Thursday, March 23, 2006

Christian Peacemaker Teams is not Pro-Peace

If they were, they'd protest the terrorists who did this to their member:
Mr. Fox's body was found this month. He had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.


This was brought to my attention between work, listening to Dennis Prager, first hour. I found more at Michelle Malkin's regarding how the CPT statement on their website doesn't even acknowledge let alone thank the true peacemakers- the soldiers- who worked hard to bring about their rescue. The only reference to the military is to blame them for the kidnappings in the first place:

They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers. We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
How about the power of the U.S. and British special forces? From today's NY Times:

The men were freed by multinational forces in a military operation.

The hostages were found when American-led forces raided a house in western Baghdad, acting on information from one of two detainees interrogated late Wednesday night, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for the American military, said at a news conference in Baghdad.

In London, the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said the mission had included British forces.

"It follows weeks and weeks of very careful work by military and coalition personnel in Iraq and many civilians as well," Mr. Straw said, adding that it involved a number of countries, including Canadian personnel.

Also from the CPT statement:

We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq.

Ok...why don't they go protest where real genocide is occurring? Sudan? Darfur, anyone? If they really wanted to work toward peace, maybe they should protest ALL VIOLENCE BEING COMMITTED. By only coming down on U.S. and Coalition forces trying to help with reconstruction and security in Iraq, they are siding with the terrorists and complicit in the violence of the insurgents against Iraqi civilians. It is their presence that adds fuel to the violence. It is the Christian Peacemaker Teams message of outcry against the U.S. that gives the insurgency hope; that what they are doing- i.e. terrorizing the Iraqi people, is working and to keep it up. So long as tragedy TV and the mainstream media and the "anti-war" peace activists such as the CPT give the terrorists a loud voice to shout with and a prominent platform to stand upon, there will be violence and there will be the slaughter of the innocents.

Peace activists piss me off, because they are not pro-peace. They are blind to the evils that their actions give aid and comfort to. Do you want to see what a real peacemaker looks like? Here you go:



Put those into your peace-pipe and smoke it!

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20 Comments:

Blogger mormonbradybunchdad said...

Does the CPT remember that the "illegal" occupation of Iraq allows them to be there too??!!??

Retards..........
Freaking hippies............

Friday, March 24, 2006 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Aargh! Blogger's acting up and I can't seem to update my post at the moment. Just want to make mention that Mike's America has a nice post as well.

Friday, March 24, 2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Exellent, Wordsmith. (Blogger is having brainfarts this week.) Yep, those are indeed "peacemakers!" :)

All those dang drug-sniffing, free-loving hippies grew up. Many of them are up there in leftist movements now, as undoubtedly are their screwed-up kids who have been raised by them. We can look at the hippies from the Vietnam era and see the same attitude now. You see, fried brains never improve... they stay fried! (That's the only explanation I can come up with anyway.)

Friday, March 24, 2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Might I make an observation here? I noticed that the official word from this supposed Christian organization did not come from the rescued hostages themselves, but from spokesmen of their organization.

Somehow I think that, privately, at least, they don't feel the same way.

Oh, and Gayle? I am one of those dang drug-sniffing, free-loving hippies from the Vietnam era. But I, unlike many of them, grew up.

Friday, March 24, 2006 8:35:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

But Mark...do you really think they feel any different than what the press statements say? This is what Tom Fox's daughter, Katherine Fox, said on Nightline last Decemeber:

"...before he left, he wrote a very concise, precise statement of conscience and conviction, that if he were to ever be taken hostage that he does not support violent means to come in and to potentially release him, to rescue him. That he doesn't support that way of dealing with the problem. That there needs to be talks. That we need to keep seeing these people as human beings."

I saw one of the CPT spokespeople on Nightline last night and rather than condemning the terrorist violence against Tom Fox, what does he say? "We love them, still and don't want to dehumanize the terrorists" Ain't that lovely?

Tonight, Natalie Portman is on Nightline to talk about her movie V for Vendetta and terrorism. [sarcasm] That should be good.[/sarcasm]

Friday, March 24, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

I also read where the cpt members who were freed complained about being freed. They felt the terrorists had a right to take them hostage..... I think this is what the word "cook" means

Friday, March 24, 2006 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Cree said...

My beef with the CPT isn’t really even that I completely disagree with their politics (which I whole heartedly do).

What really corks me is that they hide their political activism behind a wall of Christian missionary language. Duplicity like this gives Christianity a bad reputation.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 7:10:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry that peace activists piss you off. If it's all the same to you, we'll hang on to our God-given (not soldier-given) right to believe that the best way to achieve peace is through working for peace and justice - not through bombs and bullets.

Feel free to seek peace your way. We'll stick to ours.

And Chris, you are free to think that these folk are doing damage to Jesus' message. We'll cling to the notion that Jesus' message stands for itself (Love your enemies and all that hippie jazz) and that it's not only the most moral way to live - it's the most rational way to live, as well.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Dan....it is the military that has enabled our country to enjoy the prosperity and peace that we do have here. Not pacifists.

What frustrates me about you, is that I wish the world was the way that you wish it to be. I used to be like that...when I was 7. When I was a kid, I remember walking into my dad's bedroom one night while he was reading in bed...and I asked him: "Did you drop bombs on people in Vietnam?" And I gave him a verbal lashing as only a little kid can do, influenced by "It's a Small World After All"-naivete.

This past week, I saw my dad for 2 days and we had a discussion about his Vietnam service. And I now see what he did as heroic and noble.

How exactly did the anti-war peace movement of the 60's help to facilitate peace and save lives?

If the world were made up of nothing but sheep, then your way of life would work. But we live in a world populated by wolves and pacifists are just so much lambs to the slaughter. It is the sheepdogs who keep the peace. Can you honestly imagine living a peaceful existence if the U.S. had no military?

One of the first martial arts I took up, (when I was still naive and idealistic) was aikido. Aikido has a very lofty ideal: that you protect not only your own self from injury, but you also protect the health and well-being of your attacker. Sounds wonderful in theory and in Star Wars. But the techniques have been watered down into impotence...so far removed from that of the Founder, by aikido theorists living in a fantasy world of make believe self-defense, that practitioners today can't fight their way out of a paperbag. They deal with violence unrealistically, both in physical technique, and philosophical tactic in neutralizing an aggressor (ok...I take that last part back, to a degree). Warfare arts like Filipino Kali are far more effective in practicality when confronted with violence. You attack me? You die.

Are there shades of grey in this world? Certainly. Not every problem is solved with violence. But there is also pitch black evil in existence as well. And when confronted with it, evil doesn't need our compassion and understanding; it doesn't need love to defeat it. It needs the morality of violence and destruction. I do believe that sometimes taking life does save lives.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"evil doesn't need our compassion and understanding; it doesn't need love to defeat it. It needs the morality of violence and destruction."

And this is the heart of our disagreement. I believe - as a christian and as a citizen - that biblical teachings to love our enemies and overcome evil with good are practical and efficient.

Not only do I believe that good (as defined in the Bible and in many philosopical traditions) can overcome evil, I think it's the only thing that can.

A main difference between us is how much faith we place in violence-as-solution. I'm willing - as a citizen - to allow the notion of an actual defensive war, taking up arms against an actual invasion.

But warring as demonstrated by (Afghanistan and Iraq and the Iran Contras back then and Colombia currently, etc, etc) has such a poor track record of solving problems and creating bigger problems that I just don't buy it as any efficient solution - let alone moral.

I appreciate your time in chatting with me, ws. I'd be glad to continue if you're interested.

Sunday, March 26, 2006 5:58:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I appreciate your time in chatting with me, ws. I'd be glad to continue if you're interested.

I'll try. I have no idea how you find the time to go to so many different places for lengthy discussions.


And this is the heart of our disagreement. I believe - as a christian and as a citizen - that biblical teachings to love our enemies and overcome evil with good are practical and efficient.

Yes, I believe this is the heart of it.

In many ways, even though I don't speak it, I do believe in the power of understanding and reaching out to people. And I'm captivated by stories where the good in people can be reached, as it is in literature from Sydney Carton to Jean Valjean.

In Japan, if I remember correctly, one of the Chinese characters for "person" literally means "to contain the light of God". So, each human being is a piece of spark from He Who is the Creator of us all. It's a romantic, idealistic, positive way of looking at things; always seeking the good in others.

But now I believe after studying criminal behavior and studying serial killers and career criminals in a criminology class, that it is true that some people are simply born mean...natural born killers who don't think like you or I. No matter how much compassion you show and how much you reach out to them, they are just rewired differently and will never "get it"; will never change.

Then there are those who through ideology, are so warped, that I have no problem removing them from this earth if it saves lives. Life is sacred, and my compassion goes to the lives of the victims; not to those with murder in their hearts who have taught themselves to believe that killing those outside of their ideology is a path to heaven. Human life is so cheap that they are willing to sacrifice even their own brethren to drive home their ideology. I do believe that life is sacred. But not so sacred that killing human aberrations and living creatures that do nothing but destroy other lives, is wrong to me. It is the moral thing to do, to protect lives.

Not only do I believe that good (as defined in the Bible and in many philosopical traditions) can overcome evil, I think it's the only thing that can.

Good can overcome evil. But I believe that fighting and killing are tools that can be employed for the good. The act of killing/punishing criminals can be done without hatred and vengeance in one's heart, but simply the desire to protect society and the lives of the innocent.

A main difference between us is how much faith we place in violence-as-solution.

I do believe in violence as a last resort in many situations. It's not an enjoyable pastime.


I'm willing - as a citizen - to allow the notion of an actual defensive war, taking up arms against an actual invasion.


I understand where you are going with this...and here it comes:

But warring as demonstrated by (Afghanistan and Iraq and the Iran Contras back then and Colombia currently, etc, etc) has such a poor track record of solving problems and creating bigger problems that I just don't buy it as any efficient solution - let alone moral.

And I disagree. It is by all means possible that Iraq was not the place to go next. But I believe that if we hadn't chosen an open battlefield somewhere, men like Zarqawi would not simply be selling Falafels or farming the fields; they'd still be in the woodworks, plotting death and mahem against America.

And I reject the notion that this is "an illegal war". Other than the fact that people die and there are collateral damages in any war where innocents are killed, we had ample reason to go in- and no, wmds were not the sole case given, although it seems to be the one most emphasized to the public. But Saddam is as much to blame as anyone for the belief that he may still possess wmds and that we should act before the threat became imminent. In a nuclear age, and a time of bio-chemical weaponry, waiting until the threat becomes imminent is too late. I don't see how anyone can not see that Saddam did pose a danger, based upon his public statements and desires to obtain weapons and to harm this country. If the whole world believed he had wmds, he's as much responsible for manufacturing that belief as anyone. And from a self-defense standpoint on a personal level, at what point do you finally defend yourself against a known murderer? When he threatens you, knowing he has a past violent criminal record? When he tells you he is going to buy a gun and shoot your brains out and kill your family? When he's at the black market, purchasing? When he's loading the bullets? When he's on his way? At what point do you take action? When the gun is finally aimed at your head and he's about to pull the trigger? Is it then, at the last possible moment that you try to beat him to it, and shoot first?

In a nuclear age, I have no problem with pre-emption, as it was in Iraq; and as it might apply to Iran or North Korea. And I don't think we had a rush to judgment. Historically, intelligence has often underestimated the threat that other countries posed. Of course, that's not very reassuring. But if we wre mistaken on the wmds, Saddam is as much to blame for 12 years of kicking out inspectors and violating one UN Resolution after another, until it became a running joke to him, not to be taken seriously. Especially when countries within the UN body, such as France and Russia, were working behind the seens to undermine the war effort, for reasons of self-interest. Not because they were trying to travel the moral high road.

And I saw nothing wrong with going into Afghanistan to try and capture and kill Osama and his merry band of Al Qaeda killers. Do you think further diplomacy is what was needed? That this should have been treated as a law enforcement issue? The way we treated terrorism throughout the 90's? Afghanistan and the Taliban proved to be a training/breeding ground for terrorism. Iraq also was a training ground for terrorism, and a sponsor of it.

We may see shortsightedly, the lives lost now; but I believe that in the longrun, this war needed to be fought, to ultimately save lives. If hundreds of thousands of lives were killed due to the actions we have taken, I think hundreds of millions have been saved because we had the courage to do something today. Saddam's regime, on a yearly basis alone, is responsible for how many Iraqi deaths? How many more years of it would be tolerated? What is the true compassionate course of action?

Dan, my fingers ache. I am not going to proof-read what I just wrote out; so hopefully the brainstorm came out somewhat coherent.

Do you feel that violence ever solves a problem, where peace/negotiations have failed?

Sunday, March 26, 2006 7:10:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

You've said a lot and I can't respond to it all, but allow me to take one little comment and respond. You asked:

"And from a self-defense standpoint on a personal level, at what point do you finally defend yourself against a known murderer? When he threatens you, knowing he has a past violent criminal record?"

On the personal level, I think it makes all the sense in the world to respond at the threat level (although no need to respond violently). But we're not talking the personal level here.

On a national level, when you're talking about starting to bomb another nation and in the process kill innocent people, there is a way huge different criteria than on the individual level.

If all war was doing was doing violence towards aggressors, then that'd be one thing. But modern war is not so efficient. It involves killing innocent people too. It's part and parcel of modern warfare. I fully understand that collateral damage is avoided, but it is integral to modern warfare just the same.

Some studies have suggested that as much as 70% of Iraqis killed were non-combatants. This is not that unusual for modern warfare.

I say all of that to point out how inefficient the "assailant on the personal level" analogy is for war-making. If, in order to stop an aggressor, we had to take actions that would kill dozens of bystanders, we'd have the citizenry up in arms.

Since war-making is so inefficient and has such evil results (both of the last two popes have questioned whether the notion of Just War is a possibility any more), I think that military responses should be reserved for direct attacks or 100% confirmed planned attack (and not of the sort of confirmation as we had in Iraq, which turned out to be wrong.)

I know that notion is scary for some folk (why not attack even if we're only pretty sure?), but it's just a wrong idea morally and logically, as well. Seems to me.

Monday, March 27, 2006 9:39:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Just another follow up. You said:

"Good can overcome evil. But I believe that fighting and killing are tools that can be employed for the good."

And I'm curious - do you really believe that this is what Jesus meant when he told us to overcome evil with good? That if Jesus were here today, he would sometimes overcome evil by bombing it or telling you to run a stake through someone's heart?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

On a national level, when you're talking about starting to bomb another nation and in the process kill innocent people, there is a way huge different criteria than on the individual level.

You're right. But on the national level, you also have to consider that threat assessment in an age of nuclear armament and wmds is also on a different scale than on a personal level. If we fought with nothing but fisticuffs, I might even consider doing the gentlemanly thing and allow the other person the courtesy of the first punch. Tactically, this is idiotic. But at least you can probably survive the outcome. In a knife fight? Bad idea. You can't exchange blow for blow and one cut of a major artery, and you might lose your life. On a national level, wars of the past were more like fisticuffs compared to the wmd threat we face today (like a knife fight). In today's age, waiting for the threat to become "imminent" is not a good idea, if you can prevent it from getting to that point to begin with. Through diplomacy first; and if that should fail, then yes, militarily in order to save lives that would be lost should the other side gain the capability of deploying nuclear weapons.

If all war was doing was doing violence towards aggressors, then that'd be one thing. But modern war is not so efficient. It involves killing innocent people too. It's part and parcel of modern warfare. I fully understand that collateral damage is avoided, but it is integral to modern warfare just the same.

Dan, all warfare has always involved collateral damage. There are no sanitized wars. Look back at the bombing of Dresden. And the war in Iraq (the initial phase before the insurgency) is the most surgically precise we've ever waged in terms of minimizing collateral damages to civilians and hitting our targets in many cases, which were strategic installations. In some instances, we showed restraint in bringing down a building of historic significance or a mosque, even though it was being used by our enemy. What other military has been more "moral" in the execution of warfare, than our military has in this one? Technology today allows us much more control in hitting what we are aiming at than in previous wars. As an aside, there have been situations reported by soldiers where insurgents would use innocent civilians as human shields while firing upon the soldiers.

Perhaps wars are wrong. All wars. But I don't know a better way. If wars are not ever fought, or if we only go after "aggressors" as you say, what is the negative price we pay? The desire not to harm a single innocent life...what is the cost in all the innocent lives affected because we chose not to engage in war?


Some studies have suggested that as much as 70% of Iraqis killed were non-combatants. This is not that unusual for modern warfare.

No it's not. The bodies and life-blood of "non-combatants" have littered the pages of history books for the last century. Look at the bombings over Japan and compare the cost in lives to the ones wiped out from dropping "the Bomb" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Which was the more humane approach? Would we have saved more lives- Japanese lives at any rate- if we had not dropped the H-bomb?

I say all of that to point out how inefficient the "assailant on the personal level" analogy is for war-making. If, in order to stop an aggressor, we had to take actions that would kill dozens of bystanders, we'd have the citizenry up in arms.

You are looking at things from a law enforcement analogy. The same mentality that failed us through the 90's in dealing with the growing threat of terrorism and stopping al Qaeda from becoming a growing and gathering threat. A cop spraying bullets into a bank filled with hostages to stop the bank robbers and save the hostages is a different scenario than a military operation to take out the enemy, with the unfortunate chance that there are non-combatants there. It is on the conscience of the enemy to evacuate their civilians (and civilian supporters) from occupying buildings that are likely to end up as military targets.

Since war-making is so inefficient and has such evil results (both of the last two popes have questioned whether the notion of Just War is a possibility any more), I think that military responses should be reserved for direct attacks or 100% confirmed planned attack (and not of the sort of confirmation as we had in Iraq, which turned out to be wrong.)

In an ideal world, we'd be right 100% of the time. We'd have flawless planning and execution with flawless intell. In an ideal world, we'd have our phasers perpetually set on "stun" and would never have to destroy buildings and structures.
Tell me: What was the evil result that occurred when we abandoned our allies in South Vietnam? When we gave in to the pressures of the anti-war peace movement and an ill-waged war where we didn't fight with a strategy and goal of winning? Whether America should ever have fought it in the first place is a different argument. I want to know how it was a "good" thing, that we chose to lose this war and how ending the Vietnam War the way we did saved more lives than it cost. How it made life better for millions. How abandoning Vietnam to the Communists was the more compassionate thing to do for the innocent lives involved.


And I'm curious - do you really believe that this is what Jesus meant when he told us to overcome evil with good? That if Jesus were here today, he would sometimes overcome evil by bombing it or telling you to run a stake through someone's heart? Personally, I don't really give a rat's ass what the 2 Popes and Jesus think, if their line of thinking don't conform to my own notions of good and evil. And all I hear are accounts and interpretations of what Jesus said and didn't say, often sounding like the clergyman is projecting his own beliefs onto Jesus; not the other way around. My conscience tells me that sometimes it takes evil to destroy evil and that pacifism can bring about greater suffering in the world.

What you might find interesting to know, is that growing up most of my life, I once thought much as you do today. By nature, I am pretty altruistic and quixotic. I remember even as a young child, I'd give up the front seat of a car, because I knew it would make the other kid happy. I was always thinking of others, often at the expense of myself. Not sure why this came up, but you just got me to thinking (which is a good thing, right?).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Personally, I don't really give a rat's ass what the 2 Popes and Jesus think, if their line of thinking don't conform to my own notions of good and evil.

Sorry, I was operating under the assumption you were a Christian. I'll refrain from referencing the Bible with you, then.

Would we have saved more lives- Japanese lives at any rate- if we had not dropped the H-bomb?

And it seems to me that the question is backwards. Should we have chosen to kill hundreds of thousands of lives by deliberately targeting and bombing a civilian population or should we have tried to find a way that didn't require us to commit atrocities.

I know desperate people take desperate actions, but this is the reasoning of freedom fighters/ terrorists everywhere - that we're justified in committing atrocities because it's better in the long run.

If you were backed in a corner and forced to choose between killing one innocent child to save two others, would you think it the right thing to do?

I'm saying, I would not. That doesn't make me guilty of failing to save the two children - it makes me innocent of killing the first.


The desire not to harm a single innocent life...what is the cost in all the innocent lives affected...


I can just as easily ask the same question about war: The desire of trying to save ourselves by war solutions - what is the cost in all the innocent lives affected? 30-50 million people died in the war solution of WWII. Was there a better solution? It's hard to know.

To paraphrase Chesterton, "Non-violent resistence hasn't been tried and found wanting. It's been found difficult and left untried."

It would be a false dichotomy to suggest that in some cases there's only war-as-solution and eventual triumph over evil or there's non-violent resistence and decimation.


growing up most of my life, I once thought much as you do today.

And the same is true in reverse for me - I was a big John Wayne fan - tough men to save helpless folk in tough situations. I believed thouroughly in what I now call the Myth of Redemptive Violence.

I still love those lines from True Grit...

Ned Pepper:
I call that pretty bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!

Rooster Cogburn (taken aback and facing down a handful of bad guys)
Fill - your - hands - you - sunnuvabitch!

Makes for great fiction.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 7:02:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Would we have saved more lives- Japanese lives at any rate- if we had not dropped the H-bomb?

And it seems to me that the question is backwards. Should we have chosen to kill hundreds of thousands of lives by deliberately targeting and bombing a civilian population or should we have tried to find a way that didn't require us to commit atrocities.

This is the way wars have been fought since the dawn of civilization. Doesn't make it right, by your way of thinking; but I oppose the suggestiveness, that only we should be held to task in committing "atrocities".
In these wars of the past, the civilian populace is culpable in that they are supporters of their government. In a sense, they may be non-combatants, but they are also patriots who supported their government and the soldiers who served it.


I know desperate people take desperate actions, but this is the reasoning of freedom fighters/ terrorists everywhere - that we're justified in committing atrocities because it's better in the long run.

I see the dilemma. But I also refuse to wallow in moral relativism. The terrorists are not freedom fighters. There is such a difference as having an open mind and having your head full of holes. Terrorists bad. Us: good. It really is that simple. There is no angst; no handwringing in my soul over the difference between us and them. Between our values and theirs.

If you were backed in a corner and forced to choose between killing one innocent child to save two others, would you think it the right thing to do?

I'm saying, I would not. That doesn't make me guilty of failing to save the two children - it makes me innocent of killing the first.


Haha...I took a moral and ethics upper division class at UCLA. I loved the moral paradox problems given where there really is no right or wrong answers. Such as if a train were barreling down the tracks, out of control, and you had the chance of pulling a lever to switch the tracks, would you to save the lives of those passengers? What if an innocent life, otherwise not in danger if events ran their "natural" course, would surely be killed? Would you still do it? From there, you'd up the ante.

Let's take the dilemma you pose and tweak it. What if one of those two others was your own child? What if both were? What if it weren't two other children but two adults? What if one of the adults was your own mother? What if the one child, you knew, was destined to grow up and become Adolf Hitler? (unrealistic, yes, but this is about problem solving in a moral dilemma class). What if it weren't the chance to save 2 children, but a dozen? 50? 100? A thousand? Under no circumstance, would you take the life of that one child to save the many? Sure, you might not be to blame for the deaths of those many, for taking no action. But might it not still be the right thing to do, your conscience be damned? The more noble course being to sacrifice your conscience and live guilt-ridden so that thousands were saved? These are filled with complexities, and I don't think "one answer fits all". I think the proper choice, if there exists one, hinges upon the specific circumstances of each unique situation with its unique variables.


The desire not to harm a single innocent life...what is the cost in all the innocent lives affected...


I can just as easily ask the same question about war: The desire of trying to save ourselves by war solutions - what is the cost in all the innocent lives affected? 30-50 million people died in the war solution of WWII. Was there a better solution? It's hard to know.

It'd be wonderful if there were a better way. But when one side is unafraid of employing violence as a tool, it behooves the other side to prepare itself to deal it back.

To paraphrase Chesterton, "Non-violent resistence hasn't been tried and found wanting. It's been found difficult and left untried."

Sorry, but I've never respected this quote. Many have been non-violent in their protest and resistance, and ended up losing their lives and their civilization. They allowed evil to triumph. Their destruction to be endorsed.

It would be a false dichotomy to suggest that in some cases there's only war-as-solution and eventual triumph over evil or there's non-violent resistence and decimation.
One size doesn't fit all, and violence should always be the least favorable avenue to traverse.

growing up most of my life, I once thought much as you do today.

And the same is true in reverse for me - I was a big John Wayne fan - tough men to save helpless folk in tough situations. I believed thouroughly in what I now call the Myth of Redemptive Violence.

I still love those lines from True Grit...


Makes for great fiction.


That's how I feel about all those great comic book super heroes who would always go out of their way to save the villain as assuredly as they fought to defeat him. Never failing to see his enemy as a brother human being. Never crossing the abyss of taking the life of villain when it was avoidable.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

But I also refuse to wallow in moral relativism. The terrorists are not freedom fighters.

But you are wallowing in moral relativism. You are saying sometimes it's okay to target civilian populations (ie, when we're doing it) and sometimes it's wrong (when they're doing it).

I'm saying that it is always, always, always wrong to target civilians. How is that relativism?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

But you are wallowing in moral relativism. You are saying sometimes it's okay to target civilian populations (ie, when we're doing it) and sometimes it's wrong (when they're doing it).

No. In previous wars, of the "conventional" variety such as WWII, soldiers wore uniforms and the entire country went to war. Both sides understood that bombing the opposition was part of this manner of engagement.

Can you see the distinction? That in the initial phase our goal was to remove Saddam from power, and we used conventional means; and our primary targets were the military. The terrorists and insurgents are purposely killing civilian innocents to terrorize the Iraqi people into submitting to their will. Who is the enemy of the Iraqi people? Us or the ones homicide bombing them?


I'm saying that it is always, always, always wrong to target civilians. How is that relativism?


In the case of the current conflict, it is the terrorists who are intentionally targetting Iraqi civilians. They are non-uniformed enemy combatants who would wave white flags, then fire away at our military; they use civilians as human shields; booby trap the dead body of a child knowing family members will come looking; capture, torture, and kill civilians.....how is it not clear the distinction between good and evil here? We have not purposely targeted civilians but gone out of our way to avoid killing them. When you hear numbers on the Iraqi dead, many are 1. victims of terrorist and insurgency violence 2. Iraqi security forces in defense of the populace against the terrorists and insurgents 3. terrorists and insurgents themselves.

The moral dilemma is defining what is moral. And asking: Does doing something right produce something bad? And does doing the wrong thing produce something good? Is the force of moral obligation balanced out by the end result?

Regardless of whether you thought we should have gone into Iraq in the first place, what is the moral solution NOW? Are we and the Iraqi people better off if the insurgency succeeds? Or worse off?

Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"Are we and the Iraqi people better off if the insurgency succeeds? Or worse off?"

This is a problem with violent solutions. The truth is that Iraqis were bad off with Saddam in power and they're hurting with the current situation and they may well be hurting if we leave. Yes?

This is why I think we need to invest much more time, energy and money in finding better solutions. We will end up spending more than a trillion dollars in Iraq and with very questionable results.

We realistically can not use this solution for every oppressive regime in the world even if it worked swimmingly - and it doesn't. We need better solutions.

On your comment:
"In the case of the current conflict, it is the terrorists who are intentionally targetting Iraqi civilians."

First, we must question why the "terrorists" and "insurgents" are there in the first place. Is it not because we are there? And so do we bear no burden for some of these deaths?

I do admit there is a distinction: They are intentionally targetting civilians. We are taking actions that we know will hit civilians, but it is not our intention.

There is a distinction - but it is a minor one in the real world. In the real world, some Iraqis know that the US killed my father, blew off my child's arms, wiped out my neighborhood. They know that the insurgents are trying to push the US out. Some will join in with the insurgents in an effort to push out those that hurt them.

Additionally, there are still plenty of people around that believe we were absolutely correct to target the civilian population of Hiroshima for utter destruction and would probably be willing to take similar action against Iraq, Iran or others.

It is a minor distinction. They are killing innocent people for what they believe is a larger good and we are willing to do the same.

Non-violent resisters say it is always wrong to take actions that you know will result in innocent deaths.

The CPTs are decidedly looking for ways of making peace that are just and sustainable. We do damage to language and our credibility by continuing to insist that our warmaking and killing is peacemaking, while their destruction is merely evil.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:30:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

This is a problem with violent solutions. The truth is that Iraqis were bad off with Saddam in power and they're hurting with the current situation and they may well be hurting if we leave. Yes?

Yes.

This is why I think we need to invest much more time, energy and money in finding better solutions.

Well, that doesn't make sense, because you acknowledged that they were hurting as well before this insurgency. How many people suffered and died yearly under Saddam, from murder and torture? How many more years of how many more UN Resolutions would accomplish absolutely zero changes?

We will end up spending more than a trillion dollars in Iraq and with very questionable results.

It has always been a gamble. Life is a gamble. Nothing is ever a sure thing, and one of the things that has impeded success is all the negative talk that does fuel the insurgency and negative reporting that undermines morale. I'm not talking about lying pro-war propaganda; but clarity of perspective and what's at stake would be nice.

If Iraq is democratized, the investment will have been worth it. it makes for a better Iraq, and a better Iraq makes for a safer America.


We realistically can not use this solution for every oppressive regime in the world even if it worked swimmingly - and it doesn't. We need better solutions.

Of course not! No one advocates being a war-mongering nation. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not President Bush.

But I've yet to hear your better solution.

On your comment:
"In the case of the current conflict, it is the terrorists who are intentionally targetting Iraqi civilians."

First, we must question why the "terrorists" and "insurgents" are there in the first place. Is it not because we are there?


We weren't there before. Yet that brought us terrorist attacks throughout the 90's on American interests and American soil with the first Trade Center bombing. If we weren't there today, do you think Zarqawi would simply be farming the land in peace, or running a falafel shop on the street corner?

And so do we bear no burden for some of these deaths?

In a sense, yes. But no more so than anyone bears any responsibility for anything that goes on in the world. If a terrorist kills a U.S. soldier, who's responsible? The terrorist? Or do we scapegoat President Bush because we don't agree with the war? Does he share the blame for joining the military in the first place? Are his parents responsible, since if they hadn't given him birth, he wouldn't have been killed? How about God? If he hand't created the universe, none of the suffering going on in the world would be experienced right now.

I do admit there is a distinction: They are intentionally targetting civilians. We are taking actions that we know will hit civilians, but it is not our intention.


In many of the cases now, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers are not in situations where civilians are in their direct line of fire. Unless airstrikes are called for or something similar, that has no guarantee of all civilians being out of harm's way. Our guys are the ones working to protect the civilians.

There is a distinction - but it is a minor one in the real world. In the real world, some Iraqis know that the US killed my father, blew off my child's arms, wiped out my neighborhood. They know that the insurgents are trying to push the US out. Some will join in with the insurgents in an effort to push out those that hurt them.

By the accounts I read, the majority of Iraqis appear more disgusted, albeit fearful, of the insurgents and the foreign terrorists. Some of the Iraqis I've read on even understand the nature of war and don't blame Americans on the civilian deaths. How do you suppose the Japanese or Germans got over American bombings? Do they still harbor grudges today? My mom is Japanese and her family absolutely accepted my father into their lives. They don't blame him for the horrific nature of the war, even knowing that he was a fighter pilot in the military.

Additionally, there are still plenty of people around that believe we were absolutely correct to target the civilian population of Hiroshima for utter destruction and would probably be willing to take similar action against Iraq, Iran or others.

I don't know anyone except for the fringe elements who advocate turning Iraq into a parking lot. It certainly would have saved the lives of American soldiers with boots on the ground.

If a country such as Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy them, do you think they'd have the same restraint in their dealings with Israel? With us?

It is a minor distinction. They are killing innocent people for what they believe is a larger good and we are willing to do the same.

No, we are not willing to "kill innocent people" ON PURPOSE, for "the greater good", as you put it. It's a great distinction.

Non-violent resisters say it is always wrong to take actions that you know will result in innocent deaths.

This is an interesting dilemma, and I might create a post (with no real right or wrong answer) specifically for you, and see what kind of answers people give to my query. It goes back to my moral and ethics class.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:24:00 AM  

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