cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 05:34 pm
No. It should be a matter for the world community. c.i.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 05:49 pm
Ah! Then we are in agreement at last, especially in regard to this Iraq thing. We are neither the most threatened by Iraq, nor are we the most vulnerable to disruptions in the Middle East. I do think we should be there, but not by our lonesome, and certainly not in the face of strong objections from those who have a lot more at stake than we.

Not at all sure which discussion this belongs on, btw. We seem to have several going on at the same time.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 05:59 pm
Apparently these days one must preface any statement on Iraq with "I stand foursquare against evil and Sadaam is evil".

Of course he is. He's a bad bad guy. The world WOULD be a better place without him. So was Pinochet. So was Noriega. Etc etc.

That the world, through the UN, ought to take leaders such as this in hand seems morally justified, even imperative. But we in the west are inconsistent and two-faced about the who and the when, and that part of this story is repellant. Where it suits our purposes, we support them, as we did with Sadaam and Osama. That is, the US mainly supported them. We've let enormous atrocities pass without a whisper (or with covert support) as we did with East Timor.

So the moral righteousness of the US towards Sadaam right now rings pretty darned hollow.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 06:14 pm
So it does, at times, Blatham. We've had some odd bedfellows indeed, and will again. It is not entirely a moral stance, however. I mean, what threat was posed to world stability by Noriega, just as an example. Speaking entirely for myself, a "war of liberation" sounds like a construction of the old Soviet Union, and I'm not too crazy about the euphumisms, unless they're intended to be funny. Also, I'm not up to liberating anyone that turns out to be more afraid of their liberators than their oppressors, which seems to be the case all too often.
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 06:46 pm
Kara, the Bill Keller article was the only one my husband and I have been able to agree on during this whole debate about invading Iraq.

c.i., there always have been reports about atrocities commited in the interest of the US, but they never seem to make the front pages. Hpefully, if the UN is given the chance to act on behalf on the world community, information from every side will be more available.

Blatham, I agree that the "moral rghteousness of the US toward Saddam" rings hollow. Because of that, do you think that those of us who have protested a war with Iraq have been blind to the real need to stop such a monster?

Add to that GW's cowboy belligerence in making it the number one priority of the US with an urgency that has no basis, the polarization of opinions in this country and others has made an objective analysis almost impossible. In that respect, articles like Bill Keller's, are vital in putting every issue on the table.

Another question that will soon come to the forefront again is whether or not the UN is capable of performing its duty in being the world's policeman. Has the UN actually lost its relevance?

I have been following this thread with interest and will look forward to reading more on the subject. BTW, Blatham, I read the Isaiah Berlin link you provided and found it very difficult to follow, but compelling. I'll need to study it to really understand what he is saying.

Thanks to all of you for your arguements; they help address the many sides of the issue. I only wish our government would discuss the ramifications of its policy with as much objectivity and honesty as all of you have done.

I'll go back to the rear seats and listen.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 07:14 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
FYI, GWBush authorized the CIA to kill terrorists. What's next? c.i.


Getting it done.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 07:33 pm
Tantor, That's where you and I differ. I don't approve of our government authorizing the execution of terrorists at the behest of the CIA. They become the prosecutor and the executioner, without the right to a court of law in the world courts. If our legal system is any indication of the mistakes we have made in executing innocent lives, we need the world court to decide the guilt of any individual charged with terrorism. c.i.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 07:36 pm
dianne

Lovely to see you here. The Berlin piece is the sort which for folks like you and I requires study and multiple readings. But it is well worth it. You'll find (via google...type in some variation of author and title) there are lots of essays written about Berlin's piece that might make the reading easier.

Yes, I do think that some folks have taken an oppositional stand to US policy with Iraq as a knee-jerk response. And that is unfortunate, but predictable...knees are jerking in all directions on this one. But I think the US has itself to blame for much of this problem because of it's inconsistencies and past actions such as I've noted above. Credibility has been damaged, and is continuing to be damaged. That's why I try to read as much as I can from as many sources as I can.

The UN has continued to be a relevant organization in any number of spheres for many years (disaster relief, health, etc) and could become a relevant organization such as was originally envisioned after both wars. But not if the US continues to isolate itself and its own interests from the greater community, and not if it continues to try and dictate policy in other countries (eg, drug policy and social policy here...specifics available upon request). I very much want the UN to achieve these sorts of humanitarian goals. I want more actions such as Kosovo.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 08:00 pm
The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other--instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 08:08 pm
dyslexia

On this, I'm with you. As the senior Reublican said several months ago..."perhaps Daniel Perle will march in at the head of the troops"
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 08:09 pm
LBJ/GWB they both put a bible in one hand a rifle in the other and say go kill for peace son, and remember you get a medal if you die and a ribbon if you don't.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 08:41 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
Tantor, That's where you and I differ. I don't approve of our government authorizing the execution of terrorists at the behest of the CIA. They become the prosecutor and the executioner, without the right to a court of law in the world courts. If our legal system is any indication of the mistakes we have made in executing innocent lives, we need the world court to decide the guilt of any individual charged with terrorism. c.i.


Extending the legal model to the conduct of war is insane. Would you have read the Germans their rights before we invaded Normandy? Would you require the second wave of assault craft carry lawyers to represent the German defenders? Would you have charged the Army Rangers who took Pointe du Hoc with being prosecutor and executioner?

When crazed terrorists declare war on the US and butcher American civilians by the thousands, they deserve death dealt to them by any means at hand and as quickly as possible. I have more faith in the US military to defend America than Johnny Cochrane.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 11:05 pm
Tantor

There is, of course, a legal model to the conduct of war - the Geneva Convention. So it's not as if soldiers have carte blanche on the maiming/killing thing. You might think that anti-soldier, but I'm not. My father was one, as were all my uncles. I think John McCain is a hero of the highest order.

But we don't let the military call the shots, because we know they can fall to certain things too easily. We don't like military dictatorships, or countries run by their military because they aren't democratic. Civil institutions, like the courts, are commonly considered impediments. We want civilian command to reassert itself quickly. Though we count on the military to ensure liberty, we know it's likely they might be a danger to liberty as well.

So this argument seems somewhat predictable, but also a good thing. Two valid, if different, viewpoints are being expressed.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 11:19 pm
blatham wrote:

There is, of course, a legal model to the conduct of war - the Geneva Convention. So it's not as if soldiers have carte blanche on the maiming/killing thing.


You are switching your line of argument. You wanted to extend constitutional protections to foreign combatants in your previous post and now you are arguing the Geneva Convention. Apples and oranges.

The Geneva Convention allows combatants to kill each other. If that is the basis of your argument, the law is against you. The Geneva Convention does not require soldiers at war to refer enemy soldiers to a court to settle their differences.

However, if you argue that wars should be fought like domestic crime, then it is an extension of the domestic law outside its natural domain into an alien domain where it is unworkable.

There is a neat moral symmetry in the idea that a terrorist who makes war on civilians is liable to suffer a sudden death at the hands of his would-be victims. That is one less terrorist who will cut a flight attendants throat, smash a two year girl to bits against a skyscraper, crush people to death in their offices, force them to leap from hundred story buildings, or bathe people walking down the street in flaming jet fuel.

They must die. Let's make it happen.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 11:37 pm
Tantor, I see an important difference between a war between soldiers, and the execution of so-called terrorists by the CIA. If the CIA has carte blanche to kill terrorists, we have no need for the prison in Cuba, and all the innocent would have been executed, because many or most of them would have been identified as "terrorists." The two American talibans would have been executed, because they were identified as the enemy/terrorists. I see something dangerously wrong with that type of execution. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with identifying terrorists, and letting them have their day in world court. Identity and execution is prone to too many mistakes. c.i.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Dec, 2002 11:41 pm
Tantor

Not my earlier post, actually. Your Johnny Cochran allusion contained a clear tone of derogation regarding 'lawyerly' procedings. It is, though you might not recognize it, really rather like the sort of tone we'd hear from the bad guys about 'lawyerly' procedings. So you'll have to pardon us if we don't just take your word for it that you've got it all right. Your certainty might be handy for you, but its not terribly compelling for others.

Your 'moral symmetry' is interesting too. Eye for an eye sort of stuff. Compassion - for wimps. Rules or rights - romantacisms. Curiously, it's a code more like that of Al Quaeda than like the constitution envisions.
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2002 10:08 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
Tantor, I see an important difference between a war between soldiers, and the execution of so-called terrorists by the CIA.


We agree that there is an important difference between a war between soldiers and a war with terrorists. Under the Geneva Convention, the terrorists have virtually no protections. To enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention, you must identify yourself as a combatant, generally by wearing a uniform. You must not target civilians. Al Qaeda fails both tests.

Generally, combatants caught out of uniform are considered spies and it is perfectly acceptable to shoot them on the spot. During WWII, our OSS parachuted agents in civilian dress behind Nazi lines to establish spy networks. When the Nazis caught and executed them, we made no protest. We did not have a legal leg to stand on. Likewise, when the Nazis infiltrated saboteurs in GI uniforms behind American lines during the Battle of The Bulge, they were executed after a military hearing. The Nazis made no complaint because there was no legal one to make.

Following these legal precedents, when we catch terrorists in mufti, we are perfectly entitled to kill them on the spot. Now, I don't advise this, by way of explanation. It's much better to capture them, have our allies interrogate them, squeeze them dry of intelligence, and then let our allies execute them.


cicerone imposter wrote:

If the CIA has carte blanche to kill terrorists, we have no need for the prison in Cuba, and all the innocent would have been executed, because many or most of them would have been identified as "terrorists." The two American talibans would have been executed, because they were identified as the enemy/terrorists. I see something dangerously wrong with that type of execution. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with identifying terrorists, and letting them have their day in world court. Identity and execution is prone to too many mistakes. c.i.


Yes, I can just see Johnny Cochrane holding the bloody ski masks of Al Qaeda terrorists in the courtroom, shouting, "If it don't fit, you must acquit." I imagine the Saudis would pay him handsomely to make a fool of America.

Bush's instructions to the CIA are that they are cleared to kill terrorists where capture is impractical. However, "impractical" can mean a lot of things. If our boys err on the side of killing terrorists rather than capturing them, well, no harm done. They need killing.

No need to start hyperventilating over the CIA executing the Club Gitmo guests. They are already our captives. Bush's finding does not apply to them. They should face Mecca and thank Allah they are safe in Gitmo and not roaming around loose in Afghanistan where the Americans are likely to launch a Hellfire missile up their wazoo. And that part about "all the innocent" guys out there in Gitmo, man, Cicerone, you crack me up. You're quite the jester. Thanks for the laugh.


Tantor
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2002 10:16 pm
so when the US has used the military sans uniforms, dog tags or Geneva convention cards that was ok or not?
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2002 10:26 pm
blatham wrote:
Your Johnny Cochran allusion contained a clear tone of derogation regarding 'lawyerly' procedings.


Splendid. Sometimes I think I am not communicating clearly enough so it's very gratifying to see that you are reading it exactly like I intended. Thank you.

blatham wrote:

It is, though you might not recognize it, really rather like the sort of tone we'd hear from the bad guys about 'lawyerly' procedings.


You have it exactly backwards, blatham. The bad guys love lawyers who help them get away with murder. It is the good guys who find such unjust outcomes bothersome.

blatham wrote:

Your 'moral symmetry' is interesting too. Eye for an eye sort of stuff. Compassion - for wimps. Rules or rights - romantacisms. Curiously, it's a code more like that of Al Quaeda than like the constitution envisions.


Blatham, your construction of Al Qaeda's code is flawed. Those three thousand pairs of eyes Al Qaeda closed on Sep 11 had offered no offense, no injury to Osama Bin Laden. I doubt most had even heard of Al Qaeda nor knew his cause. He struck the first blow to topple America as part of a campaign to make the world submit to Islam. They adhere to Khomeini's dictum that no Islamic republic was established except by force.

Unfortunately, dealing death to those who butcher Americans is a very simple and compelling message to terrorists. They understand little else. The Islamists don't believe anyone has any rights and quite straighforwardly reject the idea. You must submit to Allah's will. It is quite just that those who seek to kill Americans are themselves killed by America. And when we kill enough of them, they will stop and adopt a more peaceful coexistence, just like any virulent disease.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Dec, 2002 10:29 pm
dyslexia wrote:
so when the US has used the military sans uniforms, dog tags or Geneva convention cards that was ok or not?


They shouldn't expect any Geneva Convention protections. Of course, our enemies are not the kind who do Geneva Convention protections so it hardly matters.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
 

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