Send Saddam to Hell
Saddam Hussein is a very bad man and he has not repented. At his trial he laughed as witnesses recounted watching their families being killed. He deserves the death penalty and will probably get it. No decent person will defend Saddam, but some good people will cloud the issue and spread the blame. To them I say -0.46%.
0.46%. That is the amount of Saddam's arsenal supplied by the U.S. In a complex and interdependent world nobody has perfectly clean hands, but 0.46% is not much to hang your hat on.
The U.S. was neutral but "tilted" toward Iraq during its war with Iran. What that meant in practical terms was that we allowed Arab allies to share intelligence information with Iraq. This is turn allowed Iraq to anticipate and counter attacks by Iran and probably prevented Iran from overrunning Iraq. Even with the benefit of hindsight, this does not look like a terrible move. The best result was no clear victory by either side and that is what happened. Morally, it was like a war between Hitler and Stalin. You have no good options.
We made some other mistakes too. We acted shamefully in not aggressively pursuing Halabja and related CW cases. We even "overlooked" the 1987 attack on our own American naval vessel. Thirty-seven crew were killed and twenty-one injured when an Iraqi Mirage fighter unexpectedly attacked the USS Stark with an exocet missle. (BTW - that French supplied fighter alone and the exocet missles it used probably made up more than 0.46% of the Iraqi arsenal.) In hindsight we can recognize Saddam's pattern of behavior, but it was less clear at the time.
Among the powers great and small that had dealings with Saddam, the U.S. has the cleanest hands. Saddam was a client of our adversary - the Soviet Union. Among our ostensible allies, it was the French (then Prime Minster Chirac) who cultivated a special relationship with Saddam largely to tweak the U.S. and UK and make money for French firms. And France led the worldwide condemnation of the Israeli air strike against the Osirak nuclear station in 1981. Some things don't change. Remember that next time we see worldwide condemnation. Nevertheless, today we regret even the 0.46%. But it is clear that this is not what created Saddam or sustained him.
Saddam provides a caution about dealing with dictators. At first his brand of Arab Socialism looked benign. Saddam seemed to help the poor, distribute the wealth and generally act in the best interests of the Iraq - at least he said so and employed the proper politically correct language. He was a hard and brutal man, but apologists asserted that places like Iraq needed a strong hand. Democracy was a foreign concept, they said. The arguments have not changed much since then.
So let’s hope the Iraqis send Saddam to hell sooner rather than later. Let's remember him next time we meet a smiling dictator who seems to be saying the correct things. And let's give democracy a chance.
Posted by Jack at December 6, 2005 1:29 PM
After reading reports about Saddam’s trial proceedings, I am aghast to think that a former Attorney General of the United States is advising that SOB while American soldiers are risking their lives just outside the courtroom. What has this country come to? Can you imagine a former attorney general or any American defending Hitler? Clark should not be allowed to return to the USA. He is a traitor.
Regardless of how deserving Saddam is of the death penalty, he should still recieve a fair trial. Anyone who defends him is much more likely a supporter of the US legal system than of Saddam himself. I wholeheartedly aggree with his execution, but only after a fair trial.
Clark is nuts and has been for a long time. We can’t let people like that disturb us. He is not even worth our scorn.
Clark is nuts and has been for a long time. We can’t let people like that disturb us. He is not even worth our scorn.
Posted by: Jack at December 6, 2005 02:05 PM
It’s exactly quotes like that that seperate us and US. To you there is no morality, there is only expediency. Since you know Saddam is guilty why bother with a trial or laws, just hang him. To me, there is a priority to the rule of law and a fair trial, despite the obvious guilt. Someone has to do it and I’m glad someone stood up to the plate.
And, thanks for letting Reagan/BushI off the hook with some bloggers numbers. We all know how reliable those can be, even if it’s only $200 million.
Saddam is the poster child for dictators who are vicious thugs.
Why do you suppose Rumsfeld was so friendly with Saddam when Saddam was slaughtering all those innocent people?
Saddam seemed to have a certain something that Republicans really liked and I can’t figure out what it was. We’re they intruiged with his extreme barbarity?
Dave the numbers come from various neutral sources. This guy justed crunched them. As far as I know there is no doubt that the U.S. sold almost nothing no arms to Saddam. You may recall that his arsenal was Soviet, French etc, but not American. That is just an ideniable fact. Did Saddam have American fighter planes? Maybe American tanks? U.S. small arms? No to all. Do you have any reason to believe otherwise?
Saddam is having a trial. I didn’t advocate not doing that.
Isn’t it your side that always talks about people (like Rove, Libby, Delay) as guilty before the trials. Even in much more fuzzy circumstances. I guess that is the difference between US and us.
And Clark is nuts. It is not the first time.
Chirac loved him even more. So did many others. Dictators are attractive to some people. There is a contraversy in Europe right now because a German firm doesn’t want to publish a bio of Stalin that makes him a hero. Remember Albright dancing in N. Korea? And sometimes you just don’t have a good choice to make.
But for all the support, 0.46% doesn’t show much follow through. Saddam got more from Brazil or Denmark.
“0.46%. That is the amount of Saddam’s arsenal supplied by the U.S. In a complex and interdependent world nobody has perfectly clean hands, but 0.46% is not much to hang your hat on.
The U.S. was neutral but “tilted” toward Iraq during its war with Iran. What that meant in practical terms was that we allowed Arab allies to share intelligence information with Iraq.”
Actually, we gave Saddam a lot more than what you are claiming.
Pre-war Iraqi-American relations
Prior to the Iran-Iraq War, U.S.-Iraqi relations were cool, and Iraq had been chiefly an ally of the Soviet Union. The U.S. was concerned with Iraq’s belligerence toward Israel and disapproval of moves towards peace with other Arab states. It also condemned Iraqi support for various Arab and Palestinian nationalist groups such as Abu Nidal, which led to its inclusion on the incipient State Department list of states that sponsor terrorism on December 29, 1979. The U.S. remained officially neutral during the outbreak of hostilities in the Iran-Iraq War, as it had previously been humiliated by a 444 day long Iran hostage crisis and expected that Iran was not likely to win. In March 1982, however, Iran began a successful counteroffensive (Operation Undeniable Victory). In a bid to open the possibility of relations to Iraq, the country was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Ostensibly this was because of improvement in the regime’s record, although former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Noel Koch later stated, “No one had any doubts about [the Iraqis’] continued involvement in terrorism….The real reason was to help them succeed in the war against Iran.”
With Iran’s newfound success in the war and its rebuff of a peace offer in July, arms sales from other states (most importantly the USSR, France, Egypt, and starting that year, China) reached a record spike in 1982, but an obstacle remained to any potential U.S.-Iraqi relationship - Abu Nidal continued to operate with official support in Baghdad. When the group was expelled to Syria in November 1983, the Reagan administration sent Donald Rumsfeld as a special envoy to cultivate ties.
Due to fears that revolutionary Iran would defeat Iraq and export its Islamic Revolution to other Middle Eastern nations, the U.S. began giving aid to Iraq. From 1983 to 1990, the U.S. government approved around $200 million in arms sales to Iraq, according to the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI).  These sales amounted to less than 1% of the total arms sold to Iraq in the relevant period, though the US also sold helicopters which, although designated for civilian use, were immediately deployed by Iraq in its war with Iran.
An investigation by the Senate Banking Committee in 1994 determined that the U.S. Department of Commerce had approved, for the purpose of research, the shipping of dual use biological agents to Iraq during the mid 1980s, including Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), later identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program, as well as Clostridium botulinum, Histoplasma capsulatum, Brucella melitensis, and Clostridium perfringens. The Committee report noted that each of these had been “considered by various nations for use in war.”  Declassified U.S. government documents indicate that the U.S. government had confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons “almost daily” during the Iran-Iraq conflict as early as 1983. 
Chiefly, the U.S. government provided Iraq with economic aid. Iraq’s war with Iran, and the consequent disruption in its oil export business, had caused the country to enter a deep debt. U.S. government economic assistance allowed Hussein to continue using resources for the war which would have otherwise had to have been diverted. Between 1983 and 1990, Iraq received $5 billion in credits from the Commodity Credit Corporation program run by the Department of Agriculture, beginning at $400 million per year in 1983 and increasing to over $1 billion per year in 1988 and 1989, finally coming to an end after another $500 million was granted in 1990.  Besides agricultural credits, the U.S. also provided Hussein with other loans. In 1985 the U.S. Export-Import Bank extended more than $684 million in credits to Iraq to build an oil pipeline through Jordan with the construction being undertaken by Californian construction firm Bechtel Corporation.  
Following the war, however, there were moves within the Congress of the United States to isolate Iraq diplomatically and economically over concerns about human rights violations, its dramatic military build-up, and hostility to Israel. Specifically, the Senate in 1988 unanimously passed the “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988,” which imposed sanctions on Iraq. The legislation passed. 
These moves were disowned by some Congressmen though some U.S. officials, such as Reagan’s head of Policy Planning Staff at the State Dept. and Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs Paul Wolfowitz disagreed with giving support to the Iraqi regime.
The relationship between Iraq and the United States remained unhindered until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait. On October 2, 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed secret National Security Directive 26, which begins, “Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area are vital to U.S. national security.”  With respect to Iraq, the directive stated, “Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East.”
In late July, 1990, as negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait stalled, Iraq massed troops on Kuwait’s borders and summoned American ambassador April Glaspie for an unanticipated meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Two transcripts of that meeting have been produced, both of them controversial. According to the transcripts, Saddam outlined his grievances against Kuwait, while promising that he would not invade Kuwait before one more round of negotiations. In the version published by The New York Times on September 23, 1990, Glaspie expressed concern over the troop buildup, but went on to say:
We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late ’60s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via [Chadli] Klibi [then Arab League General Secretary] or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.
Some have interpreted these statements as signalling a tacit approval of invasion, though no evidence of this has been presented. Although the State Department did not confirm the authenticity of these transcripts, U.S. sources say that she had handled everything “by the book” (in accordance with the US’s neutrality on the Iraq-Kuwait issue) and had not signaled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein any approval for defying the Arab League’s Jeddah crisis squad, which had conducted the negotiations. Many believe that Saddam’s expectations may have been influenced by a perception that the US was not interested in the issue, for which the Glaspie transcript is merely an example, and that he may have felt so in part because of U.S. support for the reunification of Germany, another act that he considered to be nothing more than the nullification of an artificial, internal border. Others, such as Kenneth Pollack, believe he had no such illusion, or that he simply underestimated the extent of American military response.
In November 1989, CIA director William Webster met with the Kuwaiti head of security, Brigadier Fahd Ahmed Al-Fahd. Subsequent to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Iraq claimed to have found a memorandum pertaining to their conversation. The Washington Post reported that Kuwaiti’s foreign minister fainted when confronted with this document at an Arab summit in August. Later, Iraq cited this memorandum as evidence of a CIA-Kuwaiti plot to destabilize Iraq economically and politically. The CIA and Kuwait have described the meeting as routine and the memorandum as a forgery. The purported document reads in part:
We agreed with the American side that it was important to take advantage of the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq in order to put pressure on that country’s government to delineate our common border. The Central Intelligence Agency gave us its view of appropriate means of pressure, saying that broad cooperation should be initiated between us on condition that such activities be coordinated at a high level.
“Chirac loved him even more.”
That’s true. The French fought against him in the last war and remained friends.
International politics is a very strange business.
“Isn’t it your side that always talks about people (like Rove, Libby, Delay) as guilty before the trials.”
Most people of both parties have opinions on whether public figures are guilty. I assume OJ was guilty even though he wasn’t found guilty and I’m pretty sure many Republcans feel the same way.
OJ was an interesting case in that he was well liked before the murders.
Delay was/is known for letting lobbyists pay to write legislation which isn’t a likable feature.
Rove, Libby, and Delay are sanctimonious assholes…..they do dastardly things and are extremely smug about it. People like to see fellows like that get in trouble…it’s human nature.
The fact is Saddam is blamed for everything that happened in Iraq between the Sunnis and the Shiites or Kurds.
That’s fine with absolutely everyone.
But just try blaming Bush for everything (or anything) that goes wrong in this government.
“But just try blaming Bush for everything (or anything) that goes wrong in this government.”
What do you mean by that you Bush hating, cut and run, terrorist ally, communist, and traitor to this country?
Obviously you don’t agree with Rush Hannity so your views are invalid by definition!
Don’t worry. We are getting to where Saddam is. The US is already guilty of torturing people. We are right on schedule.
If you can’t tell the difference or won’t see it you are blind or will not see.
If you want comparisons consider from “in October, the European Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights inspected what the French call a detention center for foreigners. Alvaro Gil-Robles believes it is more properly called a dungeon.
And what was Europe’s reaction to these astonishing accusations? A yawn, a few wire reports and press pickups; that’s it. After all, those prisoners, locked up under horrendous sanitary conditions, without natural sunlight and ventilation, some of whom, according to one prison guard, have in desperation mutilated themselves and smeared their blood on the walls, were only simple illegal immigrants.”
Read your own post. If everything in it is true, do you really think that compares to what others were doing? Do you really think that amounts to supporting him? I know we hold the U.S. to a zero tolerance standard, but what do you really think you can by for $200 million? One French exocet missle costs about $250,000 and that doesn’t include any of the support. You can’t buy one decent fighter for that money.
Try try again to blame the U.S.
And Dave, I didn’t defend Bush and Reagan; I defended the United States. Try to remember the distinction.
President Bush is not listening. He has sent 10’s of millions to this dictator named Musharraf in Pakistan. But, of course, that was justified, right? According to most on the Right, it is. Just as it appeared justified to back Saddam back in the ‘80’s. Let’s see, would that be another Republican President named Reagan supporting our future enemy?
“Read your own post.”
How do you think it appeared, by magic?
“If everything in it is true, do you really think that compares to what others were doing?”
We’re American’s. A country by and for the people. We’re supposed to concern ourselves with what our government does and did, not with what others do, or were doing, because that is beyond our control.
BTW, didn’t your mother ever tell you that comparing yourself (or your country) with what others do is never an excuse — especially when what they did was wrong?
“Do you really think that amounts to supporting him?”
“I know we hold the U.S. to a zero tolerance standard, but what do you really think you can by for $200 million?”
Read again what I highlighted in bold. It was much more than that amount. And helicopters and chemical agents. I’ve also read that we gave Saddam lots of computer equipment also.
“One French exocet missle costs about $250,000 and that doesn’t include any of the support. You can’t buy one decent fighter for that money.”
Never mind what the French or the Russians were doing. What was our government doing by giving Saddam:
dual use biological agents to Iraq during the mid 1980s, including Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), later identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program, as well as Clostridium botulinum, Histoplasma capsulatum, Brucella melitensis, and Clostridium perfringens.
When they knew:
that the U.S. government had confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons “almost daily” during the Iran-Iraq conflict as early as 1983.
“Try try again to blame the U.S.”
LOL! I honestly don’t think I need to.
But maybe you would again like to try, try again to explain how:
“The U.S. was neutral but “tilted” toward Iraq during its war with Iran.”?
President Bush is not listening. He has sent 10’s of millions to this dictator named Musharraf in Pakistan.
Posted by: David R. Remer at December 6, 2005 05:05 PM
David, you can call Musharraf a dictator all you like, and I suppose in the greater scheme of things he is, having toppled the democratically elected Government. However, let us not forget that that Govt was corrupt to the core, and Musharraf is patently straight and incorruptible. Moreover, he is a moderating influence in that country and in that region. He also happens to be a good friend to the West.
The title of dictator holds very negative connotations, and mostly rightly so. However, Musharraf is clearly a patriot and a moderate who took action to save his country. Let us be fair. He does not inhabit the same murky trough of the dictators who are rightly reviled.
My problem with this whole debate is we never seem to learn from it.
We continue to support people we should not because they are helpful in a very short trem then we pay for it later.
We support them with out concren for what they do.
After Saddam gas some of the kurds in his country* in 1988, we double the amount we were giving him in 1999.
We have to start taking a stand againt evil done by theose we support. Let us learn from our pass mistakes, even if we were not the ones who made the biggest mistake.
*(i think this is one one the things he is be charged with, but i am not sure, i need to go back and read the charges.)
0.46%. All life is comparison. If your teacher set a standard that none of the kids could meet, would your mother not complain. And if you got a score of 99.54% don’t you think you should get a good grade?
Even if you are an Olympic swimmer and I can’t swim at all, neither of us can swim from California to Hawaii. Does that mean we are both equally poor swimmer?
Of course you could say the U.S. is better than the others involved but not perfect. I would accept that.
What would you have done in 1980? You would prefer that Iran set off a general war in the Middle East? You don’t have ideal choices. The U.S. acted correctly in this situation.
It is also interesting that all over this blog and all over the media, “liberals” and “realists” are advocating that we essentially abandon Iraq again into the hands of a strongman. Who is it that forgets nothing and learns nothing?
SEND SADDAM TO HELL
Best idea I’ve heard all day. I’ll even pull the triger.
I know you will pull the trigger. That’s why I think Republicans would be happier moving to Syria and Egypt. They love torturing people there. You would be right at home.
Nice to see you put an upper limit on how much torture is “ok” for us. Clearly, you consider the “French” torture too much. How about stress positions, sleep deprivation, false burials, false executions and water boarding? Are these Tortures ok for you?
It depends on the specifications. I have flown in tourist class across the oceans. Some torture is not much worse than that.
Interogation will be unpleasant. The thing I don’t like about the debate is the bait and switch in the definitions.
If we have a terrorist in our power, we want to make him feel uncertain. If we can trick him into giving good information - good. If he can be frightened into revealing good information - also good.
Some of it also depends on the goal. I think we all would agree if killing a terrorist meant saving thousands of innocent lives it would be a good bargain, while torturing for vengence is not.
What about the religious taboo. If terrorists think they will go to heaven if they kill innocent people, I don’t mind if someone ridicules that erroneous belief. It is stupid, don’t you agree?
It is hard for most people to hurt another human and most of us don’t like to think about it. But if you are in a fight, people get hurt. Some people get killed. Better the enemy than you in the final analysis.
It is all nasty business. We prentend to have clear answers, but we don’t.
Nice to see you agree with Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez.
“If we have a terrorist in our power, we want to make him feel uncertain. If we can trick him into giving good information - good. If he can be frightened into revealing good information - also good.”
The key phrase here is “good information”.
When and how can we know that those the we are interrogating (and I use this term loosely), are giving information that is “good”?
Torture has never been a reliable way to get intel.
“I have flown in tourist class across the oceans. Some torture is not much worse than that.”
Have you ever flown China Eastern? San Francisco to Shanghi 17 hours. You just shouldn’t force a westerner to sit in seats that are designed for Chinese butts.
BTW, Richard Clarke may be a wack job, but at least on the surface, his intentions appear to be correct in this situation.
Is there a Hell?
There are things we know and things we don’t know. However we can make a best guess and take a position based on the information we have available. God may not exist, and that I am going to maintain that position until God comes out of hiding into objective reality.
As to the afterlife, all scientific evidence suggests that we ARE OUR brains and that when our brain ceases to function we cease to exist. Until someone comes back from the “other side” in a way that objective observers can document, I will stick with this position. The belief in life after death is a denial of our mortality.
There is perhaps a way to escape death, but that involves investing in the technologies that could prolong life indefinitely. We might actually be close to reaching that point, and for those who want to live forever, you might want to invest in developing the science that can make that possible.
Although people die, they still survive in a number of ways. If they have children, then their genes are passed on, cut by 50% in a mix with someone else’s genes, which then divides in half with each subsequent generation. Additionally, the moral and cultural values we teach our children, those that are actually learned, are also passed on.
We become part of the body of knowledge - the sum total of all human understanding. If we have accomplished something significant in our lives that is worth remembering then our legacy will be passed on to future generations. I believe that the preservation of one’s thoughts and ideas represents the best form of immortality because it is what represents you, who you are, how you lived, and what you contributed.
That is a beautiful and powerful thought. If “hell” is the collective disgust for one’s actions then Saddam will definately be there right with Hitler, and Bush Jr. (the world clearly hates this guy, that speaks pretty loudly to me).
If there is a God, it will understand why I have taken that position and forgive me. Religion and morality are not the same thing.
0.46% is the official amount of conventional weapons supplied by US to Saddam. And even if we add the amount of money that was funneled to Saddam by US during Iran-Iraq War, I agreed that US was a minor Saddam conventional weapons supplier.
French was the second most one, undoubtfully. As you said, at this time many westerners though supporting Iraq against Iran was the thing to do. While making money, that is, business is business, even more for deadly goodies. I’m not proud of it.
However, one could notice that US choosed to commit directly the hugest naval forces since WWII in Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war. To protect tankers but also in retalation of Iran mining of the gulf. Helping Iraq in their war agaisnt Iran.
It’s quite oversimplying to reduce US support of Saddam during the 80’ to only these 0.46% number. Sure, at this time, they choosed the less evil of both Iraq and Iran dictators, where others countries may have just saw a big arms marketplace. Sure, I’ll agreed that US was not the most Saddam supportive nation before 1991.
Military, that was Soviet Union.
Diplomatically, that was France.
But, unfortunatly, as you would have noticed, Saddam didn’t use conventional weapons on Halabja.
The participation of US to help Saddam’s chemical weapons programs it not null. Far from it. Germany has is part there, too.
So, sounds like many ones have their part of responsabilities in the Saddam Hell…
PS: Doesn’t the attack on USS Stark by an Iraqi Mirrage accidental?
Execution is not tourture. It’s justice. And if anybody deserves that kind of justice, Sadamm is the guy.
And I’m not Republican.
If there is no God, if there is no transcendence than there is no morality that we can hold anyone to. Never having actually been there or spoken to anyone who returned, I don’t have any proof there is a hell. Although I am confident that if the place exists Saddam will soon be resident. Your confidence that God will forgive you is touching, no doubt based on a liberal (original meaning of the word) Christian belief. I would agree with you, but many people don’t think God is quite so reasonable. You and I might find ourselves sharing a hot rock on the lake of fire.
The thing about chemical weapons is that they are easy to make if the maker has the money, the will and the time to make them. Many agricultural chemicals are dual use.
The same pesticide that dispatches the beetles in your pine trees and the weevils in your cotton can be made into chemical weapons. The technologies for many WMD are literally from World War I. That is what makes them so dangerous. And it is what makes them so hard to detect. There certainly was no official aid to Saddam in this respect. Some of the things he could have purchased from firms could have been made helpful for chemical weapons. It is a long line of conditionality.
My purpose was not to sully the reputation of either France or the Soviet Union. It was just to try to head off the inevitable blame America narrative. Americans are involved in most significant things in this world, both good and bad. We were the largest humanitarian donor to the Taliban. Our aid saved hundreds of thousands of Afghans from starvation. Did we support the Taliban?
Our activities helped prevent an Iranian victory in the war with Iraq. I would still content that was a good thing. Did it also have negative sides? Sure. Chemotherapy that cures cancer is a terrible thing for the body, but when you consider the alternative …
The Stark affair was said to be an accident. It may have been. We never will know for sure. My point is that it shows how much slack we cut Saddam back in those days.
The problem is that if you rely on a fictional deity to tell you what to do then you have a problem with the deity not being consistent. If the deity tells people the opposite things then you lose certainty and it’s anyone’s guess which one is moral. In fact this is one of those objective tests that indicate to me if a religion is controlled by an invisible omnipotent deity or if it’s just an illusion. If God exists and if God is talking to people then these people who God is talking to should get the same message. For example, I am real. When everyone reads this web site they all see the same words. And if you asked someone what they read it would be fairly consistent. But when you talk to people who converse with God they all have a different and often conflicting story. This make me thing that they are just making it up.
What is being put out as morality and certainty is neither moral or certain. It is words without substance. When you purify the truth of it you determine that it is really bullsh*t. If we can’t be certain about moral certainty then we don’t really have moral certainty do we?
The reality is that life is not simple and life is not black and white. Morality isn’t always certain. There are circumstances where something that is generally considered wrong is not wrong depending on the circumstances. A person can steal food to feed their starving family for example. A police officer accidentally makes a mistake and shoots the wrong person. Sometimes things are justifiable under the circumstances. Rules often have exceptions and what is law doesn’t cover all circumstances. That is why most nations have juries that have the power to override the law and decided that even though a person broke the letter of the law that they don’t feel that justice will be served by applying the law to a particular case.
The reason is because good social behavior is a result of evolution. People are born to be good productive members of society. In the survival of the fittest game human rose to the top by their ability to create a mental network of information and to organize into societies. We are programmed to speak language and to listen to language. And language has but a single purpose, to communicate with other people. In order to work together we have to get along with each other. In order to be safe and respected with have to not be threatening and show respect to others. We are all here together and on an instinctive level we all understand that. So the reason that Atheists and secular societies don’t degenerate into anarchy is because we have evolved civilization. It is good for people in the real world, without the promises and threats from God, to be good moral people.
Christians for example put forth the Bible and say that this should be the reference book for moral certainty. But the Bible is extremely self contradictory and imprecise and everyone has their own interpretation of what the Bible means. The fact that there are over 10,000 denominations of Christians proves my point. If those who are promoting the Bible can’t agree on what it means then how are us heathens going to figure it out?
What most people call Magic and Miracles are things and events that they can’t explain.
Computers are almost magical to me. When you think about it, what is a microprocessor? It’s imprinted silicon. It is a rock. We could say that we have developed the technology to make ROCKS THINK, and we wouldn’t be entirely wrong. We are at a time when evolution has taken us to the point of self realization, and we can now choose what we will become. We are in an age of great wonderment, an age where reality is more amazing than it has ever been. Why would anyone want to give up reality for a fiction based existence?
I’m not diluting reality by talking about miracles and magic in this context. I’m actually somewhat diluting the concept of magic and miracles themselves, because what most people call a miracle is just something they can’t explain with science. Not that it’s unexplainable, but from their perspective it is.
BTW Jack, you and I by the lake of fire = an eterally heated debate. I am ready my friend… haha.
The best result was no clear victory by either side and that is what happened. Morally, it was like a war between Hitler and Stalin. You have no good options.
So why get involved at all? Let them fight it out, winner take all. How long will it be before some other country steps forward to be the world police and targets the U.S. as an aggressor? Is there really that much difference between Iraq overthrowing Kuwait and the U.S. overthrowing Iraq? I really don’t know, maybe someone can explain the difference. And then look at the whole situation from the view of an outside country. How does the U.S. look in their eyes? Please don’t attack me. I am not being anti-anything. I just wonder what you think.
It was not an even fight. Iraq couldn’t win even with help from its neighbors. The best outcome was NOT to lose. Left alone Iran would have won and become more powerful or at least had the power to wreck the region and with it the world economy. It is not like they were fighting in a place where it didn’t matter.
The actual outcome was the best-case scenario.
As for the world policeman, it will be a long time. Most of the world likes to complain about the U.S. but they know that we are doing work that needs to be done.
Nobody else wants the responsiblity and the costs that come with it. The Europeans don’t even spend enough to defend themselves. We do it for them. They know it. We know. They know we know and we know that they know.
Every once in a while we have to drive the aggressors out of Europe. I am not talking long ago in WWII. In the 1990s the Euros couldn’t handle Yugoslavia right in their own backyard.
American leadership of the world has been amazingly benign. Smart people know this. They also know they can criticize the U.S. with impunity BECAUSE we are benign.
Thanks for the response Jack, I appreciate it. I do understand why the U.S. must sometimes intervene in certain conflicts, like Iraq overthrowing Kuwait. My concern though is in the current Iraq situation. You say that our leadership of the world has been amazingly benign. That was true when we were defending ourselves or our allies. Doesn’t the Iraq situation change that to a certain extent? Does the Iraq situation make us appear less benign? Has this situation raised red flags for some countries that may have changed course because they see us as a imminent threat?
It depends how the story ends. If Iraq becomes reasonably democratic and prosperous, it will set off a virtuous chain reaction in the region. Iraqis (except Kurds) will still complain about the invasion and claim they could have freed themselves, but they and others will admit that the U.S. did the right thing. If it doesn’t work, we will be the dogs.
America supports and defends the global economic system. Somebody has to do it. The Brits did it from 1815 until WWI. Between the time they stopped and we started after WWII, the world system went seriously wrong.
Maybe at some time in the future there can be a shared hegemony, but nobody seems ready to step up at this time.
There was an interesting article I read last week (can’t recall where) talking about the growing de-facto cooperation between and among the U.S., India, Japan and UK. The author postulated that if you have these four, you cover most of the world.
WHY ARE WE THERE?
*disclaimer: not for the faint of heart— actual images of the Iraq war. There is no bias here, and this isn’t a faces of death site. it does show wounded people tho, on both sides.
my heart continues to be broken over this stupid war.
War is always nasty. That is why we want to avoid it. But sometimes an attempt to avoid one war will lead to even more bloodshed.
Pictures are a graphic way of making a point. Show pictures of aborted babies and some people change their minds. Show someone the bloody picture of a surgery and he might choose not to have it. Those are not informed decisions, however.
Who cares about this FOREIGNER this is all he is get a machine gun and murder the bastard plain and simple.
I feel sorry for Satan.
Saddam is a Asshole and a mean-spirited selfish manipulative pervert. He’s allready taken over control of hell and is calling Satan his ‘Bitch’