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Author Topic: "U.S.-Iran tensions may trigger war"
Pete at Home
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Congradulations for pointing out the devastating fact that I misspelled a word. Note that the word UNSUITABLE fits my construction "meaning that your analogy did not show what you wanted it to show."

quote:
May we get back to the discussion now?
You do what you like, Dave.

[ February 08, 2007, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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DaveS
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quote:
Congradulations for pointing out the devastating fact that I misspelled a word.
quote:
You can't "challenge" someone with a straw man (2 words)
You mean I was being pedantic like that?

You weren't challenging me when you asked: "Would you seriously argue that a nuclear-armed Iran poses less of a threat to the United States than Nazi Germany did in June 1940?" Isn't it a strawman (1 word spelling) to conflate two inapposite situations?

Not devastating, but since I was referencing a dictionary, it seemed appropriate to make the spelling explicit. The definition(s) and synonym show that we were both right, which I thought my clever tomato/tomato joke would reinforce, but for you the word (and many others, obviously) means exactly what you want it to mean, nothing more or less.

I think the reference to the Archduke's murder starting WWI was appropriate, suggesting how unintended consequences can follow an event and blow a situation all out of proportion, but you have to take a step back in order to see it. But, given it was a reference to events almost 100 years ago, perhaps it wasn't relevant.

Pete, I'm not pushing you to be more explicit and specific in this thread for any personal reasons. I want to understand your viewpoint better, and I'm struggling. Some things are foregone conclusions in your mind, but I don't agree with what I think your underlying assumptions are (at least not yet).

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kelcimer
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
. War against Iran will trigger global consequences that will restructure the political, economic and military maps for generations.

I thought that was the intent...

quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
. We have no frigging clue what the outcome of a military adventure against Iran will be.

When has America ever had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?
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kelcimer
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quote:
d) that Iran actively supports a number of very dangerous terrorist organizations; -- True (most likely)...
More then 'most likely'.
From the mouth of the leader of Hizbullah:
quote:
Moving to the issue of Iran and Syria, Nasrallah emphasized the integral role which both states have played in strengthening and assisting the guerilla organization.

"Iran assists the organization with money, weapons, and training, motivated by a religious fraternity and ethnic solidarity," Nasrallah said. "And the help is funneled through Syria, and everybody knows it."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1170359771711
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DaveS
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quote:
DaveS: . War against Iran will trigger global consequences that will restructure the political, economic and military maps for generations.

Kelcimer: I thought that was the intent...

Are you saying that it is our intent to use a war in Iran to do all those things? That's a pretty ambitious agenda for a war against a single country.
quote:
When has America ever had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?
Seriously? What about Iraq in 2003? I won't repeat all of the useless statements Wolfowitz, Cheney and others made to Congress and the press. On the other hand, despite their confident statements, they really didn't have a clue.
quote:
More then 'most likely'.
You're right. I didn't disbelieve it, but I hadn't seen anybody actually confirm it. He's certainly in a position to know. Now, why he would say it is another question.
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Pete at Home
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" Isn't it a strawman (1 word spelling) to conflate two inapposite situations?"

No. "Conflating two inapposite situations" could refer to either an equivocation or a false analogy, or even to a situation that was arguably both an equivocation and a false analogy. For example, "separate but equal" has taken on its own abstract meaning as well as continuing to represent a specific historical case, and at least once state justice has used the term in a way that is both an equivocation and a false analogy.

If you want accurate information of scientific terms you should probably go to a scientific source, and if you want logical terms you should probably go to a source on philosophy or rhetoric.

quote:
I'm not pushing you to be more explicit and specific in this thread for any personal reasons.
I never said or thought otherwise. What's your point?

[ February 09, 2007, 01:06 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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kelcimer
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Are you saying that it is our intent to use a war in Iran to do all those things? That's a pretty ambitious agenda for a war against a single country.

Isn't the purpose of wars to change things? You seem to be accusing the prospect of a failing, which happens to be the very thing it is intended to achieve: change.

quote:

kelcimer: When has America ever had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out?

DaveS:
Seriously? What about Iraq in 2003? I won't repeat all of the useless statements Wolfowitz, Cheney and others made to Congress and the press. On the other hand, despite their confident statements, they really didn't have a clue.

Then you agree that America has never had a clue as to how a particular military endeavor would turn out? Cool. For a second there I thought you were disagreeing with me.

quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Now, why he would say it is another question.

I confess, I don't understand what you mean by this.
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DaveS
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quote:
if you want logical terms you should probably go to a source on philosophy or rhetoric.
Thanks for the tip. I did that when I looked up the spelling. One type of strawman argument attaches an unrelated situation (inapposite) to what the other person is talking about in order to get them to appear to contradict themselves. So, I could say that Germany was a greater threat at the start of WWII than Iran is today, or vice versa. Since the two situations are incomparable, either response would be provably wrong. I asked you to answer your own question, but you didn't do that. Too bad, as I would expect you to have a really good answer.
quote:
I never said or thought otherwise. What's your point?
To ask for more information from you. We see the situation very differently, so I am probing to understand your point of view better.
quote:
You seem to be accusing the prospect of a failing, which happens to be the very thing it is intended to achieve: change.
Kelcimer, it's the scope of the change you are after. You can invade a country to solve a problem between your country and theirs, or on the other extreme to reorder the world in some fashion. I'm saying that war against Iran could become a war to rearrange the world, and you're saying sure, that's the point. Ok, we see it differently. The larger the scope, the more unpredictable the outcome, so you'd better have all your ducks in a row before you do it. Among the ducks, what are you willing to dedicate, sacrifice or spend in the effort. Nobody in this thread has touched those practical aspects. I ask because of how things have gone in Iraq, where we have been committed for 4 years, spent about $400B-$500B so far, tied up most of our military apparatus, and worn down support for the effort (and other reasons). What would your objective be and what are you willing to spend to achieve it?
quote:
For a second there I thought you were disagreeing with me.
I am. The war against Iraq was "sold" on specific grounds with specific objectives and a preordained outcome. It had to be, or more people would have objected to the war, but it really seems like those leaders believed their own wishful thinking.
quote:
I don't understand what you mean by this.
Just a ponder. Most leaders are more circumspect than to implicate a foreign government in fomenting war within their country or against their neighbor. I really don't know why he did it.
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KnightEnder
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Jesse,

My children, and maybe I, will still be around in "a couple of decades" when Iran does have the capacity to arm lunatics with suitcase nukes.

However, even today they have, or are very close to having, the ability to provide nuclear material to lunatics that can set off 'dirty bombs' in the US through our pouris southern border.

The idea of a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. And if we, with all our power and temporary 'control' of the world, allow nations such as Iran to become armed with nuclear weapons I am certain it will be the end of civilization as we know it.

History, if any is written, will condem us for doing nothing.

KE

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Jesse
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Based on what facts?

It's mighty cold in Europe and a darn good part of the US, Pete [Wink]

More seriously, the price spikes that would result would probably bring about a world wide depression. Try funding a War if Westerners discover what hunger and cold actually feel like.

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Jesse
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KE-

Nuclear proliferation is inevitable. I'm not saying that we shouldn't try to slow it down as much as we possibly can, anymore than I would suggest that the fact that you're going to die someday is a good reason not to wear a seatbelt.

NK is going to hand them out once it has enough. Maybe not willy-nilly to everyone, but they will.

War with Iran might also be the end of civilization as we know it. I'm not kidding.

What do you think Israel will do if a couple of dirty bombs go off in Tel Aviv, KE? If that happens as a direct result of US attacks on Iran, what do you think History will say?

We aren't prepared for this conflict. Whether or not you believe that we should attack Iran, we haven't got enough might to occupy their country, and failure to occupy their country will mean the near destruction of the current world economy.

I think we're going to attack them KE. I'm not even putting forth much effort trying to actually convince anyone it's a bad idea, since what the people think won't matter one bit the folks making the decisions.

If we're going to do it, and I don't know why I bother with IF, we need to be prepared for the fact that it's not going to be a cake walk and that a nifty little "surgical strike" won't be the end of it.

A lot of people are going to die. Energy prices are going to go through the roof. We will suffer terrorist attacks at home, and we will probably wind up intering tens of thousands of Americans. We will get absolutely mauled in Iraq. Our country will wind up absolutely bankrupt. It's going to cost us trillions we don't have.

I just want to make sure that we're all aware of the cost of acting.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
quote:
if you want logical terms you should probably go to a source on philosophy or rhetoric.
Thanks for the tip. I did that when I looked up the spelling. One type of strawman argument attaches an unrelated situation (inapposite) to what the other person is talking about in order to get them to appear to contradict themselves.
Yes, an inapposite situation could be part of a straw man, but the gravamen of the straw man fallacy is misrepresentation, Dave. To employ a straw man means that you misrepresent an opponent's argument and then rebut that misrepresentation. Hence the term "straw man:" it's knocking down a dummy argument.

quote:
We see the situation very differently, so I am probing to understand your point of view better.
Well, good luck with that. [Frown]
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DaveS
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quote:
A lot of people are going to die. Energy prices are going to go through the roof. We will suffer terrorist attacks at home, and we will probably wind up intering tens of thousands of Americans. We will get absolutely mauled in Iraq. Our country will wind up absolutely bankrupt. It's going to cost us trillions we don't have.
Thank you for taking up the cost issue, whether you're right or not. It's insanity to promote military action without discussing cost as the force on the other side of the fulcrum. Trillions? I think yes. Global recession? Good chance. Global arms race? Absolutely. WWIII? Dunno, but I saw today that Putin publicly complained that the US is the world's most aggressive nation, implying that something has to be done to counter US encroachment into other countries' security spaces. Where is that going to lead, especially if we attack Iran, a country Russia is busily building economic and military collaboration with?
quote:
Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the United States Saturday for the "almost uncontained" use of force in the world, and for encouraging other countries to acquire nuclear weapons.

In what his spokesman acknowledged were his harshest attacks on the U.S. since taking office in 2000, Putin also criticized U.S. plans for missile defense systems and NATO's expansion.

Putin told a security forum attracting top officials that "we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations" and that "one state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.

"This is very dangerous, nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law," Putin told the gathering.

By "ecouraging other countries" I think the article means provoking them to develop nuclear weapons as a response to US military superiority. No matter how invincible our soldiers are, one suitcase bomb set off in any major US city would be utterly devastating to our economy and societal stability. Who would knowingly "encourage" other nations to move in that direction?
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EDanaII
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quote:
No matter how invincible our soldiers are, one suitcase bomb set off in any major US city would be utterly devastating to our economy and societal stability.
Which is PRECISELY why the US has been forced to become more aggressive.

Ed.

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DaveS
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Ed, people can fall on either side of this question, which you and I do. Would our aggression reduce or slow down the march toward such a horrific event, or would it speed it up? I take the position that other nations will respond to our lead with efforts in similar directions. If we invade or attack Iran, other countries will think like Putin does and will act on those thoughts, which Putin may be signaling Russia will do.
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EDanaII
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What would Putin do (WWPD) if the shoe were on the other foot, Dave? I suspect that he'd be even more aggressive than we are being now, limited only by the state his country is currently in.

The problem is, it's easy to take Putin's position if (1) you were never attacked and (2) you don't have to worry (yet) about being attacked. What's a few thousand American lives to him? Unlike Georgie Jr., I don't (can't) look into Putin's eyes and see a good man. I see a man who has his _own_ country's interests at heart.

As to speeding up hostilities, as you already know, I believe we are on an invetible course towards war, so... if we're gonna have to go through this, let's get it _done and over with._ The sooner it's out of the way, the sooner life can return to normal.

Ed.

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Pete at Home
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Could be both. Could be that it would reduce the horror in the long run AND speed it up in the short run. As occurred in WWII.
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Big C
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"The sooner it's out of the way, the sooner life can return to normal."

I think the world's present state is the only "normal" we're going to know for the rest of our (and our children's) lives.

We can't go back, and those on the other side of the "great divide" won't let us.

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Pete at Home
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And when I say "could be," I mean "could be." It's an open question.

As for Putin's remarks, I think that the most folks are failing to take in that Russia and China's biggest gripe was what we did in Kosovo/Serbia. Yes they had financial interests in Iraq and have financial interests in Iran, but their rhetoric here is simply aimed at destroying any concord between the US and Europe that could be used to repeat what happened in Kosovo. What Russia and the PRC find particularly threatening is the idea of an international community forming an "aggressive pact" against one nation over what Russia and the PRC consider internal housekeeping measures such as genocide. (My objection to the Kosovo war is very different from Russia and the PRC's objection.)

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DaveS
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Could be, Pete, that's why I'm so cautious [Wink] . Ed, I expect every country to put their own interests (first order considerations) first, but if that's the only consideration that's taken into account, we will never get out of the cycle of confrontational diplomacy that we're in now. We need to consider what I'll call possible second order effects of taking first order actions.

1st order, 1: We attack Iran and wipe out their nuclear facilities, declare victory and go home. What happens to ME oil supplies as a result of hostilities on both sides? Assume we tighten our belts, scrounge for alternative energy sources. A law is passed requiring everyone to switch to compact flourescent lights (CFLs, great stuff, btw!), highway vehicle occupancy restrictions are enacted in many states. Significant oil shortages result anyway, but we survive.

1st order, 2: Iran, Al Qaeda, other groups instigate terrorist attacks against the US and other western interests in retaliation after we leave and they regroup. This can take 1-3 years to develop, but are ongoing once they begin. We "expected" this and prepared as best we could. Perhaps we even escape relatively unscathed. Other countries are damaged, but perhaps also not severely. The global economy takes a hit, but would eventually recover if there were no second order effects. But,

2nd order, 1: Russia consolidates its relationship with Iran and moves toward aggregation and control of global oil supplies, seeks shift of global international alliances. Some traditional US allies in Europe and Asia move in Russia's direction, because they are geographically nearer and are forced to accede to Russia's increased clout regarding distribution of oil supplies. The worldwide recession that follows hurts the US more than any other country, since we import and consume more resources than any other country.

2nd order, 2: ME turmoil is unleashed and results in all-out regional war, targeting the destruction of Israel. Islamic nationalism rises, democratic governments are overthrown. Regional autonomy emerges with a charter to oppose US imperialism by controlling their one commodity, oil. Recognizing that the US isn't unwilling to use military means to secure access to oil, ME countries form military alliances and share nuclear technology among themselves. They reach the point where they declare that other countries are either with them or against them. Oil is used to coerce realignments.

2nd order, 3: Every country in the world capable of doing so redoubles their efforts to build nuclear stockpiles. Those countries distance themselves from the US because we are a known international aggressor with a massive military capability. Cold war returns, US is diplomatically and economically isolated, the UN effectively disappears. Maybe the US cobbles together a new Global Democratic Order, a coalition of willing countries bound by mutual protection treaties centered around US military capabilities.

Etc. Could happen, and it all seems quite plausible to me. BTW, none of this assumes that any nuclear weapons actually go off. If one does go off anywhere in the world, a 2nd will, and then a 3rd...After that, it's pointless to count.

Or, we could negotiate, compromise, learn to get along in the world without holding the title of the dominant power, only the most important. Also seems plausible and could happen.

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Pete at Home
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Being cautious about going to war is a good thing. Unfortunately, WWII showed us that under certain circumstances, you also need to be cautious about not going to war.
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Redskullvw
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If war is the result of failed diplomacy, then the true question is when does our current diplomacy qualify as a failure? If the goal of our diplomacy is to prevent nuclear technology being converted into nuclear arms, as well as prevent a nuclear threat or use against our allies in Europe and the Near East, and ultimately assure that peaceful commerce and communication continues, then we must asses the current results of our diplomatic efforts.

We apparently have not prevented the Iranian government or religious leaders from not being advocates of warfare outside their borders. We have not prevented the implementation of an Iranian nuclear program that can be fully self sustaining and independent of outside resources. We have not been able to force Iran to meet its commitments under IAEA auspices. We have not been able to get Iran to place nuclear technology transference of civilian uses to military uses on the table. AND iran has pointedly said that any diplomatic talks will not include Iran's nuclear program at all in toto. Iran has ignored formal protest by IAEA inspectors. Iran has also been non-responsive to any economic sanctions.

All the while, Iran has been doing something concerning nuclear technology. It could be building a peaceful system. It could be building a system that can have a military component. It could even be building a system that has a primary military intent. Add to this the statements by the religious leaders that it is an Iranian right to have all the capacities of nuclear technology as well as the statement that a nuclear weapon is against Koranic laws. Plus add to that the statements by Iran's president, cabinet members, and military leaders that Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon is outside the scrutiny of the world.

And most damning of all is the fact that Iranian leaders continue to allude to the fact that Israel and the United States will experience a great burning cloud.

So exactly when do you begin deciding that Iran, which has always lived up to its rhetoric, really plans to not only become a nuclear power but also use that power as a military tool?

When the Nazis did the Sudetenland related diplomacy, Czechoslovakia had both the ability and resources to annihilate the German Army. They however went along with the diplomatic measures that Great Britain and France recommended. Great Britain, France and even Germany were not ready for a war. Czechoslovakia was because their armaments and defensive capacities were far superior in both quantity and quality compared to their potential German adversary. France and Great Britain thought diplomacy at Czechoslovakia's expense was the better course. The irony is that those Czechoslovakian weapons spent the next few years being used by the Germans as they nearly destroyed all of Europe and the Soviet Union.

Of course 20/20 it is easy to see that diplomacy was already dead, and war should have been the answer. Imagine a world where Czechoslovakia was allowed by its allies to defend its territory. The Germans would have suffered a massive crippling defeat, and the Nazis would never have climaxed as the causality of World War II.

Someone early made a comment about how history would judge our response to Iran. Will it be one where we delayed until events overtake us? Or will we do something proactive? As it stands right now, diplomacy has yielded nothing for our efforts.

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Pete at Home
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"Those countries distance themselves from the US because we are a known international aggressor with a massive military capability. Cold war returns, US is diplomatically and economically isolated, the UN effectively disappears."

Again, war with Iran would not be a significant factor towards this outcome -- those seeds were planted in Kosovo and letting Iran make the first major attack in this war won't avert that outcome. Simply put, what we did in Kosovo was unmitigated aggression; Iraq was almost certainly not aggression, and attacking Iran now would not be aggression in any legally recognized sense of the word. But to understand that, you'll have to look up the legal definition of aggression.

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DaveS
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quote:
So exactly when do you begin deciding that Iran, which has always lived up to its rhetoric, really plans to not only become a nuclear power but also use that power as a military tool?
The leap from them having that power to using it would be very difficult for them to make. I realize that not preventing what will inevitably happen is stupid, but I have to believe that they also think about what will happen to them if they do use it. Their country will be incinerated in a 100-fold retaliatory holocaust. Their people will be obliterated. Their dreams as a nation, religion and culture will die along with them. No matter what they think they can accomplish with their weapons, don't you think that would stop them from doing so?
quote:
As it stands right now, diplomacy has yielded nothing for our efforts.
Red, you know that diplomacy is unbearably slow. I think we are making diplomatic progress, and I think that Iran is gut-checking Ahmadinejad's position and not liking it as much as it may sound. I posted links to articles describing rumblings to this effect previously, but I don't have them handy at the moment.
quote:
...and attacking Iran now would not be aggression in any legally recognized sense of the word. But to understand that, you'll have to look up the legal definition of aggression.
Pete, you argue policy like a lawyer. SO WHAT if you think our invading their country might meet some "legal definition"? You keep referring back to that as if it's a get out of jail free card. We insisted we had the legal right to invade Iraq, and that sure didn't win many allies to the cause. This is so much more serious and deadly a potential conflict that the world might define a new legal standard if we start that war under which we are a criminal nation deserving of worldwide opprobrium and reprisal. Will you defend them if they cite their legal definition?
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Redskullvw
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Dave

The Iranian government has always lived up to its rhetoric, which was why I pointed that out. They say that nuclear development is not up for negotiation. They say Israel and the United States will be attacked. By their track record, i.e. doing exactly what they say they are going to do, I believe them to be firmly committed to acting on their rhetoric. That would include their seeming willingness to use nuclear weapons. Their cultural bias does not place the same value on civilians and reasonable protection of civilians on the same level as ours. Even if we turned them into a pile of glass, which we would never do in the first place because we are unwilling to use a nuke ever again, if they have caused even minor damage to Israel and the United States, they assume everyone is in Heaven and Allah's will has been done. We lose maybe New York City and Israel looses Jerusalem, and Iran loses every single hamlet, by their viewpoint they win. Its a bit like the Monty Python's Black Knight. Its obvious that he has suffered a humiliating defeat, but it is impossible to establish that fact with him, or even prevent him from additional attacks against you. While we place an inordinate, and unprecedented valuation on civilians compared to historical governments, the Iranians do not share a similar cultural tradition. I would not assume that they would somehow see the light and recognize that civilian casualties are something to avoid. They didn't exhibit such concerns in their last war with Iran. What makes you think that they would suddenly adopt the polar viewpoint and not be willing to follow through with using a nuclear weapon?

And as to the painfully slow pace of diplomacy. We have been at this now for more than 4 years. We have offered both carrots and sticks. The Iranians have yielded no compromise, or even conjectured a compromise that is possible. Additionally, what was a program with little hard evidence of existence, has now become not only to big to hide from satellites and IAEA inspectors, but has repeatedly proven to be much farther developed and advanced than each presumption we have made. In a matter of a week, the existence of cascades of centrifuges went from, doubtful, to possible, to confirmed but a minimal 160 devices, to more than 320 installed and running devices with a presumption that Iran may have another 1000 running in addition. Seems to me that if diplomacy is simply the Iranian method of pulling our tail repeatedly so that we don't notice the guillotine they are building in front of us until they can use it, then we ought to expect at least some sort of diplomatic process.

So far the only "progress" has been the Europeans gloating over the fact that they are the leaders of diplomacy because the USA cannot be allowed to be the exclusive diplomatic leader in the world. So "whoopee" Europe gets treated as a media darling as it leads ineffectual diplomacy!

That isn't diplomatic progress. Thats more like acceding to your allies because they aren't ready to back up the diplomacy with anything other than diplomacy. So it is kinda ironic that the USA and Israel are playing Czechoslovakia to Britain and France for a second time.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
quote:
...and attacking Iran now would not be aggression in any legally recognized sense of the word. But to understand that, you'll have to look up the legal definition of aggression.
Pete, you argue policy like a lawyer. SO WHAT if you think our invading their country might meet some "legal definition"?
When you use legal terms like aggression and illegal, it's generally a good idea to know what the hell you're talking about.


quote:
You keep referring back to that as if it's a get out of jail free card.
You think that attacking Iran is like getting out of jail? [Big Grin] I'm just saying that I'm unaware of any conflict in international law. The question remains whether it's the best thing for us to do under the circumstances.

quote:
We insisted we had the legal right to invade Iraq, and that sure didn't win many allies to the cause.
I think it was the actually invading Iraq that pissed people off; not the legal argument. [Big Grin]


quote:
This is so much more serious and deadly a potential conflict that the world might define a new legal standard if we start that war under which we are a criminal nation deserving of worldwide opprobrium and reprisal. Will you defend them if they cite their legal definition?
I would not give credit any "legal definition" that identifies a "criminal nation," nor to an ex post facto law. Some folks mistakenly argue that Nuremberg enforced an ex-post facto law, but IIRC no obligation was enforced at Nuremberg that Germany had not already agreed to by treaty or law. Nor did Nuremberg identify Germany as a "criminal nation;" Nuremberg prosecuted individuals for crimes against humanity and aggression. It certainly would be a strange world if we made decisions based on what someone might make illegal after the fact.

If you're not willing to look at legal definitions before making a legal argument, then let's just agree to disagree on the legality of the proposed invasion, and focus instead on other aspects of this question where you seem more informed, and where I am undecided. Your analysis of what might happen after the invasion seemed cogent enough, and I look forward to Redskull's response. In fact, I think the worst case scenario from a US attack could get considerably worse than what you described. I suspect that the US might sooner result to nukes than to the draft and a full occupation of Iran. I don't think that's likely, but it's a possibility that I can't dismiss. But even that worst case scenario seems less ugly than letting Aminajab get his hands on a nuke.

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Pete at Home
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"Or, we could negotiate, compromise, learn to get along in the world without holding the title of the dominant power, only the most important. Also seems plausible and could happen."


I have no idea who you are responding to there. Who has advocated attacking Iran in order to "hold the title of the dominant power?" Certainly what you say comes off badly in the light of my concern and Red's argument that Iran has taken Hitler's approach to diplomacy and war.

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DaveS
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Not responding to anyone, specifically, since I'm trying to talk about the practicalities and you and Red are focused on the threat and opportunity. If the US assumes that it has the right to attack Iran, as it did with Iraq, without legal backing of the UN, then it is assuming that we are a higher, hence dominant, authority than the UN.

I'm also not making a legal argument, so whether attacking them does or does not fit the technical definition of aggression or is or is not legal are not the most significant criteria in my mind. Sorry if you think it comes off badly that I ignore how Iran compares with Hitler's approach to diplomacy and war. I get the feeling that you are engaged in a drawing room or courtroom debate where winning or losing stays in the room, because you avoid talking about the practical aspects of what such a war would mean. I really don't understand how you can talk about such extreme and violent actions without fully engaging that side of the discussion. Honestly.

Hypothetically, let's say that you shoot someone and had a legal pretext or authorization to do so. Unfortunately, the man you shot belongs to a gang and they kill you and your family for killing him. You're arguing the legality of your action, and I'm arguing that you're dead, too. Hmmm, legal...dead...?

[ February 10, 2007, 10:33 PM: Message edited by: DaveS ]

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DaveS
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quote:
Your analysis of what might happen after the invasion seemed cogent enough, and I look forward to Redskull's response. In fact, I think the worst case scenario from a US attack could get considerably worse than what you described. I suspect that the US might sooner result to nukes than to the draft and a full occupation of Iran.
My apologies. This portion of your post didn't sink in until just now. I now understand that you consider Iran getting a nuke to be an ultimate worst case scenario that must not be allowed to happen under any circumstances (right?). I agree that it would be terrible, but I think we should strive to manage it and avoid military action at almost but not quite any cost. Therein apparently lies the difference in our views. The legal, schmegal considerations are secondary to you, as well (also right?).
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Pete at Home
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"The legal, schmegal considerations are secondary to you, as well (also right?)."

Absolutely correct. Unfortunately, they seem to be the one aspect of the argument that I know the most about, and am most certain about, as well as the least interesting. The statement in your first paragraph seems to make a mistaken assumption about the UN and international law regarding war, but you say that you're not posing a legal question, so I'll leave you with that one.

"Legal/Dead" -- then please stop arguing that the war's illegal! That's the only reason that I've responded with legal arguments -- to rebut yours.


"Sorry if you think it comes off badly that I ignore how Iran compares with Hitler's approach to diplomacy and war."

That's not a drawing room comparison. It bears directly on our capacity to come to a nonmilitary solution.

"you avoid talking about the practical aspects of what such a war would mean"

No, I don't. I've addressed those points, and I've requested for more information. In fact, I also showed a possible consequence of such a war that is more serious and horrible than anything that you discussed. I take it very very seriously. Ah. Your next post makes clear that you saw that. Apology accepted.

" I now understand that you consider Iran getting a nuke to be an ultimate worst case scenario that must not be allowed to happen under any circumstances (right?)."

I believe it, but I'm open to counterarguments. Even if it only used its nukes defensively (unlikely), threateninig to nuke Israel or US troops if they were invaded, it would still obviously accelerate its support of terrorism since its nukes now rendered it untouchable. Consider that we don't even attack Bin Laden in western Pakistan because of Musharraf's nuclear threat. Iran's wealth and invulnerability could allow it to make Al Qaeda look like rank amatures. And that's *without* using nukes.

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Redskullvw
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Ok Dave let us talk practical costs.

Worst case scenario: Iran with nuclear weapons has the ability to alter the world's economy, cultures, and religion.

And by alter, I am being very vague intentionally because we know not the direction of altering it will take. But I think there is a clear challenge being made by Iran. It sees Persian dominance on an historical upswing. It threatens directly the democratic/semi-democratic nations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel. They are engaged in military combat with all of those nations except Israel at this very moment. They are already looking for the knockout punch to use against Israel now. Whether Iran has nuclear weapons or not, the United States WILL engage in open combat with Iran some time in the near future.

Whether it is a preemptive strike by the United States or a reactionary strike by the United States, Iran will continue living up to fulfilling its governmental rhetoric. They talk of war, currently attack out allies, and give every indication that they seek our destruction.

They have said, with both religious and political leaders, as well as military and media spokesmen that;

The United States must abandon all of its commercial interests in the region.

That the United States cannot ally with a Muslim country without contaminating the country.

That the United Nations, and its organs cannot supersede the rights and authority of the Arab nations individually or in concert in the various Arab alliances.

The United States is criminal for supporting Israel.

The United States is criminal for poisoning the Egyptian people and should have no free right to access of the Suez.

The United States is criminal for allowing the Sunni governments to exist.

The United States has no transfered mandate of authority over the Persian Gulf that stems from the United Kingdom's agreements with the Trucial States.

The United States has allowed Israel to freely attack innocent Islamic countries.

The United states has no right or reason to have any deployed forces anywhere in the Islamic regions of the world.

That the United States is part of a vast Zionist conspiracy.

That the United States should withdraw to its own borders.

That the culture of the United States is a contaminant and can only be cured by Sharia Law.

That United States will burn.

That a unified Islamic Middle East is a goal to obtain, by force if required, to enable the eventual cleansing of the United States.

That Iran is soon to be an independent nuclear power, and aside from continuing to entertain the IAEA diplomatically, the question of what Iran is up to does not concern the United States.


And it goes on and on. Dave, some of the stuff they say is honestly so over the top that the western ear simply disputes its seriousness immediately. But enough of what the Iranian leadership is saying is being delivered in apparent lucidity. They truly mean what they say.

So you have a nation who seeks your country's economic, political, military, cultural, and religious downfall.

The practicality question is moot. It isn't a question of it being an advantageous period of time to have to deal with Iran. We are not the ones setting up the pool balls on the table. Iran has said that it essentially wants the Persian Empire to replace the United States as a super power. It has said it will do so by any means required. It has made it very clear that the United States will be assaulted globally if we resist.

So what is economic, cultural, religious, and political freedom worth to you? Trillions in my book. practicality doesn't matter. It will be harder and costlier the longer we go on.

This isn't a parlor room discussion for contemplative review. This is simply a statement of fact. The legalities or the costs aren't really the issue. The issue is simply when do we defend ourselves. Your commentary seems to be more aimed at should we defend ourselves.

I dont know about you but a world inhabited by a fanatical, militant, nuclear armed Iran scares the hell out of me. Al Qeada told us that they were at war with the United States and would attack the United States until it essentially bows to all of their demands. It took the United States almost a decade to notice, but Al Qeada lived up to its words. We haven't bowed to their demands, but hey are definitely killing us daily in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran has been telling the United States that they are our enemy and will not only challenge the United States, but also defeat it. And it seems that they have managed to put together a real impressive package.

Terrorists and puppet governments attacking the United States in the Middle East, an impressive independent arms industry backed by a fairly robust and capable military. Modern arms and naval capacities. And aerospace abilities that make them as powerful as most European nations.

And they want the bomb.

The practical aspects don't matter, because we are talking about a war which will require extreme sacrifice by our nation domestically and internationally. It will be a whatever it takes kind of war, i.e. Civil War, World War II, where the obvious threat to the nation is so clear that everyone fights as forcefully and effectively as possible so that the war ends decisively and unambiguously.

Personally I am hoping that their is either a populist uprising in Iran which overthrows the current religious and governmental leadership. That seems unlikely since there is even less civil disobedience now than there ever was under the Shah.

I could hope for a catastrophic failure in multiple Iranian nuclear sites, but that is pretty wishful thinking. Maybe their bomb will dud, or explode so incredibly that the government is revealed to be totally incompetent.

Hopefully the Israelis will launch a suicide mission and hit as much of Iran's nuclear industry as possible and give the United States another decade of delay.

Dave I'm not trying to be hostile towards you, so I am sorry if something I wrote offends you.

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EDanaII
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@ DaveS

Sorry, Dave, but from my point of view, you are arguing a lot of "what if" scenarios. There's nothing wrong with this except this, but, as I've suggested to you before, we do not fight wars on what might happen, we fight them based on what we are unwilling to lose to our enemy. The issue at hand is not about our good standing in this world, it's about the loss of lives, potentially numbering in the millions. I don't know about you, but, were I ever forced to make a choice between those two, then, our standing be damned. I am, quite frankly, unwilling to sacrafice those lives simply so that someone might like us a little better.

Ed.

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EDanaII
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@ Redskullvw

Excellent post, Red.

quote:
Personally I am hoping that their is either a populist uprising in Iran which overthrows the current religious and governmental leadership. That seems unlikely since there is even less civil disobedience now than there ever was under the Shah.
Me too and I fear your right.

Ed.

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DaveS
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quote:
The legalities or the costs aren't really the issue. The issue is simply when do we defend ourselves. Your commentary seems to be more aimed at should we defend ourselves.
I wholeheartedly agree with your first sentence; the second states your position; the third doesn't quite capture mine. I believe that Iran is a potentially dangerous and serious threat to world peace. Despite the rhetoric that you cite (Persian empire? Shiite empire? Their neighbors won't allow either!), I don't believe that they have any hope at all of achieving a fraction of what you say they want. Most importantly, 1, I think any war against Iran will be all-out war, for which we have made no preparations. If they truly will back up those threats, our bombs won't stop them; we will have to annihilate the dream that fuels that vision, which means that we will have to carry out a holocaust greater than was waged by the Nazis in WWII. I don't believe that any other country in the world will allow it, and we will suffer monumentally if we attempt it. 2, War isn't the only option. That is where we most disagree.
quote:
Dave I'm not trying to be hostile towards you, so I am sorry if something I wrote offends you.
Red, I hope I haven't missed it, but I haven't detected any hostility from you. That we disagree so strongly, but stay focused on the substance of the issue, advances the discussion, even if sometimes in a brittle way. This may be the defining issue of our age (my money is on global climate change), so it is crucial that people who can't stop thinking about it don't stop talking to each other.
quote:
I don't know about you, but, were I ever forced to make a choice between those two, then, our standing be damned. I am, quite frankly, unwilling to sacrafice those lives simply so that someone might like us a little better.
Ed, I don't really care who likes us. I argue a lot of "what if" scenarios because we don't know how to predict the future, so they are all we have. You can't resist the inevitable force of gravity, but there is no such similar law or principle at work in international relations. I wish you had a more nuanced view of that or would provide a less assertive and more reasoned argument, because it would give us more to talk about. For instance, I think every single statement you made in that post is an opinion for which the assumptions and facts that went into it can be interpreted differently. If you state what those are, I would be more than willing to discuss them with you. If my unwillingness to agree with you frustrates you, then we don't have much to talk to each other about. As I wrote above to Red, war isn't the only option, though I recognize that it clearly is one.
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EDanaII
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quote:
I wish you had a more nuanced view of that or would provide a less assertive and more reasoned argument, because it would give us more to talk about.
Yes, I know. We've had this conversation before, Dave. [Smile] And this is where you and I differ distinctively. It's not that I don't have a more "nuanced" view. It's that I prefer the "Alexandrian Solution" to this problem.

There is a concept in my line of work known as "analysis paralysis" where, when analyzing risks to his business, the analyst ends up doing nothing for fear of doing the wrong thing. That is effectively what you appear to be doing in these arguments, to me, anyway.

The problem is, analysis for analysis' sake is not a good thing. More to the point, if all you do is analyze and nothing else, then you are merely wasting your time. Analysis, without any action is like a car without gas: useless.

The solution to the analysis paralysis conundrum is to prioritize: to identify which problems are the worst (most damaging problems), which are the least consequential, and, then, which problems fall somewhere in between the two. This allows the planner to then deal with the obstacles, mitigate the consequences and ignore the irrelevant.

And that's where you and I (and I suspect Red and Pete) differ. As best I can tell, everything you are arguing you are raising to the same priority as my number one concern: that being the potential loss of lives that an "Iran Rising" poses. Everything you list as a consequence can be dealt with when we need to. Loss of prestige? We can deal with it. Damage to the economy? We can deal with it. Russia more firmly opposed to us? We can deal with that. But, the loss of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or, even, (Allah forbid!) millions? How do you deal with that? You can't. It's a loss. The damage is done. There is nothing you can do to resolve it.

So, from my point of view, the number one priority IS preventing that potential loss of life. All other things can be dealt with IF/WHEN they arise.

To put it another way, while your busy trying to untie that Gordian knot, I've already whacked it in two and have already moved on to other issues.

Remember, many of us arguing here believe that we are already on a path to war. No amount of nuance is going to change that. Not so long as Iran continues to spew irresponsible rhetoric. So, to us, to argue nuance while ignoring that simple fact is dangerous at best. At worse, it's idiocy.

Ed.

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Jesse
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I see no reason to believe it is even likely that the loss of life will be less if we act militarily against Iran than if we do not.
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Pete at Home
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You're a sharp guy, Jesse, and I'm more interested in what you do see than what you don't see. [Smile]
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Redskullvw
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I think we already are at war. As hard as we have tried to frame it in politically correct terms, the United States is at war with Islam.

Plain and simple. Our world view has a possible and probable peaceful co-existence. Islam's view is one where we convert or die.

That is the current Gordian Knot. Most people have been painfully and willfully unaware of its existence.

Iran is already playing for all the marbles, while the USa is barely even grabbing a shooter out of its pouch.

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DaveS
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Jesse, so you also think the war has begun, but we just don't know the path that it will follow?
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DaveS
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Red, you're promoting all out war. How long will it take us to ramp up, what will it take? I think the battle group movements into the ME are in anticipation of military strikes. Do you?
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