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News Understand other's point of view?

  1. Sep 25, 2006 #1
    This is motivated by a response Astro made in the "war on terror" thread.

    What exactly do you mean by understand others' point of view? How would this understanding have kept us from invading iraq?

    Are you assuming that everyone's point of view should be given equal consideration? This is certainly and absolutely not the case (should we consider NAMBLA's point of view?).
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2006 #2
    Considering and attempting to understand other people's point of view is not the same thing as agreeing with such points of view.

    To me it makes me realize that we are all humans but with different ideas and perspectives.

    I highly recommend anyone to consider and attempt to understand other people's point of view in any type of conflict. To me that is simply an aspect of being an adult!
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2006
  4. Sep 25, 2006 #3


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    If you, by NAMBLA, mean the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes, then certainly yes. :biggrin:
  5. Sep 25, 2006 #4
    You do need to consider NAMBLA's point of view before you can logically dispute it, you can't rightly dismiss a point of view until you first comprehend it. That doesn't mean you need to give every point of view equal consideration though; for instance, I see no reason to bother exploring the specifics of NAMBLA's views.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2006
  6. Sep 25, 2006 #5
    Ok, the responses are as I expected (ie so far we agree on the definitions).

    But I still don't see how understanding, in this sense, could have averted the war in iraq, or in the broader sense, the war on terror.

    Perhaps it is meant that by understanding one is willing to compromise?
  7. Sep 25, 2006 #6


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    Rather than "understand," how about using "be familiar with?" No one understands young earth creationists, but we're all "familiar enough with" their viewpoints that we feel quite comfortable ignoring them.
  8. Sep 25, 2006 #7


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    Well what do YOU consider the causes of the war in Iraq to be? All we know about your opinions is that you don't see how understanding another's opinions would change them.

    And we want to understand YOUR opinions! Without, of course, necessarily agreeing with them.:rolleyes:
  9. Sep 25, 2006 #8
    I could think of many things which might be the cause for the war:
    a) Bush might actually have thought it was a smart move for national security
    b) Bush wanted to clear up his father's mistakes
    c) It's part of some conspiracy to remake the middle east in our image
    d) to oust a brutal dictator, which was I believe the 2nd or 3rd reason bush cited - once wmd's proved to be few and far between.
    e) big business

    In reality, it's probably some linear (laugh) combination of the above.

    Do I think the iraq war specifically is the result of a misunderstanding on bush's part? No. Certainly his misunderstandings of just about everything has made the post war execution sloppy at best. He clearly misunderstood how the iraqi people themselves would react to such a large scale invasion/occupation. Judging by the collossal deficit, he misunderstood the costs associated with the war.

    I don't think a lack of understanding is what has lead us to our present state, in the war on terrorism as a whole, so much as our very way of life. We sit atop one of the most vast powerful empires the world has known, and as a consequence some people are going to get screwed. As it so happens, the middle east has lots of oil - so they're the lucky winners.
  10. Sep 25, 2006 #9


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    Thank you, I think I understand, in fact I mostly agree. The proposition "Given that the president for the 2001-2005 term was George W. Bush,the understanding of other people's motives played no part in the causes of the war" seems to me accurate. Counterfactual alternatives, entertained only for sake of discussion, might vary the premise, but it is difficult to think of any individual who might have had a chance to fill that term of the presidency who would have prosecuted the war at all, so the issue of whether understanding could ever have played a part in motivating or deterring an Iraqi invasion.
  11. Sep 25, 2006 #10


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    I mostly agree with this assessment.

    I think that Bush underestimated the consequences of the war. I am not sure Iraq is 'winnable', and evenso, it may be a Pyrrhic victory. The war in Iraq has killed thousands of innocent civilians and maimed many others. To those people suffering under the war, and those on the sidelines in Iraq and neighboring countries, the US appears as ruthless (and perhaps murderous) as bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

    The current 'war on terror' is a consequence of the cold war and the lack of insight/foresight in US foreign policy, not to mention the arrogance and chavinism. The US supported the mujahideen (including bin Laden) in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion. The concern back then (mid-1980's) was 'blowback', which is what has now happened.

    Except for those who have and will be killed, and for those who are and will be maimed, and for those who have and will lose family members, . . . . There may be a few lucky individuals.
  12. Sep 26, 2006 #11
    Let me clarify a little

    Firstly, my statement about those in the mideast being the lucky winners was meant as sarcasm, sorry if it didn't come across that way. I merely meant that it takes a lot of oil to fuel our economy. We get a fair amount of this oil from the mideast, so those who live there are, in some sense, in our way. Consequently, they're going to bear the brunt of our imperialistic nature - not lucky at all.

    Certainly we may appear as bad as those we are trying to kill. I do not, for one moment, think we are actually as bad, however. Yes, innocent civilians die in a war - this is just the nature of the beast. The difference is, on a large scale, we do not condone the murder of unarmed civs. It may be the case that some of our soldiers go off the wall and commit attrocities, but they will (hopefully) be dealt with.

    Of course, I realize it's difficult to see this when your hometown is in ruins and you live in fear of car bombs.

    And again, I think it may be a semantic issue here, but I think a lack of understanding was secondary to a drive for power. In the case of afghanistan, we felt the need to contain communism in order to protect our way of life.

    As was the case with the first gulf war. We wanted to protect our oil interests in the kingdom of Saud, and eventually moved on to protecting kuwait itself. All of this, I believe, was motivated not by a misunderstanding of their culture so much as a disregard for it.
  13. Sep 26, 2006 #12


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    OK - I missed the sarcasm. I tend to take statements quite literally, apparently a consequence of having Asperger's or possibly even being elements of autism.

    Possibly attrocities will be dealt with, if evidence can be found. I am reminded of many cases in US history of attrocities against civilians - e.g. massacres of Indian populations during the 1700's and 1800's, and more recently during the Vietnam war (e.g. Mi Lai, and hundreds or thousands of other similar incidents), and then look at folks like Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma bombing). I am also reminded of the times that the US was convinced that they had 'gotten' Saddam (e.g. the restaurant in Bagdad that was hit with missile from a high flying B-2), while he was hiding away in Ad Dawr. Who was killed? Innocent civilians? There are many examples of the fact that killing of unarmed civilians is condoned, or at least the population is largely indifferent. :frown:
    I cringe when I hear 'to protect our way of life'. I think in many cases, war arises because of the vanity of the politicians wanting to exert power and gain prestige. In the end, it's mostly the actions of a bully. WWII was definitely defensive, the Korean War was murkier, but since then the US (and a few others) has been on the offensive, and many innocents get caught in the way.
    The first Gulf War could have easily prevented, but those responsible did not take proper action and simply let it happen by default. Much of international affairs is by default, complicated by a lack of understanding, just plain ignorance (often achieved through a lack of desire to understand), or just plain stupidity (negligence or incompetence). All empires suffer from this.
  14. Sep 26, 2006 #13
    Whenever I hear that phrase I chuckle, because it reminds me of this.
  15. Sep 26, 2006 #14
    You're right here. Certainly in the past (with respect to the native americans specifically) attrocities have been condoned (trail of tears) and perpetrated by the government. More recently, we could point to Bill Clinton bombing an aspirin factory, or to our inaction in the Darfur crisis.

    Given all of this, I still do not want to say that I am the same as those that put on a vest made of explosives and run into their nearest cafe. I don't knowingly and deliberately kill anyone. However, I am complicit in these actions because I am a taxpayer and a voter - so some shred of the guilt is on my conscience, as it is all of yours.

    You're right to cringe. This phrase is often used to defend otherwise indefensible actions. I simply mean that this was the prevailing attitude at the time - stop the communists over there before they're here. I don't believe that invading vietnam made america safter, nor do i think invading iraq has made us safer or done anything to protect our lives, or "way of life".
    This is off topic, but I don't know too much of the history of the incident. Please explain how it could have been easily averted.
  16. Sep 26, 2006 #15

    Excellent link. I too find the irony amusing.
  17. Sep 26, 2006 #16
    In the first Gulf war, Kuwait was slant drilling into the Iraqi oil fields, that Saddam won during the 8 year Iran/Iraq war.

    When he brought the issue up to the American ambassador, she told Saddam the the US policy is non interference in Arab-Arab conflict. Which he interpreted to mean that the US would not stop him from invading Kuwait. Since we had been providing him with intel and support in his war against Iran it is easy to see how he could reach that conclusion.

    Up until the invasion he was our brutal dictator.
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