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Pre-emptive War: e.g. Should we nuke Tehran?

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Sophia,

Even if I assumed that the question of "innocence" is in fact relevant in a war situation (it is not), your position still has some problems.

How exactly do you define (or identify the) "innocent"? Would some baker on a road be described as innocent, if at night he writes books that encourage young people to "destroy Americans and all the other infidels"?

You may say he is guilty if he is like that, but that's the point: how can you know all such details before you know who is truly innocent or who is not? (For one you can't even read their language to know exactly who writes what!)

And what about those wives? What if they are like Leonidas' wife, even though they are not in combat themselves, providing moral (and maybe even intellectual) support to their husbands and sons - the soldiers, government leaders and Imams. How can a soldier know all those details before deciding whether or not a certain woman is legitimate target?

I say everyone in that country is legitimate target when the war begins, not because they are "guilty" but because you are not omniscient to know who is truly innocent and who is truly guilty. Even the so-called "smart weapons" can never be smart enough; they can't "know" if this woman actually writes articles (perhaps even under an anonymous name) that are mostly responsible for the aggression (say, an Ayn Rand of Islam), or if she makes chemical weapons from home.

One way you can try to come out of this problem is by claiming that they are only a threat (and legitimate target) if they are pointing a gun at you; in short, when they are an immediate physical threat to a defending soldier, or are part of the official army. But that would imply that all those male "spiritual leaders" who inspire everyone to hate America are not legitimate targets themselves unless they are in the official army. Are you willing to pursue your position to its logical ends?

(The only other way out is by claiming that the burden of proof is always on the soldiers before they can kill someone - that they have to prove that the woman is an anti-American philosopher-preacher or homemade bioweapon creator or whatever, before they can kill her. But would you honestly expect soldiers to fight like that? That would certainly raise the cost of battle to the point where we can say it is employing self-sacrifice -for the sake of otherss - in its tactics.)

[edit]:removed one word to correct sentence structure.

Edited by blackdiamond
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Are you asking for an exhaustive list, or a general characterization? I assume you know what "threat" means; then threatening the US is making a threat against the US (in part or in whole). For exampl

I'm aware of most of those imaginary claims you consider "knowledge of the situation". I just happen to know they're not real, so I don't consider them when passing judgement on Iran.

If this was true it would be an easy matter to overthrow oppressive states. This won't work because you have reversed cause and effect. Philosophy is what drives history. It is the funda

Inalienable rights. Moral principles become even more crucial in times of conflict. In a civilized society force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is clear-cut - how much force you are justified to use? Only as much as you need to defend yourself.

No, unalienable. And who is qualified to make that assessment of how much force is needed besides the person there?

They don't have the same outcomes -you right but they can achieve the same military objectives of destroying necessary targets.

If they have different outcomes then they do not achieve the same military objectives. They may achieve some of the same objectives but the fact that they are not the same means that the effect of the different approaches will have different effects on the war. You must view it as an integrated whole. All of the outcomes of a procedure have consequences and the more of them that you can predict, the more efficiently you can use your resources.

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Yes, that is a part of the decision. If you objectively need this much force to protect yourself - then you are justified to use it.

But you are not justified to use this much force regardless of circumstances - just because your goal is moral.

In a personal context, if someone I ascertain to be physically incompetent tries to stab me with a knife, would I be justified in killing him quickly with a gun, or should I use my superior skills to attempt to wrestle the knife from him so that he is not harmed? I would say that I am justified because I have no requirement of putting my own life or interests in jeopardy when attacked.

I suggest that the same is true of a war. The attackers, which can only be viewed as the whole country, especially in a world with soldiers and bomb toting children not wearing uniforms, impose no obligation on the country acting in its own self-defense. They can't realistically be considered because they can't consistently be differentiated from the whole. Consider the vietnamese child running up to a soldier with a shoeshine box. Should the soldier shoot the child or would that be an act of immorality? What if he does, and it was just a shoeshine box? What if he doesn't and its a bomb? I would say he should shoot the child.

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No it is a matter of both.

It really isn't. Their job is to protect their country, not invade a country to depose a dictator, rebuild infrastructure and protect their rights. That would fall more under the category of just war, and it seems to me, to be where your belief leads.

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Rights are needs - objective requirements of man's life - in a social context. What his life requires, socially. (i.e. to be free from others) Thus, "social needs."

There is a reason why Rand did not call individual rights - "social needs". Social needs are collective in nature and are tied to "social values". You need others arround to fullfil such "need".

Indvidual rights is what life requires in a social context but you "require" to, for example, "have" your life even when alone. You don't need society to fullfill this "need" you only need protection in a form of moral principle when you are arround others.

Rights are moral principles - are the means of subordinating society to moral law - are means of securing what man's requires from the interference by others.

That's the point - by being a part of a country that violates your rights - they are violating your rights. It is as if a dictator put a gun to their head and told them to kill you. You have the moral right to kill them, and it is the fault of the dictator. You have no moral responsibility to hesitate on their behalf - even if they did not want this to be. If there is a military need to kill them - if it is the most efficacious and least costly/risky to the moral country's army to kill them - then there should be not the slightest hesitation.

A kid living in such nation is not violating your rights. He has no influence over what is going on. He is not a criminal by default just because he happened to be born in a wrong place at the wrong time.

I agree that if your self defence requires you to kill this kid in the process - you have a right to do so. But you don't have a right to kill this kid if you did not have to. There is no right of this kind ever!

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Part of the point of bombing civilian targets is to force a choice on the civilian populaces. It is a message: "You have so far tolerated this dictatorship in fear of your lives, but that choice now threatens us and we will not tolerate it. If you do not overthrow your government, then you will die by our hand." We are eliminating the possibility of tolerating the dictatorship. It is already a metaphysical fact that a dictatorship means their death and if they aren't trying to overthrow or escape it then they are evading this fact. We are simply making this fact more immediate and obvious to them.

Most, dictatorships survive because they are allowed. Those you economically allow them to survive in their current state are more responsible than a poor, uneducated, farmer living inside.

You have not lived in one. "It is already a metaphysical fact that a dictatorship means their death"

It does not. People survive all the time and not just those who support it. People have a right to want to survive - even the harshest of conditions. They don't have a duty to act as martryrs.

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QUOTE(~Sophia~ @ May 25 2007, 11:56 PM) post_snapback.gifThis is not how this is measured. The measure is: can I achieve the same military objective using less force? If the answer is yes - then in light of the fact that innocent lives will be lost, it should be used.

Ah be careful here. You said the fundamental issue was one of rights violations, (i.e. the use of force against the "innocent"), not the magnitude of the use of force (out of context). That is why I phrased the question as I did. I am sure you would agree that if I had two options that were neutral in terms of innocent lives, but one used greater force and saved more of my men's lives that this would be proper morally.

You are implying a moral weighing of one interest against another. I want to see your "mental math" here.

It is all related. You do have a right to "violate rights" when defending yourself but there is a limit to what you are justified to do - because it involves rights violations - you are only justified to use as much force as you NEED - you don't have a moral card-blanche when in conflict as some here are advocating.

Nobody ever has a moral card-blanche.

QUOTE(~Sophia~ @ May 25 2007, 11:56 PM) post_snapback.gif These days, with our current technology, there is little rational reason to have soldiers on the ground (there maybe some). It is mostly due to altruistic reasons that they are out there.

Well, the lack of a need for "boots on the gound" has been touted as the "wave of the future" since the beginning of the last century, and has yet to be proven. Regardless, this is a sidestep. I do want to see your mental math here. It surprises me that given that you have clearly stated the moral principles you would not want to show me the operationalizing of this decision process. So let me re-ask the question: "For those cases (which you admit there are some) that require this decision to be made, what is your answer, [General]"

I can't think of a scenario myself in which it would be necessary (aside from altruistic reasons).

Well, one I haven't stated either of these things, but the fact that you continue to assert that this is the argument you are fighting troubles me.

What would concern me if I was in your shoes is that entire organizations (I am speaking here of ARI, The Objective Standard, etc.) of men and women who have studied Rand's philosophy more than you or I is clearly not on your side. The articles that Dan showed are pretty darn unequivocal about this issue. I am not trying to appeal to authority as a replacement for what I've already presented as a fundamental argument, but it is a side issue.

KendallJ, my purpose here is to resolve the questions in my mind which I can't evade that I have. I have to be able to understand how those things are not in conflict (at this point - I don't. I don't see you or anybody here proving me with the necessary connection aside from re-stating what has been said in those articles - articles which I have read). The fact that some other person, who knows more than me, is not on my side of the argument does not relieve me from the responsiblity to comming to this conclusion on my own. I do take that into consideration - if I did not think that it needs resolving - I would not have spend energy trying.

Unless I understand - I can't advocate it.

If you think I should stop posting on this topic - I will.

Please understand, I am not taking issue here with the fact that these are not moral decisions, but rather the way in which morality impinges on the actual decision making process.

I do think that this is the same thing - just said with different words.

"the way in which morality impinges on the actual decision making process"

"is not by explicitly inserting the philosophical analysis into every decision" (context - the use of military weapons)

"morality can define the proper objectives of a defending army, and military science decides if a particular tactic is effective in acheiving them" (clearly you mean morality defineds the objectives - with the methods, the means being outside of morality - just a matter of tactic)

"we must be careful not to confuse the heirarchy upon which morality enters into the picture. That is, morality does apply to some aspect of the decision." (you mention morality only when it comes to the aspect of decision, of chosing a goal but not when chosing the means of achieving it)

Edited by ~Sophia~
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KendallJ, my purpose here is to resolve the questions in my mind which I can't evade that I have. I have to be able to understand how those things are not in conflict (at this point - I don't. I don't see you or anybody here proving me with the necessary connection aside from re-stating what has been said in those articles - articles which I have read). The fact that some other person, who knows more than me, is not on my side of the argument does not relieve me from the responsiblity to comming to this conclusion on my own. I do take that into consideration - if I did not think that it needs resolving - I would not have spend energy trying.

Thank you for this. It always reminds me that you are one of the most intellectually honest people I know, and I would never advocate that you take something on someone else's word or say so, and frankly you don't need such advise, because you never would.

And I appreciate your challenge, as I did in the previous Israel thread. It has helped understand where my defense of the idea is lacking.

I have put what I think is one of the fundamentals in a separate thread to be discussed on a more conceptual basis.

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This is what I find troubling and to me indicative of dropped context. To one person, you give an unqualified "incapable" and to me you give a very contextual indication where rights are most certainly taken away.

A crime is a violation of the rights of others by force. All actions defined as criminal are actions involving force - and only such actions are answered by force but there is a limit to how much force you are justified to use. (We all agree on that here).

Same thing with self defence - you answer with force but there is a limit to how much force you are justified to use especially when rights to life of others (who have not initiated force against you like innocent bystanders) are relevant.

It is ONLY when you violate rights of others (by force) that others have a moral right to violate yours (respond with force) (to some limit - not a card-blanche). This is what justice demands.

The same thing does not apply to innocent during war. They have not initiated force against you.

But you do have a right to self defence - so whatever you need to properly defend yourself - you are justified to use even if it will result in collateral damage.

In the Textbook of Americanism, pamphlet 7.

It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill - but the inalienable individual right of another man to live. This is not a "compromise" between two rights - but a line of division that preserves both rights untouched. The division is not derived from an edict of society - but from your own inalienable individual right. The definition of this limit is not set arbitrarily by society - but it is implicit in the definition of your own right.

I know criminals are different Sophia, but I was going at your rights argument. There most certainly are contexts where I either am not bound to respect the rights of others or they lose them, are there not? This was my point with the criminals issue.

They don't loose their rights - you are just justified not to respect them. But the conditions of such context are SPECIFIC and there is a limit to what you are morally allowed to respond with.

Many people (including me) have made the claim to you that that specifically means that the context of the actions of "supposed" innocents up to and during a war that their country has started is relevant to the moral analysis.

And I think many are dropping context when morally judging actions of some of those people before the war. People have a moral right to want to survive even if they live under very harsh conditions; they have a moral right to keep living even if their rights are constantly violated. A kid living there has no impact on what is going on arround him, he is not morally or physically responsible. Yes, I know that you have to claim that there are NO innocents on the other side. That is not true.

The existance of those innocent can not PREVENT you from properly defending yourself - but force used beyond to what is required for self defence is not justified.

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It does not. People survive all the time and not just those who support it. People have a right to want to survive - even the harshest of conditions. They don't have a duty to act as martryrs.

I think this is the fundamental that your argument ultimately hinges upon. If this is true, then the individual rights of these people is relevant to an invader. If it is not, then they should not be considered.

Your language is fuzzy here. A "right to want" to survive is not correct. This is whim-like. I have a right, to action, as something. And survival is not morgue avoidance is it? People have a right to act (i.e. to survive), as something, as men. People do not have a right to act, by turning their eyes away as a government uses force against others, in their name. This is acting to survive, no doubt. But is it acting to survive, as man? Where you choose to live, and whom you choose to allow to act in your name is not a "harsh condition". That is, it is not a metaphysically given, immutable fact, like a snowstorm, or cold temperatures. In the short term, maybe, but not in the long term.

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The existance of those innocent can not PREVENT you from properly defending yourself - but force used beyond to what is required for self defence is not justified.

I have another senario to think about. Given what you have stated here, does this mean that the proper miliary strategy is to "just barely win"? That is, I am expected to expend whatever resource necessary, and as many lives of my men as necessary, so as to just barely reach a reasonable assurance that I will win a war? But if in doing so, I preserve as many innocent lives as possible?

Unlike the police sort of example, prosecution of a war is a long term endeavor, whose outcome is difficult to predict in the long term.

You see, in the practical, nobody is arguing "carte blanche" (I know I'm not) because minimal loss of innocent life is congruent with swift, overwhelming victory.

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It is ONLY when you violate rights of others (by force) that others have a moral right to violate yours (respond with force) (to some limit - not a card-blanche). This is what justice demands.

Yes, but in the case of war, who is the "you"? You establish a clear moral boundary between yourself as an individual and a government acting in your name as an agressor. I do not. Rand does not.

Doing so seems to free you from the moral responsibiltiy of securing your individual rights, and hence worrying about who exactly is acting in your name.

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But you do have a right to self defence - so whatever you need to properly defend yourself - you are justified to use even if it will result in collateral damage.

I agree. That is why I suggest dropping only one nuke on Tehran, then giving them 24 hours to surrender unconditionally. If they refuse, drop another nuke. If they still refuse to surrender, then we should begin dropping plane loads of feces upon their other cities. After we bury them waist-high in crap, we should send over the urine. If all of that doesn't work, then I suppose we need to march in and squeeze their testicles until they cry uncle.

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I have already responded to the issue of "securing" rights. Human baby can not secure its rights either. From your perspective you can't pretend that the baby does not have rights because it is helpless.

We must exercise our rights in order to live and each of us is responsible to do so. A baby does have rights, it just can't exercise them because it is helpless. That is why someone must freely choose to act on its behalf. Someone is responsible to exercise an infant's rights for them.

I would like someone to address my question, to address the issue of inalienability of human rights.

I have addressed it previously though tempers were flaring at the time so it may have gone unnoticed. I quote myself:

The nature of rights is the correct place to start. I agree: there is no special context or emergency situation under which rights can be ignored, they are inalienable. Most importantly rights must not be ignored when considering a dictatorship. So we have the same rights as the citizens of North Korea, and yet they are not free, why is that? This is where the principle of responsibility comes in. They are responsible to set themselves free.

To see how I arrived at that conclusion you must start with the principle from which the concept of rights is derived, it is the concept upon which a rational code of ethics may be developed: that one must act a certain way in order to live. Without action there is no life. In order to live each of us is responsible to act in a way that supports our lives. Rights protect that action in a social context. Ethics tells you how to act, rights protect that action but they don’t replace it, it is still your responsibility to act.

Rights are not rights to things, only to actions -- proper actions, as described by a rational code of ethics. Rights are moral sanctions to positive action. So your right to life gives you the moral sanction to be left alone. Will you live if you are left alone? No. In addition to being left alone, you must take action, you are the one who is responsible to take action to live.

By the same logic, your right to liberty gives you the moral sanction to not have force used upon you, to be free. But this moral sanction hasn’t freed the people of North Korea. The moral sanction isn’t worth much apart from the action required to achieve freedom. If a people are not free it is their responsibility to free themselves.

To speak of Rights as apart from action is to steal the concept. Rights are derived from ethical action.

So if you are to recognize the rights of the North Korean people (as it is proper to do) then you must also recognize the responsibilities that go along with those rights. The North Koreans have the right to organize their government the way they see fit. If it isn’t to their liking then they have the responsibility to change it. You can’t say the North Koreans have rights and then deny that they have a responsibility to act in support of those rights because then you divorce ethics (how one acts) from rights.

So using rights as the starting point, government represents the people -- by definition. You cannot say the North Koreans have the right to organize their government and then relieve them of the responsibility to organize a non-aggressive government.

“Only a government can put a country into war and who keeps their government in power? The citizens of that country. Including the worst dictatorships.” -- Ayn Rand.

To end I will provide a link (http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=2137&st=0) to another thread called “In Our Name”? Some questions on the Political Philosophy forum. It discusses the same issues raised here.

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[Y]ou are not justified to use force beyond the level which you objectively need to use. You don't always need to use maximum force to win.

This view makes no sense unless you know what "winning" looks like. If you do not have a proper vision of victory against your enemy, then you cannot know how much force is necessary to win. In the absence of a clear vision of victory, your best option is to apply as much force as possible against the enemy and hope for the best. If, however, you have a clear vision, then you should have a decent view of what kind of force is necessary to achieve your goals.

I submit that nobody, not even Objectivists, knows precisely what it will take to defeat Islamic totalitarianism. Thus, we should immediately drop maximum force (one of our nukes) on the most obvious threat, Iran, and hope for their unconditional surrender as quickly as possible. When you are dealing with barbaric, religious dictatorships out to destroy you, it is a purely self-sacrificial endeavor to sit around and worry about whether you are using too much force against them. Our soldiers are dying every day because we, as a nation, are engaging in this kind of self-sacrificing.

A single one of our soldiers is worth more than the whole of Iran. If you cannot embrace that idea, then, in my opinion, you are contributing to the reason why America is losing this war. We are losing because we do not have the will to bomb Iran into submission or annihilation. We are losing because we no longer have the will to inflict maximum force against our enemies. We barely have the will to inflict minimum force.

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When you find a country like that - let me know. I want to move there.

I certainly will. ;)

Rational country would have never allowed a situation to escalate to the point of needing to use nuclear weapons. Rantional country would not have acted against their own interest by allowing dictatorships to survive or empowering its enemies.

It is because we don't live in a world with rational countries (not even one) that has gotten in a situation we are in.

I agree that a rational country would not empower its enemies, but disagree that a rational country would not allow dictatorships to exist. They could very easily not see a country as a serious threat until it was too late for anything but drastic measures. It could very easily not have a strong enough intelligence network to know everything going on all over the world.

I think the reason you are on that side of the fence on this issue is that you are thinking of these circumstances from the 3rd person narrative or a historical point of view. That is, that all of the information you might have after the fact and all of the integrations you make regarding that information is or should also be possessed by people making those decisions at the time.

It's real easy to now say that the correct course of action was to invade Germany at their first sign of aggression or that we should have invaded Russia right after world war II. But it is not just to demand that same certainty and level of understanding of people in that time.

In the current circumstances that we are now in, we know that Islam(Iran in particular) is a threat to Western Civilization and our very lives. How much of a threat? Harder to determine. We are fairly rational people with good access to information about the world. Were we a country, (where you were the woman president :) ) How much of a threat would you view these countries to be? If you choose, as I gather you would, to not use overwhelming force in response to every act of aggression, and later we lost several big cities as a result, would that make you decision immoral or only mistaken. On the other hand, if I chose to use overwhelming force in response to each act of aggression, killing many civilians in their country, and we later learned that they had no nuclear capabilities of any kind, would I have acted immorally or only mistakenly?

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There is a reason why Rand did not call individual rights - "social needs". Social needs are collective in nature and are tied to "social values". You need others arround to fullfil such "need".

You need others around to create such a need. You don't need political rights on a desert island. Perhaps there is confusion about whether Dan was talking about political rights or ethical rights.

A kid living in such nation is not violating your rights. He has no influence over what is going on. He is not a criminal by default just because he happened to be born in a wrong place at the wrong time.

First, that's not true. They train kids to kill. They strap bombs to them.

I agree that if your self defence requires you to kill this kid in the process - you have a right to do so. But you don't have a right to kill this kid if you did not have to. There is no right of this kind ever!

Define "have to," please. Because it's very possible you have a straw man here. If it would endanger the lives of my soldier more not to kill the kid, do I "have to?" What about just one soldier? What if it would cost my army billions of dollars in equipment? How about millions? What if the lack of that equipment endangered the war effort? What if you were not sure if it would or would not endanger the war effort? What if by killing the child you could be more certain to kill the enemy? Or end the war sooner?

In other words, if there is any military necessity whatsoever, then do you "have to?"

It would add much clarity if you could answer all of these.

It does not. People survive all the time and not just those who support it. People have a right to want to survive - even the harshest of conditions. They don't have a duty to act as martryrs.

They don't have the right to buy that survival at the price of the violation of the rights of a free people.

Edited by Inspector
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We must exercise our rights in order to live and each of us is responsible to do so. A baby does have rights, it just can't exercise them because it is helpless. That is why someone must freely choose to act on its behalf. Someone is responsible to exercise an infant's rights for them.

The nature of rights is the correct place to start. I agree: there is no special context or emergency situation under which rights can be ignored, they are inalienable. Most importantly rights must not be ignored when considering a dictatorship.

Glad to hear this statement.

To see how I arrived at that conclusion you must start with the principle from which the concept of rights is derived, it is the concept upon which a rational code of ethics may be developed: that one must act a certain way in order to live. Without action there is no life. In order to live each of us is responsible to act in a way that supports our lives. Rights protect that action in a social context. Ethics tells you how to act, rights protect that action but they don’t replace it, it is still your responsibility to act.

Yes.

Rights are not rights to things, only to actions -- proper actions, as described by a rational code of ethics. Rights are moral sanctions to positive action. So your right to life gives you the moral sanction to be left alone. Will you live if you are left alone? No. In addition to being left alone, you must take action, you are the one who is responsible to take action to live.

Right.

By the same logic, your right to liberty gives you the moral sanction to not have force used upon you, to be free.

Yes. Will you have freedom if left alone, if no force is used upon you? Yes.

On an island with two people living on it - what exactly would those people be doing to exercise their right to liberty? They would be freely going about their business. Doing everything freedom alows them to do.

But this moral sanction hasn’t freed the people of North Korea. The moral sanction isn’t worth much apart from the action required to achieve freedom. If a people are not free it is their responsibility to free themselves.

I am not advocating helping North Koreans or anybody to achieve their freedom.

Like you mentioned and I completely agree - rights give you moral sanction to be left alone. In case of the right to life - those people ARE keeping themeselves alive. They are taking the necessary actions to sustain their life.

In case of the right to life, right to liberty, and right to own property - most people are already 'excercising' those rights and even if they were not they would still have those rights - to be left alone.

From the perspective of a rational outsider - we recognize others right to be left alone to do whatever they wish with their life.

Rational people respect others rights in recognition of their own rights of the same kind.

So using rights as the starting point, government represents the people -- by definition. You cannot say the North Koreans have the right to organize their government and then relieve them of the responsibility to organize a non-aggressive government.

Dictatorial government stays in power by force and coersion. Although there are many evil or ignorant people who help keep it a float - those who are against the government or those who are young and do not understand are not morally responsible for the mistakes of the majority. In every dictatorship there are people living there who are morally innocent.

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You need others around to create such a need. You don't need political rights on a desert island.

On deserted island you would still need your liberty and your life and need to own some items/tools - you have a need for those things regardless if you are arround others or not. Those are not 'social needs' but needs dictated by the requirements of human survival. It is just when you are arround others that you need protection from them in order to be left alone to take actions you need to take to sustain your life.

Individual rights are moral principles.

They train kids to kill. They strap bombs to them.

This is not an indication that there are NO innocent children. And I would agrue with you that even some of those young children you mention are morally innocent - they have been brainwashed from birth, kept isolated from any rational thought, the ony education they received was Koran, and do not know any better.

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If they have different outcomes then they do not achieve the same military objectives.

If the objective is to destroy a mall in some town - I could do it by destroying that mall or I could do it by blowing up the whole town. In both cases I have achieved my objective.

The only difference is the amount of collateral damage.

If the objective is to destroy a town - I am not advocating to only destroy a mall. I think I have been clear about that.

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Overall, I am very surprised at the general level of skepticism and thinking about decisions during conflict as subjective:

We can not know how much force is too much or how much force is enough or required. We can not know what victory/winning looks like until we see it. We can not know who is innocent and who is not. Nobody knows what it would take to defend outselves against Islam (or North Korea or whatever). Nobody precisely knows.

Wow! Those kinds of arguments are not what I would ever expect.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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In a personal context, if someone I ascertain to be physically incompetent tries to stab me with a knife, would I be justified in killing him quickly with a gun, or should I use my superior skills to attempt to wrestle the knife from him so that he is not harmed? I would say that I am justified because I have no requirement of putting my own life or interests in jeopardy when attacked.

Yes. This is an issue of proportionality, which as I have stated - I do not agree with.

The amount of force used need not be proportional to what is being directly used against you.

Their job is to protect their country, not invade a country to depose a dictator, rebuild infrastructure and protect their rights.

A straw man.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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.

Your language is fuzzy here. A "right to want" to survive is not correct. This is whim-like. I have a right, to action, as something.

They have a right to stay in existance (to make that choice) even if the conditions of their existance are bad. They don't have a duty to become martyrs.

People do not have a right to act, by turning their eyes away as a government uses force against others, in their name.

Why are you making this assumption that rational people living under a dictatorship are turning their eyes away?

This is acting to survive, no doubt. But is it acting to survive, as man?

This decision if their life is worth living is not ours to make. No person can make this value judgment for another.

Where you choose to live, and whom you choose to allow to act in your name is not a "harsh condition".

People living under dictatorships are prevented from leaving so where they happen to live is not a choice. If something is not a matter of free choice instead a decision made under the gun then it is outside of moral judgment, isn't it?

I want to make something clear, I am not making excuses here for everyone living in a dictatorship. A lot of people living there are either ignorant or evil. What I don't agree with however is the statement that there are no innocent people living there (like some people here are claiming). To me this is major context dropping.

Moral guilt/innocence is an individual judgment and contexual. Simply being born into a prison does not automatically make you guilty.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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QUOTE(~Sophia~ @ May 26 2007, 01:18 PM) post_snapback.gifThe existance of those innocent can not PREVENT you from properly defending yourself - but force used beyond to what is required for self defence is not justified.

I have another senario to think about. Given what you have stated here, does this mean that the proper miliary strategy is to "just barely win"? That is, I am expected to expend whatever resource necessary, and as many lives of my men as necessary, so as to just barely reach a reasonable assurance that I will win a war? But if in doing so, I preserve as many innocent lives as possible?

My statement does not imply using so little force as you may jepardize your chances of winning or barely reach it. It does however imply that you don't have a right to an unlimited amount of excess.

If you are saying that we can not objectively know that line then that argument reminds me of those who say: how can we reasonably know what is color red and what is organge? It is all a spectrum and where you pick the division line is subjective.

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