Yet Another Muslim Atrocity

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture
Submitted by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Sat, 2006-06-24 14:27

   Two brave and noble American soldiers in Iraq were recently obscenely violated, horrifically tortured, and savagely beheaded by the usual inhuman Muslim jihadis. The reaction by most Americans -- as is natural and healthy -- was one of outrage and fury at this most recent Muslim monstrosity. Such fiery anger is a great motivator to rethink things and come up with fresh answers. But as the cousin of one of the mutilated soldiers helplessly noted: "We're very angry, but we don't know who to be angry with. Or who or what to blame." This almost universal view is both admirably honest and contemptibly pathetic.

   Certainly one obvious group to blame -- and perhaps the most important one -- is the "moderate" or mainstream Muslims. They play a very shameful and blatant "good cop, bad cop" game with the whole oblivious world, while quietly being very sympathetic to, and supportive of, their breath-takingly savage jihadi brothers.

   But another group to greatly blame and hate here is "the leaders of the free world" (sic). George Bush and Tony Blair, among others, never seem to shut up about how "Islam is a great religion of peace which has been  hijacked." Such loathsome apologias by these "useful idiots" constitutes a true Randian "sanction of the victim." These shameful excuses for, and promotions of, the ideology of Islam almost certainly encourage the jihadis to go ahead and slaughter many times the number they would have murdered otherwise.

   Such savage betrayals of liberal culture and Western Civilization by Bush, Blair, and others constitutes something very close to treason. All such traitorous and suicidal leaders of the West should probably be removed from office and put up on charges of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy."

   But the real blame for this Iraqi foreign policy fiasco and ultra-frustrating quagmire lies with the religious right and the multicultural left. They're the ones that have reduced America to the state of embarrassing and pitiful "paper tiger."

   The "god and country" "traditional values" conservatives ultimately feel a lot of quiet empathy for their barbaric Muslim cousins. They regard their fellow monotheists as basically good human beings who are merely pious nationalists deserving of much indirect sanction and support. Few Western Christians condemn Islam to the extent it richly merits.

   Even worse in this overseas failure are the "cultural relativist" "politically correct" progressives. These post-modernist amoralists generally favor such policies as oil socialism, welfare state bureaucracy, and "soft" sharia for the Iraqis. Their highly destructive deference and "sensitivity" to Iraqi Big Brother proclivities practically doomed the whole "nation-building" enterprise from the start.

   And both right and left waste most of their time and energy promoting and supporting the close-to-valueless phenomenon of "democracy." They little know -- and only tepidly and ineffectively support -- the crucial and invaluable concept of individual liberty.

   The real answer in Iraq -- assuming everyone hasn't already abandoned all hope -- goes something like this:

        1. Impose the United States' Constitution.

        2. Separate mosque from state.

        3. Remove Allah from the public schools.

        4. Privatize the oil industry.

        5. Ban economic regulation.

        6. End subsidies for "basic necessities."

        7. Eliminate all "victimeless crime" vice laws.

        8. Privatize the (bomb infected) roads.

   Now this would bring freedom to the Middle East!

   But no one right or left is ready, willing, or able to do anything remotely like this. It's a true failure of vision and philosophy. So we're basically all just stuck with one hell of a long-term mess on our hands.

   America is very slowly and painfully coming to realize that when it comes to "nation-building" and "teaching democracy" -- these two hideously misidentified and confused ideals -- we are almost entirely incompetent. When it comes to these two generally worthy goals, the US is almost totally intellectually and morally bankrupt.

   So whether we choose to "stay the [failed] course" as conservatives favor, or "cut and run [and surrender]" as progressives favor, or some impossible and pointless combination thereof, all we can really do now in the face of these unbearable jihadi horrors is try to muddle through.

   Pathetic, isn't it? Our only realistic options are to try to use our brains and recent experiences as much as humanly possible, as we unintelligently and contextlessly improvise, adjust, and adapt. And as we try to stay the holy hell away from all current and popular Western ideologies.

   In the long run what is desperately needed -- both for foreign and domestic policy -- is for someone to blast the living daylights out of the "god and country" "traditional values" religious rightists, as well as the "cultural relativist" "politically correct" multicultural leftists. Both groups have got to go as we move toward radical Objectivism or at least some version of high, pure, perfected, Enlightenment liberalism.


( categories: )

Jeff

eg's picture

After you pardon a few million for federal crimes, you'll be impeached and convicted sparing your moral sensibilities. Go for it!

--Brant

The State Is a Protection Racket

jriggenbach's picture

"Anything stopped you from running against Bush so that you could have gotten one sixth of the population plus one?"

Yes. My moral scruples against taking a job as leader of a criminal gang, for one.

JR

Vote for Jeff

Fred Weiss's picture

Anything stopped you from running against Bush so that you could have gotten one sixth of the population plus one?

You could have tried that little number where you stand in front of a tank and sing your "sense of life" mantras. It might have impressed some people. The Libertarians have put up weirder candidates.

Your slogan could have been "Vote for Jeff. He can stop tanks just with the sound of his voice!"

Naivete? Or Religious Faith?

jriggenbach's picture

"Unfortunately, Jeff, since the gov't represents us and is acting on our behalf, when it does something it is as if we did it."

Boy, you're quite the willing little sheep, aren't you?

Approximately one sixth of the people in this country elect a jackass like Bush, and thereafter anything his administration chooses to do is done "on behalf" of all of us, and that administration is deemed to "represent" all of us.

If this weren't so pitiful, it would be hysterically funny.

Wake up, Fred. The State "represents" nobody but those who voted for it. It acts on its own behalf and nobody else's. This is how it has always acted historically. And it will never do otherwise.

JR

We the Guilty

Fred Weiss's picture

Unfortunately, Jeff, since the gov't represents us and is acting on our behalf, when it does something it is as if we did it. That's why it is important when the gov't is doing something you disapprove of that you clearly register your opposition and take other appropriate actions to effect change, such as e.g. electing new representatives.

That way you can say with a clear conscience, "Yes, I know we did X and I'm sorry we did. But I disapproved of it and I oppose it. What's more I helped to throw the bums out who did it."

That's also why it doesn't cut any ice for the Germans to have said, "Well, I didn't send anyone to the concentration camps and what's more 'I didn't know'." The Nazi regime didn't get into power and keep it without the outright or at least tacit support of the German people. At bare minimum they were willing dupes.

So, when the bombs came raining down on their heads, they had no one to blame but themselves.

(Ayn Rand brilliantly illustrates the moral principle underlying this issue in the "Taggart Tunnel" scene.)

"Sure, Jeff, explain the

jriggenbach's picture

"Sure, Jeff, explain the problem you have with the US gov't being different from the American people and yet - if one is an American - it still being *our* gov't."

You can't even read, can you? I never said the government wasn't "our" government -- the word "our" in that sentence referring to the American people.

I said that the U.S. government is not "us" or "we." That the U.S. government did something does not mean (except to an illiterate, jingoistic idiot) that "we" did that something. That the American people did something -- e.g., created a charitable operation called the Salvation Army -- does not mean (except to the aforementioned idiot) that the U.S. government created the Salvation Army.

Being an Objectivist would seem to me to entail recognizing that when two things in reality are different, separate, and distinct, they need to be kept that way conceptually. Maybe you need to read ITOE again. (Oh, that's right, you can't read; sorry.)

JR

Our Government

Fred Weiss's picture

Sure, Jeff, explain the problem you have with the US gov't being different from the American people and yet - if one is an American - it still being *our* gov't.

We do have a say in choosing its representatives, we can influence its policies, and we are governed by its decisions. Furthermore, in America we also get to choose whether we want to stay here (we are free to emigrate).

What does any of this have to do with being an Objectivist?

Fred's Warm, Fuzzy Feeling of Belonging

jriggenbach's picture

"Well, it's not missing the point for someone who has no trouble identifying himself with some particular group, organization, geographic locale, or country."

Sigh. You really don't get it, do you Fred? Let me put it this way: however you may *feel* about "identifying [yourself] with some particular group, organization, geographic locale, or country," the facts of reality are what they are. And the U.S. government and the American people are two different things.

Am I really having to explain *this* to an "Objectivist"?

JR

Well, it's not missing the

Fred Weiss's picture

Well, it's not missing the point for someone who has no trouble identifying himself with some particular group, organization, geographic locale, or country. Using the "collective 'we'" doesn't imply any loss of individuality, not does it necessarily suggest either endorsement or complicity in the group's action, past, present, or future.

Obviously when Ayn Rand referred to the actions of "our government" she wasn't necessarily agreeing with it. In fact more often than not she was probably disagreeing. But the fact remains, agree or disagree, it is in fact *our* gov't.

You're usually silly, but in this instance you are outdoing even yourself for pure silliness.

One Minor Point, Though

jriggenbach's picture

"Well, it's also not my understanding that I run a newspaper or a medical school. Do you?

"Jeff of course entirely missing the main point of this supposed 'error'."

This is rich, Fred. It's you who are missing the point, which is the problem with conflating the U.S. government and the American people and vaguely referring to both as "we" and "us." The U.S. government runs a few hospitals, mostly Veterans Administration hospitals. But most hospitals are run either by local governments or by groups of the American people who have joined forces to do so. The U.S. government doesn't have any newspapers. But the American people do.

God, you can be boneheaded, Fred.

JR

Enough Said, Fred!

jriggenbach's picture

You win this one. I concede the point. Ayn Rand was just as conceptually sloppy and collectivist in her thinking as you are when it comes to comprehending the distinction between the U.S. government and the American people and understanding the possible consequences of fuzzy thinking about that issue. I'm surprised, I admit. But then, I never did think Ayn Rand was perfect.

JR

Well, it's also not my

Fred Weiss's picture

Well, it's also not my understanding that I run a newspaper or a medical school. Do you?

Jeff of course entirely missing the main point of this supposed "error".

However, if the only thing that qualifies in your limited range of focus is examples pertaining to the gov't, we have the following,

"Unlike his counterparts in other lands, Mr. Nixon had no scapegoat to blame for OUR troubles. He merely hinted darkly at some undefined "international money speculators" who are somehow responsible for it all. (Which raises the question of how did the makers of OUR foreign policy leave this country's fate at the mercy of such "speculators" and of any moment's panic.)" The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 2 October 25, 1971 "The Moratorium on Brains"

And this:

"It was against the United States that all those beneficiaries of OUR foreign aid were voting at the U.N. It was hatred of the United States and the pleasure of spitting in OUR face that they were celebrating, as well as their liberation from morality—with savages, appropriately, doing jungle dances in the aisles.

Any junior clerk in the diplomatic service would know that this was such a resounding demonstration of the bankruptcy of OUR foreign policy that some fundamental checking of its premises was required." The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 14 April 10, 1972 The Shanghai Gesture--Part II

And then this:

"...the U.S. side bends backward to assure the Chinese that its "ultimate objective" is to obey them and withdraw all its forces from Taiwan (an "objective" never announced before). The slender reservation of setting no date for the withdrawal is undercut by the promise that OUR forces, "in the meantime," will be progressively reduced "as the tension in the area diminishes." The Ayn Rand Letter
Vol. 1, No. 15 April 24, 1972 The Shanghai Gesture--Part III

Enough said.

Well, Fred, Less than 33 Percent Isn't Too Bad - Really!

jriggenbach's picture

One of your three quotations actually shows Rand making the primitive error you specialize in. In the first two quotations, she's pretty obviously speaking of the American people, not the U.S. government -- or is it your understanding that the U.S. government runs newspapers and controls all the medical schools in the country?

In the third quotation, however, I'll grant you: she does use the first person plural pronoun to refer to the U.S. government -- the American people do have an economy, but they don't have a "foreign policy"; only States have foreign policies -- thus conflating the American people with the U.S. government, a crude error of logic. My guess is that your third quotation is the oddball exception. Rand was too clear a thinker to engage in such muddy equivocation on a regular basis.

As to what she'd think of my posts -- I have no idea. But I like to think she'd look around this place and say, "Thank Galt at least one poster here understood what I meant when I wrote back in 1962 that 'Objectivists are *not* conservatives.'"

JR

Conceptually Sloppy

Fred Weiss's picture

Jeff apparently thinks that using the word "we" when talking about the United States is "an excellent example of... collectivist thinking" and further wonders whether "there were any intelligible sense in which such a conceptually sloppy statement might be true." And then to lend authority to his wonderings he declares, "This is what Rand used to refer to as smuggling concepts into your discourse -- with a vengeance. Conflating the U.S. government with America and the American people ...is such an offense against rationality and clear thinking that I'm confident Rand turns over in her grave every time she reads one of Weiss's posts."

I'm flattered that Jeff thinks Rand is reading my posts, but if she were I'm sure she would have no problem with my locution in this instance.

For example, in browsing The Objectivist Newsletter one could easily find dozens of examples, but here is just one, where she has no difficulty speaking for the whole country,"This is where an entire nation (and every honest man within it) has to check its premises: either WE correct the evil at its root and move to abolish the arbitrary powers of regulatory agencies—or WE surrender to the first (or second or tenth) Newton Minow who will demonstrate without difficulty that regulatory commissions, committees and conferences do not work, and that if WE wish to retain government controls, WE can do so only by granting total power to a single autocrat." The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 2 No. 7 July, 1963 Check Your Premises : Vast Quicksands (Capitalization for emphasis mine, here and below).

Lest you think this is just one oddball exception, here is another, "At present, WE lag behind Great Britain on the road to the collectivist abyss—but not very far behind. In recent years, OUR newspapers have been mentioning alarming reports on the state of the enrollment in OUR medical schools. The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 3 No. 8 August, 1964 Check Your Premises: Is Atlas Shrugging?

In specific reference to gov't policy she writes, "Their proponents are impervious to facts, to logic and to the mounting evidence that after two decades of global altruism, OUR foreign policy is achieving the exact opposite of its alleged goals: it is wrecking OUR economy—it is reducing US internationally to the position of an impotent failure who has nothing but a series of compromises, retreats, defeats and betrayals -The Objectivist Newsletter: Vol. 1 No. 9 September, 1962 Check Your Premises: The Pull Peddlers

In any event I hope Jeff is now reassured that Ayn Rand rests easy in her grave. How she might react if she ever read one of *his* posts...well, let's not go there.

Digging Up Quotations to Throw in My Face

jriggenbach's picture

Yes, Fred, you do.

JR

Conceptual Sloppiness

Fred Weiss's picture

The only "conceptual sloppiness" here is yours, Jeff. (What else is new?)

I refer to "we" when I talk about things our gov't has done because (1) I am an American and (2) the gov't represents us. Such is the nature of representative gov't. It doesn't necessarily imply endorsement. It's just an acknowledgement of a connection, of something of which I am a part as a citizen of this country.

Are you claiming that Ayn Rand never spoke in a similar fashion, that she never used the "collective 'we'" when referring to actions of the United States? You claim to be confident of it. Are you really? Do I really need to dig up quotes to throw in your face?

Aaron

jriggenbach's picture

"Rothbard's approach I appreciate in general in that he keeps things emphasized on individuals. If there was a small feud, I think most people here also recognize that - e.g. Annie Hatfield shooting Ben McCoy doesn't justify Charles McCoy shooting Daniel Hatfield. Somewhere as the principles involved get scaled up, though, a lot of people apparently start to lose sight of this; maybe it just becomes quicker and simpler to think in collectivist terms than sorting things out correctly."

Yes. For an excellent example of this slippage into collectivist thinking see almost anything Fred Weiss posts on this and related topics. "We" did this and that -- bombed Dresden and Hiroshima, took possession of the Philippines -- he writes, just as though there were any intelligible sense in which such a conceptually sloppy statement might be true. This is what Rand used to refer to as smuggling concepts into your discourse -- with a vengeance. Conflating the U.S. government with America and the American people -- and doing so retroactively -- is such an offense against rationality and clear thinking that I'm confident Rand turns over in her grave every time she reads one of Weiss's posts. ;>)

"Where I don't follow what you (or Rothbard) have said is the blanket statement that libertarians oppose war, but maybe this is just a terminology issue. Is it that you believe there is no scenario where a group of individuals can legitimately (ie. voluntary funding, no firebombing cities) defend themselves against an aggressor? - or just that in such a situation you wouldn't apply the term 'war'?"

The latter.

JR

I'm baffled by those

Aaron's picture

I'm baffled by those advocating purposely targetting civilians (not just bystander/shield situations), but it appears there's now another thread in which to take that up.

Brant- Thanks for the info. I also appreciate your statements where you're able to give a historical assessment independent from what you think should have been done. e.g. I agree that the call for unconditional surrender likely needlessly drew out the war, and that using the A-bomb likely shortened it (in time, not necessarily body count) - and it's rare to encounter someone who doesn't let themselves see only one or the other of those to serve an existing pro- or anti- war view.

Jeff- Thanks for the civil reply. Rothbard's approach I appreciate in general in that he keeps things emphasized on individuals. If there was a small feud, I think most people here also recognize that - e.g. Annie Hatfield shooting Ben McCoy doesn't justify Charles McCoy shooting Daniel Hatfield. Somewhere as the principles involved get scaled up, though, a lot of people apparently start to lose sight of this; maybe it just becomes quicker and simpler to think in collectivist terms than sorting things out correctly.

Where I don't follow what you (or Rothbard) have said is the blanket statement that libertarians oppose war, but maybe this is just a terminology issue. Is it that you believe there is no scenario where a group of individuals can legitimately (ie. voluntary funding, no firebombing cities) defend themselves against an aggressor? - or just that in such a situation you wouldn't apply the term 'war'?

Fantasy

Richard Wiig's picture

Jeff said: "(The learned Richard Wiig bleats that "Opposing war is like opposing gravity, or opposing existence, or opposing the fact that you are, hopefully, human." Oh, yes, for, just as individuals have no choice about gravity or existence or being human, similarly they have no choice about waging mass murder on innocent civilians who live halfway around the world. They're powerless not to do it.)
"

They have no choice about war. War is an inescapable fact of life, from having to war with the birds, pests and diseases that attack our crops and our bodys, to warring with oppossing ideologies that would destroy us. What are you partaking in here, if not a war against an ideology you disagree with? When you find that Islam is at war with you, what will you do? Snivel about how you oppose war and expect the world to change to fit your belief, or will you accept reality and fight the necessary fight if there are values you want to preserve? Ahhh, you will flee. Like I said, you don't deserve America.

And if?

Richard Wiig's picture

"If I were living in Poland circa September 1939 and the German or Soviet troops were heading toward my town, my appropriate response would be to flee."

And if your wife cannot flee with you, which means she's going to be gang raped and subjected to slavery? How does fleeing defend your values? If it's fleeing to fight from a stronger position, then sure, but that's not what you mean. What you mean is a general policy of fleeing, which means defending nothing, which must mean there is nothing to defend? If there is something to defend, then why won't you live up to it? To make matters worse, not only will you not live up to it, you want to drag others down with you.

So, JTG

jriggenbach's picture

You can't comprehend what you read. Is that it?

JR

So, JR

jtgagnon's picture

Being the mindless parrot of Rothbard that you are, am I to take it that you believe no war is "just" or morally justifiable? That's the silliest thing I've ever heard.

- The Most Learned John T. Gagnon

Fred Weiss Sentences Germans to Death for Thought-Crime

jriggenbach's picture

George Orwell would be proud.

JR

Aaron

jriggenbach's picture

"Jeff- Oddly, I may agree with your content (at least concerning intentionally killing civilians) even more than with Brant - but your presentation is so antagonistic it begs argument. So I'll try one for your 'I wouldn't propose that anyone fight a war ... Libertarians oppose war.' statements: If you were living in Poland circa Sept 1939 and the German or Soviet troops (take your pick) were heading toward your town, what would be your appropriate response?"

That's a thoughtful question, Aaron, so I'll give you a reply that is not in the least antagonistic. When I get thoughtful responses to my posts, you'll find I'm not antagonistic at all. On the other hand, when I encounter uninformed halfwits like Fred Weiss and Richard Wiig and the learned John T. Gagnon joyously parroting the preposterous excuses various mass murderers have employed to "justify" their crimes -- and parroting these excuses as though they were historical fact -- I become a trifle testy. People who use Objectivism as a tool to escape the necessity of thinking irk me.

If I were living in Poland circa September 1939 and the German or Soviet troops were heading toward my town, my appropriate response would be to flee. I certainly wouldn't call for the Polish State to "defend" me -- I'm not that naive. As Murray Rothbard wrote in For a New Liberty:

"It is particularly ironic that war always enables the State to rally the energies of its citizens under the slogan of helping it to defend the country against some bestial outside menace. For the root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense *by* the State *of* its subjects. The facts, however, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only 'die' by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes its subjects to fight for *it* against another State, under the pretext that *it* is fighting to defend them." (278)

As Rothbard points out, "[t]he libertarian foreign policy . . . is *not* a pacifist policy. We do not hold, as do the pacifists, that no individual has the right to use violence in defending himself against violent attack. What we *do* hold is that no one has the right to conscript, tax, or murder others, or to use violence against others in order to defend himself." (270)

With considerable prescience, Rothbard, writing more than thirty years ago, described a hypothetical war in which "Graustark has invaded Belgravia, and . . . a third government, Walldavia, now leaps into the war in order to defend Belgravia against 'Graustarkian aggression.' Is this action justifiable?"

Rothbard thought not. "The idea of entering a war in order to stop 'aggression' is clearly an analogy from aggression by one *individual* upon another. Smith is seen to be beating up Jones -- aggressing against him. Nearby police then rush to the defense of the victim Jones; they are using 'police action' to stop aggression. It was in pursuit of this myth, for example, that President Truman persisted in referring to American entry into the Korean war as a 'police action,' a collective UN effort to repel 'aggression.'"

"But," Rothbard continued, ". . . governments entering a war thereby become aggressors themselves against innocent civilians; indeed, become mass murderers. The *correct* analogy to individual action would be: Smith beats up Jones, the police rush in to help Jones, and in the course of trying to apprehend Smith, the police bomb a city block and murder thousands of people, or spray machine-gun fire into an innocent crowd. *This* is a far more accurate analogy, for that is what a warring government does, and in the twentieth century it does so on a monumental scale. But any police agency that behaves this way *itself* becomes a criminal aggressor, often far more so than the original Smith who began the affair." (267-268)

"War, then," Rothbard wrote, "is mass murder, and this massive invasion of the right to life, of self-ownership, of numbers of people is not only a crime but, for the libertarian, the ultimate crime. Second, since all governments obtain their revenue from the thievery of coercive taxation, any mobilization and launching of troops inevitably involve an increase in tax-coercion . . . . For both reasons -- because inter-State wars inevitably involve both mass murder and an increase in tax-coercion, the libertarian opposes war. Period." (265-266)

(The learned Richard Wiig bleats that "Opposing war is like opposing gravity, or opposing existence, or opposing the fact that you are, hopefully, human." Oh, yes, for, just as individuals have no choice about gravity or existence or being human, similarly they have no choice about waging mass murder on innocent civilians who live halfway around the world. They're powerless not to do it.)

As Rothbard sums his case up, "Since all States exist and have their being in aggression against their subjects, and in the acquiring of their present territory, and since inter-State wars slaughter innocent individuals, such wars are always unjust -- although some may be more unjust than others."

JR

Fred

eg's picture

I said goodbye to Fred because of his failure to really understand or engage what I was saying or why I said what I did the way I did. If I had been in charge of the allied forces in Europe in WWII, I would have approved of most of the bombing campaigns, though not the firebombing of Hamburg. That would have been based on what I would have known at the time. But why was there a WWII in the first place or WWI? Why was the US involved? There is a basic insanity that carries through those wars into the Cold War that almost resulted in a general thermonuclear conflagration.

See how Fred has dehumanized the civilians so he can kill them and sleep at night? Oh, I mean, have them killed? Oh, I forgot, all he does is sit in a chair and yammer on the Internet about it. His hands are clean. Let's have our abstract discussions.

Unlike Fred on the one hand and Jeff on the other, I try to deal with the mess in the middle and imagine best policies going forward that would help make the world a better place. You simply cannot withdraw from the world as it is for that world will fall down on you (the US). One thing the US needs is smaller and smaller government, for foreign policy is a reflection and an extension of domestic policy. What is also needed is a much more modest view of US capability so the country isn't exhausted by wasteful foreign wars with unrealistic goals such as bringing democracy to a place like Iraq. Moral righteousness can be a hazard in war and thinking about war, not necessarily an asset. Israel, for instance, is as threatened by itself as by others and has contributed to the strength of its enemies because socialism--its socialism--is force, the violation of rights. But God, obviously, is on its side. There is no God, though. See the fundamental irrationality? Such is war.

The basic point of my stories was to leaven this discussion with the concrete, human reality of the subjects we are discussing. My participation on this thread is over.

--Brant

It was an issue

LWHALL's picture

with Roosevelt in 1939 as is evidenced in this letter he dispatched.

Appeal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations, September 1, 1939

The President of the United States to the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and His Britannic Majesty, September 1, 1939

The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenseless men, women, and children, has sickened the hearts of every civilized man and woman, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.

If resort is had to this form of inhuman barbarism during the period of the tragic conflagration with which the world is now confronted, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings who have no responsibility for, and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities which have now broken out, will lose their lives. I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

It was also contrary to a resolution passed by the fairly useless League of Nations in 1938.

They may have believed the intention was good, but as with a lot of good intentions, in time of war they are often abandoned quickly.

L W

Fred

jtgagnon's picture

Thank you for being a voice of reason...I couldn't agree more with what you've stated.

So they knew they were

Fred Weiss's picture

So they knew they were targeting civilians? That's not the issue. The issue is whether it served a military purpose and thus helped to shorten the war and reduce casualities on our side. Armchair generals can posture about it now, but it was not as clear in the midst of the war. I have heard different arguments about its military effectiveness (I am referring now specifically to the bombing of German cities) and it is certainly not definitive that it was ineffective.

The *only* sad thing about that bombing campaign wasn't the Germans who were killed - who cares about them (these were the same people who "didn't know" that millions of their countrymen were being carted off to extermination camps)?. It was the vast numbers of Allied pilots who lost their lives. Those bomb runs were virtual suicide missions.

Also, keep in mind that we didn't have the capability of pin-point targeted bombing that we have now. It may only be a slight exaggeration to say that it was not much better than hitting the side of a barn and I understand sometimes we were lucky when we did even that.

As for the Japanese, they were prepared to fight down to the last women and children, so they had no innocent civilians - and they were all avidly involved in the war effort in one way or another, directly or indirectly. The Emperor spoke. They obeyed.

And Brant, once again, I don't care if you ate Vietnamese babies for breakfast or if you gave Eisenhower a blow job. It has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

Targeting

eg's picture

Those in charge of the air wars in WWII knew they were targeting civilians. That includes "Bomber Harris" and Curtis LeMay. The intention was to kill and terrorize them, to break the collective will of the respective nations. It helped that Churchill was a complete SOB in his own right and an incompetent military strategist. If it was murder, it was state sanctioned murder so only murder in the philosophical/moral not legal sense. There were of course purely military targets and targets in which the civilians were not primary, especially in Europe in spite of some horrible fire bombings as on Hamburg.

--Brant

Don't quite get it

Richard Wiig's picture

Jeff said:

"Anybody who drops bombs on a city inhabited by thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, and claims he is "not targeting civilians" is either a liar or a fool."

If you're talking about the carpet bombing of the second world war, then yes, it's the targetting of civilians, or rather, an indiscriminate bombing that can't help but kill civilians, but so what? It's not murder, it's necessary killing in self-defence.

"He knows that his ordance *will* (not "may") destroy the private property of innocent people and kill and maim a number of them as well. If he knows that, and does it anyway, then he has "targeted" those civilians."

So in other words, sit back and do nothing while the enemy bombs the hell out of you. I'm sorry, but that stance simply makes my skin crawl. It's a form of suicide.

Jeff said: "Yes, I know what you stand for, too."

Actually, I don't think you have the slightest inkling of what I stand for.

Fred

eg's picture

You're irrelevant. Good bye.

--Brant

Aaron

eg's picture

As part of my training as a Special Forces Aidman I was assigned to the army hospital at Ft Gordon GA for on the job training. That's where they brought Eisenhower after his heart attack. They asked us trainees for volunteers to help take care of him. So I stayed up all night and trained for half of each following day until they shipped him on a train to Walter Reed 13 days later. He was very easy going and pleasant. Barry Goldwater sent him a flower arrangement--there were several sent by various people--built around a representation of an elephant. One night I draped my beret over the elephant's head. Eisenhower, whose bed was over 30 feet away was looking right at me. I looked back at the elephant then back at the general and gave him one of his own Eisenhower grins.

That hospital was circa WWII construction of one floor wooden barracks-type motif. When I first saw Eisenhower he was asleep in a bed in an isolated hallway connected to what must have been one of the first heart monitors. He seemed utterly alone, but wasn't, of course.

The one piece of significant private information I had access to through one of my fellow trainees concerned ...

The man died on my 25th birthday in 1969. Because smoking had contributed substantially to Eisenhower's ill health, I stopped smoking within the next two days and I haven't smoked since.

--Brant

Brant- Thanks for your

Aaron's picture

Brant- Thanks for your comments in this thread. I don't agree with you on several points, but you don't come across in a manner that demands argument, and your posts here have been some of the most interesting and insightful - personal tangents included. I'm curious - how did you come to spend the time with Eisenhower?

Jeff- Oddly, I may agree with your content (at least concerning intentionally killing civilians) even more than with Brant - but your presentation is so antagonistic it begs argument. So I'll try one for your "I wouldn't propose that anyone fight a war ... Libertarians oppose war." statements: If you were living in Poland circa Sept 1939 and the German or Soviet troops (take your pick) were heading toward your town, what would be your appropriate response?

Dan- There is surely an interesting ethical discussion to be had about the fuzzy regions such as preemption, hostages/shields, etc. I don't know that a civil and manageable discussion will be possible with the focus already on wars though. If you want to stay only with examples and thought experiments at the individual level - and have heated-argument-provoking WWII, Iraq, etc. references set aside - then perhaps it could work.

Brant, you're babbling. Try

Fred Weiss's picture

Brant, you're babbling. Try to stay on topic.

Also, while I'm sure that your life story is very interesting, this is neither the time or the place for it.

Oh, boy

eg's picture

I killed an enemy soldier in Cambodia in 1966. If I had managed to take him prisoner my commanding officer on that operation would probably have had the Chinese Mike Force Nungs murder him. He might have done the job himself. We killed 56 VC that day. Many years later he was convicted twice of murdering his Cambodian wife in North Carolina so he, said the prosecution, could go to the Czech Republic, marry his cousin and run for the Presidency. His name is Col. ________. He is no longer in prison. He killed a lot of people. He ran his airboat over a paddy dike and machine gunned down 18 VC in a single, continuous burst of .30 cal. fire. Those were "killed." He probably murdered quite a few, too, if his reputation as a murdering killer was to be believed. He told me, "No, no prisoners!" after I expressed regret about not being able to take any. Murder is a sub-category of killing usually defined by statute.

--Brant

So Brant, have you figured

Fred Weiss's picture

So Brant, have you figured out yet the difference between killing and murder?

Don't turn for any help from JR on this one. We already know he can't tell the difference.

Was the D-Day invasion of France an act of murder? Look at all those innocent Frenchmen that were killed.

Good question...

jtgagnon's picture

but I haven't a clue.

Context and structure

eg's picture

Leonard Peikoff going on national television and advocating the use of nuclear weapons. I heard he did this. Did he?

--Brant

Morality and War

jtgagnon's picture

All the more reason to defend ourselves against Islamo-Fascism and the crazies in the Middle East.

Morality and war

eg's picture

Having God on your side means you can slaughter your enemies with great and enthusiastic abandon.

--Brant

War

eg's picture

The machine gun, airplane and poison gas didn't shorten WWI, they just made the carnage more horrific. The atomic bomb may have shortened WWII. The allied demands for unconditional surrenders may have lengthened it.

--Brant

JR

jtgagnon's picture

Your semantic point is well-taken (and I heartily apologize for my lack of clarity), but ultimately irrelevant. History is "a chronological record of events, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events." What you scoff at is the quite impressive amount of evidence which exists as part of history - in the form of explanation and commentary surrounding events - that clearly indicates that more effective tools of war ultimately shorten wars. This is simple cause and effect. The history books are filled with commentary regarding the debate about "what would have happened" if the US had not employed the effective tools (nukes baby!) it possessed.

As far as your sarcastic-laden tirade goes, grow up. Learn how to actually debate the issue; otherwise you merely sound like a petulant child who thinks he knows something.

The History of What Never Happened by J.T. Gagnon

jriggenbach's picture

The learned "jtgagnon" writes:

"I never said anything about what 'would have happened.'"

Okay. Let's take a look at what this ignoramus *did* say:

"Moral nations using effective tools of war shorten wars, saving lives. Period. It is indisputable and supported by historical fact."

Now, those of us who understand English interpret this pair of sentences as follows:

If a moral nation (like the squeaky clean U.S.) had failed to use "effective tools of war" (Objectivist jargon for acts that, if committed by anyone else, would be regarded as heinous crimes) in a particular war (the U.S. Civil War, World War II, etc.), the war in question would have been longer and would have claimed more lives. This is "indisputable" (pause for shrieks of hysterical laughter) and is "supported by historical fact."

Funny. I always thought "historical fact" was a concept pertaining to the things that *did* happen, not the things that *didn't*. I always thought history had nothing to tell us about things that *didn't* happen.

But the learned "jtgagnon" knows better. He tells me that I "should go reread some history books." That's where I'll find out all about what *would have happened (but in fact didn't happen)* if the glorious United States had failed to commit mass murder in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (just as a convenient example).

JR

JR

jtgagnon's picture

I never said anything about what "would have happened." And as far as ignorant jackasses go, maybe you should go reread some history books.

And the United States Is Such a Pure, Moral Nation

jriggenbach's picture

"Moral nations using effective tools of war shorten wars, saving lives. Period. It is indisputable and supported by historical fact."

Is this, or is it not, the single most ignorant statement made on this thread so far? Does this jackass actually believe he can know with certainty what *would have happened* if people had done something other than what they did?

JR

JR

jtgagnon's picture

And what, sir, is it that you stand for?

Clueless to the Nth Degree, In Fact

jriggenbach's picture

The learned Richard Wiig:

"I can discern the difference between killing in a context that makes it murder and killing in a context that doesn't. I can tell the difference between deliberately targetting civilians and not, something that you give no indication of doing."

Anybody who drops bombs on a city inhabited by thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, and claims he is "not targeting civilians" is either a liar or a fool. He knows that his ordance *will* (not "may") destroy the private property of innocent people and kill and maim a number of them as well. If he knows that, and does it anyway, then he has "targeted" those civilians.

"You place America on the same moral plain [sic] as those who kidnap innocents and butcher them by chopping their heads off with machetes. To be quite honest, you make me a little sick. I don't think you deserve America."

Oh, yes, of course. Blowing people up in their homes is ever so much more "moral" than chopping their heads off with machetes. If only I possessed your flair for making essential moral distinctions. I don't think "clueless" is too harsh an adjective for you.

"As for 'learned'... it was what? Mean't [sic] to be some kind of aspersion? Well, I am not very learned at all, but I know what I stand for, and I know what I consider worth defending."

Yes, I know what you stand for, too.

JR

Brant

jtgagnon's picture

Could you clarify your question (as in, provide a context and sentence structure)?

JTG

eg's picture

Philosophy yes. War policies????

--Brant

Here's how

eg's picture

Here's how I am different than Jeff R., practically speaking: I supported the invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11. I didn't support the Iraqi invasion of March 2003. I thought the US could get what it needed out of the situation by sending an army to Saddam's southern environs and threatening it out of him. Then the US could have left a significant force in place to threaten Iran. I wanted the US to set up radio stations to broadcast the exact, objective truth about Islam, historical and current, to the Muslim world. I wanted stronger domestic security such as greatly expanding the Coast Guard, etc., etc

Jeff and I and others got into arguments about how to deal with 9/11 on the old Atlantis nearly five years ago. He called me a "half wit." Barbara Branden called his position "impractical." I understand his position better, now, the idealism of it.

For me I am concerned with what should the US do now about what considering X, Y and Z. I don't think the US can just break it off and withdraw from the mess it has made.

There is much more a fundamental divide between Jeff and me than the posters here who are trying to jump up and down on me because I know what actual war is like and won't let myself be blinded by the supposed glorious history the US has had as a war-making nation. The blood spilt in the last century by governments--at least 150 million, probably a lot more--would probably not have happened if the US had minded its own damn business starting with the Spanish-American War. It is very possible Russia wouldn't have gotten a communist government or Hitler wouldn't have come to power. This doesn't gainsay that the butchery of governments would have taken other forms, but I doubt if it would have been so bad.

BTW, the US government is directly responsible for the deaths of approximately 40-50 millions babies from malaria--4 million a year--because of its war against the manufacture, sale and use of DDT. (Don't ask me for the references; I gave them to Barbara Branden some years ago and I have no intention of going back to look for them.)

--Brant

And Brant,

jtgagnon's picture

You write: "An effective tool of war doesn't necessarily mean a moral tool of war."

You're right, but it depends on who is wielding the effective tools of war. It is an important distinction.

Moral nations using effective tools of war shorten wars, saving lives. Period. It is indisputable and supported by historical fact. Immoral regimes employ effective tools of war to cause massive death and to quantify it as much as possible.

-JTG

Brant

jtgagnon's picture

We're going to have to agree to disagree. I've never once heard it articulated by an ARI associate that something they've written is undoubtedly what Rand herself would have said if she were still alive. You're making quite a leap. They write - and leave it to the reader to determine the value. But even a person of marginal intelligence who has read Rand and read ARI scholars would come to the conclusion that their writings are quite admirably consistent with the philosophy itself. The writings are the philosophy applied to this earth and the current issues which face those who live in it.

I think it shockingly audacious that you'd make such sweeping, unsupported, and negative comments re: people who clearly go to great lengths to be consistent and articulate advocates of Ayn Rand's philosophy.

-JTG

Dan

eg's picture

An effective tool of war doesn't necessarily mean a moral tool of war. That's pragmatic, not Objectivist.

--Brant

JTG

eg's picture

Not a bad argument for ARI spokespeople. However, the very strong implication is here are to be found the views that would have been held by Ayn Rand were she still alive. Well, she condemned others using her name that way when she was alive.

--Brant

Brant

Dan Edge's picture

I suppose I'm a warmonger myself, considering my hawkish attitude re: Iraq, Iran, Palestine, etc., and my belief that the intentional targeting of civilians is an effective tool of war.  I'm not completely familiar with all the ARI speaker's opinions on the issue , but based on what I've read, they're similar to my own.

I believe that the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and WWII were all justified, so we're definitely at odds there.  I can't imagine under what circumstances you would consider a war to be legitamite?

--Dan Edge

JTG and Others

Dan Edge's picture

I haven't read the article you referenced in the Objective Standard, but I intend to.  It is my tentative position that intentional targeting of civilian populations can be an effective means to help defeat an enemy in war, as was evident in WWII and other wars throughout history.  Many questions remain, in my mind:

- When and why, exactly, is it appropriate to target a civilian population in war?
- How and by what standard does one determine how much force to use (conventional bombs, chemical, nuclear)?  Who makes this decision (millitary or government representatives)?
- Should there be *any* rules for warfare, like the Geneva convention, and if so, what should those rules be?
- Should any distinction at all be made between combatants and non-combatants by the millitary?  In what way would this distinction affect millitary policy towards each group?
- Should avoiding non-combatant deaths be considered at all in war?   When, why, and to what degree?

There are many other related questions, these are just a few I've thought about.  I'm not certain of my answers to any of these, and I don't think they're easy to answer.  When you're talking about the life and death of (potentially) millions, it certainly deserves some close examination.  Wouldn't want to make a mistake here.

Maybe I can give some more feedback after reading the OS article.

--Dan Edge

Ummm

Richard Wiig's picture

"And you give no indication of even understanding what the word "context" means."

I can discern the difference between killing in a context that makes it murder and killing in a context that doesn't. I can tell the difference between deliberately targetting civilians and not, something that you give no indication of doing. You place America on the same moral plain as those who kidnap innocents and butcher them by chopping their heads off with machetes. To be quite honest, you make me a little sick. I don't think you deserve America.

As for "learned"... it was what? Mean't to be some kind of aspersion? Well, I am not very learned at all, but I know what I stand for, and I know what I consider worth defending.

Brant

jtgagnon's picture

You write: "Peikoff has said that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and that anything published by others after her death cannot be considered Objectivism. But here is the Ayn Rand Institute used to justify and support all their views."

Grammatical issues aside, I find your argument to be entirely lacking. For one, I've never heard anyone from ARI state that their publications ARE Objectivism. In fact, Peikoff has explicitly stated that what Ayn Rand wrote IS Objectivism and anything else - written by him or Joe Blow - is merely an application or interpretation. This does not preclude someone from writing something that is consistent WITH Objectivism. See, you're missing the whole point: you can write something, quote Rand to support it, but it is either consistent with the philosophy or not. It is not the philosophy per se.

Thus, it is not improper for ARI writers to advocate practical applications of Rand's philosophy to current events. To do otherwise would be to render the philosophy as moot, a mere piece of bookshelf decor. Whether you agree with ARI associated writers or not, you must applaud them for their efforts to practically apply the philosophy.

-JTG

Like opposing gravity.

Richard Wiig's picture

Jeff said: "Libertarians oppose war."

Opposing war is like opposing gravity, or opposing existence, or opposing the fact that you are, hopefully, human.

Altruism

eg's picture

War's biggest root.

--Brant

It's not that

eg's picture

It's not so much that ARI is parasitical, after all it's just an institution, it's that people associated with ARI are when they speak on any subject using the affiliation as a credential. Peikoff has said that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and that anything published by others after her death cannot be considered Objectivism. But here is the Ayn Rand Institute used to justify and support all their views. It is a phony credential of staggering proportions. Truly disgusting and contemptible.

--Brant

Furthermore,

jtgagnon's picture

You stated your point: you think ARI is parasitical. Provide a coherent argument with proof and I'll give you the time of day. Otherwise, your short little blurbs are nothing more than factless emotionalistic rantings.

"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

Brant

jtgagnon's picture

It seems that you are a mindless little gnome indeed. I'll quote Ayn Rand here: "The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it." That sums it all up. You go right ahead being a morally complicit supporter of Islamo-fascism and whatever other evils lurk out there seeking to destroy my freedom. And I'll happily denounce you as being just that - a supporter of evil.

-JTG
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

Sure, JTG

eg's picture

The ARI war mongers have a hell of a lot of nerve using Ayn Rand's name to support their views. Talk about parasitical! Based on your reply to me that's the reply you deserve.

--Brant

Brant...

jtgagnon's picture

Do your incoherent ramblings have any sort of legitimate point that can be backed up by any objective proof?

-JTG
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

JTG

eg's picture

Why we have enemies is a complicated question. Or should I say why the US has enemies? The freest country isn't necessarily the least complicit in a war. And we didn't have to invade and "conquer" Iraq to have our way with Saddam. "Better to fight for something than live for nothing" is a rationalization for not doing something positive about that "nothing."

--Brant

Dan

eg's picture

You'll soon find yourself trapped in the semantics of war mongers who'll define the non-combatants they want to target as "combatants."

In Vietnam Special Forces to my knowledge did not target non-combatants. Other units sometimes did. I am not talking about My Lai atrocities. For instance, there were "free fire" zones. Civilians were told that if they were in those areas they could be targeted by South Vietnamese or American air forces flying overhead. They were free to bomb and machine gun them.

US involvement in Vietnam resulted in communist governments in Vietnam and Cambodia and maybe 5-7 million dead, about 1-1.5 million were soldiers. This includes the Cambodian genocide. (It also includes Sean Flynn, who visited my team in the Mekong Delta in 1967. [Jennifer Jones also stopped by. John Wayne, too, but he was there 5 months before me.])

Vietnam gave me a great appreciation for Eisenhower, whom I spent 13 nights with at Ft. Gordon, GA, in the fall of 1965 after he had a heart attack. Eisenhower was the greatest American general since Washington.

The big difference that I see between Jeff and me is I take the world as it is with the idea of moving to the world that should be while he tells us what the world should be like.

It isn't very valuable to talk about combatants and non-combatants. If you are fighting in self-defense those who attack you are combatants. If civilians are forced by the bad guys to be shields covering their advance they will be killed. Since they will be killed they are very unlikely to be used in the first place.

The war I most agree with was the Barbary Coast Wars of 1801-1815. I even question the Revolutionary War. But the War of 1812, the Indian wars of the 19th C., the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraqi Wars--what the hell!

Notice how some of these wars, especially the worse, led to other wars. The US killed about 200,000 Filipinos--I'll spare the details. And what the hell were we involved in WWI for? We just made it worse and WWII possible.

--Brant

Noncombatants

jtgagnon's picture

It is an interesting topic, but not a difficult one. For an excellent read which touches on this, check out Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein's article, "Just War Theory vs. American Self-Defense," in the first issue of the Objective Standard. I highly recommend it.

Basically, my stance on this is: whether you are a noncombatant or not, if you ideologically support a regime which seeks to cause me harm, you are my enemy. You are, in effect and in reality, morally complicit.

As I've previously noted, for example, as far as those 'innocent' muslims many people get all worried about...their lack of innocence is proven by their commitment to an irrational dogma which calls for the use of force against truly innocent people. That must not only be defended against, but aggressively fought in whatever manner is necessary for victory and the preservation of our freedoms and way of life.

It was the same with supposed innocents of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, the general population who supported ridiculously evil policies - and back then we properly used the amount of necessary force to obliterate their "innocence" and ideology into dust.

-JTG
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

Interesting Topic?

Dan Edge's picture

The question of whether or not it is appropriate to target non-combatants in war is very interesting and important.  The answer is not immediately clear (to me at least).  It would be a great help to take part in a debate to reduce the issue to essentials; it does not help to bitch endlessly without substance.

--Dan Edge

WWII

eg's picture

Since being a soldier is pretty much in my DNA I've sometimes thought if I had been in WWII what combat job I would have wanted. The answer always was manning an anti-aircraft gun on a battleship off the coast of Japan. Just me and the other guy, a comfortable, probably unsinkable birth--no US battleship was sunk after Pearl Harbor--and no innocents.

My uncle was in the Pacific in the Army Air Corps, a navigator on a B-17. He was at Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal. He manned the nose gun and shot it out with a Japanese Zero and an exploding cannon shell peppered him with shrapnel. He spent a year in an Ohio military hospital recovering. He had no time over Japan in the B-29s.

In March 1945 B-29s incinerated Tokyo killing over 100,000 people, mostly civilians. I believe between then and the atomic bombings most Japanese cities were attacked, with Kyoto being off limits because the US Secretary of State knew of its cultural/religious significance to the Japanese.

250,000 airmen on all sides died in Europe during WWII. Most of the bombings there had little true military effect and significance, especially the night terror bombings the Brits specialized in. Britain spent 1/4 of its war budget on the air campaign against Germany.

Germany spent its air resources in an attempt to destroy Britain's air to air defenses. It almost succeeded when an air raid on Berlin pissed off Hitler and he ordered his air marshall--the fat guy--to attack London instead, leading to the Battle of Britain. In that instance we might say bombing Berlin paid off big-time for Britain.

All this carnage was essentially a logical extension of Sherman's marching through Georgia and South Carolina during the War of Southern Succession--industrialized warfare.

The height of the insanity was reached during the Cold War when the US and the USSR were poised to blow up each others' cities and military bases and naval forces with projected deaths in the hundreds of millions. If Kennedy had let General Curtis Le May have his way in the 1962 Cuban Missile crises, there would have probably been a major nuclear exchange and I don't think we would be talking to each other.

In war civilians are killed accidentally or as a war of terror and coercion. At least 70 million died in WWII from all causes.

--Brant

(Note, I am not writing as an expert on this material. If I were to teach a college course on this I'd have to do several years of research.)

One Ignoramus After Another

jriggenbach's picture

The learned Richard Wiig writes:

"You're incapable of, or perhaps unwilling to, ascertain context."

And you give no indication of even understanding what the word "context" means.

JR

Brant

jriggenbach's picture

I had written:

"There is no 'context' that justifies murdering people and destroying their property when they've done nothing to threaten or harm you."

Brant wrote:

"If you had used the word 'killing' in your sentence rather than 'murdering,' would you consider that also to be a correct statement?"

No.

JR

War

jriggenbach's picture

"So, Mr. Riggenbach, and how would you propose one fights a war?"

I wouldn't propose that anyone fight a war, "Capitalism." A war is an orgy of mass murder and destruction of property in which a State pretends (with the assistance of dupes like you) that, by murdering innocent civilians in some other country and destroying their homes and businesses, it is "defending" the innocent civilians in its own country that it robs blind to finance its wanton destruction.

Libertarians oppose war.

JR

Sigh!

jriggenbach's picture

I realize that it's a struggle for "Capitalism" to comprehend much of anything, but here goes:

I was talking about bombing *cities*, "Capitalism." Dropping bombs on people's homes, on apartment buildings, office buildings, stores, etc. No one but you is speaking about tying civilians to missile silos.

Now -- would you like to step altogether out of the realm of the ridiculous and reply to my comment?

JR

As Plain as the Nose on Your Face

jriggenbach's picture

Brant writes:

"Fred - You don't know me."

Of course he doesn't, Brant. Fred doesn't know anything.

JR

Yep!

Richard Wiig's picture

"There is no "context" that justifies murdering people and destroying their property when they've done nothing to threaten or harm you."

You're incapable of, or perhaps unwilling to, ascertain context.

Fred

eg's picture

You don't know me.

--Brant

Brant, for the same reason

Fred Weiss's picture

Brant, for the same reason that you can't tell the difference between facts and "facts", you can't tell the difference between killing and murdering.

Jeff

eg's picture

If you had used the word "killing" in your sentence rather than "murdering," would you consider that also to be a correct statement?

--Brant

Really?

Capitalism's picture

So, Mr. Riggenbach, and how would you propose one fights a war? Is every instance of an innocent being killed in battle a moral crime? Logically speaking then, I should be able to roll into your house and kill your family, provided I had human shields all around (like, say, babies strapped to me). I mean, in order to stop me, you'd have to kill those people.

See, Riggenbach, here we recognize that those who initiate the aggression and place innocents in harm's way are the ones responsible when they are killed.

Just to take my analogy out of the ridiculous, what should we do about a country about to imminently launch an attack, but first they held innocent civilians in their missile bases to discourage us from attack? According to you, dropping a bomb from 30,000 feet on that site would be murder. Too bad for you. I doubt you operate this way in the real world.

Nope!

jriggenbach's picture

There is no "context" that justifies murdering people and destroying their property when they've done nothing to threaten or harm you.

JR

Yep!

Richard Wiig's picture

Drop the context completely, which is why you'd lose.

No, Richard, I Expect Not

jriggenbach's picture

"Saddam was no hobgoblin; he was a wildcard - the unknown that needed to be known - and WoMD or not, he needed to be taken out. Nothing more need be said as far as I am concerned, other than perhaps I wouldn't like to leave the defence of my nation up to you."

No, probably not, since I wouldn't drop bombs on innocent civilians from 30,000 feet and call it "self defense."

JR

Atrocities are Business as Usual, I Guess

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I'd like to (belatedly) acknowledge the comments of J. Riggenbach and Joe M. My friends and coworkers, and the general media,  seemed outraged by this atrocity for maybe 36 hours (when I wrote the article). Now all visible public anger has disappeared. What a miscalculation!  But I guess this is because unimaginable inhuman horrors are par for the course for Muslims. But it's a real shame for everyone in America to forget and put it past us. Now we're doomed to learn the lesson again. Maybe in the next few years or so, when suitcase nuclear devices detonate simultaneously in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and London, Bush and Blair will finally shut up with most (most) of their highly enabling and encouraging Muslim apologias. 

Altruism

Richard Wiig's picture

"Richard, then why didn't we leave once we had kicked him out and scoured the country?"

Altruism, and an unwillingness to properly identify the enemy.

Take him out

eg's picture

Richard, then why didn't we leave once we had kicked him out and scoured the country?

--Brant

Lessor

eg's picture

I think it was a Mercedes.Smiling

--Brant

Hobgoblins? Not really.

Richard Wiig's picture

Saddam was no hobgoblin; he was a wildcard - the unknown that needed to be known - and WoMD or not, he needed to be taken out. Nothing more need be said as far as I am concerned, other than perhaps I wouldn't like to leave the defence of my nation up to you.

A Conundrum

jriggenbach's picture

"Apparently Saddam tried to have Bush senior killed during a visit to Kuwait after his presidency. True or not, that idea or fact could not have endeared Saddam to Bush the lessor."

What did Bush lease from Saddam?

JR

For those who care

eg's picture

Iraq wasn't surrounded by forces intent on containing it. There was Turkey in the north wanting to contain the Kurds. There was Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the south stockpiled with US arms. US and allied forces enforced no fly zones on Iraq. Contain, maybe, surround, no.

Bush and his veep have long relationships with oil, Texas and Middle Eastern. They are buddies with the Saudis. It seemingly made no public difference to them how Saudi Arabia has been financing and de facto encouraging islamo/fascistic terrorism or that 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.

While the Bush ad. had a pipe dream that Iraq oil would effectively pay for the war with Iraq, I think it is a reasonable supposition that they didn't want someone like Saddam having control of significant oil revenues going forward, money that could be spent on WMD.

Apparently Saddam tried to have Bush senior killed during a visit to Kuwait after his presidency. True or not, that idea or fact could not have endeared Saddam to Bush the lessor.

The WMD hysteria by this administration was a build up to the March 2003 invasion, an invasion that was not going to be denied or thwarted by facts.

I agree with the necessity of defending the US against terrorism, violence and invasions. I think the Iraqi War was a tremendous, unnecessary diversion of resources and time to a sideshow. Talk about manufacturing terrorists!

Let's say that Bush has an agenda to protect the US. In 2 1/2 years he'll be gone. Then what? He's wasted over 3 years in Iraq and has no way to finish what he started. The best he can do now is take down Iran from the inside out, as opposed to an invasion, to keep Israel from blasting that country to smithereens. Then there's the problem of Pakistan ...

--Brant

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.