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My boss gave me the following scenario on Friday and asked what I would do. I'm curious what your thoughts are.

You're locked in a room with another person. That person has their back to you, claims he is assembling a gun, and when finished, he will kill you with it. From what you can see and hear, they seem to be telling the truth. You have a gun to defend yourself. Do you shoot them?

My answer was, I'd shoot him first before he could even turn around, but then I followed with, that's a highly unlikely scenario. My boss corrected me by pointing out that this is the same situation Israel is in with Iran. Iran says it is building nuclear weapons, there is evidence that they are and they have flat out stated that they plan to destroy Israel. Do you think it's moral for Israel to initiate force in this situation, or has Iran already initiated force just by the threat that appears to be true?

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My boss gave me the following scenario on Friday and asked what I would do. I'm curious what your thoughts are.

You're locked in a room with another person. That person has their back to you, claims he is assembling a gun, and when finished, he will kill you with it. From what you can see and hear, they seem to be telling the truth. You have a gun to defend yourself. Do you shoot them?

My answer was, I'd shoot him first before he could even turn around, but then I followed with, that's a highly unlikely scenario. My boss corrected me by pointing out that this is the same situation Israel is in with Iran. Iran says it is building nuclear weapons, there is evidence that they are and they have flat out stated that they plan to destroy Israel. Do you think it's moral for Israel to initiate force in this situation, or has Iran already initiated force just by the threat that appears to be true?

If it was me, he'd have two in the chest and one in the head before he got done putting the bolt together. Likewise with Ahmadinejad et. al.

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If ...

  • you rationally believe that someone's going to kill you; and,
  • you have no way to get away; and,
  • nor can anybody else (like a cop) come to help you,

you must do whatever is required to save your life. Killing him is not a big deal, after all he's trying to kill you.

The same for Iran.

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Welllll.....

Am I still locked in the room after I kill him? Can I shoot the lock instead? Can I verbally challenge him (i.e. "I have a fully assembled gun right now and if you don't turn around and cease what you are doing I'm going to shoot you.")

I hate hypotheticals. :(

Edited by RationalBiker
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My boss corrected me by pointing out that this is the same situation Israel is in with Iran. Iran says it is building nuclear weapons, there is evidence that they are and they have flat out stated that they plan to destroy Israel. Do you think it's moral for Israel to initiate force in this situation, or has Iran already initiated force just by the threat that appears to be true?

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." Ahmadinejad provoked a world outcry in October when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=d8...;show_article=1

These are pretty unabmiguous statements. Both Israel and the US should take this threat seriously.

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Waiting for someone to "initiate" force against you is incredibly dangerous, as one single gunshot would be enough to "initiate" AND end a confrontation. It would be ignorant to wait around for them to do so. As others have said, the threat alone, if you rationally believe he is telling the truth, is enough to strike first.

And your boss is right about Israel. There's that big big threat looming around, yet our diplomats are just proposing talks. To think, the only place you would need to learn the solution is on a playground. From my own personal experiences (when I was in Jr. High and still very immature, I might add), I noticed the two guys I got into a fight with never picked on me again, so striking Iran would do the same to end the threats (considering a school ground bully and a high-and-mighty dictator share just about the same mentality).

Can I shoot the lock instead?

lol They just tested this myth on Mythbusters last week. A handgun isn't potent enough to do it, but something higher will, such as a shotgun. You will most likely get hit with shrapnel though. Ouch.

Edited by Benpercent
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lol They just tested this myth on Mythbusters last week. A handgun isn't potent enough to do it, but something higher will, such as a shotgun. You will most likely get hit with shrapnel, though. Ouch.

That depends on the lock quality and type.

Aside from that, the average exterior door can be kicked through relatively easily. Interior doors are a joke.

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"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." Ahmadinejad provoked a world outcry in October when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=d8...;show_article=1

These are pretty unabmiguous statements. Both Israel and the US should take this threat seriously.

Just to point out that there could be a communication problem if both parties involved do not base their speech on the same definitions and/or language:

The quote is wrong, lost in translation so to speak, or to put it better: It can't be translated directly without using the context. Literally he said that the 'regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007...ff_the_map.html

Of course removing a "regime" is a threat against the country that elected it.

In the end the situation portrayed is (as was already stated) hypothetical. Reality is not a prisoner's dilemma.

Edited by Clawg
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Are your feet nailed to the floor?

I'd take my gun at the ready and walk to a point where I could see what he was doing.

No doubt Israel (Mosad) is doing this as we speak in some way or another.

Once you (they) get confirmation, there is of course no question what should be done.

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Do you think it's moral for Israel to initiate force in this situation, or has Iran already initiated force just by the threat that appears to be true?

I think we should take people at their word especially when they make threats. Therefore Israel has all the moral right to do what's necessary to render the Iranian threat impotent. There are other considerations, too. iran has been financing, training and arming Israel's enemies for over 25 years. Hezbollah in Lebanon, against whom two wars have been necessary, and Hammas in Gaza, who shoot rockets into Israel every day.

So beyond whether or not Iran is or is not really threatening Israel with nuclear weapons, it has attacked her indirectly for many years and Israel can, and should, defend herself.

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  • 1 month later...

Is it?? I totally disagree. The only thing that makes it complicated is when people worry about what others will think. (Political correctness.) Otherwise, it's a clear cut case of self-defense.

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Is it?? I totally disagree. The only thing that makes it complicated is when people worry about what others will think. (Political correctness.) Otherwise, it's a clear cut case of self-defense.

I'm really trying hard to understand this.

You feel justified in eliminating eleven million (11,000,000) lives in retaliation (okay, "self defense") for an act committed by a terrorist group (which has no affiliation with said eleven MILLION innocent people) that happened seven years ago?

Am I the only one this doesn't make sense to?

It has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with morals. It is NOT right to take innocent lives. He only justification is a direct, viable, adn current threat against YOUR life (i.e. a knife fight) or the defense of your family.

I'm sorry but i just don't find 11 million middle easterners trying to live their lives to be a threat.

It's the same thing if Japan today decided to nuke a hundred of our largest cities for every city that was nuked in WWII.

Thats two hundred cities, hundreds of millions of lives, trillions of dollars in damage, all this wiped off the map.

I just really don't get it.

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You feel justified in eliminating eleven million (11,000,000) lives in retaliation (okay, "self defense") for an act committed by a terrorist group (which has no affiliation with said eleven MILLION innocent people) that happened seven years ago?

You are correct that it wouldn't be proper to simply decide to use nuclear weapons, without warning, years after an attack. A much better tactic would be to issue an ultimatum to our enemies: if you are building weapons of mass destruction and we have proof, and you do not stop when commanded, then you will face nuclear retaliation. In that case, any resulting death would be the fault of the enemy government.

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The only way to win a war, is to bring the enemy to its knees in complete and total submission. (See, well, uh, history.) :P Unfortunately, "innocent" lives are lost during wars; however, if the Iranian people don't like the situation their leadership is putting them in, they should be doing something about it.

In addition, I didn't say you had to blow the whole country off the face of the planet. Since Israel pretty much has access to the entire US arsenal (either we've already provided it to them or they could request it, and probably get it), I am fairly certain they could do some specific targeting with minimal "collateral" damage.

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Iran says it is building nuclear weapons, there is evidence that they are and they have flat out stated that they plan to destroy Israel.

How true is this is exactly. We know Iran is building nuclear reactors. That's about it.

if you are building weapons of mass destruction and we have proof,

We didn't really need any proof of WMDs before. Why start now? Plus, if we get there and they don't have any, these obviously shipped them somewhere else.

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The only way to win a war, is to bring the enemy to its knees in complete and total submission. (See, well, uh, history.) :P Unfortunately, "innocent" lives are lost during wars; however, if the Iranian people don't like the situation their leadership is putting them in, they should be doing something about it.

In addition, I didn't say you had to blow the whole country off the face of the planet. Since Israel pretty much has access to the entire US arsenal (either we've already provided it to them or they could request it, and probably get it), I am fairly certain they could do some specific targeting with minimal "collateral" damage.

What about 10 other countries that have more 100,000 nukes?

Why don't we threaten them?

Oh, cause we can't do anything about it.

Whatever, if they become a serious threat, I understand, but there is nothing wrong with compromise.

Let's hope the heads of state feel the same way!

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We didn't really need any proof of WMDs before. Why start now? Plus, if we get there and they don't have any, these obviously shipped them somewhere else.

What we should do is simply use the threat of force as much as possible. If we aren't sure that Iran is building nuclear weapons, send in inspectors. This would have to be done without notice, with the understanding that any interference will be considered an act of war. Is there a suspicious sattelite photo? Send some helicopters down to investigate. At the same time, call the Iranian regime and inform it that it must allow the inspection. This way, there would be no way for the regime to move the weapons, and we would always be able to check the validity of surveillance photos. If the regime threatens to shoot down the helicopters, and complains about violations of it's "airspace", fly a large squadron of fighter planes over Tehran.

If a United States President would state, unequivocally, that any belligerence toward us will be met with military force, our allies would grow rapidly, and our enemies would cower in fear lest they anger us. This state of affairs could probably be brought about bloodlessly, perhaps excepting a few small "examples". If dictator X hears that dictator Y didn't cooperate with America, and that his mansion was fire-bombed days later, dictator X will think twice about his own behavior. From what I have heard, this policy has been used intermittently by Israel, and has been very successful when it was followed.

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We didn't really need any proof of WMDs before. Why start now? Plus, if we get there and they don't have any, these obviously shipped them somewhere else.

Uh, Saddam had gassed the Kurds. It's not a pretty sight and you can probably find videos of the aftermath on the internet. He had WMDs...where they went and at what time seems to be the only confusion.

What about 10 other countries that have more 100,000 nukes?

If they are directly threatening another country with promise of a strike, as Iran is with Israel, then yes, they should be threatened with war. If you value your life and your freedom, you have to be willing to protect it. (See the first post for the scenario of this thread. Are you saying you would wait for them to assemble the gun and point it at you or shoot you before you think you have the right to do anything?)

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What about 10 other countries that have more 100,000 nukes?

I agree with what K-Mac said. Also, I don't think any of our current enemies have significant nuclear arsenals. Should we wait until they do? Why should we cooperate with feeble totalitarian regimes whose only real weapon is our own guilt?

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What we should do is simply use the threat of force as much as possible. If we aren't sure that Iran is building nuclear weapons, send in inspectors. This would have to be done without notice, with the understanding that any interference will be considered an act of war.

This sounds so much like the way they handled the whole Afghanistan/Irag situation.

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What we should do is simply use the threat of force as much as possible.

I think the more often you threaten the less effective it is and in the long run probably net you more animosity and/or suspicion internationally. Ideally it is probably more effective if you use the threat of force sparingly but forcefully, and with an unequivocal moral position.

If a United States President would state, unequivocally, that any belligerence toward us will be met with military force, our allies would grow rapidly, and our enemies would cower in fear lest they anger us.

It is not that I disagree with this sentiment, but this would be viable only if the moral judgment of the United States was beyond reproach. For instance we couldn't just make like Commodore Perry and just park a ship in another country's sea port, demand that they open up trade with the aid of cannons, and then deem the retaliating samurai as a sign of belligerence. More recently, that whole deal with WMDs and Iraq is sure to raise questions about the United States' dubious motivations for invasion. Historically the military actions of the United States has not always been necessarily justified. It isn't hard to see why another country might worry that the United States would simply make up some sort of false accusation as an excuse for invasion in order to expand our interests through force. Without an extremely strong moral position EVERY SINGLE TIME we use force, we'll just end up with a network of allies based on duress and a web of underground enemies (kind of like the way it is right now).

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