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Big Guy

The Ethics of War and Revenge

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Do you really believe that the American and Canadian governments got involved in Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al because we make things better better for people living there.?

I think the idea is to prevent things getting worse for people living here.

Edited by bcsapper

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I think the idea is to prevent things getting worse for people living here.

When did Canada get involved in making it better for people in other countries? What right do we have to get involved with any sovereign country unless that military assistance is requested by the legitimate government of that sovereign country?

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When did Canada get involved in making it better for people in other countries? What right do we have to get involved with any sovereign country unless that military assistance is requested by the legitimate government of that sovereign country?

No, here, I said. If things get better for others, great.

Why would you ask permission before you bombed someone? They probably aren't going to give it.

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No, here, I said. If things get better for others, great.

Why would you ask permission before you bombed someone? They probably aren't going to give it.

Sorry - misread your response. I read "there" where in reality was "here".

Please accept my apologies. :)

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BC, went and research and yes 8 kids died who were on those planes, which is very sad and wrong but there are thousands that have dies in the ME. and the US government is still partly responsible for letting the attacks happen in the first place on 9/11.

OK....then using your own logic, the governments in the ME are responsible for letting the attacks happen. How unethical of them.

As for the dead U.S. children, now you know...it's only been 14 years.

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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I think the idea is to prevent things getting worse for people living here.

That's the sales pitch alright,

Why would you ask permission before you bombed someone? They probably aren't going to give it.

The real trick is getting permission from your own people. A dash of fear, a touch of loathing and presto you're in business to the the tune of millions and millions killed, displaced, injured and imprisoned or injured plus trillions and trillions of treasure lost all within living memory.

Commies...drugs...Islamists... Fear and loathing - the laziest, easiest most unethical path of least resistance there is.

OK....then using your own logic, the governments in the ME are responsible for letting the attacks happen. How unethical of them.

This last comment gives a better clue to what I mean by ethically lazy.

Actually, it was the people under the thumbs of the dictators who were responsible for not overthrowing their dictators and installing democracies with an actual capacity for stopping terrorist attacks.

That said they probably deserved to be oppressed because of what they did 1600 years ago.

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I still ask:

If your children were "accidently" killed by a terrorist targeting a military installation in Canada and who managed to escape back to Iraq, and if you had the means and opportunity would you extinguish that individual?

If no - why not?

If yes - how do you rationalize that act and condemn others who use the same excuse?

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If my family was killed as a result of the GWOT I'd probably park myself on Capital Hill and go on a hunger strike against it until Canada withdrew or I died too.

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I still ask:

If your children were "accidently" killed by a terrorist targeting a military installation in Canada and who managed to escape back to Iraq, and if you had the means and opportunity would you extinguish that individual?

If no - why not?

If yes - how do you rationalize that act and condemn others who use the same excuse?

I would. I wouldn't deliberately kill his Mum, though, or anyone else's.

How do they know who did what?

Then there's the issue of sides. If I was watching WWII live, I sure wouldn't be able to blame the German soldier who killed the Brit, but I would only be happy when it was the other way around.

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Methinks that for me, the carnage of innocents is the crux of attempting to look at war conflict objectively.

When the enemy reacts the same way as any human would, we still have to condemn him in order to maintain a sense of conscience that allows us to accept atrocities on our part. That way we can rationalize the carnage.

This concept of "acceptable collateral damage" that we are being asked to acknowledge as the inevitable result of war is an example. This is acceptable to who? To us who are inflicting it? To those who are killed? To our targets? I think not.

It is part of the brainwashing that we have to inflict on our soldiers during boot camp so we can prepare normal, intelligent, sensitive, loving young people to survive the guilt of killing innocents. Having associated with vets who saw direct action, I can guarantee that it does not work in most cases. It is only the couch potato generals who derive their views from John Wayne movies and advise us what they would do - if only given the chance.

With the growing popularity of drones and robotic warfare, an approach that leads to even more inaccurate "acceptable collateral damage", we will train fewer "killers" and more excuses of "technical problems" leading to non targeted deaths.

Edited by Big Guy

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It's simple. The carnage of innocents must be avoided at almost all costs. But not at all costs. As for acceptable collateral damage, it only needs to be acceptable to those inflicting it. The others don't get a say.

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Methinks the I just saw a Public Television special on the Nazi movement. There was a description of the different methods used by the Nazis to exterminate Slavs, Baltics and Jews. Once the extermination policy was accepted, the initial method was herding a whole bunch of naked people and having soldiers shoot them. It became inefficient in that many of the soldiers had difficulty following those orders as their targets writhed and moaned in pain before they died. There were more problems when some of those who had been ordered and did the executing then deserted or committed suicide.

Someone tried herding the victims into the back of large trucks with the exhaust being directed into the box. The trip to the burial pits took about half an hour so by the time the truck arrived, everybody in the back was dead and they just had to be off loaded into the ditches. Even that was creating psychological problems for the drivers et al so the final solution was herding into large confined spaces, deadly gassing and into the ovens. Fewer people were needed and apparently could be automated where the gas would be released automatically at two hour intervals which meany no human had to initiate the process every time.

I believe it is against the nature of man to kill innocent people. People have to be conditioned to commit the act and taught to rationalize after the act. Even that process does not always work and we find conscience overcomes BS with soldiers unable to live with the guilt.

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Methinks the I just saw a Public Television special on the Nazi movement. There was a description of the different methods used by the Nazis to exterminate Slavs, Baltics and Jews. Once the extermination policy was accepted, the initial method was herding a whole bunch of naked people and having soldiers shoot them. It became inefficient in that many of the soldiers had difficulty following those orders as their targets writhed and moaned in pain before they died. There were more problems when some of those who had been ordered and did the executing then deserted or committed suicide.

Someone tried herding the victims into the back of large trucks with the exhaust being directed into the box. The trip to the burial pits took about half an hour so by the time the truck arrived, everybody in the back was dead and they just had to be off loaded into the ditches. Even that was creating psychological problems for the drivers et al so the final solution was herding into large confined spaces, deadly gassing and into the ovens. Fewer people were needed and apparently could be automated where the gas would be released automatically at two hour intervals which meany no human had to initiate the process every time.

I believe it is against the nature of man to kill innocent people. People have to be conditioned to commit the act and taught to rationalize after the act. Even that process does not always work and we find conscience overcomes BS with soldiers unable to live with the guilt.

No disagreement here.

Well, unless you're ISIS or Boko Haram, or something like that. They seem to have no trouble.

Edited by bcsapper

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No disagreement here.

Well, unless you're ISIS or Boko Haram, or something like that. They seem to have no trouble.

I believe that these are also just ordinary humans with human instincts. If you can convince any individual that it is an honorable and courageous act to kill others to save your family then that individual will place the importance of their families over their own lives.

Once you add the concept that "the end justifies the means" into the equation then you have the suicide bombers and terrorists who burn, drown and decapitate enemies. There may or may not be remorse because we have not been able to capture too many of them - ironically because they are being shielded and protected by the locals. These are their villages.

I believe in the equality of man from birth - it is what happens after that which dictates the direction the individual will go.

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I believe that these are also just ordinary humans with human instincts. If you can convince any individual that it is an honorable and courageous act to kill others to save your family then that individual will place the importance of their families over their own lives.

Once you add the concept that "the end justifies the means" into the equation then you have the suicide bombers and terrorists who burn, drown and decapitate enemies. There may or may not be remorse because we have not been able to capture too many of them - ironically because they are being shielded and protected by the locals. These are their villages.

I believe in the equality of man from birth - it is what happens after that which dictates the direction the individual will go.

I agree, but as my signature suggests, I just think all human bets are off when religion gets involved.

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In all of the interventions since WW2 the end goal has always been end conflict and set up a democratic state that would emulate western democracies. You can argue that in some cases other motives also influenced the decision to intervene but it does not change that every intervention is based on the belief that by intervening the people living there will have better lives.

No it's not, it's been based on the belief that intervention will advance our security (political, economic etc). Vietnam wasn't about helping the Vietnamese have better lives, it was about preventing the spread of communism, which was a security threat to the West. Setting up democracies in other countries is based on democratic peace theory, where healthy democracies don't attack each other but become allies, while despots like Saddam etc. can cause trouble. It's all about our security & self-interest. We didn't go into Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. to help those people. That's the lie sold to the masses to drum up support for war. And there's a reason why we intervene in economic and politically important countries like those in the ME and Europe and very rarely in Sub-saharan Africa.

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When did Canada get involved in making it better for people in other countries? What right do we have to get involved with any sovereign country unless that military assistance is requested by the legitimate government of that sovereign country?

Not only do we have no right, it's illegal under the UN Charter to do so. The UN can't even send in peacekeepers into a country unless they're invited to do so.

Violating another country's sovereignty is the #1 rule of international relations and has been since the beginning of the Westphalian international state system created in 1648. To do so is an act of war.

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Vietnam wasn't about helping the Vietnamese have better lives, it was about preventing the spread of communism, which was a security threat to the West.

Communism is a brutal system that brought only misery to the people enslaved by it. Preventing the spread of communism helps the people affected by definition. There is no intervention which was not made in the belief that the people affected would be better off. You need to stop assuming that there can only be one reason for an intervention. There are always many and some of the reasons are self interest but the existence of self-interest does not change the fact that altruistic reasons also exist.

BTW: there was absolutely no strategic benefit to get involved in Libya. The only reason for that intervention was a desire to help reformers take power.

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Communism is a brutal system that brought only misery to the people enslaved by it. Preventing the spread of communism helps the people affected by definition. There is no intervention which was not made in the belief that the people affected would be better off. You need to stop assuming that there can only be one reason for an intervention. There are always many and some of the reasons are self interest but the existence of self-interest does not change the fact that altruistic reasons also exist.

Altruistic reasons, if any, are secondary concerns, basically an added bonus, propaganda to woo the masses and maybe even make politicians and generals sleep a little better at night while they get on with the real mission.

BTW: there was absolutely no strategic benefit to get involved in Libya. The only reason for that intervention was a desire to help reformers take power.

Outside the usual suspects, Libya has one of the highest proven oil reserves in the world. Gaddafi didn't play ball with the West, so when they saw a chance with little risk to themselves, they helped take him out. Humanitarian blah blah blah.

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Altruistic reasons, if any, are secondary concerns

Says who? When the altruistic reasons are not obviously there the west is not likely to intervene. Altruistic reasons are a necessary but not sufficient basis for any intervention.

Outside the usual suspects, Libya has one of the highest proven oil reserves in the world.

A conspiracy theory. Countries like Libya have to sell their oil at current prices. The only thing that stops them is their own inability to keep their oil extraction infrastructure running. The idea that we needed to intervene because of oil was laughable. The intervention was motivated only by a desire to help rebels who were seen as 'good guys' that would move Libya towards a more open state. Edited by TimG

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Communism is a brutal system that brought only misery to the people enslaved by it.

...

BTW: there was absolutely no strategic benefit to get involved in Libya. The only reason for that intervention was a desire to help reformers take power.

There are different kinds of communism. Not all people under communist rule want change to democracy. The USA learned that the Bay of Pigs fiasco where the invaders assumed that the local populace will join them in the "liberation" of Cuba. Bad move. The locals sided with Fidel and his communist govt.

There is universal health care in Cuba - better coverage than we have in Canada. Also, education is "free" for anyone to attend school until they choose not to.

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There are different kinds of communism. Not all people under communist rule want change to democracy.

Of course, communist party members who enjoy privileges denied to the masses can have a comfortable existence. But that does not mean life is better for people in the aggregate.

There is universal health care in Cuba - better coverage than we have in Canada. Also, education is "free" for anyone to attend school until they choose not to.

ROTFL. You have to stop getting your info from Michael Moore propaganda flicks. Cuban healthcare does not have anything close to the funding that Canadian healthcare has and any theoretical benefit from extended coverage is meaningless when there is no money for drugs, equipment or even basic medical supplies. Edited by TimG

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A conspiracy theory. Countries like Libya have to sell their oil at current prices. The only thing that stops them is their own inability to keep their oil extraction infrastructure running. The idea that we needed to intervene because of oil was laughable. The intervention was motivated only by a desire to help rebels who were seen as 'good guys' that would move Libya towards a more open state.

In 1953, democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh was ousted in a western-backed coup because he wanted to nationalize Iran's oil. A western-friendly dictator was installed, oil was not nationalized. In 1954, <a data-ipb="nomediaparse" data-cke-saved-href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d"href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d" %c3%a9tat"="">the same thing happened in Guatemala, this time largely to support the American United Fruit Company when they wanted to nationalize fruit production. In 2009, Gaddafi said he wanted to nationalize Libya's oil:

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Libyans gathered on Wednesday to discuss the proposal by their leader Muammar Gaddafi to disband the government and allow the country's oil wealth to flow straight to the people. "Libyans, this is your historic opportunity to take over your oil wealth, power and full freedom. Why do you want to let the chance slip away from you?" state news agency Jana quoted Gaddafi as saying before the five-day gatherings.

Countries like Libya have to sell their oil at current prices. The only thing that stops them is their own inability to keep their oil extraction infrastructure running.

And who provides this infrastructure? Western oil companies are in these countries making big money contracted to extract/process/ship these resources. In some cases foreign investors may even own the land the oil sits under. Foreign investment is rampant, when you nationalize it you kick them out & people get mad. For example, Suncor, Canada's largest crude company (from Calgary), stood to benefit from Gaddafi getting ousted: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/suncor-gearing-up-to-go-back-into-libya/article619708/ It's no secret Alberta's oil sector has close ties to Harper and his gov.

How many Western oil companies, including those with close ties to the Bush admin, stood to benefit and have benefited from the ousting of Saddam?

The intervention was motivated only by a desire to help rebels who were seen as 'good guys' that would move Libya towards a more open state.

But why did we want a "more open state"? At the end of the day, the West backs regimes that suit their interests and isolates or topples those that go against their interests, regardless of humanitarian concerns or democracy. We back dictators in Saudi Arabia because they're friendly to us and have tons of oil. In Iran we ousted Mossedegh, backed the Shah, then isolated Iran since 1979 because they rejected our strongman. We backed Saddam in the 80's because he fought Iran (didn't mind his use of chemical weapons in that war), then we turned on Saddam when he went after oil in Kuwait. The West doesn't care much about all the dictators and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa for a reason.

Edited by Moonlight Graham

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