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Would you like to bomb Iran?

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Why did we not attack communist Russia? Well we certainly should have the moment they got the bomb.

That's correct, the Red Army would have been a fierce opponant in Europe and its true Europe would have been pounded back to the Dark Ages, but we would not have had to deal with the stanglehold Communism had over half the planet for five full decades. A net gain.

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GWDS,

I understand the sarcasm of your posts but I think you are overdoing it. Based on your private messages, I know you vehemently disagree with the other board members, so you should be open about that. Playing a caricature of them adds confusion to the discussion.

TheEgoist,

Why would "viscously" attacking a government that al Qaeda does not care about, and indeed may dislike, discourage them? My basic contention remains the same: there is no monolithic group known as "Islamofascists." Various Islamic groups have different motives and interests.

Thales,

You're begging the question; i.e., you've assumed the conclusion in your premise. When I say there is no monolithic "Islamic fundamentalism," you cannot retort that they are all driven by Islamic fundamentalism, and that they're all "out to kill us." This simplistic view of the situation is exactly what I'm bringing into question.

My criterion for war is certainly not "proximity," it's guilt. In the case of the '83 Beirut bombing, both sides hold partial guilt. The blood is on the hands of Hezbollah and the US policy-makers who pointlessly put our servicemen in harms way. Similarly, both sides hold guilt for American deaths in Iraq. In such cases, the proper course of action is not to continue the mistake, it's to correct the mistake.

What makes 9/11 different is that there is a clear guilty party: al Qaeda. They attacked us on our own soil in cold blood. If Iran was such a threat, what's taking them so long to do the same? You have to desperately dig back twenty-four years to find justification to attack them.

Thoyd Loki,

Please do not bring personal attacks into the discussion ("you either know next to nothing about a multitude of subjects, or you are being purposefully blind"). If the substance of my arguments are weak, then please explain to me why. We will all benefit in the end, after all.

Since you insist on declaring what I believe, I will correct you. I believe that the '79 hostage crisis was partially their fault and partially ours. We orchestrated a coup in 1953 to replace the democratically-elected government with a Western-friendly Shah out of a desire to control their oil fields. When the Islamists regained power in 1979, that intervention came back to bite us. And not only is this situation morally ambiguous, it took place twenty-eight years ago. If Iran was such a threat, why do you have to dig back that far to find justification for war?

Returning to the original topic, what makes Iran "the epicenter the heart of the whole radical Islamist movement"? What major terrorist groups operate out of it, receive funding from it, or draw their inspiration from it? Include citations where appropriate, please.

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Thales,

You're begging the question; i.e., you've assumed the conclusion in your premise. When I say there is no monolithic "Islamic fundamentalism," you cannot retort that they are all driven by Islamic fundamentalism, and that they're all "out to kill us." This simplistic view of the situation is exactly what I'm bringing into question.

It's not begging the question, it's on observation of reality. All of our terrorist enemies are driven by Islamic fundamentalism. That's a fact. Iran is driven by Islamic fundamentalism. Syria is driven by Islamic fundamentalism. The Taliban is driven by Islamic fundamentalism. Bin Laden is driven by Islamic fundamentalism. Do you see a pattern here?

Pull the Islamic Fundamentalism out of that region and, voila, no problem.

My criterion for war is certainly not "proximity," it's guilt. In the case of the '83 Beirut bombing, both sides hold partial guilt.

The blood is on the hands of Hezbollah and the US policy-makers who pointlessly put our servicemen in harms way.

The problem here is that there is a "harms way". Indeed, the fact that there is a harms way is why we would need to place troops anywhere. The purpose of troops is to go into harms way and take care of an enemy. To be sure, we foolishly did not take care of the Iranians years prior as we should have, as Thoyd Loki makes reference to.

Similarly, both sides hold guilt for American deaths in Iraq. In such cases, the proper course of action is not to continue the mistake, it's to correct the mistake.

This is poorly thought out. You have two separate issues here: the original cause that impelled us to go into Iraq and the misguided method of fighting a war. You're oddly conflating the two. If a murderer enters a home and kills someone, that's evil. If the person in the home defends himself stupidly, that's another issue.

What makes 9/11 different is that there is a clear guilty party: al Qaeda.

Iran is clearly guilty.

They attacked us on our own soil in cold blood.

Iran attacked us in cold blood. The location is non-essential, and, remember, you said "proximity" is not a criterion.

If Iran was such a threat, what's taking them so long to do the same?

They would be fools to fight us straight up, no? They are fighting us by a proxy war and have been for some time. In fact, the Revolutionary Guard have been found in Iraq fighting us recently. They have harbored Al Qaeda members as well.

You have to desperately dig back twenty-four years to find justification to attack them.

"desperately"? Peikoff has been calling for the bombing of Iran since the early 1990s. Anyway, they've done plenty before and after 1983 that made them worthy targets.

If you don't put an end to this stuff, it will only escalate, as it has been doing. They will keep on killing unless they are stopped, so they must be stopped.

Annihilate the biggest and baddest terrorist state and the rest will get the message.

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Thales,

1. You say you're not begging the question because it's an observation of reality, but that is precisely how you are: you are stating your observation when I ask you for proof of it. Aristotle defined begging the question as "proving that which is not self-evident by means of itself." The claim that "Islamic fundamentalism" is a monolithic, uniting force is not self-evident, so you cannot assume it when trying to prove it.

2. If you really believe that "the fact that there is a harms way is why we would need to place troops anywhere," then you should have no problem with sending American troops to be slaughtered in the jungles of Vietnam in the '68 or to the streets of Mogadishu in '92. The purpose of troops is not to put them wherever "harms way" is - that's humanitarianism. Their purpose is national defense, which our barracks in Lebanon did not serve at all.

3. You say that I'm conflating original cause and the method of fighting in Iraq, but I oppose both. We should not be in Iraq at all.

4. You say that Iran is "clearly guilty" of 9/11. How?

5. In response to my statement that al Qaeda attacked us in cold blood, you said Iran (through Hezbollah) did as well. I cannot possibly take such a comparison seriously. Evaporating office workers, parents, and even children (a 2 1/2 year old girl was the youngest victim) in Manhattan is far, far more unambiguous than blowing up servicemen in Beirut who shouldn't have been sent there in the first place.

6. When I asked you what's taking Iran so long to kill us on our own soil, you said they are fighting us by proxy war. Why haven't they sent them over here? They've only attacked us while we pointlessly set up targets for them to knock down in their own backyard. They are not a threat so long as we're not over there.

7. You say that if we don't "put an end to this stuff, it will only escalate, as it has been doing." Other than Hezbollah's scattered bombings and kidnappings in the '80s, the only attacks Iran has waged on Americans are the '79 hostage crisis and their current alleged assistance of Iraqi insurgents. You call that escalation?

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Let me see if I can follow your logic here...

Their purpose is national defense, which our barracks in Lebanon did not serve at all.

...

Evaporating office workers, parents, and even children (a 2 1/2 year old girl was the youngest victim) in Manhattan is far, far more unambiguous than blowing up servicemen in Beirut who shouldn't have been sent there in the first place.

(bold mine)

...So because the troops in Lebanon did not serve our national interests, Iran had the right to murder them? You are conflating two "rights" here:

1) That it was "right" - i.e. served our interests - to have troops in Lebanon

2) That we had a "right" to have them there - i.e. that we were violating someone's rights by having them there, so deserved some form of retaliation for it.

Of course, the two have nothing to do with each other. We had every right to have troops in Lebanon, whether it served our interests or not. They weren't violating any rights of Iran - as if an Islamic dictatorship has any rights (it doesn't) - by being in Lebanon. Iran had no right to murder our troops and whether or not it was reasonable to expect that our troops were "in harm's way," it was still a murderous act of war on Iran's part.

The fact that it may have been foolish to put them in harm's way does not diminish Iran's moral responsibility for murdering them - NOT ONE BIT.

Further, you have made the utterly false assertion that we somehow deserved war from Iran since we defended the property rights of our oil companies when we thwarted the first attempt at Islamic dictatorship back in the 50's. That somehow wanting to protect those property rights is a bad thing for which we were justly punished.

That is completely and totally backwards. The first attempt at Islamic revolution was not rightful. Our defense against it was rightful. There can be no just retaliation against our rightful thwarting of the first Islamic revolt.

It is not "our fault" that Iran was and is murdering our citizens. They are entirely in the wrong and we are entirely within our rights.

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There is no reason to believe that destroying Iran would discourage al Qaeda. They included Shi'ites along with heretics, America, and Israel as the four "enemies of Islam."

The rivalry between radical Shiite and radical Sunni is indisputable. However, the Sunni extremists draw inspiration from the perceive "success" of the Islamic Republic of Iran not because they are allies but more from a game of one upmanship. They perceive their rival extremist group to have successfully established an Islamic theocracy. They wish to achieve the same.

Osama bin Laden even hated the Sunni government in Saudi Arabia, because he perceived it as too pro-Western.

Of course he does, they Saudi government encourages business with the western nations. They even allowed U.S. troops on Saudi soil to defend their country against Iraq during the first Gulf War. Osama Bin Laden still complains about this today.

In other words, I don't understand why Objectivists seem to view Islam as a single monolithic whole.

You are going to have to start naming Objectivists who you think view Islam as a monolithic whole, because I certainly do not. Please note that I was talking about militant Islam, which is radically different from Islam (pun intended). Reformed Muslims such as Irshad Manji certainly are not the problem. This militant strain of Islam did not really exist until the radical political writings of Sayyid Qutb back during the Islamist backlash against corrupt Arab nationalist governments in the 1960s.

It is the militant strain of Islam that must be crushed. I honestly do not care if someone wishes to be a reformed practicing Muslim so long as no force is initiated.

After all, did taking down Saddam discourage anyone? Iran must have loved it. He was a Sunni Muslim who oppressed the 60% Shi'a majority and Kurdish minority for years. When his government was taken down, the Shi'ites enthusiastically took part in the new elections while the Sunni minority boycotted them. One side is happy, the other isn't.

Actually, Saddam was a secular dictator although he was a non-practicing Sunni. He did keep the radical Mullahs in Iran in check, adding yet another reason why Iraq was the wrong country to attack. I have no doubts that Iran was overjoyed that we took out some of the greatest threats to their regime: Saddam Hussein's dictatorship as well as the MEK (a group that has been repeatedly trying to overthrow the Iranian regime) encampments on the Iraqi side of the Iraq-Iran border.

The same thing will happen if we attack Iran.

I am not sure what your point is. Are you arguing that we should not take any military action in the Middle East because it will only make radical Islamists stronger?

I agree that determining the most effective strategy against militant Islam is non-trivial, as it is not centralized in one country. Nevertheless, it is quintessential to recognize that the war is with the militant Islamic ideology. If we cannot recognize the enemy for what it is, then the war cannot be won.

One of the common mistakes I encounter in foreign policy is an attitude of disintegration. Unfortunately, many people in power see radical various Islamic terrorist groups and conclude that they all have nothing important in common since each group, despite all involving Islam, has its own agenda and network of operation. So according to this idea, Al Qaeda, the Iranian Government, Al Sadr's militia, Hezbollah, Hamas, the group formerly known as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the group formerly known as the Salafist organization in Algeria, the Janjaweed in Sudan, the perpetrators of the attacks in Bali and the Islamic extremists in Russia all have nothing really important in common, since they all are trying to accomplish different goals. Some of these groups are actively slaughtering each other.

Needless to say, this attitude is false and all of these groups are driven by militant Islam, although they often disagree about what it means in practice. Just like how the Allied powers crushed all hope of continuing to fight in the name of Japanese Shintoism, the United States and its modern allies need to make life for those who support Islamic Totalitarianism so unbearable where to continue to embrace it becomes unthinkable.

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Inspector,

1. No, I do not think "Iran had the right to murder them," in fact I clarified that in my post prior to that: In the case of the '83 Beirut bombing, both sides hold partial guilt.

2. You are correct that our troops in Lebanon were not violating Iran's rights, but our policy-makers were certainly violating our troops' rights. Risking their for any reason beyond national defense is a violation of their rights. Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, also violated their rights. The proper response, however, is to stop our own mistake by not stationing them for purposes other than national defense.

3. The CIA's coup in 1953 did not "[defend] the property rights of our oil companies." That oil was still under Iranian control; it was just under "Western-friendly" Iranian control. In other words, our government had some influence over it. How is that in any way capitalist?

DarkWaters,

1. If Sunnis and Shi'as are playing a game of one upmanship, destroying the Shi'a Iranian government would certainly help Sunnis "one up" them.

2. You acknowledge that Islam is not a monolithic whole, but then imply that militant Islam is. They don't have a single government, nor a single leader, nor a single flag, nor even a single religion.

3. I am definitely not saying "we should not take any military action in the Middle East because it will only make radical Islamists stronger." I am saying we should go after those who have attacked Americans - excluding casualties incurred during misguided foreign policy adventures. Right now, that means al Qaeda and anyone who substantially supports them.

I certainly don't pretend that al Qaeda, the Iranian Government, Al Sadr's militia, etc, have nothing in common. However, Islam qua religion is a massive jumble of scripture, divine example, and retroactive revisions spread across hundreds of years, millions of people and dozens of governments. You cannot treat it like the highly centralized enemies of World War II. It isn't clear at all that killing one part of would harm another part.

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TheEgoist,

Why would "viscously" attacking a government that al Qaeda does not care about, and indeed may dislike, discourage them? My basic contention remains the same: there is no monolithic group known as "Islamofascists." Various Islamic groups have different motives and interests.

Let us use a social situation as an example, though it may be a bit simplified: Billy and Davey are too bullies that despise eachother. One day Billy decides to beat Joey up and take his money. Little does Billy know though, Joey is trained in Martial Arts. He sends Billy to the hospital with some a broken nose and some broken ribs. Do you think someone else is going to go after that kid again? However, if you sit back and allow Billy to take your money, Davey will as well. Their hatred of eachother does not matter. It is their common goal. Davey and Billy's goal is to take what is not theirs and injure someone else. The Sunnis and the Shi'ites both seek to enslave man to Sharia Law by brute force. But if we can take one major epicenter of Islamofascism out; a clear choice, a nation that has terrorized the West and the U.S for 30 years, if we go in and obliterate their government, their military and demolish their cities, what makes you think another group is going to want to go on the offensive against America? Not again.

We completely annihilated the fascists of the early 20th century. Nazism is nothing but a dark memory. Anyone who supports white supremacy, genocide and other disgusting policies is rightfully shunned by almost all society. No one has attempted a Nazi coup upon any other nation. There is a reason.

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TheEgost,

1. In a way, attacking any nation - including a non-Islamic one like North Korea - could serve as an advertisement of our military might. But that attack can also serve the interest of a particular nation or group. Attacking Iraq served Iran greatly, for example, despite the show of force we showed during the initial invasion. Instead of arbitrarily bombing somebody to set an example, we should stop beating around the bush and go after those who actually attacked our citizens (al Qaeda).

2. As I said to DarkWaters, treating them like the centralized enemies of WWII is not a good idea. The Nazi ideology was intricately tied with the party in control of the German government; the name itself comes from the first two syllables of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. It is not surprising that it died along with the German war machine.

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Inspector,

1. No, I do not think "Iran had the right to murder them," in fact I clarified that in my post prior to that: In the case of the '83 Beirut bombing, both sides hold partial guilt.

2. You are correct that our troops in Lebanon were not violating Iran's rights, but our policy-makers were certainly violating our troops' rights. Risking their for any reason beyond national defense is a violation of their rights. Iran's proxy, Hezbollah, also violated their rights. The proper response, however, is to stop our own mistake by not stationing them for purposes other than national defense.

Your position does not make any sense apart from the idea that:

Because it was not in our interests to have troops in Lebanon, therefore we have no right to complain or take action in response to Iran's murdering us. And therefore, implicitly, Iran has a right to murder us.

Otherwise, why do you keep repeating the statement that our policymakers were mistaken to put troops in Lebanon? What does that have to do with our response to Iran murdering our citizens? (soldiers are citizens)

The fact of Iran murdering our citizens doesn't have ANYTHING to do with whether it was in our interests to station troops in Lebanon. Nothing. Iran has ZERO right to murder our citizens and the only proper response to such murder is massive and overwhelming retaliation.

The idea that it may (and I am not agreeing with you here - only granting it for simplicity of argument) not have been in our interests to station troops in Lebanon does not give Iran the right to murder us. Saying "the proper response is to stop our own mistake" implies that our mistake justifies Iran's murder. This is false.

3. The CIA's coup in 1953 did not "[defend] the property rights of our oil companies." That oil was still under Iranian control; it was just under "Western-friendly" Iranian control. In other words, our government had some influence over it. How is that in any way capitalist?

The government of Iran at the time had a contract with our oil companies - our citizens. There was a coup, in which theocrats threatened to loot the property of our citizens. The proper response to this is to defend the property rights of our citizens, which was done. Obviously, not as well as we might and should have done it, but there was nothing wrong with the attempt. Iran does not have a "right" to become a looting theocracy. Your claim seems to be that they do have the right to become that, and our interference with the exercise of that "right" justifies them murdering our citizens.

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Thoyd Loki,

Please do not bring personal attacks into the discussion ("you either know next to nothing about a multitude of subjects, or you are being purposefully blind"). If the substance of my arguments are weak, then please explain to me why. We will all benefit in the end, after all.

Since you insist on declaring what I believe, I will correct you. I believe that the '79 hostage crisis was partially their fault and partially ours. We orchestrated a coup in 1953 to replace the democratically-elected government with a Western-friendly Shah out of a desire to control their oil fields. When the Islamists regained power in 1979, that intervention came back to bite us. And not only is this situation morally ambiguous, it took place twenty-eight years ago. If Iran was such a threat, why do you have to dig back that far to find justification for war?

Returning to the original topic, what makes Iran "the epicenter the heart of the whole radical Islamist movement"? What major terrorist groups operate out of it, receive funding from it, or draw their inspiration from it? Include citations where appropriate, please.

As you have just proven, those are not personal attacks. Unless you want to claim that you do not know that a sentence ending with this symbol "?" is a question. Are you saying you believe X? is not the same as saying "you believe X." Please learn to recognize the difference between an asking of what you believe and a statement of what you believe. Second, do not ignore the fact that I did attack your arguments for 5 paragraphs before my above quoted evaluation. And I do note you didn't have a problem when it was the entirety of GWDS's post #28.

Why does our bringing up something that happened 28 years ago have no import but the Iranian government's response 26 years later (1953 - 1979) does? They respond 26 years after the fact - that's ok. But, since it's 28 years since they took hostages - that's not relevant. I don't care if that government was democratically elected or not, so was Hitler. Where is your proof that it was a desire to control their oil fields? What was the name of the Iranian oil company?

Just how do you justify that "situation" as morally ambiguous? Were those government employees the very same people involved in the coup? No? Well, hell let's have them cut some more of us up so they can be paid back for what they suffered in the Crusades then.

The fact that this was their defining, opening act of retaking power proves the legitimacy of removing them in the first place. Why the need to parade them in front of cameras for the whole world for 400+ days while chicken Jimmy did nothing? They had the power back, they could have just expelled the diplomats and closed the embassy. What was the purpose, the motive, of it?

What major terrorist groups operate out of it, receive funding from it, or draw their inspiration from it? Include citations where appropriate, please.

What major terrorist groups draw their inspiration from Iran? You have got to be kidding me. What American hating group wouldn't be inspired by their own legislatures' chant of "Death to America" during their sessions? Or the bellicose Iranian president's rants against America, or their mullahs preaching of hatred of Jews and the "Zionist" conspiracy of which we are a part. All of this stuff is out in the regular old newspapers.

This is the information age, I'm not going to do your homework for you, read the newspaper or something. I'm not going to go out and refetch and catalogue citations for someone who (am I wrong?) thinks that Iran is just a misunderstood little boy getting bullied by big, mean America.

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TheEgost,

1. In a way, attacking any nation - including a non-Islamic one like North Korea - could serve as an advertisement of our military might. But that attack can also serve the interest of a particular nation or group. Attacking Iraq served Iran greatly, for example, despite the show of force we showed during the initial invasion. Instead of arbitrarily bombing somebody to set an example, we should stop beating around the bush and go after those who actually attacked our citizens (al Qaeda).

2. As I said to DarkWaters, treating them like the centralized enemies of WWII is not a good idea. The Nazi ideology was intricately tied with the party in control of the German government; the name itself comes from the first two syllables of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. It is not surprising that it died along with the German war machine.

1. North Korea has not been sending proxy forces into Iraq to murder our troops. They have not funded Hezbollah in various other terrorist attacks, like the one in 1985 perpetrated against U.S Soldiers. They haven't kidnapped our people, stolen mass amounts of private oil reserves or stated their hatred for Israel, the only beacon for individual rights in the cesspool that is the Middle East.

2. Iran may not be the only nation that holds to Islamofascist Government, but it is probably the most prominent and the biggest trend setter of the Middle East and Muslim nations in general. It is the largest exporter of Islamic Terrorism, the most abusive towards human rights ( arguably ), they are building Nuclear power, and you know it is for a bomb and it was the first to steal away privatized oil fields by breach of contract.

Iran have been waging a war against us. You can deny it all you like, but it is the pinnacle of what an Islamic nation looks like and it has acted ferociously against American interests for 30+ years. It may not be on the scale of Nazi Germany, and there may be other Islamic nations, but will they fund terrorism any longer once we have demolished Iran? I don't think so. And if they do, they will also be destroyed.

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1. If Sunnis and Shi'as are playing a game of one upmanship, destroying the Shi'a Iranian government would certainly help Sunnis "one up" them.

No it would bring the Shiites down a notch and would be a seriously blow to militant Islam as a whole, regardless of which flavor a group supports.

2. You acknowledge that Islam is not a monolithic whole, but then imply that militant Islam is. They don't have a single government, nor a single leader, nor a single flag, nor even a single religion.

Speaking in terms of philosophic essentials, militant Islam is pretty much the same.

I am saying we should go after those who have attacked Americans - excluding casualties incurred during misguided foreign policy adventures.

Again, you have reiterated that any act against a U.S. soldier in Iraq, no matter how horrific or unnecessary, is excusable because of the strategic error in invading Iraq and having our troops attempt to police the subsequent chaos. Do you even think that the U.S. was morally permitted to overthrow Saddam's regime?

In addition, why does the fact that troops who are stationed in a country where they "should not be" morally excuse any attack on them, no matter how reprehensible?

You cannot treat it like the highly centralized enemies of World War II. It isn't clear at all that killing one part of would harm another part.

This was is like none ever fought before. The latter statement is probably not clear to you since you have not properly identified the philosophical roots behind those who want to kill us.

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Thales,

1. You say you're not begging the question because it's an observation of reality, but that is precisely how you are: you are stating your observation when I ask you for proof of it.

Begging the question requires an inductive form of argument, and I’m using induction here.

Aristotle defined begging the question as "proving that which is not self-evident by means of itself."

From my logic book "If one assumes as a premise for an argument the very conclusion it is intended to prove, the fallacy committed is that of 'petitio principii', or 'begging the question'."

You said that we can't treat Islamacists as a monolithic enemy, or that we can't consider Islamacism our enemy. My response was that when I look out there I see Islamic fundamentalism everywhere we have to deal with terrorism. I'm not saying "We have a monolithic enemy, because we have an enemy that is all the same." I'm saying, hey, look, these guys are Islamacists, they're our enemy, and these guys over here are Isamacists, and they're our enemy. In fact, all our terrorist enemies have this Islamacism at their base. That's not begging the question, that's using induction to establish a connection.

The claim that "Islamic fundamentalism" is a monolithic, uniting force is not self-evident, so you cannot assume it when trying to prove it.

I'm not just assuming it, I've observed an endless stream of facts over the years since 9/11 and before that demonstrate that these people are Islamic fundamentalists. There is no assumption here at all.

2. If you really believe that "the fact that there is a harms way is why we would need to place troops anywhere,"

I believe that troops are supposed to deal with enemies and that our enemies are often deadly. This is why the military is armed to the teeth.

then you should have no problem with sending American troops to be slaughtered in the jungles of Vietnam in the '68 or to the streets of Mogadishu in '92.

I have problem sending our troops some place without giving them the tools to fight properly, as happened in Vietnam, Mogadishu and Beirut for that matter.

The purpose of troops is not to put them wherever "harms way" is - that's humanitarianism. Their purpose is national defense, which our barracks in Lebanon did not serve at all.

Yes, the purpose is national defense, but by definition the thing that the military deals with are those who are harmful, otherwise weapons would be unnecessary. They aren't deployed to engage in pillow fights.

3. You say that I'm conflating original cause and the method of fighting in Iraq, but I oppose both. We should not be in Iraq at all.

I don't understand this. Whether you oppose them or not is beside the point. The fact is, they are separate things that should be judged separately. The evil of the Iranians is in no way justifiable, regardless of how stupid we may have been in response.

4. You say that Iran is "clearly guilty" of 9/11. How?

Did I say that?

The only thing that has been said is that it's time we stand up to these Islamacists, rather than letting them get away with murder time and time again. Had we stood up to them strongly in 1979, or prior, there would not have been a 911, because they would have known the consequences of such an action.

5. In response to my statement that al Qaeda attacked us in cold blood, you said Iran (through Hezbollah) did as well. I cannot possibly take such a comparison seriously. Evaporating office workers, parents, and even children (a 2 1/2 year old girl was the youngest victim) in Manhattan is far, far more unambiguous than blowing up servicemen in Beirut who shouldn't have been sent there in the first place.

One is closer to home, but both are clear cases of cold-blooded murder. As to us not having any business in Beirut, I don't know that you're right, but I do know that this didn’t justify the troops being murdered.

6. When I asked you what's taking Iran so long to kill us on our own soil, you said they are fighting us by proxy war. Why haven't they sent them over here? They've only attacked us while we pointlessly set up targets for them to knock down in their own backyard. They are not a threat so long as we're not over there.

911 was a wake up call, I should think.

7. You say that if we don't "put an end to this stuff, it will only escalate, as it has been doing." Other than Hezbollah's scattered bombings and kidnappings in the '80s, the only attacks Iran has waged on Americans are the '79 hostage crisis and their current alleged assistance of Iraqi insurgents. You call that escalation?

It's more than just Iran. Islamacists are out of control all over the Middle East, and in Europe. Iran is simply the biggest and baddest terrorist state, and so is the prime target.

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4. You say that Iran is "clearly guilty" of 9/11. How?

This kind of jumped out at me also...

what the hell?

I don't really see the point of attacking Iraq. But I see Iran as a legitimate threat that should be eliminated where possible.

Edited by Moebius

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Begging the question requires an inductive form of argument, and I’m using induction here.

Correction: That should read "Begging the question requires a deductive form of argument, and I'm using induction here."

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Inspector,

1. On the contrary, the fact that they were murdered by Hezbollah in the course of an immoral intervention has everything to do with our response. If the initial intervention did not serve national defense, in what way would increasing the intervention into an all-out war serve it? The military does not exist primarily for self defense, it exists for national defense. Usually the two are the same thing, but not in this case.

If you take the military out of its original context - national defense - any mistake you make will snowball into a larger, more costly, and more pointless war. Consider the Vietnam war, in which nearly 60,000 Americans were pointlessly slaughtered. The North Vietnamese did not have a "right" to kill them, but does that mean we should have stayed there and continued sending our men to die?

2. The historical events aren't as simple as you portray them, but I'll concede your general argument. Iran nationalized the oil fields previously owned by modern-day BP which violated their agreement, that point is certainly solid. I do not believe this justifies building embassies and military bases in this region, however.

Thoyd Loki,

1. Saying "you either know next to nothing about a multitude of subjects, or you are being purposefully blind" is certainly a personal attack.

2. I understand you declared my beliefs in the form of a question, but afterwards you added the sentence "That is what you are saying." Check for yourself.

3. Did you not see me specifically call GWDS out for his posts? Try Post #27. As an aside, I think you were referring to his post at #26, since #28 is from Thales.

4. You ask why you're not allowed to invoke an event 28 years ago, when the Iranians were able to invoke the '53 coup 26 years later. Obviously, I do not think the Iranians were justified in '79 revolution - they replaced a corrupt monarchy with an even more corrupt theocracy. I call the hostage crisis morally ambiguous because US policy-makers were also partially responsible. There is no purpose in having embassies in such an irrational region of the world.

5. Contrary to your latest attempt to declare what I believe, Iran is not a "misunderstood little boy." I dare to bring nuance to this discussion, which your simplistic narrative may interpret as anti-American. I think the American government has largely been a force for good, but that doesn't stop be from criticizing it when it engages in altruistic foreign policy adventures.

TheEgoist,

What is your evidence that Iran is "the most prominent and the biggest trend setter" and "the largest exporter of Islamic Terrorism"? Are you not aware that Saudi Arabia is the source of all but two 9/11 hijackers, countless Islamic "charities" funding al Qaeda, and a network of Wahhabist schools? Why do they get off the hook solely because their leadership is not as obnoxious in public as Iran's?

Additionally, if they are the threat you say they are, why haven't they been escalating their violence? They kidnapped 52 diplomats 30 years ago, aided a terrorist group who had a few scattered successes in the '80s, and are most likely aiding insurgents in Iraq today. They've only attacked us while we were over there - that's a far cry from saying they're a threat to the American people.

DarkWaters,

1. Why would it "be a seriously [sic] blow to militant Islam as a whole"? I've been disputing this point all along, but many of you continue to respond by simply rephrasing the same statement. You can say they are similar in "philosophic essentials," but you could say the same thing about the fascist Nazis and the communist Soviets. That doesn't mean that crushing the Nazis automatically harms the Soviets.

2. Instead of telling me what I believe, I'd prefer you let me speak for myself. I do not believe any act against a U.S. soldier in Iraq is "excusable." I am nuanced enough to place blame on both the insurgents and US policy-makers. That does not mean the insurgents are "morally excused" in harming our troops. For more, please see the very top of this post where I respond to Inspector.

3. I do not think Saddam had any right to sovereignty, but at the same time we are violating our own troops' rights when we send them in an operation that is irrelevant to national defense. Therefore, the war in Iraq didn't violate Saddam's rights, it violated our troops' rights.

Thales,

1. You may certainly say our enemies have "Islamacism [sic] at their base," but that does not prove they are a monolithic entity with a single goal. After all, I could say that the Nazis and Soviets have socialism or subjectivism at their base, but that does not mean they have the same goals, motivations, or interests. Indeed, they were at war with each other. Militant Muslims have plenty of common denominators, but that doesn't mean we can obliterate one instance of them (such as the Iranian government) and expect another instance to be weakened (such as al Qaeda).

2. Wait, so do you not oppose the Vietnam war or Operation Restore Hope in Somalia? Do you only take issue with the fact that we didn't "[give] them the tools to fight properly"? I obviously agree that the military doesn't exist to "engage in pillow fights," but it also doesn't exist to intervene wherever danger exists - again, that's humanitarianism.

3. I agree that original cause and method of fighting are separate things. An immoral original cause does not excuse Iran's proxy from killing American servicemen, but it does change what our response should be. For more on this, please see the very top of this post, where I respond to Inspector.

4. You quoted me saying "What makes 9/11 different is that there is a clear guilty party: al Qaeda." In response, you said "Iran is clearly guilty." I may be mistaken, but I thought you were saying Iran is clearly guilty of 9/11. If you are simply saying that retaliating in 1979 would have prevented 9/11, I'd like to hear your reasoning for that. When did bin Laden ever even mention the hostage crisis as proof that we are a paper tiger?

5. When I asked you why Iran has only attacked us while we were in the Middle East and not on our own soil, you responded saying "911 was a wake up call, I should think." Please clarify this; I do not understand the connection it has to my question. Iran may be "the biggest and baddest terrorist state" vis-a-vis attacks in the Middle East, but they've never so much as aided a terrorist attack on US soil.

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Thoyd Loki,

1. Saying "you either know next to nothing about a multitude of subjects, or you are being purposefully blind" is certainly a personal attack.

2. I understand you declared my beliefs in the form of a question, but afterwards you added the sentence "That is what you are saying." Check for yourself.

3. Did you not see me specifically call GWDS out for his posts? Try Post #27. As an aside, I think you were referring to his post at #26, since #28 is from Thales.

That sentence was supposed to be "That seems to be what you are saying." My reference to GWDS's post was #28 until it got moved to the Trash Can portion of the forum. Thus, the post numbers were reordered after its removal. I assume mine was not because there was argument in the post. So, no you if fact did not address his post.

I certainly agree with you on two points though. America should be criticized for altruistic foreign adventures (protecting our oil interests is not one of them, I fully support going there right now and expropriating them back. If Britain does not want their share, we can take theirs as well) like nation building and ensuring they can vote themselves right into theocracy. We certainly should not have had an embassy there but a fully functional military base. It is not like the '79 revolution popped up from out of the blue.

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I'm much more fearful of a car accident, my wife getting raped, or an armed robbery than of Iran.

We don't understand the irrationality of countries with cultures and political beliefs different than ours and they don't understand us. Somebody said we installed the shah in Iran because our property rights were violated with regard to our oil interests. This is correct. However, if the culture of a country does not accept the concept of property rights, then one does business in that country at his or her own risk. The loss of oil output due to nationalization should simply be written off as an expense related to doing business in an irrational economy. Essentially, the company took a chance, made an investment and lost. The company or government involved should accept this loss and move on. Lesson learned should be that when doing business in irrational cultures with irrational men in charge, you will never be able to think or plan beyond the moment.

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Inspector,

1. On the contrary, the fact that they were murdered by Hezbollah in the course of an immoral intervention has everything to do with our response. If the initial intervention did not serve national defense, in what way would increasing the intervention into an all-out war serve it? The military does not exist primarily for self defense, it exists for national defense. Usually the two are the same thing, but not in this case.

Oh no it does not have anything to do with the response. You are conflating two kinds of immorality - self-sacrifice and the violation of the rights of others. These are both immoral, but they have very different responses.

We did not violate Iran's or any other nation's rights by being in Lebanon. Therefore, no action taken against our soldiers could be considered "retaliation." It was a murderous act of war.

This is entirely separate and should not in any way be influenced by the question of whether we had a national interest in having soldiers there in the first place. It literally has nothing to do with it.

The fact is that a proper national defense is based on the idea that anyone, anywhere that threatens the lives of the citizens of the nation will be annihilated. Nobody - nobody gets away with threatening or killing Americans. Period. Doing so will reap the whirlwind.

Thus, it does not matter whether or not it was a bad idea to be in Lebanon. Our citizens were murdered. That is the only relevant information.

If you take the military out of its original context - national defense - any mistake you make will snowball into a larger, more costly, and more pointless war.

I cannot think of a war in the last 60 years that would have been particularly costly to us if we had fought it the correct, non-sacrificial way. Even the Soviets were extremely vulnerable until the later part of the 60's and early 70's. They simply did not possess the nuclear capability to strike us until that time. Sure, people were afraid of the early SS-6 ICBM's, but they weren't even operational at all until '59, and even then they were so slow to operate and deploy compared to our Atlas missiles that we could have blown them away right on their launch pads. This leaves only the strategic bomber forces to actually deliver nuclear weapons to us, and we far outmatched the Soviets in both offensive and defensive air capabilities.

If we had gone to a nuclear war with the Soviets in the first 15-20 years of the cold war, we could have annihilated them with little loss on our side. It was only because we were willing to feed them and play the pretend game that they were *not* trying to conquer the world that they ever grew into a proper threat. (and even then, the cost of becoming a threat was too much for their economy to sustain)

The botched prosecution of the Korean and Vietnam wars were entirely based on fears of "escalation" with the Soviets and Chinese - and those were phantom fears based on a kind of moral and existential cowardice. Escalation would have been utterly disastrous for our enemies - if it came to nuclear war, we would have come out just fine and they would be a smoking, radioactive ruin. (at least, until the 70's and 80's)

So, getting back to our point, it would not have been a strategic error for us to have acted properly to uphold our national defense, even in those situations such as Vietnam where involvement may have been unnecessary.

2. The historical events aren't as simple as you portray them, but I'll concede your general argument. Iran nationalized the oil fields previously owned by modern-day BP which violated their agreement, that point is certainly solid.

Good.

I do not believe this justifies building embassies and military bases in this region, however.

I think you are forgetting that we were in a war with the Soviets and that oil was an important strategic resource. If you set the Leftist nonsense aside, it was a perfectly legitimate cold war goal to ensure that the Soviets didn't gain control of that resource.

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Why would [smashing the Iranian government] "be a serious blow to militant Islam as a whole"?

Many reasons, here is a simplified answer:

1.) Depending on the circumstances, it would demonstrate that there are serious consequences for threatening the United States. A proper circumstance would involve the United States first issuing a just ultimatum alongside with legitimate, clearly articulated reasons for issuing the ultimatum. If the ultimatum is not fulfilled in a reasonably allowed time-period, then an attack would demonstrate that the United States is not to be threatened.

2.) Such an attack would demonstrate that Allah cannot protect Islamic regimes, such as Iran.

3.) Iran has better conditions for regime-replacement than Iraq ever was. Iran is not in danger of falling into the hands of Sunni extremists. To my understanding, there seem to be decent opposition groups to the Iranian government such as the National Council for Resistance in Iran. If they truly are pro-western values, they should be put in power.

Of course, some Sunni groups might conclude that Shiite militant Islam is weak while Sunni militant Islam is strong. We would need to provide evidence for them to conclude that following a Sunni strain of Islamic terrorism is just as fatalistic as a Shiite strain.

[W]e are violating our own troops' rights when we send them in an operation that is irrelevant to national defense.

While I will not defend the decision to invade Iraq, given that the United States has a voluntary army and a long, well-known history of getting involved in foreign conflicts that are not directly relevant to national defense, why do you perceive their rights to be violated in this setting?

Edited by DarkWaters

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We don't understand the irrationality of countries with cultures and political beliefs different than ours and they don't understand us. Somebody said we installed the shah in Iran because our property rights were violated with regard to our oil interests. This is correct. However, if the culture of a country does not accept the concept of property rights, then one does business in that country at his or her own risk. The loss of oil output due to nationalization should simply be written off as an expense related to doing business in an irrational economy. Essentially, the company took a chance, made an investment and lost. The company or government involved should accept this loss and move on. Lesson learned should be that when doing business in irrational cultures with irrational men in charge, you will never be able to think or plan beyond the moment.

The question of to what extent the United States should guarantee the safety of its citizens overseas is complicated, particularly because we live in a mixed economy.

For me, the issue is complicated since defense is funded through mandatory taxation. Thus, if any U.S. citizen wishes to pursue a perilous venture overseas, he would be doing so at taxpayer risk if the U.S. is to defend him. Given a quasi-Capitalist states whose defense is still funded through mandatory taxation and given that this country lives in a world with many other states whose governments may not effectively secure individual rights, there would most likely be a list of foreign countries where the quasi-Capitalist government will guarantee your freedoms and ones where it will not. Needless to say, to determine which nations are in the former category and which are in the latter would be non-trivial.

That being said, I think it is very dangerous to allow crimes against U.S. citizens who are outside of U.S. territory to be committed with impunity. Individuals have natural rights regardless of their geographic location.

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Inspector,

1. I'm going to have to quote this in full:

Thus, it does not matter whether or not it was a bad idea to be in Lebanon. Our citizens were murdered. That is the only relevant information.

Really? Are you explicitly saying that we should ignore all context and view the situation in a vacuum? The purpose of the military is national defense. If the military operates contrary to that purpose and is attacked in the process, retaliating would certainly bring vengeance for the fallen but would not serve national defense at all.

Let me ask you something. During the Battle of Mogadishu, on which the movie Black Hawk Down is based, 18 American soldiers were killed and many others wounded. Why aren't you calling for an invasion of Somalia? Sure, it was an altruistic mission that didn't serve our national defense at all, but our citizens were murdered! Are you going to let that go unpunished?

2. For all our faults, we emerged from the Cold War without any casualties, excluding the pointless proxy wars we fought in Korea and Vietnam. Why, then, are you now saying "we could have annihilated them [soviet Russia] with little loss on our side" using nukes? Doesn't history already indicate that it wasn't necessary?

3. Regarding preventing the Soviets from gaining control of oil, this is a very complex topic. All I can say now is that fixed fortifications in unfriendly areas are not a good idea and most likely didn't do much to prevent Russia from invading the region. That isn't to say we should never intervene to prevent such a power from usurping resources, but keep in mind they already were the most resource-rich country on the planet. Such interventions need to be weighed by cost and benefit.

DarkWaters,

1. What makes you think that a group confident in Allah's protection values their life in the first place? In other words, why would individuals willing to kill themselves care about your show of force in Iran?

2. I don't care if we have a "well-known history" of joining altruistic conflicts - our troops joined specifically to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. When we send them to be sacrificial lambs, their rights are being violated.

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I'm rather inclined to think that I'm misreading your message. Are you seriously proposing to involve the US government in terrorist activity? Do you really want the Special Ops forces of the US Army to be branded terrorists?

I learned from Ayn Rand that one only defends oneself, not initiates attacks on others. There is no evidence that Iran has actually attacked the US as a matter of State policy. Until they do, we should restrict ourselves to reasoning with them.

Netafja

If Iran directly attacks our country, then we should bomb them. What we do know is that they fund and support radical, violent islamic terrorist groups that are killing our troops in Iraq, and that they beleive in the complete destruction of Israel, which is one of our allies. Anyone who threatens one of our allies, is our enemy. I think we should send in a special ops team to take out some upper level officials, and any terrorit cell that exists in Iran, istead of an invasion or carpet bombing. I think our government acts like they are scared to admit that people are our enemies, due to the fact that politicians are mainly worried about what the public thinks about them, and not standing by their conviction and beleifs. We need to declare Iran a threat and admit they are our enemy.

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Really? Are you explicitly saying that we should ignore all context and view the situation in a vacuum?

No, but so long as we have the power to dole out such punishment successfully, we ought to exercise that ability. I am not saying to consider it in a vaccuum - I am simply saying that the propriety vis a vis whether we are acting in our national interest or altruistically is not a part of the consideration of retaliation. It is an unrelated consideration. This is not the same as saying that there aren't any related considerations.

Let me ask you something. During the Battle of Mogadishu, on which the movie Black Hawk Down is based, 18 American soldiers were killed and many others wounded. Why aren't you calling for an invasion of Somalia? Sure, it was an altruistic mission that didn't serve our national defense at all, but our citizens were murdered! Are you going to let that go unpunished?

It's a little late, but if get in our time machines and play armchair general, then I would say YES. Flatten that area of that berg.

2. For all our faults, we emerged from the Cold War without any casualties, excluding the pointless proxy wars we fought in Korea and Vietnam. Why, then, are you now saying "we could have annihilated them [soviet Russia] with little loss on our side" using nukes? Doesn't history already indicate that it wasn't necessary?

I'm saying we could have avoided the casualties of the Korean and Vietnam wars by fighting properly and not being afraid of "escalation."

Such interventions need to be weighed by cost and benefit.

Sure, and I'll second Darkwaters' response about protecting property rights overseas. But the point is that there was that the USA was acting within its rights to do so - and you cannot say that Iran is absolved of any of the responsibility for murdering our citizens. Thus, the response to said murder is not effected by any consideration of the propriety of acting to defend property rights. As I said above, it is a separate and unrelated question to the question of what we ought to do to retaliate.

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