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jdavidb (1361)

jdavidb
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http://voiceofjohn.blogspot.com/

J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Monday March 03, 2003
10:12 AM

Position

[ #10862 ]

I've been rather tightlipped around here about my war position. Actually, I'm rather tightlipped everywhere about my position, even among my closest acquaintances. I've started to feel a need to declare myself.

Let it be known that I am a pacifist. Specifically, my pacifist beliefs come from my belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His standard of priorities for my fellow man. I think in practice a similar position could be derived on philosophical grounds alone, but my beliefs are colored extraordinarily with religious overtones. I've never considered all the particulars, but in general I do not believe in personally taking lethal action against another human being. I do believe in non-lethal force where necessary for defense, and I cannot say what I might do if subjected to immediate danger to myself or my family.

Oh, and I recognize that my belief does not work. If an entire country converted to my way of thinking, they would be overrun in a minute. Not fighting back against those who want to hurt you often results in your death. It did for my Religious Leader. This is not a practical belief; it's solely ideological. But as everyone here knows, I'm quite the ideological type. :)

I'm familiar with all the arguments from the Jewish and Christian Bibles. None seems to be conclusive. Talk radio hosts around here vilify everyone who stands against war on religious grounds, and that still hasn't dissuaded me, so if someone thinks they'd like to change my mind in that way, they'll probably meet with a resounding silence. Nevertheless, I am quite familiar with the reasons why people hold to the opposing view, and I have respect for their viewpoint.

Most people agree that certain types of war are sometimes justified. I agree, too. I am not a pacifist because I believe war is never justified; I am a pacifist because I believe one must hold to a selfless standard when it comes to the lives of others. World War II is the classic example of a just war; practically everyone would agree on it. Every war since, though, seems to be hotly debated. :)

The issues in this war are quite clouded. I think basically, those who think war is just and necessary here follow this reasoning: Saddam Houssein has demonstrated his desire and capability to create weapons that could seriously threaten the United States with catastrophic loss of life, he has demonstrated a complete disregard for human life, an irrationality that would make a cold-war style balance of power standoff unstable, and the attacks on September 11 demonstated the possible catastrophic loss of life that can occur again if such powers go unchecked. Therefore, such people feel disarming Saddam Houssein (taking away all of his weapons, including physical weapons, the country and army he leads, and likely his very life) is the moral equivalent of taking away the weapons of someone who wants to kill you in an alley. There are side issues that pop up and cloud things, some good and some bad. The liberation of Iraq from a mad dictator and the price of oil are both side issues. While I personally would not participate in the war, while I cannot support it, I cannot say that this reasoning is illogical or immoral.

So here's the whole point of my posting this: most of what I've heard from the anti-war crowd is bunk. There may be some who have intelligent reasons for opposing the war, but by banding together (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?) only the lowest common denominator message is coming through: this war is wrong because America is a bunch of imperialists bent on taking over the world, and because George W. Bush is an idiot. That's just about all I'm hearing from the anti-war crowd, and neither of those assertions have any basis in fact. America's not threatening France, for crying out loud! America's threating people who want to destroy it. George Bush may not be able to say "nuclear" (Yes, that bothers me, too, and I love the man), but he is a very capable and intelligent leader, and he is interested in the safety of his country.

To sum up, all I can tell from the anti-war crowd is that France hates us. And many people from Britain and the rest of Europe, and, in fact, many people from my own country. It may not be what you're trying to say, but all I'm hearing is that you don't like us. If I didn't know better, and if I liked to make outlandish hyperbolic statements, I'd speculate as to whether some didn't think it'd be better if Saddam did succeed in causing catastrophic loss of American life.

There's plenty of intelligent reasons for opposing the war. I'm certain plenty of them are held in the anti-war crowd, too, and probably particularly on this site. But they're not coming through. Any intelligent argument is going to have to start with an intelligent understanding of the other side, though. The people who are pushing for war don't want war for it's own sake, and they are not idiots. They have intelligent reasons for their position that need to be addressed.

If preemptive strikes are wrong, say so clearly. Say this war would be wrong because it is a preemptive strike, and we have never done that before. If some war is just but this one is not, state your standards and how they apply to this situtation. When, specifically, would action against Iraq be appropriate? It becomes clear listening to many people that they want to make people happy by saying military action is appropriate in some circumstances, but they would never agree that those circumstances have arrived.

Quit saying America is imperialist, and quit saying Bush is stupid, and quit letting yourself be bunched in with the masses who do. Get your real message out. America may want to force their copyright laws on the world, but they aren't looking for conquest. You know it. Don't dilute your message by screaming such irrational falsehoods at the top of your lungs.

I dunno; I'm not sure why I'm saying this. I may delete this whole entry.

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  • Please don't delete your entry. It may not be complete, and it may not have "the answer," but it definitely contains an important part of the question.

    Thank you for stating it.

    --

    -DA [coder.com]

  • I think the very thing, that many non-americans don't have is the feel of an apparent danger.

    Yesterday, I read in a German Newspaper that a couple of weeks ago, the Director of the CIA, I think his name was Tenet, said in front of Congress (although unwillingly) that Iraq was not dangerous to the US at the moment.

    Well, then there might still be plenty of reasons to fight a war, but those don't justify a preemptive strike.

    Did this Observer story [observer.co.uk] make it to the American media? Just one more reason why p

    • Whether Iraq is currently a danger to the US is not relevant.

      Whether Iraq actually has prohibited weapons right now is not relevant.

      The UN Security Council has only authorized the use of force twice in its history. First in Korea, second in the Gulf War, 12 years ago. That war ended with the Security Council saying, "Iraq must be disarmed," "Iraq must disarm itself with our help, according to these procedures," and "if these procedures do not work, we will take additional steps."

      We are here 12 years la
      • First person I remember saying that a preemptive strike was out of character for the U.S. was you. But I can't find it in your journal, now. Maybe I dreamed it.

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • I don't recall it, though it is possible. But it wasn't until a little while ago -- perhaps late January -- that I realized, through reading primary documents, that this was all related to the cease-fire agreement of 1991.
          • But it wasn't until a little while ago -- perhaps late January -- that I realized

            I know the feeling. We're all learning as we go. ;) I'm only just barely getting to the point where I can even verbalize my thoughts.

            --
            J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Yeah, that might all be true, but your argument has one serious flaw:

        The security council is _no_ court room. Decisions made in the past, might be irrelevant today. Democratic governments change. Public opinion changes. These factors influence the security council. There is no blindfolded justice.

        I just feel, that I have a pretty good feel for how people feel in the US (I have lived there for some years) and how people feel in at least some countries in Europe. The difference is fear. And I can fully un

        • Another word for fear is "knowledge that you're going to get hurt." September 11 gave us fear, and helped us realize that desperate killers can inflict catastrophic casualties if we keep our guard down. It taught us to seal up holes in our security, and taught us that ignoring threats like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Houssein was not as safe as we thought it was.

          Yes, I agree with you that a big difference between the U.S. attitude and the Europe attitude is fear -- but I don't see anything wrong with tha

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
          • I agree. It's perfectly valid. Just please, whatever you do, do it with international consensus. The US might somehow be able to argue that it is not breaking international law by referring to some 12 year old UN resolution, but that won't get you any more friends in the world. It will simply create even more little Osamas, just waiting to blow themselves up on my next flight to the US (Now I'm afraid; one the other hand, I'm going snowboarding for two weeks on friday. I probably die while taking a 60 feet

            • We want international consensus, but in the end, the United States cannot be expected to refuse to take reasonable action to protect itself even without that consensus. Assume for the moment that the United States has enemies in Europe and the U.N. (Which it does not.) You would be granting those enemies the moral right to tell the U.S. not to defend itself. We don't have to wait until everyone discusses the invasion in committee, so to speak.

              And I say all this as a pacifist, you realize. I'm opposed

              --
              J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
          • No, fear is not an option. Fear is defeat. Fear is what happens when terror strikes and terror wins. Saddam is no threat to the US, someone is using America's fear as a reason to get his oil, end of story.

            --

            -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

        • Decisions made in the past, might be irrelevant today.

          THe UN Security Council has, more than a dozen times in a dozen years, reaffirmed Resolution 687 (most recently last Novemberm in Resolution 1441, approved unanimously). Yes, times change, but nothing has changed about the mandate that Iraq is a threat that must be disarmed. Referring to it as a "12-year old resolution," implying that the UN Security Council may not still support it, is simply wrong.

          There is simply no basis for saying the UN Securi
  • with many reasons for and against, none stand out as a clincher. None of the arguments for war stands out as a very good reason.

    Unfortunately many of the arguments against the war fail to clinch it either.

    When its a close call like this you have to be able to trust the politicians and intelligence with the information that they cannot or will not make available to you... but the politicians and intelligence have only managed to undermine any trust we may have had - dossiers compiled of propoganda copied

    --

    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
    • most of the arguments for going to war against iraq apply equally well to a long list of countries

      Yes, but as I mentioned, I ignore many of the arguments for war (and some against war) as side issues. Conveniently, I suppose, many of the arguments I ignore would be the ones that would apply to other countries. Not a democracy? Human rights violations? Subjugating its neighbors? All of those, to me, are side issues. The U.S. leaders' job is to protect the U.S., which, IMHO, can be the only reason f

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Perhaps you can ignore the "side issues", but there are many people who do not share your belief that Iraq poses an immediate and substantive threat against the U.S.

        That leaves the "side issues" as equally important (in their minds). When the U.S. is choosing to go to war against Iraq, and not choosing to go to war against many other countries with equally dispicable records, the next step is to look at why that choice was made. Which is where the argument comes that this is all about oil.

        Will of the U

      • I think its fairly obvious that iraq is not a direct threat to europe or the united states.

        It may be a threat to Israel but that is not the concern of either UN directives or the rest of the world.

        You can't really call 'protecting the interests of an important military customer and diamond trade hub' self defense.

        Of course you can't expect Bush or Blair to admit this.

        I really want to see Iraq liberated, but NOT at ANY price. Currently that price seems to be turning a blind eye to turkeys oppression

        --

        @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
        print reverse @JAPH;
        • I think its fairly obvious that iraq is not a direct threat to europe or the united states.

          I disagree, and many thinking, reasoning people disagree. You can't dismiss us all as idiots; some of us even know how to pronounce "nuclear."

          Maybe they are not a direct threat, but they have tried to develop weapons to inflict catastrophic harm, have indicated a lack of regard for human life, and evidence a particular hatred of the United States. Finally, September 11 showed forever that people like that will

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
          • There is no proof or reasoning that Iraq is an immediate or direct threat to the US or Europe.

            There is only circumstantial evidence that Iraq is a danger to its own neighbours.

            Iraq has no way of attacking any country beyond 200 miles from the area bounded by No Fly Zones. That makes it fairly clear that it is not a direct threat or immediate threat to the rest of the world.

            There are no links between Iraq and terrorist groups, just because Rumsfield or Powell repeat something over and over doesn't make

            --

            @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
            print reverse @JAPH;
            • No proof, but lots of reason to speculate.

              Iraq has no way of attacking any country beyond 200 miles from the area bounded by No Fly Zones.

              Neither did al-Qaeda. Iraq may not have missles, but they may very well have dirty bombs, smallpox, or worse, with an unforeseen plan to get them into the U.S.

              just because Rumsfield or Powell repeat something over and over doesn't make it true

              I agree, but the anti-war side is taking the same tack on many points.

              Enjoying the discussion. As you can see, I'm

              --
              J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • It may be a threat to Israel but that is not the concern of either UN directives or the rest of the world.

          That is wholly inaccurate. UN Security Council Resolution 687 says that the goal of the disarmament of Iraq is "of restoring international peace and security in the area," which inherently includes Israel (as Iraq attacked Israel during that conflict).

          More importantly, the US is a sworn ally of Israel, and must protect Israel when it is threatened. Yes, we should send our soldiers to die to protect
  • this war is wrong because America is a bunch of imperialists bent on taking over the world

    If you think that's wrong, you may want to pay a little more attention to discourses held by people in the Bush administration. It's not about us calling them imperialists, it's what they call themselves! Just googling for "neo imperialism bush" should give you dozens of links. It's an assertion that has basis in fact, simply because your leaders admit to it, and in fact are proud of it.

    America's not thr

    --

    -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

    • You were right. I was wrong.

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • Whoa man, talk about a surprise! I'd totally forgotten about these discussions, so when the email notification came for this I really wondered what it was for.

        At the end of the day, it didn't matter much who was right and who was wrong did it? How's about we have a few drinks to honest opinionated folks and the hope that it'll all get better?

        --

        -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

        • it didn’t matter much who was right and who was wrong did it?

          It never, ever does.

        • Well, you're right, in one sense it didn't matter. None of us were in a position to do anything.

          But we did both feel at the time that discussing the issue was a worthy endeavor, and you (presumably) felt that bringing me over to your way of thinking was a worthy endeavor, so I thought you'd like to know that at last I do.

          And in another sense, it does matter. I do believe that expressing opinions like this does at times have the potential to control who the sword is pointed at. I don't believe we can ever

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers