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Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 9:42pmSanction this postReply
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Craig Biddle on his Objective Standard blog advocates taking out Iran by aerial bombing. He adds the following to the list of military and leadership targets:

"All Iranian mosques and madrassahs, and the residences of all Iranian...imams [and] clerics. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g., mosques during the day and residences at night)."

A single question: Assuming he believes that i) TOC is destructive to and lethally dangerous to Objectivism, ii) but it is not guilty of aiding or abetting the initiation of force, if he could do it and had the military power, since he is willing to kill purely intellectual/religious sources of danger to our country or to civilization, would he kill or assassinate TOC leaders and smuggle a bomb into its Washington headquarters if he could get away with it?

What's the difference *in principle*? What's the difference between targeting the -religious- centers of your enemies and killing those whose religion you despise and consider enormously harmful and the -philosophical- centers of your enemies whom you consider enormously harmful?

Note that I am a *hawk* with regard to Iran in the sense that we have to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. And it looks right now as if that will require war if we can't do it by sabotage, revolution, or subversion. But the war would not look like this. This piece is embarrassing to hawks.

There is all the difference in the world between collateral damage or the death of a hostage which is the responsibility of the hostage taker -versus- deliberate selecting as targets for death those who have not initiated force, are not participants in the conflict, and, in the case of many devout muslims, MAY NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN IN FAVOR OF THEIR REGIME OR TERRORISM OR FOREIGN POLICY in the first place!

Moral: Never blog something that will be archived permanently on the internet without thinking and editing.

Mr. Biddle should:

1. Retract and edit out the part about gong after mosques and schools and clerics.
2. He should apologize for having written it.
3. He should identify and show that he understands the philosophical mistake involved.
4. Grasp that what he has written is deeply embarrassing to Objectivism....and Ayn Rand would flay him alive (figuratively speaking).


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 10:36amSanction this postReply
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"Get those steel shutters on the conference room windows shut or the roundtable talk with Tibor will be vulnerable! What's the thickness of the concrete around David's books on epistemology? Do you know what would happen to the concept of certainty if a Cruise missile blows a hole in a treatise on the senses? Bidinotto, get that helmet and flack jacket on! The Orthodoxy brigade is coming down Connecticut Ave. and will have your latest editor's message targeted any minute now. Gene, did we get Joe Rowlands on board as our intellectual security guard? Will, where have you set up Summer Seminar base camp? We need to air-drop those copies of Truth and Toleration behind enemy lines so we can give those epistemological fence-sitters a chance to come over to our side before we send out that platoon of graduate students to open up their closed system. Whose side is Perigo firing at these days? And have we smuggled the latest issue of The New Individualist into Irvine? Plant those in the lobby of their headquarters and we could take out their scholarly assets in one fell swoop while leaving the Rand archives intact. Oh, gee, look at the time! I'm heading out to the Fox News studio to make that broadcast to our libertarian allies."

 

Seriously, you raise an interesting issue Phil. This is a variation of the point I made on another RofR tread, here

http://rebirthofreason.com/Forum/GeneralForum/0922_1.shtml#26

and here:

http://rebirthofreason.com/Forum/GeneralForum/0922_2.shtml#50

 

Some day, to protect the lives, liberty and property of Americans, our government might need to attack the Islamo-fascists who govern Iran. But a complete dropping of all context is a principal element leading to the morally-absurd suggestion that innocent children as well as men and women who have not initiated force against us or who pose no immediate threat to us be targeted for death because some of their beliefs are very wrong. Isn't this part of the mindset of Hezbollah and Hamas?

(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 9/15, 11:15am)

(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 9/15, 11:16am)


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 12:10pmSanction this postReply
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I saw this on SOLOP first and responded there. Here is my response reposted.
 
I don't often agree with Phil, but in this case I agree with the message about deliberate targeting of civilians. In war there is collateral damage wherein civilians are killed. In cases such as the recent conflict in Lebanon, the enemy is entrenched alongside the civilians and those civilians are used as propaganda shields. Those civilians often support the enemy as well.
 
In Iran, I'm sure many people hate Americans, as they are told we are evil and bad. It's probably taught in schools and Mosques. Never-the-less, these calls for deliberate targeting of these people sickens me. The painting of all muslims with the broad brush of the jihadi title is getting old. I have co-workers, friends, and aquaintences who are of all different faiths and some of none. I don't have to agree with their faith to be their trading partner.
 
Bombing the Iranian civilians will not stop the Jihadis. Bombing the Iranian people will prove to them that those people in the mosques are right. You bet there are suicide bombers coming out of Iran killing inocents and American troops. But it isn't everyone. The solution to the problem isn't to bomb everyone over there. Such talk is the wailing of foolish pundits who enjoy saying such things. The idiot pundits on all sides haven't got a good idea between them. A good strategist would present solutions to acheive their ultimate goal. This type of bombing will not do what the writer seems to think it will.
 
Given the responses below, I expect many to disagree with what I say. I'm comfortable with that. What I'm not comfortable with is supporting the irrational killing of many who don't deserve it in the name of a goal that will not be acheived by doing it. I wish to make my position clear, and I hope this does.
Ethan


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Post 3

Friday, September 15, 2006 - 1:43pmSanction this postReply
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This is why I support non-Objectivist Thomas Barnett's ideas - they are rational, they are optimistic without being unrealistics, and they are being treated seriously by people who actually can enact them.  For example, here is a recent blog quote from him:

Another defeatist-style analysis of "war within the context of war"

The conservative version of viewing the Long War strictly within the context of war says we need to go very kinetic, a la the Israelis, and keep the regions of disconnectedness as disconnected as possible. Firewall ourselves off from them. Kill the baddies as required. Harbor no illusions anything can get better. We "contain" the evil and live with the dream that somehow it goes away on its own someday, when of course it won't and instead is likely to grow, become more aggressive in its trapped-ness, and strike out at us more frequently in the 9/11 vein in attempts to socialize their pain and their problems.
(my note - ...and the ultra-conservatives or "bomb and kill them all" crowd is even worse, a veritable "kill them all and let God sort 'em out" strategy)

The right does not want to own the "war within the context of everything else" because that forces them to consider the postwar to be as/more important as/than the war, and they don't want to own the backside. They want their wars simple and over with as quickly as possible, and if they're completely fruitless when waged in this manner, well... that's called realism. So no SysAdmin for this crowd.

The left-defeatist version of viewing "war within the context of war" is simply to point out the futility of waging war in this manner, with no vision for or reference to the second-half peace-waging effort. When the second half is discussed, it's done within the context of white man's guilt, so it's all a matter of just giving these people lotsa money. But doing any of the necessary up-front work to clear the baddies? That's all a failure so why bother doing it?

The rightist argument is just so cynical, but the leftist one is so amazingly silly. This guy (linked to some leftist article in NYT) describes how we're losing because the enemy is so willing to remain in his disconnected, bombed-out state that when Israel comes with all its "technology," the insurgents are able to "win" by destroying their society and economy to such a state that this level playing field favors them. So eventually Israel will withdrawal and the result will be what? Israel will continue to live this connected, far more stable and prosperous life and Lebanon will be subject to years or decades of rebuilding, meanwhile living out the "victory" in relative deprivation and disconnectedness and--if Hezbollah has its way--incredible denial of freedom.

This is akin to the "great victory" of the Viet Cong in Vietnam. Read your Vietnamese history from 1975-1995. Some victory. Now Vietnam opens up like crazy, teaches English, jumps through its rear-end to attract American FDI, and turns as capitalistic and connected as quickly as possible, lest it get left behind in China's incredibly marketized wake.

Yes, yes, we "lost" in Vietnam. It just took us three decades for the Vietnamese to recognize that. Their millions of dead paved the way for what exactly? The ultimate pervasiveness of our economic system throughout the region?

Ah, but only our enemies think in such long-term ways. Better for us to declare defeat as quickly as possible wherever possible.

Our pyrrhic victories come when we try to wage war solely within the context of war, believing that the kinetics are all we need to pursue, but the opposition's definition of pyrrhic victory is much the same: pretending that the "honorable" choice of self-destruction in order to preserve control over land and people somehow defines their successful denial of our encroaching networks.

So where are the great victories of this war by "not losing," as this writer argues? Where is Pakistan today? Where is Afghanistan? Where is Iraq? How is life better for the average Iranian? How's Lebanon compared to five years ago? How's Palestine? Where are their great victories in denying freedom and development?

Or do they look like the same old shit of poverty, violence, degradation, and power at the barrel of a gun?
Ah, but the terrorists rule our connected world! Let's not forget that.
So where are their victories in our world?

Add up all the alleged freedom lost in our world since 9/11 and it's lost in the white noise of our increasingly connected society. Go back and read all the arguments on America's loss of privacy due to the rise of info technology and whatnot prior to 9/11 and ask yourself where the significant additional loss can be found because you won't find it. Anything the government now thinks it can do to you the marketers were long planning and in most cases already snooping.

Connectivity requires code. It's as simple as that. The more connected you are, the more safe and convenient and enriching your life is, but the more rules you become subject to. The Long War has influenced that trajectory, but hardly defines it, except for the conspiracy types who were glad to shift their fantasies about corporations to the government.
Ah, but the terrorists have slowed down our economies and derailed globalization!
Complete bullshit unsupported by any facts, but live in that world if you must.

Terrorists don't run anything in our world except our fantasies, but we've always needed some bogeyman and these guys will do quite nicely for the here and foreseeable future, and yes, the defeatists both left and right will blow up their significance to unbelievable proportions, constantly working to convince us that we're really "losing" when globalization continues to chug along, lifting millions upon millions of people out of poverty each year around the world and knitting it ever closer, making it safer, more resilient, more connected.

Terrorists can and will enter that connected world, and their impact will be limited to that of "star" criminals (another ever-present American fascination) who capture our imagination but whose impact on our lives will be about as fantastic as death by meteors and comets and choking on Big Macs (actually, as John Mueller of Ohio points out in his new book--that's about the statistical reality--even today in this amazingly "dangerous world"). We'll "fight" terrorists at home with cops, and we'll win the vast majority of the time.

Inside the Gap, we'll still need the military to clear the bad brush on a regular basis, but if we build nothing in that stead we'll end up with nothing but continued trouble. And yes, if the insurgents and terrorists of the Gap continue to "win" by "not losing" against our Leviathan-like efforts, their "great victory" will consist of continued shitty lives filled with deprivation, violence and the lack of freedom (as much or more the lack of economic freedom than political).

We can have two pointless answers to this perceived "loss": we can lament it and withdraw, only to regularly return to replicate the killing strokes of the Leviathan (the Right's defeatism), or we can lament it and withdraw and pay the locals cynical bribes in the form of foreign aid that accomplishes nothing (the Left's defeatism).

Or we can get better at the second half, extend our nets, make new markets, deliver real freedom, and render terrorists the same glorified criminals in a shrunken Gap that they are in a connected expanding Core.
And the technology we bring won't be about killing. It'll be about connecting.


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 1:56pmSanction this postReply
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> the morally-absurd suggestion that innocent children as well as men and women who have not initiated force against us or who pose no immediate threat to us be targeted for death because some of their beliefs are very wrong. Isn't this part of the mindset of Hezbollah and Hamas?

Exactly, Ed. Terrorism is the use of violence against innocent civilians to intimidate or create fear. He's defending terrorism and sinking to the level of terrorists. Reading his entire blog entry, he inserted "bombing all mosques and madrasas" into a long list, so I hope he just got carried away in anger and didn't realize what he was saying and will go back and reexamine and apologize. But the people at Solo who are currently defending him have no such excuse: they are -willfully- and explicitly lumping together as if they were one the following seven categories:

i) killing jihadists, bombing military targets, taking out terror supporters and the Iranian leadership
ii) killing the entire population of Iran at their places of worship
iii) killing enemies of the Iranian regime
iv) attacking schools
v) attacking a -particular- mosque or school which intelligence has shown to be the hiding place of Iranian leaders or of weapons of mass destruction
vi) taking out the infrastructure and factories which are producing nuclear weapons
vii) killing hundreds of thousands or millions who are -opponents of the regime- [possibly millions, because that is the number who would die if you bombed all mosques and schools during the day, which is when people go there to pray or go to school]

They are ignoring the difference between killing someone innocent to defend yourself and doing it to sow terror. [ And I say this as the person who first identified and named "the hostage principle" that Objectivists often refer to and the example of the bank robber and the human shield, etc. during the seventies in a piece I wrote by that name replying to Rothbard's pacifism, naming the hostage status of populations in a dictatorship which initiates a war, and showed to Peikoff and Binswanger. When I wrote it, I never imagined there would be people calling themselves Objectivists who would twist it into a defense for wanton targeting of innocents. ]

Not only that but, as a matter of displaying factual ignorance, Biddle and his defenders are advocating doing it NOW, before the nuclear programs are fully developed and thus more promising targets, before attempting to incite a revolution to overthrow the regime, before attempting sabotage and subversion first. War is the last refuge when all else has been tried.

It's such a stomach-turning display of genocidal stupidity without even the pretext of it being an attempt to decapitate the Islamo-fascist leadership or of military necessity, that its one of the few things I'm not even willing to continue debating with the Soloists.

It's almost grade school obvious.

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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 4:19pmSanction this postReply
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If this whole sorry festival of oversimplification isn't a form of collectivism, Ayn Rand did not write Atlas Shrugged.

Michael


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 6:10pmSanction this postReply
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In another bit of stunning ahistorical stupidity, Diana H. has pitched into the debate over on Solo trying to knock down my argument that those millions of people in the mosques and schools and the general population of Iran are innocent:

[Warning: Heavily Sarcastic Post Follows. Put all the little kiddies to bed.]

She suggests that people everywhere who have lived under *any dictatorships whatsoever* haven't ever really been all that serious about being opposed to being enslaved. Apparently they -like- being oppressed and locked up for criticizing the regime or being murdered for not obeying or beaten for showing an inch of skin or for watching Bonanza on satellite TV. Why? Well because their philosophers and churches have brainwashed them into being robots.

They must like their chains.

After all they are muslims. "We just love totalitarianism."

So I suppose all those people who voted so overwhelmingly for the reformers in the last honest election over there really weren't for less repression after all. And all those millions who had been brainwashed under communism for seventy years and the Russian Orthodox church for long before that and who marched in the streets in a chain reaction across Eastern Europe in country after country in 1989 and tore down the Berlin wall with their bare hands didn't really exist and everyone had been happy as clams under communism.

And if they -are- opposed, according to Diana sitting smug and safe in her cottage in Colorado, they are "cowards" for not rising up and overthrowing the regime with the tanks and machine guns all Iranians keep in their garages. Diana, not being a "coward", of course, if she lived in Iran, would simply walk out and start a revolution...and be whisked away to prison or "interrogation" about her fellow revolutionaries or have a bullet in the head so fast it wouldn't be funny. This is the kind of argument a pure rationalist would use who doesn't even have to crack a history book...or read the articles and analyses about Iran that have been published on all sides of the spectrum.

"Don't bother me with having to actually learn in an Aristotelian manner what the Iranians are actually thinking. Don't bother me with having to read what has been reported by tourists, reporters, visitors. I will just DEDUCE, like the Platonist I am, from philosophy what all people in all dictatorships ever must believe. Hey, philosophy is the only subject you need to study to know everything about the world, after all."

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 9/15, 6:23pm)


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 8:02pmSanction this postReply
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Phil, MSK, et al. -- Good posts! I've tried to stay out of the foodfights with the immature, juvenile Objectivists. But this sort of stuff, topped off my Diana H's morally-demented rantings, show that we do need to be concerned about those who pass as representatives of the philosophy. Can you imagine what the media -- already not very friendly to us -- will do when an "Atlas" movie comes out and they start focusing on "What do these Objectivists really believe?"
(Edited by Ed Hudgins on 9/15, 8:06pm)


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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 9:55pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I won't respond now at length to what has been posted here. But I would like to ask you about this:

"Some day, to protect the lives, liberty and property of Americans, our government might need to attack the Islamo-fascists who govern Iran."

If that day weren't already 27 (or more than 50) years past, (depending on where you want to begin), and continuing up to the present, when will it arrive?

As I've asked elsewhere, to George Smith, in discussing Iran: Do we have to wait until there are jihadist boots on the soil of Manhattan before we invade Iran?

(Oops... that already happened on 9/11/2001, a date that should be rather fresh in everyone's mind given the date today.)

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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 10:08pmSanction this postReply
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To paraphrase a martyr:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the West, and is not either to save or to destroy islam. If I could save the West without killing any muslim I would do it, and if I could save it by killing all the muslims I would do it; and if I could save it by killing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about muslimry, and the religious zealots, I do because I believe it helps to save the West; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the West. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause."

Ted Keer, Sep 15, 2006, Manhattan

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Friday, September 15, 2006 - 11:08pmSanction this postReply
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There have been a lot of long posts on the subject of bombing Iran, but often the shortest posts can essentialize, cut to the heart of things, and prune away the side issues:

"I would bomb every school in Iran if that were necessary to secure the safety of America. I'd nuke the whole place (literally the whole place), if that were necessary. But I don't see how it is. Why not just select military and government and terrorist training targets? Don't you think if America really did that thoroughly that would be enough?"

This is what Kelly Elmore posted earlier today on Solo. Since she said it, no one has answered her two simple, factual, commonsense questions. Which you would think would the the -first- questions someone advocating a massive bombing campaign against civilian targets would need to think about. They've talked about everything else: the languages in which the word madrasah is used, what Ayn Rand said, etc.

Failure to address the basics is a classic example of failure to focus: There are a lot of people in this world who have really stupid or irrational or destructive ideas or practices and the reason they allow themselves to retain those irrational ideas or practices is often because they are thinking about *everything but* the most basic (and often absurdly simple) questions they need to ask themselves about something important.

Among thinking errors this is one of the most common of all.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 11:00amSanction this postReply
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I agree with Kelly's position.  The question is not whether we are morally justified in bombing civilian targets.  The fundamental question is, what is in our best interest.

The quote from Craig Biddle -- I can't comment on his whole blog entry because I can't find it -- is objectionable because he wants to target "all mosques and madrassahs".  Phil thinks of these as innocent civilian targets.

One reason for the big disagreement is that we all have different pictures in our minds of what goes on inside a mosque or madrassah.  Craig Biddle's view is probably that they're indistinguishable from any terrorist training camp.  Phil's view (or maybe it's my caricature of it! ;-) ) is that they are filled with people just like us; the mosque-goers being just like typical American church-goers, and the madrassahs filled with cherubic kindergarteners playing with blocks and teddy bears.  I think the truth is somewhere in between, and it must vary from one mosque or madrassah to another.  But I've never actually been inside an Iranian mosque or madrassah.  All I know is what I've read and seen on TV. I have read that some madrassahs stunt the minds of their students by having them mindlessly memorize the Koran in a language they don't even speak.  I have seen on TV that some mosque-goers like to  chant "Death to America."  Even these bits of evidence don't make them legitimate targets. 

But if we find a mosque that has a weapons cache or a suicide-belt factory in it, or from which a sniper is firing, it seems it would be in our interest to blow it up.  This applies to Iraq where our troops would be endangered; whether to widen the war to Iran is another question.  My position is that a site should not be considered immune from attack just because it's "religious" or "educational".  That doesn't mean we should blow them "all" up, but they shouldn't be off-limits.


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Post 12

Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 4:11pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff Ė The short answer is that if Iran poses a clear and present danger to the lives, liberty and property of Americans, then our government should take appropriate action to protect us. That includes preemption, for example, bombing their nuclear facilities or other military target that pose the danger. (Note: Other countries have or can easily get nukes -- India, Israel and Brazil. But we donít see them as threats to us. The Iranian dictators clearly are hostile and possibly suicidal enough to give them to terrorists for use against us.)

I also think Kellyís answer, as related by Phil, gets to the point. So does Tedís nice restatement of Lincolnís policy concerning the union.


But Iíd like to emphasize the points I made in the links I offer in post #1 to an earlier thread about context. To determine when itís appropriate to act and what action is best given all of the goals one seeks to gain and/or keep requires judgment. Judgment often isnít simple. Some Objectivists are uncomfortable with that because the answer is not easily determined through an easy deduction from first principles.

Posted below is Charles Krauthammerís piece from the Friday, Sept. 15th Washington Post. Heís pretty hardline against Islamo-fascists but he understands that we must take account of probable results of actions. Iím not endorsing everything he says but offering this as an example of a thoughtful guy:

September 15, 2006

The Tehran Calculus

By Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON -- In his televised 9/11 address, President Bush said that we must not "leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.'' There's only one such current candidate: Iran.

The next day, he responded thus (as reported by Rich Lowry and Kate O'Beirne of National Review) to a question on Iran: "It's very important for the American people to see the president try to solve problems diplomatically before resorting to military force.''

"Before'' implies that the one follows the other. The signal is unmistakable. An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option.

The costs will be terrible:

Economic. An attack on Iran will likely send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150. That will cause a worldwide recession perhaps as deep as the one triggered by the Iranian revolution of 1979.
Iran might suspend its own 2.5 million barrels a day of oil exports, and might even be joined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, asserting primacy as the world's leading anti-imperialist. But even more effectively, Iran will shock the oil markets by closing the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's exports flow every day.

Iran could do this by attacking ships in the Strait, scuttling its own ships, laying mines or just threatening to launch Silkworm anti-ship missiles at any passing tanker.

The U.S. Navy will be forced to break the blockade. We will succeed but at considerable cost. And it will take time -- during which time the world economy will be in a deep spiral.

Military. Iran will activate its proxies in Iraq, most notably, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Sadr is already wreaking havoc with sectarian attacks on Sunni civilians. Iran could order the Mahdi Army and its other agents within the police and armed forces to take up arms against the institutions of the central government itself, threatening the very anchor of the new Iraq. Many Mahdi will die, but they live to die. Many Iraqis and coalition soldiers are likely to die as well.

Among the lesser military dangers, Iran might activate terrorist cells around the world, although without nuclear capability that threat is hardly strategic. It will also be very difficult to unleash its proxy Hezbollah, now chastened by the destruction it brought upon Lebanon in the latest round with Israel and deterred by the presence of Europeans in the south Lebanon buffer zone.

Diplomatic. There will be massive criticism of America from around the world. Much of it is to be discounted. The Muslim street will come out again for a few days, having replenished its supply of flammable American flags most recently exhausted during the cartoon riots. Their governments will express solidarity with a fellow Muslim state, but this will be entirely hypocritical. The Arabs are terrified about the rise of a nuclear Iran and would privately rejoice in its defanging.

The Europeans will be less hypocritical because their visceral anti-Americanism trumps rational calculation. We will have done them an enormous favor by sparing them the threat of Iranian nukes, but they will vilify us nonetheless.

These are the costs. There is no denying them. However, equally undeniable is the cost of doing nothing.

In the region, Persian Iran will immediately become the hegemonic power in the Arab Middle East. Today it is deterred from overt aggression against its neighbors by the threat of conventional retaliation. Against a nuclear Iran, such deterrence becomes far less credible. As its weak, non-nuclear Persian Gulf neighbors accommodate to it, jihadist Iran will gain control of the most strategic region on the globe.

Then there is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age. Every city in the civilized world will live under the specter of instant annihilation delivered either by missile or by terrorist. This from a country that has an official Death to America Day and has declared since Ayatollah Khomeini's ascension that Israel must be wiped off the map.

Against millenarian fanaticism glorying in a cult of death, deterrence is a mere wish. Is the West prepared to wager its cities with their millions of inhabitants on that feeble gamble?

These are the questions. These are the calculations. The decision is no more than a year away.


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Post 13

Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 4:59pmSanction this postReply
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> mosques and madrassahs...Phil thinks of these as innocent civilian targets

Laure, not every single one. Remember, I was responding to Craig Biddle's unselective (and without giving the slightest reason) bomb them ALL.

> But if we find a mosque that has a weapons cache or a suicide-belt factory in it, or from which a sniper is firing, it seems it would be in our interest to blow it up.

Yes, contextually, just as in the case of the Israelis fighting Palestinian and Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists if you can't sneak in and take out the sniper or the thing any other practical way. And it may come to that if we can't pressure, subvert, sabotage, or regime-change them out of their nukes. But these are churches and schools so there are, say, ten thousand of them in the country. So you and I are talking about, say at a guess, targets in the dozens.

While Biddle is talking about *ten thousand* targets.

Moreover the threat Iran poses is mainly nuclear weapons. And nuclear factories and storage areas are too big, too messy, too radioactive to place in churches and schools. Plus it's hard to hide trucking them in or the digging and construction from all the civilians in those places. [We'd know where they are and we wouldn't have to hit the ten thousand targets.]

And, whether this is practical or not and whether they be nuclear or not, there is no reason to believe that weapons or suicide bombers or threats of any kind would -only- be hidden in mosques or madrasas. They can be underground, in railroad stations, in apartment buildings, anywhere in the whole country. So why target all of -them-? Biddle was clearly not trying to *target weapons*. Unless he lacks all common sense. He was apparently trying to slaughter as many -devout- muslims as such as he could, reasoning that they go to church regularly. His reasoning for targeting schools? He didn't say...nor did he indicate whether he takes a madrasa (the word has several meanings with regard to exactly what kind of school as I posted on Solo) to be -any- school or graduate schools for clerics (or something in between.) If it's the latter, again he's trying to kill as many of the seriously religious as he can, making no distinction about whether they support the regime or not.

Again, he just said bomb all the madrasas and mosques. Providing an argument or qualification or subtlety or making fine distinctions before dropping bombs everywhere from thirty thousand feet seems to have been lost on Armchair General Biddle in making up his laundry list: If it moves, shoot it.

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 9/16, 5:48pm)


Post 14

Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 5:34pmSanction this postReply
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Krauthammer is the only columnist whose every piece I read.

Combination of in focus, essentialized thinking + writing skill + truth (most of the time..and even when an Oist wouldn't agree, he makes you think).

(It's nice that he's also respected even by liberals, having won a Pulitzer Prize).

You can access him most easily from the DrudgeReport's list of columnist.

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Post 15

Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 6:56pmSanction this postReply
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To whom, and for what?

Phil: "Mr. Biddle...[2]...should apologize for having written it..."

Okay, but to whom?

In my 10th grade American history class, my teacher, Wayne Moreley, a commander in the National Guard, drew a four-box matrix on the blackboard. The horizontal axis were those who supported and those who opposed slavery. The vertical axis were those who acted and those who took no action. He had us give examples to populate the boxes. On the top left were southern congressmen and pro-slave apologists. On the top right were abolitionsts and John Brown. On the bottom left were northern racists and Southern whites. He asked who fit on the lower right, those who opposed slavery, but took no action. No one raised his hand but I. With a smile that I knew meant he felt he had laid a trap, he asked: "okay, Mr. Keer?" (He insisted on formal address.) I answered that there were none, those who oppose injustice but take no action do, in fact, support injustice. He was perhaps disappointed that his trap was avoided, but pointed out with pride that Mr. Keer was the first student he had had in 12 years who had gotten it right. I was not yet an objectivist, but I remember that day almost as if I had been. We owe the complacent adult muslims nothing. If we do not kill them, it is only a matter of tactics and perhaps generosity and hope, nothing else.

Phil, the question to you is rhetorical, I know that you know the proper answer.

Ted Keer, Sep 16, 2006, NYC

PS Krauthammer is great!

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 9/16, 6:58pm)

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 9/16, 7:03pm)


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Post 16

Saturday, September 16, 2006 - 8:15pmSanction this postReply
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Ed,

"The short answer is that if Iran poses a clear and present danger to the lives, liberty and property of Americans, then our government should take appropriate action to protect us."

Your short answer is too short.

It's very easy to provide the conditional. But are they? (A clear and present danger.) I asserted that not only are they, but that they have been for decades, and growing bolder for much of that time. I asked, and ask again, if you agree.

'If they are a danger...' If? If? Good god. How could there possibly be any reasonable doubt at this stage of history?


As to Krauthammer's article, as he himself says (after listing costs that any intelligent child could calculate):

"[T]here is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age.

Every city in the civilized world will live under the specter of instant annihilation delivered either by missile or by terrorist. This from a country that has an official Death to America Day and has declared since Ayatollah Khomeini's ascension that Israel must be wiped off the map."

With this I agree wholeheartedly. In light of this, not to mention the long train of abuses they have sponsored or carried out for decades, if not now when? If not war, what?

By all means, let us do the thing intelligently. Let us plan carefully so as to minimize the costs -- all of them, economic, medical, political, and so forth.

By, by god, let us do it! "Action this day."

Jeff

Post 17

Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 8:04amSanction this postReply
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Phil,

However the word madrassah is used inside Iran, the American popular media use the word to mean any kind of Islamic religious school.

For instance, the New York Times Sunday magazine ran a long story, a couple of years ago, about an school in Pakistan that the reporter (apparently following local practice) called a madrassah. It was not the equivalent of a seminary or a yeshiva. It was a Koranic school for boys as young as 6 or 7.

Unless Mr. Biddle comes out and says that he has a more restricted meaning in mind, the safe assumption will be that, for him, a madrassah is an Islamic religious school--for students of any age.

Robert Campbell

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Post 18

Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
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In post #15, Ted Keer said:
...those who oppose injustice but take no action do, in fact, support injustice.
This kind of specious, "sophomoric" reasoning is understandable in a 10th grader, but not in an adult.  But then, to follow this up with the statements
We owe the complacent adult muslims nothing. If we do not kill them, it is only a matter of tactics and perhaps generosity and hope, nothing else.
is appalling.


Post 19

Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 1:08pmSanction this postReply
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Want to Burn me in Effigy?

Glenn,

I will disambiguate the statement of mine which you quoted by saying that those who tolerate injustice in their presence with complacency are indeed passive supporters. There is no such thing as passive opposition. Opposition requires action, even if it might only take the form of speech.

I find your brief, hostile, out-of-context and argument-free response to my words a little worse than sophomoric. Or did you not understand what I meant by referring to a matrix? Take the time to express what you believe in a coherent way if you want to engage me in a string. If you take the trouble to read my posts by following the link on my profile, I believe you will see that I am no fool and am quite able to dish as well as take. If you don't wish to engage, but wish rather to insult me, then read the last paragraph "If you ever want to visit me in New York," of my post #43 on the "Ted's Down and Dirty..." thread. (The title of that thread was not assigned by me.) Be warned that the language I used against another context dropping candy-striper there is quite explicit.

Ted


P.S. And Glenn, thanks for riling me up enough to get me to figure out how to insert a link in my post, its been a long time since I've used HTML.

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 9/17, 1:25pm)

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 9/17, 1:30pm)

(Edited by Ted Keer
on 9/17, 1:39pm)


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