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America Won't Defeat The Insurgency

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Iraq is not World War Two Japan, its events such as Abu Ghraib, where we do break the backs of the Iraqis, that they hate us even more.

Iraq is the enemy killing and maiming American and pro-American forces on a regular, daily basis--with no end in sight.

Iraq is not World War II. If it were, we would not be in Iraq. We would be nuking Iran.

Iraq is something more akin to Vietnam, which is what one would expect from a country that has lost its will to fight for its own self-interests and would rather sacrifice itself for others.

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A government should protect its citizens, no matter what kind of government it is.

The above is as valid as saying "A man should protect himself, no matter what kind of man he is (moral, immoral, barbaric, saint, just, unjust--anything goes). This is one huge equivocation, one that is a complete affront to morality and reality as such. Another example of a failure to understand concepts--you have no clue what "rights" and "government" actually mean.

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Bush *did* lie.  People *did* die and continue to die in this ridiculous screw-up of a war.

...

If I though evidence of reliable voices saying there were no WMD's even mattered to you I'd consider researching some others.

Tell me, punk, tell me you have the bumper sticker "Bush Lied People Died."

I asked for evidence that "they" (the people who lead this war) knew that "they" would not find weapons. You talk about people who were never saying that weapons were ever going to be found in Iraq. You made a claim about Bush and his clan lying--I want to know what proof you have that they knew. I could care less who never thought there would be weapons there.

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Well, the dictator does not have the right to exist in the first place.  But a country does have the right to have weapons.

A government should protect its citizens, no matter what kind of government it is. And for that they need weapons.

As to these statements, I present you these analogies:

- In order for a government to protect its citizens, it requires weapons. Therefore, that government has a right to those weapons.

- In order for a government to exist, it requires funding. Therefore, that government has a right to that funding.

- In order for man to exist, he requires food and shelter. Therefore, man has a right to food and shelter.

This is a gross misconception of the concept of individual rights. Rights are guarantees only to freedom of action, not guarantees to objects. Both of you are claiming that because a government's (proper) role is to defend (the right's of) its citizens, the means with which it is to accomplish this task are to be guaranteed to it by virtue of a right. You have perverted the concept of rights and used it to defend your illogical stance that a proper government has a right to weapons (or anything, really). It must be realized that a proper government is solely the defender of rights, it is the agent of the people, the policeman, the marine; it must be realized that a proper government has no rights.

I refer both of you to the excellent and enlightening chapter entitled "Man's Rights" in the Virtue of Selfishness for a proper, reality-grounded presentation of the concept of individual rights.

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Iraq is the enemy killing and maiming American and pro-American forces on a regular, daily basis--with no end in sight.

"Iraq" (i.e. the Iraqi government) is a semi-sovereign nation, and it is our ally. The Iraqi insurgency is killing and maiming American and pro-American forces with no end in sight.

The above is as valid as saying "A man should protect himself, no matter what kind of man he is (moral, immoral, barbaric, saint, just, unjust--anything goes).  This is one huge equivocation, one that is a complete affront to morality and reality as such.  Another example of a failure to understand concepts--you have no clue what "rights" and "government" actually mean.

A man does have a right to and should protect himself, even if he is barbaric, immoral, a saint, unjust, etc. He has the right to do that as a man. This is my opinion and you can disagree, however please don't insist that people have "no clue" what things mean and fail to understand concepts. That is personally offensive to say, and we should not be offensive to each other personally, only perhaps ideologically.

Tell me, punk, tell me you have the bumper sticker "Bush Lied People Died."

I asked for evidence that "they" (the people who lead this war) knew that "they" would not find weapons.  You talk about people who were never saying that weapons were ever going to be found in Iraq.  You made a claim about Bush and his clan lying--I want to know what proof you have that they knew.  I could care less who never thought there would be weapons there.

Well, Bush said that there were weapons there, and there weren't. Right? Isn't that a lie? Regardless of what they thought or didn't think... they told us something that wasn't true and people died for it. I also would like to see proof from anyone claiming that they knew there were no weapons to be found beforehand, however.

As to these statements, I present you these analogies:

- In order for a government to protect its citizens, it requires weapons.  Therefore, that government has a right to those weapons.

- In order for a government to exist, it requires funding.  Therefore, that government has a right to that funding.

- In order for man to exist, he requires food and shelter.  Therefore, man has a right to food and shelter.

I agree with the first analogy: A government does have the right to have weapons. It needs them to defend the right of its citizens to freedom from foreign invasion. (Conceptually--however, Iraq probably doesn't need nukes for defense) That doesn't mean it's entitled to these weapons--it must pay for them.

I disagree with the second analogy (i.e. agree with what you're saying)

I agree with the third analogy: A man has a right to food and shelter. That doesn't mean he's entitled to this--he must earn it. He does have the right to possess those things.

I don't have the book you mentioned yet, so perhaps you could clear me up if you're still at odds with what I've said. I still stand by everything i've said in this thread.

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A man does have a right to and should protect himself, even if he is barbaric, immoral, a saint, unjust, etc.  He has the right to do that as a man. 

A man that engages in the violation of the rights of others has lost his rights, this is how our criminal system works. What you are saying is equivalent to "a criminal has the right to fight the cops that are trying to capture him."

If you mean that "any man has the CAPACITY to defend himself," that's one thing, but it's quite another to say that any man has the RIGHT. Men lose rights when they violate the rights of others.

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A man that engages in the violation of the rights of others has lost his rights, this is how our criminal system works.  What you are saying is equivalent to "a criminal has the right to fight the cops that are trying to capture him."  ... Men lose rights when they violate the rights of others.

I agree 100% with this. But, a man can be barbaric or a saint or anything he wants, just as long as he doesn't infringe on the rights of others. He can be immoral as long as he doesn't violate the rights of others.

Edited by valjean

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- In order for a government to protect its citizens, it requires weapons.  Therefore, that government has a right to those weapons.

- In order for a government to exist, it requires funding.  Therefore, that government has a right to that funding.

- In order for man to exist, he requires food and shelter.  Therefore, man has a right to food and shelter.

This is a gross misconception of the concept of individual rights.

Apologies. My mention of the word "right" was a confusion of its meaning in Croatian language. This is in no way related to individual rights.

What I meant to say was that the function of the government is to protect its citizens, and that to perform this function, the government needs weapons. Thus they don't have the "right" to them, but you can't say that they shouldn't develop them.

Edit: I first said that I said nothing like this, but that was due to the confusion which I explained. I only noticed later that I did in fact use the word "right," so I changed my post, I hope you don't mind.

Edited by source

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Felipe - I edited my previous post to include the line "He can be immoral as long as he doesn't violate the rights of others." right after i posted it, but you responded before having a chance to see that. Just wanted to clear that up.

I understand what you're saying about barbarism. In that case, yes, a man has no right to be barbaric.

Edited by valjean

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Well, Bush said that there were weapons there, and there weren't.  Right?  Isn't that a lie?  Regardless of what they thought or didn't think... they told us something that wasn't true and people died for it. 

So everyone who is mistaken about something is now lying? If I say my mother was born in 1956 but she was actually born in 1955, and I made a mistake, am I lying? What is it to lie?

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So everyone who is mistaken about something is now lying?  If I say my mother was born in 1956 but she was actually born in 1955, and I made a mistake, am I lying?  What is it to lie?

lie: n. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood. (dictionary.com)

Under the first part of this definition, Bush didn't lie until you prove it, and I take your side Felipe.

Under the second part of this definition (after the ";"), Bush did lie. That's what I meant when I originally said he lied--he stated a "falsehood".

Generally a ";" represents equivalency in definitions!!! So the dictionary definition is conflicting!

It's good that we've discovered the reason for this misunderstanding. Probably a large proportion of the disagreements on this forum arise because of differences in the connotations and perceived denotations of words. It is made clear by this definition how easily words can mean different things!

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"Iraq" (i.e. the Iraqi government) is a semi-sovereign nation ...

No. Iraq is a semi-conquered nation. We are still in the process of defeating Iraq. And until it is completely subdued, it will remain an enemy nation--whether we recognize it as such or not.

Iraq is not "the Iraqi government." The Iraqi "government" exists within a heavily defended few square miles of Baghdad known as the Green Zone. That is not Iraq. Iraq is the rest of the country (the Red Zone) swarming with terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

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The above is as valid as saying "A man should protect himself, no matter what kind of man he is (moral, immoral, barbaric, saint, just, unjust--anything goes).  This is one huge equivocation, one that is a complete affront to morality and reality as such.  Another example of a failure to understand concepts--you have no clue what "rights" and "government" actually mean.

After the error I made, I guess I deserved this. I'll now answer your previous questions and attempt to correct my original error.

Do you understand the concept of rights? Does a dictator have a right to have weapons?

A dictator is a criminal and thus he has forfeited his rights. I think that this says enough.

Even if there were weapons, isn't it every goverment's crucial task to protect its citizens from foreign invaders? They would have the right to hold these weapons.

The last sentence should have been: "You wouldn't have the right to stop them from acquiring weapons." This, however, was only meant in the context of what we heard was the main reason why America went to war. Did America really set out to seize or destroy the country's means of protecting itself, or did it go to arrest this criminal, who is Saddam Hussein? And if the US was really afraid that Saddam would use his weapons, why didn't they come up with a more efficient way to wage this war? ANY delay is a threat to the citizens of the US, is it not?

In any case, what would be the moral thing for America to do (if you had an option): take weapons from Saddam, or take Saddam from his weapons?

Still, as I said, I have very little basis on which I can make judgments about this war. I have too little information, and that which I have is either conflicting or incorrect.

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No. Iraq is a semi-conquered nation. We are still in the process of defeating Iraq. And until it is completely subdued, it will remain an enemy nation--whether we recognize it as such or not.

Iraq is not "the Iraqi government." The Iraqi "government" exists within a heavily defended few square miles of Baghdad known as the Green Zone. That is not Iraq. Iraq is the rest of the country (the Red Zone) swarming with terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

In the 2005 national election, Iraq had 58% voter turnout.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_Nationa...lection%2C_2005)

In the 2004 national election, U.S. A. had 60% voter turnout. http://elections.gmu.edu/voter_turnout.htm

If you don't think "Iraq" means the Iraqi government, you must want it to mean "the people of Iraq." 58% of the eligible people voted in the election. Of the remaining percent that did not vote (42%), probably a small proportion are insurgents or enemy combatants. I think Iraq is certainly not an enemy nation that needs to be conquered. We are not in the process of "defeating Iraq." We are in the process of controlling a small number of insurgents which, by the nature of guerilla warfare, are capable of causing significant damage.

Edited by valjean

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I don't think your responses are as precise and direct as they ought to be, so let me try:

Just out of curiosity, when is the use of force by a free country against another country morally right?

Only when such other country poses a direct threat against such legitimate country's security. That threat has to be actual, not potential.

Just out of curiosity, are judging "the way in which it was decided to go to war" and judging "the morality of this particular use of force" two separate issues or the same issue?  Are we going to call this use of force morally wrong because the main justification for it turned out to be dead wrong?

If the standard is that "America should only defend itself by force against those who attacked us," then the answer is "Yes, we are morally wrong for trying to free Iraq from its oppressors" which was Bush's lame justification for attacking Iraq.

America was never attacked by Iraq. Iraq did, however, sponsor terrorists who did contribute to attacks upon America. Yet Bush has approached this as a liberation effort, believing that democratizing Iraq would eliminate a source of terrorism in the Middle East.

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I don't think your responses are as precise and direct as they ought to be, so let me try:

Only when such other country poses a direct threat against such legitimate country's security. That threat has to be actual, not potential.

I don't think this response is grounded in reality, let me point out why:

I despot is a violator of individual rights. Any man that has violated the rights of individuals has lost his claim to rights. Thus, any freedom-loving country is always morally right in deposing a violator of individual rights--the act of engaging in war against him is like squashing a bug, the bug has no rights.

Therefore, the standard is always "is the country's leadership grossly violating individual rights?" When the answer to that is yes, we are morally right.

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...the act of engaging in war against him is like squashing a bug, the bug has no rights.

Not so. Defeating an immoral enemy is in many ways different than squashing an amoral bug. Fighting immorality means upholding morality, justice, rights... and such action can have emotional rewards. By successfully fighting off the oppressor, in some cases you can feel a certain amount joy, because it is the moment when you can finally go back to living your own life.

Unlike defeating a tyrant, squashing a bug is not an emotionally rewarding experience.

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Good point, you're right that there is an essential difference in both acts. There is, however, the similarity that both don't have rights, which was the similarity I was highlighting. I agree with you though.

I hereby drop the bug analogy, as it doesn't capture some very essential characteristics of waging war against immorality. Nevertheless, my point still is that this dictator has no rights, and any rights-respecting country is morally right in destroying him.

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Nevertheless, my point still is that this dictator has no rights, and any rights-respecting country is morally right in destroying him.

I only agree in part. My position is that is justifiable only if such dictator demonstrates that he is an actual threat to the legitimate country's well-being.

In order to do that, such country must initiate force upon the legitimate country.

Absent of that, a capitalist nation has no right to initiate force on another nation, legitimate or otherwise.

I think my view is fully consistent with that of Objectivism and Capitalism.

What is the policy of a capitalist government to other countries?               

The policy of a capitalist government to other countries is identical in principle to its  policy towards its citizens: the banning of the initiation of force  from all relationships

Link here

The view that America has the right to initiate force upon dictatorships is one borne of altruism, in which America assumes responsibility for the sake of others.

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I only agree in part.  My position is that is justifiable only if such dictator demonstrates that he is an actual threat to the legitimate country's well-being.

In order to do that, such country must initiate force upon the legitimate country.

Absent of that, a capitalist nation has no right to initiate force on another nation, legitimate or otherwise.

I think my view is fully consistent with that of Objectivism and Capitalism.

Link here

The view that America has the right to initiate force upon dictatorships is one borne of altruism, in which America assumes responsibility for the sake of others.

I don't think that's "consistent with "Objectivism and Capitalism." What you write is in direct contradiction to what Ayn Rand wrote and said, for example, in the Playboy interview:

PLAYBOY: What about force in foreign policy? You have said that any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany during World War II . . .

RAND: Certainly.

PLAYBOY: . . . And that any free nation today has the moral right -- though not the duty -- to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba, or any other "slave pen." Correct?

RAND: Correct. A dictatorship -- a country that violates the rights of its own citizens -- is an outlaw and can claim no rights.

PLAYBOY: Would you actively advocate that the United States invade Cuba or the Soviet Union?

RAND: Not at present. I don't think it's necessary. I would advocate that which the Soviet Union fears above all else: economic boycott. I would advocate a blockade of Cuba and an economic boycott of Soviet Russia; and you would see both those regimes collapse without the loss of a single American life.

See Playboy Interview with Ayn Rand

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PLAYBOY: Would you actively advocate that the United States invade Cuba or the Soviet Union?

RAND: Not at present. I don't think it's necessary. I would advocate that which the Soviet Union fears above all else: economic boycott. I would advocate a blockade of Cuba and an economic boycott of Soviet Russia; and you would see both those regimes collapse without the loss of a single American life.

Ayn Rand is right. Look how quickly, as a result of U.S. economic boycott, Cuba collapsed over the last 40 years. Yep. It happened in the twinkling of an eye. When Ayn Rand wrote those words, Cuba was on its very last legs. Given how much Cuba imploded in the last 40 years, surely Cuba will be fully ready for capitalism by, say, mid-2005?

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Ayn Rand is right.  Look how quickly, as a result of U.S. economic boycott, Cuba collapsed over the last 40 years.  Yep.  It happened in the twinkling of an eye. When Ayn Rand wrote those words, Cuba was on its very last legs.  Given how much Cuba imploded in the last 40 years, surely Cuba will be fully ready for capitalism by, say, mid-2005?

Your sarcasm is misplaced. You'll note that with respect to Cuba, Ayn Rand advocated a blockade, not just a boycott. The economic boycott was for the Soviet Union. We did not do either, sending emergency grain supplies to Russia during the Reagan administration for example. And of course, Cuba has had trade and relations with the rest of the world making our boycott ineffective and extending the life of this corrupt totalitarian dictatorship. Regardless, the Soviet Union is gone and would have gone sooner if the West had not helped it along and eventually Casto's Cuba will follow it.

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If you don't think "Iraq" means the Iraqi government, you must want it to mean "the people of Iraq."  58% of the eligible people voted in the election.  Of the remaining percent that did not vote (42%), probably a small proportion are insurgents or enemy combatants.

This is an absurd statement which assumes that everyone who voted in the election is our ally. Voting does not make one a friend of America. You'll note that the elected officials of Iraq are creating an Islamic Republic. Does that make Islamic Republicanism our ally?

Our enemy is not limited to the people who strap bombs around their waists and blow themselves up at bus stops. Our enemy is an entire society that supports, glorifies and teaches anti-West Islamic fundamentalism.

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