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

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If he kicked in your door, that would be beyond the realm of collateral damage; that's targeting you, specifically. Do you believe yourself to be the legitimate target of personal combat because you pay taxes or some such? (no need to confirm or deny.)

Not necessarily. We've kicked in lots of people's doors over the course of various wars and operations. I wouldn't have had to do anything besides live "in the way", basically.

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Do you care to name what these "unjust things" are and which nation on earth would be justified in initiating or (if you think that we have already initiated force against them, then) retaliating against us?

Any of the various countries that the CIA has meddled around in over the years. Central and South America come to mind most quickly. However, I would not say that any government currently in existence can rightfully declare war on the US - any that might have in the past no longer exist. And the truth of the matter is, I'm not certain what the legitimacy of those various governments would have been in the first place. But I would certainly never call the governments of the many dictators we supported and propped up over the years legitimate.

For me this is not about governments. This is about particular people within locations we have attacked or meddled with whose rights have been violated. Those are the ones I think about showing up at my door. I guess the question for all of us is, how responsible can each of us, individually, be held for our government's actions? If you say not very much, then doesn't the same apply to those poor bastards overseas, or do they not get the benefit of the doubt in that way? And if you say we are all responsible for the actions of our government, then there are many, many folks out there who might in fact be justified coming to kick in my door. And then I would have to defend myself against them. Then we have a situation somewhat like Iraq.

I've realized this discussion has strayed somewhat from the posted topic. My point is that in foreign affairs the US government, and the government of our allies, has committed downright evil actions over the years and violated rights in my name. I'm exploring the implications of that in my own mind (more or less how I described it above).

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Arguing with Jake is useless, and telling him he's full of shit on anything regarding the Middle East is somewhat comparable to telling creationists that they don't understand biology. You'll have more luck teaching calculus to a cat. If you need evidence of this, witness the pwn4ge laid down upon Jake in the link that Greyhawk provided, take note of his utter inability to defend his "points,", and then his even more staggering inability to realize that he has no idea what he's talking about. The guy is the epitome of what people mean by the word "Randroid."

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I'd like to keep this thread alive, so I'd appreciate it if we could keep the discussion away from the "imaginary," "cat calculus" and who needs to read more books.

Not necessarily. We've kicked in lots of people's doors over the course of various wars and operations. I wouldn't have had to do anything besides live "in the way", basically.

If your point is that the US hasn't been just in every case when dealing with foreign nations, point taken. But I don't believe this is reason for anyone to declare war. Judging from your last post, you don't either.

The US has done a heck of a lot of door kicking in city-fighting during an occupation. Do you fear that someone will come and kick down your door looking for insurgents as part of an occupational war against the US? Or do you fear that, out of the blue, someone will kick in your door and assault you because just because you're a US citizen?

It seems far more likely to me that any war perpetrated against the US will not be an occupational war, that you're more likely to be bombed - which is more to the point of the thread anyway. And, more to the point of your last post, I also think it's important to draw a distinction between targeting civilians and the collateral damage that kills innocents. In WWII the allies specifically targeted civilian population centers to maximize the damage they could do to their opponent's war machines. This damage was inflicted to both infrastructure and morale. If such attacks would significantly damage only morale, I'd support them. But I wouldn't support them because everybody is guilty of being a citizen, paying taxes and living in the country (which isn't true anyway). I'd support it as a means of ending hostilities - and the blood would not be on my hands.

It is for the same reason that I might support a nuclear option against Iran. After the last 9 years, the cost of occupying a country should be painfully obvious to everyone. Not being a diplomat, I'll tacitly concede that conventional bombing my indeed "stir the hornets nest". A nuclear option might produce the kind of terror and despair necessary to destroy the Islamists' will to fight. At least, I'm willing to entertain the notion.

Such an action absolutely should not be undertaken with out a clear message that America is not out to kill these people because of the way they look or what they believe happens after they die. It must accompany the declaration that what is being done is moral, is happening because the Iran is a supporter of Islamism and that one nuclear bomb will not be the end of the fighting if support of Islamism continues in any government.

Edit- by "Islamism" I mean the political expression of Islam. The message must be clear that the religion, and religion in general, has no place in the political realm. They can pray and build mosques and associate with each other all they want, they just can't force anyone to join in.

Edited by FeatherFall
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Arguing with Jake is useless, and telling him he's full of shit on anything regarding the Middle East is somewhat comparable to telling creationists that they don't understand biology. You'll have more luck teaching calculus to a cat. If you need evidence of this, witness the pwn4ge laid down upon Jake in the link that Greyhawk provided, take note of his utter inability to defend his "points,", and then his even more staggering inability to realize that he has no idea what he's talking about. The guy is the epitome of what people mean by the word "Randroid."

My position didn't need any defending. Your arguments were very similar to the ones in this thread: those of a spoiled child with a dark cloud over his head. You're practically the kid from Twilight Zone sans the ability to send me to the cornfield.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Broadly, it seems that every State across the spectrum of democratic, 'democratic' and dictatorial, has had, and has, its majority of enthusiastic supporters, also a certain number of 'just get-alongers', and also its number of conscientuous dissidents.

To slightly paraphrase H.L.M.'s famous quote, "We get the government our majority deserves."

As themadcat and aequalsa have indicated - what if, as all O'ists here, we are opposed to facets of our governments? Or, much worse, to the whole system of our government? (And are unable for some reason to leave?)

I'd find it just a little unfair for the city I live in to be eradicated, that majority, and me along with it.

In a conventional war, I'd at least have a chance.

(I admit freely that this a specious argument.)

Still, once you let that nuclear cat out of the bag, who can put it back?

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...I really can not comprehend your position, do you really believe that that you have to wait to be stabbed before you can defend yourself?

do we have to wait until DC or London on Tel Aviv is nuked before you will permit us to respond? ludicrous...

Your assumption that I was misunderstanding initiation of force was correct. I honestly wasn't even aware of a distinction. I still have a great deal to learn.

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My point is that in foreign affairs the US government [...] has committed downright evil actions over the years and violated rights in my name.

I'm still not sure to what you are referring so I would like you to name something specific so that I can either agree with you or disagree.

For me this is not about governments. This is about particular people within locations we have attacked or meddled with whose rights have been violated. Those are the ones I think about showing up at my door.

Again, I'm not sure of the situation to which you refer, let me suggest one and see if this is what you are talking about. Let us say the CIA snatches someone they consider to be a terrorist either out of Iraq or even out of, I don't know, Jordan. They take this man to some secret location and interrogate and even torture him. He maintains his innocence the whole time and indeed it turns out to be a case of mistaken identity. Is this the kind of situation you have in mind? If not then you should describe one.

Also, I should ask, is the wronged man a rational man? I assume he is because you implied that he would have a legitimate reason for coming to your house and attacking you. And of course if you are going to worry about lunatics attacking you, then no reason to limit the pool of potential lunatics to people who have been wronged. There are plenty of irrational criminals right here in the USA.

So back to the wronged rational man: who should he rationally blame for his being wronged? The USA or Totalitarian Islamic fanatics? The USA or the countries that espouse and support Islamofascists?

I guess the question for all of us is, how responsible can each of us, individually, be held for our government's actions? If you say not very much, then doesn't the same apply to those poor bastards overseas, or do they not get the benefit of the doubt in that way? And if you say we are all responsible for the actions of our government, then there are many, many folks out there who might in fact be justified coming to kick in my door.

We are all responsible to accept the consequences of the actions of our government. If the USA ever becomes an aggressive nation and we attack a free (or even semi-free) country, then we are all legitimate targets. If our government becomes aggressive it is our responsibility to stop it (or leave). But I still don't know who these "many, many folks" are who would be justified in attacking us.

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Still, once you let that nuclear cat out of the bag, who can put it back?

The cat has been back in the bag since 1945.

And actually the use of nuclear weapons has been a great boon to peace. Far fewer people have died in wars since 1945 than those that died before 1945. Its about time we started promoting peace again by nuking Iran.

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The cat has been back in the bag since 1945.

And actually the use of nuclear weapons has been a great boon to peace. Far fewer people have died in wars since 1945 than those that died before 1945. Its about time we started promoting peace again by nuking Iran.

Those were the days.

Things have changed (to say the least.) For a brief period in the 40's there was only one benevolent power with nuclear weaponry.

We are now in a nuclear 'free for all', and every Tom, Dick, and Ahmed has the technology, or can purchase it, - and can 'justify' using it against a real or imagined enemy.

(By this standard the "evil empire", the USSR, actually behaved with some restraint and rationality; the insane owners of nukes today will show little such responsibility.)

But what does the USA do? Can it really go round launching nukes at every belligerent, apparently irrational, nation? Is this rational? What would the consequences be?

A first strike might become necessary, by Israel or the US, but with the vast firepower they have at their disposal, it should never be necessary to initiate use of a nuclear bomb at civilian targets.

That's the closest to a rational conclusion I can come in this complex and disturbing debate. B)

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But what does the USA do? Can it really go round launching nukes at every belligerent, apparently irrational, nation? Is this rational? What would the consequences be?

We shouldn't launch nukes at "belligerent, apparently irrational" nations but this understates the problem. Iran is not just belligerent. They are aggressive and they have in fact initiated force against the US many times. And they aren't just "apparently" irrational either. The government of Iran is based on an irrational idea and its population supports this idea and the forming of a government around it. And if we took care of the most aggressively irrational nation on earth (Iran), then we wouldn't have to worry about "every" one of them.

Your last two questions are asked from a pacifist point of view. You might as well ask what are the consequences of defending yourself? or is it rational to defend yourself? I say yes. I think it is irrational not to defend yourself. In fact I don't think we would have any of these problems if we had defended ourselves right from the start.

A first strike might become necessary, by Israel or the US, but with the vast firepower they have at their disposal, it should never be necessary to initiate use of a nuclear bomb at civilian targets.

That's the closest to a rational conclusion I can come in this complex and disturbing debate. B)

Again, it would not be a first strike. Iran has already struck us.

But you are OK with us using nukes against non-civilian targets? And you are OK with us annihilating civilian targets with conventional weapons? Just wondering, which part of the debate do you consider disturbing?

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  • 3 weeks later...

A tactical nuclear strike may be our only option to stop this rouge nation from acquiring nuclear weapons and fulfilling the twisted Islamic prophecy (fairytale) of Armageddon and visions of annihilating Israel.

http://www.aina.org/news/20060901130216.htm

I would hope it would be a last resort to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons by mystics and not an act of vengeance.

"The threat of sudden destruction, of unpredictable retaliation for unnamed offenses, is a much more potent means of enslavement than explicit dictatorial laws. It demands more than mere obedience; it leaves men no policy save one: to please the authorities; to please—blindly, uncritically, without standards or principles; to please—in any issue, matter or circumstance, for fear of an unknowable, unprovable vengeance."

The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 8

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Paraphrasing Mr. Obama:

"For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/world/06arms.html

And paraphrasing Mr. Chirac:

"French President Jacques Chirac has said France would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state which launched a terrorist attack against it."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4627862.stm

Edited by 2046
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So, imagine that Israel gets nuked, then retaliates against Teheran.

What then? We might as well ask this.

The Jewish State might end due to fallout, but then again it might just go for broke and force the emigration of Palestinians from the West Bank. Would they murder them? They'd occupy Lebanon for sure - and conventionally bomb Syria in the process (Hezbollah in Lebanon). Would Iraq get involved?

Would America's patriot missile shield in Iraq surprise us and shoot down both missiles? Would Israel shoot a 'dud' in retaliation to be purposefully shot down by America. What if the missile from Iran is intercepted - by Israeli or American patriot missiles? Would the fallout hit Iraq? Iran?

Would the US under Obama do anything? Would it rule against Israel?

Would the US be able to invade Iran? Would the world support it? Would Arabs support it? Would the Iranians support a regime change?

What happens? Iran fires a missile at Israel... then what?

And in the context of this thread, what would the US response be? What should it be? Missile to Israel... what happens?

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  • 3 months later...

A friend of mine's objection to the Piekoff Bill O'Reilly interview:

"The force of the Taliban movement is in Iran?

That's just complete, undeniable nonsense. For reasons too clear, understandable, and numerous to mention, Iran almost went to war with the Taliban!"

What makes Piekoff think that nuking Iran would stop the majority of Fundamentalist Terrorism.

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  • 3 months later...

According to WikiLeaks, the Iranians were squarely behind the insurgency in Iraq, targeting American troops.

The largest unauthorized disclosure of classified government documents in U.S. history confirms a long-standing assertion of President George W. Bush at the start of the 2007 troop surge: Iran was orchestrating one side of the Iraqi insurgency.

Field reports made public by the website WikiLeaks on Friday show that U.S. military intelligence agencies had many strands of evidence revealing that Iran provided paramilitary training to Shiite Muslim insurgents at the height of the civil war in Iraq.

In one case, the military circulated a Dec. 22, 2006, warning that a group known as Jaish al-Mahdi planned to kidnap U.S. soldiers. The man planning the operation, Sheik Azhar al-Dulaimi, was trained by Hezbollah terrorists near the Iranian city of Qom, the document stated. Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based militia that was founded, trained and funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"This confirms the degree of operational involvement the Iranian Revolutionary Guard used in anti-U.S. operations in Iraq," said Kenneth Katzman, a Gulf affairs specialist at the Congressional Research Service. "It confirms the degree to which Iran was involved in operations that directly targeted U.S. forces."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/24/wikileaks-back-bush-claims-iran-role-iraq-war/

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Yeah well, we already know Iran is an enemy regime. The problem isn't the absence of evidence, it's the influence of pacifists in American society. Iran is attacking Western forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan this overtly because they believe we won't respond with military action. They're not trying to keep it a secret, they're testing the limits of how far they can push.

Right now, with Obama in charge, we can be pushed very far, so I expect their actions in Afghanistan will grow even bolder.

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Yeah well, we already know Iran is an enemy regime. The problem isn't the absence of evidence, it's the influence of pacifists in American society.

Yes, we know it, but does the Obama Administration know it? After all, they've given the Iranians a seat at the table in the talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government. That's both a strategic error and a clear sign of weakness that will surely get more American soldiers killed.

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According to WikiLeaks, the Iranians were squarely behind the insurgency in Iraq, targeting American troops.

'Washington was taken by surprise when Iran swept in to fill the vacuum in Iraq. But it shouldn't have been. If the United States had listened to its enemies--Iranian proxies who'd fought other wars for Iran, on other peripheries of Iran's growing empire--it might have understood the problems of occupying Iraq.

In February 2003, a little less than a month before Americans invaded Iraq, a contact in Hezbollah called me, gleefully announcing that the Iraqi-born members of Hezbollah were packing up to go home. Many of them hadn't been back since 1980, when Saddam expelled them to Iran and Lebanon.

"What are they going to do?" I asked, purposely sounding naive.

"Organize Iraqi Hezbollah, of course. Take over Iraq."

"But how many of them are there?"

"I don't know. Two or three hundred."

"Is that enough?"

"It was in Lebanon, no?" he said as he hung up the phone.

Iran had incited a revolution in Lebanon building on a core of only a few hundred proxy fighters and co-opted clerics, who eventually turned half the country into an Iranian outpost. Iran knew that with Saddam gone, secular Iraq was dead, making the Iraqi Shia ripe for the picking to fight a holy war against Western occupation. The Iraqi Shia would reject occupation just as surely as the Lebanese rejected it in 1982. And Iran also knew Lebanon would be the strategic blueprint for its war of liberation: Iran would dominate Iraq not by invading it outright, but rather through proxies, spreading religious conviction, and employing the new form of guerrilla warfare it had learned in Lebanon.

.....

So, inasmuch as the future in the Middle East can ever be predicted, with time and money Iran stands a good chance of dominating Iraq, annexing it all but in name. It will almost certainly try to do so after the United States leaves.

......

The question of who lost Iraq isn't just water under the bridge. The truth is, nothing has changed since the Iraqi invasion. The Americans still do not understand Iran's strategy--what it wants in Iraq and how it intends to get it. We still do not understand proxy warfare, and how Iran can get its way through manipulating proxies. We still reduce the threat of Iran to weapons of mass destruction--to a nuclear bomb--but it has started to dawn on those who deal in facts that in Iran we face a problem that demands a second look. Hopeful signs of this came when Washington's Iranian policy seemed to turn on a dime in December 2007, after the director of national intelligence issued a judgement, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), stating that Iran had suspended its efforts to make a nuclear bomb. The NIE didn't say it in so many words, but the implication was that Iran isn't in a hurry to get a bomb. Nuclear weapons, then, are not vital to Iran's national security. At the same time, the NIE did not diminish the threat Iran poses to U.S. interests in the region.

One Bush foreign policy adviser, a longtime Iranian specialist with whom I'd worked in the past, told me that he despaired of Washington ever really understanding the problem Iran poses for the United States. He said American understanding of Iran today is worse than it was under Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or Bill Clinton.

"[Washington officials] have no idea about the role the Iranians were playing in the eighties, the damage they did to our interests in the Middle East," he told me. "Today all across the government, you have young men and women who know about Iran from college textbooks. They've absorbed a conceptual framework about the country that doesn't even come close to matching reality."

......

We both knew that exiles were still taking us on another bumpy ride, and Iran would be handed victory after victory. Even today, Iranian exiles showing up in Washington say Iran is teetering on the edge--that it will collapse with a real show of force. If we just stay the course in Iraq, squeeze Iran in Lebanon, get rid of the regime in Damascus, they say, we'll win. They still can't conceive that we lost in Iraq.

Losing Iraq--ceding it to Iran--marked the first time in history Mesopotamia was ceded to a hostile power without a real fight. It's the first time the Shia have ruled an Arab country since the Fatimids in Egypt in the 12th century. It's also the first time in modern history that an Arab country has been wiped off the map. How could something like this, a God-sent opportunity for Iran, not provoke serious change in the Middle East? The fact that the US was the agent of this change, in a voluntary war, is tantamount to Rome's willingly ceding the Mediterranean to Carthage, or Britain's ceding the English Channel to Nazi Germany. The stakes in Iraq are just as high.

Iran will fairly quickly take control of Iraq's oil, which as of December 2007 was 2.3 million barrels a day. In the first days of the war, Iranian surrogates immediately started to steal hundreds of thousands of barrels. No one knows the exact figure, because the Iranian-allied oil minister refuses to provide an accounting. But Iran's grip on Iraqi oil only promises to tighten with its plans for a strategic petroleum alliance with Iraq. The American backers of the war claimed that with massive investment Iraq's production could be taken to 6 million barrels a day. If they're right, and if Iran proceeds with its de facto annexation of Iraq and its oil, the combination of Iran's current production of 4.21 million barrels a day with Iraq's 6 million would put Iran within range of becoming the world's largest producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Under a scenario like this, Iran calls the shots in world oil markets, deciding levels of production that lower or raise world prices, which also aids Iran's ongoing campaign to decouple oil from the dollar. if oil markets continue to tighten, it could fall within Iran's reach to set the global price of oil. If Iran were to force a cutback of, let's say, 5 million barrels a day, Americans could end up paying $10 a gallon for gasoline. If the cutback was compounded with an assault on the dollar, it would start something very much like a depression in the United States.

Nightmare scenarios like this rarely come to pass. Historically, commodity markets have been too fractured, too large, and too subject to economic swings to allow one country to set oil prices. But with oil at $135 a barrel in May 2008, with Iran moving to take effective control of Iraq's production and intimidating the Gulf Arabs with its eye on their 50 percent of the world's proven reserves, Iran is not all that far from establishing the oil monopoly it seeks."

from: http://www.amazon.com/Devil-We-Know-Dealing-Superpower/dp/0307408647

-Copied with express e-mail permission from the author.

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  • 1 year later...

Persians havent attacked anyone in several thousand years, and Iran is not a threat to the US. Attacking another sovereign nation because of the weaponry they possess is hypocritical.

The US has exactly as much right (to attack another country because they have nukes) as other nations have to attack the US for having nukes. The very idea is laughable.

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Fred, have you read this thread? I ask because your post doesn't address the reason most "hawks" here cite as justification for attacking Iran. I'll give you a hint: it isn't because Iran is trying to get nukes.

It's also strange (and false) to say that persians haven't attacked anyone for several thousand years. I'll grant you a favor by ignoring your hyperbole and focusing only on modern Iran. If you take a moment to glance at the thread, you'll find several mentions of Iran's proxy wars.

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"The US has exactly as much right (to attack another country because they have nukes) as other nations have to attack the US for having nukes."

This is not correct - the United States and Iran are completely different countries with completely different regimes. The United States, despite perhaps having a history of having some ideological wars, has a Constitution and regime that prevents them from doing so. With Iran, their Constitution encourages their military to start ideological wars - wars in the name of Islam.

Iran has a history of initiating force against us - They did nationalize oil found by American enterprise

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