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Why can't Objectivists agree on Iraq?

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johny118
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But it doesnt matter what the American people believed - it matters what is true. The important question is "did the American people have rational grounds for believing that the war was a matter of self defence?". I believe the answer is no.
If a man points a gun at my head, I have the right to kill him before he pulls the trigger. If it turns out that his gun was not loaded, this really changes nothing. In this sense, what "people believed" matters just as much as "what is true".

At the time we invaded Iraq, the debate was not whether or not Iraq had WMDs -- there was near universal agreement that Iraq did have them, or, at least, had them in the past and could not, or would not, account for their whereabouts in the present. The debate was over what to do about this.

The anti-war crowd wanted to do nothing about it. The French, the Germans, the leftists and the liberals wanted to give the U.N. weapons inspectors more time to find the weapons. President Bush said 9/11 proved beyond doubt the existence of a movement whose goal is the destruction of America, a movement whose members are willing to die to commit the mass murder of Americans. Bush said, given the existence of such people, that we cannot afford to take the chance that someone like Hussein might equip these guys with weapons even more terrible than airliners. I think he was right.

A murderous madman sitting on trillions of dollars in oil reserves, with a track record of: 1) invading his neighbors and plundering and raping their population; 2) insanely igniting hundreds of oil wells; 3) mass murdering thousands with chemical weapons; 4) attempting to acquire nuclear weapons; 5) giving safe haven to numerous international terrorists; 6) attempting the assassination of a former American president -- is inherently a threat. We have the right to neutralize such a threat anytime we wish. Like the situation with the man pointing the gun at our head, it is not incumbent on US to PROVE that the gun is loaded before we act; the situation is inherently threatening. (One can argue that other nations were a greater threat, and I am inclined to agree. We should have started with Iran.)

What Bush did wrong, however, was swallow two disastrous notions: 1) That civilian casualties in war are the moral responsibility of the particular country whose bomb, bullet or rocket causes the death of the civilian, and 2) That "if you break it, you have to fix it".

These two notions led us to attempt another "partial war" in which civilians are spared and the U.S. military is turned into a domestic police force and government for another country.

What is needed instead is total war to achieve regime destruction, not regime change. If we inflict sufficient damage to the regime and its supporting economic infrastructure (in Iraq's case, this means their oil and gas production and shipping facilities), then whoever takes over in the aftermath will not have the resources to develop any sort of threat to us. We can achieve this destruction with air power alone, and return for a repeat performance if those assets are rebuilt.

Will this create a "terrorist haven"? Sure, for any terrorists that wish to starve. President Bush has said recently that we dare not surrender Iraq to the terrorists; but we would not be surrendering anything of value if we left behind economic devastation and ruin. Of course, at this point, our right to do this has been compromised by our promises to the Iraqi people. But we CAN tell them our part is finished, and if they allow the terrorists to take over after we leave, we will return and annihilate their country.

Meanwhile, there is no reason not to wage total war on Iran and Syria; doing so would greatly improve the chances of success in Iraq.

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At the time we invaded Iraq, the debate was not whether or not Iraq had WMDs -- there was near universal agreement that Iraq did have them, or, at least, had them in the past and could not, or would not, account for their whereabouts in the present. The debate was over what to do about this.
I think your memory is deceiving you. One of the main arguments against the war was that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that Iraq had WMD. This was one of the primary reasons why I opposed the war, and many others felt the same way.

The French, the Germans, the leftists and the liberals wanted to give the U.N. weapons inspectors more time to find the weapons.
Yes, partially because they had good reason to believe that these weapons were fictional. And they were correct. Ive noticed that the pro-war lobby in general doesnt seem to understand this; these people were 100% right. You were wrong. Completely wrong, and your wrongness has had disasterous consequences.

President Bush said 9/11 proved beyond doubt the existence of a movement whose goal is the destruction of America, a movement whose members are willing to die to commit the mass murder of Americans. Bush said, given the existence of such people, that we cannot afford to take the chance that someone like Hussein might equip these guys with weapons even more terrible than airliners.
Bush has said a lot of things. Many of these seem to have been at best seriously misinformed, and at worst outright lies. In any case, Saddams opposition to the fundamentalist Islam movement was well known before the war.

Meanwhile, there is no reason not to wage total war on Iran and Syria; doing so would greatly improve the chances of success in Iraq.
Given that those advocating war on Iran and Syria are generally those who were most vocal (and completely incorrect) about Iraq, I'm not sure what credentials they have here, or why their opinions should be taken seriously. When you get something as disasterously wrong as the pro-Iraq-war lobby has, you tend to lose a lot of your credibility. When you make a huge mistake, you dont get to just shrug your shoulders and move on without accepting responsibility and trying to see what caused you to get things wrong.

Theres no point even talking about a 'total war' in the context of Iran and Syria, because it just isnt going to happen. Even in the highly unlikely event that the US does invade one of those countries, it wont be a 'total war'. Similarly, everyone who wasnt deluded knew fine well before Iraq that it wasnt going to be a 'total war' either. This is the reason why I dont understand the people who are claiming to be surprised by how Iraq was handled. When you were supporting the war beforehand, did you honestly believe that America was going to go in and nuke the country?

Edited by Hal
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I think your memory is deceiving you. One of the main arguments against the war was that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that Iraq had WMD. This was one of the primary reasons why I opposed the war, and many others felt the same way.

Yes, partially because they had good reason to believe that these weapons were fictional. And they were correct. Ive noticed that the pro-war lobby in general doesnt seem to understand this; these people were 100% right. You were wrong. Completely wrong, and your wrongness has had disasterous consequences.

Iraq had WMDs in the past that were unaccounted for. The weapons inspecters hadn't found evidence of their destruction. So where did they go? I've got two theories. One has Saddam getting spooked by American posturing and destroying them. The other has him getting spooked and sending them to Baathist allies in Syria. Until you find out exactly what happened, you cannot objectively claim anyone was completely wrong.

Given that those advocating war on Iran and Syria are generally those who were most vocal (and completely incorrect) about Iraq, I'm not sure what credentials they have here, or why their opinions should be taken seriously. When you get something as disasterously wrong as the pro-Iraq-war lobby has, you tend to lose a lot of your credibility. When you make a huge mistake, you dont get to just shrug your shoulders and move on without accepting responsibility and trying to see what caused you to get things wrong.

You paint with a broad brush. Who is advocating war on Iran and Syria? I am, but I don't think you were referring to me; if you were, you have misrepresented my reasons for advocating an attack on Iraq. The middle east, is a cancerous region, and to cure it we must cut out the whole tumor, not just a little peice of it like Iraq or Iran.

Theres no point even talking about a 'total war' in the context of Iran and Syria, because it just isnt going to happen. Even in the highly unlikely event that the US does invade one of those countries, it wont be a 'total war'. Similarly, everyone who wasnt deluded knew fine well before Iraq that it wasnt going to be a 'total war' either. This is the reason why I dont understand the people who are claiming to be surprised by how Iraq was handled. When you were supporting the war beforehand, did you honestly believe that America was going to go in and nuke the country?

No point? Would you rather let the right ideas stay neglected long enough for the West to crumble? Even if America doesn't do what is proper now, someone has to advocate what is proper. Isolationism and retreat aren't strategies that work.

No "Sea of Glass" on the menu? Then I'll take the Baby Steps with a side of Head-Out-Of-The-Sand, please.

Edited by FeatherFall
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...I think your memory is deceiving you. One of the main arguments against the war was that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that Iraq had WMD...they had good reason to believe that these weapons were fictional. And they were correct. Ive noticed that the pro-war lobby in general doesnt seem to understand this; these people were 100% right. You were wrong. Completely wrong, and your wrongness has had disasterous consequences...Bush has said a lot of things. Many of these seem to have been at best seriously misinformed, and at worst outright lies...Given that those advocating war on Iran and Syria are generally those who were most vocal (and completely incorrect) about Iraq, I'm not sure what credentials they have here, or why their opinions should be taken seriously.

Hal, I suggest you go read the following commentary before you continue propagating the lies that you've accepted as truth. Commentary - Who Is Lying About Iraq?

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I think your memory is deceiving you. One of the main arguments against the war was that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that Iraq had WMD. This was one of the primary reasons why I opposed the war, and many others felt the same way.
No evidence whatsoever? The issue might be debatable, but you are re-writing history by claiming that there was no evidence whatsoever. Hussein used nerve gas on the Kurds and on the Iranians. So he clearly had it at one time and refused to account for its whereabouts. He did not say, "We used it all up" or "We destroyed our stockpiles". He said, "It is none of your business."

Yes, partially because they had good reason to believe that these weapons were fictional. And they were correct. Ive noticed that the pro-war lobby in general doesnt seem to understand this; these people were 100% right. You were wrong. Completely wrong, and your wrongness has had disasterous consequences.
Apparently, you didn't grasp the point about the man with the gun pointed at your head. I suggest you read it again. I also suggest that you not confuse my arguments with the "pro-war lobby".

Furthermore, even if it is true that Hussein did not have WMDs, the reason things have "gone wrong" in Iraq has nothing to do with that fact. The absence of WMDs does not cause "disastrous consequences".

It certainly does not surprise me that we have not found WMDs in Iraq. We (foolishly) gave Hussein months to either hide them, destroy them or move them to Syria.

Bush has said a lot of things. Many of these seem to have been at best seriously misinformed, and at worst outright lies. In any case, Saddams opposition to the fundamentalist Islam movement was well known before the war.
Do you care to provide any support for these assertions? Please provide some quotations of things Bush said and then show how they are "seriously misinformed" or "outright lies".

Given that those advocating war on Iran and Syria are generally those who were most vocal (and completely incorrect) about Iraq, I'm not sure what credentials they have here, or why their opinions should be taken seriously.
So you judge the validity of an argument based on the "credentials" of the person who advances that argument? Sounds like the argument from authority to me. In any event, what we have discovered about the Baathist regime in Iraq certainly does not convince me they were NOT a threat or would not become one in the future, particularly not when we know how successfully they had worked around the sanctions with the oil-for-food nonsense.

When you get something as disasterously wrong as the pro-Iraq-war lobby has, you tend to lose a lot of your credibility. When you make a huge mistake, you dont get to just shrug your shoulders and move on without accepting responsibility and trying to see what caused you to get things wrong.
Why? Because you say so?

I don't know which arguments of the "pro-Iraq-war lobby" you consider "disasterously wrong". If you would like to specify the argument you have in mind, and then establish, i.e. support and prove, rather than simply assert, that it is wrong, please do so. Otherwise, these are nothing but unsupported assertions which I find unconvincing, no matter what credentials you may claim to have.

My argument in favor of destroying the Baath regime in Iraq is in the fourth paragraph of my last post. If you would like to address any portion of it, feel free.

Theres no point even talking about a 'total war' in the context of Iran and Syria, because it just isnt going to happen.
There is no point in talking about reality, reason, individual rights, freedom and capitalism because it just isn't going to happen.

Even in the highly unlikely event that the US does invade one of those countries, it wont be a 'total war'. Similarly, everyone who wasnt deluded knew fine well before Iraq that it wasnt going to be a 'total war' either. This is the reason why I dont understand the people who are claiming to be surprised by how Iraq was handled. When you were supporting the war beforehand, did you honestly believe that America was going to go in and nuke the country?
No, but I believed that some offensive military action, even in a flawed form, was better than no military action. I hold some effort toward victory to be preferable to surrender. I hate the way our military is being used in Iraq; but I hate the idea of turning our defense over to the U.N. even more. What about you? By the way, who is claiming to be "surprised by how Iraq was handled"?

Setting aside for a moment the issue of what we can or can not get people to agree with, do you agree that total war is what we need? If not, what do you advocate and why?

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