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Oh Jason?

 
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First, I'm very impressed with your debating.

No. Again, would recommend you read up on the laws of armed conflict. One relevant document, related to US interpretation of international law, is titled The Law of Armed Conflict and Urban Air Operations.
In broad terms, there are three principles which govern military targeting: military necessity, humanity, and proportionality.
Military necessity - the principle which justifies measures of regulated
force not forbidden by international law which are indispensable for securing the prompt submission of the enemy, with the least
possible expenditures of economic and human resources.
Humanity - forbids the infliction of injury or destruction not necessary to the achievement of legitimate military purposes.
Proportionality - demands that parties
refrain from attacks, even against legitimate military targets, likely to cause civilian suffering and damage disproportionate to the expected military gain.
Air Force Pamphlet 110-31, International Law—The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, instructs that, applying international legal limits to air attacks, planners must take the following precautions:
(a) Do everything feasible to verify that the objectives attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects . . .
(b) Take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, and damage to civilian objects; and
(c) Refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which
would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.


What do you think about these laws in relation to the policy of mutually assured destruction?
 
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I think that those laws do not coexist with the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). I would argue however that the laws regarding international armed conflict are actually tools with which to wage wars militarily. Laws of armed conflict (LOAC) generally seem to be applicable to the operational and tactical level, although they very definitely do have impact on strategic decision making.
MAD on the other hand is a political tool, not a military tool. The purpose of MAD is to disuade certain lines of political thinking. The decision to make war is a political one. Therein lies the chief difference I think, and maybe why MAD can't really be looked at so much in the light of LOAC.
Very interesting question though. Interestingly enough, while MAD as a political tool maybe generally shouldn't be thought of in terms of LOAC, the military decision to use a nuclear weapon against a certain target most certainly is. It almost seems contradictory.
This is just my opinion though. I very well could be way off.
[ July 30, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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Are you saying that because certain parties have thought of and built the tools that they are violators of international law?
Second opinion please -
If Zacarias Moussaoui stands up and says, "Your honor, OBL whispered in my ear that I was to steal a UPS cargo plane and crash it into CIA Headquarters. Therefore I feel I am prisoner of war. Please transfer me to Cuba.", that he'll live to smoke big cigars and drink rum?
Why this rage against a soldier in what George Bush says is a war?
 
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Rufus,
Good question. I actually wanted to ask the same question, but didnt want to get into specifics.
So who defines a terrorist? As far I know OBL targetted US embassies and other govt. agencies before the 9/11 attack.
If targetting civilians is the issue, both are equally guilty.And why should we believe the pilot and his superiors. After all it is his word against others.As far I know, both of them are guilty of targetting civilains.
But then dont expect any honest answers. You can find anything on the internet to support your POV.In international politics, might is right. UN and other so called international agenices are toothless tigers.
If small countries misbehave you have the US/UN to put then in place.If powerful countries misbehave who is there to question them.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
Are you saying that because certain parties have thought of and built the tools that they are violators of international law?


No, you misunderstand me, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that the laws of armed conflict are meant to lay down the rules for how war is waged, but MAD doesn't really have much to do with warfare. MAD is a political doctrine.


Second opinion please -
If Zacarias Moussaoui stands up and says, "Your honor, OBL whispered in my ear that I was to steal a UPS cargo plane and crash it into CIA Headquarters. Therefore I feel I am prisoner of war. Please transfer me to Cuba.", that he'll live to smoke big cigars and drink rum?
Why this rage against a soldier in what George Bush says is a war?


I don't think there is any rage against him any more than any of the other Al-Qaeda types. Furthermore, to call him a soldier is giving him a little more than his due, and doing a diservice to legitimate soldiers. What army is he a soldier in? None. He is an unlawful combatant. Furthermore the prisoners in Cuba are not POW's any mor e than Moussaoui is, they are illegal combatants and battlefield detainees. As they are not lawful combatants, they are not granted protections under the Geneva Convention for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
More importantly, OBL could have whispered in his ear to steal a UPS cargo plane and crash it into CIA Headquarters. That in no way would change Moussaoui's status as that act itself is unlawful, and even ignoring the illegality of that act, he would still be an unlawful combatant because he does not meet any of the criteria of a lawful combatant (see my posts in the other thread).
It has been the decision of the government to try Moussaoui in a civilian court, but they still reserve the right to try him by military tribunal instead.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:
"...right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must"


And how is that supposed to apply here?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
But then dont expect any honest answers. You can find anything on the internet to support your POV.


I get the impression that you could have very knowledgable and educated people, people who are world recognized experts on this sort of stuff, present you with all kinds of facts and figures, back them up with hard evidence, and unless it fits your preconceived notions, you will not accept it. So why should anyone bother?
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
 
Anthony Villanueva
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There is no such thing as a gentleman's war. Only a total one.
Each side is striving to beat the other, and only force is the final arbiter, and self-preservation the ultimate imperative. It does not make sense to apply the values (i.e. laws) of one side over the other, claiming that the antagonists are violating such and such a Convention, that they are evil because in the first place they do not recognize it as such. A war is a collision of values, but to claim that one side holds an absolute moral superiority seems extreme. No war is a war between good and evil, only one between your side and his side.
If the Axis powers had won in World War II, as hellish as it sounds, in Nazi history books the Final Solution would have been justified to them, and a triumphant Japanese Empire would most probably be asking reparations from the United States on some pretext or other (perhaps the internment of Japanese citizens during the course of the war). This seems to be the unpalatable conclusion that moral relativism leads us.
 
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perhaps the internment of Japanese citizens


Most where American citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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The US, in a political doctrine, took all the people of the USSR hostage. Can we now give up this mindless terrorist name calling?

So why should anyone bother?


If we can get you to come and join us on the dark side, together we can make the world a kinder gentler place.
 
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In my opinion MAD as a political doctrine makes sense. If you attack me I'll attack you and then we are both dead. MAD as an actual implementation would be immoral. However there is a delicate line here. If you really have no intentions of ever using MAD as a military doctrine, it is critical that your enemy not know this. Probably the best thing to do would be to plan to use MAD and pray that your enemies aren't suicidal.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
So who defines a terrorist? As far I know OBL targetted US embassies and other govt. agencies before the 9/11 attack.

Targeting embassies sounds nice but the outcome wasn't. The bombings in Africa killed 200 people and wounded thousands. None of the killed were Americans.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
If targetting civilians is the issue, both are equally guilty.And why should we believe the pilot and his superiors. After all it is his word against others.As far I know, both of them are guilty of targetting civilains.

Try to use some logic. What would the point be for the American pilot to bomb friendly Afghanis? Why would he target civilians?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
The US, in a political doctrine, took all the people of the USSR hostage. Can we now give up this mindless terrorist name calling?


That's a particularly skewed view of things. MAD as a doctrine reflected the idea that a population could best be protected by leaving it vulnerable, as long as the other side shared similar vulnerabilities. Or as I've seen it put another way, "he who shoots first, dies second".
So how were the peace-loving people of the USSR "held hostage" by the imperialist US war mongerers? And if the people of the USSR were "held hostage", then weren't the people of the US similarly "held hostage" by the USSR?
And how does a defense strategy that helped successfully avoid nuclear war for over 50 years in any way relate to terrorism?
I suspect that a good part of the problem is that many have no idea of what terrorism is really. Or they think they know what it is and try to mold the definition to suit their purposes.
While there are as many definitions of terrorism as there are people who want to make up a definition that fits their agenda, there are a couple different ones I'll present for you.
The definition used by the US, and also widely adopted across the world, is contained in Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). The US has used this definition for statistical purposes since 1983.


The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
The term "international terrorism" means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country.
The term "terrorist group" means any group practicing, or that has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.


Another definintion is sometimes referred to as the Academic Concensus Definition of terrorism. It was put forth by international terrorist expert Alex P. Schmid in 1988 after consultation with various academic experts in terrorism.


Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.


I'm not sure of the purpose behind your line of questioning, but it appears that you may be trying to suggest that MAD violates LOAC and therefore the US are terrorists. If this is your line of reasoning (and I'm not positive it is), then it is faulty for a few reasons as I've already shown. First, violating LOAC doesn't mean you're a terrorist, it could mean you are a war criminal. LOAC can be used to derive a definition of a lawful combatant however. I have also shown that MAD has nothing to do with international laws of armed conflict. In addition I have shown that MAD is not terrorism. Therefore, if this was your line of logic, it does not hold.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
The US, in a political doctrine, took all the people of the USSR hostage. Can we now give up this mindless terrorist name calling?

It was mutual. We were as much "hostages" of the USSR as they were of us. And one of the basic premises of MAD was that it would only be invoked if they struck first. The USSR didn't attack and the USA didn't attack. The world continued to revolve on its axis, the birds continued to tweet in the trees and the flowers still smelled as sweet.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Anthony Villanueva:
There is no such thing as a gentleman's war. Only a total one.
Each side is striving to beat the other, and only force is the final arbiter, and self-preservation the ultimate imperative. It does not make sense to apply the values (i.e. laws) of one side over the other, claiming that the antagonists are violating such and such a Convention, that they are evil because in the first place they do not recognize it as such. A war is a collision of values, but to claim that one side holds an absolute moral superiority seems extreme. No war is a war between good and evil, only one between your side and his side.
If the Axis powers had won in World War II, as hellish as it sounds, in Nazi history books the Final Solution would have been justified to them, and a triumphant Japanese Empire would most probably be asking reparations from the United States on some pretext or other (perhaps the internment of Japanese citizens during the course of the war). This seems to be the unpalatable conclusion that moral relativism leads us.


This is not true and history bears this out. Total war, if I understand your meaning of it, is rarely used, and when it is even close to being used, the final outcome is usually a series of war crime trials (Bosnia comes to mind, although some minimum level of restraint was still maintained). Civilized nations when forced into a war have agreed to act within certain guidelines. War as practiced by civilized nations is a political act, not so much a collision of values.
As far as applying the laws of one side over the other, that is not being done. Everything I have mentioned here are international laws, and therefore agreed upon by the international body as a whole. Parties who choose to act outside this framework really have no leg to stand on, whether or not they feel it reflects their values.
 
Thomas Paul
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And to go back to WWII... Germany had signed and agreed to follow the Geneva Conventions.
 
Anonymous
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{
Try to use some logic. What would the point be for the American pilot to bomb friendly Afghanis? Why would he target civilians?
}
I dont know. And neither do you.But the end result is that civilians died in both cases.
Along the same lines why would the terrorists bomb civilians in Africa.It would only turn public sympathy against them. OBL had mentioned that he would target only American interests. It could just be a bomb that went awry, just as the bomb that hit civilians in Afghanistan.
If the death of civilians in Afganistan can be dismissed as collateral damage( the military even said that they wont apologize,the President did apologize), why cant the terrorists actions be dismissed like that.
By the way I want to make one thing clear. I dont support OBL ,or his cronies. Neither do I support the bombing of WTC. The bombing of civilians in AFganistan is also an equally reprehensible act.
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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I believe Academic Concensus Definition clearly indicates MAD is a terrorist activity. The point I am trying to make is your summons to international law is full of holes.
The US is, was, and always will be quilty of violating international law.
On the other hand, OBL, appears to be either criminal or a rebel without a cause. His late in the game adoption of the Palestinians is weak. Besides their desire to control the Saudi oil fields and wealth, what are they seeking?
[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus Bugleweed ]
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
I believe Academic Concensus Definition clearly indicates MAD is a terrorist activity.


You believe mistakenly I'm afraid.
Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action...
What violent action, nevermind repeated violent action, has resulted from MAD? I'm pretty sure I would remember if ICBM's had been exchanged between the two nations.
by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors
Notice the word clandestine?

The point I am trying to make is your summons to international law is full of holes.


How so? I have pointed out I think various international conventions and laws and how they have been violated or how they apply in certain situations. I didn't write these laws, and although IANAL, in a past life I have received some minimum level of training in LOAC and recognizing LOAC violations on an annual basis over the course of several years. You have not shown how my statements are full of holes, so I would appreciate if you could please do so, or if you can't do that, at least specify your objections.

The US is, was, and always will be quilty of violating international law.


Which law? When? On what do you base this interpretation? I would suspect that every nation on the planet has violated some international law at some time or another, but I believe your baseless accusation is meant to point towards some more systemic type of violation and that you are referring to some particular subset of international law. But unfortunately, just saying it doesn't make it so. You have done nothing to lend your claim any merit.

On the other hand, OBL, appears to be either criminal or a rebel without a cause. His late in the game adoption of the Palestinians is weak. Besides their desire to control the Saudi oil fields and wealth, what are they seeking?


He is a criminal. His chief aim has always been the removal of coalition forces (US forces in particular) from Saudi Arabia.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
I dont know. And neither do you.But the end result is that civilians died in both cases.

Yes, civilians died in both cases. In fact, civilians die every day from many cases. Some of them deliberate acts, some of them accidents, and some of them natural causes. It is the deliberate acts that we are discussing here. Now if you think that the pilot who accidentally killed Afghani civilians is morally the same as the terrorist who kills 3,000 people then there is nothing further to say to you.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
Along the same lines why would the terrorists bomb civilians in Africa.It would only turn public sympathy against them. OBL had mentioned that he would target only American interests.

Really? When did he say that? The bombing of the US emabassy and the killing of African civilians was a deliberate attempt to drive Americans out of African countries. The bombers knew that the embassies were surrounded by Africans. There was no way not to know that Africans would be killed by the bombings.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
If the death of civilians in Afganistan can be dismissed as collateral damage( the military even said that they wont apologize,the President did apologize), why cant the terrorists actions be dismissed like that.

Do you know what the definition of collateral is? What was the terrorists intent if the death of 3,000 people was collateral to their actual intent? Their action was aimed to kill innocent civilians. There is nothing collateral about that. The actions of the American pilot were collateral because that was not his intent. Are you aware that more than 100 allied troops were killed by friendly fire during the Gulf War? Was that friendly fire deliberate? Were American soldiers trying to kill each other? Do you have a clue what you are talking about?
 
Anonymous
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{
Do you know what the definition of collateral is? What was the terrorists intent if the death of 3,000 people was collateral to their actual intent? Their action was aimed to kill innocent civilians. There is nothing collateral about that.
}
What if their intent was to bring down the WTC because it was a symbol of America's wealth. The civilians death was collateral to the actual incident of bringing down the WTC. Again this is just an argument. No need to get worked up over it.
{The actions of the American pilot were collateral because that was not his intent.}
Again I cant read the pilots mind. Neither can you, since you are not the pilot. We dont know about his intent.
It was recently reported that three soldiers who returned from Afganistan, are being tried for the murder of their wives. You never know if the pilot had the same disregard for human lives.Since the pilot is not accountable for his actions( he is backed by a powerful military) he can get away with anything.
 
Jason Menard
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Afganistan, are being tried for the murder of their wives. You never know if the pilot had the same disregard for human lives.


You my friend, are unbelievable (I edited myself). Apparently you have never heard of something called "post-traumatic stress syndrom". Apparently you have never served in a combat zone. Apparently you have never had to spend months away from a spouse while under the tremendous pressures that serving in a combat zone carries with it. This wasn't a vacation these guys went on. Somebody likely came up to them merely a few days before they were to depart and suddenly they have to put their lives on hold, marital problems, financial problems, problems with the kids, whatever, for an undetermined amount of time. They don't know when they are coming back. But those problems are still waiting for them. They try to work out what they can with their spouse during the few sporadic minutes a week they are allowed to talk to them on the phone (if they are lucky), but that usually just makes things worse.
I don't think anyone is taking you seriously anyways, but as I told another anonymous poster, until you begin using a registered account with your real name, I at least will have no further discussion with you.
[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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No they were not semi-clandestine they were state actors. The military was very clandestine at the military establishments about the world.
The brinksmanship was repeated in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and Berlin. Submarines crashed into trawlers. Spy planes ( remember Gary Powers ) are still being forced down by the Chinese. Bombers and fighters regularly skirmished over the north pole.
It's not terror that caused people build bomb shelters in their basements. They were just bored?
The US had genocide before it was a word. Across the heart of America is the Trail of Tears. Or were they just savages?
10,000 plus nuclear missles aimed at the USSR randomly and selectively destroys everybody and humanity in the process.
The definition of MAD involves a disproportionate strike.
I remember the anxiety.
Removal of coalition forces is just the start.
 
Anonymous
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I guess you cannot have a no-holds barred discussion, without offending somebody or the other.
No more posts from me on this.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
The brinksmanship was repeated in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and Berlin. Submarines crashed into trawlers. Spy planes ( remember Gary Powers ) are still being forced down by the Chinese. Bombers and fighters regularly skirmished over the north pole.

There's a lot of stuff in there but none of it seems even vaugely like an argument. Throwing random thoughts at the screen doesn't help move the discussion along. So, do you have a point? What is it that you are trying to say? Was America a bad country for making MAD a diplomatic strategy? If so, please identify the number of people killed by MAD.
As far as bomb shelters go, I am old enough to remember that they were built because we were afraid of a Soviet first strike. Not because of MAD. In fact, shelters were most popular in the 50's before MAD was even invented.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
What if their intent was to bring down the WTC because it was a symbol of America's wealth. The civilians death was collateral to the actual incident of bringing down the WTC.

Then why not attack at 3AM when the buildings were relatively empty?
So let me ask you this. My intent is to get wealthy. If I kill you to take your money, can I claim that you are simply collateral damage?
You don't seem to get the point of this at all. What goal was reached by the pilot dropping bombs on friendly civilians? Do you have any evidence that the pilot have some deep hatred for Afhanis? Or did he just not like weddings? Is the most likely scenario that it was an accident? Does the fact that deaths due to friendly fire are not rare in combat situations mean anything to you at all?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
I guess you cannot have a no-holds barred discussion, without offending somebody or the other.

The question is, why do you feel a need to have a no-holds barred discussion?
 
Jason Menard
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No they were not semi-clandestine they were state actors. The military was very clandestine at the military establishments about the world.


The correct read is (semi-) clandestine state actors. As this was stated public national policy, there was nothing clandestine about it, and more importantly, there was no group of clandestine actors responsible for this policy.
All I can really say is that you seem to be misinterpreting the definition. From my research, neither academia nor any "experts" in terrorism appears to hold these views. Definitions and interpretations like this are beginning to pop-up post 9/11 as everyone jumps in the terrorism bandwagon and tries to make a definition for themselves that fits their particular agenda. I am merely trying to deal in commonly accepted definitions and interpretations thereof to avoid just this sort of thing.
MAD is very simple. If you try to destroy us, we will try to destroy you. MAD further dictates that if all parties accept this as evident, there will be no nuclear war, assuming your opponent is not suicidal. It is called deterrence. The purpose of MAD is to prevent nuclear war. The US adopted this doctrine in part because our "no first strike" policy almost made it a necessity. There has been no nuclear war. MAD seems to have worked.
Is there fear involved? I would think any sane person fears a nuclear war. I know the citizens of this country were very afraid between the 50's through late 80's that the Soviets would unleash a nuclear holocaust on us. It never happened. Seems they were just as afraid of the same thing.
[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Rufus Bugleweed:
The definition of MAD involves a disproportionate strike.

According to what reference material? MAD always assumed that the US would respond in kind to any Soviet attack. MAD "mutual assured destruction" stated that the US must have enough of an arsenal to assure that if we were attacked on a first strike with sufficient force to destroy the USA that we would have enough nuclear assets to respond in kind. I have never seen the word "disproportionate" in the defintion. Do you believe that if the Soviets had launched a single missile that the US would have released its entire nuclear arsenal?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
I guess you cannot have a no-holds barred discussion, without offending somebody or the other.
No more posts from me on this.


For one thing, you are posting anonymously, and few here seem to take anonymous posters seriously. Some often choose to return the discourtesy that these posters show others when they choose to post anonymously.

It was recently reported that three soldiers who returned from Afganistan, are being tried for the murder of their wives. You never know if the pilot had the same disregard for human lives.


I will grant that you possibly honestly can't see how incredibly offensive this is. You appear to be in effect saying "Look what a pack of animals with no regard for human life you people have sent over there. See they come home and kill their wives they are such animals."
While on the surface it is laughable that somebody would believe this (the pilot was just another one of those bloodthirsty animals, right?), it is actually more offensive than anything. You appear incapable of understanding the psychological stress that such deployments place families under, and show no sensitivity or compassion for those involved, including the perpetrators.
And *I* offended you? How? When I said you were "unbelievable"?
I will also add that you will receive a much better reception for the most part when you post using your name, and not anonymously.
 
Anonymous
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I never took offence at any of your statements. Iam too thick skinned for that. On the contrary I assumed that you took offence, after you went on that emotional tirade.
From your postings it appears that you are part of the armed forces.I did not mean to say that all the people in the armed forces are animals.If it came across that way Iam sorry.But it is true that many innocent Afghanis are suffering for no fault of theirs. After all they didnt create the Taliban.Neither did they invite another country to come and fight for them.
Anyway I agree that my arguments are a bit controversial and might offend many people. All Iam trying to say is that there are no checks on the foreign policies and actions of powerful countries.They can do whatever they please.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
From your postings it appears that you are part of the armed forces.


Nope. Was once, haven't been for a few years.

After all they didnt create the Taliban.Neither did they invite another country to come and fight for them.


And the people of the US didn't ask the people harbored and supported by the former Afghani government to do what they did. We didn't go over there for the benefit of the Afghan people. In a perfect world, there would have been no reason for us to go over there.

there are no checks on the foreign policies and actions of powerful countries.They can do whatever they please.


Yep. Every nation is out for its own best interests. Only a few of them can effectively protect those interests though. Whose fault is this? Anybodies? Should nations not protect their interests? Is there any nation on the planet who acts purely out of an altruistic concern for another nation?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by <slacker>:
Anyway I agree that my arguments are a bit controversial and might offend many people. All Iam trying to say is that there are no checks on the foreign policies and actions of powerful countries.They can do whatever they please.

Not quite. The American government is an elected government and must stand for election every few years. If Bush decided to shoot all the prisoners in Cuba, he would be quickly tossed from office. Also there is world opinion. Although certain groups like to pretend that Europeans are deeply offended by US policies, I don't notice our European frineds actually doing anything about it.
 
Anthony Villanueva
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
This is not true and history bears this out. Total war, if I understand your meaning of it, is rarely used, and when it is even close to being used, the final outcome is usually a series of war crime trials (Bosnia comes to mind, although some minimum level of restraint was still maintained). Civilized nations when forced into a war have agreed to act within certain guidelines. War as practiced by civilized nations is a political act, not so much a collision of values.
As far as applying the laws of one side over the other, that is not being done. Everything I have mentioned here are international laws, and therefore agreed upon by the international body as a whole. Parties who choose to act outside this framework really have no leg to stand on, whether or not they feel it reflects their values.


I beg to differ on your interpretation of history in this case, my friend. Churchill wrote on world war I:


All the horrors of all the ages were brought together, and not only armies but whole populations were thrust into the midst of them. The might educated States involved conceived - not without reason - that their very existence was at stake. Neither peoples nor rulers drew the line at any deed which they thought could help them to win. Germany, having let Hell loose, kept well in the van of terror; but she was followed step by step by the desparate and ultimately avenging nations she had assailed. Every outrage against humanity or international law was repaid by reprisals - often of a greater scale and of longer duration. No truce or parley mitigated the strife of the armies. The wounded died between the lines: the dead mouldered into the soil. Merchant ships and neutral ships and hospital ships were sunk on the seas and all on board left to their fate, or killed as they swam. Every effort was made to starve whole nations into submission without regard to age or sex. Cities and monuments were smashed by artillery. Bombs from the air were cast down indiscriminately. Poison gas in many forms stifled or seared the soldiers. Liquid firewas projected upon their bodies. Men fell from the air in flames, or were smothered often slowly in the dark recesses of the sea. The fighting strength of armies was limited only by the manhood of their countries. Europe and large parts of Asia and Africa became one vast battlefield on which after years of struggle not armies but nations broke and ran. When it was all over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves: and they were of doubtful utility. (Modern Times) Paul Johnson


Churchill continued this history lesson by bombing German civilian centers two decades later, in payment for the Blitz.
A nation may agree in writing to a convention or treaty, but when a natural opportunity presents itself it could do otherwise. And has: Germany invaded a neutral Belgium twice and the Japanese attacked without formally declaring war. Even if we say that certain reparations/war trials/embargoes could be imposed after the war, it does not seem to be a useful deterrent. For example, some historians consider the Versailles treaty to be one of the causes of world war II.
As for having no leg to stand on, this only becomes relevant if you happen to be on the losing side.
 
Anthony Villanueva
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Gentlemen, please.
War is a no holds barred contest with personal existence at stake, but a forum post need not be. I try to approach each argument keeping in mind that I may be wrong, that I am in fact here because I may possibly learn something new from another person. If we view this arena as simply a means to bludgeon an opponent to submission, overtly or otherwise, then we miss the better alternative of having a reasoned conversation.
Shall we all agree by convention to play nice?
 
Anthony Villanueva
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As for posting anonymously, I also have certain reservations against that, since, to put it facetiously, "with anonymity comes irresponsibility". Javaranch is not unique. The slahdot forums also allow posts from "Anonymous Cowards".
However, even if anonymous posters are banned, there is nothing to stop them from using a plausible but fictitious name. As Map suspects, I could really be Jim Yingst.
 
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