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This room is for the discussion of current events,cultural issues and politics especially in relation to Catholic values.

Saint Thomas More was martyred during the Protestant Reformation for standing firm in the Faith and not recognizing the King of England as the Supreme Head of the Church.
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May 29th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: I never said just win but a good outcome. If us going to war for a freedom for a country and that means the country ends up in civil war-that means the outcome is not good. You have to have a good shot that the people will have a better shot at a better life ,afterwards. That you won't cause more damage with your bombs. That's the point. The beginning of just war criteria is the war has to be in self defense. No one can truly argue Iraq was a threat to us (please) But one could argue it was in defense of the Iraqi people. So what that means is there must be a good chance that for the Iraqi people will be better off. That's very debatable. And remember there's a good chance the Iraq's would have gotten rid of Saddam-on their own, like lots of dictators eventually go. The same goes with Syria. Syria's not a "threat to us" okay we can argue that defensively for the Syrian people. So than what that means is that we must have a good shot at seeing the Syrian people will be better off at going in. We must see there's that way. That's the issue. The fact is Syria could easily be made worse. We could end up killing 1.more civilians 2. more of our soldiers 3. Putting our children in more debt and for what for the Syrians to be worse off? I.e not creating more damage is an issue.
Rebecca,

Let's change the topic. Straight up!

A question for you - Do you prefer Visa or MasterCard?
May 29th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: Easy on what? I never said Saddam was a wonderful guy. But what I said is can we guarantee that us going in there is going to make the world better for Iraq. And guess what that is part of the just war criteria-that the outcome will involve a better future. The fact is Iraq is having major civil war right now, and right now the "democrat government in Iraq" is becoming more repressive-and its especially not so great with minorities. So here's the thing what if we lost all of those lives in Iraq, killed all those people including civilians, and the people end up-not better off maybe even worse than before. That's the question with Syria now. If it was a matter of Syria-WILL for sure have a better life when we finish than that's one thing. But there's a very good chance what will come out is a regime that is more repressive. So I'm sorry Saddam killing his own civilians-doesn't give us the right to kill civilians too. That's just more lives lost. The fact of the matter is you can't solve all the worlds problems by force. Eventually after war-you are left with the same questions that existed before... I suggest you take a look at the criteria for just war. The criteria doesn't involve just having a noble cause. You have to have an outcome for success.
Here's the problem with your stance on Saddam.

It's true you "never said Saddam was a wonderful guy." But that is not even remotely the issue here. The issue is that he was an evil guy, who did evil things. So is Assad. And you kinda sorta acknowledge that... but as soon as you do you almost inevitably then start hedging the acknowledgment;

...Strong man, strong armed dictators. And while they aren't great, they are better than massive civil wars.

Say what you will about Assad-but he isn't one of those guys and is no fundamentalist.

Say what you will about life under Gaddhaffi but there was order.

Your willingness to to so willingly excuse the evil that these men do raises the question of the sincerity of your acknowledgement of that evil. You don't seem to think it's very important.

My guess is that it is because you have a common, but I think profoundly wrong view of the relationship between peace and war.

Many people, and I'm guessing you are one of them, look at war and peace as polar opposites on a spectrum. In this worldview, anything that moves you towards war moves you away from peace (and obviously vice-versa).

But this is not true.

Let's go to the year 1830. The United States is at peace. The War of 1812 has been over for 16 years, the Mexican-American War isn't for another 16 years. Even the Indian Wars are quiet at the moment. The First Seminole War has been fought, the fighting with the Creeks is for the future, even the Blackhawk War (which hardly deserves the name 'war' but that is neither here nor there) has not broken out yet.

Peace, right?

But what if you're not a white girl?

What if you're a black girl. A slave. You work for somebody else against your will. You do not get to keep the fruit of your labor. Your family can be split up at a whim. With the stroke of a pen you might be separated from your parents, siblings, husband, or children, never to see them again. You can be ripped from the arms of your family to be sold to finance the purchase land, or equipment, or just to satisfy your master's gambling debts. You have no say over what happens to your body. You can be required to satisfy the carnal urges of your master or one of his guests, or even be given as a reward to another slave.

Is that peace?

The Catholic Church teaches that peace is not the mere absence of war. Peace also requires the dignity of human beings to be respected.

War and peace are not opposite ends of a spectrum. It would be far more accurate to look at them as two points on a triangle. The third point could be called oppression or slavery.

A civil war can be closer to peace than day-to-day life under a dictatorship. Fearing war above all things does not mean that one is advancing the cause of peace. It just means that one is avoiding war, nothing more. And if avoiding war becomes the priority, then true peace can all too easily be sacrificed. The desperation to avoid war can quickly lead to the acceptance of oppression and slavery all in the name of a very false "peace."
May 29th 2013 new
John, I recognize that Saddam is evil. But what I don't recognize is that "the other actor is necessarily good". In a civil war, you can't guarantee that the people who come out on top are going good. Sometimes what ends up happening is the oppressed becomes the oppressor. That's my problem with your argument. Your not recognizing that there's a good chance that the rebel group who comes into power in Syria-is going to end up being just as evil-if not more evil than Assad. There are some major atrocities going on being done by the rebels. And minorities are afraid they will be ethnically cleansed if the rebels come into power. This is evil too-one could argue more evil than Assad. And civil war is evil too, and there's no guarantee that civil war will bring a good result. As mentioned Christians are being ethnically cleansed in Iraq. Sunni's are claiming they are being more and more repressed. What's to stop eventually, the Iraqi government turning out just like Assad. This happens quite a lot in revolutions/wars. That the "outcome" can become worse than what was intended to be. So your not addressing my point about that. And I will sound my biggest reason why Iraq was wrong, wrong. The main argument was the weapons of mass destruction. And for me even if Saddam had them, that alone didn't justify us going to war unilaterially without evidence that Saddam had an IMMINENT attack on us. For me the idea that its justified to go to war because someone has weapons they might eventually use to attack you, or they might eventually become a threat. Its morally repugnant and incredibly dangerous. By that reasoning then China could say well the United States has all kinds of weapons, they have bases here and there. Who knows maybe, they might attack us with them. So lets attack them now. Fact is and what your recognizing is its possible the Iraqi people all on their own-would have gotten rid of Saddam themselves and assured in a government by themselves. Its not even a laughable idea. Look at the Soviet Union. It fell on its own without US bombs, bombing them "to freedom" Putin's not perfect but he's a kitty cat compared to the Soviet regimes.
May 29th 2013 new
What I mean is whats to stop Iraq from becoming just like Saddam.
May 29th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: ... The beginning of just war criteria is the war has to be in self defense. No one can truly argue Iraq was a threat to us (please) But one could argue it was in defense of the Iraqi people. So what that means is there must be a good chance that for the Iraqi people will be better off. That's very debatable. And remember there's a good chance the Iraq's would have gotten rid of Saddam-on their own, like lots of dictators eventually go. ...
No where in Catholic Just War Theory is it stated the war has to be in self-defense. The criteria are:

  1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  3. there must be serious prospects of success;
  4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition
Self defense is not even mentioned, let alone made a criteria.

What is the basis for your claim that there was any, let alone a "good" chance that the Iraqi people would have gotten rid of Saddam on their own. They had tried and failed before.

Now to give credit where credit is due, you have generally shown a good grasp of the Just War Theory, and for the most part, I think you have done a good job of addressing valid, not artificial issues. Many of the pacifist types out there refuse to acknowledge that the defense of the Iraqi people is even a possibility let alone the heart of argument for the war in Iraq. You tackle it head on, so kudos to you.

I am rather pleased that here you have more or less cut to the chase in many ways; the true question in the entire debate of the morality of the war is whether or not the Iraqis (or Syrians) are better off because of the war than they would have been without it. I think you grasp that completely.

Where we disagree is the answer to that question. You seem to put a tremendous value on a lack of open fighting. I value the lack of oppression far more than the lack of fighting.

May 30th 2013 new
(quote) Peter-449116 said: Ramming American or European style governments down the throats of these Middle Eastern countries has not worked. It is not working in Iraq and cannot possibly work in Afghanistan. Look what American meddling accomplished in Iran. If and when we finally get through our thick skulls that we are not helping and butt out, the dust will settle and the region will find it's own way. It may be ugly to our eyes, but it will be of their design. One of the greatest blunders of modern history was the European defeat of the Ottoman Empire early in the twentieth century: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/ottomanempire_1.shtml
Hi Peter et alia,

You're right. Most people don't realize it, but the Iranians are still pretty upset over the overthrow of
Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 by the CIA and MI6.

James ☺
May 30th 2013 new
(quote) Rebecca-654746 said: ... In a civil war, you can't guarantee that the people who come out on top are going good. ... Your not recognizing that there's a good chance that the rebel group who comes into power in Syria-is going to end up being just as evil-if not more evil than Assad. .... What's to stop eventually, the Iraqi government turning out just like Assad. This happens quite a lot in revolutions/wars. That the "outcome" can become worse than what was intended to be. So your not addressing my point about that. And I will sound my biggest reason why Iraq was wrong, wrong. The main argument was the weapons of mass destruction. And for me even if Saddam had them, that alone didn't justify us going to war unilaterially without evidence that Saddam had an IMMINENT attack on us. ... By that reasoning then China could say well the United States has all kinds of weapons, they have bases here and there....  Fact is and what your recognizing is its possible the Iraqi people all on their own-would have gotten rid of Saddam themselves and assured in a government by themselves. Its not even a laughable idea. Look at the Soviet Union. It fell on its own without US bombs, bombing them "to freedom" Putin's not perfect but he's a kitty cat compared to the Soviet regimes.
Let's deal with a couple of propaganda points you are repeating here.

You repeat the amazing claim that we somehow acted "unilaterally."

First of all, that is a falsehood. I know you didn't invent the lie, the anti-Bush fanatics desperately pushed that lie for years. But I am amazed that you bought into it. There were over 2 DOZEN other countries that were in there with us. That precludes it from being unilateral on its face. Period. Unilateral is not defined as "France did not give its permission." As soon as one, single, solitary country joined us, it was not a unilateral action. This is not debatable. And there was more than one other country that sent in troops.

Second of all, it's completely and totally irrelevant. Morality has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the number of people or parties who happen to agree or act on a proposition. The morality or immorality of a war stands on its own merits, not the number of belligerents involved.

The next propaganda point is the claim that the "main argument" was WMD's. The anti-Bush folks always pretended for political purposes that there was only "One True Reason" for the war. It differed from group to group and from time to time. The really rabid folks still tell themselves the absurdity that it was to "steal the oil." The more practical folks changed their claim through time.

The reality is that the Bush Administration consistently gave an entire list of multiple reasons why we were going to war with Iraq. The fact that its opponents only choose to recognize one of them at any given moment does not change that reality.

It is true that the press focused almost exclusively on WMD's. It is true that Bush was pretty inept as a communicator and let the debate be defined by his opponents. It is even true that the main argument to the UN Security Council was WMDs. But the U.S. did not go to war on the basis of a non-existent UN go-ahead. The U.S. went to war for the reasons given to Congress, reasons which were much more extensive than just WMDs.

Moving off the propaganda, you are consistently expressing things that are nothing more than personal opinions as though they were facts.

"Fact is and what your recognizing is its possible the Iraqi people all on their own-would have gotten rid of Saddam themselves"

That is NOT a fact. That is conjecture on your part. The Iraqi people had repeatedly tried and failed to get rid of Saddam themselves. Ask the Kurds. Ask the "Marsh Arabs." There is zero reason to believe that the Iraqi people were going to get the job done all on their own.

What is a fact is that most successful rebellions require outside support. There are of course exceptions. Castro pulled it off. But these are the exceptions, not the rule. The United States is an independent country because of French assistance.

It is also possible that regimes will crumble without a rebellion. We saw this with the Soviet Bloc at the end of the Cold War. But for this to happen, you need a population that is fairly homogenous in its opposition to the regime and a security apparatus that is identifying more with the population than the regime.

This is not the case with Iraq. The entire population was not united in its opposition to Saddam; there were significant parts of the Sunni population that, while it did some suffering under Saddam, feared even worse suffering under the Shiites. We see the fallout of that to this day. And the security apparatus was still very much under Saddam's control.

You complain that I haven't been addressing some points about Syria. There is some justice in that complaint.

To be honest, given the current administration it's all just completely academic, and that's taken some of the interest out of it for me. There is almost no chance that Obama is going to take meaningful action of any kind in Syria.

In theory, we could certainly guarantee that the people who come out on top are going to be good ones. But that would require a level of commitment that I don't see the U.S. population as having. And even if the population were supportive, the Obama administration is not going to act on it.

So I've just kind of pursing the Syrian argument in a rather desultory way.

It is unlikely that whoever takes over in Syria will be worse than Assad. Possible, but not likely. It is likely that their evil will be different than Assad's evil.

Syria is attracting all kinds of outside influence. Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia just to name a few. A certain cynical part of me is rooting all for the Shiite Hezbollah terrorists and various Sunni terrorists to kill each other indefinitely there. But that's not a terribly nice attitude.

Our best interest would be to find a moderate Sunni group to back and make darn sure they won and won big. But I don't see us putting the necessary energy and resources into that. Given that reality, staying completely out of it does have a certain amount of wisdom.
May 30th 2013 new
(quote) Marianne-100218 said: John: How did you learn of Professional Rapists? I never heard that before nor
did I hear of it in realtion to Saddam Hussan. I guess it came out after we
started the war over there.
I've seen it in a number of sources. I'm pretty sure it made its way into the media somewhere. I remember seeing a picture of some kind of ID card where the profession was listed. I think the job title was something like "woman defiler" or something like that. I don't remember exactly.
May 30th 2013 new
Okay a couple of things. So the USA didn't go at it alone. But frankly we were the ones who pushed for it, and we and those dozen other countries-went at unilaterally. The ONLY body that had the authority to enforce the UN's resolutions was the UN. The UN specifically said no. So that means the USA, Britain and all of those countries together, nobody voted to give THEM the authority to do it. Second the fact that you admit we didn't have the unilateral support of the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam is EXACTLY why us going in was wrong. The Sunni's fear of ethnic cleansing/retribution wasn't ridiculous. And why is this somehow "better than Assad." And that's why it was better for the Sunnis and the Shia to decided what to do amongst themselves. And Russia itself has an EXTREMELY diverse population. And no doubt Saddam might have eventually ticked enough out, maybe his own party. The Chinese government has certainly tamed itself since Mao. Once again without us bombing China into submission. And as for the unlikely the group will be worse. Really I think its very likely. That you'll get a very aggressive Sharia law group that gives the people of Syria-far less rights than Assad did. The fact that is a possibility should give us all pause. As for revolutions rarely succeed without intervention. Oh plenty of have. The French revolution managed all on its own. The English had their own Revolutions without outside assistance, follks in Romania, Poland, all somehow managed to do soo. The Iranian Revolution. Heck the Tsar of Russia went down without the United States bugging in..
May 30th 2013 new
And you know what John, I really resent you calling my ideas propaganda. I could argue your ideas are propaganda, because its what I hear from many on the Neo-con side. Your are ideas are your ideas. I never agreed with the Iraq war. Not from the very beginning, and it wasn't propaganda that convinced me, because I read both sides of the debate.
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