Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The War On Terrorism

"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." ~ Robert E. Lee

ER mentioned the GWOT in my last comment section. The letters "GWOT" is an acronym for the Global War on Terror. His comment inspired these thoughts. They are my thoughts. However rambling, they are nonetheless, my own.

Many people on the left say there is no such thing as a Global War on Terror. I would tend to agree.

The term, "Global war on terror" is a misnomer.

There is no war on terror. There is, however, a war on terrorism. The words, "terrorism" and "terror" are not synonymous. There is no global war on terror or terrorism, either. An alliance of a few countries fighting against terrorists is not global.

If anything, based on the number of countries that encourage, or at least tolerate terrorists in their midst, it would be considered a global war of terrorism.

ER also says the war in Iraq is not justified. He says we had a reason to invade Afghanistan but not Iraq. I believe he is wrong.

I think many Americans have forgotten why we went into Iraq in the first place. All of the anti-war rhetoric and political in-fighting since the war began has obscured the true reason for the war. Perhaps the continual accusations of illegality and calls for troop withdrawal are intentionally meant to make the average American forget.

In fact, they have been so successful at obscuring the facts that I myself, have forgotten how many times Saddam Hussein thumbed his nose at U.N. sanctions. Was it 11? 15? 18? I don't remember, but it was certainly more than once or twice. He was warned we would attack if he continued to refuse to comply with our demands. He didn't comply, and so we followed through with our promise.

How is that illegal or unjustified?

Saddam started this war. We didn't. If he had simply done the things we had asked, we wouldn't have found it necessary to enforce our demands.

Then, terrorists invaded Iraq, and began to attack our troops. They tried to make it look as though we were the ones who were to blame for global terrorism. Then they began killing their own people. The numbers of innocent deaths that the leftists constantly bring up in their efforts to "prove" America is wrong are innocent Iraqi's that are being killed by the terrorists.

Our troops kill terrorists, not innocent civilians. There is unintentional collateral damage, even atrocities on occasion, but that happens in all wars. Even the ones we are not involved in. It is a tragic fact, but our intention is not to kill innocents.

There has been terrorism for centuries. We didn't create them.

We are not the terrorists.

What reason did we have to invade Afghanistan? According to intelligence reports, Osama bin Laden was there, and being sheltered by the Taliban led government. But was that a better reason to invade Afghanistan than the reasons we had to invade Iraq?

We invaded a country and dismantled a government so we could find one man, who we failed to find. How is that more justified than removing a vicious dictator who willfully and repeatedly refused to capitulate to our demands that he prove to us that he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?

The leftists would insist that since we never found such weapons, they didn't exist, but intelligence reports said they did. Who were we to believe? The murderous, lying, dictator or our own intelligence gatherers?

Did we really have a choice? If any of us feel threatened by another individual, after repeated unsuccessful attempts to talk them into stopping that behavior, wouldn't we do something drastic to stop that behavior?

On a side note, why do the leftists protest the war on terrorism so vehemently when it was their own pet organization, the U.N, with whose sanctions Saddam repeatedly refused to comply?

That seems disingenuous to me. If the UN demanded that Saddam comply and he doesn't, it seems to me that the first people to cry for his deposal would be the Liberals. After all, they believe the UN is more important than the United States.

I hate war. I wish to God we had never gone into Iraq. I wish we had not even had to make a decision on whether or not to go to war. It has led to such division among Americans that I fear we may never be united again.

But regardless of our reasons for being there, and whether we are justified or not, we are there. We must finish. We must win. We at least should be united in that.

49 comments:

Liam said...

Mark, surely you see that, “If he had simply done the things we had asked, we wouldn't have found it necessary to enforce our demands,” is the excuse of a school-yard bully? I’m surprised to hear an American patriot bring their nation down to the level of “might is right.” As I’ve pointed out to you before, that this is the exact same justification used by Al-Qaeda themselves – they are ‘punishing’ us for all of the times we didn’t do what they told us to do in the past. That doesn't give them the right to fly aeroplanes into skyscrapers anymore than it gives us the right to invade a sovereign nation which had not done us any harm.

And your proclamation that, “We must finish. We must win,” shows a singular lack of any grasp of the issues affecting the situation in Iraq. This isn’t 'Us' against 'The Terrorists' with the Iraqi population hapless sheep caught in the cross-fire. There is bitter religious and ethnic sectarianism at work internally in Iraq, nurtured over centuries. I don’t think you properly perceive either the timescale or the budget required to achieve what you imagine as ‘a win’ in Iraq.

Marie's Two Cents said...

Well according to The Iraq Liberation Act Of 1998 it was never illegal to invade Iraq. As a matter of fact it was US Policy to have Regime change in Iraq according to The Iraq Liberation Act signed into law by President Clinton

Here is a snip with the link above:

Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 - Declares that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.

That's just the first paragraph, the rest is located in the link above.

Then moving on to the United Nations UGH, it was 17 UN Resolutions Saddam violated Mark.

And UN Resolution 1441 was the end game for Saddam. The United Nations had had it, and that together with the Iraq Liberation Act gave the US the go ahead to remove Saddam from power. All we did was enforce the Act's and Resolution's. Well us and 30 something other countries.

As for the Global War On Terror, all Countries participating in and putting forth an effort to rid the world of terrorists, basically Al-Queada and thier offshoots is in turn "Global" proof: Lebanon is in a huge battle with Al-Queada as we speak.

Many countries are in a battle with Al-Queda and thier offshoot's that makes it "Global" it's not just a few countries out there battleing the bad guy's. Another example is Ethiopia and Somalia, they just recently called us in for air strikes on Al-Queada bases found and located. There are many more countries out there fighting the GWOT that are to many to mention because I have forgotten them all, but it is indeed "Global"

Marie's Two Cents said...

Oh by the way,

We won long ago, we could declare victory today and leave, but we arent going to let Iraq fall into the hands of Al-Queada and let it turn into a terrorist playground so they can plot and plan and come back to our shores again like they did in Afghanistan.

We need to get this done right the first time so we dont have to go back again.

The Democrats know this, that is why they will keep funding the Troops. They know the consequences if we leave to early before all the benchmark's President Bush has put in place for the Iraqi's to meet come to fruition.

mudkitty said...

The point is, that the Bush/Cheney were unable to convince the public that invading Iraq for the purposes of regime change was worth the loss of American lives after 9/11, or at any point, so they lied to the Nation about WMDs. They also made a metaphoric, but false connection between Iraq and 9/11.

They couldn't sell it on the basis of regime change, I repeat. They tried, but couldn't.

The fact that it would turn into the quagmire it has, was predicted and was predictable.

They were always looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. Always.

It's pathetic that anyone bought it. They grandstanded on the backs of the 9/11 dead, and took us into a war that took our eye off the ball in terms of catching who's really responsible - Bin Landen.

Remember him?

mudkitty said...

The problem is, not even Bush can define what winning means.

Francis Lynn said...

"They grandstanded on the backs of the 9/11 dead..." I assume Mudkitty means every Democratic Senator & Representative who voted authorization for the war? And I assume every Democratic Senator & Representative who was quoted as saying that Saddam had WMD also lied to the nation? They had access to all intelligence reports like Bush did. The Dems on the Intelligence Committee even more so. If Mudkitty wants to be intellectually honest, she can't separate Bush/Cheney from these Dems. Anyone who thinks this was not a legitimate, legal military response is not reality based. It was legal - the only question is should we have gone in.

I'm disappointed liam is using moral equivalency between us & Al Qaeda. We had international legal authority to enforce the UN resolutions. Remember, the 1st Gulf war was a cease fire only. Equating Al Quaeda with us is like saying a thug can break into a house with the same moral & legal authority as the police with a search warrant.

The war on terror is an awkward name for what's going on, but it rolls off the tongue nicely. It is really a war on Islamo-fascist radicals. But the acronym would be WOIFR - sounds like a radio station's call letters.

Go to http://counterterrorismblog.org/. They have a daily updated sidebar where you can see how global radical Islam is. Here a few countries where the Islamo-facists do their deeds: Philipines, Malyasia, Thailand, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanastan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudam, Algeria, England, Eygypt, Morocco, Spain, France, India, Chechnya, Bangladesh, well you get the idea.

Marshall Art said...

Mudkitty,

Cut the crap. You lie like a rug.

"The point is, that the Bush/Cheney were unable to convince the public that invading Iraq for the purposes of regime change was worth the loss of American lives after 9/11, or at any point, so they lied to the Nation about WMDs."

First of all, it hasn't been so much that Bush/Cheney were unable to convince anybody of anything, but that Bush opponents, meaning most of the left, refused to even give the least bit of credence to a word the man has said since he WON the election in 2000. Their sour grapes attitude has contributed to the slow progress of the war.

Secondly, Bush was simply ONE person who believed that Hussein had WMDs and the fact that he had used them before made it difficult for anyone world-wide to think differently. Well before Bush was elected, Clinton and the Democratic buffoons were calling for Hussein's ouster on that very point.

Thirdly, Bush never EVER made any connection between Hussein and 9/11. What we have heard ad nauseum is wackjob lefties accusing him of such in order to undermine his administration.

What's pathetic, and tragically so, is that there are still looney-tunes like yourself that refuse to accept that which has been explained and proven over and over regarding the war, why we went and why we need to win. Get over it. Get a clue. Seek help for your BDS.

Marshall Art said...

Liam,

You've got to be kidding. "School yard bully"? Is that truly how you perceive things? That's sad. After the first Gulf War, the UN, as stated so well by Marie, produced 17 resolutions by which Hussein was bound to abide. He didn't. THAT was what he was asked to do and by international standards was oblidged to do so. The penalty for non-compliance was his ouster. Keep in mind this whole process took twelve years. Just how long and by what method would you present to bring about his compliance when after twelve years he's proven that he's not about to? If there's any similarities you see between us and Al Qaeda, you're goofy. If a gang-banger tells a cop to stop doing what the cop is trying to do, and the cop is telling the gang-banger to stop doing what the gang-banger does, yeah, they're each doing the exact same thing. Good moral equivalence there, muh man. We have every right and in fact it is our duty to stand up against evil, which is what Hussein, bin Laden and all the various forms of terrorist groups are, and tell them what to do and they are obliged to abide. Period. Invading an Iraq to force compliance is perfectly justified.

Keep in mind also tha Hussein had planned to assassinate a US President, continually fired upon our planes patrolling the no-fly zone, gave aid to terrorists and money to the families of bombers who died murdering the citizens of our ally, Israel. So he has indeed harmed us and/or our allies. This doesn't include what he had done to his own people.

Our presence in Iraq has a profound impact on the attitudes of the scumbags we fight. If we leave prematurely, they will view it as victory for them. If we prevail and help the Iraqi government establish themselves, they will view it as defeat. This is basic stuff. Kennedy said we would bear any burden and pay any price in the name of liberty around the world. I guess when the bill comes due, liberals pass it around to someone else. This is too important to the world to run or lose. Period.

That's a lot of periods, but that's where it's at.

Liam said...

Marie, like Mark with his ‘might is right’ approach, you aren’t thinking of the precedents you set with your approach. Saying that the US passing a law about regime change makes it legal to invade Iraq is all very well, but then if China passes a law saying that a socialist regime should be put in place in America does that make it legal for them to invade and occupy the USA? Domestic legislation is meaningless on the international stage. The 1998 act is a statement of US policy but it is irrelevant to the legality of the invasion, which is determined under international law.

Neither does UNR 1441 give legitimacy to the invasion. It talks of ‘serious consequences’, which is not diplomatic-speak for war. Compare it with UNR 678, the legal basis for the first Gulf War, which explicitly “authorises member states … to use all necessary means to uphold and implement [previous resolutions]” and requests all states to support actions taken in this regard.

The fact is that the USA and UK built the coalition by touting incorrect information and what was essentially propaganda as verified intelligence in order to justify an operation that had no bearing on the War on Terror and had been decided on in advance for no reason other than to get Saddam out.

If ‘victory’ is getting rid of Saddam Hussein then, fair enough, you achieved victory long ago. If however ‘victory’ includes any element of improving life for the Iraqi people, of making the world a safer place, or even creating a working democratic government in Iraq, then victory is still a long way off.

Trader Rick said...

I remember Bin Landen.Wasn't he the guy with the cabin on the ege of town in Little House?

mudkitty said...

I love how all the rightwingers on this site who hate the UN are screaming "but the UN Resolution said...the UN said..."

As if any of you ever cared a whit about any thing the UN does, or any UN resolution. As far as you're concerned, you'd all like to do away with the UN. Hypocrites.

Mark said...

I addressed that point, Mud kitty. It seems to me that of all people, the Liberals would be the ones most outraged at Saddams attitude towards the UN resolutions. Personally, I believe the UN to be the biggest "hate America" organization in the world and I have long called for them to be tossed out of the United States.

Marshall Art said...

Indeed. It's not as if we should wait for permission from the UN to do the right thing, but when we remind people of their involvement, people for whom the UN is almighty, they shouldn't go throwing it back in OUR faces that we've used them as support for our position. They should, based on their own praise for the organization, shut up and see that Bush wasn't the only one with a problem with Sadam. The point is that it wasn't as "unilateral" as the left would like to believe.

And Liam, the same goes for you. Each of the things on my list are or have been reasons for war in the past. Chances are, if a Dem prez used them, the left would go along. Of course, the Dem prez wouldn't have a clear sense of right and wrong, good and evil, to even make the decision. They haven't for quite awhile.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"Then, terrorists invaded Iraq, and began to attack our troops. They tried to make it look as though we were the ones who were to blame for global terrorism."

Aided by a politically motivated, and highly agressive American left.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"I don’t think you properly perceive either the timescale or the budget required to achieve what you imagine as ‘a win’ in Iraq."

I don't think you grasp the meaning of "a long struggle" as quoted by George bush before we even invadd.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"...so they lied to the Nation about WMDs"

But...you cannot prove that, of course.

mudkitty said...

Then don't pretend you back their resolutions, or that they are a reason to go to war...

Marie's Two Cents said...

Catfish,

I love how all the rightwingers on this site who hate the UN are screaming "but the UN Resolution said...the UN said..."

As if any of you ever cared a whit about any thing the UN does, or any UN resolution. As far as you're concerned, you'd all like to do away with the UN. Hypocrites.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~``

Oh so just because we despise the UN and think they are one of the most useless organizations there ever was, case in point "The Oil For Food Program Scandal", that I might add we never would have found out about had we not paid Iraq a visit.

You are trying to tell me that we cant use the Resolutions the UN produced on OUR soil, that WE PAID FOR, to make a case for anything without being a hypocrite?

You're full of it kiddo!

We may despise the UN but we have to put up with them as long as they are on OUR soil, as long as we are a member, and as long as WE pay for them.

But if I paid for those idiot's I can certainly use a Resolution I paid for to make a point.

Live with it.

mudkitty said...

Long struggle? BS - they sold it as a cake walk.

Marie's Two Cents said...

liam,

Marie, like Mark with his ‘might is right’ approach, you aren’t thinking of the precedents you set with your approach. Saying that the US passing a law about regime change makes it legal to invade Iraq is all very well, but then if China passes a law saying that a socialist regime should be put in place in America does that make it legal for them to invade and occupy the USA? Domestic legislation is meaningless on the international stage. The 1998 act is a statement of US policy but it is irrelevant to the legality of the invasion, which is determined under international law.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was legal liam, I didnt say it was right. That, people have to make thier own determination. I happen to believe it was right.

Right after 9-11 President Bush had to look at all threats to this Nation and "at the time" after Afghanistan, Iraq was the greatest threat it appeared not just to us but several countries, and Saddam stuck out like a sore thumb.

And Saddam having WMD in the past, proving it by using them on his own people, led us all to believe and not just us but several other countries that he still had them. That's alway's bothered me, what the heck did he do with them?

President Bush made that speech about going after Terrorists wherever they hide, Saddam was a terrorist.

Marshall Art said...

"Long struggle? BS - they sold it as a cake walk."

Yes. Bush claimed it would be a long struggle right from the beginning.

Cake walk? What a few beneath Bush might have believed has nothing to do with what the leader of the country said, which was that it would be a long struggle.

But guess what, Dirtcat? The British thought beating the colonials would be easy. The Union thought putting down the rebels would be easy. Get the pattern? The Islamofascists thought they'd drive us out in no time. Everyone thinks they're gonna just kick ass and go home. Never works that way, but it always happens. It's just that in this case, the commander-in-chief was more practical. Bottom line: such boasting means nothing. Such statements didn't sell the war to anyone. Back to the litter box for you.

mudkitty said...

Saddam was not a terroist - he was a head of state, propped originally by the Reagan Administration and Donald Rumsfled. Jeez, you guys, learn your history, this wasn't even that long ago.

If you guys don't know the difference between a dictator and a terrorist, than you guys need to go back to Jr. High.

When the Bushies couldn't sell the country on regime change, since Saddam was under containment anyway, they switched to the non-existent WMDs, and cherry picked the intel, and leaked the name of a covert agent, and had to retract 16 words in the State of the Union...

Either way, you were lied into this war.

Hey, I would be embarrassed too, if I had been so gullible as to buy the Bush line of bull. It's hard to admit, five years into this quagmire, that you were wrong.

Toad734 said...

Saddam started this war?? Is that a joke?? He should have just done what we asked?? If I remember right, we aksed him to disarm, since he had no WMDs he complied fully.

So we should just do the things Russia asks and redo the arms treaties we pulled out of and quit building missile shields, or else they have a right to attack us and hang Bush. Right?? Good logic.

Marie's Two Cents said...

Catfish,

You really do need to read something besides Daily Kos.

Saddam paid families of Palestinian Suicide bombers $25,000 apiece for thier children to blow themselves up. That's called aiding and abetting terrorists, a no no.

Hugo Chavez is a dictator, Saddam was a terrorist.

Bush didnt need to sell the Country on Regime change it was signed into law by President Clinton and US Policy as indicated in the link above which of course you never read.

Non-existent WMD, ok Catfish then what did he do with them? He used them on his own people, what did he do with them after that?

And firing at our planes in the no-fly zones constantly I hardly call contained.

Still being able to bilk America for billions I hardly call contained.

No there is no quagmire, and you are the one that should be embarrassed since Daily Kos and HuffPo seem to be your source of information.

BB-Idaho said...

At the beginning of US involvement in WWII, General George C. Marshall
held the credo, "Never fight unless you have to, never fight without allies and never fight for long." We ignored the first, screwed up the second and are hard at work denying the third.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"they sold it as a cake walk."

Wesley Clark sold it as a cakewalk.

The record is clear, Kitten. Bush's words are well documented.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"
If you guys don't know the difference between a dictator and a terrorist..."

Mudkitten...if my memory of history serves correctly, dear, it was just weeks before we invaded Iraq that Saddam was offering to fund suicide bombers against innocent civilians in Israel.

If you can't tell a terrorsist when he threatens you, you're...well...stupid is the best way to describe it, really.

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

"Hey, I would be embarrassed too..."

You should be...not being able to discern a terrorist dictator when he pays for suicide bombers.

Gayle said...

Mudkitty should ask the people who Sadaam murdered whether or not they think he's a terrorist. Ooops, she can't 'cause they're dead. My bad!

Mark, you said: "I think many Americans have forgotten why we went into Iraq in the first place." Yessirreebob! That's because many Americans have memories as long as a flea. Marijuana has a huge effect on short term memory. Perhaps that's added to the problem.

Good post, Mark. You got it right! :)

Mark said...

You don't remember right, Toad. We demanded Saddam disarm, and he ignored us completely. He neither denied nor confirmed he had WMD, preferring to let us think he had them. We knew he had used them in the past and there was no reason to think he didn't still have them.

At least one of the resolutions he thumbed his nose at was the UN's demand that he allow weapons inspectors into his country to see for themselves, and he stalled them off and refused to let them in some spots where they needed to look.

I think they still exist somewhere. We just haven't found them yet.

Marie's Two Cents said...

That's what I'm sayin Mark, Saddam had WMD, he used them on his own people, what happened to them after that?

Anybody know the answer to that question?

Marie's Two Cents said...

Toad,

Saddam started this war?? Is that a joke?? He should have just done what we asked?? If I remember right, we aksed him to disarm, since he had no WMDs he complied fully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Are you for real? Oh we asked, begged and threatened Saddam to disarm, did he? Hell NO! Did he stop arming Palestinian Homicide bombers families? Hell NO! Did he quit shooting missiles into Israel? Hell NO! Did he quit shooting at our jets Patrolling over the no-fly zones? Hell NO! Did he threaten his neighbors and the United States with using WMD on us/them no matter if he had them or not and we didnt know if he did till we went in, Hell No!

Had no WMD's? He used them on his own people so what did he do with them?

You Liberals just dont seem to get it, terrorists will be dealt with no matter who is in power, well I take that back if it's a Democrat in power in 2008 we will be attacked again because they will take away all security measures that are in place to stop them now. And we will just go back to the 1993 attack on the WTC and the USS Cole, and Kobar Towers, and on and on etc..

Like it or not Toad we are going to protect your ass whether you want to be protected or not.

mudkitty said...

Kiddio - your memory of history does not serve you well at all - if you knew anything about the donations to the families of the suicide bombers, you'd know that he donated to a Saudi Arabian telethon...last I heard, the Saudis were the Bush allies, along with family friends and business partners.

*****

Chavez is an democratically elected official, Saddam was a dictator/head of state (thanks to Reagan)

It's always so funny to hear you rightwingers rely on 5 year old, 1998 Clinton intel to justify going to war in 2003. You guys just must luv Clinton if you trust him so much to make decisions regarding life and death, war and peace on him. Forget Bush's responsibility in all of this.

What did Saddam do with the non-existant WMDs? He didn't do anything. They were non-existent as the inspections were proving. The wmds were destroyed during the Gulf War, and we have Bush 1 to thank for that, but because his son is such a screw up, he'll never get the credit he deserves.

As for using "wmds" on his own people, this was during the Reagan Administration, when Rummy and Ronnie looked the other way. Actually, they are not considered wmds, they are considered chemical weapons, and there a dif. But Marie, I don't expect you to know that. All those murders were sanctioned by the Reagan Administration.

Marshall Art said...

Muddy,

There you go makin' stuff up again. Reagan sanctioned murder in Iraq? What abject buffoonery!! When can we expect to see you on Comedy Central? Everyone includes chemical and biological weapons within the context of WMD's. There have been weapons found, smaller caches, as well as evidence of Sadam's plans for nukes and other weapons. Reagan had nothing to do with Sadam coming to power, that was an internal matter and faux elections have been held to re-elect him. And he offered 25K to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. This is public knowledge. What he actually did with said loot is another matter, but a public pronouncement of financial support is beyond a doubt aiding terror. This in addition to connections with terrorist groups borne out by files captured after deposing him. If all you're going to do is read the stained newspapers lining your litter box, you're bound to read some shit. Get with the program.

Liam said...

Marshall, if you’ll read what I wrote more carefully, you’ll realise I was objecting to Mark’s rationalisation; I wasn’t speaking to what the government’s rationalisation may have been.

Marie also, please read again what I wrote. I wasn’t arguing whether the war was right or wrong in that paragraph, I was talking about the legality of going to war on the grounds that you proposed. I refuted those grounds but you didn’t come back with any kind of a rebuttal, you just restated your conclusion, “it was legal,” (without support) and went off reciting stock justifications for why the US wanted to go to war. Are you ducking out on the question of whether going to war was legal?

Jason H. Bowden said...

liam--

Technically speaking, there isn't such a thing a legal or illegal war. International law as it exists is a series of conventions, but it isn't like there is an international police force with international badges that will arrest Iran for collectively suiciding itself on other countries. At most International Law is constituted by what the U.N. says, along with treaties any dictator can sign on to, like Hitler at Munich.

Your principle that we should never intervene unless other countries attack the United States is false on three grounds.

1) It screws over allies. The anti-war movement kept the United States idle while Hitler took the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Norway. Then we stood by as our ally the UK had to face down the fascists alone.

2) Inaction is a death wish when mutually assured destruction is involved. No, I'm not talking about the USSR, where atheists who valued their own lives were afraid of dying. I'm talking about Iran and other countries that have mutually assured destruction as a goal to bring about the Apocalypse at the end of times. Ahmadinejad said **again** today that Israel will be wiped off the map soon.

3) Inaction does nothing about countries that train Islamic supremacists to fight the infidels around the world. Afghanistan, like Iraq, did not directly attack the United States. But both regimes were big supporters of international terrorism.

mudkitty said...

Marshall, if you don't know that the crimes that Saddam was tried and hanged for took place during the Reagan Administration, then you're not qualified to engage in this discussion.

You have a right to engage in this discussion, but you are not qualified. Kind of like the entire Bush Administration.

Liam said...

Jason, when did I say that the US should never attack unless it was attacked first?

And why the negativity about ‘treaties any dictator can sign on to’? Believe it or not any head of state can sign an international treaty. The democratically elected ones do it as well as the despots.

Jason H. Bowden said...

liam--

I should not have to explain why dictatorships and theocracies are not legitimate forms of government. Yes, sometimes the exigencies of the moment may require us to deal with them, like the way Hussein was aided to prevent the Iranians from exporting the Islamic Revolution. But to treat them as they are on an equal moral plane like a liberal democracy is perverse.

Now, above, you suggested we should never use military action unless it is "legal", which I'm guessing implies UN approval in this context. If not, you need to precisely define what you mean by illegal. In contrast, I argue that morality itself should be what justifies our behavior, not consensus with apathetic and/or evil governments.

Liam said...

Actually Jason, you should explain why they aren’t legitimate forms of government. One of the cornerstones of our civilisation is the sovereignty of the nation state and the principle that the citizens of a nation have the right to determine how they are to be governed.

Your own declaration of independence states that governments derive their power from the consent of the governed and that if a government does not enjoy the support of the people they have the right to replace it. Note that throughout, though, it is the responsibility of the people to determine their government. For you to declare someone else’s government illegitimate is to deny them the basic right of self-determination that is at the core of legitimate government.

You may not like the form of government in place in a country, but unless it is being opposed by the majority of its citizenry you have no right to question its legitimacy and should deal with it as you would any other nation.

On international law, yes, I mean UN approval. As you say, there is no international police force for ‘arresting’ outlaw nations; there are far too few countries to have that kind of system in place. The world is a relatively small community of nations, comparable to a small, isolated community of people living together. There is no-one outside that community to promulgate The Law, so the community can only band together and police itself according to whatever regulations everyone can agree on. It’s either that or accept descent into anarchy. The UN may not be perfect, but it’s the only thing we’ve got going.

You mentioned morality a couple of times in your comment but what you don’t seem to recognise is that morality is subjective, not an absolute. Your view of what is right and wrong is not the same as that of a person on the other side of the world. You may not enjoy having to reach a consensus with governments you don’t like, or don’t trust, but really there is no other choice if you are to hold true to the freedoms which you espouse.

Jason H. Bowden said...

liam--

Your reasoning fails both on relativist and absolutist grounds.

If you believe Life is an objective standard of value, you'll arrive at the appropriate judgment concerning the nature of the best possible regime as developed in the classical thought of the Western tradition. In short, this is the humanist tradition that believes in universal human rights. It is plausible, assuming morality is objective, that a state like Sudan that commits mass genocide against its own citizens forfeits its legitimacy.

Now suppose morality is subjective. Then the fact that you don't like liberal democracy better than dictatorship says a lot about you. If you are a relativist living in a liberal democracy, there is never an objective reason to disagree with your country since you ruled that out a priori. There would only be self-hate, hatred of your family, and hatred of your countrymen, and love of your enemies.

But that can't possibly be what you mean, since liberals always tell me they support their troops and their country with vehemence. So, in short, you need an objective basis why the sovereignty of evil dictatorships and theocracies should never be violated, or you will lose the argument.

Allan Bloom described liberalism best in his Closing of the American Mind. Liberals believe thinking you are right is what causes war and poverty and so forth, and the solution is not to correct past mistakes, but never to think one is truthful and just at all. I suspect this feeling is what is motivating what you are trying to say, since it is completely devoid of rational warrant.

Liam said...

Jason

Remember that we are not discussing whether we like a government or not but whether it should be considered legitimate on the international stage.

Humanism promotes the universality of choice for the individual to choose how they live. That does not jibe with what I have said previously about it being down the citizenry to determine the legitimacy of their own government.

I suggest you go look up the term ‘morality’ in a reputable encyclopaedia because that will explain to you how morality is a personal code, which usually is shared by the group or society in which the individual exists, but that it is definitely not a universal or absolute code.

One illustration might be a hot bacon cheeseburger; a mainstream American Christian would eat it without a qualm, an orthodox Jew would refuse the bacon because eating pork would be wrong but if the burger itself were kosher he would eat it, a Buddhist would refuse the entire hamburger because a living thing had been deliberately killed for its creation.

Each person in that example is following his own moral code and that code is shared with others in their respective societies but they each reach a different conclusion on whether it is right or wrong to eat the burger. It’s a trivial example but it illustrates how morality is not universal.

I am not sure what you understand by relativism, but my understanding is that it is the philosophy of the ‘organic’ development of morality in a social environment. It is not an absence of any morals as you suggest, rather morality that changes with the society. That does not negate the need for a government to govern with the consent of the people. If the government of a relativist country strayed far from the evolved morality of the population then the citizenry would, naturally, object and the government would be considered illegitimate.

To sum up; if a government is supported, or at least not actually opposed, by the majority of its people then it is a legitimate government. If it’s legitimate then other countries have no choice but to deal with it as best they can, regardless of whether they like or loathe the way they govern.

Marshall Art said...

Since the Chinese students were put down in the Tienenan Square not long ago, there have been no serious protests. Does this make the Chinese government legitimate? In Iraq, Iran, and other countries, the lack of opposition is due to fear as much as anything else. (Past tense for Iraq) Most despots put on shows of democratic elections and wouldn't you know, that win with 98% of the vote. Is this a legitimate government to you? Seriously, I don't think we're talking at all about how that culture feels, since their feelings are generally quashed and ignored by the prick in power. Recognition of these regimes by international bodies is often just to maintain peace on the global scale, with little concern for the internal hell bestowed upon the citizenry of the nation in question. So the legitimacy recognized by the int'l community is, in fact, illegitimate.

Marshall Art said...

Liam,

I thought I posted this days ago, but what the heck....

"To sum up; if a government is supported, or at least not actually opposed, by the majority of its people then it is a legitimate government."

What if the majority of the people are not opposing the government because they're afraid of getting killed by it? I would say in the case of what Jason or myself would call an illegitimate government, the threat to dissenters is high. Just ask the Chinese who protested at Tienamen Square.

Liam said...

If the majority of the population really felt their government was wrong then the suppressions which followed the Tiananmen Square protests either could not have happened or would have sparked a popular revolution; when at least one in every two people in a country has a common opinion and a common cause that’s a force to be reckoned with.

In any case, it’s not up to you or Jason (or even the US Government) to determine the PRC government’s legitimacy. What right have you to impose your definition of freedom or good government on another nation?

mudkitty said...

The Constitution/Bill Of Rights exists to protect the minority from the majority. Democracy, as Churchill said, is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.

Marshall Art said...

"The Constitution/Bill Of Rights exists to protect the minority from the majority." Really? Where does it say that? From what I hear, Miss History Buff, it exists to protect the people from the government.

Liam,

"...when at least one in every two people in a country has a common opinion and a common cause that’s a force to be reckoned with."

But not so much if they're unarmed. As you may recall, there were tanks in Tiananmen Square. The people had merely their feet for running away.

But that's neither here nor there. The question is more about countries, like Iraq was, that are causing problems outside their borders. If an illegit country isn't messing with their neighbors, or worse, us, there's far less justification for taking action.

Even more to the point, we can righteously determine for ourselves which governments are legit using our own standards. We are a democratic republic. We have values, policies, protocols, RULES, that we seek to follow and by abiding these, we agree to the type of government we have and who's running it. It's easy enough to note how other countries are forming their governments, and if theirs form through force or subterfuge, by our standards, they ain't legit. This is helpful to our understanding of who they are and how we should deal with them, or if we SHOULD deal with them. We don't have to kid ourselves about any of that. We can see with our own eyes, or intel, what kind of government they are and whether they are by our standards legit. What comes after that is a whole 'nuther story.

Liam said...

Hello Marshall

Regarding your first paragraph, it doesn’t need to explicitly say that; it is implicit in the fact that the government is an expression of the majority opinion.

Moving on, wasn’t the iconic image of the Tiananmen Square protest the single protester standing in front of the tanks and them having to stop?

But as you say, the specific point is not as relevant as the general issue. Reading what you have written, the difference in our points of view seems to amount to me believing that the legitimacy of a country’s government is determined by its people and you believing that it is determined by you (the USA).

Now distil from your view the general principle you are proposing and apply it universally; one country judges the legitimacy of another country’s government by considering the values and standards it uses internally. So now there is no International Law and any country which doesn’t agree with the way another country is run is able to invade them or otherwise seek regime change; you have the very definition of anarchy and are back to a nineteenth century worldview.

Also, reading your comment again, it’s not clear to me that you are distinguishing between governments being illegitimate and governments doing things with which you disagree – and that’s an important distinction. Could you maybe compare and contrast firstly the legitimacy of the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia and secondly your view of their policies?

Marshall Art said...

Liam,

Regarding my first paragraph from to which you responded, the Constitution/Bill of Rights establishes or lists what right we have by virtue of our existence, and then tells the feds what they are allowed to do. Anything else is projection, unless perhaps there's some explanation in the Federalist Papers that concur with Mudkitty. I'll have to re-read those.

I don't think those tank drivers "had" to stop. It was a judgement call, but clearly the protesters are not supportive of the government. They must represent the feelings of many more Chinese. Whether they represent enough is another thing, but in the face of a government ready to use tanks against it's own people, a majority might feel the better part of valor is to remain silent.

"the difference in our points of view seems to amount to me believing that the legitimacy of a country’s government is determined by its people and you believing that it is determined by you (the USA)."

Not entirely. If a government's leader wins an election with over 95% of the vote, and we find that no opponent was truly allowed, I'd say that's one example of an illegitimate government. If we learn through sources from with a country as well as sources outside, like the UN perhaps, of widespread oppression and abuse, that gov would not be legit. But I'm not saying that, barring any of that, we'd simply rely on our own observations, even if those showed blatant abuses by our own standards. Those observations would be one indication or, as we like to say, a red flag, of illegitimacy. More evidence would be gathered, talks with neighboring countries and int'l bodies, before we'd do anything about it, if indeed we wanted to do something about it. But of course it starts with our own impressions of that other government and I've little doubt it works any differently for other countries.

As far as how other countries might utilize this practice, if we consider a government illegitimate, it's likely their opinions would be considered so as well, so we wouldn't give much resect to them. One must be prepared and willing to recognize evil and call it by it's name. It might be relative, but I'm confident that what we call evil will also be looked upon with at least some trepidation by other nations. The USA is the last superpower and I think we need to accept that role with all the ramifications it brings. If we're acting righteously, as it were, most of the world will give us the benefit of the doubt when we are confronting those we know to be evil. For example, if England had concerns about another country, we'd be likely to assume England's concerns are sincere and legit. That's because of our opinion of England which has been uplifted since 9/11. Blair has been a tremedous ally and has taken heat for seeing the WOT in the same way we do. (I hope Brown will do as much).

I can't think of a government that could have been considered illegitimate that WASN'T doing things I didn't like. Nor could I imagine a government that did things I like being greatly crapped upon by it's people, even if they "stole" an election. "Hey, I thought the guys were crooks and creeps, but now that they're here, they're doing a great job!"

Being legit to my mind is more than winning the election honestly. Bush won the election, but his approval ratings are crap. His government is legit, but his people are unhappy with him. His legitimacy no longer matter to many for whom it once did. Now he's not despotic, no matter what Democrats say, so overthrowing him would be overkill to say the least.

Now Carter made it easy for Khomeni to take power and right away he started trash talking and setting about to be a pain in the ass internationally. Now, the mullahs sock puppet, Mahmoud, is talking even nastier and it is said that there is a large faction of Iranians who don't dig their government. I believe he needs to be overthown and the mullahs made to STFU. That government is less than illegitimate.

Saudi Arabia has troubled my mind but they haven't been messing with the neighbors and I haven't heard of any groups looking to depose the top dude aside from bin Laden. I've heard they are creeps, but haven't been Sadam-like in any way. I'd rather their government was more like ours, and that's about as far as I can speak on them. I freely admit that I'd like every nation to emulate mine, but that ain't required.