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September 12, 2001 10:19 AM   Subscribe

From PVP Online's Forums: "If we do wage war, will we be any better? What happened today, 9-11-01, was atrocious and could not be justified by any means. However, how could we justify violence while abhoring it?"
posted by philulrich (11 comments total)

 
If we do wage war, will we be any better?

Two scenarios:

1 - I'm walking down the street. I see you. I walk up and punch you in the nose.

2 - I'm walking down the street. I see you. You walk up and punch me in the nose, and then I punch you in the nose.

Of course we will be better. All of the whining about how violent retaliation with put us at their level is absolutely insane. This is a matter of defense, and discouraging future attacks.
posted by glenwood at 10:37 AM on September 12, 2001


I remember something Billy Bragg said between songs at a concert I went to. (Billy Bragg, for those who don't know, is a socialist folkie with all the leftist credentials in the world.) This was around the time of the U.S. bombings in Yugoslavia. The audience was stunned to hear him say he supported the bombings. He said, in rough paraphrase, to say that if you stand by and watch an evil bully go to work and you don't step in to stop it, you're as bad as the bully. I'm not neutral about Osama bin Laden and his work and the people who do his work; it's the worst of humanity and, clearly, now, they have the power to devastate. We are absolutely justified in destroying them -- not putting them before the world court, not locking their bank accounts, but physically and totally destroying them before they spread anthrax spores or sneak nuclear devices into heavily populated areas.

As for the countries that support them, their governments have no obligation to become democratic or change religious affiliation. But now it's clear that all countries in this world must cooperate with other countries to a specific minimal standard. They must allow embassies; they must provide some manner of diplomatic relations; their country must be at least minimally open to observers from other countries; they must surrender international criminals and they must offer no support to terrorists. The profound self-exclusion of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq is a danger to the rest of the world. Does violation of this standard constitute grounds for war? Not immediately. But ultimately the Taliban has written itself outside all international law and must begin to abide or face forceful sanction from the rest of the world. Ditto Pakistan; ditto Iraq and, ultimately, ditto Burma and Sudan.
posted by argybarg at 10:47 AM on September 12, 2001


Key difference:

Violence upon the perpetrators of mass murder is quite different from committing murder.

Murder and kill are not the same word.
posted by linux at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2001


Glenwood:

Third scenario: You punch my kid in the nose and tell me that, at any time, you're going to punch my kid or anyone else's when their defenses are down. I invite my friends to join me in clobbering you until you understand what awaits you after future attacks.

I'm all for that, too.
posted by argybarg at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2001


As some guy noted last evening on tv: years ago congress declared war on the pirates of Tripoli. and knockedthem out. And the Israeli position of targeting terrorists was mildly rebuked by the U.S. but may become our policy.
The turn the other cheek nonsense is all well and good for Ghandi, who advised the Jews of Europe to use passive resistence and they were being taken to the gas chambers.
Kill or be killed....today I heard some radio stationplaying the 60s Give Peace a Chance...sure, tell that to the families of the thousands who lost lives.
posted by Postroad at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2001


Still, who will be killed first then? Eternity is waiting for death.
posted by memorydream at 10:58 AM on September 12, 2001


Of course we will be better. All of the whining about how violent retaliation with put us at their level is absolutely insane.

Your argument would make sense if the populous was inseparable from the state entity; this isn't the case. Killing an innocent Arab is as bad as killing an innocent American.
posted by skyline at 11:11 AM on September 12, 2001


I am waiting and hoping for a swift and decisive response. When I saw the footage of the Palestinians celebrating is the streets I secretly prayed that a Tomahawk missile would soon find its mark in that spot. Say what you will about how for Palestinians (and any terrorist harboring country), war is a way of life. Fine. So be it. The fact that terrorists countries have not evolved in any way and continue to settle disputes with a 19th century mentality is none of our concern. We here in America have managed to grow opposable thumbs and learned how to use them. Time to teach an evolution lesson.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:29 AM on September 12, 2001


This is war, regardless of whether an official "state of war" has been declared.

Sorry to tell y'all this, but innocent people get killed in war. We saw a few thousand die yesterday. It's one of the things that makes war a horrible, nasty thing to be avoided.

While I feel that we should do everything that can be done to minimize civilian casualties, we have to do what we have to do. And that is kill, crush and destroy those responsible for this attack and those that assisted them. Period. No other outcome is acceptable. No "try them at the Hague" - execute them, preferably in their beds.

If we can't do that then we must make them understand, in no uncertain terms, that the cost of doing this is so high that it should never be attempted.

As to the people who cry "but we'll be just like them!" all I can say is "bullshit". We didn't strike the first blow, but we damn sure need to strike the last one. Any other solution means more deaths of innocent people at the hands of these monsters.

You may now proceed to berate me with your ivory-tower ideas of what we need to do, and how my attitude is barbaric, blah-blah-blah. But what will irk you the most is that you will eventually learn that I am right.
posted by hadashi at 11:42 AM on September 12, 2001


The turn the other cheek nonsense is all well and good for Ghandi

It sure didn't make him bulletproof.
posted by kindall at 12:21 PM on September 12, 2001


"If we can't do that then we must make them understand, in no uncertain terms, that the cost of doing this is so high that it should never be attempted."

That cost being death? Funny, they don't seem to mind that. Killing people will not dissuade anyone from being a terrorist! All it can do is make the victims happy for a week or so (yay, we got revenge) and make the terrorists angry and vengeful for a lot longer...
posted by whatnotever at 1:16 PM on September 12, 2001


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