Are we really "At War"?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by GottaBigOne, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. GottaBigOne

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    I was watching the Fox News channel today-as I am apt to do because for some reason I just love to torture myself-when Hannity and Colmes came on and they had a discussion about the secret "phone-taps" that the president had authorized. A defender of the President used the defense: "Don't you know where in a time of war?" As if being at war were a valid reason to violate people's inalienable rights. Sure, the constitution allows for some lee-way to the government in a time of conflict, but not the outright suspension of human rights- it is understood that such lifting of governmental restrictions is only temporary and will be promptly restored after conflict has been resolved. But my contention is not with marshal law but with the designation that we are "at War" and the implications of such a concept when it comes to how we treat our inalienable rights. I believe that the propagators of the belief of the "war on terror" are the perpetrators of some serious context dropping.

    Firstly, if we are to understand what exactly we mean when we talk about "the War on Terror" we must define and understand our terms explicitly. By define I do not mean make reference to the dictionary-as dictionaries are also subject to context dropping-as they often allude to common usage, and common usage often drops contexts and are too general, I mean to reduce the concepts to what they actually refer to in reality in the context in which they are relevant. Not to simply arrive at definitions for the words we will use, but to actually grasp the concepts that the words connote. For example: The word "dream" can have many different meanings in different contexts but can only "represent" one concept in each context. When it is used to represent that phenomenon we experience when we go to sleep, it explicitly means exactly that phenomenon and nothing else. When used to represent the aspirations of a certain individual in regards to his future goals,e.g. "My dream is to have a house of my own one day" he means his apsirations and nothing else, in that context. So, logically, it would be an error if one were to say: "I dreamed last night when I went to sleep that I had a house of my own, so it is now my dream to have a house of my own in the future, I will now work to achieve that."
    I only bring this whole thing up as a preface to my argument because I want it to be understood that I am not selectively choosing definitions on a whim in order to win an argument, I am defining concepts so as to accurately be able to identify the instance of context dropping and equivocation in the argument that "Since we are at War, we must compromise our civil liberties in order to fight it." So like I said let's define our terms and break down the argument so we can look at it.

    Premise-1. We(The United States) are at war.
    Premise-2. When at War a country's citizens must compromise their individual freedoms in order to be more adequately able to combat the enemy.
    Conclusion. We(The United States) must compromise our individual rights.

    Now, it is possible to contend both of the premises, but I will only concentrate on the first so I will only be explicitly defining the terms found therein.

    I will start by restating the first premise as: The United States is at War with..... with....... umm...... Well I guess we've run into our first problem. What/who exactly is the United States at War with??? The answer given by most people would be "Terror". Okay, so what's "terror"? "Terror" is a state of emotion encompassing fear, hopelessness, and despair. Are we at war with that? No, not exactly, thats a little too general of a definition, we're at war with a certain aspect with how people use terror to accomplish political goals which we designate as "terrorism." Okay, The US is at war with terrorism, so... what the fuck is it? Terrorism is the use of physical force against the civilians and/or non-military infrastructure of a nation in order to demoralize and intimidate them into submission and/or concession. Terrorism then is a tactic of warfare, used by the combatants of a war in order to fight it.(Ironically, "Shock and Awe" can be included then into the concept of "terrorism". It does not matter who uses the tactic, terrorism is terrorism. The concept terrorist does not preceed the concept of terrorism as "terrorist" is to be designated as "one who employs terrorism.") Can anyone be at war with a tactic? Well, let's define "War".

    "War" is a word that has gathered many different, but interrelated, meanings-but the concept of "war" that we must be concerned with is definite and distinct. The concept we will concern ourselves with is "The active state of being in conflict or contention." "Conflict" and "Contention" presuppose something to be in conflict or contention with, an enemy so to speak. Can a tactic, an action, be a valid enemy? It is impossible to be in conflict with a tactic, with an action, because actions don't exist apart from the entities which perform the action. Can you draw the verb "jump" without drawing someone jumping? So too can you not fight one.

    Why is it necessary to include "active state" in our definition? In order for a proper concept of "War" you must also have the concept "Peace." In fact the concept of War rests entirely on the concept peace, it is dependant on it. "Conflict" presupposes a state of "non-conflict" a.k.a. peace and vice versa. In order to have the concept of "war" it must be temporary. Temporary within the context of human experience, not simply "non-eternal". If there were no interchanging states of conflict and non-conflict, then there would be no need for a designation between peace and war, there would only be conflict or only be non-conflict. "War" is not just another way of saying "conflict"; the two terms are not interchangeable. Conflict subsumes all instances of war. A single "war" is an active state of conflict as opposed to an inactive state, a potential for conflict is not an active state of conflict.

    So what we have here then is that to be at war we must be engaged in a temporary conflict with a distinct and identifiable enemy, not that enemy's tactics. An enemy is a unit of hostile force, it is an entity which acts hostily. What then is the professed enemy of the United States? It can't be terrorism, because terrorism is just a tactic, an action performed by something. Is it then the something which performs the action? Is it then the terrorists? Is the enemy of the US anyone who has performed an act of terrorism? No, not only. The professed enemy of the US are the potential terrorists, those who in Bush's own words "wish to do harm to the United States." He is professing our enemy to be a desire. "We are at war," he essentially is saying "with a potentiality." It is that potentiality he wishes to fight when he asks for the resources to prevent another attack, and that he desperately needs our sacrifices in order to guarantee that another attack doesn't occur.

    He admits himself that the war on terror cannot be won, that the fight against a potentiality is an ongoing fight, one without end, that there will always be the potential for attack. An ongoing conflict is not a War.

    The reason we are not at war is not because an enemy doesn't exist(There is a war to fight(against those that have attacked us)), it is because we have not defined that enemy sufficiently. We have designated a potential to be our enemy, and in doing so we have damned ourselves to a perpetual conflict, a conflict with paranoia, from an attack from anyone, a conflict we can only win if we destroy everyone else in the world, and brought to its ultimate realization this means the destruction of everyone except a single solitary entity who could then enjoy a perpetual state of non-conflict. The only other way to prevent any future act of terrorism or attack is to instead of killing everybody pre-emptively, imprisoning them pre-emptively. This is what they try to do by asking you to give up your right to privacy for the sake of fighting the terrorists. They are not fighting terrorists, they are fighting a potential, a potential which could always be you.

    We have a War to fight and we are not fighting it. When you fight a potential enemy, you fight the whole world, because that's what anybody can potentially become: the enemy.

    {Edited for clarity on a single point, the point being the conceptual hierarchy of "war" and "peace"}
     
  2. BobLeeSwagger

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    Dude, you edited that for clarity?!

    There's only one segment of the nation that's actually at war: the military. The rest of us have not been asked to make any sacrifices. We haven't even been asked to pay for the war that's going on right now. It's all being borrowed.
     
  3. madame_zora

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    Your mind is brilliant, I really appreciate the depth you went into to discuss this. Unfortunately, other than my "hoo-dang" agreement, I have very little to add. Of course we are not "at war", we are bullying a sovereign nation for financial gain. Iraq has never attacked us, so we can't possibly be retaliating, and only the daft would buy the concept of pre-emptive strikes against a preceived potentiality. These are only excuses, not actual reasons.

    bush is making admissions now hoping desperately to save face, or maybe even to protect his own miserable life. The evidence is mounting against him and his cronies' behaviors, soon enough even the very slow ones in the room won't be able to keep their heads in the sand.
     
  4. Shelby

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    What about the Cold War?
     
  5. brainzz_n_dong

    brainzz_n_dong New Member

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    GBO, I appreciate your viewpoint and you did go into detail stating it. I don't know if my viewpoint is totally the other side of the coin, but it will obviously (and hopefully benignly) differ from yours. You did write much more than the one paragraph I've quoted above, I know. My reply (I hope) is more in regard to what I read and perceive you to be asking and stating in the above paragraph and maybe in the process touches some on the others. All that being said...

    The acronym GWOT is an akward handle to assign to the task before the civilized world. One way, maybe plainer, maybe not, is to say that we are at war with a violent strain of fundamental Islamic extremism that has been rejected by knowledgeable Muslim scholars and clerics, yet whose spread isn't stopped by that nor recognized borders or national governments. In the sound-bite era we live in, something like GWOT is easy to put in print, no matter if it captures what we're up against or not.

    No, if you use WWI- or WWII-style definitions, we aren't on a traditional war footing. We do not have large navies or armies of opposing countries engaged in great, constant struggle. We do not have a national rationing system in place for any vital war materials. We have not converted civilian factories to military applications.

    And while this enemy can occupy a seat of power (most notably the Mullahs/President of Iran), it can also be described as a group of many tens of thousands of people, in differing stages of organisation, spread over better than 60 countries. What is their cause? Most notably, fomenting unrest inside the borders of so-called "moderate" Arab and/or Islamic regimes, the installation of leaders that follow the terrorists brand of Wahhabi-style radical Islam, and the eradication of the ideals the West exemplifies: freely elected governments, right of assembly and to disagree with each other, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.

    Their "battle directives" to achieve this victory include the command to kill all Christians and Jews (The leader of Iran recently said he wanted to wipe Isreal off the map...lest anyone forget) that stand in their way, IN ADDITION to Muslim men, women, and children inside countries they wish to take control of. If this murder of their own people advances their ideals, then they've often said they view the killing of anyone 'working with the infidels' as being justified.

    By abandoning every possible virtue of life and following a path of total power and control over the people they hope to dominate, they make themselves not unlike Nazis, Facists, and any other totalitarian regime that has ever existed on Earth.

    How do you wage war against this enemy? The four prongs to employ against it are: Diplomacy, human and high-tech intelligence capabilities, better law enforcement, and every possible weapon in the US Military and that of any nations working with us. It should be pretty obvious: you use the first two in order to make the third more effective but retain the fourth option for when all else fails. We have had a lot of success world-wide with #'s 1-3, but having #4 on the list makes the first three all the more credible.

    Pre-emptive military action might be distasteful to some and unlawful in all circumstances to others. I would say that if presented with a situation where the civilized world's best, last option is pre-emptive action, then isn't that preferable if it will serve to save the lives of countless civilians verus waiting to be struck so as to raise the bar of moral justification for retaliatory action? I'm only talking in larger terms of "If this option fails, and this option can't be used, and we're left with this option, do we use it?" analysis.

    I do not know what you would compare this struggle to, precisely. One thing that came to my mind is it is perhaps it might eventually be viewed as a 21st Century version of the U.S/Soviet Cold War - many years from now. But, who knows? While the headlines of this struggle are now dominated by military struggle/war, there will no doubt eventually be many pages of what is now behind the scenes action to go along with current events. Idealistically, perhaps enough seeds of democracy will grow over time in minds of people living in areas of the world that can certainly use them that one day we will have as positive an end to this struggle as we did the Cold War.
     
  6. ClaireTalon

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    What we are at is a war that's built around us by an almost psychpathic paranoia. There IS a danger at large, terrorists exist, but the results speak a very clear language regarding the success of the Bush Administrations safety policy - over 5,000 arrested suspects, 3 trials, 1 verdict, that's not confirming his approach.

    Let's go back to the first year of his first term - his popularity was fading, he had the reputation of being a holiday president, with as much time off as none of his predecessors, a lot of publicly demonstrated vacation activity from his farm, etc etc - just few news on his politics. Then BANG came 9/11, and he found his role, the one of the big protector, a man who fights off the terrorists by waving around his .45. That was the policy of Doug MacArthur in the 40s, and see how it helped him holding the Philippines, or how it helped during the Korea War, just as a side remark.

    The bottom line here is that he inflates a present, yet trivial danger to something dark, mysterious, that he apparently protects us of. Isn't it mysterious that the alert level has been raised to red days before the Election? Everyone is afraid of terrorism, which is a completely random act and can hit everyone who has the luck of being in the wrong place at the right time, and Mr. B. plays with this danger virtuously. So no, we're not at war, but we're wanted to believe we are.
     
  7. DC_DEEP

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    GBO, I'm surprised that it took you that many words to make the point. The question: Are we really at war? The simple answer: If it is convenient to refer to it as "at war", then yes. Otherwise, no. It has never been completely clear to me whether or not the United States ever "officially" declared war against Iraq. If it was "officially" declared, then it was done in violation of Federal law. Congress alone has the authority to formally declare war - but as I understand it, they simply said "You may declare war if you want to, Mr President." I'm not sure that it is in compliance with federal law for our military to invade and bomb the smithereens out of a country with whom we are not formally at war. I am absolutely certain that it is in violation of federal law for the US Government to plot the assasination of a foreign leader, yet that is exactly what bush and his cabinet planned from the beginning, and bush stated that openly from the beginning. Of course it turned out that Saddam E. Hussein was captured rather than murdered, but that was not the original plan.

    As I see many of george bush's activities and actions as treason, I will support the theory that we are indeed "at war", and his actions warrant the penalty spelled out in the Constitution.

    P. S. Hmm, illegal wiretaps authorized by a sitting president? This all sounds very familiar. Only the last one caught doing it didn't call the whistleblower a terrorist.
     
  8. GottaBigOne

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    The main point of the rant above was to demonstrate the context dropping when using the word "War" to describe something it is not. In regards to the administration they steal this concept then apply certain other situations which would be appropriate in the event of a real war but not appropriate in the current "Conflict" situation. In this case the appropriateness of marshal law in the event of an impending invading force. This kind of context dropping occurs when people say "The War on Drugs." "The War on poverty." They use a metaphor to describe a certain situation then overstreatch it and assume that since they call it something, in this case "war", then it means that all the ramifications of a real war apply. The cold war was a case of posturing in effect. The kind of thing that happens when two people don't want to fight, but also don't want to appear weak or vulnerable to the other. The Cold War was not a war. Just because you call something a name, doesn't make it so.

    Brainzdoog is exactly right in that we do actually have a war to fight, because he defines a specific enemy, those who are actively attempting to attack us. In this sense Bush is absolutely correct in his assertion that we fight them over there so as to not have to fight them here. Iraq though was not actively attacking us, afghanistan was, in effect, although it wasn't the Taliban, directly. We have the right to retaliatory force, not pre-emptive attacks on any and all potential dangers. There are potential dangers everywhere, and like I said above, in order to eradicate all potential danger, one must eliminate all but oneself. The correct way to deal with a threat is the first three prongs of defense you talk about, and yes the last one should be used when all else fails. When you are violently attacked, then all else has failed. Then and only then is violent retailatory force called for.
     
  9. GottaBigOne

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    The reason it took so many words is because I was not merely saying it was convenient to call a thing a war if one wants to, thats exactly what my point was against, that you can't just call a conflict a war and have it be actually, in reality, a "war". The same thing could be said about congress's declaration of war. In most cases the simple declaration of war is actually the start of a war, if the declaration is against a distinct and definable enemy(enemy meaning an actually existing entity and not a tactic, idea, or condition of living). But in actuality the declaration of war by a country's governing body is not all that is needed for an actual war to commence. There are many other factors involved.
     
  10. B_caneadea

    B_caneadea New Member

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    President Shrub had a grudge against Saddam Hussein.

    Without 9/11, he probably would never have gotten the necessary backing to invade Iraq.

    In times of national crisis, the public and the Congress traditionally back the President and allow him considerably more free rein to do what is needed to protect and defend the country.

    That is exactly what happened after 9/11. Congress overwhelmingly passed the so called "Patriot Act". The public thought, good; let's go after those bastards who were responsible.

    The problem is, Shrub and his cronies had no intention of tracking down the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

    They saw the crisis and the passing of the Patriot Act as an unprecedented opportunity to use their newly acquired sweeping powers not only to invade Iraq and dethrone Hussein, but also to pursue their religious conservative agenda without having to abide by laws that previously protected the privacy of law abiding citizens.

    Luckily, Congress is slowly realizing that the Patriot Act was hi-jacked for personal agendas.

    War is an armed conflict. We are at war in Iraq.

    We do not have a "war on terror".

    As far as terror is concerned, any President is sworn to protect and defend the United States, every day, all the time, whether or not we are actually at war with the people of another country.

    *steps down from soap box and thanks everyone for their kind attention*


    Steps BACK up on the soap box to compliment GottaBigOne on his very fetching new avatar !
     
  11. GottaBigOne

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    Is "war" simply an armed conflict? At least in this case, is this "type" of war, this very generalized type of conflict then result in the circumstances necessitated by more "specific" types of war. This is the context dropping that has occured. Since we are in an "armed conflict" in Iraq, just like in '91, and in yugoslavia, it is exactly just like world warI or II. It isn't.
     
  12. KinkGuy

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    All planned to circumvent, if not eliminate the US Constitution. That pesky little document keeps getting in the way.

    btw...IS there or ISN'T there a provision in the war powers act or some such place, that allows Congress to postpone a Presidential election during a time of "war?" Is THAT why this is a "war?"
     
  13. Dr Rock

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    well, I hardly think anyone can really object to that - it was a colossally stupid idea to put it there in the first place, as the past 60 years have demonstrated. however, what I think he actually wants is to kill every citizen of israel and reclaim the land area (90% of which is economically worthless, just so we're all aware of the mentality we're dealing with here) as an arab state. presumably the neighboring arab countries are expected to fight each other over it, since arabs are traditionally hopeless at killing anyone except each other.

    ... or the pre-reformation christian church, or the early british colonial empire, or the modern republican party ...

    whats and ifs can be used to justify anything you like. the stark fact is that iraq was never a "terrorist threat" - saddam had been torturing and killing islamic terrorists for decades before we showed up and decided to start doing it too. your premise is also fundamentally flawed in that it assumes a single group of axe-grinding politicians speak for the "civilized world" (whatever that is - i've certainly never been there).
     
  14. DC_DEEP

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    GBO, I was actually agreeing with you about the flip-flopping about whether or not we are actually "at war." During the Johnson and Kennedy administrations, the action in Vietnam was at times officially referred to as "war" and at other times officially referred to as a "conflict."

    KinkGuy, thank you for being at least the other person on the earth besides me who sees what is actually going on with the US Constitution, and the gradual, underhanded erosion and emasculation of our constitutional rights.
     
  15. GottaBigOne

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    And also in that last quote what he is basically saying is this: "The best option for the civilized world might be to do away with being morally justified and simply attacking anything it percieves as posing a threat in order to save 'the lives of countless civilians'". These statement is racked with inconsistencies. First, it assuemes that the ebst option is not the most moral option. This contradiction is reached because of two differing ideas about what is moral. Pre-emptive action is defined as the "Best" option because it would save civilian's lives. The attributing of the word "best" is a moral judgement, a.k.a. a value judgement. So in this sense he thinks it is morally justified to act in a way that prevents the loss of life. But attacking an enemy usually results in the loss of life, namely: their lives. So the moral justification is not just the saving of lives, but of saving our lives, as against theirs; the sacrificing of their lives for ours. Why? Because they pose a threat.

    Further along that statement though we encounter a different criterion for attaining morality. The phrase: "waiting to be struck as to raise the bar of moral justification." This is a value judgement that says "It is only moral to defend oneself against an attack, not to attack as to avoid a potential attack.

    This Best-v-Moral dichotomy can be solved when we realize just exactly what it is that does make an action moral. Is it simply whatever option results in the least loss of life? Is it anything that results in more of their guys dying than ours? Is it "waiting" to be attacked before retaliating? If the first were the most moral, than surrender would be the best option. We should then surrender ourselvs to all physically coerced threats that come our way, pull out of Iraq immediately, give up the land of israel, allow segregation, allow desegregation depending on whomever threatens more harm, essentially becoming the bitch of whomever wishes to iniate the threat of physical force. If the second were the msot moral option (best option) it would result inthe cmplete destruction of the world's human population and possibly all life on earth. Killing them before they kill us can be reduced to killing all of them before they can kill me. Like I demonstrated before, this mentality leads to a complete paranoia of everyone but oneself and the destrcution or imrisonment thereof. Plus if it is okay to attack any perceived threat, then anyone would be justified in any attack they make themselves. The only way I knwo right now to make this point clearer is to relate a joke i heard a comedian tell. He was talking about how when a shark is swimming around you, people say you should "pre-emptively" punch the shark in the gills and it will leave you alone. He dreamed up this scenario: You're swimmig in the ocean when you encounter this situation. You punch the shark in the gills.

    "What the fuck!!" It exclaims. "Why did you do that?"
    "I thought you were gonna attack me!"
    "I'm going to now! I was gonna let you live, but now it looks bad in front of the other sharks."
     
  16. GottaBigOne

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    I know DC that you were agreeing with me, i was just clarifying the point I was making and the implication inherent in your statement about us "officially" declaring war. It is my contention that the simple declaration by congress doesn't make it actual or okay. The problem i see is that most people (and I'm not sayingyou) treat the constitution as if it were the word of God and infallible, or that it is its own justification. there is a justification behind some of the things found in the constitution and its sad that most people don't really understand it. They say "Its in the constitution therefore its right." People do the same thing with the Bible, repeating moral judgement without ever fully understanding morality.
     
  17. brainzz_n_dong

    brainzz_n_dong New Member

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    Originally posted by Dr. Rock:

    well, I hardly think anyone can really object to that - it was a colossally stupid idea to put it there in the first place, as the past 60 years have demonstrated. however, what I think he actually wants is to kill every citizen of israel and reclaim the land area (90% of which is economically worthless, just so we're all aware of the mentality we're dealing with here) as an arab state. presumably the neighboring arab countries are expected to fight each other over it, since arabs are traditionally hopeless at killing anyone except each other.

    ...your premise is also fundamentally flawed in that it assumes a single group of axe-grinding politicians speak for the "civilized world" (whatever that is - i've certainly never been there).

    Are your beliefs about the world pretty much summed up by: Nobody is qualified in any instance/matter to hold the moral high ground, which in turn means nobody is available to judge the moral low ground. Therefore, if someone wants to do something totally amoral (eradicate an entire nation worth of people) then nobody has the standing to criticize it on any grounds?

    Yeah, I guess you are strangers with the civilized world if that's your take.
    **************************

    Originally posted by BND:

    I would say that if presented with a situation where the civilized world's best, last option is pre-emptive action, then isn't that preferable if it will serve to save the lives of countless civilians verus waiting to be struck so as to raise the bar of moral justification for retaliatory action?

    Originally posted by GBO:

    And also in that last quote what he is basically saying is this: "The best option for the civilized world might be to do away with being morally justified and simply attacking anything it percieves as posing a threat in order to save 'the lives of countless civilians'". These statement is racked with inconsistencies. First, it assuemes that the ebst option is not the most moral option. This contradiction is reached because of two differing ideas about what is moral. Pre-emptive action is defined as the "Best" option because it would save civilian's lives. The attributing of the word "best" is a moral judgement, a.k.a. a value judgement. So in this sense he thinks it is morally justified to act in a way that prevents the loss of life. But attacking an enemy usually results in the loss of life, namely: their lives. So the moral justification is not just the saving of lives, but of saving our lives, as against theirs; the sacrificing of their lives for ours. Why? Because they pose a threat.

    GBO, having read the above paragraph and the rest of that post, I'm at a loss for words (even though you are not). My point is, I feel, straight-forward and not at all as twisted as the back country road you take it down, get it drunk, and then leave it for lost.

    Keeping our discussion on the concept of terrorism, simply put, yes, I do feel that when faced with an enemy that wishes to (and is quite effective at) kill you, me, and any other American, or Christian, or Jew, or secular Westerner simply because they live in a country that allows such a novel concept as freedom..freedom of things such as speech, religion, government, etc., and they dream for a day when all such things can be outlawed, repealed, or simply not allowed because THEY decree it to be so, then yes, forgive me if I feel a certain right to make a moral judgement if the situation arises.

    Your writings make it clear that you feel we, or presumably anyone else, are unqualified to pass a moral judgement on anyone else in the world no matter the right or wrong of the issue. You state that I feel it is morally acceptable to act pre-emptively to prevent the loss of life here, but fail to take into account the loss of life "there". Not so.

    First, IF you have exhausted all diplomatic options, and as-certain-as-possible knowledge is gained that a terrorist enemy/regime is going to launch an attack against your country, and attacking their country pre-emptively could halt the attack against yours, then are you not abdicating your responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution (hence the citizens) of the United States? At this point, if you have truly exhausted diplomacy, doesn't military action, most notably pre-emptive action, become your best, last alternative?

    Second, looking at the situation by either pre-emptive or retaliatory means, the terrorist regime's bold-faced willingness to launch the attack (or alternatively succeeding in doing so) has put us in a situation where an attack upon them is a virtual certainty. In forcing this choice upon us, they have committed citizens of their country to die in either our pre-emptive or retaliatory strikes. The primary variable in the equation then becomes the potential to save lives in this country. IF their reason for the attack is a hatred of free and open societies combined with illicitly-acquired WMD technologies, which side of right and wrong do you cast yourself on?

    As for this statement by you: Like I demonstrated before, this mentality leads to a complete paranoia of everyone but oneself and the destrcution or imrisonment thereof. Plus if it is okay to attack any perceived threat, then anyone would be justified in any attack they make themselves...it obviously assumes that all types of inter-nation military situations are judged by the same criteria you might use highly sparingly against rogue terrorist regimes. As far as paranoia goes, a healthy dose of it never hurt anyone, imho. A healthy amount of it helps to protect you as you make your way through dangerous situations in daily life. It helps you decide right and wrong. And on a national level, it helps you differentiate between situations like are developing slowly but surely with Iran versus changes in China, India, and Russia. And even though you may see real threats to our way of life in one or all of these countries eventually, it does not lead to a degree of paranoia where you immediately attack to counter that threat. We have nearly 45 years of history with the Cold War to prove that point. There are other ways of dealing with nation-state-level threats other than mass attack.

    And as far as this comment from your original post: We have designated a potential to be our enemy, and in doing so we have damned ourselves to a perpetual conflict, a conflict with paranoia, from an attack from anyone, a conflict we can only win if we destroy everyone else in the world, and brought to its ultimate realization this means the destruction of everyone except a single solitary entity who could then enjoy a perpetual state of non-conflict. I think you focus on only one thing and come up with the logical end of that...but fail to take into account the other variables at play in the situation.

    It assumes that since we are on a war footing now, and we've admitted that this struggle will continue for a long time, that the only way to prosecute it is through continued military action of the same sort we've seen since 2001 for as long as the conflict could continue. There are other variables in the mix:

    Your statement never takes into account the possibility of democratic reforms in countries that now are favorable to terrorism. It never takes into account that financial cooperation between concerned countries can play a role in destroying terrorism's lifeblood. It never takes into account increased human intel combined with technological know-how can quell situations before they rise to the level of 'an incident'. It never takes into account that countries that currently differ on many subjects (China, Russia, United States) have a common enemy in terrorism and that synergy from their cooperation in this one area can, over time, yield positive results.

    None of these variables by themselves can solve the issue, true. While military options can never be removed from the table, all of the others offer definite roles to be played, most notably they are alternative methods of 'fighting' that can remove 100's of thousands of American troops from foreign lands and remove what many liberals like to say are the primary motivators of terrorists...our presence in their lands.

    Maybe we and our allies have much evolving to do in our tactics against this particular enemy, but what I get from you is that we are damned before 5 years have even passed with little hope of redemption.
     
  18. GottaBigOne

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    First off, funny how you should say that you are at a loss for words then proceed to write a post four times as long as mine. :)

    I guess in regards to your whole pre-emptive argument we are in agreement even though you don't yet understand how. You say that it is proper to attack a country when all other options have been exhausted, I agree but I see a significance between chopping the arm off an attacker swinging a sword at me, and chooping the arm off a person for simply having a sword and a hatred for me. I wouldn't call the first pre-emptive, but defensive. this however is not what has happened, and not what is advocated by most defenders of the "war on terror." Like you said and like I agree, threats have to be dealt with with more than just physical attack, diplomacy and what not. See again we agree. A percieved potential threat is different from an imminent(sp?) threat, an imminent threat is a attack that is actually coming, not the ability to attack. Is North Korea an imminent threat or simply a country able to attack us? Was Iraq an imminent threat even if they had wmd's and a hatred of the US? Had they ever attacked us before? (The first gulf war was initiated by them but not against us, any attack then made against our troops was therefore inherently retaliatory against our getting involved) If we are to attack anybody that is able to attack us then we must, like I said, attack any and all countries, and then any and all people, or enslave them. when I use this argument mind you I am not saying that since the president has admitted that defeated islamic fundamentalism will take a long time that is necessarily has to involve this scenario. I am aying that if your enemy is not defined, like most people do when the "context drop" and declare war on potential threats, then the above is the logical progression. This is waht has happened. We have declared war on the fact that we can be killed, that we are mortal. We wish the government to make us immortal, to make us invulnerable, to ensure that--and this has been said-- "9/11 will never happen again." What this means is that we can never be killed again by anyone, that the government will protect us from all injury, all death. This is a revolt against man's nature as a mortal being. it is in man's nature that he be vulnerable. There will always be the potential for the loss of life. The only way to get rid of this potential is to get rid of all beings except one, one which would still be susceptible to the blind forces of nature anyway. We can not escape the fact that we will someday die, or that we can be killed. This does not mean doing nothing in order to avoid death, but only when doing things in order to avoid actual threats, not potential threats. potential is the operative word here.

    You say that when "faced with any enemy that wishes to do us harm you feel the right to make a moral judgemment." i do not disagree. Moral judgement is fine. IS a pre-emptive attack warranted though simply because someone holds a desire, a wish, to do you harm? Or is an attack only warranted when they make that desire a reality and actually do attack you????
    And also I'd like to challenge your assertion that they attack us or wish to attack us simply because we are so called "free". They probably do "hate" us or at least think we are infidels, but I doubt they actually blow themselves up in order to kill us simply because we are heathens. The view us as enemies of Islam not because we don't follow islam but because we are occupying muslim countries and have killed muslims. I am not saying thats a justification, but I do believe it is their rationale and part of being able to combat an enemy is understanding exactly what they are fighting for. Because if indeed Bush is right and they only attack us because we are free, then hes doing a hell of a job fighting them by taking away our freedoms.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    GBO, I don't cite the Constitution as a "bible" or as an "infallible source of right and wrong." I believe that the main purpose of the Constitution is not to delineate all rights and freedoms of all citizens, but to limit the power of the government.

    BnD, in your post you seem to assume that we DO have freedom of speech and religion in our country - but that assumption is flawed; we do NOT have those freedoms, just the lip service. You also make the assumption that "terrorists" are jealous of our western way of life. The truth is that most of the terrorist activity is predicated upon US foreign and financial policies. I would also argue that the US is one of the biggest terrorist states. One man's "freedom fighter" is another man's "terrorist." Our current administration simply labels however it is politically and financially expedient. Funny how West Bank and Gaza bombers are perceived here: if they are Israeli, and kill Palestinian civilians, they are simply patriots retaliating. If they are Palestinian, and kill Israeli civilians, they are terrorists.
     
  20. Dr Rock

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    who lives in the east 'neath the willow tree? Sex
    correct

    not what i said, you knee-jerking clown. I said that the positive consequences of dissolving the state of israel would far outweigh any negative ones. I don't believe that should involve slaughtering people who currently live there - although i can't pretend i'd shed a tear if the whole of the middle east wiped itself out through internecine genocide, as it happens.
     
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