Alright, I didn’t intend for this thread to move in this direction but some of this is so horrific that I’m compelled to address it. So here we go.
“Now since you said you weren’t sure, let me explain to you guilt or innocence in wars even though we cover that in the other thread. You said it didn’t reach any conclusions but you’re talking to me and I reached a conclusion: unless you’re completely non-productive in helping an evil regime or rebelling against the regime, you are just as culpable as they are. Also if you’re in the way of us defending ourselves move or suffer the consequences.”
This definition is far too broad to properly define the guilt or innocence of individuals for the actions of their government. If taken to its logical extreme it means that a government taking military action in self defense has the right to massacre every single citizen in the responsible nation. This definition allows for total, blind, targetless massacres of large groups of people with no sense of proportion or human rights. What you do here is place citizens of “evil regimes” in two categories. The first is those who are economically productive or in any way supportive of the regime. The second are or those who are “in the way.” This makes everyone a target, and based on your ethical argument below for the use of nuclear weapons, their total destruction would seem to be the only logical solution. If we would have just killed every person in Iraq with some kind of weapon of mass destruction there would have been no need for the initial invasion of Iraq. No American troops would have ever been in danger. Since everyone in Iraq is in some way guilty or “in the way”, according to your rationalization, there would be no ethical problems with the scenario I just described.
More importantly, lets apply your definition to the current situation in Iraq. What evil regime exists? None at the moment. The U.S. has destroyed the previous regime in Iraq and now holds the country as an occupying police force. So how does this apply to the various splinter groups and factions fighting against the U.S. military in Iraq?
Allow me to quote Ayn Rand, because this is the only writing I know of off hand where she dealt with these types of issues. You are welcome to challenge my use of Rand in this context but I think her argument fits perfectly and I agree with her entirely here.
This is from the Virtue of Selfishness, in the essay “Collectivized Rights” on page 122.
“Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free country had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen….. It is not a free nation’s duty to liberate other nations at the price of self sacrifice, but the free nation has the right to do it when and if it chooses.
This right, however is conditional. Just as the suppression of crimes does not give a policeman the right to engage in criminal activities, so the invasion and destruction of a dictatorship does not give the invader the right to establish another variant of a slave society in a conquered country.
A slave country has no national rights, but the individual rights of its citizens remain valid, even if unrecognized and the conqueror has no right to violate them. Therefore, the invasion of an enslaved country is morally justified only when and if the conquerors establish a free social system, that is, a system based on the recognition of individual rights.”
So such an action is only acceptable when individual rights are recognized by the conqueror. The U.S., in order to establish a free society in Iraq must destroy the elements within Iraq that currently oppose it. These elements should be perused with the full weight of justice that any force initiators bring upon themselves and unfortunately this type of police action will cause casualties among innocent people who are “in the way”. However, in pursuing these criminals the individual rights of the other citizens must be taken into account. It is one thing to direct force against a specific target and accidentally cause collateral damage and civilian deaths. It is another thing to directly and indiscriminately target urban areas in order to suppress and “cause fear” as suggested by Dr. Brook in his interview. This type of action is a direct invalidation of individual rights. This is especially true when considering the context of the American occupation of Iraq in which it is no longer fighting against a specific, united government.
“If you’re doing a 5- minute interview with O’Reilly, he is just going to ask you straight and hard questions. What was he to do but answer them? Have you ever tried to explain objectivism in 5 minutes?
No and I never intend to. I am saying that Mr. Brook, if he is serious about addressing serious topics, should not be taking part in 5 minute interviews about things like war. Ayn Rand never made herself into a media “talking head” and the leader of the organization that advertises itself as the foremost advocate of her philosophy shouldn’t either.
“And it wasn’t even about that. What you believe is a 5-minute interview, why you believe is much longer. As for his statements being outlandish and advocating “mass murder” all I have to ask is what pipe have you been smoking? Do you watch TV? Don’t you see how our men are being killed every day? This is self-defense plain and simple. We have to defeat the Iraqis first before rebuilding them.”
But here is the problem with both your position and Mr. Brook’s position. The U.S. is not fighting against Iraqis “in general” it is fighting against various splinter groups within the country and these must be hunted down aggressively and destroyed.
“I don’t know to say here, I really don’t even understand why using nukes is such a big deal especially in a situation like this. “
If you don’t understand why using nuclear weapons is a big deal in ANY situation, then I don’t believe you are capable of logical thinking.
“There are bombs, really big bombs, and nukes. This isn’t MAD and we can bomb them at our pleasure. “
Brilliant. This brainless drivel doesn’t even deserve a response. I highlight it because it does serve as a gross contradiction to the remarks at the end of your post.
“What I don’t understand, and maybe you can help me here is why the hell would any commander send his troops in harms way without first giving them the best chance of survival. If that means using nukes then I’m all for it and I can’t think of a single reason why someone would not be.”
Like I noted earlier, valuing the lives of American troops does not give us to right to commit crimes in order to ensure their safety. Killing people indiscriminately in mass numbers because they “might” be a threat is a gross violation of individual rights on a mass scale. Targets must be selected based on certain criteria. Blowing up an entire city, in the context of the current situation in Iraq is not an acceptable solution for the purpose of saving the lives of American soldiers.
“Let me give you a hint, who are the “suppliers and financiers” of evil regime? It’s the people who go the work everyday and pay their taxes to an evil dictatorship. They’re compliance allows him to perpetuate his evil and that makes them guilty. When war comes, stopping a civilian from producing to help an evil regime is just as important and morally permissible as stopping a soldier helping that regime.”
Targets I was thinking of when I included suppliers and financiers include industrial and military factories. Economies are not built based upon paper money or taxes. They are built upon wealth creation. Wealth is created by industry and thus industry is a valid target because it supplies and finances governments and their military forces. The key to such military operations is destroying the means of production and not direct targeting of the workers themselves. There ARE direct financiers of the militant groups in Iraq. These people should be hunted down whenever possible. The direct targeting of homes and schools, as suggested by Dr. Brook is not an acceptable use of military force under most circumstances for reasons I highlighted above. This is especially true in the context of the current situation in Iraq.
“You also said, “"valuing the lives of our soldiers more then Iraqi civilians" should not be used as justification for committing indiscriminant mass murder or any other unethical actions.” What does that mean, if our soldiers are tasked with taking a city full of enemy soldiers, they can’t bomb the city? And besides, who was advocating “indiscriminant mass murder”? I wasn’t and neither was Brook. “
Listen again to what he said and re read what you wrote. That is exactly what you are both advocating.