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

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Since he doesn't explicitly say he is not an Objectivist in any of his three posts, I assume that he is...that is the default assumption I have of anyone on this board, unless they say otherwise. If you know him personally, then I'll take your word for it.

But my comment was mainly addressed at Man Also Rises for saying, essentially, that he'll agree with anything that a "good Objectivist" says.

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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

I agree with Robert J. Kolker's comments, except for his second point, which is not clear to me.

The nations of the world will do business with us if it is profitable (to them) to do so. Ethical principles are so much ka ka when there is a question of money and profit. I gave the example of Nazi Germany to illustrate this point. I am sorry I did not make explicit what my point was, the first time around. Sorry about that.

Bob Kolker

Bob doesn't call himself an Objectivist.

That is quite correct. While there is much in the writing of Ayn Rand I find useful, I am not, nor was I ever an Objectivist. I have read most of the Objectivist corpus. Some things I agree with, some things I don't. I have reservations concerning Aristotle which I have made plain in my postings on that subject. I hope this clarifies things a bit.

Bob Kolker

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To clarify my position, I agree with gags regarding Mr. Kolker's Point #5.

I assume you mean you agree with my #5 with reluctance and reservation and perhaps even disgust. Prior to 9/11 I too had reluctance and reservation and at that time I would not have even breathed the G-word. Since 9/11 I have no reservations at all on the matter. Islam, like any religion, was born in an age of ignorance and superstition. But it is worse than that. It is evil and demonic and has the potential (and often the actuality) of turning ordinary humans into killers who have no regard for their own lives, let alone the lives of their victims. And for that reason I think it must be eliminated and eliminated soon. There are other religions which are non-reasonable, but no others are as dangerous. Christianity and Judaism have been (largely) detoxified over time. Mainstream Christianity works in a secular environment. Judaism has long been adapted to a secular environment. Budhism, Bahai, Hinduism are absurd, but they do not constitute a mortal threat to civilization. You can accept these religions or reject them without becoming a menace to civilized life. Islam does not have within it it the seeds of its necessary modification to make it workable in secular world.

Have you ever seen -Monty Python and the Holy Grail-? We are dealing with the Black Knight here.

Have you ever seen -The Terminator-? We are dealing with the Terminator here. You can't reason with it, you can't appeal to its mercy (it has none), you can only run and hide from it or you can destroy it. Destruction is our only reasonable option.

Bob Kolker

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That sort of post doesn't really merit a response, but I'm going to give one anyway.

I will not defend Islam. What I will say is that the people who subscribe to the violent brand of Wahhabism with which we are currently contending are a tiny minority of the Islamic world. The people who are actually willing to blow themselves up or fly planes into towers are few and far between. Now, you may say, there are still many people in the Islamic world who support such actions. Well, this is true. But their speech does not constitute an initiation of force...the Muslims in London who held up signs saying "behead those who insult Islam" did not violate anyone's rights by doing so. I will say it again: the number of people who are actively involved in either committing or facilitating acts of terrorism is a minute fraction of the Islamic world.

I have known (and worked for) a number of Muslims. Several were from Turkey, one was from Egypt, one was from Pakistan...and they were all rather recent immigrants. They were perfectly nice people and I never felt in danger when I was around them.

You are being incredibly short-sighted in saying that Islam does not have the seeds to work in a secular world. In the Middle Ages, you would have said the same of Christianity. In fact, if you knew anything at all about Islamic history, you would know what a ridiculous statement that is. The Islamic world used to be the only beacon of light in a world of darkness. It is because of Islamic civilization that we have modern math and science. Without it, we would be centuries behind where we are now. One particular Islamic figure, Avicenna, was responsible for saving the works of Aristotle and Plato, not to mention doing much to advance the study of mathematics. It wasn't until a man named Al Ghazali came along and demanded that Muslims shun the principles of reason that the Islamic world began to stagnate and turn into what it is today.

For centuries, the Islamic world was a paragon of tolerance and human rights, while the Christian world was mired in hopeless mysticism and an absolute absence of human rights. Yet you say that Christianity could be secularized while Islam could not. This is a ridiculous statement and completely unsupported by world history. Islam was once what Christianity has become today. Can it become that way again? Yes. Will it? Who knows...I surely don't. But you don't either.

If you want to suggest that we attack our enemy until it no longer poses a threat, great. I would agree. But you are recommending the systematic slaughter of the inhabitants of a rather large region of the earth. This is an utterly disgusting proposal, and if this were my forum, you would be banned for suggesting it.

Edited by Moose
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For centuries, the Islamic world was a paragon of tolerance and human rights, while the Christian world was mired in hopeless mysticism and an absolute absence of human rights. Yet you say that Christianity could be secularized while Islam could not. This is a ridiculous statement and completely unsupported by world history. Islam was once what Christianity has become today. Can it become that way again? Yes. Will it? Who knows...I surely don't. But you don't either.

Not for the last 700 years.

If you want to suggest that we attack our enemy until it no longer poses a threat, great. I would agree. But you are recommending the systematic slaughter of the inhabitants of a rather large region of the earth. This is an utterly disgusting proposal, and if this were my forum, you would be banned for suggesting it.

Why? Because I propose to kill our mortal enemies and I am not squeamish about collateral damage? If General Curtis Lemay were still alive and posting would you ban him? He systematically dropped incendiary bombs on Japanese cities made of paper and wood. He cooked babies. Or Air Commander Arthur 'Bomber' Harris who put the torch to Hamburg Germany in WW2. He set out to bomb civilians as a means of winning his war. To do that he burned babies alive. Make no mistake about it. Lemay and Harris were after civilians because the enemy war effort depended on their civilian assets.

Please recall that in order to conclude the War in the Pacific the U.S. killed 200,000 by nuclear means. That included children. We are currently in a war. Please tell us how to fight it without collateral damage.

Also, please remember that our enemies will have nuclear weapons in hand within five years. We have run out of time for persuasion. Now we fight for our survival. Tell us how we might do this gently. What will you say when a tactical nuke is shipped into New York City in a cargo container and detonated? Will you be so morally appalled at the idea of wiping out our enemies root and branch? Will you be so righteous if one of the major bridges is blown up in New York City or a tunnel breached during the rush hour? We are fighting for our very lives and civilization here. Why should we constrain ourselves? Whatever it takes to survive, that is what we should do.

So I say to you, we are in a war for our existence. We are nearly out of time. Only dreadful and drastic action is left to us. And you want to ban me for sounding the alarm?

Then propose a lesser action, but be very specific. Which cities shall we nuke (if any). What targets shall we strike (location, type and map co-ordinates). Since our enemies live in population centers of great density tell us how to avoid collateral damage. How many casualties will we probably inflict? If the number is in the millions, then you and I differ only in degree. Once you set on a course of action that will kill young children you are not only in for the penny, you are in for the pound.

If you can achieve the end of eliminating our enemies (Muslims) or the threat they present, and save our civilization by a less drastic course of action within the probable time parameters, then you have won both my heart and my mind. Make sure your course of action will stop a team of Jihadists from setting off a nuke in New York or Washington.

Bob Kolker

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So I say to you, we are in a war for our existence. We are nearly out of time. Only dreadful and drastic action is left to us. And you want to ban me for sounding the alarm?

No, I think he would want you banned for being an alarmist (there's a difference) which is pretty well illustrated this little ditty. Oh yea, and for being an advocate for genocide when it is unnecessary.

"Our" enemies are not all Muslims, only some Muslims. "Your" enemies may be all Muslims, but that's different as well. I would offer that it would be appropriate for you to speak for yourself and not everyone else on here when referring to your beliefs.

Then propose a lesser action, but be very specific.

While I don't propose to speak for Moose, as he may well have some more specific idea of what should be done, I will say that one does not necessarily have to know the correct course action in order to recognize the wrong course of action. What happened in WWII and what is happening now are not analogous situations.

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To answer Bob's question more directly: there is a difference between nuking a few Iranian cities then demanding unconditional surrender, and genocide. Genocide implies that we will not stop after they surrender.

But how exactly do you demand *surrender* from a nation that is not officially (or conventionally) at war with you?

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To answer Bob's question more directly: there is a difference between nuking a few Iranian cities then demanding unconditional surrender, and genocide. Genocide implies that we will not stop after they surrender.

Surrender? What does that mean? It would mean we would have to -occupy- the country to enforce a surrender. Occupy a Muslim country? It seems we have already tried that. Our occupation force is subject to the death of a thousand cuts. Do we insist that Muslims give up their religion which teaches that someday they will vanquish (by force) the dar al Harb? So they go quiescent and two generations later we have the same problem all over again. The nature of Islam is such that its adherents are totally opaque to being reasonable as the last 700 years have shown. The phrase 'reasonable Muslim' is an oxymoron. Behold the "moderate" and "reasonable" Muslims on the streets of Denmark cities calling for the blood of cartoonists who "insult" Islam. To the extent one is reasonable then to that extent one must reject the Prophet and the Q'ran. Surrender would mean feeding our troops into a meat grinder that kills a hundred a month. Even our domestic police forces do not suffer that kind of attrition from our criminals.

Do you expect that the Iranians or any other nation committed to Islam will meekly renounce their prior beliefs like the Japanese did? What happened with the Japanese was that the occupation authority engaged the help of some Japanese who opposed the war from the git-go. The occupation managers also convinced Hirohito to renounce his godhood and to claim he was just another human being. The Japanese were sane enough to drop the Bushido nonsense with the Emperor Worship and acquiesce to their defeat. The Japanese learned to walk the paths of peace and they have not looked back since.

I have no reason to believe that the Iranians would ever be so reasonable. You have to see how the Iranians carry on at the Feast of Imam Ali. They flay themselves bloody, they mortify their flesh, they wail and weep over the death of Imam Ali which occurred over 1200 years ago. Do you expect people who behave like this to be reasonable? The Shi'ah embrace Martyrdom like a lover. Dream on. If you can convince me that religious Muslims can be domesticated and detoxified to the extent that they give up the memes of Jihad and Martyrdom, I will gladly acquiesce to a less dreadful and deadly way of dealing with these stormy folk. This happened in the Christian world, but there is not one sign of a Reformation in Islam. At most a few isolated individuals see the light (so to speak) but they are marked for death by fatwahs issued by the crazies. Even in the West there were over 200 years of deadly war before the Reformation was accepted and settled in. And even after that it took another 200 years before the notion of rights jelled in the minds of the Europeans. What do you expect in the dar al Sala'am? They would not know a right if it bit them on the nose.

If we had 200 years in which a struggle might produce a more tractable form of Islam, I might go along with a less lethal course. But these guys are within five years of having nukes at their disposal. We are Out Of Time. In your probable lifetime you are very likely to see downtown New York City (or Washington D.C.) attacked with weapons of mass destruction or great havoc wreaked by low tech means. A bridge or a tunnel destroyed by an 18-wheeler full of high explosives. Or perhaps a tactical nuclear device smuggled in using a cargo container. Or perhaps New York City's water reservoirs poisoned. Are you ready for that?

Bob Kolker

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If you can convince me that religious Muslims can be domesticated and detoxified to the extent that they give up the memes of Jihad and Martyrdom, I will gladly acquiesce to a less dreadful and deadly way of dealing with these stormy folk.

What makes you think I want a less dreadful and deadly way of dealing with Islamic Totalitarianism?

Surrender? What does that mean? It would mean we would have to -occupy- the country to enforce a surrender.

Not necessarily. "Don't do it again or we drop another six" might do the trick.

I'm just saying that I don't see the point of going to genocide unless they force our hand. I won't rule it out as an option, but I doubt after the first few million of them killed that there won't be some serious changes. What you're implying is that you wouldn't at least pause to see if the survivors change their ways. That's a bit different from what is advocated here (which, incidentally, you may want to investigate).

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What makes you think I want a less dreadful and deadly way of dealing with Islamic Totalitarianism?

Not necessarily. "Don't do it again or we drop another six" might do the trick.

I'm just saying that I don't see the point of going to genocide unless they force our hand. I won't rule it out as an option, but I doubt after the first few million of them killed that there won't be some serious changes. What you're implying is that you wouldn't at least pause to see if the survivors change their ways. That's a bit different from what is advocated here (which, incidentally, you may want to investigate).

That is a hope premised on the assumption you are dealing with sane people who value their own lives even if they don't value ours. I think that is the weak point of your stand.

Look, I have said my say.

I made my points and I will hold my peace until there is a WMD attack on New York City or Washington D.C. or one of the tunnels are blown or one of the bridges taken down.

Then you will surely hear from me again on the matter. The first words from my keyboard will be (and I quote) "brother, you asked for it!"

Bob Kolker

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Then you will surely hear from me again on the matter. The first words from my keyboard will be (and I quote) "brother, you asked for it!"

Bob Kolker

Then in the interests of being just if you turn out to be wrong the first words from you keyboard should be, "My apologies, I was mistaken." So what time frame are you looking at so we know when to expect a response one way or the other?

Edited by RationalBiker
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I'm not going to address every point in the number of rather long posts that have been made since my last one, but I will address this:

Not for the last 700 years.

Your assertion was that Islam cannot be secularized to the point that it is compatible with a peaceful and generally rational civilization. I provided a counterexample. The fact that it occurred 700 years ago does not invalidate my point. It proves that it can be done. The Islamic world just needs another Avicenna. Right now, I'd say the leading candidate is Akbar Ghanji.

Then again, why go back 700 years when I can just point to modern Turkey? Turkey is an Islamic country but it is far more secular than the United States. It's no coincidence that Turkey is most moral and most modern country in the Islamic world. But, hey, they're Muslims too, so I guess we should slaughter them all.

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I'm just saying that I don't see the point of going to genocide unless they force our hand. I won't rule it out as an option...

I feel like this should be addressed too. I don't think that genocide is ever justified, if you're defining it the same way that I am. The indiscriminate killing of civilians cannot ever be justified. By "indiscriminate," I don't mean the targeting of civilians who are actively supporting an enemy's ability to wage war, as was done in Japan. If, instead of (or inaddition to) industrial cities supporting the Japanese war machine, we had gone out of our way to nuke villages of farmers minding their own business, that would have risen to the level of genocide.

Once an enemy's capacity to wage war has been neutralized, then the war should stop and no one else need die. If, tomorrow, we broke the back of Islamic fascism and completely obliterated their capacity to conduct acts of terror, what good would it do for anyone to continue killing uninvolved civilians and dismissing them as "collateral damage?" That would be killing for the sake of killing and causing pain for the sake of causing pain. I cannot think of any justification for such a course of action.

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I made my points and I will hold my peace until there is a WMD attack on New York City or Washington D.C. or one of the tunnels are blown or one of the bridges taken down.

Then you will surely hear from me again on the matter. The first words from my keyboard will be (and I quote) "brother, you asked for it!"

Again, what makes you think I want a less dreadful and deadly way of dealing with Islamic Totalitarianism? What will I have asked for except for the nuclear destruction of Iran?

I don't think that genocide is ever justified, if you're defining it the same way that I am.

I define it as that we have to use force to destroy them until they surrender (and mean it - that is essential!). If they never do surrender, then that could very well mean we keep killing them until there aren't any left. I don't consider this terribly likely.

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But surrender is not the only acceptable outcome. The other is that the enemy's capacity to wage war is destroyed. If we totally destroy their capacity to wage war against us, who cares if they surrender? Why keep fighting?

Edited by Moose
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In the 9/11 attacks, the 'enemy's capacity to wage war' was nothing more than 19 men with box cutters. The result was 3000 dead Americans. With an enemy this dedicated, eliminating the capacity to wage war will be impossible. Genocide will hardly solve the problem either. Even if you could get past the moral problem with the genocide of hundreds of millions of people, the practical difficulites in getting it done should stop you. The only solution is to destroy the enemy's desire to wage war. Liberty, free markets, and a long overdue religious renaissanse should do the trick.

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But surrender is not the only acceptable outcome. The other is that the enemy's capacity to wage war is destroyed. If we totally destroy their capacity to wage war against us, who cares if they surrender? Why keep fighting?

So long as you understand that the very existence of state Islam constitutes waging war against us, then yes.

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This is what we're up against. Sheik Ahmad Bahr, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, during a Friday sermon at a Sudan mosque:

"'You will be victorious' on the face of this planet. You are the masters of the world on the face of this planet. Yes, [the Koran says that] 'you will be victorious,' but only 'if you are believers.' Allah willing, 'you will be victorious,' while America and Israel will be annihilated. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They are cowards who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah. (emphasis added) That is why America's nose was rubbed in the mud in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and everywhere."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pag...d=1178020746583

The Islamist fanatics worship death, so we should give them every opportunity to fulfill their demented dreams.

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So long as you understand that the very existence of state Islam constitutes waging war against us, then yes.

Oh, come on. Is the UAE waging war against us? If this is true of Islam, it is certainly true of other immoral political systems. Is Zimbabwe waging war against us? What about Vietnam?

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Oh, come on. Is the UAE waging war against us? If this is true of Islam, it is certainly true of other immoral political systems. Is Zimbabwe waging war against us? What about Vietnam?

All instances of State Islam are, by their own declaration, waging war on all non-Islamic states. That is the very nature of Islam and Sharia. It is our refusal to take this seriously that got us in this mess. You ought to listen to what they say out of their own mouths more often.

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