of Tolkien...

Terez
04-30-2015, 11:54 PM
He focuses on the mythology for both of those lectures, from what I understand, though obviously he's very much into the linguistics and he always makes an opportunity to show off his skills. But crucially, he compares both Tolkien's approach to mythology and RJ's approach to mythology to the process by which lost languages are derived from their descendants.

Nazbaque
05-01-2015, 02:14 AM
As much as I loved wot, Tolkien's work is as much of a tour de force of linguistics as it is of mythology. RJ fits the bill (to an extent) on the latter, but certainly not on the former. GGK reminds me much more of Tolkien, albeit the HBO version of Tolkien...

That depends a bit on the book though. Silmarillion is much more focused on the linguistic than LotR. A bit odd since it covers so much more mythology, but perhaps understandable as songs and poems tell of events in as few words as possible which is the point of Silmarillion, where LotR goes much more into detail.

Marie Curie 7
05-01-2015, 07:55 PM
He focuses on the mythology for both of those lectures, from what I understand, though obviously he's very much into the linguistics and he always makes an opportunity to show off his skills. But crucially, he compares both Tolkien's approach to mythology and RJ's approach to mythology to the process by which lost languages are derived from their descendants.

Yeah, Michael Livingston gave a couple of cool talks at JordanCon this year. When he was there a few years ago, he gave a similar first talk (the one about Tolkien and Jordan and their mythologies), but he updated it this year. And then his second talk was strictly about Tolkien and Beowulf and the origins of The Hobbit.

One of the things that Mike did the first year he attended JordanCon was to give a little bit of The Eye of the World in "Chaucer'd" form. That is, he converted a little bit into Middle English. You can read it here (http://www.michaellivingston.com/jordan-chaucerd/). He's also done a little bit of Towers of Midnight (Perrin forging his hammer), as well as other non-WoT stuff.

Anyway, Mike is not just a Tolkien nut for fun; he's published a number of scholarly articles on Tolkien in Mythlore, the main academic journal related to all things Tolkien/Inklings, which is awesome. One of the things he's investigated and written is the influence of Tolkien's WWI service on The Lord of the Rings, which also ties into the parallels with RJ and WoT and his service in Vietnam. He's also explored the connections between Beowulf and the origins of The Hobbit, which was one of the things he talked about this year.

Anyway, Mike had the chance recently to travel to Oxford and view some of the materials in the Tolkien archives at the Bodleian Library. He said he was able to view Tolkien's handwritten notes on his translations and work editing Beowulf. Some of this was just published by Christopher (Tolkien's son), though Mike says Christopher made some edits that make the published version not as good as what is in the archives (he wasn't specific about what things were edited). But what was cool was that he was able to view a first draft of the translation that Tolkien made and gave to someone else to read and comment on. He realized as he was sitting there reading the handwritten corrections and comments that the person who made the edits was C. S. Lewis, which he was totally geeking out about. :)

Oh, and Mike also has a novel coming out in Novemeber with Tor (Shards of Heaven (http://www.michaellivingston.com/fiction/novels/the-shards-of-heaven/)), his first. It's historical fantasy, and he has a blurb from Bernard Cornwell.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-04-2015, 03:12 AM
Yeah, Michael Livingston gave a couple of cool talks at JordanCon this year. When he was there a few years ago, he gave a similar first talk (the one about Tolkien and Jordan and their mythologies), but he updated it this year. And then his second talk was strictly about Tolkien and Beowulf and the origins of The Hobbit.

One of the things that Mike did the first year he attended JordanCon was to give a little bit of The Eye of the World in "Chaucer'd" form. That is, he converted a little bit into Middle English. You can read it here (http://www.michaellivingston.com/jordan-chaucerd/). He's also done a little bit of Towers of Midnight (Perrin forging his hammer), as well as other non-WoT stuff.

Anyway, Mike is not just a Tolkien nut for fun; he's published a number of scholarly articles on Tolkien in Mythlore, the main academic journal related to all things Tolkien/Inklings, which is awesome. One of the things he's investigated and written is the influence of Tolkien's WWI service on The Lord of the Rings, which also ties into the parallels with RJ and WoT and his service in Vietnam. He's also explored the connections between Beowulf and the origins of The Hobbit, which was one of the things he talked about this year.

Anyway, Mike had the chance recently to travel to Oxford and view some of the materials in the Tolkien archives at the Bodleian Library. He said he was able to view Tolkien's handwritten notes on his translations and work editing Beowulf. Some of this was just published by Christopher (Tolkien's son), though Mike says Christopher made some edits that make the published version not as good as what is in the archives (he wasn't specific about what things were edited). But what was cool was that he was able to view a first draft of the translation that Tolkien made and gave to someone else to read and comment on. He realized as he was sitting there reading the handwritten corrections and comments that the person who made the edits was C. S. Lewis, which he was totally geeking out about. :)

Oh, and Mike also has a novel coming out in Novemeber with Tor (Shards of Heaven (http://www.michaellivingston.com/fiction/novels/the-shards-of-heaven/)), his first. It's historical fantasy, and he has a blurb from Bernard Cornwell.

holy mother of all Fantasy and Historical fiction and oh goodness, I think my geek gland exploded

GonzoTheGreat
05-04-2015, 04:18 AM
holy mother of all Fantasy and Historical fiction ...
Who is that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendel%27s_mother)?

Nazbaque
05-04-2015, 05:58 AM
Who is that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendel%27s_mother)?

Grendel's mother is a mother yes, but not mother to fantasy or historical fiction.

Of course in the case of such abstract children the mother can be male. Mother being the one who got pregnant and men being quite capable of having brain children. When does a piece of fiction count as fantasy?

On the subject of Mike I think that anyone who claims RJ as the heir to Tolkien didn't fully understand at least one of them. They may know a lot about their work but not about them as people. You see Tolkien once wrote an answer to those who criticised his work. In this he recognized the impossibility of pleasing everyone and indeed declared himself satisfied on hearing such criticism as he had similar opinions on their work or the works they obviously found enjoyable, but he objected to the claims that his work in anyway referred to the Great War. He makes a point on the difference between allegory and applicability, the former being the writer's intent while the latter is in the mind of the reader. This is not yet the point against RJ being the heir, but then Tolkien declares his dislike for allegory and thus considering RJ's work it would be disrespectful to Tolkien's opinions to call RJ his heir. This is not in any way meant as a criticism of RJ's work or the way he has influenced the genre of fantasy. These differences simply mean that one can't draw this connection between the two of them.

GonzoTheGreat
05-04-2015, 09:20 AM
One could also argue that RJ inherited a load of unused allegory from JRRT and decided to use that instead of simply passing it on to yet another generation.