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RationalEgoistSG
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Recently I have been thinking about whether or not it is to our benefit to be occupying Iraq and trying to install a particular form of government. Why not invade the country, bomb the crap out of it, despose of the government, and then springboard over to Iran, Syria, the PA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., and do the same thing?

Militarily speaking, the U.S. alone has the military strength to eliminate the governments of all of these countries, the terrorists that receive support from them, and all potential and existing weapons of mass destruction programs in a very quick period of time. Two exceptions would be North Korea and Pakistan in which more time and care would be required to ensure that there would be no problems involved with currently existing wmd's.

If however, for each of these operations, we tried to install a government like we are doing now in Iraq, the time needed to eliminate these threats would take a much longer period of time; thus increasing the risk to our security while we wait. I argue therefore that we should not be concerned with establishing a new government in these countries, but rather, eliminating the imminent threat of that government (meaning they could probably not reinstitute that threat for a number of years), handing them a copy of the U.S. Constitution, and then move on to the next.

The major possible objection against this argument would be that if we install democratic governments in these countries, we will prevent their being future threats to us. I think there are a number of flaws with this argument.

The biggest flaw I mentioned above in that the time we spend occupying a country and trying to install a government will be spent by our enemies increasing their strength.

Another flaw is that most of the held philosophy of people in the Middle East explicitly contradicts the principles of a free nation (i.e. Islamic law in the State).

Finally, one of the major points of the argument is that we could eliminate the need to wipe out these threats again in the future. However, if we really do a good job militarily, not only will we delay such occurrences, but we could also just easily wipe out the new threat when it arises. Clearly, if it got to the point where one dictatorship was just replacing the next in these places, it would get to the point where the people were fed up and realized that perhaps dictatorship isn't the best way to go.

Therefore, I argue that we should hand off the U.S Constitution to the Iraqi's and move on to another target immediately (I would argue Pakistan and North Korea, but that is another story).

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Edit: I just wanted to clarify that I am not against military occupation of a defeated opponent per se, in fact, I think it is beneficial. I am saying however that because of the fact that we face a large number of other threats, military occupation of Iraq right now is not beneficial.

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Just to be contentious - let's pull our troops out of Germany, Okinawa, and wherever else they may be stationed to no use, and let them invade and utterly destroy the governments of "Iran, Syria, the [Palestinians], Saudi Arabia, Pakistan," et al.; that way, we can keep Iraq under submission and fulfill the rest of our objectives while undoing something that should never have been done.

Yeah, yeah, I know we're in Iraq for the same reason we stayed in Germany and Japan. My point is, troops in Iraq are useful now, somewhat, while troops everywhere else but the Middle East are pointless and a waste of this sentence. After we pull out from the rest of the world, let's finish smashing up Baathists and other Islamofascists, religious or secular, wherever they may be (because I don't think we're all the way done smashing things up in Iraq yet) and then get the hell out from all those hellholes that want to stay Islamofascist, whether religious fundamentalist or secular tyrannist.

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Y feldbum, we aren't in Okinawa, for Okinawa's sake, we're here because it is a huge staging point for something much bigger. We are close to North Korea and can fly missions to Iraq, without requiring air to air refuleing. We are definately not in Okinawa to do anything with Okinawa.

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Just out of curiousity, RESG, why do you argue for an attack on Pakistan immediately? Isn't at least Iran a more imminent threat, given their accelerating pursuit of nuclear weapons? It's true that Pakistan already has them, but as I understand that situation, they're all pointed at India. What has given you the idea that Pakistan would distribute these weapons to terrorist groups? This isn't to say I believe them to be a legitimate "ally" of ours, just that I don't see them as an imminent threat and am curious why you disagree.

Also, does the PA constitute a threat to American security, or should Israel deal with them? Again, as I understand it, Israel could easily dismantle them if it chose to.

Finally, an argument for occupation is that if we "bomb the crap out of" a country, depose a corrupt regime, and do not assist in restoring order, we've sown the seeds of hatred for America and effectively swollen terrorist ranks. The people will want "revenge," and turn to the same kind of regimes to provide it; I don't believe that, as you claim, they will eventually see the error of their ways. (I mean, the Islamic world has been seeking "revenge" for the Crusades ever since the 11th century.) I believe it's in American self-interest not to be caught in an endless cycle of having to destroy the governments and elusive terror-networks in third world countries.

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Skywalker,

1. Not only does Pakistan have nuclear weapons now, but they have recently been revealed to be at the center of a ring of countries bent on proflieration of WMD's. They have been implicated in the programs of countires such as Libya, Iran, and North Korea. I'd say it's best to take out the source of nuclear proliferation before the countries only in the development phase. Even if one were to accept not attacking Pakistan immediately, we should at the very least be coming down very hard on them for their actions here, yet we have done nothing.

2. I don't think that the PA is a threat to American security per se at this point, but I believe all of the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups to be a threat to our security. I absolutely believe that we could use Israel's help in dismantling them. In fact, I would argue for a strong alliance between The United States and Israel in taking out these terrorist states. But of course, our government does not want to make this war look like a war of Christianity and Judiasm vs. Islam, so that will not happen any time soon.

3. First of all, I am not advocating that we not give any support to pro-American forces in these countries. Monetary, military, and constitutional support seem reasonable. Second, the idea that we should pattern our war strategy based on the feelings of our enemies is absurd. Any resentment felt by the people of that country would be far beaten by the advantage of being able to eliminate all of the other imminent threats against us.

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RE: I agree, we should smash all of the terrorist states, and not just Afghanistan and Iraq.

The major possible objection against this argument would be that if we install democratic governments in these countries, we will prevent their being future threats to us. I think there are a number of flaws with this argument.

The biggest flaw I mentioned above in that the time

I disagree with that, though.

The biggest flaw is that democracy isn't freedom, liberty, or capitalism. It is the social system which places the power of initiation of the use of physical force into the hands of a majority. As others have pointed out on this thread, said majority is a bunch if Islamic death worshippers.

What has given you the idea that Pakistan would distribute these weapons to terrorist groups?

Skywalker: Taliban Afghanistan, with their defense minister Osama bin Laden, was a client of Pakistan. Pakistan funneled money to them from Saudi, Iran, Iraq, etc. What makes you think that Pakistan has any peaceful or good intentions today?

Finally, an argument for occupation is that if we "bomb the crap out of" a country, depose a corrupt regime, and do not assist in restoring order, we've sown the seeds of hatred for America and effectively swollen terrorist ranks.

I am having a tough time analyzing this. Do you mean that crap-bombed countries that we "help restore order in" love us? Or do you mean that crap-bombing a country should be done carefully to ensure that the people who hate us are left with the means to strike back at us?

Also, do you mean that the US has the power to "restore order", without altering their vicious cultures? Or do you mean that we have the power to replace Islam with a culture of reason?

These countries are all murderous dictatorships. You can either take that as happenstance. Murderous military and theocratic dictators can sieze power anywhere, at any time, and it's simply chance that it simply happened in all of those countries. Or, you look at a country's government as a reflection of its culture, and you integrate the premise that evil only exists with the sanction of the victim.

Islam is a vicious, vicious culture. Unlike Germany and Japan, which held some virtues, look at the Islamic culture. Rationality? Hah! The greatest insult in their culture is to call someone an "infidel". Productivity? Not on the list. Honesty or Integrity? HELL NO! Justice? Uhuh. Pride? Sinful.

The best thing to do is to bomb them so hard that they have no means to strike back. Yes, I mean to destroy their military, industry, infrastructure, wealth, and population.

If I were president, I would have called in a council of military, nuclear, geology, and meteorology experts. I would order them to give me a plan to anihilate Saudi, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, "PA", Iran, Iraq, etc. The caveat is not to inflict radiation or other damage on Israel, India, or Turkey.

The alternatives are either to mire the US down in "nation building" in one or two countries, while the other 11 or 12 prepare for nuclear terrorism, or to appease them and hope that we can "win them over to our side."

Frankly, I expect another major terrorist atrocity on US soil. Pray to whatever fucking gods you hold, boys and girls, that this incident is enough to renew US anger at terrorists and motivate us to do something effective, and that at the same time, the incident is small enough that the USA can survive it qua USA.

A nuclear holocaust in NY City, for example, would not only destroy our economy and lead to poverty and starvation, but I expect America would be a fascist dictatorship shortly thereafter.

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Bearster,

You are right with what you said about the flaw of democracy. When I used the term I was referring to the establishment of a free nation, but I used the term incorrectly.

Do you think we should wipe out these countries with nuclear weapons? Is that what you meant with your statement?

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If I were president, I would have called in a council of military, nuclear, geology, and meteorology experts.  I would order them to give me a plan to anihilate Saudi, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, "PA", Iran, Iraq, etc.  The caveat is not to inflict radiation or other damage on Israel, India, or Turkey.

Your insanity is amusing.

If this were to happen, I suspect the US would disappear overnight in a nice cloud of mushroom smoke.

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Which of the European "strongmen" do you think would have the temerity to launch burning mushrooms over the atlantic ... ?

I had thought it was only the (scarequotes) "hardcore" left that pronounced defending one's right (scarequotes) "insane".

"Representative constitutional republic" shares very few semantic flaws with "democracy".

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"Defending one's rights" is not the same thing as wiping out several entire nations with nuclear weapons. No one here is saying we shouldn't act in our self-interest, we clearly must, but I have to agree with Poohat. What Bearster proposes is not in America's self interest and is not a rational means of self-defense. We can bring down a dangerous regime - using force - without purposely annihilating the entire population of the controlled country. Can you really suggest that we destroy, for example, the population of Iran, who in majority are screaming for freedom and the overthrow of their theocracy? The people of Iraq similarly wanted their tyranny removed; most reports agree that the anti-coalition terrorists there now are foreigners who came specifically to fight the US. (As to Bearster's comment about the sanction of the victim, I think it's clear that the people of Iraq had no means of bringing Saddam's regime down from within, so nothing suggests sanction in that particular case. The dancing in the streets after his fall suggests quite the opposite.)

My judgement is that the Iraqi people aren't interested in struggle, but stability, and there is no rational reason we should have "annihilated" them. It's unlikely that the entire population of somalia presents a threat to US security, either. I completely agree with RE that we should get out of Iraq as soon as possible and focus on self-defense, but that doesn't mean we need to kill everyone in a country after we remove its brutal government. Nor does it mean that some measure of helping to set up a free post-war government is detrimental to our self-interest - only that our post-war involvement shouldn't be this extensive.

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The whole of Pakistan's government is not into arms sales.

It is Musharaff's Islamisist enemies within the government who are into the arms sales.

It is not exactly apparent who they are, if it was apparent, Musharraff would be arresting them... after all it is them who are a threat to his power. Musharraff does not have strong secular opposition.

Now would not be the time to topple more secular regimes in the area. We simply dont have the forces or the money to occupy them, and if we decapitated the secular regimes without opposition groups ready to take power, the only people taking power would be BL clones.

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Obliterating nations and remaining in a constant state of warfare seems neither self-interested nor rational. Instead of having watered down offensive units striking anywhere and everywhere, it would appear that having a strong concentrated national defense would be a much easier and much more tenable position. Lest i even begin to confront the argumentation for Iraq having been an immediate or imminent threat. For all of the reason this group claims to employ, it amazes me how few of you ever even question the hardline stances forced upon you by Peikoff and the TIA.

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Obliterating nations and remaining in a constant state of warfare seems neither self-interested nor rational.
Firstly, you seem to be arguing that self-interested and rational are seperate, they are not. Besides this, "obliterating nations" that allow us to be obliterated (remember those towers that used to stand in New York?) is completely rational. Constant fending of attacks at home is not rational, by this policy we would have never hit back at Japan after Pearl Harbor and Europe have been renamed "Germany."

Lest i even begin to confront the argumentation for Iraq having been an immediate or imminent threat.

Iraq did not have to be "an immediate or imminent threat." Even discounting involvement in terrorism (which it is hard to aruge that Iraq wasn't at least passivelly supportive of). We were at war with Iraq years ago, that war ended with a collection of treaties, these treaties were violated (yes, we have found banned weapons, read David Kay's reports). This alone gives us grounds to go in and finish what we started.

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There is actually a good reason to occupy Iraq at this time and that is to keep one if its neigbors: Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. From invading a weak Iraq and seizing the oil there. Its in the USA's best interest to create a semi-friendly gov't with which to buy oil from.

Do I think its a good idea to occupy countries. No, historically its never proven beneficial in the long run except for maybe Japan. We did nuke them however. Hmm... They are a completely different culture that had embraced western ways of doing things long before US occupation after WWII.

Personally I would prefer a strong defense with emphasis on economic sanctions, intelligence ( spys ), and focus on individual freedom here at home. We can do little to change another culture through war or any other means ( especially one as old as Islamic culture ). In 20 years or so middle eastern oil will be less of a factor as fuel cells and Russian oil become more common.

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Firstly, you seem to be arguing that self-interested and rational are seperate, they are not.
What happened to self identity? A now = B?

Besides this, "obliterating nations" that allow us to be obliterated (remember those towers that used to stand in New York?) is completely rational.

Really? I wasn't aware that it was a nation who was responsible for the attacks on September 11th. Apparently you are privy to information that i am not.

Constant fending of attacks at home is not rational, by this policy we would have never hit back at Japan after Pearl Harbor and Europe have been renamed "Germany."
Dont be so absurdous. You know as well as i do that the fending is not and has not been constant. Try again.

Even discounting involvement in terrorism (which it is hard to aruge that Iraq wasn't at least passivelly supportive of).  We were at war with Iraq years ago, that war ended with a collection of treaties, these treaties were violated (yes, we have found banned weapons, read David Kay's reports).  This alone gives us grounds to go in and finish what we started.

I always find it humorous how someone can state that the United States doesnt need permission to act from the UN and can then turn around and support the very grounds the UN installed for us attacking. It all seems so circular. And even if you believe that Weapons Programs equate to Weapons of Mass Destruction, to state definitively that the usage of those materials posed such a threat that it was worthy of pursuance seems far fetched at best.

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What happened to self identity? A now = B?
A can equal B, it just can't equal non-A. If A is defined in such a way that it meets all the criteria for being B, than A = B. For example, a rational person is necessicarily self-interested, therfore rational=self-interested. The only way your attemped A/non-A arguement would be applicable here is if self-intrest is irrational. It is not.

Really? I wasn't aware that it was a nation who was responsible for the attacks on September 11th. Apparently you are privy to information that i am not.

Do you really think that Saddam was not, at the very least, allowing terrorists to operate in his country. I didn't think there was any doubt that there have been terrorist camps in his country in recent years. The only question is whether he paid them, or convienientally turned a blind eye.

My respose to the rest of absurd statments will have to wait a bit.

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Dont be so absurdous. You know as well as i do that the fending is not and has not been constant. Try again.
The fact that terrorists are not yet capable of an all out attack does not mean we should wait until they are. Allowing the existence of groups whose stated goal is to kill Americans, and have proven themselves capable of doing so on numerous occasions, is hardly rational. And yes, the fending is constant. Just because there is not always something coming at us, does not mean that we do not always have to be ready for it. Being eternally on the defense merely allows your enemies the time to gain the necessary power to kill you.

I always find it humorous how someone can state that the United States doesnt need permission to act from the UN and can then turn around and support the very grounds the UN installed for us attacking. It all seems so circular. And even if you believe that Weapons Programs equate to Weapons of Mass Destruction, to state definitively that the usage of those materials posed such a threat that it was worthy of pursuance seems far fetched at best.

I said nothing about the UN, what I said was this: When we backed off a decade ago, we did so under certain conditions. Those conditions have been broken. This gives us justification to finish what we started. Nor did I say anything about Weapons of Mass Destruction. There is a whole host of weapons, which are not "of Mass Destruction," but which Iraq was banned from having at the end of the last gulf war. A number of which have been found since we booted Saddam. And it is not far-fetched that allowing Saddam to develop these weapons poses a threat. I wonder what you think missiles are for if not blowing something up.

This is my last word on the matter until someone presents something at least resembling a rational argument.

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Obliterating nations and remaining in a constant state of warfare seems neither self-interested nor rational.
It is very rational and very self-interested, and above all very moral, depending on the context; only, one must have one's values in order and properly founded.

For all of the reason this group claims to employ, it amazes me how few of you ever even question the hardline stances forced upon you by Peikoff and the TIA.

The stance of merciless truth - of infinite justice - is the stance of reason. Man as a slave is not Man; Man as a beast is not Man; Man as a savage is not Man. Life without pride is void, and life without the mind is nothing. Life where all one's values are obliterated and all one's virtues are impossible is not worth living. Defend your freedom with all your life or be worth no more than death. The sanction of the victim, the force of non-pride and non-worth, is the only thing that permits evil to exist in this world.

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There were many strategic reasons for going into Iraq. My brother, who spent 32 years in the Navy and now works as a consultant at the Pentagon, and I have had many discussions about this.

1. Iraq sits in the middle of the group of nations that are enemies. We now have the military freedom, and the base from which to act, that we didn't have in Saudi Arabia, or any of the other gulf states. For instance, we no longer need to seek permission to fly our planes, or to prepare for invasion. This is a long-term, regardless of the new Iraqi government. (Remember that we are now having to treat with the likes of Pakistan because we had to have the fly-over right so that we could bomb Afghanistan.) This also solves many logistical problems, which is no small thing. You can't run operations with poor logistical backup.

2. Because Iraq had breached the cease fire agreements, we had justification to go in immediately.

3. While the administration was, correctly, concerned about WMD, the only reason it was given the press attention it got was because Bush, incorrectly, decided to beg the UN's indulgence. (We set up this farce when we fought the first Gulf War under UN auspices.) This was done mainly to help shore up Blair's position in Britain and the EU.

There is no question that Saddam supported terrorism. There have been terrorist camps in Iraq for a couple of decades. He also directly paid blood-money to terrorists in Israel and gave monetary support to their various terrorist factions. (Of course, he merely wanted the "prestige" of being the great Muslim Leader, looking after his poor dispossessed children -- leading to his establishment as ruler of the whole Umma.)

4. Iraq is being used as an example of what the oppressed people of the ME could have. At the moment, all they have is their death-cult religion, the resulting thirteenth-century culture, the lies they've been told, and tyrants who bash in the heads of everyone who questions any religious or secular authority. This idea is already bearing fruit in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

5. Toppling the likes of Saddam has already borne fruit in Lybia, as well. There is nothing like seeing the fall of a tyrant to give another tyrant pause. (Treating with Pakistan has helped here, as well. If we had not been engaged with Pakistan as an ally, however reluctantly, do you think we would have known about the nuclear proliferation coming from that quarter?)

6. Iraq also gives us a base from which to protect our oil interests in the region, which was why we liberated Kuwait in the first place. America cannot be abruptly cut off from such a large source of oil. Our economy would tank. In this, it is about oil, and rightly so.

There are other reasons, but I won't go into them.

My first reaction to 9-11 was that we ought to nuke 'em all. It would send an indelible message to anyone who thought twice about attacking us again. Upon further reflection, however, I think that would be like shooting ourselves in the foot. We are defending our way of life, as well as our physical lives. That way of life requires fuel and a large part of that fuel comes from that region. We have valid interests there as long as we are barred from energy exploration and exploitation in this country. We've painted ourselves into a corner over this fact. Even if we had scrapped the laws barring energy independence on 9-12, we'd still not have had the time to make ourselves independent of Middle Eastern oil. (This fact alone demonstrates just how evil these laws are.)

I don't like the way much of the war is being handled, but at least we haven't had to endure another president stepping up to a podium and declaring that the culprits will be brought to justice and sending out the FBI to "investigate" in various foreign countries. At this point, I'll take what I can get.

As for operating in a strictly defensive posture, isn't that rather like locking up the citizens and allowing the thugs to run free?

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There were many strategic reasons for going into Iraq.  My brother, who spent 32 years in the Navy and now works as a consultant at the Pentagon, and I have had many discussions about this. 

1.  Iraq sits in the middle of the group of nations that are enemies.  We now have the military freedom, and the base from which to act, that we didn't have in Saudi Arabia, or any of the other gulf states.  For instance, we no longer need to seek permission to fly our planes, or to prepare for invasion.  This is a long-term, regardless of the new Iraqi government.  (Remember that we are now having to treat with the likes of Pakistan because we had to have the fly-over right so that we could bomb Afghanistan.)  This also solves many logistical problems, which is no small thing.  You can't run operations with poor logistical backup.

2.  Because Iraq had breached the cease fire agreements, we had justification to go in immediately. 

3.  While the administration was, correctly, concerned about WMD, the only reason it was given the press attention it got was because Bush, incorrectly, decided to beg the UN's indulgence.  (We set up this farce when we fought the first Gulf War under UN auspices.)  This was done mainly to help shore up Blair's position in Britain and the EU. 

There is no question that Saddam supported terrorism. There have been terrorist camps in Iraq for a couple of decades.  He also directly paid blood-money to terrorists in Israel and gave monetary support to their various terrorist factions.  (Of course, he merely wanted the "prestige" of being the great Muslim Leader, looking after his poor dispossessed children -- leading to his establishment as ruler of the whole Umma.)

4.  Iraq is being used as an example of what the oppressed people of the ME could have.  At the moment, all they have is their death-cult religion, the resulting thirteenth-century culture, the lies they've been told, and tyrants who bash in the heads of everyone who questions any religious or secular authority.  This idea is already bearing fruit in Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

5.  Toppling the likes of Saddam has already borne fruit in Lybia, as well.  There is nothing like seeing the fall of a tyrant to give another tyrant pause.  (Treating with Pakistan has helped here, as well.  If we had not been engaged with Pakistan as an ally, however reluctantly, do you think we would have known about the nuclear proliferation coming from that quarter?)

6.  Iraq also gives us a base from which to protect our oil interests in the region, which was why we liberated Kuwait in the first place.  America cannot be abruptly cut off from such a large source of oil.  Our economy would tank.  In this, it is about oil, and rightly so.

1) Why won't we need permission to use Iraq as a staging ground? Iraq isn't going to become the 51st state any time soon and is going to have some government independant of the U.S.

Unless there is a U.S installed puppet government (like the Shah of Iran) whose power is fleeting at best...how will we have absolute rights over their airspace or land? It is THEIR property and not ours the last time I checked. Besides, what makes you think that the U.S won't switch positions about how Iraq is handled if a liberal get into the White House in '08 or even a moderate conservative? I think you are being prematurely optimistic here and if the people were thinking like this before invading Iraq they were even MORE premature.

Besides, do you anticipate any other military operations in the region?

If so, how do you think that is really plausible considering how over extended our military is? We also can use Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey (which is how we worked Gulf War I and II).

2) The breach of the cease fire was directed at planes flying in their airspace, not American citizens or any allies of America. North Korea broke the NPT and a whole host of other laws and we were more concerned about Iraq. What is the strategic value in that? How about Iran? Iraq shooting at military planes flying in it's air space doesn't strike me as a reasonable threat to the lives of Americans in any relevant sense.

3) Sure, Saddam paid blood money to terrorists in Isreal. So have many other state sponsors of Islamic terrorism. Why the worry about Iraq and not another country that actually posed a credible threat to the United States or one that has actually threatened the United States? Like Iran for example?

4) What an example! you too can have al-Qaeda cells in your country assasinating your leaders, killing your security forces, and indescriminately killing civilians. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. How many middle eastern countries to you see excited and willing to pay the price of really waging war against the terrorists? A great many of them support the terrorists in spirit or in tangible ways.

5) Libya happened in part because the country was doing really damn poorly and Qadafi realized that it was much wiser strategically speaking to get American economic aid and trade than keep starving and doing poorly economically speaking. I would say that is as big of a part of the equation as anything else. Fidel Castro didn't exactly "pause" because of Arbenz, Ortega, or the numerous other Latin American pseudo Communists that America was obsessed with overthrowing. As far as understanding Pakistan's nuclear ambitions and NPT stuff...how is that really important? We haven't stopped them from getting nukes. Moreover, a giant clue that they had them came when they started launching test missles. Isn't intelligence gathering the job of the CIA? Oh wait...they fail at that routinely so I guess involvement with Pakistan has about zero beneficial uses.

Except it allowed the CIA to train and fund some anti-Communist guerillas that would become Al-Qaeda. Our involvement with Pakistan has hurt us in so many ways that the benefits are marginal at best. Besides...after the massive intelligence failures that lead to 9/11 and a faulty WMD justification for Iraq, what makes you think that we could have found out anything relevant anyways? This seems tenuous at best.

6) Once again, we can protect our oil interests by staging wars from other places in the Middle East.

Edited by Tryptonique
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1) Why won't we need permission to use Iraq as a staging ground? Iraq isn't going to become the 51st state any time soon and is going to have some government independant of the U.S. Unless there is a U.S installed puppet government (like the Shah of Iran) whose power is fleeting at best...how will we have absolute rights over their airspace or land?[/

We have military bases and staging rights in many countries that are not the 51st state of the U.S.

And the countries where we have those military rights do not have puppet governments.

It is THEIR property and not ours the last time I checked. Besides, what makes you think that the U.S won't switch positions about how Iraq is handled if a liberal get into the White House in '08 or even a moderate conservative? I think you are being prematurely optimistic here and if the people were thinking like this before invading Iraq they were even MORE premature.
Treaties with other government insure the continuation of our rights through different regimes.

We also can use Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey (which is how we worked Gulf War I and II).
Look at a map. Bases in Iraq potentially put us in much better position to deal with Syria and Iran. The Turks will not let us launch military operations from their territory.

2) The breach of the cease fire was directed at planes flying in their airspace, not American citizens or any allies of America. North Korea broke the NPT and a whole host of other laws and we were more concerned about Iraq. What is the strategic value in that? How about Iran? Iraq shooting at military planes flying in it's air space doesn't strike me as a reasonable threat to the lives of Americans in any relevant sense.
It is a non-sequitur to argue that because we did not attack the best target, there is no value in attacking any other target.

3) Sure, Saddam paid blood money to terrorists in Isreal. So have many other state sponsors of Islamic terrorism. Why the worry about Iraq and not another country that actually posed a credible threat to the United States or one that has actually threatened the United States? Like Iran for example?
A bloodlthirsty, rape/murder/tortue-happy lunatic sitting on enormous oil reserves, having a history of using WMDs on his own citizens, having a track record of invading other countries and having a track record of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, is a threat to everyone.

Hussein may not have been the worst threat, but he was definitely a threat.

4) What an example! you too can have al-Qaeda cells in your country assasinating your leaders, killing your security forces, and indescriminately killing civilians. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. How many middle eastern countries to you see excited and willing to pay the price of really waging war against the terrorists? A great many of them support the terrorists in spirit or in tangible ways.
Your perspective is frozen on the present. Things can and will improve in Iraq.

5) Libya happened in part because the country was doing really damn poorly and Qadafi realized that it was much wiser strategically speaking to get American economic aid and trade than keep starving and doing poorly economically speaking. I would say that is as big of a part of the equation as anything else.
What is your support for this assertion?

Fidel Castro didn't exactly "pause" because of Arbenz, Ortega, or the numerous other Latin American pseudo Communists that America was obsessed with overthrowing.
How do you know what Castro's reaction was? His reaction to the Bay of Pigs fiasco was to allow Russia to give him nuclear missiles.

As far as understanding Pakistan's nuclear ambitions and NPT stuff...how is that really important? We haven't stopped them from getting nukes. Moreover, a giant clue that they had them came when they started launching test missles. Isn't intelligence gathering the job of the CIA? Oh wait...they fail at that routinely so I guess involvement with Pakistan has about zero beneficial uses.

Except it allowed the CIA to train and fund some anti-Communist guerillas that would become Al-Qaeda. Our involvement with Pakistan has hurt us in so many ways that the benefits are marginal at best.

In the first place, are ignoring her question. You cannot evade the fact that our involvment with Pakistan helped lead to an end to Kahn's activities.

The second part is another unsupported assertion. Tying down the Soviets in Afghanistan certainly had some role in the eventual dissolution of the U.S.S.R. -- and that was a hugely beneficial event.

Besides...after the massive intelligence failures that lead to 9/11 and a faulty WMD justification for Iraq, what makes you think that we could have found out anything relevant anyways? This seems tenuous at best.
It is a non-sequitur to state that since our intelligence agencies lack omniscience, we cannot expect any useful information from them in the future.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Recently I have been thinking about whether or not it is to our benefit to be occupying Iraq and trying to install a particular form of government. Why not invade the country, bomb the crap out of it, despose of the government, and then springboard over to Iran, Syria, the PA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., and do the same thing?

Militarily speaking, the U.S. alone has the military strength to eliminate the governments of all of these countries, the terrorists that receive support from them, and all potential and existing weapons of mass destruction programs in a very quick period of time. Two exceptions would be North Korea and Pakistan in which more time and care would be required to ensure that there would be no problems involved with currently existing wmd's.

If however, for each of these operations, we tried to install a government like we are doing now in Iraq, the time needed to eliminate these threats would take a much longer period of time; thus increasing the risk to our security while we wait. I argue therefore that we should not be concerned with establishing a new government in these countries, but rather, eliminating the imminent threat of that government (meaning they could probably not reinstitute that threat for a number of years), handing them a copy of the U.S. Constitution, and then move on to the next.

The idea of this "war on terrorism" is much like treatment for cancer. It is to

disturb as few "parts" a possible, as we don't want a massive "phase shift" (like

DEATH, or other form of utter chaos) to occur.

But who would be doing these acts? A government. And what is the single MORAL

function of government? The protection and enforcement of "the trader principle",

which is the enforcement of voluntary trade of value for value where both parties

have gain.

Now, do destroying threats to international trade (the target of any threat [of

initial force use] coming from a "terrorist") constitute a moral/ethical use of force

for a government?

I say yes.

By what methods should an ethical and morally justified agent (police force)

destroy the threats? They are only allowed to destroy the "criminals", and the

weapons/instruments of the criminals. Apprehension is better, but often not

practical.

You can no more tell (morally) a sovereign nation how to govern itself any more

than you can force a sovereign individual to believe something. It amounts to

exactly the same thing, actually.

But if they act as criminals again, the police agency (government) is OBLIDGED to

destroy the criminals once again. If the offender is habitual in acting criminally,

then proactive methods of eliminating the future potenial of repeat acts are called

for.

Once the criminals are destroyed, and it is seen that it really doesn't pay to be a

criminal anymore, the rational folks of the nation will DEMAND a rational society,

and they should be provided (as an investment from other rational societies) with

the blueprints of what a rational society looks like.

The major possible objection against this argument would be that if we install democratic governments in these countries, we will prevent their being future threats to us. I think there are a number of flaws with this argument.

The biggest flaw I mentioned above in that the time we spend occupying a country and trying to install a government will be spent by our enemies increasing their strength.

Another flaw is that most of the held philosophy of people in the Middle East explicitly contradicts the principles of a free nation (i.e. Islamic law in the State).

Finally, one of the major points of the argument is that we could eliminate the need to wipe out these threats again in the future. However, if we really do a good job militarily, not only will we delay such occurrences, but we could also just easily wipe out the new threat when it arises. Clearly, if it got to the point where one dictatorship was just replacing the next in these places, it would get to the point where the people were fed up and realized that perhaps dictatorship isn't the best way to go.

Therefore, I argue that we should hand off the U.S Constitution to the Iraqi's and move on to another target immediately (I would argue Pakistan and North Korea, but that is another story).

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Edit: I just wanted to clarify that I am not against military occupation of a defeated opponent per se, in fact, I think it is beneficial. I am saying however that because of the fact that we face a large number of other threats, military occupation of Iraq right now is not beneficial.

The rest of your posting is dealt with in my response above.

-Iakeo

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