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post #41 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 02:07 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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Botnst - 10/15/2004 3:31 PM

The whole purpose of war is to impose your will on your opponent. It really, really works. Its why we have so many Greek and Latin words in our formerly germanic language. It sure ain't the sweet words of Socratic dialogue nor the lofty lyrics of Cicero. If words and thoughts alone imposed culture, we'd all be speaking Persian and making literary allusions to the Rubiyat.

And so forth.
Yes, it really works under certain circumstances that we're presently in strong denial over -- that being prolonged military occupation. We have no chance to impose our will upon these people without a long-term occupation (a few generations perhaps?). Even then, without a huge influx of missionaries and other crusaders, failure seems a likely eventuality. Does history provide examples to the contrary?

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post #42 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 03:03 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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old300D - 10/18/2004 3:56 PM

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kerry edwards - 10/18/2004 1:04 PM

Please forgive me, but I think I have some agreement with B here. There are some justifiable wars that are not in self-defense. For instance, I think if the US went to war against Rwanda when the ruling elite (Hutus?) were committing genocide, I think it would have been justifiable.
The fact that the US and UN did not get involved is evidence that self-interest is the driving factor in US foreign policy and not some noble ideal of providing freedom to oppressed peoples.
I'm not exactly sure that to intervene in such a place as Rwanda (or Darfur) is the same thing as waging a war of aggression. It may or may not be possible to intervene in such conflicts and keep the peace without laying waste or installing a new government. It's not the same thing as delivering "freedom" at the end of a gun.
If it ain't defensive, its aggressive.
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post #43 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 03:10 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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GermanStar - 10/18/2004 4:07 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 10/15/2004 3:31 PM

The whole purpose of war is to impose your will on your opponent. It really, really works. Its why we have so many Greek and Latin words in our formerly germanic language. It sure ain't the sweet words of Socratic dialogue nor the lofty lyrics of Cicero. If words and thoughts alone imposed culture, we'd all be speaking Persian and making literary allusions to the Rubiyat.

And so forth.
Yes, it really works under certain circumstances that we're presently in strong denial over -- that being prolonged military occupation. We have no chance to impose our will upon these people without a long-term occupation (a few generations perhaps?). Even then, without a huge influx of missionaries and other crusaders, failure seems a likely eventuality. Does history provide examples to the contrary?
I'll not do your homework for you. History does not, as usual, provide a definitive answer. There are examples of every sort under the sun. My favorite examples are all three long term wars of agression: Punic Wars, Gallic Wars, and Ghengis Khan. In each case the victor annhilated the opponent, but through different means and with different outcomes. Probably one that you would embrace is the Peloponesian Wars, in which the Greek City-States wrecked their country in endless warfare.

The Roman conquest of Palestine might also interest you since Rome spent a lot of time trying to subjagate the Levant and Tetrarchy. They diddled around until the Jewish insurrectionists were actually able to threaten Roman supremacy and the Romans went in and absolutely crushed them and set their society back hundreds of years. Like they did to North Africa in the Punic Wars.

Another war of aggression would be WWII after about 1942. The Allies could have gained the upper hand and negotiated peace between 1942 and 1943 but instead, went into a total offensive war footing to utterly destroy the enemy. They succeed fairly quickly and completely changed the political and social structure of the defeated countries and in surprisingly short order, installed democratic governments that are stable, free and powerful today.

For every superficially supporting or negating case concerning the effects of various wars, you can find some reason or other why it fails to support a particular argument.

All of these arguments serve to clarify one's thinking, but I doubt they are particularly convincing. I think that it is ultimately a moral choice and morals are individual, so each of us will have a different belief.

I was asked, and I explained, how and why I have come to the conclusion that I have reached. I am satisfied that my reasoning is close enough to complete and consistent that I am comfortable with it.
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post #44 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 03:23 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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kerry edwards - 10/18/2004 12:04 PM

There are some justifiable wars that are not in self-defense.
OK -- what he said (sorry, I'm feeling especially gelatinous today). [:D]

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post #45 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-18-2004, 03:33 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

The war in Iraq which we fighting right now (You know, the one that started in 1991) is a defensive war. If you remember, Sodemy Hussein attacked 3 other countries. We just never finished him off when we had the chance. As a result, we are still fighting that same war.

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post #46 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-22-2004, 11:09 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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Botnst - 10/16/2004 6:22 AM

Dacia, I semi-agree with your response. .......... But one thing you said concerning freedom in nature intrigues me.

"...individual freedom means nothing, they survive by conforming to the greater good."

For freedom to be 'real' must an organism understand or recognize it as a matter of choice? I think that is probably true for humans, but I am not sure about other animals. For example, an animal that appears instinctually driven. If instinct governs its behavior is it less free? Assume that humans have behavior patterns which we cannot even recognize as being a matter of will. Are we less free for our failure to recognize it?

I'm not entirely sure. There are some constraints on my freedom of will that appear to me to be totally a matter of biology. I cannot extract O2 from water in sufficient volume and rate to sustain life under water, for example. That infringes on my freedom something terrible. Am I less free because of my biological constraints or my unrealistic dream of living underwater?
Good questions. Maybe I should start by defining "freedom" according to my understanding of course. [:D] I would say there are two basic types.
Absolute freedom and conditional or relative freedom. Absolute freedom is total independence from enviromental constraints. This is probably unattainable for humans. We are protein based biological entities with very specific needs to survive. We need oxigen, water and a very narrow temperature range to exist, not even mentioning an absolute need for cosmic radiation shield. So unless we can transfer ourselfs into some form of energy we will never achive absolute freedom in my view.
Conditional freedom means that we are free to do whatever we want within certain limits. This limit may be imposed upon us by our environment or our own will. Humans by nature (I guess by evolution) social beeings. We congregate in order to pool our resources, to further our development and to defend ourselfs aginst nature or foe. Living in social groups brought us rules, laws and regulations which by definition limit our feedom of self expression in order to protect the common interest. We are basically free to do what laws allow us to do. There is no escape from these constrains unless an individual is prepared to forgoe all the benefits that living in a well organized society offer and he/she is willing to expunge him/her self from said society completely. I highly doubt that it is even possible anymore even if one is prepared to make that sacrifice. There are basicaly no unchartered territories on Earth and those of us who would even know how to live off the land without modern conveniences are very far and few between. Therefore we are basically slaves to our goverments (which by its nature is the strongest opressor of individualism and freedom, but it is a necessary evil), whatever social system it is favouring. Another brick in the wall if you will.
There is a way to stretch this self imposed prison: money. The more of it one has more escape and more self realization is possible. More money means more freedom.

As to the other point: "For freedom to be 'real' must an organism understand or recognize it as a matter of choice?"
Interesting. Hmmm... If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it did it really fall? Is freedom a matter of choice? For humans it may be, for others? I highly doubt it. If one is quadraplegic, brain intact does he/she have freedom? I don't think so. I beleive to be truly understand and appreciate freedom one must be able to experience it on a conscious level. Unless one understands the concept of freedom one can not completely appreciate it. Why do we need freedom? What is the driving force behind our quest for it? I guess it depends on the nature of freedom we are seeking. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of tought, freedom of expression, freedom of association, etc. How much of these are man made and how much of them exist in nature? I would say that the only freedom that encompasses all is the freedom of movement. And that is hardwired into our genes simply because most of us need to move around in order to gather food. So freedom of movement equates with survival. And that is the most basic instinct in all of us even if humans can sometimes over come it. I think unless an organism is self aware the rest of freedoms would not be of much concern.
I beleive our need for freedom fuels our evolution. Why do we have this drive? Does it come from brain size, brain capacity, number of neuron connections, nature or nurture? I don't know. But it is damn good to have it. It seems that societies that put self imposed constrains (ie. fundamentalist religion) to these freedoms are left behind on the evolutionary ladder. So be it. The question is do these societies seek the freedom we cherish so much or are they complacent with the self imposed limits that they so happily abide to or so it seems from the outside? Or is it that we only hear about the vocal minority while the silent majority suffers quetly?
Do we have the right to forcefully drag these societies to the light that they don't want to see? I think we are selfish enough not care, however they have something we need and so we have a problem. We have progressed to the point where we don't have a choice, either we buy what we want or we take it. Moralization will do nothing but cause us hardship. So I say take it, pay for it and after we used it all leave them be. If they are as evolved as we are they will catch up if not well...... Human history is littered with fallen prophets preaching from castles built on to sand.

Alex
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post #47 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 01:17 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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djugurba - 10/18/2004 3:54 PM

I wonder about the paternalism in evidence here. In the same manner by which we 'manage' 'wildlife' for their supposed best interest, are we now 'managing' the 'liberty' of opressed masses (as we judge)?

...The problem happens when value systems clash. Since there is no universal agreed-upon end to which mankind is aiming, it is difficult to calculate which actions will help to achieve that end. Mill's answer was to posit his own end, that of being a progressive being. I'm sure we can imagine W. using this to justify his iraqi excursion, and similarly BinLaden using it to justify his own positions. It leaves us empty either way.

What is the measure of a superior society? If it is meerly the holding of the self-important opinion of itself, we're there. I think that's a bad measure. I'd suggest that a superior society is one in which it's purported ideology is in practice and a success at home before attempts are made to export it. This superior society would become regarded as such by its example in the world, not by it's imposition on others. And, in time, others would move towards that example.
Are you essentially arguing in favor of isolationism here?

I'll admit that I'm torn over our actions in Iraq and in other countries in recent history. On the one hand, I think we as a nation should concentrate more on our own problems and less on the problems of others, in part because I'm in agreement with a lot of what you've said about moral relativity. I don't believe that Islam is the root of some sort of massive evil in the world, any more than any other religion that includes a few fanatics can be said to be the root of some massive evil; I don't believe that a difference in opinion regarding economic policy or political organization (i.e. communism) is a valid reason to start knocking down other nations' governments.

On the other hand, I do think there are certain actions that can be considered to be absolutely immoral, and that murder, particularly mass murder of citizens by their own state, falls into that category. By that measure I think we have some duty as humans to step in to stop massacres and genocide when we see them, and on that score alone I think we were justified in going into Iraq (although I know this wasn't the real justification we used, I feel it is a justifiable reason).

I wish there was more discussion in this country about what does constitute a valid reason for involving ourselves into the affairs of other countries. Genocide? Human rights? Dictatorship? Corruption, if so how much? Need for resources? Retaliation against sects based out of a nation? If our international policies were driven by anything more than what's in our best economic and political interests, I think we would be having just that discussion, instead of meaningless talking-heads-spouting-soundbites debates.
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post #48 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 01:31 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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Palangi - 10/18/2004 5:33 PM

The war in Iraq which we fighting right now (You know, the one that started in 1991) is a defensive war. If you remember, Sodemy Hussein attacked 3 other countries. We just never finished him off when we had the chance. As a result, we are still fighting that same war.

How easy you jusitfy the mass murder of tens of thousands of people who were not a threat to us, while saying not a jot about the man who murdered 3,000 of our own citizen, who now roams free plotting how to kill your kids. Its obvious your need to finish your 10 year old war was much more important that killing bin Laden or saving your own children.
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post #49 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 01:36 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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webwench - 10/23/2004 3:17 PM

Quote:
djugurba - 10/18/2004 3:54 PM

I wonder about the paternalism in evidence here. In the same manner by which we 'manage' 'wildlife' for their supposed best interest, are we now 'managing' the 'liberty' of opressed masses (as we judge)?

...The problem happens when value systems clash. Since there is no universal agreed-upon end to which mankind is aiming, it is difficult to calculate which actions will help to achieve that end. Mill's answer was to posit his own end, that of being a progressive being. I'm sure we can imagine W. using this to justify his iraqi excursion, and similarly BinLaden using it to justify his own positions. It leaves us empty either way.

What is the measure of a superior society? If it is meerly the holding of the self-important opinion of itself, we're there. I think that's a bad measure. I'd suggest that a superior society is one in which it's purported ideology is in practice and a success at home before attempts are made to export it. This superior society would become regarded as such by its example in the world, not by it's imposition on others. And, in time, others would move towards that example.
Are you essentially arguing in favor of isolationism here?

I'll admit that I'm torn over our actions in Iraq and in other countries in recent history. On the one hand, I think we as a nation should concentrate more on our own problems and less on the problems of others, in part because I'm in agreement with a lot of what you've said about moral relativity. I don't believe that Islam is the root of some sort of massive evil in the world, any more than any other religion that includes a few fanatics can be said to be the root of some massive evil; I don't believe that a difference in opinion regarding economic policy or political organization (i.e. communism) is a valid reason to start knocking down other nations' governments.

On the other hand, I do think there are certain actions that can be considered to be absolutely immoral, and that murder, particularly mass murder of citizens by their own state, falls into that category. By that measure I think we have some duty as humans to step in to stop massacres and genocide when we see them, and on that score alone I think we were justified in going into Iraq (although I know this wasn't the real justification we used, I feel it is a justifiable reason).

I wish there was more discussion in this country about what does constitute a valid reason for involving ourselves into the affairs of other countries. Genocide? Human rights? Dictatorship? Corruption, if so how much? Need for resources? Retaliation against sects based out of a nation? If our international policies were driven by anything more than what's in our best economic and political interests, I think we would be having just that discussion, instead of meaningless talking-heads-spouting-soundbites debates.
I don't want isolationism either - what I do want is a policy based on our national self interest and self defense. Simply put - war requires murdering people. It is either gong to be justifiable homicide or simple murder. Which one of those do you think we should choose as a nation? Bush invaded a country without pretext, even as our allies protested. He made his choice.
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post #50 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 02:45 PM
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RE: Bot's new thread (so as not to hijack the other one)

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webwench - 10/23/2004 12:17 PM

On the other hand, I do think there are certain actions that can be considered to be absolutely immoral, and that murder, particularly mass murder of citizens by their own state, falls into that category. By that measure I think we have some duty as humans to step in to stop massacres and genocide when we see them, and on that score alone I think we were justified in going into Iraq (although I know this wasn't the real justification we used, I feel it is a justifiable reason).
Perhaps -- I won't dispute the point, but the use of 9/11 as a springboard for our action in Iraq was loathesome. Had the current administration made a plea to intervene in Iraq based on your criteria, I'd have a lot more respect for them than I do. I think we both know that effort would have probably failed, and the only interest even remotely along those lines that might wash is protection of Kurdish oil fields.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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