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The Peace Cult

  1. Apr 2, 2003 #1
    Although this relates to a current issue, I put it in the philosophy section because it deals with the existence of evil and wordviews derrived from that... (oh and sorry for the length!)

    The Peace Cult, Part 1 of 3

    I write this as the U.S. and Britain coalition forces exchange fire with Iraqi forces outside of Baghdad, Basra, and other locations after invading Iraq seven days ago. Still, the points I make here have always been applicable to the human condition and I am, by far, not the first to bring them up.

    As the hawks and doves clash over the war now taking place, it is important to note that both sides are talking past one another. This is typical in all major ideological battles, such as the abortion debate, capital punishment, and many religious and political issues.

    The hawks (like myself in this case) will talk about how UN Resolution 1441 specifically calls for “serious consequences” after Iraq has failed to “immediately and fully” disarm. They will point to evidence of Saddam Hussein’s chemical, biological, and nuclear ambitions, and previous knowledge that he had in his possession tons of weapons of mass destruction which were never accounted for. They will point out his motive and opportunity for using them on his neighbors and other nations. Hawks will also point out twelve years of failed sanctions, resolutions, and diplomatic efforts to disarm Iraq.

    But none of this seems to “reach” the doves. None of this means anything to them because, when one listens to what they are saying, one finds that they are making entirely different points and focusing on entirely different issues. This is because many of the doves in this case are operating off of a different world-view, a different set of value judgments, and a different ideology altogether. This ideology, like our own, affects the way one “measures up” the facts, and even affects the way one estimates what is and what is not a fact. I call this ideology the “cult of peace”.


    Perception of Evil:
    At the core of this ideology is a fundamental difference in how the subject of “evil” is perceived. People all over the globe have had different ideas about evil throughout history. There are both religious and secular ideas about evil. Although my concept of evil is more of a secular one, I do believe there is such a thing as evil. Not a disembodied force, per se, but a class of actions or motives that one can objectively describe as being evil in nature. However, members of the peace cult have entirely done away with the concept of evil altogether. Rather than address the issue, they have nihilistically relegated it to the status of “cultural fantasy.” In short, they do not believe such a thing as evil exists.

    How then do they explain all of the unfortunate behaviors of people, which lead to suffering in the world? Listening to their comments, it seems that it is all due to misunderstanding, inequity, needs, and ignorance. To be sure, these are the source of a great number of unpleasant conditions and events, but completely ignored are the examples of evil people with evil motivations. As someone put it to me once, “we [humans] are all just trying to get along as best as we know how.” I strongly disagree. There are those among us who know better, and are aware of better options, and yet willfully choose to be and do evil acts for their own selfish gain or power, simply because they feel they can get away with it - People with no conscience, no concern for others, and no intention of ever changing. The Peace cultist sees such people as simply being misunderstood, and thinks their behavior can be changed if we could just have a dialogue with them. If we could just find a way to meet our mutual goals peacefully all could be solved, so they believe. Again, in a huge number of cases this certainly is true. But the peace cultist, because they reject the concept of evil, lack the ability to distinguish between misunderstanding and being the target of those with plainly evil intentions.

    This is why the peace cultists think that continued “dialogue” and diplomacy with Iraq could work. They believe that if we could reach an understanding with Saddam Hussein that all could be accomplished. It is inconceivable to them that the objectives of Saddam could be our destruction for the purposes of bolstering his position of power, or even for its own malicious sake. In their minds, they believe he must want our destruction only because he seeks peace and security for him and his people and is mislead as to how to achieve it. He, so they believe, is simply enraged at injustices that have been done to him and Iraq. The peace cultist is completely incapable of understanding that Saddam would never disarm or stop plotting against other nations and terrorizing his people, regardless of what he understood, regardless of any dialogue, and regardless of what compromises were made. This is because they lack the understanding that there are truly evil people in the world with truly evil intentions. Saddam Hussein’s disingenuous diplomatic trickery, designed to look as though he is trying to comply and compromise, all too easily fools the peace cultist and only further enhances their delusional world-view.


    Moral Ambiguity:
    The inability to distinguish misunderstanding from evil also leads to some other logical errors by the peace cultist. Among them; the tendency to lump together all aggressive acts into one category of violence. Without the ability (or will) to recognize evil, every act of force appears to them to be the same as every other - all described simply as violence, and equally avoided at any cost. The acts of Allied forces liberating France are seen as equally unfortunate as the acts of Hitler’s army invading Poland. A man shooting a home invader to protect his family is seen as equally repulsive as a man shooting another in the street for his wallet. A murderer being executed is as horrible as the murders he committed. This and other equally ridiculous conclusions are the result of the peace cultist’s twisted world-view.

    Such nonsense is what leads them to constantly compare the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein with the U.S. and other free nations, as though they were legitimate equals. For instance, asking things such as “how would we feel if Saddam wanted our President to go into exile?” This is like asking, “How would the police like it if the bank robber arrested him?” A dictatorship is not the equivalent of a free democratic nation, and cannot be given equal legitimacy on the global stage. Any attempt to morally or legally equate the two in argument should be rightly rejected.

    One “reporter” in a radio program considered widely to be “left wing” asked recently if the U.S. could be convicted of war crimes because some of its missiles have hit civilian targets. This completely blew my mind. I can hardly believe that such people are not aware that civilians, unfortunately, have always died in wars and it is only the intentional targeting of civilians in war that is considered terrorism and a war crime. But, as usual, the peace cultist will lump together all war actions under one umbrella.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2003 #2
    The Peace Cult, part 2 of 3

    Legal Legitimacy:
    This misunderstanding of violence and force also causes the peace cultist to misinterpret government, laws, and legal legitimacy. Listening to their arguments concerning the UN, it becomes clear after a time that they are envisioning the UN in a different light than we think of it. If you believe that all conflicts can be remedied through dialogue, then you fail to understand that laws and rights only exist insofar as their is force available to back them up. As such, they will refer to the actions of the coalition as being “illegal” - as if the UN were a world government with the ability to pass laws which nations are beholden to. But the UN has no such authority. The highest legal institution that I live under is the United States Federal Government. The UN is a fine forum for nations to discuss their problems and challenges and to make statements and resolutions in, but the UN cannot pass laws, which means that the actions of the coalition cannot possibly be illegal (i.e. “against the law”).

    Even if one were referring to U.S. law, the actions we have taken are completely in line with our laws and even have the recent official backing of the Congress. But let us assume, for argument’s sake, that resolutions of the UN were binding laws. Even if this were true, the United States along with well over 35 other nations, are acting to enforce resolution 1441, which is the latest resolution passed by the UN (not to mention a number of other resolutions). That unanimously-passed resolution stated that Saddam was to “immediately and totally” disarm and if he did not, he was to face “serious consequences”. The inspectors, and even France, both admitted that Iraq had not immediately and totally disarmed, and every nation knew what “serious consequences” entailed. The worst thing that could have happened for the UN would be to make an ultimatum and then not follow through. What France, Russia, Germany, and China would have us do would be to not follow through on the ultimatum of 1441, thus ensuring that UN resolutions would be meaningless. In this case, the coalition forces are acting within 1441 and consistently with all other UN resolutions. In short, if it were true that the UN was a world governmental legal authority, the coalition would be enforcing the law, while protesting nations such as France argue for the non-enforcement of it.

    Another point about the legality of this war, is that this really isn’t a different war. This is actually the continuation of the first Gulf War, with all of the legitimacy it had. The first Gulf War never actually ended - it was simply a cease fire on the condition that Iraq disarm. This war could have immediately been continued during the Clinton Administration when Saddam Hussein first expelled the UN inspectors from Iraq. Iraq has been in non-compliance of the cease fire ever since, and it has been within our prerogative to continue the war at any time since then.


    The Highest Priority:
    And this brings us to the overall principle of the peace cult: that peace is the highest priority, no matter what the costs. Congressman Kucinich has introduced H.R. 2459 seeking to establish a “Department of Peace.” He has said that peace should become the central focus of our society. His actions are compatible with the views of a number of peace protesters, who seek peace without really understanding what real peace, or war for that matter, is.

    Listening to the peace cult talk about war, one eventually gets the impression that their view of war is quite different. Of course, we all agree that war is a horrible thing - one that should be avoided if it can be helped. But, should we reach that last resort after other avenues have failed, it is clear that war can and does effect change. If a war is lost, or won, it will affect the political situation, the state of populations, the conditions of nations, and the status of the original conflict, for worse or for better. Again, if such goals could have been accomplished without bloodshed, this would be much more preferable, but looking at wars throughout history, it is clear that they did accomplish goals.

    One odd exception to this norm (but not the only) was the Vietnam War, in which political entanglements and skewed priorities in the leadership led to years of pointless conflict. Unwilling to put forth the resources, plans, or will for victory, we bumbled on and on in war until finally pulling out, with nothing changed other than a great deal of death and destruction. Vietnam is a strange and particular example of war, but one that has been infused into our collective consciousness. This is perhaps a good thing since the danger of getting into “quagmires” is a constant one.

    However, much of an entire generation now has a distorted understanding of war. When we hear the peace cultist speak of war, they talk as though war is something that breaks out when one or both sides “lose their temper” and the result is a bunch of pointless killing. Afterward, so they perceive, things can calm down and dialogue can come in and save the day. This is not a correct understanding of what war is or what it tends to do, and that misunderstanding is the result of basing one’s perception of war off of one oddball example (Vietnam) that is contrary to most wars throughout history.

    In most cases, a campaign is waged with specific goals and tactics, that results in one side’s victory and the conditions of the people in the area changing to reflect the will of the victorious side. Although war should be a final option because of the tragedy it causes, this is why it IS still an option - because it can and does accomplish crucial goals when peaceful alternatives to accomplishing those goals has been exhausted. War defeated Hitler’s regime, war brought American independence, and war liberated the French from their monarchy as well. Peace cultists commonly imply the opposite - that war is simply a fruitless period of pointless killing.

    I heard one protester on the radio say that he wished there were more younger faces out in the crowd. Many of the older protesters appear to me to simply be reliving their protests of the 60’s out of some misplaced nostalgia, rather than actually being concerned with the issues today. The conspiracy paranoia generated by the actions of the government during those years has so scarred such people and some of the following generation that they refuse to accept even the most obvious if it is presented by our government and commonly prefer the claims of murderous dictators to those of their democratically elected civilian leaders. Some have even suggested that an informed person should “balance” dictator-controlled news sources with competition-based news sources from free nations in order to estimate the truth, which they say lies “somewhere in between” - this complete nonsense is a sign of rationality-decay.

    On another note, protesters have a right to peaceably assemble, but they do not have a right (legal or moral) to block buildings and traffic, deface property, or assault people. In fact, such activity distracts police forces from providing security in a time when terrorists threaten us. This, especially, is why the recent illegal activity of some protesters has been a traitorous act on the U.S. and deserving of punishment.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2003 #3
    The Peace Cult, Part 3 of 3

    Tactics of the Peace Cult:
    In response to the notion that we are attempting to liberate the people of Iraq from a tyrant, many have pointed out that they did not ask to be liberated. Putting aside for the moment the facts that the “news” the Iraqi people get is highly selected, and the fact that those stating a desire to be liberated would be tortured and executed, this point is not really relevant. If the Iraqi people were simply being ruled by a dictator who harmed only them, then one might be able to make such an argument. But, because Iraq is being held by a dictator who also threatens those outside his borders, it has now become “our business”. I think most Kuwaitis would agree with this. Therefore, as a resident of Iraq, one either knows what’s what and wants to be liberated (perhaps even meeting their personal responsibility to resist the tyrant), or is unaware of the true situation, or does not want to oust a dictator that is threatening the world, in which case such a person would be somewhat of an accomplice.

    Then there is the claim that Iraq is not linked to the 9/11 attacks. This is a “straw man” argument, because I’ve yet to hear anyone make such a claim. The actual hawk argument is that, given the simple tools used in the 9/11 attacks, it showed us how easy it would be to deliver weapons of mass destruction via the same means. Iraq’s limited missile range then becomes a non-issue and we can see that he is a direct threat. Instead of arguing honestly on this point, the peace cultist pretends that the argument is that Saddam is behind 9/11, and proceeds to argue against this non-position in the hopes that the unknowing will simply see the hawk position as ludicrous. Either that, or the peace cultist truly is so ignorant of the issues as to genuinely think this argument is sound.

    Of course, these are not the only tactics of the peace cult. Perhaps the biggest is the “war for oil” claim. This argument was suspect enough in the first Gulf War, but now it’s just absurd. For one, this war is costing so much that it is beyond imagination how one can think that any oil deal we got would be worth it. Secondly, the United States produces three times the oil that Iraq does already. If we wanted Iraq’s oil, why did we not take it after the first Gulf War? And lastly, our leaders have been stating blatantly that the oil in Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. I seriously doubt that they would be making such strong declarations if they were planning to take such oil - which would be plainly visible to all the world. It’s true that we will likely use oil profits for the rebuilding of Iraq after the war, but this is for the sake of the Iraqi people and therefore doing so is completely fair. As Prime Minister Blair has pointed out, the vast majority of the “rebuilding” will not be because of the war, but rebuilding from years of dictatorial oppression. It’s obvious to most that this entire war is not being fought for oil, but why would anyone believe such a ridiculous thing? Well, several factors, all of which have been mentioned, come together here...

    1) No-evil means Saddam’s statements are just as suspect or believable as coalition leaders’.
    2) War is simply meaningless killing that accomplishes nothing so why else do it when simple dialogue could solve any conflict?
    3) There is a continuing conspiracy in our government that’s been going on at least since the 60’s.
    4) All conflict is the result of conflicting needs and misunderstanding.
    -------------
    Therefore, despite all other facts and logic to the contrary, the only conclusion must be that the United States needs Iraq’s oil.

    The “oil claim” is more of a tactic to establish peace at any price than it is a real position or argument. This is probably one of the most predominant tactics the peace cult uses, other than simple emotional appeal. This emotional appeal usually takes the form of highlighting injured and killed civilians - as if that didn’t happen in every other war, including the American Revolution and World War II. When exactly was it decided that liberation from a tyrant wasn’t worth this price?


    Conclusion:
    Peace cultists have said many times recently, “Democracy doesn’t come on a rocket!” Yet, historically, the “rocket’s red glare” has been the primary means by which Democracies are established. Peace mongers have actually said such things as, “Democracy comes through dialogue and understanding.” Most of these people have been raised in a domesticated and protected environment of democracy that has lead them to believe that dialogue, education, and understanding can always lead to improvement - Yet, only in a democracy, this is true. This is because, in a democracy, the will of the people plays a role in the course of the nation. But this is not true of a dictatorship. As long as there is one individual or small group of individuals that have hijacked the nation and maintain tyrannical rule by force, no amount of communication, understanding, or education of the people will ever bring about freedom. That dictator will remain in ruthless control until his death, at which time his power will pass on to another dictator. This is impossible to comprehend for someone whose ideology forbids them from recognizing evil intent and from making any sort of value judgments other than cultural relativism. Aside from a truly psychologically-bizarre change of personality on the part of the dictator, only direct force can bring about liberation from a tyranny and establish a democracy. This is why Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    Peace is not a peace worth having if it means living under the rule or threats of a tyrant. Real peace is peace under conditions of freedom and security. Certainly, the quest for real peace can be a noble one, and my words here are not meant to disparage those who honestly seek peace in a realistic and reasonable way. Peace is always a desirable condition for humanity, but peace cannot and should not ever be the central or highest priority. As long as there are people who are willing to use force to take liberty, there must be those who are willing to use force to preserve it - otherwise liberty is doomed. One can only see this if one is able to acknowledge the existence of evil men with evil motivations, who’s wills are not subject to change based on mutual understanding. Peace is a luxury to be enjoyed by those who have met higher responsibilities. Responsibilities such as justice, liberty, and security from the blackmail of terror. These priorities must always be higher than that of peace, because any other prioritization is a formula for eternal human enslavement.
     
  5. Apr 2, 2003 #4

    Njorl

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    I enjoyed it. It did not seem long, probably because you write well. Anything I write over twenty lines tends to ramble if I don't re-write it a few times.

    While you don't come out and say it, I inferred from your essay that you contend all anti-war people are "peace cultists". There are some anti-war stances that do not rely on peace-at-all-costs philosophies. Weighing the relative benefits and hazards the war brings to our security is not easy. There is some merit to arguments that the war will cause an increase terrorism. I happen to think the increase will be short term, but supporting that belief is not so easy.

    One other thing. The more sophisticated of the "Blood for oil" conspiracy theorists do not claim that the war is being waged to obtain oil for America, but rather to procure lucrative oil drilling and moving contracts for the president's cronies. The war would not need to be profitable to America this way, as long as it profits specific individuals. I think that this too is bunk, but it is more plausible than the less sophisticated view.

    Njorl
     
  6. Apr 2, 2003 #5
    I get the impression that these individuals might equating non-violence with peace. I certainly hope not; that is a serious mistake.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2003 #6

    Les Sleeth

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    I am a child of the hippie era, and have more than a few friends who feel strongly about both peace and war issues.

    The view of one friend of mine is similar to what you describe. I've just sent him your post and challenged him to respond to you. I hope he does, you will find him formidable.

    But your post, though not saying so directly, seems to suggest that to be against the war in Iraq is to either to be blindly committed to peace or to not understand all the issues. There is another possibility.

    It might sound strange for a liberal to say, but personally I don't have a problem with killing evil people who are making life miserable for millions (I mean, we all have to die anyway!). A just war saves lives in the long term.

    My objection to the war has to do with my wish to see the world acting in a united way. We didn't have to push for war so quickly, we could have worked harder to get UN support, or at least more of it. You can inflate the threat of Iraq if you want, but most informed people knew that with all that military might in place and inspections, there was most likely no threat so immediate that we couldn't have worked a bit longer with the UN for the sake of furthering world unity.

    But no, we HAD to go ahead, and that is because our leaders had already assumed we'd have our way, and if we didn't, we'd do what we want anyway.

    I say it is not just taking a crap on the UN, but we have now set an example for the world about how those with might get to be more right (and listen less). What happens when we really need the world's help, when maybe we aren't so powerful? How will we be able to righteously insist Russia, for instance, show restraint in attacking some bothersome neighbor? Which side of our face will we preach from?

    We could have waited awhile, shown more commitment to the UN, and demonstrated that we really do believe all humans need to be united against evil.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2003
  8. Apr 3, 2003 #7
    Wow, I was really happy to see such civil responses to what can obviously be a very volatile subject. Thanks very much for your resonable tones everyone. Especially given that some of you are against the war, those were very admirable responses.

    Njorl and LW Sleeth indicated that I seem to be suggesting that everyone against the war are "peace cultists". Perhaps I should have made this more clear, but I don't at all think this is the case. I would point to my final paragraph where I said...

    "Certainly, the quest for real peace can be a noble one, and my words here are not meant to disparage those who honestly seek peace in a realistic and reasonable way."

    Indeed, as you point out, there are many other arguments for peace or against the war. I have not been for every war and I myself would employ such arguments in those cases. But my article here was referring to this particular world view. Sorry for not making that more clear.

    Njorl, you're correct about the other arguments concerning oil. Perhaps I glossed over that in the interest of staying on-topic, but that is definitely a more sophisticated version of the argument. Like you, I don't really buy that version either, although I must say that, should U.S. Companies get contracts for the rebuilding, I can't say that it wouldn't be just compensation for the liberation of an entire people. The main thing is that Iraqi oil profits be used for rebuilding iraq for their people. If our companies do that good work, then they need to be compensated as well. People who think such a thing is wrong, really just have more of a problem with capitalism in general and a complex about "corporations being evil" in my opinion.

    LW Sleeth, you do make a very different argument than the one I tackled in my article. I too would prefer a unified UN on this matter. But I differ with you about the threat. You say that...

    "You can inflate the threat of Iraq if you want, but most informed people knew that with all that military might in place and inspections, there was most likely no threat so immediate that we couldn't have worked a bit longer with the UN for the sake of furthering world unity."

    However, there is a false assumptions in this assessment. The "threat" was not deemed to be from a conventional military source, even including their missiles. The threat was due to the fact that, using state-level research and material resources not normally available to individual terrorists, a small group of terrorists (independant or state-sanctioned) could get hold of these WMD's and smuggle them into New York or anywhere else, killing perhaps tens of thousands. Given that travel of individuals to and from Iraq's borders was going on daily, no amount of conventional military force we had in the area could have had an effect on this threat.

    When people talk of 9/11, what they point out is that if people could do so much damage with basically no WMD, then having them provided by a state would be all the worse in such an attack. This means that if we see a state that is working on such weapons and that, unlike india for example (which has nukes), they hate the US and are willing to funnel them to terrorists, we must act on this in some way, because each day the threat increases like a ticking time bomb.

    The other issue I wish to bring up in regard to your argument is one of U.N. procedure. Resolution 1441 did not give the UN the luxury of waiting for inspectors to forcibly disarm iraq. Resolution 1441 said that Iraq was to "immediately and totally" disarm. When he did not do this, the UN security council was to enact "serious consequences". By not doing so "immediately" they were in violation of their own unanimously passed resolution. France, germany, russia, and china were arguing for violating that UN resolution. The US and its allies upheld it. The worst possible thing for the validity of the UN would be to make an ultimatum like that and then not followed through on what it specifically and clearly demanded the UN do. If France and others did not want to act on the conditions laid out in 1441, they should have guessed that Saddam would not have "immediately and totally" disarmed and not voted for 1441.

    And one last note on the inspections...

    It is impossible for any amount of passive inspections to find what a nation intends on hiding. Out of the size of an entire nation, it is far too easy to let the inspectors wander around all sorts of areas at will while continually hiding your ongoing materials and programs in other areas. Everyone knows this, which is why the inspections were never meant to be a procedure for forcibly disarming Iraq. Iraq was to disarm on it's own - and the inspectors were only there to witness what they were doing. It was not their job to go around trying to find hidden things. The inspections could have continued 100 years and never found a thing, all while saddam carried out a robust program - and it would have been very easy to do.

    As Powell said, resolution 1441 was not about inspections. Even if on assumed that inspections WERE working and going to work, this does not constitute the "immediate and total" disarming of Iraq, necessary to avoid the "serious consequences" claus of 1441.

    It is very clear to me that the US and coalition are acting on the official behalf of the UN, according to their most recently passed resolution (and others). The fact that there are now a number of nations that don't like what the UN (i.e. coalition) is doing, has nothing do do with any official UN resolutions or paperwork, and is irrelevant to the body of the UN until or unless they do pass something.

    But, as you said, for the sake of international diplomacy, I wish we did have consensus. I wish those other nations had had the backbone to do the right thing and act to uphold 1441 as we are.
     
  9. Apr 3, 2003 #8

    Les Sleeth

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    Your arguments are ones I’ve heard by the administration and my many Republican friends in order to justify attacking Iraq. As I said, I don’t have a problem going after bad people. But as you listed your reasons for smashing Iraq, once again I listened for why we had to do it now[/], and I heard none that convinced me. I assume that’s so because our priorities are different.

    If you look at a main reason why the US is so powerful, it is because we have more successfully applied the principle of unity than any country in the history of the world. We took advantage of the accomplishments and mistakes of history to fashion a system that recognized the need for human rights, freedom, opportunity, voting power, just law, having both strong central government and strong local governments, separation of church and state, etc. Of course our rich natural resources play a key role in our success, but we could have easily made them available primarily to the upper classes as others had done in the past. So it isn’t just wealth that made us powerful, it is our united system.

    When I say that our priorities are different, it’s because for me there is no principle I trust more than unity. Now like any good principle, the application of it can’t simplistic. There are times when conditions necessitate doing something like war, which is not exactly unity outright, but if waged to prevent others from destroying what unity there is, overall war might serve the cause of unity.

    In this situation one has to weigh all the factors. With 9/11 we had the world very sympathetic to our cause, and also fearful of terrorists, so it was one of the best situations there has ever been to build a strong unified effort to fight terrorism and tyrants. We could have made it a world issue, led the way for a world fight against evil. If the UN had waited so long that it was apparent they were afraid to act, and we’d exhausted all the avenues for changing their mind, then yes, we’d have to go ahead to preserve ourselves.

    But this level of taking action to protect the world is relatively new to the UN, they were/are in an infant state in this respect. In my opinion, we should have seen the value of bringing the UN along further before we took off on our own; we wasted a golden opportunity to develop for long term security, and now have set ourselves apart more than ever. Sure the world needs our wealth, and so probably won’t isolate us completely because of this. But it would have been great for once to have behaved for the good of humanity instead of confirming the self-serving image that so many think about us already.
     
  10. Apr 3, 2003 #9
    Downright amazing in my opinion, considering how inflamatory the term "Peace Cults" is. No one has mentioned it yet, but the opposite inflamatory and time honored political rhetoric is "War Mongers." Personally, I ignored your post for just that reason and fully expected the moderator to move it to the general discussion bulletin board as possessing no philosophical merit.

    That aside, I agree there are people who advocate peace largely on the basis of idiology rather than practical reality, but the same is true for those who advocate war. The fact that the Iraqis and the rest of the Muslim world have not overwhelmingly embraced their kinder-gentler "liberators" is a case in point. This war has so much political rhetoric attached to it the semantists will be studying it for decades to come. Bush admitted this himself immediately after 9-11, this war he said would be fought over propoganda as much as anything else.

    What idiological hogwash, it denies the ugly realities of economics. For most of the history of the US it was an impoverished country by industrial standards. After WWII the entire industrial infrastructure of the more wealthier european nations was distroyed. As a result everyone invested in the US because it was the only industrialized country remaining with its infrastructure intact. Europeans began using dollars for every transaction and to bolster the value of their own money. The Germany Mark experienced the greatest rate of inflation ever seen. People would literally take wheel barrel loads of cash to the market to buy bread.

    Realizing this could not go on forever without another collapse of the world economy, the US in turn invested in the only two industrial nations remaining that had large skilled and educated populations, their bitter enemies Japan and Germany. Once on top of the economic heap, the comparitively huge population of the US all of which share a common language and have few business barriers between its states has managed to maintain its economic position. However, 9-11 presents a clear and present threat to that economic prosperity. Twenty guys armed with nothing more than ten cent razor blades just brought the world's most powerful military/industrial complex to its knees.

    Rugged Individualism is a classic american stance. We earned our economic prosperity the old fashioned honest and hard way, so the rationale goes, and we defend it by brute force if necessary. Like so many cowboys playing poker and fighting off cattle rustlers, success goes to the toughest, best armed, and most righteous. Not any more, the little guys are now getting in on the act. They may not be well armed, but they know how defend themselves by all means necessary if that's how it has to be.

    The truth is no less than ninty percent of the world economy today is pure speculation, gambling, and has little to do with honest hard work. Equally, it appears that how big your six shooters are is having less relevence to the situation. Jessie James was shot in the back and the wild west is being ruled by land barrons and outlaws.
     
  11. Apr 3, 2003 #10

    Les Sleeth

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    If you wanted to discuss the ugly reality of economics, why quote my points about unity principles? I could've discussed economics if I'd wanted, and chose not to. Even though I don't care for your views, I also choose now not to characterize your interpretation of US economics as "hogwash" or in any other demeaning way. I wonder if you've ever considered going a day without being condescending . . . maybe you'll like it!
     
  12. Apr 3, 2003 #11


    I know you didn't specifically say so, but just so you know, I'm not a republican, or even a libertarian, I despise Bush and think he's a dullard - perhaps one of the worst presidents we've ever had, I deplore his gestapo-like (sp?) treatment of US citizens, and I'd vote for 2 full-time prostitutes to be stationed in the oval office if it meant that we could have Clinton back.

    That being said, you were unconvinced as to why "now" was the time. Fair enough. But we could wait 1000 years and "now" would always be when we acted. I think 12 years was enough. To show otherwise, one would have to provide some reasonable rationale as to what could possibly have been done with more time.

    I agree. This is my rationale as to why this IS precisely what has happened...

    1) Without the threat of force, a dictator will not comply with disarmament - ever.
    2) Inspections, no matter how long they go on, cannot stop such a tyrant from continuing with programs of MD.
    2) To be a real threat, we MUST be willing to use force when we said we would or else we lose all credibility.
    3) France stated plainly that it would veto ANY resolution that even left a door open to an attack on Iraq (and, yes, I repeat: ANY)

    This last point (#3) is the incident that brought a rightful immediate end to all negotiations. The reason is that, without the credible threat of force left open as an option, Saddam would never have any reason to comply. At that point it was clear that nothing we could ever negotiate with france would ever be a workable solution leading to Iraq's disarmament. France wanted continual inspections, which cannot secure the situation. Although they themselves voted for a resolution demanding "serious consequences" if there was not "immediate and total" disarmament, AND they even acknowledged that there had not been "immediate and total" disarmament, they refused to take the prescribed action - *AND* made an outright statement that they would veto ANY resolution leaving the door open for hostile action. Therefore, it WAS indeed, as you put it, "apparent [those UN members] were afraid to act, and we’d exhausted all the avenues for changing their mind."

    This was true by their own admission and by all reasonable definition.

    ---------
    PS to all,

    This WAS relevant to the philosophy section because it focused on a worldview and a concept of the existence and nature of evil. However, I realize that many of the responses after have focused on other things more centered on the war so I can't argue if you decide to move the thread.
     
  13. Apr 3, 2003 #12

    Njorl

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    By 1763, average life expectancey and wealth were higher in the colonies than in England. This advantage was lost, but only slightly, during the rapid expansion and immigration of the 19th century.

    In 1900 the USA had the third highest per capita GDP in the world, slightly behind the UK (11% lower) and Australia (3% lower).

    The investing boom in the US from European sources took place in the mid-19th century, not after WWII. The biggest source of foreign investment in the US to date has been the English investment in US railroads.

    The stories of wheelbarrows full of German Marks are from the depression era, not post WWII.

    Njorl
     
  14. Apr 3, 2003 #13
    Politics makes strange bedfellows just as economics do, and both lend themselves to competitive derrogatory rhetoric. This thread is one continuous piece of rhetoric after another. I'm just following suit. To quote Shakespear, "Me thinks he doth protest too much." I did not set the tone for this thread, if you don't like it, complain to the person who started the thread.

    As for quoting your unity argument to some minor extent, it was just that, a minor footnote in the history of economics. There are some sixhundred billionares in the world today and fully one third of these are drug cartels trafficing in endangered species, weapons, etc. The single largest exporter of weapons is the US and, in fact, this is the single largest manufactured export of the US. As I already mentioned, ninty percent of the world economy today is pure speculation or gambling.

    Under such conditions to assert unity has much meaning is absurd. Certainly it has an influence, but the ugly reality of what dominates the world economy cannot be denied. The richest man in america, Rupert Murdock, does not pay taxes by presidential decree. Some unity he represents. Make no mistake, the US cultivates unity as a means of controlling the masses for the purposes of these land barrons, gamblers, and thugs that do as they please and own 95% of everything.
     
  15. Apr 3, 2003 #14

    Les Sleeth

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    You make your point, I will make mine. My point was the potential value of world unity to the planet's security, and that the opportunity we had to further it has been wasted. Oh well, there's always tomorrow to work on that condescending thing (you might consider working on the polite thing too).
     
  16. Apr 3, 2003 #15

    Les Sleeth

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  17. Apr 3, 2003 #16
    This is an argumentative scholarly bulletin board, a philosophy bulletin board at that and a thread on politics. I save the polite stuff for other situations where it is more meaningful.

    The chance to unify the world has not been wasted, it was sold to the highest bidder long ago. Communism is dead, capitalism and fascism rule. Now they are finding themselves having to strike bargans with all the little guys as I mentioned before.

    Ironically, Fox tv owned by Rupert Murdock has bought the rights to the famous book, "The Peoples' History of the United States." Instead of all the political rhetoric of who killed who in the name of freedom, democracy, and equality it follows the money trail. This is, after all, what has made america so enduring. We invented corporate law, bankrupsy court, patent law, copy right law, etc. Rather than espousing unity as the central organizing principle it asserts it is money.

    The same thing is happening now world wide. Sure, democracy is spreading to many places. However, some of the most successful "democracies" like Japan are in actuality still organized around feudal and fascist states as they have been for millennia. Democracy is more like the window dressing than the actual source of government power. Until people begin to recognize, acknowledge, and address this issue openly and without so much rhetoric world unity will remain a pipe dream.
     
  18. Apr 3, 2003 #17
    LW Sleeth,

    I think its very good of you to be concerned with world unity. But it takes 2 (or hundreds in this case) to tango. In other words, if you got Joe loading a gun to shoot you, and Fred telling you you should leave Joe alone, I'm going to have to go with pissing off Fred for the time being. Then, once Joe's dealt with, I can worry about mending things up with Fred. Unity is a fine and noble goal, but not at the expense of a nerve gas, VX, or worse attack in our cities.

    But I admit its scarry as none of us really know what's going to happen, as you said. I can only go with what seems to be right from my POV, but thanks for sharing yours - it always helps.

    Njorl,

    Don't worry about wuliheron. To him everything political or economic he doesn't like is just "blatant rhetoric and propaganda" - he's so far gone from any sense of reality anyway that I find it preferrable to simply ignore him.
     
  19. Apr 3, 2003 #18
    I guess anyone who is pro-war is a hate cultist?


    Tiberius...your opinion is fine, your way of expressing it is iffy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2003
  20. Apr 3, 2003 #19
    War Monger!

    An ugly term for ugly people who benefit from wars.

    Just the biased stuff that contradicts reality dude. For all your rhetoric I can't help but notice you don't once address the issues and concerns of serious alternative views. I attack your B.S. head on, and this is the best you can do. Pathedic. You aren't looking for scholarly discussion as far as I can see, just a forum to stand on your soap box and spout derrogatory nonsense.
     
  21. Apr 4, 2003 #20
    Zero,

    Please read Njorl's first reply and my response to it. Or, if you prefer, you can re-read the last paragraph of my article. Both of these address your point.
     
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