I know for many of you it's simply easier to categorize everyone who supports military action as bloodthirsty hawks and warmongers. But for me and many others, nothing could be further from the truth. I abhor war in all of its forms. But I consider myself a moral person, and for me in all cases the moral choice that must be made is the one that in the long run minimizes human suffering to the greatest possible extent -- not only for the west, but for Iraq itself. While nobody has a crystal ball, reasonable people can conclude that allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power will lead to far more death, suffering, and destruction than the coming action to remove him. To me, that's the very definition of moral. To me, that's the very definition of "peace."
So please try to bear that in mind before labelling yourselves the sole proponents of "peace."
posted by pardonyou? at 1:41 PM PST on March 18
[This was a quote from an earlier post] But human rights is actually just the last thing Bush had left to cross off his laundry list of justifications for this war.
I guess I would ask you why your own opinion pivots on Bush's justification, if the net effect will be the same? I am not a Bush supporter, and I think he and his ham-handed administration bungled any opportunity to obtain broad worldwide support. But even that wouldn't have changed the outcome -- it would have been the same war, with the same result, only with some more soldiers from different countries.
My moral judgment doesn't depend on the stated reasons for ridding the world of Saddam Hussein. The fact that he will be deposed is enough for me.
[again, a quote from earlier in the thread]Ah yes; the end, of course, being justified by the means.
In this case, absolutely. Take a look at this:
[a blockquote from an outside source] Third, suppose President Bush in fact had no reputable motive in going to war. Suppose he had only disreputable motives, such as defending his daddy's honor. Does this show that the war is unjustified, morally speaking? Again, the answer is no. Justification is objective; motivation is subjective. The war can be justified as an act of self-defense or liberation of a people (to name just two of many justifications) even if the person waging the war doesn't understand it in those terms - even if he or she doesn't view those as justifications. For consider: Either there is a justification for the war (objectively speaking) or there is not. If there is, then it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush. If there isn't, then it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush. Either way, it doesn't matter what motivated President Bush.
This perfectly encapsulates my thinking on the issue. Yours may differ (and probably does). But I have absolutely no problem saying that the war was justified simply on the basis that thousands of Iraqi lives were saved.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:39 PM PST on June 6
To recap: I supported the war for different reasons than WMD. So I have no problem pointing to mass grave stories and saying: "This is why I supported this war." My question for you: Why haven't the stories of Hussein's atrocities convinced you that the war was justified?
posted by pardonyou? at 12:51 PM PST on June 6
And your arguments are misdirected: I took issue with crumple_and_holepunch's* screed, which was specifically directed at my prior posts. That is what I was responding to. Hell, I personally don't care about Bush and his rationale. I never supported the war for his reasons. (And I don't even support him -- didn't vote for him in 2000 and have no plans to do so in 2004). In fact, if he deliberately lied to the American public to garner support for the war, that can and should be dealt with independently (perhaps up to impeachment). But none of that makes one whit of difference for me in terms of deciding whether the war was justified. See, I'm capable of separating the two. Imagine that!
First, I think it's important to fairly characterize my position: After giving the issue serious thought over many months, I concluded that the action of invading Iraq was morally justified on the grounds that it would save lives in the long run. So if your question is whether I might also conclude that deposing the regime in Zimbabwe, Liberia, or China, is a morally justifiable action, the answer is yes, I might, depending on whether it appeared that the action could save lives (note that on this test, I don't believe I would find an invasion of North Korea morally justifiable because of the risk that Seoul would be nuked, killing millions of people. The same probably goes for China. I honestly don't know enough about Liberia, Zimbabwe, etc., but if the U.S. government proposed to take military action against those countries, I would certainly gather the facts the best I could to hopefully make an educated determination about whether I thought the invasion could be justified on any grounds, including humanitarian).
Note what this does not mean: It does not mean that I think military action is the only justifiable action. Just as I have never argued that other options with Iraq might not have been morally justifiable. I wouldn't have argued, for instance, that pursuing diplomacy for a longer period of time would have been "immoral." I just don't think it's that binary -- I don't see why any person should conclude there's one and only one justifiable approach to any situation. The war was going to happen whether I liked it or not -- my question for myself was whether I could find a moral basis for finding that action justified. Likewise, if the administration had decided it was not necessary to invade Iraq, I would have had the same internal conversation, and would have concluded that that, too, was a morally justifiable position. That doesn't mean both would always be the case -- I'm against war on principle, and I believe that there are probably very, very few situations in which military conflict can be justified. But this happened to be one of them, in my humble opinion.
I don't know why the anti-war crowd (or most of the pro-war crowd, for that matter) insists on demonizing the other side, rather than acknowledging that there are valid arguments, and that it's largely a matter of personal belief and conscience. Believe me, I understand your point of view, and I once shared it. But the more I learned about the atrocities committed by the Husseins, and the more I read and heard from exiled Iraqis, the more convinced I became that military action could be justified. And I still think it was justified on that basis -- I still personally believe that over the course of history, this will have saved a substantial number of Iraqi lives. That doesn't mean the administration should be immune from criticism for its judgment or its claims -- I've argued all along, for example, that if the administration actually lied about WMD, there should be very serious repercussions. But why should that impact whether I believe the war was morally justifiable? Why can't intellectual people treat those issues separately?
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