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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

Not at all true. There are different versions of "state Islam," and they are not all aggressive against non-Muslim countries. Cases in point: Dubai and Jordan.

Here is a full explanation of who our enemies are and what needs to be done. It doesn't matter if a state is "aggressive" or not - if they send material support to the global Jihad, then they are enemies. I'm not sure the extent to which Jordan and Dubai do this. If they do, then personally, I think that they would stop this behavior if we took a principled stand against Totalitarian Islam and destroyed Iran and, if necessary, Saudi Arabia. But the point is that we must declare that we will not tolerate State Islam anywhere in the world. I severely doubt that any more fighting would be necessary after we made it clear we intended to enforce this by wiping out the most aggressive of our enemies. But if that fighting was necessary, then we must engage in it - no matter the loss of Islamic life. That is the point. If any number of Islamic casualties would make us stop this war, then we have already lost because they are more than willing to make such sacrifices. They only way to ensure they give up the fight is to make it clear that no amount of sacrificing will gain them victory - that their choice is to give up the fight or die.

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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.

So it's ok to kill the soldiers and sailors, as well as those who make their weapons and ships, but the farmers and, presumably, miners who feed them and provide the raw materials are off limits?

I don't think nuking Tehran is necessary now, but we should definitely Bomb Iran before it's too late.

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So it's ok to kill the soldiers and sailors, as well as those who make their weapons and ships, but the farmers and, presumably, miners who feed them and provide the raw materials are off limits?

I don't think nuking Tehran is necessary now, but we should definitely Bomb Iran before it's too late.

You're sort of applying a Western, industrialized template to a third-world country. Not all farmers in third-world countries supply food to anyone but themselves.

Besides, if you destroy an enemies ability to manufacture tanks and machine-guns, there's no reason to kill the farmers who supply the now unemployed tank drivers and infantrymen with food.

Edited by Moose
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You're sort of applying a Western, industrialized template to a third-world country. Not all farmers in third-world countries supply food to anyone but themselves.

No country existing at a stage of subsistence farming, or with a large set of subsistence farmers, would be capable of threatening the world the way Imperial Japan did.

A better question would be: do we bomb the farmers in ocupied Manchuria because the Japanese get their supplies from them, or are they off limits because they're nominally on our side?

Actually bombing a farm is ineffective. The dammage is too easily repaired, and there's a lot of ground to cover. You'd have to quit bombing cities and ports for days in order to merely ruin a crop. A far better tactic would be to drop mines on the fields. After a few innocent farmers get blown up, the rest won't want to keep farming. The enemy would have to divert some soldiers or other people to force them into the fields, and even then productivity would go down the tubes. Or they might ahve to waste a lot of ordnance disposal men to clear the fields.

This could be accomplished quite economically and without having to divert many combat planes from other duties. Mines are cheap and transport aircraft can handle dropping them.

Not that such tactics would be particularly helpful. Even in a massive war like WWII farms were largely undisturbed from above (marching armies are a different matter). But if it's necessary to go after them, farms are as legitimate a target as factories, mines, oil wells, bridges and dams.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think you're still missing my point...whatever the logistics of bombing a farm may be, my point remains the same. Namely, that there are uninvolved civilians who reside in any enemy country. Not all civilians are uninvolved. Even the ones that are may often die as a result of collateral damage. But would be immoral (indeed, evil) to go out of our way to kill them. Case in point: My Lai.

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I think you're still missing my point...whatever the logistics of bombing a farm may be, my point remains the same. Namely, that there are uninvolved civilians who reside in any enemy country. Not all civilians are uninvolved. Even the ones that are may often die as a result of collateral damage. But would be immoral (indeed, evil) to go out of our way to kill them. Case in point: My Lai.

Moose, I used to hold your position on this issue, but after much thought over a good period of time, I have changed my mind. I now think that it is neither immoral nor evil to target "innocent civilians" in war. It can be a very valid tactic to help you win the war against an enemy state. In short, I do not believe the only way "uninvolved" civilians should be killed is accidentally or unavoidably (collaterally?); they can be killed even deliberately, as a military decision, and it's not immoral at all. [i never thought I could ever become that totally hawkish!].

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No such thing as an "uninvolved" person in a dictatorship.

Correct! The subjects of a dictatorship are either suffering victims or (inclusive or) assets used by the Fearless Leader. In either case they are a clear and present danger to those free nations that the dictatorship interacts with. There are no non-combatants. The infants are either future soldiers/workers or females who will breed future soldiers/workers. The adults are either soldiers/workers or breeders of soldiers/workers. In an ant heap all its inhabitants are "involved".

In a war, bombing workers is no different from bombing factories, airfields, ships, artillery emplacements and like military assets. The American Civil War proved that all people over the age of five are combatants of one kind or another. That is why William T. Sherman not only proposed but actually did destroy as many assets as he could get to, be they military or civilian. He left the State of Georgia and the State of South Carolina a ruin and a wreck. What did he say? -- War is all hell ...--. He said that war must be waged against the people of the South so ruthlessly that they never again will consider rebellion or secession. So far, his policy has worked.

And that is why war, when it is waged at all, must be wages ruthlessly and without pity.

Bob Kolker

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Oh, come on. Saying that there are no uninvolved civilians in a dictatorship rises to a level of absurdity that I would only expect on a fundy messageboard. A person's status as "oppressed" does not render him responsible. The case can easily be made for targeting civilians that provide substantial support to the military, but "there are no uninvolved civilians" and "even uninvolved civilians are fair game" are not arguments. They are unsupported assertions. I can provide dozens of examples of uninvolved civilians, whose death would not benefit us in anyway, and there is no possible way that you can morally justify targeting them.

Aside from the fact that time, personnel, and ammunition are better used on targets (including civilian, if needs be) that are making some sort of measurable contribution, you're going to have a hard time morally justifying an organized military raid to kill some obscure convenience store-owner in suburban Gaza City.

Correct! The subjects of a dictatorship are either suffering victims or (inclusive or) assets used by the Fearless Leader. In either case they are a clear and present danger to those free nations that the dictatorship interacts with. There are no non-combatants. The infants are either future soldiers/workers or females who will breed future soldiers/workers. The adults are either soldiers/workers or breeders of soldiers/workers. In an ant heap all its inhabitants are "involved".

In a war, bombing workers is no different from bombing factories, airfields, ships, artillery emplacements and like military assets. The American Civil War proved that all people over the age of five are combatants of one kind or another. That is why William T. Sherman not only proposed but actually did destroy as many assets as he could get to, be they military or civilian. He left the State of Georgia and the State of South Carolina a ruin and a wreck. What did he say? -- War is all hell ...--. He said that war must be waged against the people of the South so ruthlessly that they never again will consider rebellion or secession. So far, his policy has worked.

And that is why war, when it is waged at all, must be wages ruthlessly and without pity.

Bob Kolker

Am I to assume that you would consider Japan another success story? If so, you should find a new comparison. We did not target uninvolved civilians in Japan. Whatever uninvolved civilians died in the atomic bombs were collateral damage.

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Am I to assume that you would consider Japan another success story? If so, you should find a new comparison. We did not target uninvolved civilians in Japan. Whatever uninvolved civilians died in the atomic bombs were collateral damage.

As we all know, in modern warfare it isn't uncommon to target population centers as a means of breaking the enemy's will to fight. We fire bombed the hell out of entire German and Japanese cities in WWII and those cities certainly contained a good number of "uninvolved" civillians. If we weren't specifically targeting uninvolved civillians in Germany and Japan, we were certainly targeting their homes and neighborhoods. When a nation's civillian population is making it possible for an army in the field to continue to fight, the civillians are valid targets, IMO.

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Hence, why I said that they often die as a result of collateral damage, during a legtimate targeting. The things I am saying are unjusitifed are things like My Lai...going out of our way to discriminately target people who are uninvolved. Bombing population centers does not meet this criteria.

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There are no non-combatants. The infants are either future soldiers/workers or females who will breed future soldiers/workers. The adults are either soldiers/workers or breeders of soldiers/workers. In an ant heap all its inhabitants are "involved".
As in My Lai, right?
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Inspector, where the hell were you when I needed that link? <_< It took me a very long time (weeks) of thinking and struggling with the question to finally come to the same reasoning as Miss Rand - and yet I never even knew she had already stated her position (and reasoning) :dough:

Thank God for the internet. And thank YOU for for that link.

:thumbsup:

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As in My Lai, right?

Right. As in My Lai.

I think it will take a very huge philosophical and cultural transformation in America and the world before people can understand that this whole thing of putting soldiers in deep trouble for killing someone in an enemy territory in war time is very wrong. Soldiers should not be put under such pressure of thinking about so many things when they are in a war zone. They are there to win the war, and this includes breaking the spirits of the enemy soldiers and their leaders. At My Lai, American soldiers killed their wives and children: that sounds like a great tactic, militarily speaking. No wonder Nixon pardoned some of the biggest "culprits".

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Hence, why I said that they often die as a result of collateral damage, during a legtimate targeting. The things I am saying are unjusitifed are things like My Lai...going out of our way to discriminately target people who are uninvolved. Bombing population centers does not meet this criteria.

It would if technology was available that could discriminate, wouldln't it?

I think we've had this debate before. (I remember that debate clearly, because Blackdiamond was on the other side of it) Hiroshima was targeted because it was BOTH a military and civilian population center. That is, we went out of our way to find a double target. We could have "helped it". We didn't, consciously.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...st&p=121549

Edited by KendallJ
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David,

I understand your sentiment, and I agree with it in a very qualified sense. It can hinder the war effort (and hence be immoral) to specifically target toddlers and puppies in small border towns which do not sympathize with the enemy. If we did such a thing, we would be encouraging the enemy to fight to the last man. We would convince them that their fate would be even worse than destruction if they were defeated. They would never surrender.

However, it is important to note that the toddler/puppy slaughter tactic is irrational and immoral because it hinders the war effort of the defending country, not because of any rights violation on the part of the defending nation's soldiers. An enemy aggressor forfeits the rights of its citizens by waging war against a free nation. We have no obligation to protect any of their civilians, no matter their degree of involvement in the war effort. The only rational measure is: What is the most effective way to end the conflict as quickly and permanently as possible? This question is best answered by an expert in military tactics.

For this reason, it can be very dangerous to presume what constitutes "going out of our way to discriminately target people who are uninvolved." If this statement truly applies to a certain group or region of the company (as with the Kurds in Iraq), and you're dealing with a friendly civilian population, then I totally agree with you: attacking them would be the height of immorality and stupidity. We would be lengthening the war. However, I think we should leave it to military leaders to make such decisions.

--Dan Edge

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For this reason, it can be very dangerous to presume what constitutes "going out of our way to discriminately target people who are uninvolved." If this statement truly applies to a certain group or region of the company (as with the Kurds in Iraq), and you're dealing with a friendly civilian population, then I totally agree with you: attacking them would be the height of immorality and stupidity. We would be lengthening the war. However, I think we should leave it to military leaders to make such decisions.

--Dan Edge

The Nazis did this very thing during the early days of the invasion of Soviet Russia. Much of the population welcomed the Germans as liberators from the Communists, however the brutality of Nazi occupation quickly soured any goodwill that might have existed toward the invaders. You make a good point.

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I understand your sentiment, and I agree with it in a very qualified sense. It can hinder the war effort (and hence be immoral) to specifically target toddlers and puppies in small border towns which do not sympathize with the enemy. If we did such a thing, we would be encouraging the enemy to fight to the last man. We would convince them that their fate would be even worse than destruction if they were defeated. They would never surrender.

I disagree with this assessment of what enemies would do (i.e. strengthen their resolve).

The Sherman article from the Objective Standard was very clear about the mechanism that a rational military leader would use, even in targeting civilians. That is, make explicit the cause and effect nature of the attack, and what the population can do to cease such attacks.

That case would be made clear in any such attack: if you take X action, you will not be targeted. If you show agression or continue your support we will kill you to the last man, woman, child and puppy (it matters not how vicious the attack, only that people believe they can change the course of them). I believe a request to surrender was issued before and after each Atomic bomb drop in WWII. This is the appropriate course of action.

It is only when attacks appear random indescriminate and when it appears as though there is nothing the population can do to change their fate that they either run or strengthen their resolve, but if they understand that there is a cause and effect to this and that their behavior can eliminate the effect, you'd be amazed how quickly they'll buckle.

Psychologically, this is actually a form of positive reinforcement, and is very effective. In animal behavior it is known as a "yielding behavior". That is, you apply a stressor or negative, until the desired behavior is performed (i.e. the subject yields), at which point the stressor is removed. Awfully effective in the right situations.

Edited by KendallJ
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Kendall,

I agree with everything you said in your post, and I think that you "disagree with [my] assessment" because the example I used was unclear. I intended to imply that truly indiscriminate, seemingly causeless attacks can convince a civilian populous to fight to the last man. The toddler/puppy tactic seemed to me a good example of a pointless, gratuitous act of violence without any justification.

--Dan Edge

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Kendall,

I agree with everything you said in your post, and I think that you "disagree with [my] assessment" because the example I used was unclear. I intended to imply that truly indiscriminate, seemingly causeless attacks can convince a civilian populous to fight to the last man. The toddler/puppy tactic seemed to me a good example of a pointless, gratuitous act of violence without any justification.

--Dan Edge

Gotcha, makes sense.

Oh, thank you very much for rubbing it in, Kendall. <_<

Oh, I was just highlighting how far you'd come. :thumbsup:

Actually, I am always amazed at the core group. Generally very respectful, but not always a "united front". In one thread you and I may disagree (always strenuously :dough:) in another we agree completely. Sophia, David, Jenni, Snerd, Inspector, Seeker, Moose, etc. It's never a sure bet that we'll weigh in the same on any given topic.

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Kendall,

Aren't you guys supposed to be a bunch of Randroid disciples? You're not conforming to the stereotype! I order you to email Snerd immediately and await further instructions.

--Dan Edge, Corporal in the Objectivism Online Army

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