"Aaron you're simply equivocating. Collectivism and a collective of rational individuals are not the same thing."
It would be a strawman to attempt to claim I view them as the same.
I'll point out in fairness to you, Fred, and Michael that I have not seen you advocate here collective guilt such as promoting carpet bombing civilians, etc. However, I know that is common in some Objectivists even up to big names such as Brook and Epstein, and the views of pro-interventionists here are not so clear when it comes to feeling justified in taking others' money to support your cause. If you don't advocate collective guilt or otherwise feeling justified in taking money from or employing violence against 3rd parties, then we don't have a fundamental disagreement, and only a (less critical or interesting) argument about different options in dealing with foreign dangers.
Collectivism comes in as I'd said - when attempting to invalidly just plug collectives into a statement that would be valid about individuals. I'll even go back and start with Fred's original example which spawned Steven's use of the word 'anthropomorphizing':
"You see two thugs across the street beating a man senseless, robbing him, brutalizing him."
This of course has the valid implication that you have the right to and may choose (though are not ethically bound) to aid the victim of the assailants and to employ violence against them. However, it does not imply that you have any legitimate right to use violence against other 3rd parties, or rob them in your quest to defend the victim. Now simply plug in collectives known as nations in the statement as Fred was implying:
"You see two nations begin a war with another nation, brutalizing it."
It's not valid to treat the nations as individuals - the real individuals are still there, underneath. Certainly some, possibly many, individuals in the nations which started the war are responsible and justifiably violence may be used against them. It does not follow, however, that every citizen of the two nations are themselves guilty. Nor does it justify theft or violence against innocent 3rd parties by individuals in the defending nation (or others). Trying to bring in collective guilt or otherwise treat the nations as hives and forget the individuals is borne of collectivism.
As I said, it's not yet clear if or much you, Michael, etc. personally take such a collective view, but it is unfortunately common with some Objectivists and so nonetheless worth pointing out this distinction about 'anthropomorphizing' and collectivist misinterpretation of ethics.
I'll address Michael Dickey's hypothetical in another post (though power is intermittently going out here due to storms so may not be til tomorrow).