Jeff, Elias, Please Clarify (was Re: [SPORK] Something I REALLY want John Hall to Try To Understand)

Elias Sinderson elias@cse.ucsc.edu
Wed, 26 Mar 2003 20:19:11 -0800


S. Alexander Jacobson wrote:

>I am looking for clarification of your beliefs.
>
How refreshing, thanks!  :-)

>If I understand you all correctly, your main objection to the current military action is that
>it was not done under the auspices of the "international community"*.  But that you would approve of it, if it were.
>
Generally, yes, although I would think it was sad and would hope for a 
swift resolution with a little loff of life as possible.

>What I am missing is the motivation for this objection.  I would break down motivations for this objection into two categories: moral and strategic.
>
If you'd like, I'll go there with you... Honestly though, I think the 
motivation for my objection falls into both categories to some degree. 
I'll try to address each of your points to some degree.

>If yours is a moral objection, then you are saying that this action would be morally ok, if and only if the "international community" approved.Such a moral objection is crucially dependent on one of three beliefs:
>
>1. US moral inferiority [...]
>
Nope, for anyone to proclaim that 'their hands are clean' would be 
laughable...

>2. Emergent Morality [...]
>
I believe that this is the case moreso than any nation going it alone, 
but I wouldn't say that it 'magically emerges', simply that by putting 
more heads together to solve a problem we're more likely to come out 
with a solution that is pallatable.

>3. Making the Case [...]
>
The bush administration has said they have evidence, but haven't 
presented much more than poorly forged documents, political double-speak 
and sound bytes. Further, it is clear that there is much more going on 
here than is being said publicly - many other countries are in violation 
of UN resolutions, the geneva conventions, etc. and we're not invading 
them... It's pretty clear that if the US were to make a strong case for 
the current action there would undoubtedly be more international support.

>If you don't believe 1-3 above, then I assume your objection is actually strategic:
>
>4. US Control of Iraq makes the US weaker [...]
>
Nope, I think much of this game is all about control in one way or 
another. Unfortunately, that control is something which just begs to be 
challenged...

>5. Inviting terrorism [...]
>
Absolutely. It will not surprise me in the least if there are more acts 
of terrorism against the US as a direct result of this 'liberation' of 
Iraq. US imperialism seems to be a direct friction point with many 
people around the world.

>6. Breakdown of "international law" [...]
>
Absolutely. We've broken down the doors and left a big, gaping hole for 
others to follow in our footsteps. Again, it will not surprise me in the 
least if this sparks a series of 'preemtive' aggressions in other parts 
of the world, with the agressors claiming the same justification that 
the US is. Perhaps the US will give a hypocritical smackdown to anyone 
who tries but then the cards will really be on the table, won't they?

>I am not going to argue against any of 1-6 now. I just want to be clear where you all stand.
>Apropos the subject of this thread, perhaps then John Hall will understand your position better as
>well.
>
So, I guess from the above, my objection is primarily strategic in that 
it's just bad policy to behave the way the US has been. There is a moral 
side to things, however, and I simply do not believe that all 
alternatives have been exhausted. As with anything, there is a multitude 
of interacting factors at work here...


Elias