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

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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

This is a brave new world that we're living in, given terrorism as the new international threat to rights. It clearly poses a real conceptual problem for looking at national defense in the way we were used to during the first two world wars. But this is not an insurmountable conceptual problem.

What I was trying to get at was not that I see terrorism as something we can't formulate some sort of defensive policy against (interestingly your framework mirrors several elements of international law) but rather that it seems wrong to characterize any action in that regard as "defensive." I think that if allowed to go back in time and freed from any proportionality requirement, almost any military action can be characterized as "defensive."

For example, you could argue that Hitler's invasion of Poland was defensive in nature by either tying the "threat" to the British and French military buildup, or to the Versailles Treaty, or to the anticipated hostility with Russia, etc. I am not talking about the moral justification of a war, remember, just how military action is characterized as either "offensive" or "defensive."

There is the possibility that Objectivism simply defines all military action taken by "free" states as defensive and all military action taken by "slave" states as offensive. But this seems problematic from both linguistic and foreign policy points of view, and I don't think it is the best resolution.

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If people actually believe that they will meet ruin if they threaten the US, then they will stop threatening the US.
But the problem with such statements are the assumptions that
  • "threaten the US" has a clear (to other nations) and objective meaning
  • people believe that they will not meet ruin if they don't threaten the US

The fundamental question that has to be answered first is whether Iran, or any other country, is a threat to the US.
Sounds good. What qualifies as "threatening the US"?

The US gathers intel that there are three terrorists plotting against the US in an apartment in Berlin. There clearly is a threat, although not a very large one. Is a US nuclear strike on Berlin a defensive military action?
The threat of the modern world is rogue nations which tolerate and facilitate attacks against us.

If your government has a policy of facilitating terrorism, they are responsible.

Are you disagreeing with Vladimir that the exampled terrorists are a threat?
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Sounds good. What qualifies as "threatening the US"?
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 example, but not limited to, threatening to fly a plane into a building, threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on the US, threatening to blow up buildings, people, livestock, cars.... threatening to release neurotoxins, or biological agents, threatening to EMP the nation into the stone age, threatening to destroy the power grid, or power generating facilities, or blow up petroleum or natural gas pipelines, threatening to destroy our food supply, or our capacity to produce food... I really hope that you don't seriously think that this level of specificity is necessary. All of this is covered under the rubric "initiation of force". I'm saying, don't do it and don't even think of doing it, or we will burn you to a cinder. Although I know that that would violate current US policy.
Are you disagreeing with Vladimir that the exampled terrorists are a threat?
No, that such activity does not constitute a reason to bomb Germany. I take it you did not understand the point about deliberately facilitating terrorism vs. not managing to succeed at stopping terrorism. Do you have a clear idea what part of the distinction eludes you, so that I might try explaining in further detail? This is a really important concept, and since entire nations seem not to get it, I guess it must be strangely difficult to get ahold of.
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But the problem with such statements are the assumptions that
  • "threaten the US" has a clear (to other nations) and objective meaning
  • people believe that they will not meet ruin if they don't threaten the US

I think people will start to get a clue when the bombing starts. We certainly should try to help them understand why it is happening, but their understanding is of little consequence.

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Iran is not a real threat to the USA, at this time.

The majority of Iran's people do not like their government. There is hope there. Nuke those people, the survivors will side with their government. So will the rest of the world quite frankly.

We know they sponsor terrorism in Iraq. That calls for an appropriate response, not a nuking. Why no one is taking it, I can't guess. Maybe they are and we dont' know about it. Maybe America is just waiting for Iran to make a mistake? No idea.

I'm guessing in the next few years the American government will decide that they have no real strategic interest in the middle east and will pull out. The USA doesn't depend that much on middle east oil. Other nations (for example, China) do however. Why aren't they footing some of the bill in the middle east? The next administrtaion will probably decide to slowly get out of "protecting" the region. For better or worse.

Dropping a nuke on Iran is silly irrational talk. No matter how much I would like to see it - and I'm not too sure I would want to see it either. The majority of those killed and injured would be normal people, not death loving fanatics. There just isn't a good reason to nuke right now.

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No, that such activity does not constitute a reason to bomb Germany. I take it you did not understand the point about deliberately facilitating terrorism vs. not managing to succeed at stopping terrorism. Do you have a clear idea what part of the distinction eludes you, so that I might try explaining in further detail? This is a really important concept, and since entire nations seem not to get it, I guess it must be strangely difficult to get ahold of.

I am confused on your rationale then. From what I first understood it was; "If there is a threat to the US, any military action we use in response to that threat is 'defensive' (and is I assume thus moral) regardless of the proportionality or civilian casualties."

If so, then it would be perfectly consistant and moral to nuke Berlin in my example. You seem to be implying that doing so would be bad in a practical, diplomatic sense, and I agree. There will certainly be cases where we have the moral right to retaliate yet we either do not retaliate or else retaliate with a less-destructive means for various policy considerations. This is different from saying we shouldn't nuke Berlin for a moral reason, however, or that nuking Berlin would not be "defensive" military action.

What I am trying to understand is how your moral schematic for the use of force is limited in any meaningful moral way.

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What I am trying to understand is how your moral schematic for the use of force is limited in any meaningful moral way.
The proper course of action is for the German government to control terrorism within its borders, and it does do so, even if it is not omniscient. The Iranian of Talibanian governments are entirely unlike the German government, in this respect. Germany's rare failure to be perfect is no proof that they are using terrorism as a means of covertly destroying the US. Tell me what part of that you don't understand.
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I say we owe it to the victims of 9/11. We should have done it five years ago!

Five reason, go ahead. :nuke:

Brandon

I can only think of one at the moment: Because doing so would upset the power play of the world bankers.

It took a while to slowly realize why America was on a self-destructive path. I first thought it was ignorance, but now I am coming to realize it may be by intent. The failure to close the borders, the constant wars that have no visible results, the sham of a justice system... it's all for the profit of a few, rich, powerful and very influential bankers. This is their game, and our military, its pawns. We are it's cattle, to be harvested and rendered for their benefit. It's becoming very clear to me now. There is no reason to nuke Iran, because it's not in the plans.

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You did not understand the point about deliberately facilitating terrorism vs. not managing to succeed at stopping terrorism. Do you have a clear idea what part of the distinction eludes you?
I do. You seem to be saying that we should tolerate and/or wait until a terrorist-hunting nation has actually failed :nuke: before defensively acting to stop a threat within said nation. But this is strangely difficult to get ahold of and clearly eludes me given that
Defensive actions do not have to wait for a first strike.

Threats should not be tolerated.

If you would, please explain in further detail.

the assumption that [foreign] people believe that they will not meet ruin if they don't threaten the US
Are you implying that this is an invalid assumption?
In short, yes. Giving up some threats would itself be considered ruinous to a foreign nation. And preventing ruin doesn't necessarily coincide with abiding by what the US says constitutes a threat, given that not all threats are explicitly stated to be threats.

[Are you implying]that the U.S. has a history of ruining nations that do not threaten it?
Hmm. That wasn't my intention.

I think people will start to get a clue when the bombing starts.
:nuke: I imagine so, but how is realizing that there are potentially other unstated trigger points going to make foreign nations not trigger the unstated trigger points?

The proper course of action is for the German government to control terrorism within its borders... Germany's rare failure to be perfect is no proof that they are using terrorism as a means of covertly destroying the US. Tell me what part of that you don't understand.
Why would Germany's intentions matter in a case of not neutralizing a threat to us?
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The proper course of action is for the German government to control terrorism within its borders, and it does do so, even if it is not omniscient. The Iranian of Talibanian governments are entirely unlike the German government, in this respect. Germany's rare failure to be perfect is no proof that they are using terrorism as a means of covertly destroying the US. Tell me what part of that you don't understand.

I think you have misunderstood my point. I am not debating whether Germany is as morally blameworthy as Iran in terms of facilitating terrorism. What I am trying to figure out is how you plan to define "defensive" vs. "offensive" military action. The reason I brought up Berlin was not in the context of whether or not nuking Germany qua Germany is moral, but whether it is "defensive" to nuke three terrorists who just happen to be located in Berlin, such that the fallout and explosion of the bomb will kill millions of German civilians.

The same is of course true in nuking Tehran, based on how I interpret your moral framework. If military action in response to a percieved threat to the US is always defensive, and defensive military action is always moral, then nuking Berlin is just as moral as nuking Tehran. The only difference is the number of innocent bystanders turned to cinders.

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umm. Could you walk me through this plot that makes bankers rich in the face of chaos?

Conventional war keeps the money flowing in the international economy. Arms deals, money laundering, drug cartels, and the chaos that keeps international relations in a certain precarious balance, all work to benefit the world bankers in ways that they understand.

Some snippets of news that indicate this is so:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is on its way to brokering about $20 billion in arms sales in the fiscal year that began October 1, steady with last year's near-record total, the

Pentagon official responsible for such sales said on Monday.

"We're forecasting in the $20 billion range" for fiscal 2007, Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington.

In fiscal 2006, which ended on September 30, foreign military sales notified to Congress reached $20.9 billion, nearly double the $10.6 billion the previous year.

Last year's total was second only to 1993, which topped $30 billion, swollen by sales to the Middle East after the first

Gulf War.

I think this quote sums up the bankers' sentiments on war:

“The best time to buy is when blood is running in the streets.”

-Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild

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You seem to be saying that we should tolerate and/or wait until a terrorist-hunting nation has actually failed :nuke: before defensively acting to stop a threat within said nation. But this is strangely difficult to get ahold of and clearly eludes me given that

If you would, please explain in further detail.

This is extremely simple. Nuking a nation is just when that government has systematically failed in its function, by policy, and has gone rogue in attacking other nations. Those are the nations which deserve to be terminated with extreme prejudice. A government which is carrying out its proper functionis different, and such a nation should not be so terminated.
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This is extremely simple. Nuking a nation is just when that government has systematically failed in its function, by policy, and has gone rogue in attacking other nations. Those are the nations which deserve to be terminated with extreme prejudice. A government which is carrying out its proper functionis different, and such a nation should not be so terminated.

I think the problem here is that Vladimir and hunterrose are uninformed about the nature and actions of the Iranian Regime.

Think of the Kremlin 40 years ago, training commi-busy-bodies and sendning them all over the world. Let's say some of those busy-bodies were sent to America to hijack airplanes and fly them into our buildings. We would rightly consider it an attack from Moscow.

Iran trains terrorists and pays large sums to other governments so they can do the same. I know the media isn't talking much about it, but Ted Koppel recently had a special air on Discovery Channel called "Iran: the Most Dangerous Nation" and if Ted Koppel knows about the threat, you can bet the sluggish CIA knows.

But the average man on the street (or thread) is dangerously clueless.

Brandon

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Conventional war keeps the money flowing in the international economy. Arms deals, money laundering, drug cartels, and the chaos that keeps international relations in a certain precarious balance, all work to benefit the world bankers in ways that they understand.

This is the "broken window" theory. Basically that desctruction is good for the economy because it creates jobs. Henry Hazlitt dispenses this thought in the first chaper of Economics in One Lesson.

Any banker who understand basic economics knows that this is not true; that in general, the economy is always worsened by destruction. Yes, there may be opportunists out there who can profit, but only in a very narrow sphere of economics. So to hypothesize that a small cartel of bankers who controls things would want war is contradictory. If the cartel is small enough and powerful enough, then they are heavily invested "in peace", i.e. most of their wealth is in the peaceful sector of the economy which is by far the largest. If they can profit from war, across their portfolio, then their portfolio is not large enough to make them powerful enough to control anything.

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I agree with what Kendall said, but wanted to address the specific quote:

The best time to buy is when blood is running in the streets.
This quote uses blood metaphorically. The idea is that the really big buying opportunities come, not when everyone else thinks its time to buy and bids up prices, but when people on average are irrationally selling as if doomsday is around the corner. The quote is just a way of saying "buy when prices have hit rock bottom and everyone believes they're going to stay there forever".

Aside: The "broken window" is now sometimes used as a different metaphor: if one takes care of the small things (like broken windows) they have a larger than expected impact [as was supposedly the case with Guliani's approach to crime in NYC].

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I think the problem here is that Vladimir and hunterrose are uninformed about the nature and actions of the Iranian Regime.

Think of the Kremlin 40 years ago, training commi-busy-bodies and sendning them all over the world. Let's say some of those busy-bodies were sent to America to hijack airplanes and fly them into our buildings. We would rightly consider it an attack from Moscow.

Iran doesn't train the sunni al-qaida or taliban. Their relationship is not very good.

looking at a timeline right now, if this info is accurate:

1995 Sept: Iran warns Taliban not to cross its border.

1997: Taliban close Iranian Embassy in Kabul

sept: Iran, Russia, and France accused by Taliban of helping opposition

1998 Aug: Taliban seize Mazar-i-Sharif: eleven Iranian diplomates killed

Allegation by Aytollah Khomeini of plot against Iran by Taliban. Tensions high between Taliban and Iran.

sept: Iran sends 70,000 troops to border with Afghanistan to carry out war games

Tensions escalate between Iran and Taliban: Iran declares it must protect its citizens. Restraint urged by United States

Taliban send 30,000 troops to border with Iran

Oct: Iran violates Herat airspace. War games involving 200,000 Iranian troops begin

1999 May: Joint statement by Iran and Uzbekistan to challenge any takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban

Taliban crush rebellion in Herat. Taliban accuse Iran of arming rebels.

Have there been iranian backed terrorist attacks on the USA?

On America's allies? Israel for sure, not sure if Iraq and Lebanon count as allies.

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A government which is carrying out its proper function is different, and such a nation should not be so terminated.
I (and Vladimir?) are saying that your definitions of "threat" and "defensive action" make it a moral (qua defensive) act to obliterate the German terrorists that Germany has not yet contained. You are arguing that, while implicitly agreeing that we have the right to, there are reasons why we shouldn't deal with the German terrorists in some ways.

I imagine that everyone here agrees that we shouldn't deal with the German terrorists in some ways, but my point is that you hold it to be within US rights to nuke the German terrorists regardless on whether nuking was ultimately done.

Vladimir and hunterrose are uninformed

The average man on the street (or thread) is dangerously clueless.

You must love irony as much as I do.

The "problem" is that I think nuking Tehran is a situation based on a premise that affects far, far more entities than merely the US and the Iranian Regime, and that has more long-term consequences than you may think.

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I (and Vladimir?) are saying that your definitions of "threat" and "defensive action" make it a moral (qua defensive) act to obliterate the German terrorists that Germany has not yet contained. You are arguing that, while implicitly agreeing that we have the right to, there are reasons why we shouldn't deal with the German terrorists in some ways.

I imagine that everyone here agrees that we shouldn't deal with the German terrorists in some ways, but my point is that you hold it to be within US rights to nuke the German terrorists regardless on whether nuking was ultimately done.

I suggest, first, that you speak for yourself and not take the blame for Berkov's mistakes. And furthermore, don't take my definition of threat and defensive action, use those words literally, plus everything else that you know about morality and rights. Now explain the proposed situation -- something about terrorists plotting in Germany -- and what the moral course of action would be, as far as you can tell. Make your argument explicit, and I will be happy to tell you where your argument goes astray, if it does. At some point we might get into a highly refined discussion of whether the initiation of force completely renders the concept of morality null and void, but I don't think that would be the first thing to discuss.
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I can only think of three reasons why we shouldn't nuke Iran:

1. It'll cost too much

2. Its not necessary (ok, maybe this is 1.5)

3. I know people who live in the outskirts of Tehran, and I don't want them dead.

My Justifications:

1. Making a nuclear bomb is expensive. It requires a lot of time, resources, and energy to make a bomb. Moreover, its very difficult to make one given the current political climate, and it will be too risky in case we ever need to use them against China (or another large, powerful country).

2. The US has a large supply of conventual weapons. Why use nukes, when we can use Napalm, and other bombs to do the same thing. We should use nukes against those who propose an airthreat, not those like Iran (yet).

3. This is purely selfish, and shouldn't be factored in, all things considered.

So to answer the question: No, I can't come up with 5 reason why we shouldn't nuke Tehran (but I think I came up with two very good reasons though)

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This is the "broken window" theory. Basically that desctruction is good for the economy because it creates jobs. Henry Hazlitt dispenses this thought in the first chaper of Economics in One Lesson.

Any banker who understand basic economics knows that this is not true; that in general, the economy is always worsened by destruction. Yes, there may be opportunists out there who can profit, but only in a very narrow sphere of economics. So to hypothesize that a small cartel of bankers who controls things would want war is contradictory. If the cartel is small enough and powerful enough, then they are heavily invested "in peace", i.e. most of their wealth is in the peaceful sector of the economy which is by far the largest. If they can profit from war, across their portfolio, then their portfolio is not large enough to make them powerful enough to control anything.

That wouldn't seem to rule out influence, however, if not control. A firm or group of investors which is heavily invested in or has the capital to produce essential war goods would easily see how a war would be to their great advantage due to government contracts. These firms (ala Krupp) would not be in a position to control the government, but they would control enough money to be able to contribute heavily to politicians and thus win favor for those who might start a war and then give them vital contracts.

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That wouldn't seem to rule out influence, ...
It does not rule out influence "in theory"; but we see none. Experience shows that -- at least in western countries -- such influence has almost exclusively been applied to have one type of weapon system be chosen over a competitor's, and not to start or provoke the use of those weapon systems.
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I can only think of three reasons why we shouldn't nuke Iran:

1. It'll cost too much

2. Its not necessary (ok, maybe this is 1.5)

3. I know people who live in the outskirts of Tehran, and I don't want them dead.

My Justifications:

1. Making a nuclear bomb is expensive. It requires a lot of time, resources, and energy to make a bomb. Moreover, its very difficult to make one given the current political climate, and it will be too risky in case we ever need to use them against China (or another large, powerful country).

...

We don't have to make the bomb - we have thousands of them stockpiled, and I mean thousands.

Also, I know people who live in Manhattan, and I don't want them dead. I know people who live in Israel, and I don't want them dead. Screw people who are putting up with the regime in Iran - they deserve to die and can't complain when self-defensive American bombs begin to rain down. And if they're freedom-fighters, trying to topple the Iranina regime, then they certainly wouldn't blame us for defending ourselves against their corrupt government (and culture).

Brandon

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