A "just" war

Dear Everyone;

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Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

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We don't need to trust him - the courts are going to open the documents and we will see for ourselves.

- Steve

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If American soldiers raped young boys, thn they shoud be imprisoned for life, and you'd get no argument from me for execution.

I agree that they, and anyone else (all the way up the chain of command) either giving approval for such actions (or class of action) or obstructing the investigation or prosecution of those involved should be held accountable.

However, it doesn't change the fact that liberating Iraq was and is a noble cause.

What I hope the exposing of such crimes does change is the ignorance people have of the magnitude of the so-called "collateral damage" involved in the waging of war when they do their cost/benefit analysis. Because, as I think you would agree, wars whose costs out-weight their benefits are not noble - they are foolish and irresponsible.

- Steve


  I agree with you that wars whose costs outweigh their benefits are foolish and irresponsible. A problem is that military interventions often seems to be analyzed (as well as post-analyzed) from the perspective of the question, "what positive and negative effects [resulted/will result] from this intervention?"

  That is not a complete cost-benefit analysis. In order to have a complete cost-benefit analysis of whether or not to intervene in a particular situation, one cannot simply ask, "What will happen if we intervene?" One must give equal weight to the question, "What will happen if we do *not * intervene?"

  "Collateral damage" can result from deciding *not * to use military force in a particular situation, as well as from deciding to use it. Nor can we fairly lay the blame for everything unjust that happens during the course of a conflict at the feet of those who decided to intervene, unless we are prepared to blame those making a decision *not* to intervene for every negative outcome that their intervention could have plausibly prevented.

Love & liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

I agree completely.

Let's look at the interventions taken in the middle east:

- intervene by helping to put corrupt dictators in power

- intervene by backing corrupt dictators and supplying them with arms and then scratching our heads when they invade their neighbors

- intervene via embargoes that only hurt the country's people and serve to make it's dictator more powerful

now if we turn back the clock and avoided all of these interventions, how would history have proceeded without our "helpful" interventions and what would be the net difference in collateral damage?

- Steve

Very good question. But are you talking about all interventions in the Middle East, or just U.S. government interventions? If just the latter, why just the latter? Is the anti-intervention side of the debate willing to hold all countries to the same standards? If you're asking what the Middle East would look like without any military interventions having occurred in recent history (say, post-WWII), are you including arms sales? The presence of military advisors? Promises of military support in the event of a country being attacked?

  I say that interventions should be post-analyzed on a case-by-case basis, because it's hard enough to credibly speculate about what might have happened in the absence of one particular intervention, let alone a whole series of them. So one might reasonably ask what would have happened if the U.S. government had not invaded Iraq, or had the Iraqi regime not invaded Kuwait, etc. Those questions should indeed be asked.

Love & liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

Thanks for this, Derek. It looks as though it was designed as a hit
piece, but somebody (author or editor, I don't know) decided to recast
it as a thoughtful reflection on the dilemmas of journalism.