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Why be pro-American Foreign Policy?

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Tryptonique
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Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next."

With this in mind I have two questions:

1) What makes you think that U.S intervention would make things better?

2) Why is it that Objectivists routinely uphold that American foreign policy is morally superior to Muslim terrorists?

The reasons for my questions are as follows:

Rreasons for question 1:

Vietnam. Our intervention there killed lots and lots of people. Did things really get better? Same thing with our Latin American interventions during the 1980's. How about the installation of a puppet government in Iran that was pretty brutal (The Shah)? We know how much Iranians loved that violation of their sovereignty right? They loved it so much that it became a rallying cry used to recruit terrorists and was the reason why Ayatollah Kohmeini was able to garner so much popular support (he was a political exile of the Shah's regime).

More importantly, we are currently unable to prevent terrorists from entering via the Iraq-Syria border. We are also unable to protect Iraqi politicians and civilians from the terrorists. The security forces are also getting killed quite regularly. How would extending our current involvment in the Middle East be any better? Our troops are already stretched horribly as it is. There isn't really any way to pull out of Iraq and have it NOT decend into a chaotic mess until it is stabalized which could take many years.

Reasons for question 2:

If one is claiming to be morally superior to brutal rapists, you can't support rapists with money and weapons can you? People would think pretty poorly of me if I said "those morally inferior Christian people are such scum philosophically speaking and with how they treat their women" and then saw that I donated $10,000 to Billy Graham’s charity drive or was hob knobbing with Pat Robertson.

We claim to be superior to Muslim terrorists...but why isn't anyone pointing out the obvious fact that many of our actions support terrorism in 2 ways:

a) Actual funding, training, and weapons selling.

Has anyone forgotten Iran Contra? Yeah...we sold weapons to Iran. How about selling weapons to our OLD buddy Saddam Hussein. Or how training and financing the ISI which in turn passed on that training and funding to Islamic "freedom fighters" (read = Taliban) to help fight the Ruskies in Afghanistan? We are all aware that that training was quickly turned against us in the form of Al-Qaeda right? We call many of these regimes state sponsors of terror...so why are we superior as past sponsors of those states?

Anyone have the answer as to where Iran got it's 5 megawatt reactor from for it's Tehran Nuclear Research Center? If you guessed the United States you would be correct.

B- It seems to me that several actions of the United States could actually be equated with terrorist actions. (Gee whiz).

-Almost our entire Latin American foreign policy under Ronald Reagan, John Negroponte, and George H.W Bush during the 1980's.

One shining example of this would be the mining of Managua in Nicaragua.

Another good one is that we were so freaked out about the Sandanistas (who were freely elected I might add) that we decided to sponsor a guerilla group to overthrow them. Turns out, those Sandanistas didn't really require that. They lost elections in Feb 25th of 1990 and peacefully stepped down. Gee golly.

Or El Salvadorian/ Honduran death squads that were funded and trained by the United States that killed numerous civilians including Oscar Romero (a Catholic priest).

Or the CIA backed overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala (A communist) that thrust Guatemala into 36 years of Civil War and political unrest (100,000 casualties).

-Keeping the Saudi Royal family in power which is tacit support of a pretty repressive Islamic regime.

-The bombing of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. Claimed by Clinton to have been making chemical weapons, it was actually the countries main source of malaria drugs and thousands of Sudanese civilians died as a result.

The justification was that there was EMPTA in the soil samples taken around the plant (which later turned out to be pretty blatantly false).

In careful subsequent testing of the site, no Empta was found. After exhaustive and systematic analysis of samples collected from various locations at Al Shifa, professor Thomas D. Tullius, chairman of the chemistry department at Boston University, declared in The New York Times that "in those samples, to the practical limits of scientific deduction, there was no Empta, or Empa, its breakdown product."

My last question of the day is quite simple : If Objectivists recognize that the American government is a mixed bag (philosophically speaking) with often mixed results (both good and bad) then why the blatant jingoism and pro-America drum beating? Is it any real surprise that such mixed bag philosophies are applied with often poor results?

Edited by Tryptonique
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Oh no, not another libertarian! <_< We have been addressing this issue on who knows how many threads. Please do a search.

I'm not a libertarian in any way whatsoever, so drop the ad hominems.

From everything I have read TOC is a load of bunk that supports Christianity and a whole lot of of other nonsense. I never once advocated any anarcho-capitalist ideas (because they are stupid as Ayn Rand pointed out repeatedly). I believe 100% in the ideas of capitalism, government non-intervention in the lives of it's citizens unless it is to punish some coercive act, atheism, the law of non-contradiction, the supremacy of reason, etc. Everything I have read about libertarianism strikes me as warped and misguided from Rothbardian Libertarianism all the way to the other mixed bag crap that is espoused in other circles. I'm not calling Israel terrorists or any other silly crap that libertarians do. Israel actually has some balls when fighting terrorists (or it least it used to. read = Entebbe) and doesn't contribute to it's own demise by providing its enemies with weapons and training. If anything, I see Israel as being the ideal model for the U.S to follow foreign policy wise. You don't see them giving Iran light water nuclear reactors and wondering why they are now producing nuke weapons designed to hold the world hostage. I'm no Muslim apologist here. I think their philosophy is shit because it is predicated on blatant hatred of capitalism and is an anti-life philosophy that labels illogical behavior as man's philosophical ideal. Didn't we freeze Libya's assets for Pan Am 103 because they were labeled a state sponsor of terror? They didn't actually have any part of the operation, but they provided shelter to the people who funded and carried out the attack on an innocent jet liner. What about America who harbors people (government officials) who claim that they have a legitimate right to your money and a right to send it to the people who want to cut your throats like Nick Berg's?I read the indictment of Islam under the member writing of this very forum and agree 100%. Islam IS shit and I wouldn't be shedding any tears if every mullah received a bullet to their brain courtesy of the U.S government.The fact is though, I'm a big enough realist to realize that doing so would only further fuel the ranks of terrorists. What happens when you kill a Wesley Mouch? One more steps up in their place. Isn't that all we are doing here? Why aren't we shrugging and defending ourselves when there is an actual threat instead of playing the terrorist game. Why are my tax dollars going to rebuild one more crappy third world country when that money should be given straight back to the people who put it in and never taken out of our checks to begin with? Is it in my best interest to have one more unstable country for Al-Zarqawi to run free in? Is it in my best interest to fund policies that were ultimately misguided (For the love of reason, the CIA itself has admitted it's intelligence and justification for going to war was 100% wrong).I know if asked I wouldn't have sent a lightwater reactor to Iran. I also wouldn't have funded a useless excursion into Iraq to get rid of Saddam and establish democracy (which wasn't the original argument in the first place, it was WMD's that haven't turned up which is just another example of the mixed bag philosophy that is embodied in our government). Objectivism is a closed system. It has very set and defined parameters about what it is and what it isn't. The same thing with the "trendy" people like Angelina Jolie who declare their interest for Objectivism and go work with the anti-Israeli United Nations. Ayn Rand was pro reason which meant she was pro-individualist by default because individualism is a necessary byproduct of reason and the nature of our metaphysical existence. People who go with Objectivism because "everyone else is" are rejecting the reality that Ayn Rand put a premium on reason. Thus, I don't consider how one could be Objectivist and pro-American government at the same time. It strikes me as the same problem as people who take up Objectivism as a passing fad.

I'm asking an honest question here that is provoked by honest motives. I love Objectivism and what it stands for. I can't stand perversions of it's truth which is why I think libertarians are evil bastards. Objectivism says that A = A...no exceptions to that rule. When A appears to be not-A you have to check your premises because contradictions can't exist.

That means that reality IS what it is. I see before me some established facts.

We HAVE funded terrorists and trained them. We DID topple several governments in Latin America because we thought they were all going to end up little USSR's on our back doorstep (despite the fact that the average income in Honduras was $550 per year...but whatever). We DID sent a nuclear reactor to Tehran. We ARE negotiating with blackmailing bastards (the North Korean government).

If A is A and the facts are facts...then how can this be supported as something it isn't? Are these actions not the product of a mixed bag philosophy?

This isn't the work of an Objectivist government. It is a product of Liberal and Conservative governments.

Conservatives place a premium on laissez-fair capitalism and no premium on religious freedom/personal freedom to live an uncoerced life in the bedroomwhile Liberals place a premium on personal freedoms while denying economic rights that are necessary for things to actually work. They both suck.

How can a Conservative or Liberal government be supported by Objectivists or the actions produced by such governments? Aren't they going to be as philosophically corrupted as the ideologies themselves?

Look at what would happen if the libertarians were in power. It would probably be the friggin' end of the world because of their philosophical corruption.

Given established facts, how can such mixed bag trip be supported?

The fact that I'm asking the question doesn't make me a damn libertarian. I want a real answer to a real question.

-Evan

Edited by Tryptonique
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Whoa! Rant much?

There are a lot of threads on this subject, for instance here and here, and, hell, there's 25 pages if you search Iraq check for yourself here.

Have you Really read all of them and still feel that this question warrants a brand new thread?

I for one can't answer your question, or am not interested enough to do so, but the longwinded rant caught my attention, so I'll at least point you in the right direction, although CF already did that, even if you were offended by the comment.

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Whoa! Rant much?

There are a lot of threads on this subject, for instance here and here, and, hell, there's 25 pages if you search Iraq check for yourself here.

Have you Really read all of them and still feel that this question warrants a brand new thread?

I for one can't answer your question, or am not interested enough to do so, but the longwinded rant caught my attention, so I'll at least point you in the right direction, although CF already did that, even if you were offended by the comment.

1) I wouldn't classify my posts as a rant. I would classify it as warranting my assertions and explaining exactly why I was asking the questions. I find that intellectually dishonest people are unwilling to examine their own motives or explain them when pressed which is why I took excruciating pains to explain WHY I was asking the questions I was and to rebuke CF for making an unwarranted ad hominem about my personal political beliefs that had zero basis in reality.

2) The second thread is nothing more than an analysis about a quote regarding Bush's inaugural speech. Has really nothing to do with what I'm after.

The first thread is just discussing how viable Iraq is and my question wasn't really addressed in any meaninful way on that thread either.

3) The reason why I posed my questions in a whole new thread is because I don't want to wade through 25 pages of stuff that is half non-sense and half irrelevant to the specific questions I have.

I want a specific answer to very specific question not a broad overarching "Is Iraq good or Iraq bad."

Edited by Tryptonique
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Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next."

With this in mind I have two questions:

1) What makes you think that U.S intervention would make things better?

2) Why is it that Objectivists routinely uphold that American foreign policy is morally superior to Muslim terrorists?

...

When Objectivists are "pro-American" in foreign policy, it means they are for the national interests of the United States. "Pro-American" does NOT mean unqualified support of President Bush's--or any administrations's--foreign policy. You ought to read some of the political articles and essays written by Ayn Rand. In them you won't find a single support of an administration's foreign policy; in fact you'll find vehement condemnation--but she was certainly very pro-American in foreign policy.

1) Objectivists support different forms of "intervention", as you should know. It ranges from outright destruction of governments that sponsor or harbor terrorists to a far more agressive military strategy followed by nation-building. It is NOT, however, anywhere near the policy currently practiced by the Bush administration. It is NOT at all the kind of intervention practiced and advocated by the presidential administrations over the last century, which has resulted in disaster.

2) Much of US foreign poicy over the last 100 years has certainly been morally reprehensible, but in no instance was morally inferior to the Muslim terrorists. US foreign policy has resulted in some bloody blunders, and has sometimes inadvertently and indirectly fueled and supported certain despots and terrorists. But to say that it has been far more evil and immoral (in the some instances) than the actions of the terrorists is just appalling--especially coming from someone like you who knows the Objectivist ethics. Terrorists are deliberately out to kill Americans in particular because they hate America qua incarnation of capitalism. And I do not infer this from their actions--they say so themselves, in public speeches and published writings. How could that be in any way less immoral than US foreign policy?

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Very good post Tom, I didn't want to personally respond to a person who simultaneously stated he was an Objectivist and that American foriegn policy is more evil than terrorism.

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Thanks for the reply, Tom. I appreciate you taking your time to make a cogent response.

Now on to your points:

1)

When Objectivists are "pro-American" in foreign policy, it means they are for the national interests of the United States.
How does that translate into popular Objectivist support for the Iraq war or a lot of past policies that have turned into massive failures?

To me (correct me if I'm wrong)...being for the national interests of the United States translates to the following:

a) Full unqualified support for true laissez-fair capitalism.

^_^ 100% refusal to make deals with terrorists, state sponsors of terrorists, or those that would seek to blackmail us with a nuclear stick (read = North Korea/Iran).

c) responding to national security threats both domestic and abroad.

I feel personally frusterated with the situation in the Middle East because it seems like such a Sisyphian (unsure of spelling) endeavor.

Sometimes at my most bitter I feel like the only way to really get anything done in that hell hole would be to just nuke the crap out of everyone there and start from scratch, though that is 100% morally repugnant.

There has to be some solution that allows us to protect ourselves and our national interests without sponsoring death squads and making deals with the devil. I look at Israel and wonder, "Why can't we be more like them?" in terms of their policies towards terrorists.

In them you won't find a single support of an administration's foreign policy; in fact you'll find vehement condemnation--but she was certainly very pro-American in foreign policy.

I'm aware of that. ARI seems to be coming out with "The Iraq war was moral and justified" press releases that seem to lack quite a bit in terms of substantive content which is what partially confuses me.

We were attacked on 9/11 by terrorist scum bags who hate our way of life. Why not go after them? Even liberal fat ass Mike Moore is asking the question in Playboy, "Why don't we hire the Israelis to take out Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda members?."

Iraq might have had terrorist training camps in it. To be honest, I haven't seen that much in terms of compelling evidence either way. Who trained Al-Qaeda though?

It seems to me that we need to start being accountable for our mistakes and cleaning them up instead of just creating new ones.

ARI's Peter Schwartz says "The Iraqis have long produced despotism. But instead of being morally confident in our right to establish a government that is no longer a threat to anyone--Iraqi or American--we are deferentially asking the Iraqis for permission to proceed. Afraid to offend them, we are reluctant to defend our interests and to uphold our values.

The fact is, they (along with many other countries) have been aided by America in producing those despots. Moreover, Leonard Peikoff said back in 1997 that Iraq shouldn't have been Clinton's target but rather Iran.

Iraq never WAS a threat to America. As far as establishing a government that isn't a threat to Iraqis...while it may be a touching and charitable sentiment...it should not be funded by my tax money. If I had a dollar for every dictator and wanabee dictator that is out there, I would be rich. Should be be morally confident about our rights to establish governments that aren't a threat to anyone except the American taxpayers that finance their demise when those puppet governments we establish aren't asked for or wanted? Moreover, they often aren't much better.

It seems like there isn't full agreement on the Iraq war even among ARI, let alone Objectivists here.

Though ARI doesn't give full unqualified support to American foreign policy and actually routinely criticizes it.

It just strikes me that many tout the fact that we have some moral right to be in Iraq and that is apalling to me. It wouldn't be apalling if the group I was talking about wasn't as smart and benevolent as it appears (the majority of this community).

I think that we would have a moral right to be in Iraq if Saddam wasn't just full of hot air and actually posed a threat. He never did, though.

Much of US foreign poicy over the last 100 years has certainly been morally reprehensible, but in no instance was morally inferior to the Muslim terrorists.
I haven't once said that it was morally inferior, just often on the same level.

US foreign policy has resulted in some bloody blunders, and has sometimes inadvertently and indirectly fueled and supported certain despots and terrorists.

and directly I might also add....

But to say that it has been far more evil and immoral (in the some instances) than the actions of the terrorists is just appalling--especially coming from someone like you who knows the Objectivist ethics. Terrorists

Easy there. Before putting words in my mouth, re-read what I actually said. I said that U.S fp has in many cases been tantamount to terrorism. I never said that we were WORSE than Muslim terrorists.

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Very good post Tom, I didn't want to personally respond to a person who simultaneously stated he was an Objectivist and that American foriegn policy is more evil than terrorism.

I take attacks on my integrity very seriously which is why I responded to Dominique's assertion that I was "ranting" when in reality I'm not any goddamned Libertarian NOR did I EVER once say that American foreign policy was MORE evil than terrorism.

If reading comprehension is a problem, try hooked on phonics before you start posting lies about what I said, ok?

[this post was probably an overreaction, but I'm seriously pissed at 2 misinterpretations of what I said coupled with an accusation that I'm a libertarian and "ranting" when I'm asking a serious question based on honest motives. I'm not some damn hippie liberal, bible thumping conservative, retarded libertarian, or some pro-Muslim jerk bag. So quit labeling me without any warrant for your labels and address my question or don't bother posting. Simple as that. If intellectual conversation/debate is too much for you, then don't do it. If you think that I'm some stupid troll, then "don't feed the troll."

Ok? I would rather that people hate me and shut their mouth or at least post some warranted and cogent reason why they hate me than post lies or misinterpret me.]

Edited by Tryptonique
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  Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next."

Why would an Objectivist support the Iraq war?

Iraq was a nation that harboured militant Islamic terrorists, including an Al Queda wing called Ansar Al Islam. Saddam Hussein was a dedicated enemy of America who even attempted to assassinate an American president.

Why would an Objectivist support going to war with Iran?

The Iranian government is the ideological and material fuel for militant Islamic terrorist groups. Directly through Iranian funding, 300 American marines were killed in one instance. In the 9/11 commission report, the Iranian government was found to have direct links to the September 11th attacks. It also has long ties with Al Queda and other attacks throughout the 90s on Americans. Not to mention, Iran's stated policy is the destruction of Israel, America, and Britain, and the establishment of a worldwide Islamic republic.

Why Syria?

I don't know much about Syria, although it's the same as the rest, a major economical supporter and safe haven for Jihadist international terrorists.

Why all three?

Taking out all three would basically stop the material terrorist support from enemy governments. I don't know how involved Saudi Arabia is with terrorism, but from what I've seen they make arrests.

What is the morality of war and how should a moral country go about engaging war?

I personally have heard and encourage you to purchase "The Morality of War" lecture by Yaron Brook. There is another title, a book called "The Foreign Policy of Self Interest" by Peter Shwartz which is newly published, but I haven't read. Short answer is: Absolute and total victory over the aggressors brings the enemy and the culture to its knees.

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My question was not "why go to War with Syria and Iran" in a generalized context. I'm taking the Iraq war as a metaphysical given and making the claim that a military incursion should have been into Iran or Syria FIRST instead of Iraq and at this point we don't have the military resources to even THINK of invading those countries which is why I'm so confused as to why people seem to be advocating those military engagements.

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B- It seems to me that several actions of the United States could actually be equated with terrorist actions. (Gee whiz).

I'm sorry you equated the two, so to you the U.S. is as evil as the terrorists. That's what your statement implies. And to imply that you have to drop a lot of context. Or do you wish to withdraw that statement?

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My question was not "why go to War with Syria and Iran" in a generalized context. I'm taking the Iraq war as a metaphysical given and making the claim that a military incursion should have been into Iran or Syria FIRST instead of Iraq and at this point we don't have the military resources to even THINK of invading those countries which is why I'm so confused as to why people seem to be advocating those military engagements.

What evidence do you have that people on this board take the Iraq war as a "metaphysical given"? Do you mean that the same way Ayn Rand used it?

What evidence do you have that states "Many people on this board" (from your original post) didn't think Iran and Syria were bigger priorities?

If you find some who did support going to war with Iraq before Iran, can you say you have sufficient knowledge of military and strategic procedures to prove that using Iraq as a springboard to go to war with Syria and Iran (countries on either side of it) is not possible?

Lastly, what makes you think the US does not have the military resources to invade either of those countries?

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I feel personally frusterated with the situation in the Middle East because it seems like such a Sisyphian (unsure of spelling) endeavor.

Sometimes at my most bitter I feel like the only way to really get anything done in that hell hole would be to just nuke the crap out of everyone there and start from scratch, though that is 100% morally repugnant.

Why? This is what we need to do if that is the only way to protect our nation. If that is the case then it is extremely moral to "nuke them" not "morally repugnant".

Iraq never WAS a threat to America.

It was if it had the capability to give WMD to terrorists or in any way support terrorism, and it certainly did.

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My question was not "why go to War with Syria and Iran" in a generalized context. I'm taking the Iraq war as a metaphysical given and making the claim that a military incursion should have been into Iran or Syria FIRST instead of Iraq and at this point we don't have the military resources to even THINK of invading those countries which is why I'm so confused as to why people seem to be advocating those military engagements.

This not true, during W.W.II many,many more soldiers were deployed than are now. We could get as many soldiers as we need without a draft, if the President comes forward and explicitly draws up the case against these nations. The recruiting centers would be swamped with recruits the very next day. We can also pull troops from places where they are stationed for no reason, such as Germany.

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I'm sorry you equated the two, so to you the U.S. is as evil as the terrorists. That's what your statement implies. And to imply that you have to drop a lot of context. Or do you wish to withdraw that statement?

You are the context dropper, amigo.

I never said the U.S is as evil as the terrorists. The U.S involves a whole lot of things. An economic system, a political system, and the products of both sytems on a foreign and domestic scale. The U.S also includes both public and private sectors as well.So yeah...me lumping the U.S in with the terrorists...one more thing I didn't do or say.

But whatever.

What I DID say was that U.S foreign policy has in many cases been tantamout (equal) to terrorism in methods, practices, and events which ultimately means that people that claim that the U.S is morally superior to the terrorists are silly and out of context.

Kind of like when we accused the Native Americans as being "vile scalping savages" and our U.S government lied, broke treaties, raped, killed, and pillaged.

You can't claim that U.S foreign policies haven't been tantamout to terrorism unless you drop the context of reality.

So no, I don't want to retract that statment one bit. I just want you to actually read it and interpret it correctly. Parts of American foreign policy are tantamout to terrorism which takes away our moral superiority that we always wave around when it comes to the terrorists. No, we don't brutally opress our people or beat up on women. However we give money and training to people who do. We don't kill anyone labeled an "infidel." However we train Latin American death squads that "disappeared" thousands supposed "communists" without a trial or any examination of fact. These death squads also killed pretty indescriminately. I'm sure Oscar Romero was a real big threat to the United States right? He was a death squad victim. Oh yeah...he was also a Catholic Priest. Our Latin American foreign policy really was tantamout to terrorism. The mining of Managua harbor? I'm sure all the kids blown up by the landmines were just unfortunate casualties right?

Read some history before you tell me you are "sorry" that I equate our foreign policy with middle eastern terrorism. Do you think the landmines all over Latin America are some kind of joke? They are a remenant of indescriminate and useless killing. They sure as hell didn't stop the "red tide" because Russia wasn't all that interested in sponsoring Latin American "communists" who were just out for economic aid and not really interested in following the Politburo playbook.

Read about the attack on the Al-Shifa pharmeceutical plant and get back to me, ok?

Morally superior? I think not.

If you care to actually address the historical facts/warrants that I'm using to make this argument, feel free to do so.

This not true, during W.W.II many,many more soldiers were deployed than are now. We could get as many soldiers as we need without a draft, if the President comes forward and explicitly draws up the case against these nations.
Erh...except the fact that many Americans feel lied to considering that the war in Iraq was justified with the whole WMD argument which was predicated on rigged evidence to make a weak case more palatable to a public that has a weak stomach for casualities post Vietnam and Somalia.

To be honest, I think many people would honestly laugh if the President tried to make another case for war. Why? Because when the boy cries wolf and there isn't one, you can't expect the townsfolk to come running a second or third time unless they are real suckers.

Moreover, more soldiers were deployed in WWII because of the draft.

We don't have that now. You are comparing apples to oranges.

We can also pull troops from places where they are stationed for no reason, such as Germany.

We have troops stationed in Germany because of the Cold War. In case you haven't realized, Putin is locking up oil barons and making some pretty threatening moves. You sure you wanna just pack up and leave while Russia is still highly unstable and adopting it's old Soviet ways again?

Why? This is what we need to do if that is the only way to protect our nation. If that is the case then it is extremely moral to "nuke them" not "morally repugnant".
The key word in your whole post is "if."

Saying that the only way to protect our nation would be to kill all middle easterners assumes that all middle easterners pose credible threats to United States security. Are you making that argument? Moreover, nuclear weapons would radiate the whole planet making victims out of non-perpetrators and Americans as well. So yeah...bad plan.

It was if it had the capability to give WMD to terrorists or in any way support terrorism, and it certainly did.

Warrant this assertion.

What WMD's did they have? Iraqi scientists themselves have said that the WMD programs were scrapped and that they lied to Saddam claiming that they were doing things when in reality they were just trying to squeeze him for money and keep themselves alive. If it had the capability to give WMDs to terrorist, where exactly are those WMDs?

I don't believe in Unicorns or God because they are based in fantasy. I don't believe in Iraqi WMDs for the same reason. If Iraq had the capability to give terrorist WMD's then did it or didn't it? If it did give them WMDs, cite your evidence and I will be a believer. If it didn't...why not? If it had WMDs why not use them when the United States was taking out the regime? It isn't like Saddam had much to loose. So am I just expected to believe that terrorists have WMDs or that they snuck away with them and left the country? I could also believe that Saddam Hussein also gave the terrorists winged sandals and a dancing reindeer, but I would kind of like to steer away from that.

What evidence do you have that people on this board take the Iraq war as a "metaphysical given"? Do you mean that the same way Ayn Rand used it?
I believe that I mean it in the same way that Ayn Rand used it, though I might be incorrect .

From what I understand, metahphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of reality.

When I said that it was a metaphysical given, I meant that it is a given part of our reality that we are already involved in Iraq. Given the context of March 6th, 2005...we all know that we invaded Iraq nearly 2 years ago.

I'm wondering why in retrospect many Objectivists support the war in Iraq or our "moral right to be there" even though there are countries that actually threaten us far more. These countries are currently gathering resources to try to destroy us (like Iran for example).

What evidence do you have that states "Many people on this board" (from your original post) didn't think Iran and Syria were bigger priorities?

Erh...I didn't say that in my original post. Go back and re-read. What I actually said was: Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next." (my words in bold)

Objectivists might have thought that Syria was a bigger priority and if they did, then I'm in full agreement on that one. The fact is though, that many Objectivists have said "I wish Iran was next" or "I wish Syria was next" even though we have a history of messing up our foreign excursions and we aren't exactly ready to start a war on another front at this point.

If you find some who did support going to war with Iraq before Iran, can you say you have sufficient knowledge of military and strategic procedures to prove that using Iraq as a springboard to go to war with Syria and Iran (countries on either side of it) is not possible?
Not to be an asshole here, but you it doesn't take a military genius here to figure things out. The appeal to authority is cute and all, but I think that even the slower ones in class can figure out that since America has had an extremely difficult time with even maintaining a decent level of equipment quality (like their armored personnel carriers) in Iraq as it is, that starting another war wouldn't be strategically smart. Moreover, if you haven't noticed...the government has been breaking it's contracts with it's soliders and keeping them beyond the period that they have been enlisted for. It is not been able to keep recruiting at a necessary level even for the Iraq war. What makes you think that holding down another couple thousand square miles is really a viable option?

I was in JROTC for three years in high school and have studied a bit of military history. When you stretch your supply lines out or open wars on too many fronts at once (like Hitler, the Romans, and Napoleon did) you can't fight any of them well and you open yourself up to defeat. It might be a costly and well fought defeat, but it is defeat nonetheless. Moreover, if you invade Iran you will draw on the wrath of the entire middle east. Do you think fighting World War III is a strategically brilliant move at this point? Saddam Hussein was considered a secular jerkhole by most of the middle east (including Bin Laden). Iran is seen as being religiously "legitamate" with it's Mullahs and Sharia. So to attack Iran successfully means that you are going to have to be prepared to fight a war in the entire middle east. Be prepared for Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, etc to all be massive staging grounds for insurgency that would make the Iraqi insurgency look like upstart punk kids with toy guns.

If you think we are ready, then you can warrant that assertion any day. Please take into account our current supply situation in Iraq and how "secure" Iraq is despite the current occupation force.

Besides, even if I grant that Iraq would be a good springboard for an Iran/Syrian war...that was never the justification for the Iraq war and cannot be an Objectivist justification because Objectivists weren't the ones making the decisions to invade Iraq. There is ZERO indication that we will invade either Syria or Iran, so using that as a potential justification is bunk.

It can't be justified to invade Iraq for strategic reasons if those strategic reasons are never utilized or aren't even on the table for discussion at the time of the invasion.

Lastly, what makes you think the US does not have the military resources to invade either of those countries?

See above.

Edited by Tryptonique
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What I DID say was that U.S foreign policy has in many cases been tantamout (equal) to terrorism in methods, practices, and events which ultimately means that people that claim that the U.S is morally superior to the terrorists are silly and out of context.

The intent of terrorism is to achieve a political goal (such as the right of return for the Palestinians or the withdrawal of U.S. forces from "Muslim soil") by the mass murder of completely innocent, utterly defenseless civilians. What has America done that is morally tantamount to such a thing as mass, indiscriminate murder?

Selling weapons to Hussein -- as part of an overall strategy to counter Soviet interests in the mideast -- may have been a big mistake; but it does not possibly rise to the level of evil of terrorism.

Supporting "death squads" whose targets were not innocent civilians does not rise to the level of evil of terrorism, even if some of those death squads did kill innocent people.

And in any event, past American actions are completely irrelevant to whether our current actions are moral.

Kind of like when we accused the Native Americans as being "vile scalping savages" and our U.S government lied, broke treaties, raped, killed, and pillaged.
Warrant that assertion.

So no, I don't want to retract that statment one bit. I just want you to actually read it and interpret it correctly. Parts  of American foreign policy are tantamout to terrorism which takes away our moral superiority that we always wave around when it comes to the terrorists. No, we don't brutally opress our people or beat up on women. However we give money and training to people who do. We don't kill anyone labeled an "infidel." However we train Latin American death squads that "disappeared" thousands supposed "communists" without a trial or any examination of fact. These death squads also killed pretty indescriminately. I'm sure Oscar Romero was a real big threat to the United States right? He was a death squad victim. Oh yeah...he was also a Catholic Priest.  Our Latin American foreign policy really was tantamout to terrorism. The mining of Managua harbor?  I'm sure all the kids blown up by the landmines were just unfortunate casualties right?
Your sarcasm aside, the responsibility for civilian casualties rests with those that started the conflict.

You are dropping context here and making unsupported accusations.

It is easy from our current perspective to look back and ridicule the fear of communism. But you are ignoring the fact that the Soviets had an explicit plan for world domination. They intended to bury us, and they said so openly and explicitly.

They brutally crushed dissent in eastern Europe. They attempted to sneak nuclear tipped medium range missiles into Cuba. They invaded Afghanistan. They took over North Vietnam and launched a war of aggression against the South.

There was every reason to fear the Soviets. The fact that we opposed them by engaging in war-by-proxy state was a reaction to the fact that they possessed a nuclear arsenal that could annihilate us.

Now, if you wish to argue that there was a better strategy, fine. But your after-the-fact attempt to smear America with these accusations is completely off base.

Read some history before you tell me you are "sorry" that I equate our foreign policy with middle eastern terrorism. Do you think the landmines all over Latin America are some kind of joke? They are a remenant of indescriminate and useless killing. They sure as hell didn't stop the "red tide" because Russia wasn't all that interested in sponsoring Latin American "communists" who were just out for economic aid and not really interested in following the Politburo playbook.

Read about the attack on the Al-Shifa pharmeceutical plant and get back to me, ok?.

If you care to actually address the historical facts/warrants that I'm using to make this argument, feel free to do so.

You are not offering any facts that I can see, just unsupported assertions delivered with a tone of hostile superiority that implies that anyone who disagrees is ignorant or evasive -- in other words, the argument from intimidation. Mixed in with this is a healthy dose of the straw man argument in the form of questions like: Do you think land mines are a joke?

Where did you learn these techniques? Your college professors?

Saying that the only way to protect our nation would be to kill all middle easterners assumes that all middle easterners pose credible threats to United States security. Are you making that argument?

Moreover, nuclear weapons would radiate the whole planet making victims out of non-perpetrators and Americans as well. So yeah...bad plan.

Nonsense. Nuclear weapons have been detonated dozens of times and the planet is not irradiated.

What WMD's did they have? Iraqi scientists themselves have said that the WMD programs were scrapped and that they lied to Saddam claiming that they were doing things when in reality they were just trying to squeeze him for money and keep themselves alive. If it had the capability to give WMDs to terrorist, where exactly are those WMDs?
Hindsight is wonderful, is it not? It is utterly preposterous to use facts discovered after the invasion to discredit decisions made before the invasion.

Where are the WMDs now? Syria, possibly.

I don't believe in Unicorns or God because they are based in fantasy. I don't believe in Iraqi WMDs for the same reason. If Iraq had the capability to give terrorist WMD's then did it or didn't it? If it did give them WMDs, cite your evidence and I will be a believer. If it didn't...why not? If it had WMDs why not use them when the United States was taking out the regime? It isn't like Saddam had much to loose.
This is just plain silly. Most intelligence services agreed at the time that Hussein probably did have WMDs. The debate was over what to do about it, not whether or not it was a fact.

Your continued attempt to ridicule America for her lack of omniscience is ridiculous.

No, I do not think Iraq was necessarily the correct second target after Afghanistan, but I do not have access to all of the intelligence .

I'm wondering why in retrospect many Objectivists support the war in Iraq or our "moral right to be there" even though there are countries that actually threaten us far more. These countries are currently gathering resources to try to destroy us (like Iran for example).

Erh...I didn't say that in my original post. Go back and re-read. What I actually said was: Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next." (my words in bold)

Objectivists might have thought that Syria was a bigger priority and if they did, then I'm in full agreement on that one. The fact is though, that many Objectivists have said "I wish Iran was next" or "I wish Syria was next" even though we have a history of messing up our foreign excursions and we aren't exactly ready to start a war on another front at this point.

Speaking for myself, I believe that once our forces have been commited -- even if we didn't go after the best target -- we must support them until we are victorious. And it is a non-sequitur to say that since previous American military action has not worked well, no one should advocate additional American military action.

Not to be an asshole here, but you it doesn't take a military genius here to figure things out. The appeal to authority is cute and all, but I think that even the slower ones in class can figure out that since America has had an extremely difficult time with even maintaining a decent level of equipment quality (like their armored personnel carriers) in Iraq as it is, that starting another war wouldn't be strategically smart. Moreover, if you haven't noticed...the government has been breaking it's contracts with it's soliders and keeping them beyond the period that they have been enlisted for. It is not been able to keep recruiting at a necessary level even for the Iraq war. What makes you think that holding down another couple thousand square miles is really a viable option?

I was in JROTC for three years in high school and have studied a bit of military history. When you stretch your supply lines out or open wars on too many fronts at once (like Hitler, the Romans, and Napoleon did) you can't fight any of them well and you open yourself up to defeat. It might be a costly and well fought defeat, but it is defeat nonetheless.

America fought, and won, WWII on multiple fronts with supply lines that spanned the entire planet.

Your continued lame efforts at the argument from intimidation (".. it doesn't take a military genius to figure things out....") do not advance your cause.

Moreover, if you invade Iran you will draw on the wrath of the entire middle east. Do you think fighting World War III is a strategically brilliant move at this point? Saddam Hussein was considered a secular jerkhole by most of the middle east (including Bin Laden). Iran is seen as being religiously "legitamate" with it's Mullahs and Sharia. So to attack Iran successfully means that you are going to have to be prepared to fight a war in the entire middle east.

Be prepared for Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, etc to all be massive staging grounds for insurgency that would make the Iraqi insurgency look like upstart punk kids with toy guns.

If you think we are ready, then you can warrant that assertion any day. Please take into account our current supply situation in Iraq and how "secure" Iraq is despite the current occupation force.

You proceed from a false premise. We need to destroy the threatening regimes. We do not need to rebuild them.

And we have the air power to utterly annihilate every one of those regimes with little loss of American life.

However, I do not think we have to annihilate them all. If we just annihilate one -- Iran is my preference -- then tell the others we will do the same to them if they do not cease all terrorist support, they will fall in line. What they most desperately want is to remain in power, and once we demonstrate a willingness to destroy them, they’ll do what is necessary to avoid that.

By annihilate, I mean the destruction of the government, the military and the economic infrastrure (the oil and gas wells), to a degree that what is left will not be capable of sustaining a nuclear weapons development program.

Unfortunately, Bush has bought into the notion that if you break it, you must fix it. That false premise has led us to waste much blood and treasure trying to save Iraq.

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I'm wondering why in retrospect many Objectivists support the war in Iraq or our "moral right to be there" even though there are countries that actually threaten us far more. These countries are currently gathering resources to try to destroy us (like Iran for example).
Why do you see that as a conflict? Can't America have a moral right to attack all of its aggressors?

Erh...I didn't say that in my original post. Go back and re-read. What I actually said was: Many people on this board are Pro-Iraq War and for increased intervention in the Middle East. I have read several comments like "Lets go take down Iran" or "We should take out Saudi Arabia" or "I wish Syria was on target next." (my words in bold)

The only part from your original post was that which I quoted. The next line was in a direct reply to what you had previously said:

and making the claim that a military incursion should have been into Iran or Syria FIRST instead of Iraq
You haven't answered my question. Where is your evidence to say that most people on this forum don't think Syria and Iran are bigger priorities?

Objectivists might have thought that Syria was a bigger priority and if they did, then I'm in full agreement on that one. The fact is though, that many Objectivists have said "I wish Iran was next" or "I wish Syria was next" even though we have a history of messing up our foreign excursions and we aren't exactly ready to start a war on another front at this point.

What tactical and military knowledge allows you to state that with full certainty? Do you know the US has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world over many times?

Not to be an asshole here,
You're right, I don't like the aproach you take to writing your posts.

but you it doesn't take a military genius here to figure things out. The appeal to authority is cute and all, but I think that even the slower ones in class can figure out that since America has had an extremely difficult time with even maintaining a decent level of equipment quality (like their armored personnel carriers) in Iraq as it is, that starting another war wouldn't be strategically smart. Moreover, if you haven't noticed...the government has been breaking it's contracts with it's soliders and keeping them beyond the period that they have been enlisted for. It is not been able to keep recruiting at a necessary level even for the Iraq war. What makes you think that holding down another couple thousand square miles is really a viable option?

Is what a backward Republican administration is doing indicative of America's ability to declare war with the most advanced weapons and military on the earth?

Do we need massive amounts of foot soldiers and armoured personel carriers to destroy Tehran if we're not going to nation build? I think all we need is a single aircraft carrier, some bombers on it, and complete moral righteousness.

Besides, even if I grant that Iraq would be a good springboard for an Iran/Syrian war...that was never the justification for the Iraq war and cannot be an Objectivist justification because Objectivists weren't the ones making the decisions to invade Iraq. There is ZERO indication that we will invade either Syria or Iran, so using that as a potential justification is bunk.

That is not the moral justification. The reason was outlined in my first post. Using Iraq as a springboard for the rest is merely an issue of tactical significance.

Since this is taking so long going back and forth, you can get a better idea on what I agree with by listening to these two things before you reply to me:

Leonard Peikoff Interview with Prodos

And the second thing is a streaming video. Go to that site, scroll down, and inside the green box there are your options to watch "America vs The Americans."

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Capitalism Forever =

To correct my exclamation: "Oh no, not another anti-American! "

Excuse me, Mr. Rogers. I didn't know that being pro-American required supporting brutal regimes that indiscriminately kill and rape like the Guatemalan government that was installed after Arbenz was overthrown by the CIA. You know what happened afterwards? They (with U.S funding) went on to kill 100,000 unarmed Mayans.

Since you insist on stupid ad hominems that once again have no basis in reality I'm going to remind you that I'm not anti-American. I consider "American" to be that which is moral such as laissez-fair capitalism and individualism.

I consider the foreign policy initiatives in Latin America and a great deal of the middle east to be decidedly anti-American.

http://www.yale.edu/gsp/guatemala/TextforDatabaseCharts.html

Try reading and getting a basic grasp of what our foreign policy REALLY means abroad before you get the balls to call me "anti-American."

If you think sponsoring Latin American dictators, the Shah of Iran, training and funding Pakistani intelligence (The ISI), sending a nuclear reactor to Iran, etc is "American" then I think you are one dude and I have no reason to further talk to you.

Ex banana eater =

Why do you see that as a conflict? Can't America have a moral right to attack all of its aggressors?

Of course. Iran and Syria would have been great targets. Iraq wasn't exactly an "aggressor" but whatever.

You haven't answered my question. Where is your evidence to say that most people on this forum don't think Syria and Iran are bigger priorities?

I NEVER MADE THAT CLAIM so why are you asking me to warrant it? SHEESH!

I said that I wonder why given that we invaded Iraq that they think that invading Syria would be a good move.

I'm positing that Syria or Iran was a bigger priority (which most people on this board agree with from what I have read) but now it is a little too late considering how stretched our resources are.

What tactical and military knowledge allows you to state that with full certainty? Do you know the US has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world over many times?

Good straw man. I was talking about U.S capabilities to launch an invasion, but whatever. So we are going to nuke Syria and Iran now, huh? I guess if we want to expose our troops in Iraq and Israel to nuclear radiation poisoning, then sure.

I'm talking military invasion here. We aren't ready to conduct another invasion, period. I don't need "military expertise" to say that, sorry. Open your eyes and look at exactly how stable Iraq is.

We don't have enough troops for Iraq as it is. Are we going to magic some up for Syria or Iran? Not without a draft we won't and lets see how far that gets through the U.S Congress.

To invade Syria or Iran requires that we withdraw troops from Iraq. Otherwise we have no invasion force. Are we going to nation build there too? If not, we will just end up with the same situation and more anti-American sentiment after the invasion when another dictator steps up to replace it.

We don't have the resources to nation build (we don't even have them for Iraq) in Syria or Iran. Invading isn't an option right now. A nuclear attack means that Israel will be attacked immediately and you will start a world war with the entire Middle East. Then take Pakistan into account which actually HAS nuclear weapons. Do you think Pakistan would be content to watch it's Muslim brethren be nuked? Their ideology is one of martyrdom so getting nuked in retaliation by the U.S probably wouldn't be a deterrent. Moreover, if you were Pakistan and Iran/Syria was nuked, what would make you think that you wouldn't be next? It isn't like you would have anything to loose from launching that nuclear missile.

So yeah. Way to advocate starting nuclear war. That is REALLY in our best interest....*sarcasm*.

Do we need massive amounts of foot soldiers and armored personnel carriers to destroy Tehran if we're not going to nation build? I think all we need is a single aircraft carrier, some bombers on it, and complete moral righteousness.

and a death wish...but whatever. If you nuke Iran you had better be prepared to nuke the entire middle east because if you don't kill every last one of them they will try even harder to hatch terrorist plots against the U.S. Never mind that you still don't solve the problem of Al-Qaeda by bombing Iran or Syria so you still have them to deal with after the ashes clear. I'm betting that NYC would be nuked faster than you can say "Pakistani nuclear weapons sale to Al-Qaeda."

A is A=

What has America done that is morally tantamount to such a thing as mass, indiscriminate murder?

I will make a list for you...how about that? I will even be EXTRA nice and include a warrant proving each of these.

1) Sponsoring and funding a government that killed 100,000-200,000 unarmed Mayans. How about that?

http://www.yale.edu/gsp/guatemala/TextforDatabaseCharts.html

While the article doesn't talk about U.S involvement, it is common knowledge that we gave those guys tons of economic aid and orchestrated their rise to power (the CIA overthrew Arbenz who nationalized United Fruit). The CIA has documented this themselves: http://www.foia.cia.gov/guatemala.asp

2) Our U.S funded death squads in El Salvador that indiscriminately killed innocent people and deliberately targeted them.

you want examples of this? Happy to accommodate.

a- El Mozote : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mozote_massacre

or : http://www.markdanner.com/newyorker/120693_The_Massacre.htm

b - The death squads carried out several high profile murders at this time; archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 after publicly urging the U.S. government not to provide military support to the El Salvadoran government, and four US nuns were also raped and murdered by members of Salvadoran death squads. <---that seems pretty indiscriminate to me.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/137381.stm

3) Al-Shifa (already explained and cited).

4) The school of Americas which gave us Manuel Noriega and a bunch of other wonderful terrorist thugs.

"The SOA has been attacked for training members of governments guilty of serious human rights abuses and advocating techniques that violate accepted standards. Graduates of the SOA include men such as Hugo Banzer Suárez, Leopoldo Galtieri, Manuel Noriega,Efraín Ríos Montt, Guillermo Rodríguez, Omar Torrijos, Roberto Viola and Juan Velasco Alvarado. For this reason, the school's acronym is occasionally reparsed by its detractors as "School of Assassins".

There is usually a demonstration at the gates of the SOA/WHISC in late November. The date for the annual demonstration commemorates the first Latin American massacre linked to the SOA, through its graduates. On November 16, 1989, six Salvadoran Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter were murdered at the University of Central America (UCA). Of the 27 soldiers cited for that massacre by a 1993 UN Truth Commission, 19 were SOA graduates. This was the first of many documented linkages between the School's graduates and atrocities." - from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_the_Americas

6)Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? We chose not to attack a military target and instead killed over 250,000 civilians including men, women, and children. Sounds pretty indiscriminate to me. I guess those deaths are also the moral responsibility of the Japanese government who gave the go ahead for Pearl Harbor right? Why is it that the civilians were the target though and not the government or the military?

You can't just say "You attacked me first so anything I do from that point forward is your fault because you started it and I'm in no way responsible."

That logic in practice means that because The Alamo was attacked by Mexicans we would have no moral responsibility on our shoulders if we would have gone into Mexico and raped all of their women (or killed every last one of them).

You can place moral responsibility for accidental casualties on those that start wars. When we bomb factories pumping out war materials and civilians die, that isn't our moral responsibility. If terrorists hide weapons in a school or themselves...then they have those deaths on their head. Not deaths of alternative factions claiming to be better but killing

The U.S deliberately targeted Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a war with the goal of killing as many civilians as possible. The argument was that if we could get a Japanese surrender from doing so that those deaths were for the "greater collective good" in terms of the prospect of a mainland Japanese invasion. The only thing was, we didn't even bother demonstrating the weapon to the Japanese government as a warning which could have quite possibly forced a surrender without innocent casualties. If the Japanese wouldn't have surrendered, those deaths would have been on their heads. The fact is, they weren't given a chance. You can't even say it was justified because of Pearl Harbor because Pear Harbor was a military attack against a military target.

Bin Laden declared war on the west and our way of life and targeted a population center with the goal of killing as many people as he could for his supposed "greater collective good" as well which he sees as American surrender.

Big difference? Not really.

You asked for an example of indiscriminate murder...well there you go. Those atom bombs didn't discriminate "good guy" from "bad guy" and hundreds of thousands were slaughtered.

Selling weapons to Hussein -- as part of an overall strategy to counter Soviet interests in the mideast -- may have been a big mistake; but it does not possibly rise to the level of evil of terrorism.

It sure as hell does if he goes and sells them to Hezbollah or gasses the Kurds with them. Saddamn quashed dissent with weapons. You want to tell me he just didn't use the ones we gave them?

How about Iran then? Does that rise to the level of supporting terrorism? After all, Kohmeini wasn't a big pro-U.S guy was he? He was a declared enemy of the United States. We sold him weapons and he held our embassy hostage. What the hell do you call that? You think that the U.S government's actions weren't tantamount to sponsoring terrorism against innocent Americans?

Supporting "death squads" whose targets were not innocent civilians does not rise to the level of evil of terrorism, even if some of those death squads did kill innocent people.

Why the quotes around death squads? Squeamish about labeling them for what they were?

I have provided numerous warrants for the fact that the 'labeled' targets were leftist guerillas but the real people targeted were the peasant villagers. There is a tangible difference behind what you tell everyone your target is and whom is really targeted.

The actual leftist guerillas actually did pretty well and weren't really killed en masse. Despite the American government's meddling, the guerillas were pretty successful at what they did and weren't really affected by the death squads.

The purpose of the death squads was the crush popular support for the leftist guerillas, not target the perpetrators (the guerillas themselves).

Your sarcasm aside, the responsibility for civilian casualties rests with those that started the conflict.

I addressed this earlier in this post.

And in any event, past American actions are completely irrelevant to whether our current actions are moral.

Horse puckey.

The same people (in large degree) with our Latin American blunders are now involved in Iraq.

Many of GW's political team is from the Reagan era (like John Negroponte who was heavily involved in Honduras during the 1980's).

Warrant that assertion.

Warrant the fact that the U.S broke treaties and murdered Native American women and children?

Are you kidding me? Did you um...ever make it past 4th grade history?

http://www.people.memphis.edu/~kenichls/2602NatAms.html

It is easy from our current perspective to look back and ridicule the fear of communism. But you are ignoring the fact that the Soviets had an explicit plan for world domination. They intended to bury us, and they said so openly and explicitly.

They brutally crushed dissent in eastern Europe. They attempted to sneak nuclear tipped medium range missiles into Cuba. They invaded Afghanistan. They took over North Vietnam and launched a war of aggression against the South.

There was every reason to fear the Soviets. The fact that we opposed them by engaging in war-by-proxy state was a reaction to the fact that they possessed a nuclear arsenal that could annihilate us.

Once again, my argument is going over your head here.

I'm not saying that Communism wasn't a viable threat or that it was just silliness. We had VERY good reasons to be scared of the Communists. Look at China under Mao, Russia under Stalin, or the Cambodian killing fields.

How much better were we when we adopted terrorist tactics and killed as many people in Latin America as the leftist guerillas ever did?

Does responding to Communists or Islamic terrorists now require that we adopt their tactics? If so, how exactly are we morally superior to them in actions?

Moreover, Latin America wasn't really threatened by Soviet involvement.

The USSR wasn't really involved in El Salvador or most of Latin America. Where it wAS involved was Nicaragua, Cuba, and South America.

Honduras, El Salvador, and Panama weren't pro Soviet. Nicaragua was a trading partner of The Soviet Union and bought arms from them, but any country is going to buy weapons for national defense purposes. It isn't like they could have bought the weapons from the U.S. So they went to the next global superpower. Doesn't mean that they were buddy buddy with the Ruskies just planning to make "Red Dawn" a reality instead of a bad Patrick Swaze movie.

Now, if you wish to argue that there was a better strategy, fine. But your after-the-fact attempt to smear America with these accusations is completely off base.

Uh....Objectivists still bash the USSR and the evil it represented long after the fact.

Pointing out failures in our foreign policy or showing that we have a history of bad foreign policy isn't "off base."

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. It doesn't help that another Bush is in the Whitehouse when Bush I was in the CIA during the Reagan years when all of the Latin American blunders happened. It doesn't help that we once again have John Negroponte involved in shaping our foreign policy in Iraq and now in the area of intelligence oversight.

There was definitely a better strategy.

Here is my proposition:

1) Kill communist guerillas

2) Don't have communist guerillas killed by death squads who are made up of brutal murderers. If you want to get a job done, do it yourself or make sure the people you are working with aren't worse than the group you are trying to suppress.

3) Don't send Iran nuclear reactors!

4) Don't give Pakistan friggin money to train Islamic nut jobs in Afghanistan. Why? Because the enemy of your enemy does NOT equal your friend.

5) Don't sell weapons to Iran and Iraq. They are known to have anti-American sentiment and are also known to be brutal regimes.

I can keep going, but I don't really need to. It isn't that hard. Honestly.

You are not offering any facts that I can see, just unsupported assertions delivered with a tone of hostile superiority that implies that anyone who disagrees is ignorant or evasive -- in other words, the argument from intimidation.

A is A, buddy.

If the people disagreeing with me ARE ignorant don't bitch at me for calling it as I see it. It doesn't change the content of my argument.

If that argument goes unrefuted and undaddressed, then that can be characterized as evasion.

Don't get on my case for pointing out the fact that people ARE evading my actual arguments. You are a prime example of the evasion I'm talking about when you say I'm making unsupported assertions.

Go back to my original post where I site Professor Thomas D. Tullius, chairman of the chemistry department at Boston University who categorically rejects the U.S government's assertion that there ever were chemical weapons being made at Al-Shifa before you start claiming I don't support my assertions. There were numerous studies done from western countries and independent groups (many of them credible like the Boston University one) that all came back saying that there was no way that there could have been chemical weapons being produced.

You want the actual citation? Thomas D. Tullius makes his claim in a New York Times article called " Experts Find No Arms Chemicals at Bombed Sudan Plant " on February 9, 1999, Tuesday, Late Edition. The article was written by James Risen and David Johnston.

If you want a whole run down of the issue (from The University of Illinois Chicago's webpage) =

http://www2.math.uic.edu/~takata/WorldTrad...Sudan_1998.html

No warrants? Are you kidding me?

Mixed in with this is a healthy dose of the straw man argument in the form of questions like: Do you think land mines are a joke?

Erh...that was in response to "Rational_One" who not only has repeatedly misinterpreted me (he that I was making the claim that America was worse than the terrorist which is a lie), but went on to accuse me of context dropping when he is the one refusing to deal with my examples.

The only way you can really deny historical fact (like the mining of Managua harbor) is if you are being evasive. That is why I asked him if he thought the land mines were a joke. He doesn't care to address them though they are a perfect example of our indiscriminate killing. Does he think hey just didn't happen or what? I honestly want to understand his motives for lying about what I post, misinterpreting what I post, and just being a general doofus.

If you have a problem with me wanting an actual argument instead of his vague and unspecified assertion that I'm "context dropping" coupled with a blatant misinterpretation of what I said...that is your problem, not mine.

Don't bother labeling it a straw man because you obviously don't even understand what that is.

"As a rhetorical term, "straw man" describes a point of view that was created in order to be easily defeated in argument; the creator of a "straw man" argument does not accurately reflect the best arguments of his or her opponents, but instead sidesteps or mischaracterizes them so as to make the opposing view appear weak or ridiculous." -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

For me to mischaracterize "rational one's" argument he would have to HAVE an argument in the first place. He doesn't. You can't build a straw man from nothing. Moreover, I'm never sidestepped his claim that I was dropping the context (which was a vague assertion that wasn't ever really elaborated on, but whatever) or mischaracterized anything.

Before you try using smart people talk like "Straw man" understand what the term means and what it looks like in application, ok?

If you did, you would have recognized that Rational_one was the one putting the straw man up.

America fought, and won, WWII on multiple fronts with supply lines that spanned the entire planet.

Your continued lame efforts at the argument from intimidation (".. it doesn't take a military genius to figure things out....") do not advance your cause.

We also had a draft in WWII well. Congrads! You ignored one more argument of mine. As I said in the post RIGHT ABOVE YOUR OWN: "Moreover, more soldiers were deployed in WWII because of the draft.

We don't have that now. You are comparing apples to oranges."

You say that I'm making lame arguments from intimidation. You want to understand what I'm really doing? I'm getting tired of people who can't read or comprehend simple sentences and I'm making fun of you for it while continuing to point out your bad arguments. It is getting old though.

I'm not getting anything from this involvement and have actually probably lost 5 I.Q points from this whole endeavor.

Hindsight is wonderful, is it not? It is utterly preposterous to use facts discovered after the invasion to discredit decisions made before the invasion.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/09/...ence/index.html

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a highly critical report issued Friday, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA's prewar estimates of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were overstated and unsupported by intelligence. "

Read the rest of the article. You can thank me for your elucidation later. When the Senate Intelligence Committee says that the case for war was overstated based on available evidence at the time the case was being made to the American public and Congress, I consider that pretty damning.

That is going back and reviewing what we had in terms of intelligence at the time and coming to a conclusion. Kind of like a parent taking into account all the information their child had when making a decision and saying "That was stupid and illogical given what you had to work with." Not really preposterous at all. I would say it is kind of logical.

Where are the WMDs now? Syria, possibly.

Have you read the 9/11 Commission’s report which says that there aren't any WMDs and never were?

How about this? "

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes.

-

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/06/...port/index.html

So is it or isn't it? The CIA has changed positions on this repeatedly if you haven't noticed. Since you think you are the expert on this subject, how about you address Richard Clarke or the CIA report that I just posted since you know for a fact that these non-existent WMD's existed.

Go ahead. These so called WMD's might be in Syria. They might be on the moon. The truth is you can't prove they ever existed and if you think you can I would like to see you try to cite some evidence instead of blathering on.

This is just plain silly. Most intelligence services agreed at the time that Hussein probably did have WMDs. The debate was over what to do about it, not whether or not it was a fact.

Your continued attempt to ridicule America for her lack of omniscience is ridiculous.

Call me stupid, but I see going to war as a pretty serious thing. I don't think it is a trivial endeavor. If you are going to put our soldiers at risk, it had better be for a REASON.

If our reasons are wrong or if there is a lot of doubt about how good the intelligence is, when why the push to ramrod an invasion of Iraq into the agenda?

The Senate Intelligence Committee said that based on the evidence the CIA had at the time (not what they were telling us he had...anyone up for a little Nigerian yellowcake?) they overstated the case for war and didn't have the evidence needed to make the assertions they are making (kind of like you).

So most intelligence agencies agreed that they had WMD's huh? The agreed wrong.

Funny how that happened to fall in line with the agenda the administration wanted to push before they were even elected.

Ever heard of Project for a New American Century? It had Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz on it

They argued that we should oust Saddam from power in 1998 = http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

In 1997, Leonard Peikoff was making the argument that Iran was the real target and that Iraq was a dumb target = http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?news_iv_...Article&id=5277

See a bit of of a descrepancy?

Care to tell us all how members of a right wing think tank didn't push the agenda of the Iraq war when there is openly documented evidence tying them to an obsession over Iraq going all the way back to 1998?

This is Paul Wolfowitze and Donald Rumsfeld for reason's sake. You don't think they could have possibly been warping the facts to fit their agenda?

If you don't believe they had an agenda...the evidence (their PNAC membership and letter) is right before your eyes.

Speaking for myself, I believe that once our forces have been commited -- even if we didn't go after the best target -- we must support them until we are victorious.

Even though the evidence that supposedly gives us a moral right to be there doesn't exist?

And it is a non-sequitur to say that since previous American military action has not worked well, no one should advocate additional American military action.

Come again? Last time I checked if you do the same equation twice, the answer doesn't change unless you change a variable or two.

What has changed? We are engaged in another war in a crappy third world country that doesn't pose a threat to us.

If military policies don't change from "then" and "now" it isn't a non-sequiter at all. It makes perfect sense.

If your military policy is to attack with spears and blow darts and you loose a major battle...you probably need to change your policy or else the next time you go into battle with your blow darts you will loose AGAIN.

If we take that our past military involvements have been failures (like Vietnam for example?) and our military policy hasn't changed, how is it a non-sequiter to suggest that further continuation of the same bad policy is a bad idea?

You proceed from a false premise. We need to destroy the threatening regimes. We do not need to rebuild them.

And we have the air power to utterly annihilate every one of those regimes with little loss of American life.

However, I do not think we have to annihilate them all. If we just annihilate one -- Iran is my preference -- then tell the others we will do the same to them if they do not cease all terrorist support, they will fall in line. What they most desperately want is to remain in power, and once we demonstrate a willingness to destroy them, they’ll do what is necessary to avoid that.

You assume they value their own life enough and that the world wouldn't erupt into global terrorism and or a free for all. I think that is a pretty big stretch, but we are both speculating here.

Rebuilding the regimes is the only way we can really protect our interests unless we really want to put more lives as risk from another regime springing up that is no different then the one we anhiliate. The only other tangible option is just nuking the entire region.

Unfortunately, Bush has bought into the notion that if you break it, you must fix it. That false premise has led us to waste much blood and treasure trying to save Iraq.

If you break it, should you just leave it broken to repair itself? When there is a political vacuum, there WILL be someone that fills the opening. Just destroying the entire government doesn't really address the mullahs, the kurds, or a whole host of other issues.

I'm willing to bet that even more blood would be wasted if we simply destroying the government, the military and their economic power.

Destroying the military leaves them open to attack and conquering by another country or such political instability that even MORE terrorists would get to use Iraq as their own little Mos Eisley.

Destroying their economy means that they all starve and we fill Al-Qaeda's ranks immediately. You also probably loose any motivation for American Muslims to not wage a domestic war against this country.

Destroying their government = leaving them open to outside influence.

Putting in a puppet government creates resenment and more terrorists because at that point we are occupying an Islamic country and subjegating them to our Western will (or some other such bull). A puppet government wouldn't probably last long.

So how is just leaving them broken an option? I mean...anything is technically an "option" but it doesn't make it a GOOD option.

edit = It appears that I'm not able to effectively quote (maybe a mod has disabled that ability I'm using the quote button correctly...ah well).

Ah well. If no one wants to read my response, I don't really care. I got about ZERO from this debate anyways. So unless someone actually says something intelligent, I'm dropping this debate.

Edited by Tryptonique
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I NEVER MADE THAT CLAIM so why are you asking me to warrant it? SHEESH!
and making the claim that a military incursion should have been into Iran or Syria FIRST instead of Iraq

I said that I wonder why given that we invaded Iraq that they think that invading Syria would be a good move.

Good straw man. I was talking about U.S capabilities to launch an invasion, but whatever. So we are going to nuke Syria and Iran now, huh?
I think Iran would be enough.

I guess if we want to expose our troops in Iraq and Israel to nuclear radiation poisoning, then sure.

That's not likely, the troops are hundreds of miles outside the blast and fallout radii of major Iranian targets.

I'm talking military invasion here. We aren't ready to conduct another invasion, period. I don't need "military expertise" to say that, sorry. Open your eyes and look at exactly how stable Iraq is.
Look at how it's being carried out too. Now go to aynrand.org, go to media, then interviews, and watch Yaron Brook's interview on Fox News about how this occupation is being conducted. The stability in Iraq is exactly the result of how weak-willed and morally corrupt our restrictions on the soldiers are.

We don't have enough troops for Iraq as it is. Are we going to magic some up for Syria or Iran? Not without a draft we won't and lets see how far that gets through the U.S Congress.

We have many times more than enough troops in Iraq, and a fraction of our troops could occupy Iran if they were allowed to use brute force. Instead, they're being told to sacrifice their lives and effectiveness to save the civilian population.

To invade Syria or Iran requires that we withdraw troops from Iraq. Otherwise we have no invasion force. Are we going to nation build there too? If not, we will just end up with the same situation and more anti-American sentiment after the invasion when another dictator steps up to replace it.
We'll do the same thing we did in Japan.

We don't have the resources to nation build (we don't even have them for Iraq) in Syria or Iran. Invading isn't an option right now.

We don't have the resources to nation build when it is done improperly, you mean.

A nuclear attack means that Israel will be attacked immediately and you will start a world war with the entire Middle East. Then take Pakistan into account which actually HAS nuclear weapons. Do you think Pakistan would be content to watch it's Muslim brethren be nuked? Their ideology is one of martyrdom so getting nuked in retaliation by the U.S probably wouldn't be a deterrent. Moreover, if you were Pakistan and Iran/Syria was nuked, what would make you think that you wouldn't be next? It isn't like you would have anything to loose from launching that nuclear missile.
When has leaving your enemy cowering at it's knees ever resulted in our loss? Did nuking Hiroshima cause a retaliation, or a complete and total surrender and a rebuilding of a free nation?

and a death wish...but whatever. If you nuke Iran you had better be prepared to nuke the entire middle east because if you don't kill every last one of them they will try even harder to hatch terrorist plots against the U.S. Never mind that you still don't solve the problem of Al-Qaeda by bombing Iran or Syria so you still have them to deal with after the ashes clear. I'm betting that NYC would be nuked faster than you can say "Pakistani nuclear weapons sale to Al-Qaeda."

You are rehashing the same old leftist ideas. Pakistan is hunting down Al Queda because the pressure is on Musharaff, and if we told him we'd topple Islamabad with a nuke, he'd hand over his sovereignty right away. There are people in the Middle East who want to live life, and if we let it be known that their lives will be a living hell until they root out the terrorists among them, they will go forth and do it themselves.

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I think Iran would be enough.

That's not likely, the troops are hundreds of miles outside the blast and fallout radii of major Iranian targets.

Look at how it's being carried out too. Now go to aynrand.org, go to media, then interviews, and watch Yaron Brook's interview on Fox News about how this occupation is being conducted. The stability in Iraq is exactly the result of how weak-willed and morally corrupt our restrictions on the soldiers are.

We have many times more than enough troops in Iraq, and a fraction of our troops could occupy Iran if they were allowed to use brute force. Instead, they're being told to sacrifice their lives and effectiveness to save the civilian population.

We'll do the same thing we did in Japan.

We don't have the resources to nation build when it is done improperly, you mean.

When has leaving your enemy cowering at it's knees ever resulted in our loss? Did nuking Hiroshima cause a retaliation, or a complete and total surrender and a rebuilding of a free nation?

You are rehashing the same old leftist ideas. Pakistan is hunting down Al Queda because the pressure is on Musharaff, and if we told him we'd topple Islamabad with a nuke, he'd hand over his sovereignty right away. There are people in the Middle East who want to live life, and if we let it be known that their lives will be a living hell until they root out the terrorists among them, they will go forth and do it themselves.

1) Nuking Hiroshima didn't cause a nuclear retaliation or anything of the like because Japan was already militarily being whooped daily. We had pushed back Japanese forces back to the mainland and they had no capability to retaliate in any meaninful sort of fashion

We were the only people with the bomb which made it even worse that we didn't demonstrate it on a non-civilian target first or at least attack a military target.

The reason we didn't try to nuke the Kremlin during the Cold War is because well..they had nukes and could have retaliated against us.

The reason we aren't nuking North Korea? Because at that point they have nothing to loose and could simply fire one off at our troops in South Korea or South Korea itself.

Considering how poor the security is with nuclear materials that were once protected by the USSR as well as the market for them, is it really that improbable that nuking Tehran would only make Al-Qaeda's push (and other groups) to get nukes that much more pressing? Do you honestly think that they couldn't get one? More importantly, Mussharaff is a military dictator who came to power in a coup. Do you think he would stay in power (or alive) for very long if he stood by while another Islamic nation was under attack and did nothing? Do you think someone in his government couldn't sell Al-Qaeda a nuke (kind of like how Ollie North sold weaposn to Iran?) without the support of Musharaff?

2) For Pakistan hunting down Al-Qaeda they certainly haven't turned up Bin Laden in the last 4 years.

3) Rebuilding Japan was a lot more feasible due to the fact that Japan wasn't made up of a bunch of death worshiping cultists. After Commodore Perry opening Japan to modernization, they were open to Westernization and embraced it quite wholeheartedly.

4) As far as nuclear fallout, even if there wasn't an immediate danger of fallout, it would still put more people at risk (including the Israelis) due to the fact that

a) There are a large number of known terrorists who want nothing more than to kill us and are already searching for nuclear materials. A nuclear attack would give them justification in their minds to retaliate with the same force. It would also give them even less to loose because if you could be nuked at anytime, why not nuke back? Pakistan is just one example.

North Korea already HAS nuclear weapons and if it felt like it was next, what would stop it from pressing the button or selling a nuclear weapon to Al-Qaeda?

Nuking Iran could quite possibly create an axis of evil that was actually working together to inflict as much damage as possible.

:lol: there are millions of Muslims in the United States (many whom aren't pro american) who would probably turn on this country creating quite a bit of domestic chaos as well as chaos in Europe.

The question isn't whether or not we could nuke Iran but whether or not the costs would be worth it in terms of the massive loss of human life that would be incrued on all sides.

5) I think Yaron Brook's argument is bunk. The more indescriminate we become with our killing, the more insurgents you have to deal with. That fact was played out in El Salvador when the U.S sponsored right wing government started killing peasants that had nothing to do with the insurgency. At first guerilla leaders were killed as a warning that supporting the guerillas would equal death at the hands of the government but if they didn't suppor the guerillas, they would be safe. As soon as the government became an indescriminate killer, FLMN's support increased dramatically. That isn't left wing b.S, it is documented fact.

Read Mason and Krane's "The Political Economy of Death Squads" to warrant that assertion.

Protecting civilians is kind of important because if you just wantonly kill civilians without regard, they have nothing to loose. They are already being killed by the insurgents. If the U.S kills them indescriminately as well, what motive do they have to not join the insurgencies ranks when they will be offered protection?

Why would they join the ranks of the United States? Most of the population subscribes to the death worshiping beliefs of Islam and not the free ideals of the West. Killing civilians only gives them one more reason to go hostile. After all, they are offered death by both groups, so why not go with the one you are ideologically closest to?

El Salvador didn't become more stable when civilians were indescriminately killed to get to the Communist bad guys. Isreal still has been the victim of homicide bombings despite their disregard for civilian life.

6) There might be people in the Middle East who want to choose life instead of death. They are certainly the minority though and statistically insignificant.

If they want to choose life, they sure do a bass ackwards job of it by embracing the most anti-life ideological system on the planet (Islam).

Edited by Tryptonique
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Excuse me, Mr. Rogers.

Either that's some reference I am unfamiliar with, or you are mistaking me with someone.

In either case, if you post a thread questioning the "pro-American Foreign Policy," you can't really blame me for calling you what this implies.

A little piece of advice if you want people to pay attention to your posts: Make them concise.

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I will make a list for you...how about that? I will even be EXTRA nice and include a warrant proving each of these.

1) Sponsoring and funding a government that killed 100,000-200,000 unarmed Mayans. How about that?

http://www.yale.edu/gsp/guatemala/TextforDatabaseCharts.html

While the article doesn't talk about U.S involvement, it is common knowledge that we gave those guys tons of economic aid and orchestrated their rise to power (the CIA overthrew Arbenz who nationalized United Fruit). The CIA has documented this themselves: http://www.foia.cia.gov/guatemala.asp

2) Our U.S funded death squads in El Salvador that indiscriminately killed innocent people and deliberately targeted them.

you want examples of this? Happy to accommodate.

a- El Mozote : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mozote_massacre

or : http://www.markdanner.com/newyorker/120693_The_Massacre.htm

b - The death squads carried out several high profile murders at this time; archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated in 1980 after publicly urging the U.S. government not to provide military support to the El Salvadoran government, and four US nuns were also raped and murdered by members of Salvadoran death squads. <---that seems pretty indiscriminate to me.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/137381.stm

3) Al-Shifa (already explained and cited).

4) The school of Americas which gave us Manuel Noriega and a bunch of other wonderful terrorist thugs.

"The SOA has been attacked for training members of governments guilty of serious human rights abuses and advocating techniques that violate accepted standards. Graduates of the SOA include men such as Hugo Banzer Suárez, Leopoldo Galtieri, Manuel Noriega,Efraín Ríos Montt, Guillermo Rodríguez, Omar Torrijos, Roberto Viola and Juan Velasco Alvarado. For this reason, the school's acronym is occasionally reparsed by its detractors as "School of Assassins".

There is usually a demonstration at the gates of the SOA/WHISC in late November. The date for the annual demonstration commemorates the first Latin American massacre linked to the SOA, through its graduates. On November 16, 1989, six Salvadoran Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter were murdered at the University of Central America (UCA). Of the 27 soldiers cited for that massacre by a 1993 UN Truth Commission, 19 were SOA graduates. This was the first of many documented linkages between the School's graduates and atrocities." - from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_the_Americas

You know what all of this proves? Nothing.

There is no evidence here that the U.S. government wanted innocent people killed. That, however, is exactly what a terrorist wants. Therefore, you cannot possibly equate the two.

6)Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? We chose not to attack a military target and instead killed over 250,000 civilians including men, women, and children. Sounds pretty indiscriminate to me. I guess those deaths are also the moral responsibility of the Japanese government who gave the go ahead for Pearl Harbor right? Why is it that the civilians were the target though and not the government or the military?

You can't just say "You attacked me first so anything I do from that point forward is your fault because you started it and I'm in no way responsible."

That logic in practice means that because The Alamo was attacked by Mexicans we would have no moral responsibility on our shoulders if we would have gone into Mexico and raped all of their women (or killed every last one of them).

You can place moral responsibility for accidental casualties on those that start wars. When we bomb factories pumping out war materials and civilians die, that isn't our moral responsibility. If terrorists hide weapons in a school or themselves...then they have those deaths on their head. Not deaths of alternative factions claiming to be better but killing

The U.S deliberately targeted Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a war with the goal of killing as many civilians as possible. The argument was that if we could get a Japanese surrender from doing so that those deaths were for the "greater collective good" in terms of the prospect of a mainland Japanese invasion. The only thing was, we didn't even bother demonstrating the weapon to the Japanese government as a warning which could have quite possibly forced a surrender without innocent casualties. If the Japanese wouldn't have surrendered, those deaths would have been on their heads. The fact is, they weren't given a chance. You can't even say it was justified because of Pearl Harbor because Pear Harbor was a military attack against a military target.

By 1945, it was clear that attacking only the Japanese military was not going to cause them to surrender.

There was no obligation on our part to demonstrate the weapon -- and there were some good reasons not to. First, we only had enough material to make two bombs at the time. Second, there was no guarantee that it would go off. We had only conducted one previous test.

I did not say: "You attacked me first so anything I do from that point forward is your fault because you started it and I'm in no way responsible." This is another example of your straw man argumentation -- you know, that smart people talk stuff that I obviously do not understand.

What I said was that the moral responsibility for casualties in a war belongs to the aggressor. This means that I have the right to do whatever is necessary to destroy the aggressor. Raping the women of Mexico clearly would not qualify as a means of destroying the Mexican military.

Bin Laden declared war on the west and our way of life and targeted a population center with the goal of killing as many people as he could for his supposed "greater collective good" as well which he sees as American surrender.

Big difference? Not really.

You asked for an example of indiscriminate murder...well there you go. Those atom bombs didn't discriminate "good guy" from "bad guy" and hundreds of thousands were slaughtered.

It sure as hell does if he goes and sells them to Hezbollah or gasses the Kurds with them. Saddamn quashed dissent with weapons. You want to tell me he just didn't use the ones we gave them? 

How about Iran then? Does that rise to the level of supporting terrorism? After all, Kohmeini wasn't a big pro-U.S guy was he? He was a declared enemy of the United States. We sold him weapons and he held our embassy hostage. What the hell do you call that? You think that the U.S government's actions weren't tantamount to sponsoring terrorism against innocent Americans?

Why the quotes around death squads? Squeamish about labeling them for what they were?

I have provided numerous warrants for the fact that the 'labeled' targets were leftist guerillas but the real people targeted were the peasant villagers. There is a tangible difference behind what you tell everyone your target is and whom is really targeted.

The actual leftist guerillas actually did pretty well and weren't really killed en masse. Despite the American government's meddling, the guerillas were pretty successful at what they did and weren't really affected by the death squads.

The purpose of the death squads was the crush popular support for the leftist guerillas, not target the perpetrators (the guerillas themselves).

I addressed this earlier in this post.

You are equating the retaliatory use of force against Japan with the initiation of the use of force by bin Laden. Big difference? Yes, really.

All of your efforts to morally equate America and Islamic terrorsts fail, because there is no evidence to indicate that our purpose was the murder of innocents -- which is the purpose of the terrorists.

However, the entire debate over the past is less important than the following issue:

AisA said:  "And in any event, past American actions are completely irrelevant to whether our current actions are moral."

You responded:

Horse puckey.

You have swallowed the entire leftist/pacifist hate-America poison pill, haven't you?

Apparently your premise is that since we have done evil things in the past (so you claim), this is somehow proof that what we do now must also be evil. This is guilt by association over time.

The same people (in large degree) with our Latin American blunders are now involved in Iraq.

Many of GW's political team is from the Reagan era (like John Negroponte who was heavily involved in Honduras during the 1980's).

Warrant the fact that the U.S broke treaties and murdered Native American women and children?

Are you kidding me? Did you um...ever make it past 4th grade history?

http://www.people.memphis.edu/~kenichls/2602NatAms.html

Once again, my argument is going over your head here.

I'm not saying that Communism wasn't a viable threat or that it was just silliness. We had VERY good reasons to be scared of the Communists. Look at China under Mao, Russia under Stalin, or the Cambodian killing fields.

How much better were we when we adopted terrorist tactics and killed as many people in Latin America as the leftist guerillas ever did?

Does responding to Communists or Islamic terrorists now require that we adopt their tactics? If so, how exactly are we morally superior  to them in actions?

Moreover, Latin America wasn't really threatened by Soviet involvement.

The USSR wasn't really involved in El Salvador or most of Latin America. Where it wAS involved was Nicaragua, Cuba, and South America.

Honduras, El Salvador, and Panama weren't pro Soviet. Nicaragua was a trading partner of The Soviet Union and bought arms from them, but any country is going to buy weapons for national defense purposes. It isn't like they could have bought the weapons from the U.S. So they went to the next global superpower. Doesn't mean that they were buddy buddy with the Ruskies just planning to make "Red Dawn" a reality instead of a bad Patrick Swaze movie.

Uh....Objectivists still bash the USSR and the evil it represented long after the fact.

Pointing out failures in our foreign policy or showing that we have a history of bad foreign policy isn't "off base."

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. It doesn't help that another Bush is in the Whitehouse when Bush I was in the CIA during the Reagan years when all of the Latin American blunders happened. It doesn't help that we once again have John Negroponte involved in shaping our foreign policy in Iraq and now in the area of intelligence oversight.

More of the same fallacy of ascribing to America the moral responsibility for the actions of others. Why should the U.S. government want peasants murdered -- unless those peasants were supporting our enemies?

There was definitely a better strategy.

Here is my proposition:

1) Kill communist guerillas

2) Don't have communist guerillas killed by death squads who are made up of brutal murderers. If you want to get a job done, do it yourself or make sure the people you are working with aren't worse than the group you are trying to suppress.

3) Don't send Iran nuclear reactors!

4) Don't give Pakistan friggin money to train Islamic nut jobs in Afghanistan. Why? Because the enemy of your enemy  does NOT equal your friend.

5) Don't sell weapons to Iran and Iraq. They are known to have anti-American sentiment and are also known to be brutal regimes.

I agree with most of this, though it is far easier to see it after the fact, and number 2 is often made impossible by the pacifists and leftists. And I think you are dropping context when you fail to acknowledge that many times the U.S. government has had to fight by proxy because of pressures from the anti-war crowd and Congress.

I can keep going, but I don't really need to. It isn't that hard. Honestly.

A is A, buddy.

If the people disagreeing with me ARE ignorant don't bitch at me for calling it as I see it. It doesn't change the content of my argument.

If that argument goes unrefuted and undaddressed, then that can be characterized as evasion.

Don't get on my case for pointing out the fact that people ARE evading my actual arguments. You are a prime example of the evasion I'm talking about when you say I'm making unsupported assertions.

Go back to my original post where I site Professor Thomas D. Tullius, chairman of the chemistry department at Boston University who categorically rejects the U.S government's assertion that there ever were chemical weapons being made at Al-Shifa before you start claiming I don't support my assertions. There were numerous studies done from western countries and independent groups (many of them credible like the Boston University one) that all came back saying that there was no way that there could have been chemical weapons being produced.

You want the actual citation? Thomas D. Tullius makes his claim in a New York Times article called " Experts Find No Arms Chemicals at Bombed Sudan Plant " on February 9, 1999, Tuesday, Late Edition. The article was written by James Risen and David Johnston.

If you want a whole run down of the issue (from The University of Illinois Chicago's webpage) =

http://www2.math.uic.edu/~takata/WorldTrad...Sudan_1998.html

We also had a draft in WWII well. Congrads! You ignored one more argument of mine.  As I said in the post RIGHT ABOVE YOUR OWN: "Moreover, more soldiers were deployed in WWII because of the draft.

We don't have that now. You are comparing apples to oranges."

You say that I'm making lame arguments from intimidation. You want to understand what I'm really doing? I'm getting tired of people who can't read or comprehend simple sentences and I'm making fun of you for it while continuing to point out your bad arguments. It is getting old though.

Among the unsupported assertions that I am referring to is your assertion that the U.S. government and the terrorists are, at present, moral equals.

By the way, the fact that we had a draft in WWII does not change the fact that America has demonstrated an ability to win a war with long lines of supply and multiple fronts.

Then we come to a statement like this:

"You want to understand what I'm really doing? I'm getting tired of people who can't read or comprehend simple sentences and I'm making fun of you for it while continuing to point out your bad arguments."

I know that when you resort to insult, you confess to having no better argument to offer, and I know it is time to stop taking you seriously.

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