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Would you like to bomb Iran?

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My apologies for the delayed response.

DarkWaters,

1. As I told you in chat, I don't accept the WWII analogy because I think Jihadists are far more mystic and depraved than the Imperial Japanese. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

2. I looked back and I did indeed say our troops joined specifically for defending the constitution - that was bad wording. My intention was to say that that's their purpose, whether they know it or not.

Here's the thing: Since you (correctly) point out that most service members don't explicitly join to protect the constitution, you must also accept that most don't explicitly join to engage in altruistic missions crippled with altruistic rules. If they signed a piece of paper agreeing to that, you'd have a point, but the mere fact that we have a "well-known history" of it does not imply universal acceptance.

3. You are wrong to say claim that it's moral to overthrow dictators like Saddam "as long as they do not wish to replace him with another brutal dictatorship." It is a well-established fact that Saddam did not pose a threat to us., and as Brook and Epstein said, a nation can morally go to war only for the purpose of self-defense.

Inspector,

Okay, let me try something different. I'm going to create a dialog between two people, and you tell me if I have it right.

Alice: What is the purpose of the U.S. military?

Bob: To protect U.S. citizens from foreign threats.

Alice: What if they try to bring aid to starving Foolanders?

Bob: They are contradicting their purpose.

Alice: What if they are attacked by Barlanders in the process?

Bob: Invade Barland.

Alice: But Barland isn't a foreign threat to U.S. citizens. They only attack our military while we're in Fooland, which we shouldn't be in anyway!

Bob: Ah, but they are a foreign threat to U.S. citizens, because military servicemen are U.S. citizens, too!

Alice: Okay, but how are they a threat to the 99.999% of the U.S. population that isn't part of the specific military unit feeding starving Foolanders?

Bob: In no way whatsoever.

Alice: So you're going to initiate a war on Barland, potentially spending billions of dollars and killing hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians, when they aren't even a threat to the vast majority of Americans?

Bob: Yes. We can't let them get away with murdering our citizens.

Does this characterize your views correctly?

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3. You are wrong to say claim that it's moral to overthrow dictators like Saddam "as long as they do not wish to replace him with another brutal dictatorship." It is a well-established fact that Saddam did not pose a threat to us., and as Brook and Epstein said, a nation can morally go to war only for the purpose of self-defense.
It is moral to overthrow dictators, but without a threat from the dictator, this would be an optional value. However, it is not moral to force other people (e.g. your countrymen who see no threat at all, and who don't wish to fight) to risk their lives and spend their money to take out such a (non-threatening) dictator.

Therefore, I agree that in the context of a government like the U.S., it is not right to send kids to die unless such a fight is required for the defense of U.S. people or property, whether geographically located inside or outside the U.S. Somehow, the fight must be traced back to such a motivation, otherwise it is not worth the lives lost.

In retrospect it appears that Sadaam did not pose a threat, and the U.S. ought not to have invaded Iraq. If the U.S. had other intentions...for instance, to use Iraq as a springboard to attack some other middle-east country that was a threat, that might have been justified. Similarly, if the U.S. genuinely believed that Sadaam did pose a threat, then too an invasion would have been justified.

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You must also accept that most don't explicitly join to engage in altruistic missions crippled with altruistic rules. If they signed a piece of paper agreeing to that, you'd have a point, but the mere fact that we have a "well-known history" of it does not imply universal acceptance.

We would be headed towards another Dark Age if most military volunteers did so out of a fully conscious and fathomed principle of self-sacrifice.

I honestly am still struggling with how a volunteer army, with a well known history of fighting wars that are not necessarily for self-defense, violates the rights of the volunteers by starting another war that is not in the name of self-defense. Fighting an altruistic war or a war of unjust aggression is obvious still bad.

I am thinking that Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein's statement was made in the context of a proper government that only uses the military for issues of national defense. In this situation, if the otherwise just government inexplicably sent the troops to fight a war that was not moral according to a foreign policy of self-interest, then it definitely would be a violation of the rights of the military volunteers. Of course, this is assuming that the cadets were not given a choice to abstain from service for this war.

So in both situations, military service is voluntary but all volunteers must participate in any ongoing war that is fought during their time of service. However, in the former case, the volunteers have a priori information that the wars are not necessarily fought according to a foreign policy of self-interest. In the latter case, the army only fought wars that were just according to a foreign policy of self-interest at the time additional volunteers were accepted (whose rights were subsequently violated).

The outstanding issue is if it is reasonable to expect young volunteers to be aware of the army's activities before volunteering. At present, I do not see why such an expectation is not reasonable.

Do any of the Objectivist heavyweights on this forum have an opinion on this?

You are wrong to say claim that it's moral to overthrow dictators like Saddam "as long as they do not wish to replace him with another brutal dictatorship." It is a well-established fact that Saddam did not pose a threat to us., and as Brook and Epstein said, a nation can morally go to war only for the purpose of self-defense.

I think your statement assumes a package-deal, but I do not have anything else to add given softwareNerd's well articulated response.

Edited by DarkWaters

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Does this characterize your views correctly?

No; you've missed it again. Allow me to re-create it, with the parts in bold being what I've altered.

Alice: What is the purpose of the U.S. military?

Bob: To protect U.S. citizens from foreign threats.

Alice: What if they try to bring aid to starving Foolanders?

Bob: They are contradicting their purpose.

Alice: What if they are attacked by Barlanders in the process?

Bob: Bomb Barland.

Alice: But Barland isn't a foreign threat to U.S. citizens. They only attack our military while we're in Fooland, which we shouldn't be in anyway!

Bob: Ah, but they are a foreign threat to U.S. citizens, because military servicemen are U.S. citizens, too!

Alice: Okay, but how are they a threat to the 99.999% of the U.S. population that isn't part of the specific military unit feeding starving Foolanders?

Bob: The principle that nobody gets away with killing American citizens is at stake. You have to think in principle and not pragmatically.

Alice: So you're going to initiate a war on Barland, potentially spending billions of dollars and killing hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians, when they aren't even a threat to the vast majority of Americans?

Bob: No. We won't have initiaiated the war - the Barlanders will have initiated it. And bombs are cheap, especially if you aren't going out of your way to avoid casualties. And again - to say they "aren't a threat" is to subscribe to philosophic pragmatism and to believe that letting murderers get away with murder will not embolden our enemies, allowing them to grow into a threat to more than .0001% of the population years down the road. Let's look at your logic here - we should consider our military response based on what percentage of Americans are threatened? What percentage of Americans died in 9/11? Or even Pearl Harbor for that matter? Don't you see where pragmatism gets you?

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I think I've gone as far as possible on the subjects I'm discussing with DarkWaters so I'm going to focus on the one with Inspector. If anyone would like to chime in, feel free.

1. On the minor change from "invade" to "bomb," allow me to quote Dr. Peikoff: This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended.

You may disagree with him, of course, but it is certainly not the standard Objectivist position we can get rid of everything but the Air Force and just drop "cheap" bombs on our enemies.

2. Let's talk about percentages. A very tiny fraction of 1 percent of the American population died on 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, obviously, but 100% of it was threatened thereafter of being attacked. On the other hand, there is no indication at all that because your humanitarian force was attacked by Barlanders, they will ever target your non-military citizens. Therefore, bad comparison.

3. Let's talk about the "principle that nobody gets away with killing American citizens." Not only is it too late for that (we've gone 30 years without responding), but there is no indication that the 9/11 terrorists were at all emboldened by such lack of response. Unless you can point me to where they specifically cited it, this is all conjecture. The only thing bin Laden has cited to show we're a paper tiger is our action in Mogadishu.

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The premise held by ARI and some oists, is that the "War on Terror" is somehow analogue to WWII.

I can think of WWI, WWII and The COld WAr as a single conflict in which Euro-Monarchies (either traditional or fascist) are beaten and replaced by two Federal Empires in America and in North Asia, dividing all of Europe as if it was Poland 6 years earlier.

This is almoast as historically "justifiable" as when mossaic feudalism was replaced by national states some 5 centuries before, but with the added peculiarity that 3/4 of the world "decolonized" and needed a moral leader to get it back at Whitey. I think after the socialist collapse the moslems filled that role perfectly.

Now, remember that while fighting Socialist Totalitarian Germany we allied we Socialist Totalitarian Russia? Only to then sorta fight Russia?

Maybe now we are regarding IRan, HEzzbullah, and Yemen as the small defeatable nazis, and the rest of the 1 billion muslims (led by our friend the Arabian Kingdom) as the lesser deamon we should pacify and outcompete (just as we did with Russia!).

Of course there're a lot of bad premises in this. Namely that the same group who initiated war inthe middle east is trying to boost the second coming of Cthulhu in Jerusalem, so they'¡re also defending Israel for all the wrong reasons.

How would some ICBMS solve this? U'd have to deploy enough to kill off all Pakistan and Indonesia and Britain for that matter. THere's no way of achieving an unconditional rendition like with Japan. This is not a centralized movement. When you kick down the king you find out a pawn is proclaiming king. And so on.

I think we're in the Middle East not for *our* oil needs, but Europe's. Europe gets islamized (and finally completes its apology for being pale) demographically, the Middle East gets westernized millitarilly. The Mediterranean expansion of the EU finally takes place. Police represion both take care of "neonazis" in Europe, and "extremist moslems" in the Mideast.

A bigger, multicultural, devoid of any sense of life Eurasia is born and ready to be socially engineered by superior experts like the Bilderbergers or whoever.

In the meanwhile America does the same (though a lot more peacefully) by incorporating MExico and Canada.

IT's the end of nation-states and it's not gonna come easily.

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3. Let's talk about the "principle that nobody gets away with killing American citizens." Not only is it too late for that (we've gone 30 years without responding), ...
One cannot really take that as an excuse to do nothing at all. I will grant you this: if the U.S. is going to shape up its foreign policy and start really getting tough, it makes sense to give some type of notice ot this, by real warnings and real acts. It doesn't make sense to be like a person who smiles and flinchs mildly when harassed and then, all of a sudden, blows up and massacres the culprit. The starting point of a rational approach would be to decide what we need to do. Only after that, should we ask ourselves how we can undo the past impression of inaction that we have been guilty of.

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1. On the minor change from "invade" to "bomb," allow me to quote Dr. Peikoff: This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended.

You may disagree with him, of course, but it is certainly not the standard Objectivist position we can get rid of everything but the Air Force and just drop "cheap" bombs on our enemies.

I thought we were discussing Barland, not Iran? And Barland was an analogue for Mogadishu. You're mixing up your metaphors here.

2. Let's talk about percentages. A very tiny fraction of 1 percent of the American population died on 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, obviously, but 100% of it was threatened thereafter of being attacked. On the other hand, there is no indication at all that because your humanitarian force was attacked by Barlanders, they will ever target your non-military citizens. Therefore, bad comparison.

Are you suggesting that Al Qaeda so far has the capability to further threaten a larger percentage of the American population? As in, a significant percentage that would, on the strictly pragmatic basis that you are operating on, justify our expenditure of blood and treasure in Afghanistan?

3. Let's talk about the "principle that nobody gets away with killing American citizens." Not only is it too late for that (we've gone 30 years without responding), but there is no indication that the 9/11 terrorists were at all emboldened by such lack of response. Unless you can point me to where they specifically cited it, this is all conjecture. The only thing bin Laden has cited to show we're a paper tiger is our action in Mogadishu.

Wait, are you talking about Barland or Iran or Mogadishu? Because you seem to be opposed to upholding the principle in any of those cases, and right there you just admitted that Bin Laden has cited America failing to uphold that principle in Mogadishu as direct cause for his attacks on us. And if you're talking about Iran, they are right now attacking us in Iraq, so there's no point in citing the "30 years gone" thing.

And besides, Softwarenerd is precisely correct here: you have to start somewhere. Past cowardice can't forever dictate our policy. At some point, we have to grow a spine, give notice of that fact, and then act on it.

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Below is the relevant statement bin Laden made. I hadn't realized until now, but he also mentioned the Beirut bombing right before mentioning Mogadishu. I think that works in your favor more than mine as far as this debate goes. I need some time to think about it. If his obscene cockiness is not just an artifact of the translation, these words can make your case more compellingly than anything else.

Few days ago the news agencies had reported that the Defence Secretary of the Crusading Americans had said that " the explosion at Riyadh and AlKhobar had taught him one lesson: that is not to withdraw when attacked by coward terrorists" .

We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 CE (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in less than twenty four hours!

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia whereafter vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the " heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the " chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu.

Source: DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE AMERICANS OCCUPYING THE LAND OF THE TWO HOLY PLACES

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I'm just wondering what you people think about the Iranian coup... it might be lack of information but wouldn't that make America the one that started the war?

This comment isn't ment to be snark... I'm just genuinely curious.

I already asked this in the Osama thread which was admittedly a bit of topic. At this point I'm really confused about the war on terorism and I would like to get it cleared up.

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The Objective Standard on Iran. Included is a hypothetical statement that the President should make to the various anti-regime movements in Iran:

Beginning now, America unequivocally supports and encourages any and all efforts on your part to overthrow the tyrannical regime in Iran, to free yourselves from its unjust, brutal rule, and to establish a rights-respecting republic that can thrive and trade with the rest of the free world. The creation of such a republic in Iran is in all of our best interests....

As for U.S. technological and military assistance in your effort to overthrow the regime, we are open to that possibility—but only in coordination with a movement explicitly dedicated to the principle of individual rights and to the establishment and maintenance of a government that recognizes and protects the rights of all people equally. If you make explicit that the goal of your movement is the establishment of a genuine, right-respecting republic, and if you then need assistance in ousting the current regime, America will provide you with technology, weapons, and training to accomplish that goal.

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