About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 60

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 8:20amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I know you know (at least I think you know) that I've been focusing on the wider cultural issues and conflicts for years now.  Ever since the very first posts I made on the war in 2001 and 2002.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  The war against Islamic fundamentalism is real, just as the war against Communism was evil.  The war is much wider than politics or military action.  It is a cultural and philosophical war.  But the criterion for military action has to be:  defense of American rights and security.  There are many odious tyrannies the world over with life-negating ideologies; it's just not enough to use a "liberationist" criterion for action.

First and foremost:  Does the regime pose an actual or imminent threat to American rights and US security?

Now, as for antebellum America: I'm not suggesting that the Brits would have been in their rights. But I am trying to understand those who are focusing so much on this "liberationist" criterion.  I hate these ahistorical examples as much as the next guy---but I do not understand "liberationism" as a criterion.

You are correct that "an examination of our [antebellum] culture shows a vibrant abolitionist movement and a firm grasp of the principles of liberty."  Well, at least some Americans showed that firm grasp; I don't think Southern slave owners did.  And I don't think slaves were too happy about the owners' lack of thinking on this subject.

But as I said, everything has its context.  There is, for example, a growing, vibrant anti-mullah movement in Iran, and they may not yet have a full grasp of the principles of liberty.  Still, who knows what good might come from increased pressure in the culture wars?

In any event, my hypothetical focuses on the problems of a liberationist criterion.  That criterion does not center on the essential:  protecting American rights and security.

The wider war, the cultural and philosophical one, has to be fought with different weapons: weapons of the mind.  In the meanwhile, military action needs to be justified on the grounds of protection and defense.  Military action for the purpose of "liberationist" or "nation-building" enterprises will not change the hearts, the minds, the souls of those who swear allegiance to irrationalism.




Post 61

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 8:56amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
That sounds reasonable especially since we agree on the most important point: “The war is much wider than politics or military action. It is a cultural and philosophical war.” I often think this is lost and that's the main problem.

I might be wrong but I don’t think anyone here advocates a “liberationist criteria.” Some might advocate “liberationist means” to achieve a longer term defense when other criteria leads us to military action. But they’ll have to speak for themselves.

Regards, Jason



Post 62

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Chris wrote: “I advocated it because I saw Afghanistan as an Al Qaeda hotbed, and it was Al Qaeda that I believed---and believe---must be obliterated. If Iraq had been a hotbed of AQ activity, and had harbored WMDs, I would have advocated US military action there as well.”

I’m really looking forward to 2006 now, Chris! We will find that Iran is a hotbed of AQ activity and/or support, that it possesses WMD, and you will be on SOLO advocating US military action there!

Jon




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 63

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 9:49amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
hehe, that's very cute, Jon... LOL

I have addressed that issue as of right now, here.  If situations changed, I'd re-evaluate.  The point is, I won't apply the principles that I think most of us agree on without paying attention to specific contexts and conditions.

And Jason:  I think you're right.  Nobody here is advocating a liberationist criterion solely.  But I'm worried that Rand's view of the moral right of free societies to liberate slave pens is being reified, perhaps inadvertently, as a principle unto itself.

Okay gents... gotta move on.  I have a Spring 2005 JARS I'm in the midst of editing.  :)

Cheers,
Chris




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 64

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:33amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Chris,

Your example of an 1856 British 'liberation' is beyond the pale. Let me understand this, a nation that whose empire controls tens upon tens of millions of humans in every corner of the earth, invades the USA because less than half of that nations states keeps 4 million people as slaves!? You better reach again for a better 'speculation'. I remember that my 1939 to 1945 analogies where deemed unworthy in a previous conversation, it appears that I should have reached farther back another entire century!

Then you say: ...our [antebellum] culture shows a vibrant abolitionist movement and a firm grasp of the principles of liberty." ... There is, for example, a growing, vibrant anti-mullah movement in Iran, and they may not yet have a full grasp of the principles of liberty.  Still, who knows what good might come from increased pressure in the culture wars?

Are you kidding me? Come on Chris, what a terrible comparison. It is not even close. Iran is a nation in search of its own 'soul', seeking the very first stages of the liberation of even the minutest portion of their populace. The comparison you made was with a nation 100 years into its existence in freedom, on the road of dispensing with an aspect that was in contradiction to its principles, a nation whose level of 'civilization' even over 150 years ago exceeded that of the present day Iran.

Chris says: The wider war, the cultural and philosophical one, has to be fought with different weapons: weapons of the mind. In the meanwhile, military action needs to be justified on the grounds of protection and defense.

No Chris, god damn it - no! It needs to be fought with guns, bombs, and a terrible and unshakable resolve. Our nation has been attacked (and is under attack). The military actions that do need to be justified are our timidity and the hand-tied method by which George Bush has conducted this war - this is what needs to be questioned. After victory is achieved, and only after - then when can unleash our academics of the mind. Judging by their past performance it should not take them more than a decade or two to fuck it all up again, but in the mean time the greater threat will be diminished.

 

The day that those planes crashed into those towers, all bets should have been off. The war is not a police action against a 'criminal gang', although the voice of appeasement loves to paint it that way. Al Qaeda is an instrument, a tool, an extension, a by-product; an effect - not cause. The cause has but two parents: Islamic primitivism and Western appeasement. The Middle East is no more than than the sum of its tyrants. There is no 'voice of the people' or even a 'voice of Islam' there are only the tyrants and the power they wield.

 

I said it once and I will say it again, the potential tragedy in the current war is best exemplified by  exchanges such as the one on this thread. Exchanges that are echoed a million times over in every corner of the media, exchanges that can only result in the moral paralysis of our nation and leaders. Thanks be to heaven that these sort of exchanges were deemed beneth contempt by earlier generations of Americans.

 

You and I agree on one thing Chris; that a tragedy may be in the making.

 

Hours after the Pearl Harbor attack Admiral Yamamoto said, " I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve". Among the many reasons that Japan felt that a single blow might cause America to shrink back from total war, was their belief that America had become a soft and morally corrupt nation, a nation unable to muster the resolve to face an implacable foe. The Japanese leadership was wrong in 1941, and Yamamoto was proven right. It appears Yamamotos 'sleeping giant' of 1941 has developed a bad case of narcolepsy since then. What terrifies me today is that the greatest resolve I see in this nation is among those that would undermine it.

 

 

George

 





Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 65

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 12:57pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

What bothers me about the current policy, George, is the appeasement. There’s a point when trying to be generous or aiming at “enlightened self-interest” crosses the line and becomes altruism. I believe Bush crossed that line.

 

There’s nothing wrong with taking down a threatening dictator (as you and I believe Saddam was) and in the process offer the people of Iraq a chance to take control of their country. However, when we start begging Muslims to love us, show respect for a savage dark-age religion, consider civilians in a Salafi stronghold before our soldiers, and take a “bare any burden” philosophy, we are no longer fighting for ourselves - we have lost our way. Let’s review these points.

 

Bush’s nation-building initiative was intended to impress the Arab world and win the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere. Never in the course of warfare has a nation’s commander apologized to the enemy for unprofessional behavior of a foot soldier. When some half-witted cigarette smoking twit pointed her finger at some Iraqi’s private parts, our President apologized to the dictators and fascists of the Arab world – men known for their brutality. For the President of the United States to apologize to the Egyptian dictator is obscene! Obviously, our military is concerned about the honor of the corps and had already initiated a self-review. But that is beside the point. You never appologize to the enemy you ought to abhore.

 

Bush continues to show respect for Islam despite the growing evidence that this is at the core of the barbaric movement that threatens the world. This shows Muslims that Islam is what brings respect and success. There’s no excuse to lie. If we have to lie to win this war and pretend that we are at the mercy of the gratitude of these barbarian bastards, we have lost all dignity and honor. And, incidentally, we will certainly get their contempt.

 

Finally, the case of Fallujah. Fallujah is a Salafi (Islamic fundamentalist) stronghold even in Saddam’s time. They welcomed jihadists from abroad. Here was our enemy, as clear as the Nazis were in Berlin and the Japs were in Hiroshima. This is not a case of a few grabbing control of the government of Fallujah. This was a popular outpost for the jihadists – those who follow bin Laden. Before attacking Fallujah, we gave them notice and allowed many to escape. Yes, I give Bush credit for the thousand or two that we did get. But we should have accepted greater collateral damage to insure that the job was done.

 

Now, I apologize for being a bit of an armchair general; I hate doing that. The point is not the specific actions but what’s guiding the policy. It’s an altruistic policy of appeasement after an auspicious start. Now that Kerry’s gone, we have to get tough on Bush (while praising him for the past gains) and demand that he get back on track. And we have to do that while others are lodging unfair criticism in an attempt to demoralize the nation. Invading Iraq was acceptable option but putting international social work before killing our enemies misses the rationale that initiated the whole process.

 

I think that’s what Bush needs: critics who say he isn’t tough enough so that he stops capitulating to his critics on the left and middle. What do you think?

 




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 66

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 1:48pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jason,

For the most part, I agree with your observations and criticisms, but I fear you are spitting in the wind. Even without those criticisms the appeasement factions already label us ‘hawks’, with those criticisms the label 'warmongering imperialist' is right around the corner.

Perhaps you have caught me in a moment of dejection and depression, but right now I feel as if we have passed the point of no return. After Iraq, and perhaps after killing Osama, Bush will call it a day and fold up the tent. I fear that this war is a lost cause. I fear that it will take a tragedy on an apocalyptic scale in order to elicit the type of proper response that should have already taken place.  I fear that the nations moral fiber has been so thoroughly corrupted, that we can no longer bounce back with the current mindset of our populace.

The betrayal that I see occuring, leaves me raging with anger.

If I have to read another excuse for Saddam Hussein, or another thesis on America’s moral complicity in the current struggle, I fear that I will put my fist through this screen.  

In fact, I will longer address this subject for a while - it's depressing me too much.

George


(Edited by George W. Cordero on 1/14, 1:50pm)




Post 67

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 2:00pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I understand George. It can be discouraging. I’m still hopeful that we will prevail but I fear the cost will be greater than it had to be. Yes, let’s give this topic a rest.



Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Post 68

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 3:16pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Whoa, there, George:

First of all:  The slavery comparison, I made clear, was not my comparison.  It was one that was sent to me by a friend, and I offered it here for feedback.  So please don't tell me it is "beyond the pale" in a discussion forum.  I was not suggesting that the British would have been in the right to invade the US to liberate the slaves; I was interested in getting feedback on the question.  Your feedback is noted.

Secondly, it is not true that the "minutest portion" of the Iranian population opposes the mullahs; all indications are that a predominating portion of the younger generation is, indeed, fed-up with the theocratic rule of the mullahs.  But it is the mullahs that have the guns.  Often it is the case that a minority can hold the majority in check; witness Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Thirdly, I did not say that there were no military actions that should be taken.  I am not a pacifist.  I clearly stated that this was a war, not a localized criminal investigation or police action.   But it is still a war that must be fought intellectually, as well as militarily; when this country embraces the same irrationalist premises as the enemies it fights, when it renounces political individualism and reason, it is doing more damage to its long-run cause than any WMDs that might go off in downtown Manhattan. 

Rand herself argued, at the height of the Cold War, when lethal Communists held in their possession Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, that political and military battles were skirmishes "fought with muskets," but that the "philosophical battle" was the real "nuclear war."  This is not a question of academics flooding into the Middle East to teach Western values; it's a question of Western values being understood, practiced, and extended by the West, including those who would lead this country into battle, as a means of changing the world.

You write:  "The day that those planes crashed into those towers, all bets should have been off. ... Al Qaeda is an instrument, a tool, an extension, a by-product; an effect - not cause."  Who has argued with any of this?  What we've argued about is the means by which to deal with it.

Because this enemy is different from homogeneous Japan in World War II, there are no "single blows" that one could make to achieve the long-term goal.  The current enemies are as much at war with one another as they are with "infidels."  To "know thine enemy" is indispensable to the process of coming up with a strategy to defeat the enemy.  That's why I've stressed the idea of exploiting differences and obliterating actual threats to US security.

As an aside, Jason, I don't believe that "Bush's nation-building initiative was intended to impress the Arab world and win the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere."  I think this is central to the neoconservative  strategy:  Convert Iraq to a democracy, and generate a reverse "Domino effect," where a shining democratic example would impress other Middle Eastern countries to adopt the same institutions.  The neocons should keep dreaming.

Anyway, I agree gentlemen, "let's give this topic a rest."  I'm done.  I'm fed up with being called a Saddamite. I'm fed-up with being lumped together with appeasers.  I'm fed up with hearing about the nightmare that was 9/11.  I lived it, like so many other New Yorkers. 

And I won't rest until the forces that caused that nightmare are wiped from the face of the earth.




Post 69

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 4:01pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Here's something to cheer you up :-)





Post 70

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 9:06pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Oooo, Phil - for a moment I thought they were pics of some place that had been nuked, & I wasn't sure just *who* was supposed to be cheered up by that!

I think the beleaguered Chris's objections to the liberation have been solidly addressed. I just want to go back to a comment Chris made in a much earlier thread. He began:

"If we are to go strictly by 'Saddam's behavior'---and I agree he didn't deserve the benefit of the doubt---"

Well, actually, the argument should end right there. If he didn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, then he should have been taken out. Exactly what the liberation effected.

Chris continued:

" ... it tells us little.   After all, he was denying that he had weapons.  The Iraqi leadership was denying it had weapons:   'We are a country devoid of weapons of mass destruction,' they said, famously.  The inspectors on the ground were coming up empty."

Now *that's* a stretch! Saddam was required to destroy all such weapons by the UN ceasefire resolution after the *first* Gulf War (which is when he *should* have been taken out!). From the outset, the inspectors sent in to monitor compliance were harassed & duped. Saddam kicked them out in 1998. When he let them back in in the face of mounting concern that he not only had not destroyed the old weapons but was developing new ones, he played silly buggers with them again.  As recently as early 2003, Chief UN Inspector Hans Blix & Mohammad El-Barakei of the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report blasting Saddam for obstructing the inspectors & not assisting in the dismantling of weapons. It wasn't that they were "coming up empty" - they were firmly of the view that Saddam was tricking them. At that time Saddam was in breach of a dozen or so UN resolutions demanding that he disarm & show the evidence of having done so. Chris is arguing here that notwithstanding that behaviour, the West should have given Saddam the benefit of the doubt & not invaded, even as he, Chris, argues that he, Saddam, *shouldn't* have been given the benefit of the doubt. Go figure! (Incidentally, even those unspeakable low-life lily-livered cowards, the French, voted for the final resolution, 1441, requiring Saddam to comply with all the previous ones!)

Chris repairs at all times to "containment," notwithstanding the cost of that containment to the US (enforcing no-fly zones etc.) *and to the Iraqi people*. It's estimated that some 700,000 Iraqi infants died as a result of shortages created by UN sanctions. *They didn't hurt Saddam at all!* Had "containment" continued, Saddam would still be there, murdering, torturing & conspiring, with an ultimate cost that would indubitably dwarf the cost of the liberation.

Chris says he's tired of being called an appeaser, a Saddamite, etc.. Chris, my dear darling diabolical dialectician, you can't expect to take the wrong side on a matter as epochal as this & have your friends, me included, mince words with you. You are aiding & abetting a disgusting enemy. I am not going to pretend that I don't think that. I believe you are doing it innocently, in good faith, but that doesn't alter the fact that you're doing it. If Saddam read your words he'd derive succour from them.

You say you won't rest till the perpetrators of 9/11 are brought to justice. Well, many of them are in Iraq, blowing up more of your fellow-countrymen as we speak. And whatever the differences between Saddam & Osama, the two are essentially partners-in-crime, with their differences assuming the status of a cosmic internecine feud within the Mafia. That there are such disputes within the Mafia is no reason not to go after it. Saddam is in custody; Osama is not. He's still being pursued. Give it time. I don't, as yet, share George's pessimism that the steam has gone out of the chase. I *do* share his concern though that the effort will fail more because of appeasement from within than strength from without.

I think Jason P made the point that we mustn't treat *any* of these maggots as ten-feet tall. You, Chris, think Bush has been overly aggressive; most of the rest of us think he has not been aggressive enough. And I agree with Jason - we should get on Bush's case, now that he has no election to lose, to stiffen his resolve. These are perilous times, & the enemy must be given no quarter.

As an extension of the above, I want to say that few things inspire admiration in me more than the spectacle of courage - & I have admired all the way through this debate the gutsy way in which Chris has presented his case & come back for more even as former adherents to his view changed their minds and notwithstanding the personal battering I have handed out to him. Of course, the thing that would inspire *most* admiration would be for him to change *his* mind, but the next best thing is a battle valiantly fought. I believe Chris to be profoundly mistaken; I don't for a second think he's evil. I do consistently think he's a brave battler for that which he thinks is good & true. And so, I salute a worthy adversary. (In every other respect, we could hardly be closer!)

All of this said, I agree that we should all give it a rest, at least until Cameron presents his article.

Linz



(Edited by Lindsay Perigo on 1/14, 9:17pm)




Post 71

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:41pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I, too, believe that Chris is not evil. In fact, I think he is most distinctly unevil. He is one of the unevilest people I know.

He is not a Saddamite, either. Although being a Yankee Fan is not much better.

Alec 




Post 72

Friday, January 14, 2005 - 11:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Although being a Yankee Fan is not much better.
Watch your mouth, young man, or Chris and I shall sport our respective Yankee jerseys and come out to LA to straighten things out.  We'll also bring Vinnie, Tony, Vito, and my "little" cousin Joey. 




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 73

Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 10:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I know people want this to cool down now, and fair enough, but I just want to say my last word on this for the time being.

In my previous post, I tried to point out not that the key reason for the invasion of Iraq was that there be a western presence when Saddam's regime fell. My point is this: so much of the argument against the war is made on the basis that there's this messy aftermath and it's all the result of intervention. I noted that to blame all this mess on Anglo-American intervention is to drop context. Thus the argument along the lines of "look how messy things are" is not enough. As Lindsay pointed out very well, containment was itself bloody messy. Think of it going on year after year after year and the results of that for the Iraqi people (and eventually, the rest of us). That's not a policy without messy consequences.  

I want to second Lindsay's comments on Chris, somebody I admire enormously. He's a real intellectual gentleman, a great tour guide, a good listener and a loyal friend.

So, enough for now. I might just hold that article of mine back until next century. (Just kidding, Linz.) ;-)  




Post 74

Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:39pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Watch your mouth, young man, or Chris and I shall sport our respective Yankee jerseys and come out to LA to straighten things out.  We'll also bring Vinnie, Tony, Vito, and my "little" cousin Joey. 
Oh yeah? Well I'm Armenian. Which means one very important thing: garlic. And don't think I'm not willing to use it.





Post 75

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
You think GARLIC is going to scare US????   Silly, silly boy.  ;)



Post 76

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 11:57amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Now I really like how this thread is going. :-) 

Alec, garlic?! No wonder Jennifer is not scared. What about your most secret "weapon of mass devastation" - your devastatingly good look?!  Use it at will, please!  I mean, faced with such a formidable enemy, you got to give it you all!

(Edited by Hong Zhang on 1/16, 12:08pm)




Post 77

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 9:09amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I have watched the dicussion for a while now. Although I am deeply against this war, because of the reasons Sciabarra mentioned above. I have one little question for those who truly believe that this war is a justified war America has to participate.

Why don't you join the Forces? They seem to need men desperately and even with forty you can help in this war, as a messenger, or in the supply corps. You seem to be in favor of the war, so don't just speak, do what you believe in.
I think most people have no idea what it is that war stands for and that you should not go to war, without a very very very good reason.
And what reasons did the US have?

WMD: proven false
Habouring Al-Kaida: Also proven false.
A Dictator: right, but this was only an emergency last reason.
Violation of the UN resolution: You don't regard the UN as a rightfull and justified organisation, so you can't reason with those arguments.

So, if this war is built upon false predictions and false arguments, why should a private, who don't want to participate in this forced to submit?
Why is there a continously growing stream of deserting soldiers (fleeing during vacation to the Canadian border)? They have first hand information and can assess the situation better than most of us media-informed people and many are going to decide against the President's war.
And if you try to say that this is just a leftist hype and then believe some Major digged out by pro-Administration people, I can only shake my head. 




Post 78

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 3:30pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Unprepared, unshielded and overcocky -- three most beneficial characteristics to have in one's battle adverseries. What's more, they think they can intimidate me with their macho mafioso crap, when my picture is the most Italian mafioso-looking I've seen yet on SOLO!

Very well then. Bring it on Yankee Fans! My door is unlocked and I'll be waiting in the kitchen.




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 79

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 10:05pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Max:

Just so you know, I served during the first gulf war, albeit not in Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Turkey (a lot of my unit went to these locations, and I volunteered to be deployed.) This statement:

Why don't you join the Forces? They seem to need men desperately and even with forty you can help in this war, as a messenger, or in the supply corps. You seem to be in favor of the war, so don't just speak, do what you believe in.
Is complete bullshit. You predicate it completely on your assumption that no person here would be willing to go. I would and did the first time. In any case, even those unwilling to go because they are doing other things is no reason for them not to support the war. This put up or shut up type of argument tends to be the last refuge of the those with nothing better to say.

Ethan




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.