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Post 80

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 7:32pmSanction this postReply
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Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun'o yours?
And have a strike team ready the night before. Seriously. There can be no "diplomacy" with a leader who speaks like that. Whatever happened to "we don't negotiate with terrorists?"
First of all, please don't lump me in with a "lot." (What is my lot? ).
Your lot would be Dirty Harry diplomacy, unless I miss my cliche.
Uh, Rick, it was the "empathetic female" who brought comics into this discussion. I'm just playing out her own theory.
Hey you! I don't care who started it, I'm finishing it! Now get back up at the table you two and finish every scrap on your plate or there'll be no....I wonder if Mums and Dads in Northern Ireland and Palestinian and Israli parents say stuff like that to their kids with a straight face?

You gotta break the cycle. You see the parallel?
Me: " The question is, do people like Hitler and Bin Laden and Hussein merit empathy?"

Rick:"No Joe, the question is do the ruined and maimed lives of men and woman, young and old, merit empathy?

You answer my question and I'll answer yours.

Sounds like something I'd say!
As regards the matter at hand, no they merit no empathy.

Now, in throwing out diplomacy tell me all about what you're letting out of Pandora's box and how well you understand this. Show me you know the implications of what you're proposing in terms of employing force....
I advocate doing what has to be done to stop the initiation of force, plain and simple.
...
just a little word or two about dirty water, starvation, orphaned children, dead souls..... Thinking about Katrina and the Superdome might inspire you to reflect on the chaos. I'm just asking for a sign from you, and everyone ready to rock and roll on Iran, that you fully know of what it is you're resorting to.




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Post 81

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 8:56pmSanction this postReply
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You answered my question, Rick, so I will answer yours.
"The question is do the ruined and maimed lives of men and woman, young and old, merit empathy?"

Of innocent victims caught in the crossfire, yes. Of course. I am not callous. But this is one of those questions Rand warned us about. "Well, you care about the children, don't you? Right? If you care about the children, they you have to be in favor of universal health care...You don't want old people to die, do you? Well, then you have to favor Medicare..." and so on.

This argument's been played out to death. There are consequences to war, and they aren't pretty. But neither is letting a dictator run rampant. Those people under a dictatorship already live in the conditions you cite. Don't blame self-defense for their hardship.

I am a realist, Rick. I know that wars bring hardship. So do hurricanes. But your equating the two is nothing but emotional manipulation unrelated to the context of the causes of war and natural disasters. Not worthy of rebuttal on an Objectivist forum.



Post 82

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 9:20pmSanction this postReply
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I have not had a chance to follow this thread as closely as I would like, but Joe just brought a question of Rick's to my attention, and though it was not addressed to me, I would like to answer it as well. 

"The question is do the ruined and maimed lives of men and woman, young and old, merit empathy?"


In the few days following 9/11, Bill O'reilly had Peikoff on his show and he asked him the same question(though stated differently):  "What about the innocent women and children that will be killed?"  Peikoffs answer was-"Would you rather it be our's?"  This effectively cut Bill down to fundamentals.  Your question is one that runs in both directions Rick, and given the declaration of war that the Islamo-terrorists have already made, then it's enlightening to see WHICH women and children you would sacrifice in order to appease a gang of thugs in the hopes that your cowering would garner their forgiveness.  Joe hit the nail on the head by naming this argument emotional manipulation.

(Edited by Jody Allen Gomez on 10/29, 9:22pm)

(Edited by Jody Allen Gomez on 10/30, 6:37pm)




Post 83

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:15pmSanction this postReply
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Jody,
I respectfully recommend you read the thread with some care if you want to know Sarah's actual views. I have disagreed with her strongly here, but she has repeatedly and clearly denied wishing to 'appease the thugs' and I find nothing in her expressed views that would lead me to conclude she's either lying or implicitly committed to that viewpoint.




Post 84

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:21pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,
Sarah, you still haven't said how turning a dictator would improve his victim's life, which all depends on quality of the penance and the retribution.
Well, how would killing him after he's been removed from power? Match suffering for suffering and life's all better? How and in what way the victim's life is improved by turning the dictator is up to the victim.

Sarah



Post 85

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 12:13amSanction this postReply
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How, Sarah? Well, his death would mean less dead people in the future.

If you can't answer the question, just say so.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 10/30, 12:17am)




Post 86

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 4:03amSanction this postReply
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Hey Joe. Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?
 This argument's been played out to death

Yeah? Well it's a first for me so your advantage should make short work of this. Just give me what I want by saying a few words about the suffering you're accepting in return for keeping your values. Should be easy for you to do that by now, no?

 I am a realist, Rick. I know that wars bring hardship. So do hurricanes. But your equating the two is nothing but emotional manipulation unrelated to the context of the causes of war and natural disasters.

Not at all because that's one of the things that happens in wars. When the rule of law breaks down you get Superdome. Iranians are ever so much lesser a species than the noble Americans so just imagine the rape and pillage, the magnitude of chaos, you unfurl by deposing their rule of law. You should think about it.

Here's another thing you should think about...

"Albert expresses it: 'The war has ruined us for everything.'
 He is right. We are not youth any longer. We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.""
- All Quiet on the Western Front

Jody,-
 
 Joe just brought a question of Rick's to my attention, and though it was not addressed to me, I would like to answer it as well. 

Not at all, it's addressed to everyone willing for war. Knock yourself out....

 Your question is one that runs in both directions Rick, and given the declaration of war that the Islamo-terrorists have already made, then it's enlightening to see
WHICH women and children you would sacrifice in order to appease a gang of thugs in the hopes that your cowering would garner their forgiveness.  Joe hit the nail on the head by naming this argument emotional manipulation.

It is, yes. I'm all about emotional manipulation. But I'm not about sacrifice nor cowering nor placating thugs- these parts you made up out of thin air.

I'm not even venturing an opinion actually, only taking pot shots at those who have via emotional manipulation. You guys who so quickly and easily demand swift and decisive military action, I'm calling you out. Have you earned the right to ask for it? Do you know what it is you're saying? War is hell! Hell hell hell!

Don't get me wrong. I love the man that can perceive of the crushing weight of all this woe and not be crushed, and bear it and say 'so be it'. He has to be a superman who knows what pain and grief he is bringing and he has to have high values indeed that they are worthy of such costly protection. This guy is a hero but when others mouth off about going to war who've never known the sentiment of All Quiet on the Western Front they're not heros they're pretenders.

So I wanna know this from you if you're asking for a war. Do you know, do you feel, what it is you're asking for? If so I think that before you did you'd resort to the nightmare only after exhausting every diplomatic possibility and forlorn hope reason can allow. And if you did feel these things you'd be more understanding of those groping for new solutions, and you'd be far less eager to brush off those who think they might have found some.




Post 87

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 7:19amSanction this postReply
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Joe,

If he's already out of power, how would his death prevent more deaths?

Without context, I can't answer your question to your satisfaction.

Sarah



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Post 88

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 10:02amSanction this postReply
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Sarah, fine, I'll call it a day with you, don't think either is going to budge.

Rick, you're getting a little too emotional for me to continue arguing with. I know war is hell, people die, etc. I'm emotional, too. And pro-active. My personal mindset doesn't allow me to wait for the good-will of a dictator to manifest itself. The only reason you can claim a luxury of negotiating with a terrorist dictator is because of the existing military defense. (Kind of like the way an expert martial artists can attempt to wallk away from a fight with a thug, since he knows he doesn't have to. But could win if he wanted to, and will if he has to.) Yes, we don't have to beat down every punk who makes a face at us. It's not like the U.S. is pointing its nukes at New Zealand for giving us the finger.

We are talking religious fanatics with a history of violence and terrorism. You go have tea and crumpets with a terrorist. I'll pass.



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Post 89

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 11:25amSanction this postReply
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I do have to wonder, though, about the irony involved here. The emotionally charged arguments for diplomacy and such...with the level of anger involved towards the pro-war side, shouldn't the diplomatic side show a little more...diplomacy? Talk of "calling you out," "trigger happy Rambo" insults...is this how you argue for peace?
What's amazing is the level of rationalization made toward diplomacy with evil regimes, and the knee-jerk response to anyone who advocates retaliation.

Rick, know this much: I AGREE that for long-term peace, bridges must be built. Diplomacy is paramount while it is still feasible and morally permissible. And introspection on both sides is admirable. But that doesn't exclude the possibility that external danger exists, and when one side is consistently rejecting diplomacy and rejecting reasonable solutions, and threatens not just an enemy but a whole segment of a population, there can be no diplomacy. There is a reason the American dollar depicts an eagle with an olive branch and spear.

(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 10/30, 11:37am)

(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 10/30, 11:38am)




Post 90

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff-
I respectfully recommend you read the thread with some care if you want to know Sarah's actual views.
You always keep me and my integrity in line, and I thank you for that.  I do owe Sarah an apology as I did not devote the time that was necessary to read all of her posts before making that statement.  I only read the first couple or so.  So Sarah, I'm sorry, you took much more time than I have in this thread to defend yourself, and I discarded you with an uninformed sweep of the hand.  Next time around, I'll be sure to address your specific comments.




Post 91

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 6:39pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you Jody. :)

Sarah



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Post 92

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 6:53pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah-
From one defender of Richard Feynman to another, I want to say that no thanks are due to me.  However, thank you for accepting my apology.




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Post 93

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 7:59pmSanction this postReply
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Jody,
It's a sincere and deep pleasure to interact with a man of integrity.

A Feynman favorite of mine (not directly related to your post, just wanted to share a comment on objectivity with a fellow Feynman fan): "You have to be really careful not to fool yourself... and you are the easiest person to fool."

Jeff




Post 94

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 11:16pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, Feynman was one person wished  had been able to meet.. his works are a joy to read...



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Post 95

Monday, October 31, 2005 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
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Interesting thread (the comic book analogies were great fun) ... but I've seen very little attention paid to the real-world facts here, the most pertinent two of which are:

1) It is not possible for the US or Israel to act with certainty to eliminate Iran's nuclear program without a ground invasion and occupation of Iran; and

2) Neither Israel nor the US are capable of mounting such an invasion and occupation.


One qualifier: Iran's nuclear program could conceivably be eliminated by a pre-emptive bombardment of the country's entire land mass with nuclear weapons, but that's one king-hell stupid idea, not least because it might very well elicit retaliation in kind from Iran's neighbor -- you know, the one that still has nuclear-tipped ICBMs from back when it was a superpower.

The US has stretched its military thin failing to pacify Iraq (and, to a lesser degree, Afghanistan). There is simply no realistic prospect that it could invade and occupy a country with more than three times the population and a much more modern and robust military apparatus than Iraq's circa 2003 without several years of military buildup (or conscription, which isn't going to fly). Nor will anything short of invasion and occupation produce any certainty in eliminating Iran's nuclear program.

Finally, my opinion (and that of some others more knowledgeable than myself) is that Iran is not just working on a nuke, but that it already has one or more relatively low-yield fission weapons which could be dramatically and effectively employed either against an invasion force or in retaliation for attacks on Iran.

War is off the table, folks. It ain't doable even if it was desirable. So what are the real options?

As one or more posters on this thread have proposed, it couldn't hurt to try to change the rank-and-file mindset of Iran's population (I favor private initiatives for doing so, but understand that some would go for a "Radio Free Iran" type government program too).

Eliminating trade barriers and sanctions, and returning Iran's stolen ("frozen") assets would be helpful in getting the average Iranian to think of America as a trading partner rather than a threat, undercutting the extremists' ability to mobilize popular support.

Eliminating US subsidies of terrorist groups targeting Iran (such as the Mujahadeen El Kalq/"Rajavi Cult" -- the people who took the hostages in 1979 and who are now primarily funded and backed by the US) would be helpful in defusing the ability of the extremists to productively cite the US as a military/terrorist threat.

It wouldn't even hurt to apologize for refusing to extradite Iran's former dictator when he fled to the US to escape justice.

Tyranny has a grip on Iran because the US has chosen to give tyranny a grip on Iran -- and that grip can be loosened by the simple expedient ending our material support for it.

Might work, might not -- but it's more realistic than a war that is militarily impossible to wage, let alone win.

Tom Knapp



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Post 96

Monday, October 31, 2005 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Tom,
I see you have gone completely to the Dark Side, if you weren't there already.

Your proposition #2 is false. The U.S. military has the means to conquer any country on the globe and to occupy it indefinitely if need be -- provided their hands are not tied by spineless politicians... some of whom might accidentally be influenced by the sort of rhetoric you just engaged in.

And to suggest that the U.S. government, as representatives of the citizens of the U.S., owe an apology to anyone in Iran is beyond the pale.

Shame on you.

Jeff





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Post 97

Monday, October 31, 2005 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff Perren: "The U.S. military has the means to conquer any country on the globe and to occupy it indefinitely if need be -- provided their hands are not tied by spineless politicians... some of whom might accidentally be influenced by the sort of rhetoric you just engaged in."

No it doesn't. How on earth could the U.S. government, which feeds parasitically off the limited wealth of the American people, ever have the economic power to wage these successful and "indefinite" occupations you imagine of it? Are you really unaware of how unrealistic such a global government program is? It is not as though socialism works in the form of militaristic occupations overseas any better than it does at home. In fact, socialism works even worse when there is constant resistance from the indigenous population than it does where there is widespread tacit consent domestically. You are envisioning an omnipotence on the part of the U.S. warfare state just as spectacular as the utopian dreams of the Communists of yesteryear, who imagined a future in which the government could feed, clothe, employ, and nurture everyone. Eventually, even putting aside all the other socio-economic limitations of statism, the recalcitrance of human nature undercuts the central plan, just as it did in the Soviet Union, just as it is doing in Iraq, and just as it would in Iran. You can blame the failure of the U.S. government on "spineless politicians," just as Communists blamed Stalin for selling out real Marxism. But it is the central planning the socialist infrastructure and ideology that fail in the face of reality, whether in welfare or in warfare.



Post 98

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 3:25amSanction this postReply
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Quoth Jeff Perren:

"Your proposition #2 is false. The U.S. military has the means to conquer any country on the globe and to occupy it indefinitely if need be -- provided their hands are not tied by spineless politicians... some of whom might accidentally be influenced by the sort of rhetoric you just engaged in."

Presumably by "spineless politicians," you mean "politicians who don't have the testicular fortitude to implement complete slavery through conscription and confiscatory taxation" -- because that's the only way the US military would have the means to "conquer any country on the globe and to occuppy it indefinitely."

Scratch that -- even 100% conscription of all males aged 15-65 and a command economy aimed totally at war production would not be sufficient to allow the US military to invade and occupy China, India or (probably) the Russian Federation (to name three).

As far as Iran is concerned, consider me corrected: The US military does not, at this time, have the sand to successfully invade Iran, or to occupy it for any length of time. I suppose if US politicians had the "spine" to enslave 3-5 million unwilling soldiers and double the income tax (whether directly or by ballooning the deficit some more), that might be changeable. If you're advocating that, you have no business talking to me about the "dark side."

"And to suggest that the U.S. government, as representatives of the citizens of the U.S., owe an apology to anyone in Iran is beyond the pale."

I didn't consider the US government to represent the citizens of the US when it gave asylum to Iran's former dictator, nor would I consider it to represent the citizens of the US if it apologized for doing so. The US government represents only itself. Any identification of the US government with "the American people" is arguably as false as the identification of the Bolsheviks with "the Russian proletariat," although admittedly the former set of chains weighs somewhat lighter and the former whip falls somewhat less heavily.

Tom Knapp



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Post 99

Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 9:34amSanction this postReply
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Tom,
Conscription is both immoral and impractical, indeed unnecessary.

Like any endeavor, one can use the available resources more efficiently when they're employed with a clear objective, vigorously pursued. That clarity of purpose can also inspire others, which in this case would have the effect of improving recruitment. (Which your argument implicitly assumes would remain unchanged at their current weak levels.)

Of course, it may be that a ground invasion and subsequent occupation isn't necessary to counter the specfic problem. Why do you implicilty assert that plants creating nuclear weapons and material can't be located and eliminated without carpet bombing the entire country? These things aren't small or easily moved. (Though already existing weapons, of course, are. And if it's true they already possess them, all the more reason to act without delay.)




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