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Why can't Objectivists agree on Iraq?

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johny118
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Just like you can't do certain things at work without your co-worker's consent or Boss's consent, it is generally frowned upon to invade other countries without ABSOLUTE proof that they were a danger.

I just want to note that this is not a proper standard for judging whether an invasion of another nation by the United States is justified. The standard is whether the invasion is in our national self-interest -- which it may be even if the nation invaded is not itself a danger. (Consider the Morocco example from World War II that I cited earlier in the thread.)

"Absolute" proof is also not a requirement for action. A requirement of absolute proof is a rejection of action. You collect as much information as you can, and you act on it. Sometimes you make mistakes, in which case you go back and try to figure out what went wrong. (If you want to criticize the Bush administration for something, its utter failure to clean up and improve our intelligence gathering after its spectacular failure in assessing what was going on in Iraq would be a good place to start.)

Finally, the "co-worker or boss" analogy does not hold in foreign policy. In a work environment, all the people involved are part of the same integrated business organization, with common goals and a framework for coordination actions and resolving disputes. This is not the case with foreign policy.

I also note that none of the critics of the Iraqi Campaign have picked up on my earlier challenge. If not Iraq, then what? What alternative method of fighting the Islamofascists would you have preferred? (Bearing in mind that we're talking about actions in the world as it is today -- so saying that we wouldn't have this problem if the last 50 years of U.S. diplomacy had been different isn't an answer. Nor are actions that require that things not under our control, such as French willingness to sell out to Saddam in exchange for oil money, be different. We're talking about what else *we* should have chosen to do.)

Second-guessing is easy. Formulating a positive alternative is hard. I'd like to hear one.

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I also note that none of the critics of the Iraqi Campaign have picked up on my earlier challenge. If not Iraq, then what?
Though I'm definitely not a critic of the Iraqi Campaign, in the sense you use the term, I do want to point out that "Styles2112" did attempt a the beginning of an answer:

I think new/harsher foreign trade policy and an ACTUAL Homeland defense system (that which ours does not qualify) would be a much better anti-terrorism war.

I do not understand what this would imply, and how it would work to keep terrorists at bay.

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I don't think that America is in a financial situation that makes it incapable of unilaterally bringing war to its enemies.

Sure, if you just want to bomb the hell out of everyone. But, then you run a VERY high risk of angering much more powerful European countries who are ALREADY feeling the colonialism of the new American Foreign Policy. Personnel-wise, the military is just stretched too thin (between Iraq/Afghanistan/Korea), which is also why we're currently struggling in Iraq. I'm, also, pretty sure the American public has no interest in reinstating the draft for America to just go out and conquer whomever they feel like just for "National Self-Interest."

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I just want to note that this is not a proper standard for judging whether an invasion of another nation by the United States is justified. The standard is whether the invasion is in our national self-interest -- which it may be even if the nation invaded is not itself a danger. (Consider the Morocco example from World War II that I cited earlier in the thread.)

I think you would need more than your own speculation on a larger example here. You are, unfortunately, dealing with an ideology here, not a political mindset. The Middle East (Muslims) are a proud bunch and will not take an invasion lightly. Europe has already hinted at its displeasure at us taking on multiple Middle Easter Countries. How many countries can we PRACTICALLY take on at once? Unfortunately, there is just not enough justification for EVEN a larger scale conflict that we're talking about. You'd be hard-pressed to convince me that it was all worth it.

"Absolute" proof is also not a requirement for action. A requirement of absolute proof is a rejection of action. You collect as much information as you can, and you act on it. Sometimes you make mistakes, in which case you go back and try to figure out what went wrong. (If you want to criticize the Bush administration for something, its utter failure to clean up and improve our intelligence gathering after its spectacular failure in assessing what was going on in Iraq would be a good place to start.)

There, however does have to be consequences for those actions. Just saying,"whoops, we were wrong" doesn't bring back the dead, nor help a politically failing government. I agree, we make decisions based on the information we have. To be honest, I think Iraq warranted invasion. My argument here, is not just the invasion itself, but how it was done, how it was presented, and now what it's consequences will bring. So far, the consequences have not been with in our "National Self-Interest."

Finally, the "co-worker or boss" analogy does not hold in foreign policy. In a work environment, all the people involved are part of the same integrated business organization, with common goals and a framework for coordination actions and resolving disputes. This is not the case with foreign policy.

Okay, you're right. But, it will hold up assuming there are multiple businesses. There are certain things that business do not do to each other. Take Atlas Shrugged for instance and how the businesses interacted in that. No one respected the companies that FORCED the takeovers. I liken that to American just invading whom they feel like based on an unjustified "National Self-Interest." Afghanistan was one thing, the invasion of Iraq is a whole other. But, then like I said, there's a bit too much conflicting info out there to TRULY see what the goals and intentions were. So we're forced to speculate based on media knowledge and political presentation.

I also note that none of the critics of the Iraqi Campaign have picked up on my earlier challenge. If not Iraq, then what? What alternative method of fighting the Islamofascists would you have preferred? (Bearing in mind that we're talking about actions in the world as it is today -- so saying that we wouldn't have this problem if the last 50 years of U.S. diplomacy had been different isn't an answer. Nor are actions that require that things not under our control, such as French willingness to sell out to Saddam in exchange for oil money, be different. We're talking about what else *we* should have chosen to do.)

What I suggested earlier. Granted much of this is based on personal bias, but, I suggest we remove troops from most other countries (unless they're paying us, and paying us GOOD to be there), and we invest in a MUCH better Homeland Defense (The stories I've heard about things getting through airline security and other things...it's atrocious), and a better anti-terrorist force. Germany and Italy have some of the best anti/counter terrorism forces in the WORLD and it would not be a horrible idea to emulate those forces (coupled by a MUCH higher funded Intelligence force, which is KEY here.)

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Trust me, the European nations are like sheep. If you show them the stick, they will obey.

Why should I trust you? What knowledge or experience do you have?

Have we showed them "the stick" in Iraq? Are they supporting us now? I haven't seen it. What conclusions have brought you to this?

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Why should I trust you? What knowledge or experience do you have?

I used "trust me" just as a figure of speech. You don't have to if you don't want to.

Have we showed them "the stick" in Iraq? Are they supporting us now? I haven't seen it. What conclusions have brought you to this?

If the govt. had defined the goals of the Iraq war clearly and stuck by them (i.e. a war for our national self-interest), if it had not conceded moral ground to the Islamists at every step, if it had imposed a US style constitution in Iraq, if it had butchered the terrorists without mercy, i.e. shown them the stick, sure Europe would have grumbled about it a bit, but the level of overt anti-americanism would have been much lower. Because you see, then we would have had the moral higher ground. That's why.

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I used "trust me" just as a figure of speech. You don't have to if you don't want to.

If the govt. had defined the goals of the Iraq war clearly and stuck by them (i.e. a war for our national self-interest), if it had not conceded moral ground to the Islamists at every step, if it had imposed a US style constitution in Iraq, if it had butchered the terrorists without mercy, i.e. shown them the stick, sure Europe would have grumbled about it a bit, but the level of overt anti-americanism would have been much lower. Because you see, then we would have had the moral higher ground. That's why.

What you are talking about here is colonialism. Basically, you just said,"We should have forced them to be exactly like us." While maybe a nice thought (and it is), it's not PRACTICAL. Not to mention the fact they would not accept this and we'd probably be in a WORSE situation than we are as we probably would've invoked the anger (moreso) of the rest of the Arab world. Again, we're barely handling Iraq, what makes you think we can handle the rest of the Middle East without European help? (Which, again, reverts back to that consent issue.) Not to mention that such a move would, possibly, have angered European countries and made them even more anti-American. We are in the unfortunate position of seeing what's right, but having to walk a delicate line to prove it, and prove it we must.

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Sure, if you just want to bomb the hell out of everyone. But, then you run a VERY high risk of angering much more powerful European countries who are ALREADY feeling the colonialism of the new American Foreign Policy.
What is your evidence that any nation in Europe is "powerful" enough to do anything to us?

Personnel-wise, the military is just stretched too thin (between Iraq/Afghanistan/Korea), which is also why we're currently struggling in Iraq. I'm, also, pretty sure the American public has no interest in reinstating the draft for America to just go out and conquer whomever they feel like just for "National Self-Interest."

1) Less than 15% of our military forces are currently deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan/Korea combined.

2) Our military budget exceeds the sum of the military budgets of the next 13 largest countries combined -- and our technology is vastly superior to those nations. Our military expenditures exceed the combined military expenditures of Russia, China, France, Japan, England, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, India, South Korea, Australia, Turkey and Israel.

3) The reason we are having difficulty in Iraq is because we are trying to use our military as an Iraqi domestic police force, instead of using it to destroy the enemy. If our military were fully unleashed, we could annihilate Iran, Syria, Iraq or anyone else in the mid-east with ease.

Regime destruction should be our goal, not regime change.

Did you miss what I said earlier about Israel? With a population of 3 million, this tiny nation has beaten the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordon simultaneously four times in the last 50 years. And you think America cannot do it? We have the power to destroy every evil regime in the mid-east, and there is not a damn thing anyone in Europe could or would do about it.

It is will power that we lack, not military power.

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What is your evidence that any nation in Europe is "powerful" enough to do anything to us?

I didn't say "any" I said "all" My point was not that "A" nation would stand up to us, but all EUROPE, Possibly even moreso would.

3) The reason we are having difficulty in Iraq is because we are trying to use our military as an Iraqi domestic police force, instead of using it to destroy the enemy. If our military were fully unleashed, we could annihilate Iran, Syria, Iraq or anyone else in the mid-east with ease.

That's true, however, my point was not annihiliation, but practicality and consequences. What do you think the consequences would be if we did such a thing? I suspect that we would be starting WWIII and WE would be viewed as the next Hitler's Germany (as countries are ALREADY painting us).

Regime destruction should be our goal, not regime change.

So, you sacrifice other people for your own benefit is what you're saying. We'll go in and destroy the government and leave the anarchist state to destroy itself.

Did you miss what I said earlier about Israel? With a population of 3 million, this tiny nation has beaten the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordon simultaneously four times in the last 50 years. And you think America cannot do it? We have the power to destroy every evil regime in the mid-east, and there is not a damn thing anyone in Europe could or would do about it.

I think America could do it at HOME. Israel was defending IT'S home, not spreading it's forces over a LOT of land to attack other proud cultures. Apples and Oranges.

It is will power that we lack, not military power.

Luckily intelligence has kept us from doing that.

*I've got to stop getting myself into these...

:P

Edited by Styles2112
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I didn't say "any" I said "all" My point was not that "A" nation would stand up to us, but all EUROPE, Possibly even moreso would.

This is the Europe that can't "stand up" to some toughs with Molotov cocktails in the Paris suburbs, remember. They've been calling the U.S. "Hitler" for twenty years . . . hell, the liberals in the U.S. are calling us "Hitler". Does them saying it make it so?

I think America could do it at HOME. Israel was defending IT'S home.

Israel smashed it's way into the Sinai peninsula and took over territory larger than the REST OF ISRAEL, territory they could have easily HELD, by the way. They gave it back because Europe thought it would be nice and threatened to call them "Hitler". Oh, and they did all that in seven days, btw.

Maybe if you took the time to actually understand what you were talking about you wouldn't get into arguments you can't win.

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I just want to note that this is not a proper standard for judging whether an invasion of another nation by the United States is justified. The standard is whether the invasion is in our national self-interest -- which it may be even if the nation invaded is not itself a danger.

Actually, the proper standard would be the initation of force and who is guilty of it. Saddam Hussein was clearly guilty of initiating force, if not upon us (which he was), then upon his own people. Saddam's government, being a tyranny, had no right to exist. The United States, being free/semi-free, was morally justified in deposing him.

Now, whether or not it was a good idea to do so, that depends upon self-interest. Justification, as far as I can tell, doesn't.

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I didn't say "any" I said "all" My point was not that "A" nation would stand up to us, but all EUROPE, Possibly even moreso would.
Where is the evidence that all of Europe has the power to harm us?

That's true, however, my point was not annihiliation, but practicality and consequences. What do you think the consequences would be if we did such a thing?
The primary consequence would be that the Muslims of the world (the ones that survived) would crawl back into their holes and leave us alone -- they would not have any other choice.

Let's take Iran, for example. If we destroy the regime, its military, its oil and gas facilities, etc., then what is left behind will not be a threat to us. Without their oil and gas revenues, they will not have the resources to develop nuclear weapons or to develop (or purchase) the missiles to deliver them. They will not be in a position to threaten us in any significant fashion.

What is it about that approach that you disagree with? What do you advocate we do instead? What do we do about the Iranians, who chant "Death to America! Death to America! Death to America!"? What do we do when they develop nuclear weapons and give them to al Qaeda?

I suspect that we would be starting WWIII and WE would be viewed as the next Hitler's Germany (as countries are ALREADY painting us).
Personally, I don't care how we are viewed, as long as people understand that those who dare to attack us, or threaten to attack us, will be annihilated.

We have every right to defend ourselves against those who openly call for our death and destruction, or who finance and support groups working to kill us. If Europe wants to go to war against us for defending ourselves, then that is a war we better fight sooner rather than later. I, for one, do not wish to live in a world where the French, the Germans or the Swedes tell America when she may or may not defend herself. That would be an impractical situation.

So, you sacrifice other people for your own benefit is what you're saying. We'll go in and destroy the government and leave the anarchist state to destroy itself.
A sacrifice is the destruction of a greater value for the sake of a lesser value, or for no value at all. In what possible sense is self-defense a sacrifice? What we are doing in Iraq at the moment is an example of a sacrifice: we are allowing American soldiers to die for the sake of protecting Iraqi civilians.

If you are referring to the lives of, say, Iranian civilians that would be killed as we destroy the regime, the moral responsibility for their deaths rests with the regime that makes the war necessary by creating the threat in the first place. That does not mean we go out of our way to kill civilians gratuitously; we kill them insofar as is necessary to destroy the threat to America.

I think America could do it at HOME. Israel was defending IT'S home, not spreading it's forces over a LOT of land to attack other proud cultures. Apples and Oranges.
It is not apples and oranges. It is an illustration of what it takes to destroy the the military forces of certain mid-east nations.

By the way, what makes you think those mid-east nations are "proud" or "cultured"?

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Styles2112, you've been asked quite a few questions since your last post, so I won't ask any. But I will respond to some points:

What you are talking about here is colonialism. Basically, you just said,"We should have forced them to be exactly like us." While maybe a nice thought (and it is), it's not PRACTICAL. Not to mention the fact they would not accept this and we'd probably be in a WORSE situation than we are as we probably would've invoked the anger (moreso) of the rest of the Arab world. Again, we're barely handling Iraq, what makes you think we can handle the rest of the Middle East without European help? (Which, again, reverts back to that consent issue.) Not to mention that such a move would, possibly, have angered European countries and made them even more anti-American. We are in the unfortunate position of seeing what's right, but having to walk a delicate line to prove it, and prove it we must.

It isn't colonialism that you are referring to, it is occupation. Germany and Japan were both occupied by America, and neither is a colony. The US had a tough time forcing Germany to submit, but look at it now. The situation in both of these countries is not WORSE; on the contrary, it is vastly improved. If we properly occupied Iraq, we wouldn't have a middle eastern colony in 20 years, we would have another middle eastern ally.

Countries do not lose esteem in their allies when their allies defend themselves. Sure, some countries in Europe might hate America more if America properly defended itself, but others (such as Israel) would have more esteem in America and more trust that we wouldn't hang them out to dry. I'll take stronger allies over less belligerent non-allies any day.

I didn't say "any" I said "all" My point was not that "A" nation would stand up to us, but all EUROPE, Possibly even moreso would.

All of Europe, even moreso, probably would not have the inclination to start military conflict after a restructuring of the middle east, nor would it likely have the military capability to be an existential threat. If America can't defend itself at what is possibly the zenith of it's power, then it is only a matter of time before it is destroyed.

-edited for clarity/spelling

Edited by FeatherFall
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I'll respond to this as the other posts have already been discussed before, and as always, we're not going to change our personal opinions.

It isn't colonialism that you are referring to, it is occupation. Germany and Japan were both occupied by America, and neither is a colony. The US had a tough time forcing Germany to submit, but look at it now. The situation in both of these countries is not WORSE; on the contrary, it is vastly improved. If we properly occupied Iraq, we wouldn't have a middle eastern colony in 20 years, we would have another middle eastern ally.

I agree, and I used the wrong term. Although, history will also show that Germany and Japan are pretty much our ONLY successful occupations/reconstructions. We could also look at a failed Afghanistan (prior to the current one) and several south American Bungles that ended up causing more enemies than friends. I agree, though that a PROPER occupation would benefit us more, but that is pretty much my entire argument (that people seemed to have missed), that we've gone about this wrong from the get-go. Occupations and reconstructions are not something to lightly mess around with and sacrificing OUR soldiers using OUR money was not the proper way to go about it. I REPEAT: I'M NOT ARGUING WHETHER WE SHOULD HAVE INVADED IRAQ, I'M ARGUING HOW IT WAS DONE.

Countries do not lose esteem in their allies when their allies defend themselves. Sure, some countries in Europe might hate America more if America properly defended itself, but others (such as Israel) would have more esteem in America and more trust that we wouldn't hang them out to dry. I'll take stronger allies over less belligerent non-allies any day.

All of Europe, even moreso, probably would not have the inclination to start military conflict after a restructuring of the middle east, nor would it likely have the military capability to be an existential threat. If America can't defend itself at what is possibly the zenith of it's power, then it is only a matter of time before it is destroyed.

No, I suspect that success would breed many friends. The problem we have is a lack of success which leads us to our current state. Which is why the whole "Vietnam" scenario is here. We have all the potential to win this war, but we're losing the media side of it. I do worry about Iran "daring" the US to invade them. They've played up the media quite well.

However, as a member of the military and seeing just how it works over there AND over here, I'm not particularly confident in us taking on the whole of the Middle East. Anyways, I have to head to Tae Kwon Do, so I'll, more than likely, post more on this tomorrow.

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No, I don't believe in animal testing. As far as I'm concerned, if I come down with a horrible disease (unless they come up with cure without sacrifice) too bad for me. I've no interest in sacrificing further life (human or animal) just for mine
I see now why you think killing the enemy is "sacrificing them". It seems you are the ultimate pacifist -- even an animal's "right to exist" trumps your right to defend your body against disease.
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I see now why you think killing the enemy is "sacrificing them". It seems you are the ultimate pacifist -- even an animal's "right to exist" trumps your right to defend your body against disease.

Something I qualify under not asking anyone to sacrifice their life for me, as I will not sacrifice mine for others. But, that is my opinion based on my values.

I'll put it this way, from the readings I have done on the culture over there and seeing the numbers of soldiers that are sent (or not sent) I believe this is a futile fight, and I also believe (and I'll stress PRACTICALITY again) that a conflict (since it's highly unlikely we'll declare war on IRAN, just as we did not declare WAR on Iraq, which explains the lack of numbers over there, and WHY we can't put more numbers over there) with Iran is not one that we'd win. They already have the media, and outside of declaring war (something we'll not likely do in this situation because of the political implications internationally) we will not have the man power to win that fight, and maintain occupancy of Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea. We would further push the Arabs from being our Allies (though, we might get some Iran haters, and receive some enemies of my enemies) and possibly push Europe to side with Iran whilst losing Britains support (I imagine they would remain neutral and not take a side at that point).

Another quick point about Israel, since someone brought it up. Israel was able to win because of the backing they had from the U.S (Granted it was via the cold war, the point still remains). I don't think they would have managed it otherwise. I also think that the rest of the Arab world understimated their passion, believing that a show of force would make them back down. Such as our show of force in Iraq has not truly succeeded, that did not succeed as well.

Anyways, I've placed my opinions in, what I think is, a thought out manner. I understand that some of you may disagree with them. That's fine, however, the insults directed here are really uncalled for, and to my knowledge, against forum rules. I do have a background in this area, which I believe qualifies me (to some level) to make that educated guess. Could I be wrong? Sure, but no more or less than the rest of you. So, please, show at least a LITTLE respect. I really enjoy reading most of everyone's posts here and I learn a lot (even when I disagree with something), I think some of the insulting is pretty needless, just because someone disagrees with you.

Anyways, that's all I have to say, and I've had enough. Enjoy the rest of the thread.

Edited by Styles2112
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Something I qualify under not asking anyone to sacrifice their life for me, as I will not sacrifice mine for others. But, that is my opinion based on my values.

I'll put it this way, from the readings I have done on the culture over there and seeing the numbers of soldiers that are sent (or not sent) I believe this is a futile fight,

It might be futile the way we are presently going about it. That doesn't mean it is inherently futile, does it?

and I also believe (and I'll stress PRACTICALITY again) that a conflict (since it's highly unlikely we'll declare war on IRAN, just as we did not declare WAR on Iraq, which explains the lack of numbers over there, and WHY we can't put more numbers over there) with Iran is not one that we'd win.
Are you saying that since our present leaders do not have courage to fight the war properly, we should not try to fight at all? Instead of advocating that we fight properly, we just give up and surrender? Since we made the mistake of trying to fight a half-ass war with both hands tied behind our backs, we do not have the option of fighting any other way?

They already have the media, and outside of declaring war (something we'll not likely do in this situation because of the political implications internationally) we will not have the man power to win that fight, and maintain occupancy of Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.
I don't know what you mean by "they already have the media". Nor can I tell whether you are giving us your forecast of what is likely to happen or whether you are telling us what YOU advocate we do.

We would further push the Arabs from being our Allies (though, we might get some Iran haters, and receive some enemies of my enemies) and possibly push Europe to side with Iran whilst losing Britains support (I imagine they would remain neutral and not take a side at that point).
Why do we want the Arabs to be our allies? Why is having allies important -- but destroying a deadly threat to America unimportant? What good will our Arab and British allies do us when Iran launches a nuclear-tipped missile at New York?

Another quick point about Israel, since someone brought it up. Israel was able to win because of the backing they had from the U.S.
No. Israel was receiving a modest amount of foreign up until 1959. Then it stopped until after the 1973 war. The really significant aid to Israel began after the Camp David accords. The fact of the matter is that Egypt, Syria and Jordon were receiving far more support from the Soviet Union than Israel was getting from the U. S.

Besides, the whole notion is silly: on the one hand, you think America is too weak to defeat mid-east nations. On the other hand, you want us to believe that American aid is what won four wars for Israel.

I don't think they would have managed it otherwise. I also think that the rest of the Arab world understimated their passion, believing that a show of force would make them back down.
You don't seem to understand. The Arabs started those wars with the goal of obliterating Israel, not to make them "back down". They wanted nothing less than the total destruction of Israel. Period.

Such as our show of force in Iraq has not truly succeeded, that did not succeed as well.
The Israeli's fought with everything they had, crushed the armies sent to kill them, ejected the invaders back across their borders, then captured important enemy territory in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Sinai. If we fought the same way in Iraq, that war would have been over long ago and we could have moved on to smash Iran and Syria.

Anyways, I've placed my opinions in, what I think is, a thought out manner. I understand that some of you may disagree with them. That's fine, however, the insults directed here are really uncalled for, and to my knowledge, against forum rules. I do have a background in this area, which I believe qualifies me (to some level) to make that educated guess. Could I be wrong? Sure, but no more or less than the rest of you. So, please, show at least a LITTLE respect. I really enjoy reading most of everyone's posts here and I learn a lot (even when I disagree with something), I think some of the insulting is pretty needless, just because someone disagrees with you.
I have a very difficult time respecting the notion that America must crawl on her knees, begging for the rest of the world's permission to defend ourselves, desperately hoping other countries will be our allies. I can not respect the idea that America is weak and must be humble, lest we offend the "powerful" Europeans and the "proud" Muslims.
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It is will power that we lack, not military power.

I'd say moral power. The USA does not have a record of unequivocally supporting resistance in non-democratic countries, in fact the USA installed non-democratic governments in many countries to suit the country's perceived interests.

No one is buying the "we are liberating Iraq" claptrap. The war was started based on fudged intelligence and misrepresented to the public. Moral authority was given up before the war started.

If the USA consistently supported resistance groups in non-free countries (including China, for instance) and openly stated that every dictatorship is free game should expect to be paid a visit should America's safety or interests be affected in any way, that would clear up the guilt load when dealing with international criticism.

As it is, I do not trust the USA government to act in America's interests (to do what is right) nor do I trust them to act in the right way.

mrocktor

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I'd say moral power. The USA does not have a record of unequivocally supporting resistance in non-democratic countries, in fact the USA installed non-democratic governments in many countries to suit the country's perceived interests.
I agree that our record could be better. However, what "non-democratic governments" have we "installed"?

No one is buying the "we are liberating Iraq" claptrap. The war was started based on fudged intelligence and misrepresented to the public. Moral authority was given up before the war started.
Can you give examples of "fudged intelligence" and "misrepresented to the public"? Sure, there are scores of liberals and anti-war leftists screaming that Bush lied about the intelligence, but I have never seen any evidence to back this up. Most of those now making this accusation AGREED with Bush that the intelligence clearly indicated Iraq had WMDs. Read this ARTICLE for a review of the outrageous lies now being pushed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Wilson, etc.

Virtually every intelligence service on earth agreed that Iraq had WMDs. The debate at the time was over what to do about them, not whether he had them.

Why was "moral authority" given up? Even if the intelligence was mistaken, there is not much doubt about the threat inherent in a raving lunatic madman and his regime of killers sitting on trillions of dollars in oil reserves, and possessing a track record of mass murdering their own people and those in neighboring countries. Why would we not have the moral authority to destroy such a regime?

If the USA consistently supported resistance groups in non-free countries (including China, for instance) and openly stated that every dictatorship is free game should expect to be paid a visit should America's safety or interests be affected in any way, that would clear up the guilt load when dealing with international criticism.
Agreed, with the proviso that the "resistance groups" in question are advocates of individual rights and political freedom. For instance, my understanding is that for a number of years Muslim extremists have been trying to overthrow the military-installed regime in Algeria. I would not support that particular resistance group.

As it is, I do not trust the USA government to act in America's interests (to do what is right) nor do I trust them to act in the right way.
With respect to acting in America's interests, I am especially distrustful of the CIA and the State Department. Both groups have been working to undermine the war on terror since the afternoon of 9/11. Bush should have fired the entire staff of both agencies and started over. In fact, about the only group I trust is the Department of Defense, at least under Rumsfield.
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  • 3 weeks later...

I just started reading the SECOND half of VOS (namely "Man's Rights" and "Collectivized 'rights'") and I now see where you're coming from and the logic behind it. And...I agree with the logic.

However, in current situation, I still disagree with the practicality of it. But, that's just my opinion.

Just wanted to let everyone know I got it. :D

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... I still disagree with the practicality of it...
There's be little dissent on this forum that the way in which the Iraq war is being fought is far from the way it ought to be fought. So, I assume you're saying that you think it was impractical to invade Iraq in the first place. If so, are you saying that such an invasion was impractical even if the administration was willing to execute it properly? If so, what would have been a practical approach?
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Third: Objectivism is very clear on the point that dictatorships have no right to exist. Rand stated bluntly that a free society has every right to invade a dictatorship and recreate it as a free society. The question of justification turns purely on the question of whether doing so is in the self-interest of the free society.

I disagree, society has no rights. Only individuals have rights. The government has no place invading another country unless its for the protection of its citizens. Which I can tell you that was the main reason for this war, WMD's. That was the line that sold the American people. We could care less if it was a dictatorship and it should be a free society and that should never be a governments goal to try and create a free society. We pay them to protect our rights and to keep us safe not to promote democracy.

So... was the Iraqi Campaign in the self-interest of the United States? Going in, I thought it was. There were a number of governments in the Middle East that supported terrorism and needed to be changed. These included Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. All of these governments will need to be changed before we can declare victory in the overall war. (The true lynchpins, in my opinion, are Iran and Saudi Arabia.) The United States needed a beachhead. Iraq looked like a good candidate. There was much higher public support for invading Iraq than any other nation on the list. There seemed to be a solid causus belli. As the starting point of an extended campaign, Iraq was justified.

See here is my problem the"needed to be changed". Who said it need to be changed. Was that in every Americans self interest to try and change Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. No we want them to stop terror and not to pursue WMD's. Now I'm all for tracking down and killing terrorist and ripping a hole in a country if they seemed a threat, but this whole establishing democracy in another country is utter bullshit. We can't even govern our own country right. On top of that just because it's a democracy doesn't mean it still won't produce terrorist that hate America or won't try and produce WMD's. The religious leaders the people who have the real power still hate us because they hate our whole way of life they view America or anyone that isn't their religion as infidels, as devils. Which means all of this money we're burning and troops that we're sending off to die to try and rebuild Iraq is worth JACKSHIT. Just kill the terrorist and make it so when we say no WMD's we mean no WMD's. We are not going to try and rebuild your country, we are not going to try and change your government. We are going to to utterly destroy land.

[Fixed quoatation - sNerd]

Edited by softwareNerd
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There's be little dissent on this forum that the way in which the Iraq war is being fought is far from the way it ought to be fought. So, I assume you're saying that you think it was impractical to invade Iraq in the first place. If so, are you saying that such an invasion was impractical even if the administration was willing to execute it properly? If so, what would have been a practical approach?

Honestly? I don't know. I don't know that things were as straight forward as they should have been. I won't say the the government lied to the people, but I do think they gave them the runaround on certain issues. They made it seem like one issue at a time (We're going in because they have WMD's, okay no WMD's but Saddam was a madman, okay we got him, but now we have to fight all the terrorists and get a foothold on the middle east). It felt like (media-wise) that had all the issues been made a solid case as opposed to individual instances, it would've been a stronger more American PEOPLE backed event. Unfortunately, the media has been allowed to spin it into another Vietnam which we lost BECAUSE of media, which is what I'm afraid of happening here. We are not the generation that won WWII or even Desert Storm. We knew that people would lose interest and support for a dragged out war. We (the Government) knew that from the get go, but did not get/use enough/accurate intelligence to set us right. There's more to war than just getting on a field and killing the other guy. There's politics, preparations, strategy, and (for our generation) media control. I don't think we did our job in ALL of those catagories and may very well, lose because of this (poor political maneuvering, loss of media support, which means loss of the American people's support). We did a great job getting to baghdad. That was an utter success (though, I half think that saddam just let it go KNOWING the futility that would follow, he was a much more cunning madman than many give him credit for). I also think we knew/know that we need MORE people over there (WITHOUT declaring war, which at this point we can't) to accomplish the mission (which is why international support would be needed, and at this point not given). I think this just sticks us between a rock and a hard place. Plus with Iran daring us to do something (and not real likely we'll declare war) we'll be stuck with three broken countries that we can't defend and rebuild (at least without International help or a complete restructuring of our political system).

See here is my problem the"needed to be changed". Who said it need to be changed. Was that in every Americans self interest to try and change Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Just kill the terrorist and make it so when we say no WMD's we mean no WMD's. We are not going to try and rebuild your country, we are not going to try and change your government. We are going to to utterly destroy land.

[Fixed quoatation - sNerd]

"A slave country has no national rights, but the individual rights of its citizens remain valid, even if unrecognized, and the conqueror has no right to violate them. Therefore, the invasion of an enslaved country is morally justified only when and if the conquerors establish a free social system, that is, a system based on the recognition of individual rights."

-Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, "Collectivized 'Rights'", p104-105

*Bold emphasis mine

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