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Kate87

Syria Intervention

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...chemical weapons are a threat to us all because by their nature they are indiscriminate.

 

They target innocent children for example. 

 

And how does that differentiate chemical weapons from any other weapon?

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It appears that there is now a diplomatic solution on the table - Assad handing over his chemical weapons willingly. I hope this happens - chemical weapons are a threat to us all because by their nature they are indiscriminate.

 

They target innocent children for example. Am I right in saying that some Objectivists think it is morally acceptable to do this in war?

They're either indiscriminate or they target children. They can't be both.

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The difference between chemical and conventional weapons is that chemical weapons are WMD, they are not created in order to destroy a certain target like a bullet, missile or bomb, but everything living in the vicinity of its action. One cannot specifically aim chemical weapon, it completely eliminate difference between combatants and civil population. All damage it creates is collateral. I know that cynics would say that Tomahawk missile is not much different, but this is a question of degree. A missile aimed to the military target, collateral damage is not its main goal, it's accidental and regrettable and could be minimized. Chemical weapon is aimed to kill en mass, and therefore deeply immoral.

Edited by Leonid

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The difference between chemical and conventional weapons is that chemical weapons are WMD, they are not created in order to destroy a certain target like a bullet, missile or bomb, but everything living in the vicinity of its action. One cannot specifically aim chemical weapon, it completely eliminate difference between combatants and civil population. All damage it creates is collateral. I know that cynics would say that Tomahawk missile is not much different, but this is a question of degree. A missile aimed to the military target, collateral damage is not its main goal, it's accidental and regrettable and could be minimized. Chemical weapon is aimed to kill en mass, and therefore deeply immoral.

 

If that is what Kate meant by "indiscriminate", I tend to agree.

Edited by thenelli01

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"Syrian rebel leader claims that the Assad regime has transferred chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah amid talks to ensure the transfer of Syria’s WMDs to international authorities for destruction."

http://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-rebel-chief-claims-assad-gave-hezbollah-nerve-gas/

 

Now, if there is still anybody who doesn't think that to destroy Assad and his regime is an act of self-preservation?

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Kate 87:

A free country has the right to defend itself by any means necessary.

If someone pulls a gun on you, you have the right to shoot them regardless of whether it turns out to be a toy or unloaded or whatever. In a criminal trial you have the [delegated] right to fine, imprison or ultimately kill whomever is convicted, regardless of whatever evidence may later be found.

You can't be expected to be omniscient or all powerful; whatever is necessary is permitted.

So if it's necessary to gas the enemy population, in order to defend our own, a free country has the right to. But i sincerely doubt that'll ever be necessary for America. Israel might have to resort to that someday, but hopefully not in any of our lifetimes.

Nicky: see above. We have the right to such, regardless of whether or not we excersize it.

Now, since the badness of these chemical weapons stems from their effectiveness relative to their complexity, it's obvious that we must next outlaw pipebombs. No army on earth has the right to pipebombs or sick cattle (ghengis kahn?)

What about napalm?

Let's stop pretending it's just about the weapons. It's primarily an issue of who has them.

And as far as that goes, yes; i am saying that it is completely impossible to rid the world of any tool or substance. As factual support i give you every instance of prohibition in all of human history.

Drugs, liquor, guns, knives, wmds or even Jews: take your pick. It has never and can never work.

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I would retract my earlier comments about priorities, though, if he's handed this stuff over to hezbollah.

That would be an attack on America (including me) by proxy.

Yes, that would. Obama betrayed America again.

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Now, since the badness of these chemical weapons stems from their effectiveness relative to their complexity

Badness? Good and evil aren't the attributes of inanimate objects. You asked me what the problem is with chemical weapons, and I told you. You never asked me whether they're good or bad.

 

Since you can't be bothered to make a thoughtful response, or even quote what you're responding to so that you can at least accidentally figure out that you're building strawmen left and right, I won't bother talking to you anymore.

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It appears that there is now a diplomatic solution on the table - Assad handing over his chemical weapons willingly. I hope this happens - chemical weapons are a threat to us all because by their nature they are indiscriminate.

 

They target innocent children for example. Am I right in saying that some Objectivists think it is morally acceptable to do this in war?

No Objectivist would think it's morally acceptable to target children, unless they are being used to build weapons for the enemy. But, of course, like I pointed out above, weapons of mass destruction don't TARGET children. That's a contradiction it terms.

 

Objectivists would find it acceptable to use weapons of mass destruction against an enemy population, yes. Not to target children, but to target the people who are building the enemy war machine. Objectivists don't consider it a free nation's responsibility to avoid collateral damage in an enemy country, at the expense of its own fighters.

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Every time people want government(s) to react to a crisis, they invoke: "We must save the children!" Public schools want more funding: "It's for the children!" Obamacare: "It's for the children!" food stamps, gun-control, ect.

Do you suppose the Syrian rebels considered the dirty methods of modern warfare at the disposal of the Assads when they rebelled in 1982? They don't even know how many tens of thousands of children were murdered then. In the last several years, thousands more children have been slaughtered in numerous fronts, mostly civil wars, around the world. Where was the urgency then? Indeed, war is morally wrong, unless the combatants are men of free-will, fighting to maintain the freedom they hold as their highest value. As for the children of irrational parents living in tribal societies, such as Syria, I wouldn't waste my sympathy, until they demonstrate their desire to form a secular society that respects property rights, and a willingness to settle disputes in a court of just law, rather than tribal blood feuds. Their surviving children will most likely become the suicide bombers of tomorrow. This is regettable, but it's their way.

Edited by Repairman

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Two years later and the U.S. and Turkey have been pussyfooting in Syria because they want to fight ISIS but they don't want to empower Assad either. So, now, the Russians are going to do the dirty-work, by supporting Assad and going after both ISIS and also moderates who are against Assad. 

As much as I dislike Putin, I'm glad the Russian are taking control.

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Two years later and the U.S. and Turkey have been pussyfooting in Syria because they want to fight ISIS but they don't want to empower Assad either. So, now, the Russians are going to do the dirty-work, by supporting Assad and going after both ISIS and also moderates who are against Assad. 

As much as I dislike Putin, I'm glad the Russian are taking control.

It's good for the Syrian people, in the short term. If they are successful, that is. But this is not a war between Russia and ISIS. If it was just Russia, everyone would be fine with it.

But this is a war between the Iran, Assad and Hezbollah alliance, against pretty much everyone else in the region. A victory for Assad will also empower Iran and Hezbollah, who are going to be doing the actual fighting, with what looks like Russian air support.

I also have my doubts about how effective the Russian air campaign will be. I think this attempt to win the civil war for Assad depends a lot more on the scale of the Iranian ground intervention than on the Russians.

The US intelligence community might also see this as an opportunity for some payback against the Iranians (who have been complicit in the killing of US troops fighting in the region for the last decade and a half). If the US is willing to step up military aid and special forces support for rebel forces (including some of the Islamists not openly allied with Al Qaeda and ISIS), there's a good chance the Iranians could be defeated, just like the Russians were defeated in Afghanistan.

And other countries in the region, like Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, might also double their efforts against Assad and his allies (especially Iran and Hezbollah - I doubt any nation wants to see Russian casualties). So, depending on what the nations opposing Assad and Iran do, this could actually escalate the civil war, and cause even more civilian casualties, rather than solve anything.

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I agree, the real danger is the ascendancy of Iran. By deposing Saddam, the U.S. gave Iran a sphere of influence going all the way to Syria's Mediterranean coast. 

Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia better figure out among themselves how they're going to contain Iran without also supporting ISIS. Maybe the Kurds will start to threaten independence once again, though Turkey will not like that.

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