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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I seem to recall pudge [perl.org] pointing out repeatedly last year the matter of enforcing U.N. resolutions (1205, 1194, and more).

    Of course, there's the matter of U.N. resolutions against Israel, but I like to get around that by claiming the U.N. is institutionally incapable of making an intelligent decision there.

    • The resolutions are an argument in favor of the war and I was considering bringing that up but it seemed such a weak argument that I decided to focus on the "bad man" argument. The UN issue is a curious one. The US often ignores World Court rulings, ignores treaties (in violation of the US Constitution, I might add) and harsh UN rulings against our allies are often vetoed by us. Thus, any argument that our country -- which repeatedly flouts the rule of international law and blocks its application against

      • I still fail to see a problem. Sometimes the interests of the U.S. (ahh, metonymy) align with those of the U.N. Sometimes they don't. International sovereignty, blah blah, why does the U.S. get a vote if disagreement is bad, blah blah.

        The "bad man argument" is just stupid. If I claimed that the 1993 Mogadishu action was just Clinton trying to impress a dumpy fat chick, it'd also be simplistic.

        I do agree that the U.S. has supported a lot of terrible people and makes alliances with some really shady g

        • by Ovid (2709) on 2004.02.13 15:38 (#28432) Homepage Journal

          I'm not sure if you'd prefer that the executive branch waits for perfect action, motives, and information before acting.

          No, I certainly don't think that's reasonable. However, I would argue that supporting blatantly immoral behavior while claiming a moral high ground can undermine support from the international community. While many nations routinely suffer from such hypocricy, to pre-emptively attack another country based upon it is a far more serious thing than condemning behavior while tacitly supporting it.

          This raises another interesting question. If I refuse to kill my wife, that's good. However, if I hire a hit man to do it for me (or simply stand aside and allow it to be done), do I bear less responsibility for the crime, particurly when I have foreknowledge? Does the US have any responsibility for the crimes committed by governments that it installs and/or props up?

          Believe it or not, I actually agree with your "it's politics" stance. Sometimes we have to support bad people. I reluctantly agree with our need to support Saudi Arabia and China, but where does that leave us in the case of Iraq? Even the Bush administration is admitting that the WMDs weren't there. The link with Al Qaeda apparently wasn't there (though it appears to be now.) The "bad man" argument is hypocritical and the international law argument is just as hypocritical. Are the dead Americans worth it? Are the dead Iraqis worth it? Is the rise in our deficit worth it? Is the loss of international good will worth it? Is the further alienation of our enemies worth it? If someone is going to argue that the war was in our national interest, could they please tell me how? If it's just about securing oil supplies or setting up a forward base in the Middle East, at least let's be honest about the motivations rather than lie to the American people. Some people might use a variation of the bad man argument and claim that the Iraqi people will be better off now. OK, but why do we give a damn about them when there are so many others whose oppression we actively support? It's not a moral issue. I just want the supporters of the war to at least be honest about motivations (though I suspect that many of them are not being deliberately dishonest). It's kind of tough to have reasonable discussion otherwise.

          • In The West Wing a few seasons ago they had this thing where the US was supporting a regime that didn't respect women's rights, and the press secretary was complaining to the National Security Advisor (both of them women), and the NSA said, "it's a dangerous world, and everybody has guns, and I'm doing the best I can."

            Pakistan has nukes, propped up the Taliban, probably has Bin Laden in its borders, and its government is the result of a military coup of the democratically elected government. And now we fi