The Couch

Should Iran attack the US?

Comments on Should Iran attack the US?

Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
Posted 08/14/05 - 8:35 AM:
Subject: Should Iran attack the US?
Since the most recent failure of talks between the European Union and Iran, the US has stated that Iran's continuing nuclear programme means that the US is putting all options on the table in terms of dealing with Iran. Clearly some of these options are military. Thus, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that the US is threatening Iran.

Does this imminent threat from the US give Iran the right to carry out preemptive attacks against the US? After all, this is the philosophy that the US (who in fact was never threatened by Iraq) used to invade Iraq.

Of course, Iran does not have the capability to attack the US on its own soil, but it does have the ability to aid those who might be willing to attack the US abroad. So, the question is, would it be legitimate for Iran to take steps to attack and have others attack US military installation and personnel around the world? Is such preemptive action not as much their right as it is the American's?

Note that Iran has not broken any international laws by continuing to pursue its nuclear programme. The Europeans have admitted as much. This whole issue revolves around the US simply not wanting Iran to have nuclear capabilities. It is interesting how the US doesn't seem to mind Israel having developed those very same capabilities. It is, it appears to me, a clear matter of a double standard being applied.

In my mind, the Europeans have already gone too far supporting the US on this issue. It is time that the rest of the world, especially Europe Japan and the rest of the industrialised world, tell the US to back off. Only a joint world position in opposition to American aggression can possibly keep the American Hawks in check. Not taking a stand now could be very much akin to what not having taken a stand against Hitler back in the 1930s meant to the world.

Rudi
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4672
Posted 08/14/05 - 11:11 AM:

asking whether someone is justified in doing something is not to say that they should. to me, it's like asking whether individuals who are severely abused as children should become serial killers. it's an attempt to add a rational component to an irrational situation. on a rational level, who's to say that anyone should become a serial killer? or declare war, for that matter? people do. it doesn't make it right.

of course, asking whether something is right is not the same as asking whether it makes sense. did it make sense that the US was so brutally attacked on 9/11? many would say yes, that it did, but still would agree that that doesn't make it right. did it make sense that the US would invade iraq? knowing what little i know about international affairs and the flow of power over the last century, i can say "sure, it makes sense that the US would do that". but it doesn't make it right.

threats of WMD and interest in iraqi oil aside, the US and europe have their "war on terrorism", fueled by 9/11 and the london bombings, along with efforts to establish democratic government in iraq, to "justify" many of their activities in the middle east. the question of whether these movements should be abandoned in favor of a policy of non-interference should of course also be considered.

what's your view, rudi? should iran attack the US?
b.mellow
pure

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: May 08, 2005

Total Topics: 16
Total Comments: 199
Posted 08/14/05 - 2:22 PM:

Putting all the legal and "for the record" baloney aside, it's quite simple. Bush, whether you like it or not, is fighting for an idea. The state of the middle East is too foreign to us, and our culture is too foreign to them. We cannot understand eachother, and for deep-seated religious reasons do we back Israel. With modern technology it is only too easy for a small, extremist nation (that's not to say the US is not extreme) to do large amounts of damage, both physically and psychologically, to the US. Though I do not agree with his methods, Bush's aim to democratize the middle east, thus making them more similar to us, would in turn make us more relatable, and less bitter enemies. Cause right now our current states just do not mesh. All the mumbo jumbo aside, would you want some unstable radical just down the street to possess incredible firearms, knowing their hatred and willingness to use these weopons on you and your loved ones, or would you throw your weight around, risking the title of bully and ignorant Hitler associations, to protect yourself?
Paul
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Location: Northern California

Total Topics: 13
Total Comments: 370
Avatar Paul
Posted 08/14/05 - 8:27 PM:

Rudi wrote:
Note that Iran has not broken any international laws by continuing to pursue its nuclear programme.


The simple fact is that they hid their nuclear program for decades. When you do that, regardless of their reasons, it's quite natural for people to be suspicious of your intentions for it. The supreme leader declaring the nuclear weapons are bad isn't exactly going to convince anyone to trust you.

Now, whether Iran should be allowed to have nuclear weapons is another matter. Perhaps it should, on the basis that it has a right to defend itself against threats. On the other hand, it could easily be argued that the existence of any nuclear weapons is bad -- except maybe a carefully controlled UN arsenal that can only be used with approval by a vote of the general assembly, in order to maintain some of its deterrant usefulness. Going with that theory, the first thing to recognize is that you're not going to get counties to give up their nuclear weapons (unless they're in a really desperate position and just using them as a bargaining chip like North Korea). So, all you can do is try to stop more countries from acquiring them in order to minimize the chances of catastrophic abuse. Thus Iran should be stopped because it can be stopped, unlike the many counties which can't. I lean mildly toward this theory.

Hitler comparisons as I see made so often are of course appeal to irrational alarmism. Sure Bush and Hitler have things in common -- as do Hitler and Ghandi. American agression is not even on par with, for example, Israeli agression. We haven't set up colonies in Iraq, we haven't taken away Iraqi soil with the idea of letting Americans move in. (Of course if you dig into past centuries the U.S. did lots of that, but nobody could match the U.K. and France there.) Nor have we directly annexed natural resources lately, despite all the talk of oil wars -- and it should be obvious that the war in Iraq increased the price of oil and threatened the supply, and that a stable oppressive government (like Saudi Arabia's) is always better for oil. Also obviously the United States government has lost a ton of money on the endevour and much of it was foreseeable. There's a difference between conqeuest for regime change and conquest for looting and colonization. Both may be bad in most cases, but the motivations are different and the responses should be too.

The thing that's always made the world so dangerous, of course, is the popularity of black-and-white viewpoints in which everything is either right (defend it to the death) or wrong (fight it to the death). The things anti-war people say about American foreign policy often strike me as quite reminicent of "they attack us because they hate freedom" in their lack of complexity and one-sided consideration.

To quicky address the title question: no. If Iran had the power to hurt the US, then first of all the US would not be threatening it and there would be no provocation. Secondly, preemptive defense is only justifiable in extreme circumstances. The kind of attack Iran is potentially threatened with is anyhow not an all out invasion but targeted strikes, the actuality of which could justify a war (as I would say 9-11 justified the war in Afghanistan) but not the threat alone. Iran was [probably] justified in attacking Iraq because Iraq attempted to annex territory, for example. And if you mean to make a because-the-US-abused-preemptive-defense argument, you may as well carry out retaliation genocides for each genocide commited by a group too.... which of course is often how the world works, unfortunately.

libertygrl wrote:
asking whether someone is justified in doing something is not to say that they should. to me, it's like asking whether individuals who are severely abused as children should become serial killers.


I would consider "justified" to imply that something has a good reason, whereas your example is merely something that has an explanation. For something to be explained isn't the same as for it to be justified -- despite some conservatives saying that explaining why the London bombings happened, for example, is automatically an attempt to justify them.

Edited by Paul on 08/14/05 - 8:47 PM
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4672
Posted 08/14/05 - 8:55 PM:

Paul wrote:
I would consider "justified" to imply that something has a good reason, whereas your example is merely something that has an explanation.

justification has until now been a bit of a tricky term or concept for me (please see the causality thread; i'm still chewing on it). but yes, i agree with your point here. i meant to make the distinction between "explanation" (to substitute your term for what i called "making sense") and "justification" (the question of whether something is good or right). would you agree that an explanation offers a reason, whereas justification offers a good reason?

lib
Paul
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Location: Northern California

Total Topics: 13
Total Comments: 370
Avatar Paul
Posted 08/15/05 - 1:09 AM:

Yes, though on thinking more about it I'm not so sure, since people can reasonably label a justification a "good justification" or a "bad justification." I suppose that could just be a way of affirming that something is indeed a justification or suggesting it's not really a justification though, so it wouldn't change the meaning of the unmodified word.

Also as far as explanation offering a reason, I have a nagging feeling that the meaning of "reason" in that context should be distinguished from reason in the justification context. I guess it's that explanatory reason is just a statement of a cause and effect relationship, whereas justification reason involves an implied "ought". Part of the confusion is that we can use the word "because" in either way. For example, we could say "This person was killed by the security system because she strayed from the path" and the "because" could be either explanation or justification. Somehow it seems clearer to me if I put the example in the future instead of the past (though you could expand the past example out too): "If you stray from the path you will be killed by the security system" (explanatory reason for a possible future state of affairs [your being dead]) compared to "If you stray from the path, you deserve to be killed by the security system" (justification-reason for your possible future state of being dead).

Language is so much easier to use when you don't think about it.

Edited by Paul on 08/15/05 - 1:19 AM
e.
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Location: UK

Total Topics: 142
Total Comments: 1081
Avatar e.
Posted 08/15/05 - 6:52 AM:

Hi folks,

Gosh, you can wait ages for a political post and then six come along at once!

This is all above my head, must admit. One thing though, I have been listening to some US radio stations streaming on the net.I heard the following advertisement on a Memphis talk show.This is word for word.

"Are you a Muslim? Against extremism? Then turn someone in to prove it."

I can't imagine hearing that level of aggression on a UK public radio station, and I hope I never will.

Cheers, e-liberal



Edited by e. on 08/15/05 - 9:18 AM
Paul
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Location: Northern California

Total Topics: 13
Total Comments: 370
Avatar Paul
Posted 08/16/05 - 2:34 AM:

Heh, try not to listen to stations from the Bible belt. I like to think it's not representative of the country on such issues, they embarrass most of us. (Though for that matter, talk radio in general consists of extremes for the sake of entertainment -- they figure extreme views stir up more of an emotional reaction which gets people involved and listening. And that's not limited to just politics, take Art Bell for example.)
smokinpristiformis
child of the stars
Avatar

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Belgium

Total Topics: 74
Total Comments: 1247
Posted 08/16/05 - 11:30 AM:

"Are you a Muslim? Against extremism? Then turn someone in to prove it."

yey ! let's get a witch-hunt started !
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#10 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/24/05 - 11:57 AM:

Paul wrote:

To quicky address the title question: no. If Iran had the power to hurt the US, then first of all the US would not be threatening it and there would be no provocation.


Are you saying that the US will only attack countries that are NOT a credible threat to them? I guess this is consistent with their attack on Iraq. Everyone agrees now (and everyone but the US and maybe Britain) agreed then too that Iraq was never a credible threat to the US. If this is true then that would seem to make the US nothing much more than a bully; picking on little countries because it can.

Paul wrote:
Secondly, preemptive defense is only justifiable in extreme circumstances. The kind of attack Iran is potentially threatened with is anyhow not an all out invasion but targeted strikes


Are you saying that if you are only threatened with targeted strikes then this is not a reason for you to take preemptive action? If so, why did the US attack Iraq. Even at its worst Iraq could never have done more than launch a few 'targeted attacks'. The 9-11 attacks were also simply 'targeted attacks'. There was never a threat of invasion of US soil.

Paul wrote:
And if you mean to make a because-the-US-abused-preemptive-defense argument, you may as well carry out retaliation genocides for each genocide commited by a group too.... which of course is often how the world works, unfortunately.


That's more to the point of the question. What I am really asking is whether, if the US preemptive policy is justified, we can also justify agression by Iran (ignoring the fact, of course, that in reality Iran would be too limited to launch any real attack on the US).

Paul wrote:
I would consider "justified" to imply that something has a good reason, whereas your example is merely something that has an explanation. For something to be explained isn't the same as for it to be justified -- despite some conservatives saying that explaining why the London bombings happened, for example, is automatically an attempt to justify them.



The American doctrine of using preemptive force is not merely an explanation, it is a justification for its actions in Iraq. In my mind, if anyone were to accept this doctrine as valid, he or she would also have to accept that it would be valid for Iran to attack the US, as the US has made it quite clear that it is considering military aggression.

Let us remember too that Iran's program is a civil program. There is no evidence (probably because it hasn't been fabricated by the US yet :laughingsmiling face that Iran's program has been developing nuclear weapons. Iran is therefore acting within the letter of all its international obligations. Thus, the only threat of violence in this affair has originated in the White House. The only aggressor in this instance is the US.

Just for the record, I am totally against the doctrine of preemptive military action. In my mind it is a terrible and slippery slope. I do believe that Iran has every right in the world to pursue a civil nuclear program. I also believe that the rest of the world should stand by Iran on this issue and tell the US to back off... cool

Cheers,

Rudi
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4672
#11 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/25/05 - 11:22 PM:

personally, i think the pre-emptive defense is probably most often used to excuse bullying. i do think george bush is a bully (as demonstrated by, among other things, his blatant mockery of a woman he had sentenced to death). but i wouldn't say that the US as a country is "not much more than a bully". the conflict in iraq has a number of complex moral factors involved that should be given equal consideration along with the "rightness" of a preemptive strike justification. if this were a simple, clear-cut example of the US attacking some poor helpless country, unprovoked, don't you think there would be more nations aggressively stepping up to put the US in its place?

lib

Paul
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Location: Northern California

Total Topics: 13
Total Comments: 370
Avatar Paul
#12 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/26/05 - 7:32 PM:

Rudi wrote:
Are you saying that the US will only attack countries that are NOT a credible threat to them?


Obviously -- unless there's immense provocation like being attacked first by said country. No country in the world knowingly and willingly goes out of its way to get nuked or otherwise severly harmed. We won't invade North Korea because they actually have nukes, and could harm South Korea with them at least, for example.

If this is true then that would seem to make the US nothing much more than a bully; picking on little countries because it can.

No (the US may be a bully in some ways, but this has nothing to do with why), it simply makes the US sane enough to use its power in ways that are practical. It may have been wise and practical to intervene in Kosovo, for example -- but if they'd had the ability to significantly harm us, we'd have declined to get involved. Countries have obligations to their own citizens that can outweigh obligations to the world.

Are you saying that if you are only threatened with targeted strikes then this is not a reason for you to take preemptive action? If so, why did the US attack Iraq.

What sort of a question is that? The US attacked Iraq because the US President has a stubborn streak and tends to be a bit narrow minded such that once he decides something (such as that Hussein needed to be overthrown) he'll fail to pay attention to any data that doesn't support the action he wants to take. Everyone should be well aware of that by now, and in fact should've been aware of it before the Iraq war.

The 9-11 attacks were also simply 'targeted attacks'. There was never a threat of invasion of US soil.

9-11 wasn't a threat, it was an actuality. If countries didn't respond militarily to the "targeted killing" of 3,000 or so of its citizens by another country (and Bin Laden was practically speaking running a second government in a symbiotic relationship with the Taleban) when military action is capable of achieving the objectives at minimal cost, then said countries are not fulfilling its duty to its citizens.

What I am really asking is whether, if the US preemptive policy is justified

When you speak of a policy, do you mean in theory or in practice? In theory, there are circumstances under which a preemptive attack would be warranted -- even if many more circumstances where it wouldn't be justified. If a known murderer is pointing a gun at your head and you happen to have a gun in your pocket, then you can fire first -- but that doesn't mean you can shoot someone because you've heard rumors that they want to kill you.

As a policy, it was simply an unnecessary and unwise move designed to make it easier to go to war without knowing what you're doing. That said, it might be possible to impliment it in a reasonable way though that would basically negate the point of making a declared policy since preemptive strikes have always been on the table for extreme circumstances.

The American doctrine of using preemptive force is not merely an explanation, it is a justification for its actions in Iraq.

No, taken properly it wouldn't justify actions in Iraq because inspectors never found any weapons to indicate that Iraq was preparing to attack any of our interests. The preemptive force doctrine merely provided something to grab onto and abuse -- it does not in itself in any way justify acting before you know

It's not a doctrine of attacking before you know if a country is a threat -- it's a doctrine of attacking before a known threat attacks you. Originally it was supposed to focus on terrorist cells, giving the US ability to attack known terrorists before the terrorists mount an operation -- which is, I think, reasonable enough if you had perfect people running it and only falls apart in practice.

In my mind, if anyone were to accept this doctrine as valid, he or she would also have to accept that it would be valid for Iran to attack the US, as the US has made it quite clear that it is considering military aggression.

There's a huge difference between refusing to take the option off the table, as Bush puts it, compared to actually planning to take military action. There is no reliable intelligence to indicate the US is preparing to attack Iran.

The only aggressor in this instance is the US.

Again, the US has taken no military action against Iran and is not preparing to take any currently. If you're considering a war of words to justify an attack, then Iran too is an agressor -- after all, they've discussed in detail how they plan to crush America if America attempts any kind of strike, not to mention Khomeini used plenty of agressive language with regard to the "great Satan."

I do believe that Iran has every right in the world to pursue a civil nuclear program.

The United States also believes that, obviously. The United States simply believes that Iran should have to avoid activities that could be involved in weapons development, and the best way to ensure that is to make the nuclear process involve another country too instead of being fully contained within Iran, as the Europeans argued.

Edited by Paul on 08/26/05 - 7:45 PM
e.
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Location: UK

Total Topics: 142
Total Comments: 1081
Avatar e.
#13 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/27/05 - 1:47 PM:

Hi folks,

A slight variation to the the original question. Why should anyone attack the US? Because they can.

Osama Bin Laden was no fool. He smoked out the Bush administration with superb skill.He wanted the world to see the US as warmongers and George duly obliged. It was a slow start, but George is surely on the warpath now. Just what Bin Laden wanted.

IMHO George is Osama's best asset. As soon as George (and our very own Mr Blair) uttered the words "War on terror" I can imagine Osama jumping for joy - and so the trap closes.

The fatal escalation was the move from seeing the terrorist activity as a criminal act to seeing it as a government sponsored criminal act. That changed the whole situation, and I don't see where the hard evidence is for that view.

George sees enemies everywhere now, and some of those enemies might have nuclear weapons - nasty.

Good Mornin Vietnam!

laughingcrying

PS - How long before the draft?

Edited by e. on 08/28/05 - 4:36 AM
smokinpristiformis
child of the stars
Avatar

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Belgium

Total Topics: 74
Total Comments: 1247
#14 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/28/05 - 4:37 AM:

answering the original question:

nobody should be attacking anyone

peace yall
smokinpristiformis
child of the stars
Avatar

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Belgium

Total Topics: 74
Total Comments: 1247
#15 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/29/05 - 4:57 AM:

oh btw, i got something more or less relevant

http://www.theonion.com/2056-06-22/news/1/
laughing
Search thread for
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission . Log in, or register if you haven't yet.



Acknowledgements:

Couch logo design by Midnight_Monk. The photo hanging above the couch was taken by Paul.

Powered by WSN Forum. Free smileys here.
Special thanks to Maria Cristina, Jesse , Echolist Directory, The Star Online,
Hosting Free Webs, and dmoz.org for referring visitors to this site!

Copyright notice:

Except where noted otherwise, copyright belongs to respective authors
for artwork, photography and text posted in this forum.