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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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Let's change the topic. Straight up!
A question for you - Do you prefer Visa or MasterCard?
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.
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."
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- 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
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.
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.
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.
did I hear of it in realtion to Saddam Hussan. I guess it came out after we
started the war over there.