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Just War Theory

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#61 Drew

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 09:50 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Mar 24 2003, 12:03 PM, said:

Since when is the United States entitled to invade any country it feels doesn't meet its moral standards.
Well, here's where we bring up the whole purpose of the UN. The UN (purportedly) exists to enforce standards among members of the world community. They also are failing misearbly.

But this thread is about Just War Theory. I may start another thread about the UN and whether recent days have proven its complete uselessness.

Edited by Drew, 24 March 2003 - 09:51 PM.

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#62 Dev F

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 10:02 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Mar 24 2003, 12:03 PM, said:

It's not a matter of judging it's a matter of acting.

Since when is the United States entitled to invade any country it feels doesn't meet its moral standards.
Since when is the U.S. entitled to stop rape and murder?

I'd say rape and murder are things every moral group and person is entitled to stand up to whenever they can.

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Who's next? 

I gotta very long list.

One does what one can, though. Just because we can't stop every crazed dictator doesn't mean we shouldn't stop one crazed dictator when we get the chance. If this is a rare situation in which our political and economic interests allow us to put an end to a regime of violent oppression, I think that's something worth celebrating, not condemning.

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#63 StarDust

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 10:19 PM

OK, I give up keeping this on topic.  So ......

I'm paraphrasing since the same thing has been said a couple of different ways

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" we are invading their country, they didn't attack  us"

So, are you saying we had no right to attack the Nazis in WWII. They didn't invade or attack us. They had gone out of their way to try and not incur our wrath. They were very careful how they treated Americans, including Jewish Americans. Japan attacked us, not Germany. By your argument, we should have only attacked Japan and not Germany. Japan and Germany had a pact to not get in each other's way, but they were not involved with each other in any other way. They were not fighting together or with each other. It was very much two different wars that were taking advantage of timeing.

Of course, I've also heard people state that we had no right to attack Japan, because they attacked Hawaii, and it wasn't a state. I guess the fact that the target was our military installation, and our sailors and soldiers, is beside the point.

And farther back there is the case of the Alamo. These were Americans that had chosen to settle in Mexico. Therefore, one could argue, the chose to live under Mexican rule, to  become Mexican. Instead they revolted, and we used that as an excuse to attack Mexico and annex a great deal of property. I'm not saying, I'm against what happened; the majority of that population had become American, so it could be argued either way whether it was right or not.

And then there's the fact that the Gulf War never really ended. We had a cease fire based on certain agreed to terms. These terms have never been met, and we've been more than patient (12 years) worth in waiting for them to be met. In the meantime, there has been plenty of military action that has occurred, with our planes and soldiers being fired upon. This can easily be seen, and is by many, as a continuation of that same war. We've just decided to have a full on assault instead of a bunch of skirmishes, to finish this finally.

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"We are imposing our will on the people, a sovereign nation, and attacking the people"

That's like saying in WWII, we should have pushed the Germans/Nazis back to their boarder, and gone no further. They were a sovereign nation.  Why should we care what they were doing to millions of people? And again they did not initially attack us.

The people of Iraq have repeatedly tried to overthrow Saddam. They were counting on our help more than once, and unfortunately we did not go against 'that wonderful, considerate international will of the UN" to help them. I think we should be ashamed. Why is it wrong to help them? We are certainly welcome by the Kurds in the north, and we are welcome by the Shiite in the south. The Shiite are a little nervous because in the past they tried to revolt only to be destroyed, but they are not opposed to us. What the Sunni feel, we'll have to see. But I believe the other two groups more than cover the majority of the nation. Or are you saying it would only be acceptable if the dictator of the country asked for our help?

It's like saying the French had no right to come help the colonials in the American Revolution. This was a sovereign nation belonging to England, and the French had no business helping. It doesn't matter what the people wanted. And don't forget, there were a great many Americans against the revolution, probably more percentage wise than are against the Iraq War. Most fought as Americans once the war started, some Tories (sp?) went to Canada, some stayed and became traitors.

#64 StarDust

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 11:27 PM

Another one:

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Why now?

Why not now? Why not 5 years ago? Why not at the end of the Gulf War?

Why did the Civil War start when it did, after 100 years of 'diplomacy' over slavery? Why then? Why not 50 years sooner? Why not 50 years later?  How long is 'diplomacy' supposed to go on for?

The reasons for this war have been discussed over and over, whether people want to listen or not, whether they want to assume something else or not.

We can go through a hole list of events that occured over time, that many people may not have even been paying attention to.  We can do that for the Civil War, the American War, this war.  

The fact remains, there has only been one war where there was an obvious defining moment, and that was WWII and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It's usually a matter of just having have had enough. For what ever reason, the straw that breaks the camel's back is added. Often it seems like a relatively minor thing, like the election of Abraham Lincoln by the majority, but it's enough when piled on top of everything else.

#65 StarDust

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 12:12 AM

And the ever popular...

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  what gives us the moral authority

Not entirely sure what this means, since the people of Iraq want Saddam gone, and I don't see how a democracy could ever be a bad thing. And it's been made very clear of the last 1 1/2 years that the Arabs of the middle east resent the fact they don't have democracies. We, and the rest of the west, are perceived as supporting dictators and other rulers, and preventing democracies. But here goes...

What gave us the right to attack Germany during WWII and smashed them into the ground? What gave us the right to put Nazis on trial for what they did in the camps? Who is to say we were right and the Nazis were wrong?

What gave us the right to stand in Europe and prevent the forward movement of the Soviets. We stood there, spent huge amounts of money, put not only our soldiers on the line, but our whole nation and everyone in it, on the line. We said "You want a nuclear war? You get the rest of Germany, France, Britain, et. al. by going through us, and only by going through us."  It gave us very little advantage. It wouldn't have meant much logistically to us if Europe had fallen. Much is made by Europeans that they allowed us to get closer to the Soviets, but they are at our doorstep off of Alaska; you couldn't get much closer. We linked the fate of the still free part of Europe to our own, because there was a good chance the soviets wouldn't risk that. They really weren't going to care what France wanted, they couldn't do much to the Soviets. What gave us the right? Why are we so sure our way was right and the Soviets where wrong? Why did we think freedom was worth the risk of protecting others, especially when we had nothing to gain (except morally and emotionally)?

Again, this same behavior is rarely challenged when used in the name of Europe. When used in the name of non-european groups, suddenly it's not our problem or not our right.

If we are going to refuse to do anything, because we are asserting are beliefs over someone else's, we'll be frozen in place. I'll be unable to breath because I might be taking air away from someone else.

#66 StarDust

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 12:26 AM

And my ever favorite:

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It's our fault Saddam is in power, we put him there. It was okay then!

I don't know if we can take 100% responsiblity, but if we can ....

Doesn't that make it our resonsiblity to fix it, to clean up the mess?

As far as what 'was ok' 20+ years ago. Are you saying we can't learn from our mistakes? Are you saying that we have to continue to do what previous generations have done when we now know it was a mistake?  Are you saying that even if something was the right thing to do at the time, given what was known, that if things change down the road, we can't correct the problem?

#67 Mikoto

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 12:50 AM

You know, if Saddam is the root of the problem then why the war? It seems a lot of trouble could have been avoided by simply sending a few assassins in his direction?

Or is that too simple?

#68 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 01:00 AM

Saddam is extremely well insulated.  He's lived this long by ruthlessly eliminating rivals-- both individuals and factions that might move against him.

Even if it were a practical tactic, I doubt simply removing Saddam would remedy the situation.  For the everyday Iraqi, it would simply mean exchanging one despot for another one-- or several fighting it out for supremacy.

Ro

#69 EvilTree

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 01:32 AM

Quote

So, are you saying we had no right to attack the Nazis in WWII. They didn't invade or attack us. They had gone out of their way to try and not incur our wrath. They were very careful how they treated Americans, including Jewish Americans. Japan attacked us, not Germany. By your argument, we should have only attacked Japan and not Germany. Japan and Germany had a pact to not get in each other's way, but they were not involved with each other in any other way. They were not fighting together or with each other. It was very much two different wars that were taking advantage of timeing.

Germany declared war on US, after their ally Japan attacked US.

It is very arguable US may have not entered the war against Germany, because of isolationist feeling at the time, if Germany didn't declare war on US.

Edited by EvilTree, 25 March 2003 - 01:35 AM.

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#70 Rhea

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 01:41 AM

StarDust, on Mar 24 2003, 01:03 PM, said:

What gave us the right to attack Germany during WWII and smashed them into the ground? What gave us the right to put Nazis on trial for what they did in the camps? Who is to say we were right and the Nazis were wrong?
We did not attack Germany - Germany attacked us after we entered the war against the Japanese post-Pearl Harbor.

In point of fact, we we heavily isolationist until Pearl Harbor, which swung the balance.

Edited to add: I see the Tree got there before me. ;)

Edited by Rhea, 25 March 2003 - 01:42 AM.

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#71 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 01:48 AM

Rhea, on Mar 24 2003, 10:32 PM, said:

We did not attack Germany - Germany attacked us after we entered the war against the Japanese post-Pearl Harbor.

In point of fact, we we heavily isolationist until Pearl Harbor, which swung the balance.

Edited to add: I see the Tree got there before me. ;)
The US was becoming more and more actively involved in the war in the run up to Pearl Harbor. Beyond selling weapons to the UK, the US was also protecting convoys some way to the UK and did attack U-boats.

Had the US decided to stick its head in the sand and do absolutely nothing then its unlikely that Germany would have declared war... of course, Hitler wasn't the sanest statesmen the world has ever known.
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#72 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 01:54 AM

nm, double post  :p

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 25 March 2003 - 01:55 AM.

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#73 EvilTree

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 02:07 AM

Talkie Toaster, on Mar 24 2003, 10:39 PM, said:

Rhea, on Mar 24 2003, 10:32 PM, said:

We did not attack Germany - Germany attacked us after we entered the war against the Japanese post-Pearl Harbor.

In point of fact, we we heavily isolationist until Pearl Harbor, which swung the balance.

Edited to add: I see the Tree got there before me. ;)
The US was becoming more and more actively involved in the war in the run up to Pearl Harbor. Beyond selling weapons to the UK, the US was also protecting convoys some way to the UK and did attack U-boats.

Had the US decided to stick its head in the sand and do absolutely nothing then its unlikely that Germany would have declared war... of course, Hitler wasn't the sanest statesmen the world has ever known.
Actually, it was more like, Roosevelt trying to do his best to help the Brits, not the American public in general.
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"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
-Robert A. Heinlein

"Self control is chef element in self respect. Self respect is chief element in courage."
-Thucydides

#74 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 02:15 AM

EvilTree, on Mar 24 2003, 10:58 PM, said:

Actually, it was more like, Roosevelt trying to do his best to help the Brits, not the American public in general.

Doesn't change the fact that the USN was becoming more and more actievly involved in the Atlantic, in a condition bordering on open war; and if they hadn't been doing that its less likely that Germany would have gone to war.

OTOH, as most of the American public was isolationist, when war did come it caught the US badly unprepared. Fortunately, US industry fairly quickly rectified most deficencies.

Edited by Talkie Toaster, 25 March 2003 - 02:20 AM.

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#75 StarDust

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 07:38 PM

Rhea, on Mar 24 2003, 05:32 PM, said:

StarDust, on Mar 24 2003, 01:03 PM, said:

What gave us the right to attack Germany during WWII and smashed them into the ground? What gave us the right to put Nazis on trial for what they did in the camps? Who is to say we were right and the Nazis were wrong?
We did not attack Germany - Germany attacked us after we entered the war against the Japanese post-Pearl Harbor.

In point of fact, we we heavily isolationist until Pearl Harbor, which swung the balance.

Edited to add: I see the Tree got there before me. ;)
Firstly, it is not true that Germany attacked us. They declared war on us. They attacked troops sent to attack them.

We were already becoming heavily involved in the war. From Britannica 2003, I don't have time to go to the library and do more thorough research, but this is the gist....

Quote

Upon being returned to office, Roosevelt moved quickly to aid the Allies. His Lend-Lease Act, passed in March 1941 after vehement debate, committed the United States to supply the Allies on credit. When Germany, on March 25, extended its war zone to include Iceland and the Denmark Straits, Roosevelt retaliated in April by extending the American Neutrality Patrol to Iceland. In July the United States occupied Iceland, and U.S. naval vessels began escorting convoys of American and Icelandic ships. That summer Lend-Lease was extended to the Soviet Union after it was invaded by Germany. In August Roosevelt met with the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, off the coast of Newfoundland to issue a set of war aims known as the Atlantic Charter. It called for national self-determination, larger economic opportunities, freedom from fear and want, freedom of the seas, and disarmament.

Although in retrospect U.S. entry into World War II seems inevitable, in 1941 it was still the subject of great debate. Isolationism was a great political force, and many influential individuals were determined that U.S. aid policy stop short of war. In fact, as late as Aug.12, 1941, the House of Representatives extended the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 by a vote of only 203 to 202. Despite isolationist resistance, Roosevelt pushed cautiously forward. In late August the navy added British and Allied ships to its Icelandic convoys. Its orders were to shoot German and Italian warships on sight, thus making the United States an undeclared participant in the Battle of the Atlantic. During October one U.S. destroyer was damaged by a German U-boat and another was sunk. The United States now embarked on an undeclared naval war against Germany, but Roosevelt refrained from asking for a formal declaration of war. According to public opinion polls, a majority of Americans still hoped to remain neutral.

From what I know talking to people from the time and what I've read over the years, the eastern US was very pro European defense where as the western US was not. It has been suggested by analysts that the west saw itself as removed from consequences in Europe. However, their extreme liberal tendencies changed after the attack came from the west, in their direction, instead of the east, and then all their liberal beliefs went out the window as the west rounded up Americans of Japanese decent and put them in camps. Talk about going from one extreme to another!

However, there were more than enough votes in congress to go to war before Pearl Harbor, and while not an overwhelming majority, the majority of the public would have supported a war. Roosevelt felt he should wait because the war would be difficult and he needed to drum up overwhelming support, something that ended up not being a problem in short order.

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The problem of public opinion

Although there is no question that Roosevelt was concerned about public support for entering the war, this was not because he thought that he could not obtain a declaration without it—in late 1941, before the Pearl Harbor attack, he had enough votes in Congress to pass a formal declaration of war. Rather, according to most historians, his concern was that Americans would not be able to sustain such an enormous effort, with all its sacrifice of blood and treasure, unless they were united in the spirit of a moral crusade. Accordingly, in his major foreign policy decisions regarding the war in Europe in 1940–41, he was careful not to commit the country to greater involvement in the fighting than public opinion would support. The draft, the destroyer-bases exchange, thelend-lease program, convoying, and economic sanctions against Japan were all undertaken with Roosevelt's belief that the public regarded them as vital to American national security. Contrary to the revisionist view, most historians regard these incremental decisions not as attempts to drag the country into the war but rather as efforts by Roosevelt to exercise all other options, in keeping with his deep reluctance to enter the fighting without the firm support of the American public.

All this, however, is irrelevant to the case that we were attacked by the Japanese, on US territory, not the Germans. However we obliterated Germany and not the Japanese. Yes, 2 nukes were dropped on Japan (they were relatively small compared to what we have today) but outside of those two cities the damage was very measured. We went so far as to put the Emporer back in power, with rules and restrictions of course. Could you see us putting Hitler back in control? Or do you think, if he'd lived, it wouldn't have been for long, since he would have ended up hanging from a rope in Nurnberg. We hunt Nazis to this day.

I remember reading a book when I was a kid and discovering the attrocities that the Japanese had commited and asked my mother why we never heard or learned about any of this, when we heard so much about the Nazis. It's rarely discussed and then usually only in relation to European captives.

My mother's answer was simple, racism. She felt the reason was that people were shocked and appalled by what the Nazis had done, that Europeans could do such things, and were quick to try and remedy the situation. When it came to the Japanese the response was more like, 'what do you expect from Asians'. It wasn't surprising, or that important.

So, again, why do we hold one standard of behavior for and by Europeans, but have a different standard when it comes to non-Europeans, one mostly of indifference. As though they aren't entitled to the same human treatment, and shouldn't be held to the same standards of expected human behavior, as everyone else.

#76 StarDust

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 08:00 PM

Talkie Toaster, on Mar 24 2003, 06:06 PM, said:

OTOH, as most of the American public was isolationist, when war did come it caught the US badly unprepared. Fortunately, US industry fairly quickly rectified most deficencies.
Yes, isolationism usually comes at great cost in the long run. We were very lucky we were able to recover so quickly.

Just noticed your byline "conservative bleeding heart liberal".  Love it!!!   :lol:  :lol:  :hehe:

#77 StarDust

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 08:06 PM

Another one:


Quote

"The US isn't pure as the driven snow, you know"

I find comments like this especially ironic on this board, given who is often making them.

These are the same people that argue for complexity in their fictional characters/heroes/good guys. To be "realistic" they can't always win, they have to have doubts, they have to make mistakes. What's important is that THEY TRY .

They also argue for realistic common sense, that doing the right thing doesn't mean self-interest can't also be met. That in fact, often self-interest must be met in order to achieve the long range goal. That hard choices will be made and that there are no absolutes or guarantees. And a situation where they can help others and achieve things in the area of self-interest is a good thing, a sign of skill, a win-win scenario.

It's unfortunate that 'realistic' characterizations don't apply to reality.  :(  

And next time we (the US) have a party where we boil someone in oil, be sure to invite me. I must have missed the last event.

Now that there are a few dissidents that can be identified from TV, I'm sure it'll be soon.

#78 Rhea

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 08:32 PM

^Stardust, if you're going to take potshots at people, you might at least attribute your quotes so we know who you're swinging at.  ;)

You only seem to remember to say who you're quoting about half the time, and it makes it a mite hard to follow without rereading the thread.

Edited by Rhea, 25 March 2003 - 08:33 PM.

The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#79 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 11:25 PM

To cite one or two pot shot in particular from Stardust:

Quote

However, their extreme liberal tendencies changed after the attack came from the west, in their direction, instead of the east, and then all their liberal beliefs went out the window as the west rounded up Americans of Japanese decent and put them in camps. Talk about going from one extreme to another!
  Emphasis added.

You  know, your argument is actually stronger if you refrain from screaming generalizations. Particularly ones that are not true.

The Western United States consists of many states with strong conservative politics.  


Pot shot number two: attributing liberal politics with weakness is biased baiting that really weakens your argument.


Not to mention that its boring and repetitive.

Ro

#80 Shalamar

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 11:41 PM

Okay, I am out of this thread and not coming back.

StarDust I do agree with you, thank you kindly for all your efforts.
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Respect for One's Self / Respect for Others / Responsibility for One's Words & Actions.

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