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Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 2:04amSanction this postReply
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Orion - there never was any doubt that "retaliatory" subsumed "preemptive" in the face of clear & present danger. I meant to mention this in whatever thread this was being discussed on, then noticed your essay in the Article Queue, which I then queue-jumped so you can get this needless concern about an "inadequacy" in the NIOF principle out of your system quickly!

Linz



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Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 8:44amSanction this postReply
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Lindsay,

I was sitting here just squinting at the screen going, "NIOF... What is he talking about???"  Then I got it.  Okay.

Anyhow, I'm not sure at all that there was "never was any doubt that "retaliatory" subsumed "preemptive" in the face of clear & present danger"... I've heard quite a lot of strange talk that we had no right whatsoever in Iraq, or even to "preemptively retaliate" against these terrorists to prevent further attacks%



Post 2

Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 8:44amSanction this postReply
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Lindsay,

I was sitting here just squinting at the screen going, "NIOF... What is he talking about???"  Then I got it.  Okay.

Anyhow, I'm not sure at all that there was "never was any doubt that "retaliatory" subsumed "preemptive" in the face of clear & present danger"... I've heard quite a lot of strange talk that we had no right whatsoever in Iraq, or even to "preemptively retaliate" against these terrorists to prevent further attacks... and a lot of people have some very, very strange ideas about why we should never have done anything at all, because they feel things "smell fishy".

I mean, you and I and a few others may not have any doubt, but it's scary the bizarre viewpoints that are out there, based on nothing even vaguely resembling logic.

For that reason, I don't think that my argument "goes without saying" for everybody... For you, it perhaps does, but others don't share your perspective.  And very often, if they want to be slippery eels about it, they will likely attempt to say, "Ah, but no clear argument has ever been made to justify these sorts of invasions, when we have our non-initiation of force principle in effect", when they know the reasons fully well, and want to hide behind the lack of a formal argument.

At least now, I feel I've contributed something to tighten that loophole they seem to love to wriggle through.




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Post 3

Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 6:03pmSanction this postReply
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I just don't see it.  I will tell you that I do not believe in GOing to war.  It is a terrible choice and not one made lightly.  Only fools do so.

America has never been a pacifist nation and needs little incentive in killing others.  Walter Russel Mead points this out clearly: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2751/is_1999_Winter/ai_58381618/print

An old Scottish saying goes (suitable for Halloween):
From ghosties and goulies and long legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night Good Lord deliver us
Perhaps this is a lesson to be learned by the al quaeda.
 
I would hope that the Scots in New Zealand have a long memory as those of us in America.  My family (the MacGregors) left Scotland in  1720 (remember that year?--for Scots it is a year not forgotten) only to be indentured servants in the Ulster Plantation (N. Ireland) for two decades.  When we ventured (called scotch-irish) on American soil in 1740, we left to the English the eastern colonies to travel west into Indian lands.  We fought, we killed, we survived, never again to hear English cries for MacGregor scalps (look up English genocides and you will find first in line were the clan MacGregor) and English tyranny.
 
We've been there in almost every war.  It's easy for us to take up arms against the enemy and we thrill in killing.  But WE DON'T HAVE TO.  We can negotiate, we can pursue other avenues.  Win them over by trading with them.  Win by market means, not by the use of force.  These are rational choices.  I would expect objectivists to make rational choices.  Making war leaves rationality out of the matter.
 
Maybe in New York and populated cities ("red states"?) pretend war is controlled, but those of us who grew up with guns, corn and tobacco fields learn little rhymes as a child like:
 
We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't quite as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we seen the British come.
And there must have been a hundred of'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring.
We stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't quite as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

They ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

 
We'll be ready if the enemy comes.  But only the fool thinks it is good to MAKE a war.  Lee said that it is good that war is so terrible.  Don't pretend that war is a virtue.
 
Just a thought.
Just Ken
kgregglv@cox.net
http://classicalliberalism.blogspot.com/




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Post 4

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 2:24amSanction this postReply
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It never ceases to amaze me that supposed rational persons, so embued with hatred for the barbarians, push all manner of supposed justification of an act which every snot-nosed punk, every thug, and every dictator from before the dawn of written history has used to justify continuence of said person's policy - and now, the orwellian view. The bottom line is - that's rank hypocrisy, not Objectivist thought; neanderthallistic mindset, not a reasoned one. 



Post 5

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 12:33pmSanction this postReply
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Perhaps we ought avoid making such bold and restrictive assertions. It always seems to me our actions best served when we apply good judgement and effective decision processes, that is we think. I have too often found the world outstripping previously secure principles. So, rather than attack this or that apparent principle, we ought be exploring appropriate process and balance of factors enabling better judgement.



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Post 6

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 1:11pmSanction this postReply
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The laws of personal protection, which can be construed to apply with some adjustments to policies relating to national defense, apply here.  

The standard for using lethal force in defense according to one expert, Mossad Ayoob is that there must be "an immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or great bodily harm to the innocent" before you can use lethal force in self defense.  "The innocent" can apply to you, yourself, or to others.  The standard for the correctness of the decision to use lethal force is the "reasonable man" test of a fully informed jury.  Justice and common sense.

Notice that the trigger term is "threat," which is a different standard from "initiate the use of force."   The law does not require that you wait for the criminal to actually initiate the use of force.  That would give an unfair, and perhaps "unrightable" advantage to the criminal.  The standard for the use of deadly force provides for preemption.  The legal authority to act on a threat rather than to react to the initiation of force arises from Blackstone's Commentaries where it was said (paraphrasing) that the law of self-defense is primary because once an individual is made the victim of violence (death or great bodily harm), there is no action of law that can subsequently make him whole.

The Doctrine of Preemption, then, is firmly rooted in law.  It is incumbent on the government, it is the duty of the government, to preempt acts of violence on its people by third parties, not simply to react once the irreversible violent act has been committed.  To simply wait to be hit, then strike back in endless, measured vollies of quid pro quo is, in my opinion, more of a Doctrine of Revenge -- the death spiral cycle that Aeschylus tried to break. And it is a spiral we are certain to lose against an enemy who not only out numbers us but doesn't care if he lives or dies!




Post 7

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 9:30pmSanction this postReply
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It never ceases to amaze me that supposed rational persons, so embued with hatred for the barbarians, push all manner of supposed justification of an act which every snot-nosed punk, every thug, and every dictator from before the dawn of written history has used to justify continuence of said person's policy - and now, the orwellian view. The bottom line is - that's rank hypocrisy, not Objectivist thought; neanderthallistic mindset, not a reasoned one.
This argument doesn't come right out and say that it believes a certain minimal body count is required, before action is "justifiable", lest you act beforehand and are therefore branded a hasty monster.

I conclude otherwise.

And that has nothing to do with hypocrisy against Objectivism, because it is based on the objective realization that those who begin planning to attack you, are actually the ones who initiated the force in the first place... this was the point of my essay. 

And furthermore, because this insight is an objective realization, it is by definition Objectivism

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 11/01, 9:41pm)




Post 8

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 9:40pmSanction this postReply
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Notice that the trigger term is "threat," which is a different standard from "initiate the use of force."   The law does not require that you wait for the criminal to actually initiate the use of force.  That would give an unfair, and perhaps "unrightable" advantage to the criminal.  The standard for the use of deadly force provides for preemption.
Well, you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. 
 
What I mean by this, is that you use the term "threat" in the exact same sense that I went to the laborious pains of defining as "that which initiates the use of force".

In error, we keep insisting that force is actually initiated when the actual attack is committed.  But the point that I kept repeating in the essay is that force is not initiated by the act of attacking, but before... by that "getting the ball rolling" phase before the attack, that is the logistical planning phase.

That's when force is truly initiated.  Once that's going on, then it can be called a "threat".

So, when you use "preemptive force" to remove a "threat", you have gotten at the enemy while they have semantically initiated their actual attack; i.e., during the planning and preparation phase before it actually culminates in the actual attack.  

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 11/01, 10:57pm)




Post 9

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - 6:07amSanction this postReply
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Well, you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. 

I wasn't disagreeing with you, just providing real world underpinnings to your argument.  The legal components of a "threat" are jeopardy, ability, and means; the sisters of "means, motive, and opportunity," which is what you hear about in court should preemption fail.  After 9/11, for example, the public's perception (the "reasonable man test") of "jeopardy, ability, and means" changed.  At least it changed for the great, unwashed, clueless.  Suddenly, what constituted a threat was refined to a bunch of guys with box cutters.  Before that it was ICBM's.

Jeopardy: A situation which arouses fear on the part of the innocent, including verbal threats.
Ability:  A demonstrable or historically proven inclination or willingness on the part of the "bad guy" to inflict harm on the innocent.
Means:  The tactical and mechanical ability to make good on the threat. 

All three must be present for a threat to be credible enough to preempt with lethal force under the terms of my previous post.  Given the reasonable man test, the events of 9/11 could and did change the general perception of JAM.  For a lot of us, it didn't take 9/11.  We already "got it."  However, to respond to a threat requires the will to do so and that simply wasn't present in body politic.

Personally, to me, "threat" and "initiating the use of force" are distinct.  I think they are legally, too, which is why the law provides for using force in response to a threat.  But if you want to say that threatening the use of force is the same as actually using it, that's ok; just don't try it in court.  As I said, I wasn't exactly disagreeing with you, I was just offering reinforcements to your argument.




Post 10

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - 7:26pmSanction this postReply
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Stuart,

Well, I very much valued your post, and what I consider to be your eloquent writing style... It very much suits my personal tastes with regard to the style of writing I like to read.  The style of the first paragraph was great, conveying fact with a sense of poetry:
I wasn't disagreeing with you, just providing real world underpinnings to your argument.  The legal components of a "threat" are jeopardy, ability, and means; the sisters of "means, motive, and opportunity," which is what you hear about in court should preemption fail.  After 9/11, for example, the public's perception (the "reasonable man test") of "jeopardy, ability, and means" changed.  At least it changed for the great, unwashed, clueless.  Suddenly, what constituted a threat was refined to a bunch of guys with box cutters.  Before that it was ICBM's.
Now, this next part I need to also comment on, to clarify what I was actually trying to say:
But if you want to say that threatening the use of force is the same as actually using it, that's ok; just don't try it in court.
I'm glad you wrote this, because I can pinpoint exactly how you are misunderstanding me...  And if you read what I write next and still think we have a disagreement, please read it again: 

I am not saying that threatening the use of force is the same as actually using it.  What I am saying is that threatening and planning the use of force are the same as actually initiating it.

I'll even clarify this more fully.  Threatening and planning the use of force are -- by definition -- the same thing as initiating force, because that's what it really means to "initiate" something:  to merely gear up for it.  That's what the word "initiate" really means.
 
Does that make clear my original point?




Post 11

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - 6:12pmSanction this postReply
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Does that make clear my original point?

LOL.  My poor conservative mind is not nuanced enough to parse this any further.  I think we are on the same page.




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