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Post 40

Friday, May 2, 2008 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Dickey,
     Your posts were amazing. Sanction 3.




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Post 41

Friday, May 2, 2008 - 9:17amSanction this postReply
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The passage you are quoting is from Francisco’s money speech. Here is the full quote:
...
She is speaking of the importance of living with integrity, of using your principles and your rational effort to guide your actions and your value choices. And, in productive work, of "shaping matter to the purpose of your mind."
...
What did you think she meant, genius? Disrupting congressional committees? Throwing pies into the faces of speakers you don’t happen to like?


Well Dennis, I thought she might have meant something along the lines of your own professed moral dictates...


"You might choose to just tolerate such a situation and live passively with the status quo, but anyone with a shred of self-esteem would do whatever they could to put an end to the tyranny, despite the obvious risks. They would not accept an inhuman existence. That means having the courage to find others to join with you in working underground to either overturn the government or escape its tentacles. To the extent that citizens give aid and support to such a government and do not make some (however modest) effort to work against it, they are cowards who have lost their humanity and all claim to moral innocence."


So what exactly does your own moral standard of behavior in the face of a tyranny dictate you should do here, merely talk to spread ideas how oh so courageous of you, speaking your mind in a nation whose founding principles include free speech. If you were disrupting congressional committes, or EVEN THROWING PIES IN their faces, I might have a little respect for your integrity.

Your behavior is way out of whack with your own professed moral dictates.





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Post 42

Friday, May 2, 2008 - 4:33pmSanction this postReply
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According to the fantasy world of Dennis Hardin:

That is a typical straw man argument—“annihilate the entire nation.” I am for using nuclear weapons to the extent needed to bring the enemy to its knees and no more. Of course that is an issue of military expertise and strategy—


An issue of military expertise and knowledge of strategy of which you posses NEITHER! And yet go about acting as if you have a better insight into how the military and their commander and chief should conduct a war?

You said in a previous post: ""We should only spare innocents where they can be isolated and where doing so would involve no military cost."


By far the cheapest way to deal with Iraq would be to launch nuclear ICBMs, not spending billions of dollars in jets and aircraft carriers and the thousands of personnel and expenses that go along with an air campaign. Nuclear ICBM attack from American soil is the cheapest way for the U.S. to conduct a war with ZERO American casualties in any context. This isn't some of the time the case, this is always the case.

And there are no isolated innocent populations in Iraq, the insurgents live among them. So where is this strawman Dennis? By the logical conclusion of your own argument YOU WOULD HAVE TO ALWAYS ADVOCATE WE ANNIHILATE A COUNTRY WE ARE AT WAR WITH, WITH NUCLEAR ICBMS.

You might choose to just tolerate such a situation and live passively with the status quo, but anyone with a shred of self-esteem would do whatever they could to put an end to the tyranny, despite the obvious risks. They would not accept an inhuman existence. That means having the courage to find others to join with you in working underground to either overturn the government or escape its tentacles. To the extent that citizens give aid and support to such a government and do not make some (however modest) effort to work against it, they are cowards.


As Dennis says sipping his latte. Big words tough guy! How courageous of you! Speaking out in a nation that respects your right to free speech. Aren't you afraid someone will come get you for speaking out against this war of self-sacrifice? Aren't you worried what will happen to your family for doing so? How brave of you. You must think it courageous to speak out in a nation that won't retaliate against you for doing so and will never lift a finger in response to whatever you write on an online forum. So really how courageous do you really think you are? How many commies and terrorists did you kill tonight with your bare hands? 10? 100?

Ok, so you go to your neighbors and ask them to join you in the resistance. You of course don't know who is with you or against you, and the government has the best surveillance available, and your neighbors will rat you out to their government. The moment someone hears of your quest for rebellion, you, your wife, your children, your friends, are all dragged out into the streets, and killed ruthlessly in front of the rest of your neighbors. "Let it be known" says the secret police who has executed everyone in your life that you value "anyone known to collaborate with rebels will suffer the same fate"

The fact that you never have faced such a situation, and the only courage you display now is speaking out with the luxury of not having to worry about any reprisals and that is the only extent of your protest, is certainly not my idea of what bravery is Dennis.




(Edited by John Armaos on 5/02, 4:57pm)




Post 43

Friday, May 2, 2008 - 4:54pmSanction this postReply
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Jon Trager:

John, you seem like a decent guy. But this is so NOT reality. Even leaving aside the now well-known fact that whatever WMDs that Saddam Hussein had were given to him by the US government,


Thanks Jon, I think I am a decent guy too. But I take issue with the way you are characterizing the history between the U.S. and Saddam and making it too simplistic. The weapons that were supplied to him was in the context of the Cold War where Iran was receiving aid and support from the Soviet Union. Proxy wars were the only practical way the United States could take on a ruthless enemy that was intent on spreading communism globally and had already possessed 1/3 of the world's land mass.

...the notion that Iraqis can't get WMDs from Iranians or Saudi Arabians or others now is just plain wrong.


It is certainly plausible such a thing may happen. But check your premises, what are and were the alternatives? Don't you think at least eliminating the possibility for Iraq as a state, and the all the resources that can be used that typically a state has at its disposal to develop WMDs like a nuke, was not any net benefit at all? Where as before Iraq and Iran would both be vying for a nuke, now it's down to one. You can't honestly say the chances of nuclear proliferation has not at least been mitigated. Otherwise what would not going to war with Iraq accomplish? That Saddam Hussein would just eventually acquire a nuclear weapon at some point in time anyways? If a pro-western government is set-up in Iraq, one that is committed to routing out terrorists and not taking on a WMD program, I can't at all agree with you that there is nothing positive about such an outcome. I of course can't predict this will in fact be the future outcome but I do think it is a plausible one, and an outcome that should be pursued.

As for the country being "far more stable" than it was only a year ago, it's still a violent disaster zone that will collapse into civil war whenever (if ever) the US military leaves. You don't need to see into the future to realize that.


I agree that if they leave now it may collapse and jihadists would take control of that country. But by any objective measurable standard I would strongly disagree the situation is not better now than it was a year ago. Sorry but I couldn't disagree with you more on that one and you certainly seem to be a decent guy too. :)
(Edited by John Armaos on 5/02, 5:01pm)




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Post 44

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 1:10amSanction this postReply
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Dickey:

 

"Strong words coming from a coffee shop warrior in one of the worlds freest nations….. Where is your Galt's Gulch? Where are your underground movements for a seperation of business and state? All I see is yap yap yap just to make yourself feel morally superior. In reality you are a coward who has lost your humanity and all claim to moral innocence.

 

"So what exactly does your own moral standard of behavior in the face of a tyranny dictate you should do here, merely talk to spread ideas how oh so courageous of you, speaking your mind in a nation whose founding principles include free speech. If you were disrupting congressional committes, or EVEN THROWING PIES IN their faces, I might have a little respect for your integrity. ….Your behavior is way out of whack with your own professed moral dictates."

 

Armaos:

 

"As Dennis says sipping his latte. Big words tough guy! How courageous of you! Speaking out in a nation that respects your right to free speech. Aren't you afraid someone will come get you for speaking out against this war of self-sacrifice? Aren't you worried what will happen to your family for doing so? How brave of you. You must think it courageous to speak out in a nation that won't retaliate against you for doing so and will never lift a finger in response to whatever you write on an online forum. So really how courageous do you really think you are? How many commies and terrorists did you kill tonight with your bare hands? 10? 100?"

 

Without a doubt, some of the most vicious, stupid, disgusting, and insane crap I have ever read on RoR or any other Objectivist website.  To say more I would have to lower myself to your level.  For the record, this will be the last response I make to any posts from either of you.

 




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Post 45

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 8:28amSanction this postReply
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Dennis:

Without a doubt, some of the most vicious, stupid, disgusting, and insane crap I have ever read on RoR or any other Objectivist website.


No where near as vicious, insane, and certainly no where near as stupid as advocating the mass slaughter of millions of innocent individuals to get to a handful of tyrants because you don't want to risk any short-term costs as you mind-numbingly advocate.

How about this Dennis, next time there is a hostage situation in one of our local cities, equip the police with rocket launchers and just have them blow up the entire building, hostages and hostage-takers alike. You certainly wouldn't want our police officers to risk their lives in a quest for self-sacrifice to save the hostages, would you? What do you think the hostages would do with knowledge the police would kill them too?

To say more I would have to lower myself to your level.


Easy to run away from your short-sighted and certainly vicious and stupid moral positions than to justify them. Where at least I advocate that you are a moron and a coward by your own standards of what is a coward, you advocate mass slaughter. You decide which is worse. I'm more than happy to be at my level because I know I'm not actively campaigning to kill hundreds of millions of people.



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Post 46

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 9:27amSanction this postReply
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Without a doubt, some of the most vicious, stupid, disgusting, and insane crap I have ever read on RoR or any other Objectivist website. To say more I would have to lower myself to your level. For the record, this will be the last response I make to any posts from either of you


You are calling for killing hundreds of thousands of people indiscriminately with nuclear weapons! You think it's ok to kill hostages simply because they did not do enough to fight their hostage takers talk about blaming the victim! And yet you have the audacity to claim that WE are vicious and stupid! You demand everyone fight every tyranny to the greatest extent of their ability as their moral duty, to such a degree that they are in fact morally culpable and worthy targets if a tyranny should take root. - and yet all you do to fight tyranny at home is yap in forums.

You are a coward by your very own standards and your pathetic false display of indignance here is just a childish attempt to obfuscate the fact that you have absolutely no intelligent defenses of your ridiculous ideas, and are probably only now coming to realize how absurd they truly are.



Post 47

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 12:47pmSanction this postReply
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Dennis,

 

=========

Just War Theory promotes collectivism by imposing restrictions on the moral right of individuals in a free nation to protect the value of their lives, and by advocating that a victim nation sacrifice its’ soldiers and jeopardize the freedom of its citizens in favor of some “greater good.” It devalues the lives of the individuals in a free state by nullifying or minimizing the critical distinction between aggressors and victims.

=========

 

Not “my” Just War Theory (JWT). My JWT is already exhausted by 3 simple tenets:

 

(1) Legitimate Authority – war should only be declared by leaders

(2) Just Cause – war should only be initiated in order to right “wrongs”

(3) Right Intention – war should only be fought in order to advance Peace and Justice


 

That’s it. Try – by applying these 3 rules – to promote collectivism. Try – by applying these 3 rules – to advocate soldier sacrifice. Try – by applying these 3 rules – to jeopardize citizen freedom. Try – by applying these 3 rules – to minimize the distinction between aggressors and victims. I’d love to see you try it, because I’m pretty sure that you will be required to argue imperfectly (and I am prepared to point that out).

 

 

=========

Just War Theory refers to a specific school of thought about the ethical nature of war, and encompasses a variety of viewpoints with certain general principles in common (good intention, good outcome, proportionality, et. al.).

=========

 

Well, maybe “your” JWT does all those things, but mine doesn’t. Just as Rand said bad rights drive out the good (like bad money drives out good money), so, too, does bad Just War theorizing drive out good Just War theorizing. The most recent example I can think of – of this wrong way to do things – is when economists and game theorists equate Rational Economic Man with a cut-throat, short-range utility maximizer in a vacuum. It’s a disservice to the concept “rationality” to view it in such a concrete-bound way.

 

 

=========

To equate Just War Theory with the application of ethical principles to war is to discredit any opponents of that specific school, in much the same way that advocates of altruism like to imply that egoism does not count as a valid way to think about morality.

=========

 

Right, people shouldn’t ever attempt to equate these “two” things (see directly above).

 

 

=========

Even Ayn Rand considered herself to be on an equal historical footing with the theologian Thomas Aquinas.

=========

 

That should be a clue regarding one’s chosen perspective on JWT.

 

 

=========

… the current validity of any theory must be evaluated on its own merits

=========

 

Agreed.

 

 

=========

As I indicated elsewhere in the essay, the retaliating nation is not violating the rights of the citizens of the aggressor state.  It is their own government which has done so.

=========

 

Agreed.

 

 

=========

It was not a tangent, old chum.  My comment was consistent with my underlying theme of defending Objectivists from foolish, unwarranted attacks.

=========

 

Well, okay. But I was distracted by what I viewed as an imperfect criticism of JWT in the process. George H. Smith shouldn’t paint all Objectivists with a broad moral brush. Some of us are more rational than others are. Some of us are more moral than others are. Just because we all supposedly recognize the fact that:

 

“…yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.”

 

… and we all supposedly see the wisdom with regard to choosing to:

 

“Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. Redeem your mind from the hockshops of authority. Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience—that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible …”

 

… doesn’t mean everyone is using his or her mind right – or restricting their conjecture to those things that they would have the ability to defend in a court of law, for example (by outlining the rational steps to their conclusion, as well as adequately addressing the marshaled criticisms or rival conclusions).

 

 

=========

Who needs a stand-in?

=========

 

My point was that Rand, herself, would disagree with B & E on foreign policy (according to her “take” on Vietnam). The upshot is that you can’t take what it is that B & E have to say and then – with magical glitter – assume that that’s the Objectivist “take” on JWT or on the Iraq War or whatever (see independence of thought quotes above).

 

 

=========

Do B & E even explicitly state the limited Just War Theory propositions? If they do, do they examine them?


 

Reply:

I thought I made clear that Brook and Epstein do precisely this.  You can see for yourself here.

=========

 

[after skimming the long essay] Well, if they do do this (as you say they do), they don’t do it in the clear and easy and precise and distinctive manner in which I – with probably a touch of adult attention-deficit disorder -- would have done it. They don’t put the propositions in a list anywhere. They don’t devote a section with a heading.

 

 

=========

“The ultimate embodiment of Just War Theory…is the present overall foreign policy of President Bush: the ‘Forward Strategy of Freedom’….”

 

“By preaching self-sacrifice to the needs of others, Just War Theory has led to the sacrifice… of the greatest nation in history for the sake of the worst nations today.”

=========

 

This is merely an instance of the “bad money” syndrome mentioned above.


 

 

=========

Holy Zeitgeist, Batman!  That sounds almost Hegelian.

=========

 

Well, I’ve been accused of worse (e.g., a “subjectively individualistic” Nietzschean)!

 

J

 

 

=========

George Bush is an evangelical Christian and an altruist, and he needs a theoretical foundation to justify his actions—to others and himself.  By analyzing the ramifications of Just War Theory, Objectivists are trying to expose those foundations and destroy them.

=========

 

Bush is one of the many exploiters of altruism (as means to an irrationally selfish end). However, I make no claims – and caution you not to – to know anything about his so-called “faith.” For all I know, he just says he’s Christian to gain more votes (note: this is a tenet of the NeoCon philosophy, to pander in this exact way).

 

Analyzing ramifications is great, just don’t paint with too broad of a brush. Broad brushes are required for basic issues, but the size of the brush wielded has to be “earned” (by scrupulous attention to detail – instead of wholesale moralization).

 

Perhaps I would be more sympathetic to the B & E essay if I would get on my butt and finally read it …

 

J

 

Ed




Post 48

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 1:08pmSanction this postReply
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I have to amend myself:

Me:
Analyzing ramifications is great, just don’t paint with too broad of a brush. Broad brushes are required for basic issues, but the size of the brush wielded has to be “earned” (by scrupulous attention to detail – instead of wholesale moralization).
What I'm trying to get at here is that a "really good" moralizer -- like I am -- would go so far as to examine the issue for isolated instances of contradictory good and then, before painting the moral paint with the big brush, would clip out those bristles which would have wrongly painted what is good and right with a theory (before denouncing it).

It's like using a moral "smart-bomb" -- only it would take more patience and intelligence, that's all.

Ed




Post 49

Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 8:09pmSanction this postReply
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And, as far as the outrage against Dennis' statements goes, John Armaos and Michael Dickey, you guys go too far.

I could jump-in and morally tear-into your words -- as they have been typed -- as there is much imperfection in what it is that you have both written here, possibly stemming from emotional commitments to rationalize. I've seen you both write so much better than this current, identifiably low-quality argumentation in this thread.

Though I'm not literally jumping to Dennis' defense (but trying to continue a rational discussion with him, instead), I wanted you both to know that my restraint from entering the fray should not be taken as a tacit agreement with what it is that you both have been writing here -- as written.

Ed



Post 50

Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 9:01amSanction this postReply
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Ed, TRUE-ANSWER ! :)  Sincerely
(Edited by Gigi P Morton on 5/04, 9:02am)




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Post 51

Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
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Ed, I never think you agree with anything I say unless you explicitly state so. Why would you think an omission from you would mean I would think you agree? Quite frankly I think that's bizarre you would think that.

you guys go too far


Your opinion. And one I definitely don't share considering the lunatic rationale that hostages should be killed along with the hostage takers because any risk taken to protect the hostages would be considered self-sacrifice. Why anything so dehumanizing like that should be granted an audience escapes me.

I could jump-in and morally tear-into your words -as there is much imperfection in what it is that you have both written here, possibly stemming from emotional commitments to rationalize


But you won't morally tear into them. Why? I don't know. Perhaps because there's nothing to tear into, or perhaps there is. But I could also refrain from tearing into your words, as there may be much imperfection in your words as well. I'm comfortable with what I write and I make no apologies. I'm not seeking approval from my peers nor do I care whether I get it or not, whether you approve or not is your problem, not mine.
(Edited by John Armaos on 5/04, 10:46am)




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Post 52

Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 9:13pmSanction this postReply
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John,

=========
I'm comfortable with what I write and I make no apologies.
=========

That seems to be a difference between us. I'm not always comfortable with what I write -- like when it's demonstrated that what I wrote is just plain wrong. For example, I was recently wrong to try to coin a "new" fallacy (and Jordan corrected my wrong thoughts in that thread) -- and I sometimes make apologies.

Taking you at your word, you apparently either don't make mistakes -- or you don't care to make amends when you do. That's not a disposition that I would choose to respect. I'd prefer to point out its immorality.

Ed




Post 53

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 3:45amSanction this postReply
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Ed,

I don't think John meant "ever," but was talking about not apologising within the context of his posts on this thread.  




Post 54

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 4:57amSanction this postReply
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John,

Considering Teresa's point, is it true? And, if so, then did you mean "ever" when you continued/concluded ...

=========
I'm not seeking approval from my peers nor do I care whether I get it or not, whether you approve or not is your problem, not mine.
=========

... or was that continuation/conclusion just meant "within the context of [your] posts on this thread", too?

Ed



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Post 55

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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Ed, I am not sure what position I have stated which you feel I have 'gone too far' with, I have hardly elaborated my particular position on this question in this thread but have instead been pointing out the hypocracy present in Dennis's positions.

It's pretty clear that he holds hostages as least partly morally accountable for the tyranny which has enslaved them. I think this attitude often comes from the misconception that tyrannies arise in geopolitical vacuums, that some particular group within a politically and economically isolated group rise to power and can only do so from the indifference of the other groups. The truth of the matter is that often very small groups politically well connected with *other* tyrannies (usually the Soviet Union) which Never got popular support use tremendous amounts of weapons and aide from their sponsoring tyranny to oppress a population. The peasants of North Vietnam could hardly compete with the massive soviet arsenal supplied to Ho Chi Minh and his ruling elite, to 'blame them' for not sufficiently fighting against soviet tanks with their farm equipment is completely absurd.

Dennis asserts that it is one's morally obligation to fight tyranny, yet what is he doing here at home to fight tyranny in America? He demands an full blown call to action, that fighting tyranny ought to basically be one's moral imperative (funny I thought we each had a right to our own lives) And by his own reasoning, I am completely justified in blaming *him* for the encroachments on civil liberties the Patriot act has implemented.

My point is that my posts in this thread have been merely to point out the hypocracy of Dennis positions and to hold him accountable to his own professed moral dictates in life.


John,

=========
I'm comfortable with what I write and I make no apologies.
=========

That seems to be a difference between us. I'm not always comfortable with what I write


There is a big difference between being 'comfortable' with your opinion and thinking you are omniscient. I too, like John, am comfortable with all my comments I post, that does not, however, mean that I might not learn why they are incorrect. I am not omniscient and have found my mind changed over the years on significant topics quite a few times. But every logical statement any human makes is always qualified with the subtext that this is true as best I understand it within the context of the information I have integrated, but man it would be really annoying to write that every single time.

One can certainly reserve judgement on matters they are not well informed on, but you must at *some point* make judgement calls about positions, especially on time critical matters which are a matter of life and death, holding our formed opinions against a platonic ideal of omniscience is irrational.

Dennis is comfortable with suggesting that we should nuke the population of various middle eastern nations, John and I are comfortable with the fact that we find that opinion *exceedingly* uncomfortable ... yet we 'go too far'?



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Post 56

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 10:01amSanction this postReply
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John: "But I take issue with the way you are characterizing the history between the U.S. and Saddam and making it too simplistic."

Well, I wasn't trying to summarize the history between the U.S. government and Saddam Hussein's regime. I was just noting that the only WMDs he had (a decade ago) were gifts from the U.S. government. Whether that was justified or not is a different question.

John: "You can't honestly say the chances of nuclear proliferation has not at least been mitigated."

Yes, I can.

John: "Otherwise what would not going to war with Iraq accomplish?"

It would accomplish not killing over 4,000 Americans and spending over $500 billion(!) American taxpayer dollars. So far.

"If a pro-western government is set-up in Iraq, one that is committed to routing out terrorists and not taking on a WMD program, I can't at all agree with you that there is nothing positive about such an outcome."

Is there *any* such government in the Middle East right now, save for Israel? Some do receive U.S. taxpayer money, including dictatorships. But none are committing to "routing out" terrorists in any serious way. On what evidence do you imagine that Nouri Al-Maliki's already-tenuous government is going to become a stable, pro-Western, terrorist-fighting machine?

John: "But by any objective measurable standard I would strongly disagree the situation is not better now than it was a year ago."

I think the Washington Nationals baseball team are better now than they were a year ago. So what? They're still bad.




Post 57

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 10:07amSanction this postReply
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Ed:

That seems to be a difference between us. I'm not always comfortable with what I write -- like when it's demonstrated that what I wrote is just plain wrong.


If I write something that is wrong, and new information is brought to my attention, I don't think that should mean I should be uncomfortable with what I wrote. If I didn't think I was right I wouldn't write it. But I can bring up dozens of instances where I did apologize where I felt it warranted. This thread doesn't exist in a vacuum. And I don't feel right now in this thread that I am plain wrong.

Considering Teresa's point, is it true? And, if so, then did you mean "ever" when you continued/concluded ..."I'm not seeking approval from my peers nor do I care whether I get it or not, whether you approve or not is your problem, not mine."


I think the validity of my statements do not depend on someone's approval or disapproval of them. I don't seek approval, I say what is on my mind and what I think is right. Whether someone approves or not is their prerogative. That is all expect from myself, and that is all I expect from my peers. I don't want my peers to not say what is on their mind because it may or may not meet my approval. Do you? Do you alter your own thoughts based on the approval of others or whether you think they are valid?



Post 58

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 10:24amSanction this postReply
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Jon Trager:

Well, I wasn't trying to summarize the history between the U.S. government and Saddam Hussein's regime. I was just noting that the only WMDs he had (a decade ago) were gifts from the U.S. government. Whether that was justified or not is a different question.


Agreed that is a different question. But what is also a fact is that we don't have a time machine, and go back and change what was done almost three decades ago. The justification for the U.S. to remove Saddam's regime in 2003 was an entirely different context than what happened decades ago. Your premise that we shouldn't try to correct past wrongs or that our lives for some reason are static throughout time, and the variables that should govern our decisions never change through time, are not consistent with reality. Have you never had to alter your life to account for a changing world around you? And if so would you consider yourself a hypocrite for doing so or realize that your decisions are based on a particular context.

John: "You can't honestly say the chances of nuclear proliferation has not at least been mitigated."

Yes, I can.


Why?

John: "Otherwise what would not going to war with Iraq accomplish?"

It would accomplish not killing over 4,000 Americans and spending over $500 billion(!) American taxpayer dollars. So far.


You act as if there would be no consequences to inaction. It would also have accomplished the continuation of the Saddam regime with his quest for nuclear weapons, the continued funding of Hamas and Hezbollah, the continuation of a costly no-fly zone to which Saddam would have continued to fire upon our aircraft, it would would have also accomplished a corrupt oil for food program and embargo that only hurt Iraqi civilians and fuel hatred for the West.

"If a pro-western government is set-up in Iraq, one that is committed to routing out terrorists and not taking on a WMD program, I can't at all agree with you that there is nothing positive about such an outcome."

Is there *any* such government in the Middle East right now, save for Israel? Some do receive U.S. taxpayer money, including dictatorships. But none are committing to "routing out" terrorists in any serious way. On what evidence do you imagine that Nouri Al-Maliki's already-tenuous government is going to become a stable, pro-Western, terrorist-fighting machine?


It is ridiculous to ask for evidence for a future outcome when I am advocating a particular strategy to attain a desirable outcome. I have no more evidence of what will happen that you do of what won't happen. Neither of us have a crystal ball so we can only rationally argue on what we should now in the present and ask what our decisions today will accomplish. The future is not set, our actions today will shape our future.

John: "But by any objective measurable standard I would strongly disagree the situation is not better now than it was a year ago."

I think the Washington Nationals baseball team are better now than they were a year ago. So what? They're still bad.


Bad by what standard? If it is better today than a year ago, it is good that it is better. Is it satisfactory? No but to shun any improvements is to deny that we shouldn't value any and all salient steps to an eventual desirable outcome.
(Edited by John Armaos on 5/05, 10:29am)




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Post 59

Monday, May 5, 2008 - 11:31amSanction this postReply
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We're not going to see eye to eye on this. So I'm not going to spend much time going back and forth on it, particularly on an online forum. I just wanted to object to what I consider to be your distorted perception of the Iraq situation. But I'll respond to some of your previous comments also.

John: "Your premise that we shouldn't try to correct past wrongs or that our lives for some reason are static throughout time, and the variables that should govern our decisions never change through time, are not consistent with reality."

What? I wasn't making the argument that the U.S. government shouldn't have overthrown Saddam Hussein because the U.S. government gave him WMDs a couple of decades ago. I only noted, as an aside, that the only WMDs Hussein has ever been proven to have (and used) were from the U.S. government. You're inferring too much from that one statement.

John: "You can't honestly say the chances of nuclear proliferation has not at least been mitigated."

Me: "Yes, I can."

John: "Why?"

This is a complicated issue and I can't say much on it in a forum post. But I don't know of credible evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to start a nuclear weapons program, nor do I believe that deposing foreign dictators is an effective way to stop nuclear proliferation, even if I agreed that such is a realistic goal.

John: "You act as if there would be no consequences to inaction."

No, there are always opportunity costs to alternative actions. I just believe that the costs to the welfare of Americans from Saddam Hussein ruling Iraq are far outweighed by the (still rapidly rising) costs to Americans of the U.S. government invading Iraq and continuing its occupation.

John: "It is ridiculous to ask for evidence for a future outcome when I am advocating a particular strategy to attain a desirable outcome. I have no more evidence of what will happen that you do of what won't happen."

Don't you think that history offers us guidance for the future? The Bush administration clearly doesn't. In its breathtaking ignorance of the history of the Middle East and Iraq in particular, the administration initially announced that the entire Iraq effort would cost U.S. taxpayers about $50 to $60 billion and would likely result in a few hundred U.S. deaths. Of course, anyone with a historical knowledge of the region said that notion was absurd. But they were shouted down or ignored. And 4,000+ deaths and $500 billion later, here we are, with no end in sight. By the way, $600 billion was the cost of the *entire* U.S. federal government in 1980.

John: "Bad by what standard? If it is better today than a year ago, it is good that it is better. Is it satisfactory? No, but to shun any improvements is to deny that we shouldn't value any and all salient steps to an eventual desirable outcome."

My point is that whatever overall "improvement" there has been in the situation in Iraq over the last year, it's minor and not indicative that Iraq is close to becoming a stable, self-sufficient country, nevermind one that aggressively destroys Islamic terrorists. Actually, I think deposing Saddam Hussein, A Sunni whose regime was unique in the Arab world regarding the amount of religious freedom it tolerated, in favor of Shiite Nouri Al-Maliki is a step *backward* in any coordinated effort against Islamic terrorism.
(Edited by Jon Trager on 5/05, 5:19pm)




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