No more war, just “overseas contingency operation”

The Global War on Terror is over! The term, that is. The Obama administration is replacing that all-too-specific language for something that sounds better. From ‘Global War On Terror’ Is Given New Name – washingtonpost.com:

The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase “global war on terror,” a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department’s office of security review noted that “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’ “

This is “newspeak” right out of George Orwell’s “1984″ and “Animal Farm.” Such misuse of language–purposefully using vague language to obscure the reality–is a mark of totalitarian propaganda, which seeks to control how the public thinks by manipulating the words they use to think with. Read Orwell’s “Politics and the English language” while you still can. An excerpt from the 1946 essay:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.

Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tim Ald

    “Enhanced interrogation” for “torture” is by far the ugliest Orwellian corruption of the decade, closely followed by “enemy combatant” for “random suspect,” “hater of freedom” for anyone daring to question belligerant government policy, and “patriot” for those towing the party line.

    Ironic that you would see the new administration, which has done so much to repair the language corrupted by such Cheneyisms, as the Orwellian. And that “War on Terror,” perhaps the most misleading, meaningless, perhaps evil wuphemism of them all, is somehow “all-to-specific.”

    Huh? This is clear thinking? Please explain.

  • Tim Ald

    “Enhanced interrogation” for “torture” is by far the ugliest Orwellian corruption of the decade, closely followed by “enemy combatant” for “random suspect,” “hater of freedom” for anyone daring to question belligerant government policy, and “patriot” for those towing the party line.

    Ironic that you would see the new administration, which has done so much to repair the language corrupted by such Cheneyisms, as the Orwellian. And that “War on Terror,” perhaps the most misleading, meaningless, perhaps evil wuphemism of them all, is somehow “all-to-specific.”

    Huh? This is clear thinking? Please explain.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    “Enhanced interrogation” for “torture” is indeed Orwellian. “Enemy combatant” and “War on Terror” at least, in Orwell’s term “conjure up visual images” that you can agree or disagree about. “Random suspect” is your assertion of the former’s innocence, not a more specific word. The others are accusations and rhetoric, not synonyms for something. So, Tim, do you approve of calling Obama’s war making “overseas contingency operations”? (And I thought he was getting us out of Bush’s war.)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    “Enhanced interrogation” for “torture” is indeed Orwellian. “Enemy combatant” and “War on Terror” at least, in Orwell’s term “conjure up visual images” that you can agree or disagree about. “Random suspect” is your assertion of the former’s innocence, not a more specific word. The others are accusations and rhetoric, not synonyms for something. So, Tim, do you approve of calling Obama’s war making “overseas contingency operations”? (And I thought he was getting us out of Bush’s war.)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i really don´t get the new name, but the old name really didn´t work for me either.

    it seems the governments of the past have done exacty what you say the current government is doing…. "the war on (fill-in-the-blank)" . None of those "fill-in-the-blank" were really wars.

    Define war. the "war" on drugs does not fit that definition. ditto the war on poverty, crime, or even the favorite here! the "culture war". Nor does the "war" on terror. hyperbole or post-modernist language manipulation. we report. you decide!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i really don´t get the new name, but the old name really didn´t work for me either.

    it seems the governments of the past have done exacty what you say the current government is doing…. "the war on (fill-in-the-blank)" . None of those "fill-in-the-blank" were really wars.

    Define war. the "war" on drugs does not fit that definition. ditto the war on poverty, crime, or even the favorite here! the "culture war". Nor does the "war" on terror. hyperbole or post-modernist language manipulation. we report. you decide!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    In my mind, terrorists are common criminals. There is no common "enemy" cranking those criminals out. Further they should be tried in a court of justice and given over to the rule of law. Instead we have an "all is fair in love and war" policy. which is the real motive, I think , for why it was called a "war". This was so that, playing on our worst fears, for the government torture could become "enhanced interrogation techniques". so that we could become what we are saying the enemy is in order to defeat them.

    defeat now becomes "victory" with that process eh? at least morally so.

    "To see what is in front of one´s nose needs a constant struggle". George Orwell

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    In my mind, terrorists are common criminals. There is no common "enemy" cranking those criminals out. Further they should be tried in a court of justice and given over to the rule of law. Instead we have an "all is fair in love and war" policy. which is the real motive, I think , for why it was called a "war". This was so that, playing on our worst fears, for the government torture could become "enhanced interrogation techniques". so that we could become what we are saying the enemy is in order to defeat them.

    defeat now becomes "victory" with that process eh? at least morally so.

    "To see what is in front of one´s nose needs a constant struggle". George Orwell

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    we bombed dresden and have the dubious distinction of being the only country to use the nuclear bomb. against civilians. Stalin was every bit as evil as hitler, yet because stalin was the "enemy of our enemy" we downplayed that evil, even during the cold war, to avoid confessing our own sins.

    the enemy of our enemy was at one time the taliban. and so we built them up.

    I hope that someday we learn to abandon "realpolitik" in favor of the moral highground and then see what would happen……

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    we bombed dresden and have the dubious distinction of being the only country to use the nuclear bomb. against civilians. Stalin was every bit as evil as hitler, yet because stalin was the "enemy of our enemy" we downplayed that evil, even during the cold war, to avoid confessing our own sins.

    the enemy of our enemy was at one time the taliban. and so we built them up.

    I hope that someday we learn to abandon "realpolitik" in favor of the moral highground and then see what would happen……

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    BTW. I am not saying the calculus to bomb japan with nukes was wrong. I AM saying that the manechean world view of the bush administration "we are going to get the bad guys", is not a christian world view. we are no better than the "bad guys". we also need the rule of law to keep from becoming them

    the understanding of this need is precisely what used to separate us from "them".

    . it is very very easy to become them. abu gherab was not an aberation carried out by low level crazies…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    BTW. I am not saying the calculus to bomb japan with nukes was wrong. I AM saying that the manechean world view of the bush administration "we are going to get the bad guys", is not a christian world view. we are no better than the "bad guys". we also need the rule of law to keep from becoming them

    the understanding of this need is precisely what used to separate us from "them".

    . it is very very easy to become them. abu gherab was not an aberation carried out by low level crazies…

  • Matt C.

    Without supporting or denouncing specifically "the war on terror", with the right understanding, "we are going to get the bad guys" is an entirely appropriate view, even for a Christian (although it's not a worldview at all). We may or may not be any better, but that in itself doesn't remove the obligation to do good, which sometimes involves "getting bad guys". If it did remove that obligation, there could be no human justice system at all nor any just wars at all.

  • Matt C.

    Without supporting or denouncing specifically "the war on terror", with the right understanding, "we are going to get the bad guys" is an entirely appropriate view, even for a Christian (although it's not a worldview at all). We may or may not be any better, but that in itself doesn't remove the obligation to do good, which sometimes involves "getting bad guys". If it did remove that obligation, there could be no human justice system at all nor any just wars at all.

  • Matt C

    Was "the war on terror" really that specific of a term? Were we at war with an emotion? A methodology? A people using a methodology–if so which ones? The islamic ones? Iraqi ones? Environmentalist ones? I think the term "war on terror" was applied to a very ill-defined struggle in order to avoid defining it (without judging whether the struggle was appropriate or not).

    Granted, the new language is much more nebulous than the old. However, using Bush's administration as the rubric by which Obama's is judged is a foolish tactic for conservatives to take. If we don't start acknowledging how badly the Republicans have screwed up, we're not going to get very far in going up against the Democrats.

  • Matt C

    Was "the war on terror" really that specific of a term? Were we at war with an emotion? A methodology? A people using a methodology–if so which ones? The islamic ones? Iraqi ones? Environmentalist ones? I think the term "war on terror" was applied to a very ill-defined struggle in order to avoid defining it (without judging whether the struggle was appropriate or not).

    Granted, the new language is much more nebulous than the old. However, using Bush's administration as the rubric by which Obama's is judged is a foolish tactic for conservatives to take. If we don't start acknowledging how badly the Republicans have screwed up, we're not going to get very far in going up against the Democrats.

  • Dan Kempin

    I take issue with you on this point. "Terrorists" are not common criminals. (They are mislabelled, yes, for "terrorism" itself is a euphemism.) There is, quite literally, a common enemy cranking out soldiers to fight the war of Islam. This is not a sweeping generalization or a mis-characterization. It is the stuff and substance of the religion of Islam, and has been for centuries. Muslims are morally and religiously bound to impose Islamic rule on the world.

    The thing that has changed, in my opinion, is our own culture's inability to believe that muslims really believe what they believe. They do.

    +1 for quoting George Orwell, though, and +several for using "Manichaean" as an adjective below. Made my day.

  • Dan Kempin

    I take issue with you on this point. "Terrorists" are not common criminals. (They are mislabelled, yes, for "terrorism" itself is a euphemism.) There is, quite literally, a common enemy cranking out soldiers to fight the war of Islam. This is not a sweeping generalization or a mis-characterization. It is the stuff and substance of the religion of Islam, and has been for centuries. Muslims are morally and religiously bound to impose Islamic rule on the world.

    The thing that has changed, in my opinion, is our own culture's inability to believe that muslims really believe what they believe. They do.

    +1 for quoting George Orwell, though, and +several for using "Manichaean" as an adjective below. Made my day.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Dang! I need to start commenting earlier if I want to get in anything without just repeating things.

    Much like what has been said above – language has always been manipulated (or used to manipulate) for all sorts of purposes, including terms like War on ____. The phrase "Overseas Contingency Operation" is, obviously, newspeak as Dr. Veith pointed out. It's also just the latest, and particularly notable example of newspeak.

    I think it's a bit too clumsy and way too vague to catch on though. No one in the public actually reads those military reports. I tried a couple and they are bureaucratic vagueness all the way through. Summaries are developed and then reporters typically report on the summaries. There's no way that "Overseas Contingency Operation" is going to make it through all the layers to actually be reported to the public regularly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WebMonk WebMonk

    Dang! I need to start commenting earlier if I want to get in anything without just repeating things.

    Much like what has been said above – language has always been manipulated (or used to manipulate) for all sorts of purposes, including terms like War on ____. The phrase "Overseas Contingency Operation" is, obviously, newspeak as Dr. Veith pointed out. It's also just the latest, and particularly notable example of newspeak.

    I think it's a bit too clumsy and way too vague to catch on though. No one in the public actually reads those military reports. I tried a couple and they are bureaucratic vagueness all the way through. Summaries are developed and then reporters typically report on the summaries. There's no way that "Overseas Contingency Operation" is going to make it through all the layers to actually be reported to the public regularly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    dan, There are christians who feel that imposing their moral values and laws on non christians is ok as well. and they feel duty bound to do so., yet, like muslims , christians are far from a unified group, and there are radicals and moderates.

    I note that there is only ONE reference to "forgiveness" in the Koran. and that is an extremely weak and in fact optional one. the defects of islam extend well beyond what you say of course. the political part is the least of it. Thank God that Jesus has won the victory over their darkness already yes?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    dan, There are christians who feel that imposing their moral values and laws on non christians is ok as well. and they feel duty bound to do so., yet, like muslims , christians are far from a unified group, and there are radicals and moderates.

    I note that there is only ONE reference to "forgiveness" in the Koran. and that is an extremely weak and in fact optional one. the defects of islam extend well beyond what you say of course. the political part is the least of it. Thank God that Jesus has won the victory over their darkness already yes?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    you present a false choice. WE are also "the bad guys". the ONLY difference is that we are restrained by the rule of law and we see the value in being restrained and in having others restrained.

    where we fail to do that, badness becomes very relative indeed.

    we need to respect the rule of law as it applies to other countries as well. we do not get to change regimes. if other countries invaded ours to get bad guys we would rightly see this action as misguided.

    Laws are a means to an end and not and end unto themselves, so there are rare occasions where the rule of law can be a bad thing. but this should not be used as an argument to avoid submission to the order God himself has placed over us. Christians oddly believe that even Nero and Hitlter and gw bush and obama and your mayor and policemen, and the dog catcher were placed OVER us by God himself.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    you present a false choice. WE are also "the bad guys". the ONLY difference is that we are restrained by the rule of law and we see the value in being restrained and in having others restrained.

    where we fail to do that, badness becomes very relative indeed.

    we need to respect the rule of law as it applies to other countries as well. we do not get to change regimes. if other countries invaded ours to get bad guys we would rightly see this action as misguided.

    Laws are a means to an end and not and end unto themselves, so there are rare occasions where the rule of law can be a bad thing. but this should not be used as an argument to avoid submission to the order God himself has placed over us. Christians oddly believe that even Nero and Hitlter and gw bush and obama and your mayor and policemen, and the dog catcher were placed OVER us by God himself.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    preemptive war is always wrong for example. our posture must ALWAYS be a defensive one with war as only a last choice that is forced upon us by the aggression of others.

    attacking and invading Iraq was immoral. There is simply NO way for a christian to argue otherwise.

    Now we are there. It may well be immoral to leave depending on how we do that. the truth and moral thinking has strange results at times.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    preemptive war is always wrong for example. our posture must ALWAYS be a defensive one with war as only a last choice that is forced upon us by the aggression of others.

    attacking and invading Iraq was immoral. There is simply NO way for a christian to argue otherwise.

    Now we are there. It may well be immoral to leave depending on how we do that. the truth and moral thinking has strange results at times.

  • Dan Kempin

    You need to define your terms, fws. Are we talking about moral justification, the rule of law, or the Christian view of authority?

    You seem to be saying that interrogation is the moral equivalent of murder and that any action by a government in defense of her people automatically makes them bad, because they are the "bad guy" to the enemy. That kind of moral relativism would lead to a ludicrous paralysis of action when action is needed most–well, kind of like the UN.

    If a mugger attacks you with force and you fight back, you do not automatically "become" the same as a mugger because you used force in response. The analogy simply does not hold up.

  • Dan Kempin

    You need to define your terms, fws. Are we talking about moral justification, the rule of law, or the Christian view of authority?

    You seem to be saying that interrogation is the moral equivalent of murder and that any action by a government in defense of her people automatically makes them bad, because they are the "bad guy" to the enemy. That kind of moral relativism would lead to a ludicrous paralysis of action when action is needed most–well, kind of like the UN.

    If a mugger attacks you with force and you fight back, you do not automatically "become" the same as a mugger because you used force in response. The analogy simply does not hold up.

  • wcwirla

    More language deconstruction. Obamanics. Otherwise known as weasel words. See: http://www.weaselwords.com.au/

  • wcwirla

    More language deconstruction. Obamanics. Otherwise known as weasel words. See: http://www.weaselwords.com.au/

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I really am clueless as to how you get what i "seem to be saying" from what I wrote.

    interrogation is the moral equivalent of murder? any defensive action is bad? where on earth do you extract this from what I wrote?

    torture is ALWAYS wrong even if it is called "enhanced interrogation" . Captured prisoners are under our full control unlike muggers.

    Preemptive strikes and wars are ALWAYS wrong. Regime change is ALWAYS wrong if one believe that all governments were placed there by God. The english and american revolutions were not regime changes. they were maintaining the status quo against a tyrant.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I really am clueless as to how you get what i "seem to be saying" from what I wrote.

    interrogation is the moral equivalent of murder? any defensive action is bad? where on earth do you extract this from what I wrote?

    torture is ALWAYS wrong even if it is called "enhanced interrogation" . Captured prisoners are under our full control unlike muggers.

    Preemptive strikes and wars are ALWAYS wrong. Regime change is ALWAYS wrong if one believe that all governments were placed there by God. The english and american revolutions were not regime changes. they were maintaining the status quo against a tyrant.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stadler stadler

    Just because someone — anyone — declares a war, doesn't make it so. If the word "war" is to have any meaning (which is, yes, what we are railing about here), then it must necessarily take place between defined parties. For instance, I just declared war on Luxembourg. That does not give them the right to attack the U.S. and call it a "defensive" response.

    And if you can only find that Obama and Clinton were "fond of using mushy words", then you are merely showing your partisan bias. What administration gave us "enhanced interrogation techniques"? Or, as has already been mentioned, the mushy and literally-unlikely "war on terror"?

    And facing our enemies is somtimes done via war, and other times via a courtroom. Or was Timothy McVeigh (and possibly also the state of Oklahoma which was harboring him) also deserving of a full-scale war, instead of the "courtesy of a courtroom" we showed him?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/stadler stadler

    Just because someone — anyone — declares a war, doesn't make it so. If the word "war" is to have any meaning (which is, yes, what we are railing about here), then it must necessarily take place between defined parties. For instance, I just declared war on Luxembourg. That does not give them the right to attack the U.S. and call it a "defensive" response.

    And if you can only find that Obama and Clinton were "fond of using mushy words", then you are merely showing your partisan bias. What administration gave us "enhanced interrogation techniques"? Or, as has already been mentioned, the mushy and literally-unlikely "war on terror"?

    And facing our enemies is somtimes done via war, and other times via a courtroom. Or was Timothy McVeigh (and possibly also the state of Oklahoma which was harboring him) also deserving of a full-scale war, instead of the "courtesy of a courtroom" we showed him?

  • Dan Kempin

    Disagree. War is essentially preemptive. Factories are destroyed to preempt the supply of war materiel. Bridges are destroyed to preempt the passage of troops. Even at its most essential level, the enemy soldier is destroyed to preempt him from shooting at you.

    The moral obligation of a government is not to minimize damage to the enemy, but to protect her people. When this can be done through wisdom and statesmanship, may God be praised. There are times, however, when force is necessary, and there are further times when attack is required.

    Did the situation in Iraq require attack, and was the action successful? Those are certainly points up for debate and disagreement. The fact remains, though, that the decision of the U.S. government to attack Iraq was in response to a threat. The purpose and the enemy were clearly identified beforehand, and opportunity was given to the Iraqi government to comply without the necessity of attack. That may not persuade you, but I think it is a fair argument.

    Must a nation wait until the nuclear/biological/chemical/catastrophic device kills millions before we are "forced" to war?

  • Dan Kempin

    Disagree. War is essentially preemptive. Factories are destroyed to preempt the supply of war materiel. Bridges are destroyed to preempt the passage of troops. Even at its most essential level, the enemy soldier is destroyed to preempt him from shooting at you.

    The moral obligation of a government is not to minimize damage to the enemy, but to protect her people. When this can be done through wisdom and statesmanship, may God be praised. There are times, however, when force is necessary, and there are further times when attack is required.

    Did the situation in Iraq require attack, and was the action successful? Those are certainly points up for debate and disagreement. The fact remains, though, that the decision of the U.S. government to attack Iraq was in response to a threat. The purpose and the enemy were clearly identified beforehand, and opportunity was given to the Iraqi government to comply without the necessity of attack. That may not persuade you, but I think it is a fair argument.

    Must a nation wait until the nuclear/biological/chemical/catastrophic device kills millions before we are "forced" to war?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    so where is the relativism here Dan?

    morals, the rule of law, and the christian view of authority. aren´t these all different aspects of the same thing? distinctions or contextual difference, rather than different things? Which specific term or terms would you like me to define. I am really at a loss from your comment …..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    so where is the relativism here Dan?

    morals, the rule of law, and the christian view of authority. aren´t these all different aspects of the same thing? distinctions or contextual difference, rather than different things? Which specific term or terms would you like me to define. I am really at a loss from your comment …..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    war is not ESSENTIAL-ly preemptive. don´t be silly. wwII was not preemptive on our part. we were attacked by the japanese in a surprise attack. the japanese and germans were wrong precisely in their attack on us because it was preemptive.

    "must a nation wait unto the nuclear/biological/chemical/catastrophic device kills millions" ?

    this is an interesting HYPOTHETICAL question that has nothing at all to do with our preemptive strike on iraq does it?

    There were NO WMDs. none. there was no imminent danger at ALL to the us. Iraq had nothing at all to do with alqaida.

    IF t´he purpose of our attack on iraq was "regime change" then that was contrary to holy scriptures and what St Paul tells us about the authority of governments and who places them in that authority. Period. If you want to argue against St Paul then be my guest!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    war is not ESSENTIAL-ly preemptive. don´t be silly. wwII was not preemptive on our part. we were attacked by the japanese in a surprise attack. the japanese and germans were wrong precisely in their attack on us because it was preemptive.

    "must a nation wait unto the nuclear/biological/chemical/catastrophic device kills millions" ?

    this is an interesting HYPOTHETICAL question that has nothing at all to do with our preemptive strike on iraq does it?

    There were NO WMDs. none. there was no imminent danger at ALL to the us. Iraq had nothing at all to do with alqaida.

    IF t´he purpose of our attack on iraq was "regime change" then that was contrary to holy scriptures and what St Paul tells us about the authority of governments and who places them in that authority. Period. If you want to argue against St Paul then be my guest!

  • Dan Kempin

    I didn't mean to cast aspersions, fws, and apologize if I did. I am quite sure, based on previous conversations, that this is not what you meant. I merely meant to say that your point was not clear. (Yeah, I get the irony that I didn't say it very clearly.)

    In reply to your question, You said that President Bush's polarization of good guy/bad guy was not Christian, and you used Abu Gharib as an example of "becoming" the moral equivalent of the enemy. That's why I said it seemed as though you were equating the two.

    You also responded to Matt in a way that seemed to indicate that no nation could claim the "right" over another nation ("bad guys") since all governments are equally legitimate, though frankly, your point was not clear. (That was supposed to be my point.)

    God Bless

  • Dan Kempin

    I didn't mean to cast aspersions, fws, and apologize if I did. I am quite sure, based on previous conversations, that this is not what you meant. I merely meant to say that your point was not clear. (Yeah, I get the irony that I didn't say it very clearly.)

    In reply to your question, You said that President Bush's polarization of good guy/bad guy was not Christian, and you used Abu Gharib as an example of "becoming" the moral equivalent of the enemy. That's why I said it seemed as though you were equating the two.

    You also responded to Matt in a way that seemed to indicate that no nation could claim the "right" over another nation ("bad guys") since all governments are equally legitimate, though frankly, your point was not clear. (That was supposed to be my point.)

    God Bless

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    you are always extremely polite and gentlemanly here dan. I need to appologize if I suggested otherwise!

    You DID understand me after all.

    we ARE the moral equivalent of any of our enemies, personal political or foreign. We don´t BECOME bad by our actions.

    Bush really did imply or was even explicit in putting out the idea that somehow we are better, more moral, more human even, than "the enemy" or the "bad guys".

    He was and is wrong. wrongedy wrong wrong wrong. wrong. WRONG!

    The FACT now, that I, as a sinner, am JUST as evil and wrong as a child molester, muderer, rapist, human-turned-into-bomb (ie terrorist), religious fanatic, or someone who has bad taste or can´t accessorize, IS a fact.

    Deal with it Dan. You are sinful and unclean and sin against God daily in thought word and deed by what you have done AND left undone. Unclean is a pretty powerful word isn´t it? While you are at it, you cast no aspersions in regarding me in a similar light. You would simply be stating the truth. the whole truth, and nuttin but…..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    you are always extremely polite and gentlemanly here dan. I need to appologize if I suggested otherwise!

    You DID understand me after all.

    we ARE the moral equivalent of any of our enemies, personal political or foreign. We don´t BECOME bad by our actions.

    Bush really did imply or was even explicit in putting out the idea that somehow we are better, more moral, more human even, than "the enemy" or the "bad guys".

    He was and is wrong. wrongedy wrong wrong wrong. wrong. WRONG!

    The FACT now, that I, as a sinner, am JUST as evil and wrong as a child molester, muderer, rapist, human-turned-into-bomb (ie terrorist), religious fanatic, or someone who has bad taste or can´t accessorize, IS a fact.

    Deal with it Dan. You are sinful and unclean and sin against God daily in thought word and deed by what you have done AND left undone. Unclean is a pretty powerful word isn´t it? While you are at it, you cast no aspersions in regarding me in a similar light. You would simply be stating the truth. the whole truth, and nuttin but…..

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    Is police action domestic and foreign, in self defense ONLY, justifiable in light of these facts? this is really your issue.

    the simple answer is yes. we can discuss more if you like.

    We need to see even fanatic muslims as being just as human as we are. no better and no worse. and we need to be careful to not apply a label like "fanatic muslims" or pile on gratuitous adjectives such as "fanatic" that really don´t mean alot…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    Is police action domestic and foreign, in self defense ONLY, justifiable in light of these facts? this is really your issue.

    the simple answer is yes. we can discuss more if you like.

    We need to see even fanatic muslims as being just as human as we are. no better and no worse. and we need to be careful to not apply a label like "fanatic muslims" or pile on gratuitous adjectives such as "fanatic" that really don´t mean alot…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    why do we need to struggle to see followers of islam exactly as we see our own selves?

    for me it is because my God, in Jesus, sees those humans EXACTLY as he sees me. no better and no worse.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    why do we need to struggle to see followers of islam exactly as we see our own selves?

    for me it is because my God, in Jesus, sees those humans EXACTLY as he sees me. no better and no worse.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    and btw abu gherab….

    my point there was not a political one. it was a religious/moral one. we are ALL just a hair away from being torturers or war criminals. we ALL need the rule of law hanging it´s threats over our heads to keep us human.

    when we see islamists who do evil things we should think "there but by the grace of god….." ditto for the nazis, commies, and all the people who have committed atrocities in history.

    why would you ever think that you were one bit better in any way than those people Dan?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    and btw abu gherab….

    my point there was not a political one. it was a religious/moral one. we are ALL just a hair away from being torturers or war criminals. we ALL need the rule of law hanging it´s threats over our heads to keep us human.

    when we see islamists who do evil things we should think "there but by the grace of god….." ditto for the nazis, commies, and all the people who have committed atrocities in history.

    why would you ever think that you were one bit better in any way than those people Dan?

  • E-Raj

    Sometimes I think the reason we are going to lose this and all future wars is because we don't have the nerve for it any more. Can anyone here imagine our enemies ever stopping and thinking, "is it right that we are doing this to Americans?" Maybe it is morally right to care about our enemies…but it's a recipe for military failure. War is hell. The sooner we give our enemies a taste of it, the sooner they will stop fighting. This theory, when put into practice, actually saves lives on both sides. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually saved more lives than they took, when a conventional attack on the Japanese mainland was taken into consideration. Islam only respects brutality and violence. The entire Muslim world is already looking at us as weaklings know that our rhetoric is softening with Tehran. They will never lose to an enemy that "has no stomach for this fight." I'm sure I'll draw flack for this, but I'm from the Jack Bauer school of interrogation. I don't care about an enemy's life if it saves one of our own. Isn't that what comes first when we are fighting a war…American lives? Well, it should be. Otherwise, why not just turn our country over to Sharia law and be done with it?

  • E-Raj

    Sometimes I think the reason we are going to lose this and all future wars is because we don't have the nerve for it any more. Can anyone here imagine our enemies ever stopping and thinking, "is it right that we are doing this to Americans?" Maybe it is morally right to care about our enemies…but it's a recipe for military failure. War is hell. The sooner we give our enemies a taste of it, the sooner they will stop fighting. This theory, when put into practice, actually saves lives on both sides. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki actually saved more lives than they took, when a conventional attack on the Japanese mainland was taken into consideration. Islam only respects brutality and violence. The entire Muslim world is already looking at us as weaklings know that our rhetoric is softening with Tehran. They will never lose to an enemy that "has no stomach for this fight." I'm sure I'll draw flack for this, but I'm from the Jack Bauer school of interrogation. I don't care about an enemy's life if it saves one of our own. Isn't that what comes first when we are fighting a war…American lives? Well, it should be. Otherwise, why not just turn our country over to Sharia law and be done with it?

  • Nemo

    “In my mind, terrorists are common criminals. … they should be tried in a court of justice and given over to the rule of law.”

    To be convicted as a criminal, one needs to have violated a law. Pray tell, what US law did those terrorists/criminals violate while in Afghanistan? What US court has jurisdiction to hear their case?

  • Nemo

    “In my mind, terrorists are common criminals. … they should be tried in a court of justice and given over to the rule of law.”

    To be convicted as a criminal, one needs to have violated a law. Pray tell, what US law did those terrorists/criminals violate while in Afghanistan? What US court has jurisdiction to hear their case?

  • Matt C.

    It makes no difference if we are also "bad guys" or not. Good ought to be done even by bad people. Whether the war on terror is good or not is a different question.

    As far as the rule of law, there is no binding international law (unless you count the law written on our hearts; treaties–even UN treaties–are agreements between nations, not laws above them), and there are certainly circumstances where a nation's legitimate authority extends to taking action in and against other nations (just war being the obvious example). Again, whether each an every action taken by the US in this conflict is justifiable is another question. My point is that you're trying to boil a complex issue down to a simple overapplication of "he who is without sin…" It does not work.

  • Matt C.

    It makes no difference if we are also "bad guys" or not. Good ought to be done even by bad people. Whether the war on terror is good or not is a different question.

    As far as the rule of law, there is no binding international law (unless you count the law written on our hearts; treaties–even UN treaties–are agreements between nations, not laws above them), and there are certainly circumstances where a nation's legitimate authority extends to taking action in and against other nations (just war being the obvious example). Again, whether each an every action taken by the US in this conflict is justifiable is another question. My point is that you're trying to boil a complex issue down to a simple overapplication of "he who is without sin…" It does not work.

  • Matt C.

    I also disagree. Sometimes an unjust peace is as bad or worse than a war. If one nation is inflicting that unjust peace on another, an offensive war can indeed be appropriate. Dogmatically holding that preemptive war is ALWAYS wrong is merely an invitation to childish bickering over "who started it," "what counts as an attack," and so forth.

  • Matt C.

    I also disagree. Sometimes an unjust peace is as bad or worse than a war. If one nation is inflicting that unjust peace on another, an offensive war can indeed be appropriate. Dogmatically holding that preemptive war is ALWAYS wrong is merely an invitation to childish bickering over "who started it," "what counts as an attack," and so forth.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Bin Laden actually declared war in a 1996 fatwa. If any one wishes to read it, see NPR's text of the fatwa which is introduced as follows:

    The following text is a fatwa, or declaration of war, by Osama bin Laden first published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper, in August, 1996. The fatwa is entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places."

    Clinton ignored this and foolishly treated the first attack on the World Trade Center as a legal issue instead of hammering Bin Laden as a serious enemy. Obama, like Clinton, is a great triangulator, fond of using mushy words. OBama has passed this on to the feckless head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who wishes to substitute the term "man caused disaster" for "terrorism."

    The Democrats,instead of declaring war against the private economy, should wake up and squarely face our serious Jihadist enemies who deserve hard death on the battlefield, not the courtesy of a courtroom.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Bin Laden actually declared war in a 1996 fatwa. If any one wishes to read it, see NPR's text of the fatwa which is introduced as follows:

    The following text is a fatwa, or declaration of war, by Osama bin Laden first published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper, in August, 1996. The fatwa is entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places."

    Clinton ignored this and foolishly treated the first attack on the World Trade Center as a legal issue instead of hammering Bin Laden as a serious enemy. Obama, like Clinton, is a great triangulator, fond of using mushy words. OBama has passed this on to the feckless head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who wishes to substitute the term "man caused disaster" for "terrorism."

    The Democrats,instead of declaring war against the private economy, should wake up and squarely face our serious Jihadist enemies who deserve hard death on the battlefield, not the courtesy of a courtroom.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Timothy McVeigh , an American citizen, had legal rights to a trial. The Jihadists, who have been fighting a real war, including on 9/11, need to be dealt with as enemy combatants, though, since most of them are irregular without uniform, they are civilian enemy combatants without Geneva Convention POW rights. "Enhanced interrogation techniques"' is a perfectly clear term, far from the mush of "overseas contingency operation" and "man caused disaster."

    As to " war on terror", I would prefer "War on jihadi terror",the term, though "war on terror' is hardly a mushy one.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Timothy McVeigh , an American citizen, had legal rights to a trial. The Jihadists, who have been fighting a real war, including on 9/11, need to be dealt with as enemy combatants, though, since most of them are irregular without uniform, they are civilian enemy combatants without Geneva Convention POW rights. "Enhanced interrogation techniques"' is a perfectly clear term, far from the mush of "overseas contingency operation" and "man caused disaster."

    As to " war on terror", I would prefer "War on jihadi terror",the term, though "war on terror' is hardly a mushy one.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i really don´t know. because in fact they are alleged criminals or terrorists. we dont even know that. they have never been accused of a crime now have they, and they have been held for years. if it were my brother or father or wife being held… I would have a problem with that…. i would think that that is how a 3rd world country would operate. a lawless one.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i really don´t know. because in fact they are alleged criminals or terrorists. we dont even know that. they have never been accused of a crime now have they, and they have been held for years. if it were my brother or father or wife being held… I would have a problem with that…. i would think that that is how a 3rd world country would operate. a lawless one.

  • kerner

    Frank, I love your comments, and even thoough I am now about to disagree with you, I want you to know that I agreed with almost everything you said in your first two comments (except the part about terrorists being common criminals, but this conversation is way past that, so I'll leave it alone). I also agree that no onw can claim to be the truly "good" guys. All people are fallen. Wrongedy wrong wrong, indeed.

    On the other hand, in your 4th comment, you experss the hope that we abandon real politik in favor of the moral high ground. How are we to do that. Isn't trying to be on the moral high ground pretty much the same as trying to be the "good" guys? I think Bush thaough he WAS taking the moral high ground when he tried to stop the bad guys from doing bad thing to the people of Iraq and to us.

  • kerner

    Frank, I love your comments, and even thoough I am now about to disagree with you, I want you to know that I agreed with almost everything you said in your first two comments (except the part about terrorists being common criminals, but this conversation is way past that, so I'll leave it alone). I also agree that no onw can claim to be the truly "good" guys. All people are fallen. Wrongedy wrong wrong, indeed.

    On the other hand, in your 4th comment, you experss the hope that we abandon real politik in favor of the moral high ground. How are we to do that. Isn't trying to be on the moral high ground pretty much the same as trying to be the "good" guys? I think Bush thaough he WAS taking the moral high ground when he tried to stop the bad guys from doing bad thing to the people of Iraq and to us.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    well e´raj; I am not doing the fighting or risking my life. I note that the president and soldiers swear to uphold the constitution. so i take that to mean that our principles as a nation are what we are all about, and that THAT is what we are willing to sacrifice lives of our soldiers for.

    if we become them (in terms of our methods and moral limits) in order to save our skins is that a tradeoff you would actually accept?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    well e´raj; I am not doing the fighting or risking my life. I note that the president and soldiers swear to uphold the constitution. so i take that to mean that our principles as a nation are what we are all about, and that THAT is what we are willing to sacrifice lives of our soldiers for.

    if we become them (in terms of our methods and moral limits) in order to save our skins is that a tradeoff you would actually accept?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    they swear to defend the constitution from domestic and foreign threats. i was amazed to hear this. i was expecting to hear that they would swear to defend the country… along the lines that you are saying….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    they swear to defend the constitution from domestic and foreign threats. i was amazed to hear this. i was expecting to hear that they would swear to defend the country… along the lines that you are saying….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    enhanced interrogation techniques then to you peter clearly means torture techniques then…. interesting. and I thought it was a euphemism… nice to know …

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    enhanced interrogation techniques then to you peter clearly means torture techniques then…. interesting. and I thought it was a euphemism… nice to know …

  • kerner

    and one more thing, even WWII WAS preemptive. First of all, FDR wanted very badly to get into that war. We let American citizens fight in the Chinese Air Force against Japan (the Flying Tigers) and did many other things to provoke Japan, as the FDR administration wanted badly to get into the war. We also tried to provoke Germany by allowing our citizens to fight in the RAF, and by providing US naval escorts to convoys of munitions to Britain, just daring the Germans to attack an American Naval vessel guarding the munitions that would be fired at Germans, but Hitler was (for the moment) too smart to take the bait.

    But our entire war in Europe was preemptive. Neither the Germans nor the Italians ever attacked us, and in fact they went far out of their way to avoid doing so (not that I am claiming that they were good guys or anything, but they were already fighting a war on two fronts, and they CLEARLY didn't want to fight us as well. But we didn't care. We wanted to fight them so badly that when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we "retaliated" by invading Sicily.

  • kerner

    and one more thing, even WWII WAS preemptive. First of all, FDR wanted very badly to get into that war. We let American citizens fight in the Chinese Air Force against Japan (the Flying Tigers) and did many other things to provoke Japan, as the FDR administration wanted badly to get into the war. We also tried to provoke Germany by allowing our citizens to fight in the RAF, and by providing US naval escorts to convoys of munitions to Britain, just daring the Germans to attack an American Naval vessel guarding the munitions that would be fired at Germans, but Hitler was (for the moment) too smart to take the bait.

    But our entire war in Europe was preemptive. Neither the Germans nor the Italians ever attacked us, and in fact they went far out of their way to avoid doing so (not that I am claiming that they were good guys or anything, but they were already fighting a war on two fronts, and they CLEARLY didn't want to fight us as well. But we didn't care. We wanted to fight them so badly that when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we "retaliated" by invading Sicily.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i think anything that looks like the rule of law is a good thing. it is more about direction and orientation I am thinking kerner.

    the largest messes we have created is when we as a nation have decided that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. we did this with stalin and it led to the cold war, we did this with the taliban. during the cold war we supported dictators here in brasil and other countries who disappeared alot of people; we have never been a country that stood completely for what we stand for. what with slavery and wars like the spanish-american war and taking about 1/3 of mexico (and I am sorta glad we did that actually)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i think anything that looks like the rule of law is a good thing. it is more about direction and orientation I am thinking kerner.

    the largest messes we have created is when we as a nation have decided that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. we did this with stalin and it led to the cold war, we did this with the taliban. during the cold war we supported dictators here in brasil and other countries who disappeared alot of people; we have never been a country that stood completely for what we stand for. what with slavery and wars like the spanish-american war and taking about 1/3 of mexico (and I am sorta glad we did that actually)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    what I DO know is that when I see historic buildings and art here, i see very clearly that the usa exerted an imense influence on other countries here in latin america. we exported our ideals of governance. brasil was originally called the united states of brasil. simon bolivar consciously imitated the us.

    we did this while being largely isolationists. times have changed. the american century has largely been a blessing to the world. we rebuilt our enemies and ushered in a great period. amazing. after conditioning our people to hate the germans and japanese, we rebuilt them, our leaders led. the marshall plan was NOT popular with the public.

    your point is well taken but I am not sure where that leaves us.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    what I DO know is that when I see historic buildings and art here, i see very clearly that the usa exerted an imense influence on other countries here in latin america. we exported our ideals of governance. brasil was originally called the united states of brasil. simon bolivar consciously imitated the us.

    we did this while being largely isolationists. times have changed. the american century has largely been a blessing to the world. we rebuilt our enemies and ushered in a great period. amazing. after conditioning our people to hate the germans and japanese, we rebuilt them, our leaders led. the marshall plan was NOT popular with the public.

    your point is well taken but I am not sure where that leaves us.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    kerner , I am not sure why in the heck we thought it would be a good idea to bring enemy combatants from aghanistan to our soil in guananamo. people who commit terrorist acts are criminals. not sure exactly what those guys brought in from afghan did . that IS the problem… we are told to trust the government. since when has that ever been a cool idea?

    i cling to the idea that we are a nation ruled by laws and NOT by men. we dont simple trust people.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    kerner , I am not sure why in the heck we thought it would be a good idea to bring enemy combatants from aghanistan to our soil in guananamo. people who commit terrorist acts are criminals. not sure exactly what those guys brought in from afghan did . that IS the problem… we are told to trust the government. since when has that ever been a cool idea?

    i cling to the idea that we are a nation ruled by laws and NOT by men. we dont simple trust people.

  • kerner

    And you could even take WWII a step farther. Can't a war cease to be defensive once the enemy poses no further immediate threat? By 1945, Japan was no longer in any shape to attack us. We COULD have simply made peace terms with it and left its people alone. But no. We insisted on regime change; we insisted on invading and occupying the country and imposing democracy on a culture that had never known it. And we did the same thing to Italy and Germany and, I guess, Vichy France (All countries that had done nothing to us, but which we had decided were the "Bad" guys). Did we do the right thing, Frank? Or should we have realized that WE are also "bad" guys, with no moral authority to invade other countries and tell them what to do. I mean, what rule of law gave us the right to do what we did to Germany, Italy and Japan? (Not just fightr them off, but totally destroy them and rebuild them in an image we preferred).

    And I totally agree with you that we ignored the horrible evil that Joseph Stalin inflicted on countless people because he was helping us destroy these countries that had never attacked us.

  • kerner

    And you could even take WWII a step farther. Can't a war cease to be defensive once the enemy poses no further immediate threat? By 1945, Japan was no longer in any shape to attack us. We COULD have simply made peace terms with it and left its people alone. But no. We insisted on regime change; we insisted on invading and occupying the country and imposing democracy on a culture that had never known it. And we did the same thing to Italy and Germany and, I guess, Vichy France (All countries that had done nothing to us, but which we had decided were the "Bad" guys). Did we do the right thing, Frank? Or should we have realized that WE are also "bad" guys, with no moral authority to invade other countries and tell them what to do. I mean, what rule of law gave us the right to do what we did to Germany, Italy and Japan? (Not just fightr them off, but totally destroy them and rebuild them in an image we preferred).

    And I totally agree with you that we ignored the horrible evil that Joseph Stalin inflicted on countless people because he was helping us destroy these countries that had never attacked us.

  • kerner

    Before I drop this rant, I guess I should point out that this is a two edged sword. FWS, old pal, you chide us for letting our politically conservative moralizing supplant our doctrine. I am forced to admit that you have a very good point. Even if I think you do the same thing with politically liberal moralizing, conservatives are no better when we do it and we should be grateful when you catch us at it.

  • kerner

    Before I drop this rant, I guess I should point out that this is a two edged sword. FWS, old pal, you chide us for letting our politically conservative moralizing supplant our doctrine. I am forced to admit that you have a very good point. Even if I think you do the same thing with politically liberal moralizing, conservatives are no better when we do it and we should be grateful when you catch us at it.

  • kerner

    Amen. And again, Amen to FWS's first comment.

  • kerner

    Amen. And again, Amen to FWS's first comment.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i see here in brasil clearly the difference between the rule of law and the rule of men.

    a terrorist IS a common criminal. an enemy combatant. I am not sure what that is. I guess a soldier without a uniform? what used to be called guerrilla warfare?

    we simply don´t know what the men being held are. and since they have been tortured, any case against them in court would probably be thrown out.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i see here in brasil clearly the difference between the rule of law and the rule of men.

    a terrorist IS a common criminal. an enemy combatant. I am not sure what that is. I guess a soldier without a uniform? what used to be called guerrilla warfare?

    we simply don´t know what the men being held are. and since they have been tortured, any case against them in court would probably be thrown out.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    the laws we have. due process, habeus corpus, etc are laws that were reasoned over a great deal of time and are based on a certain morality and set of ideals , what are now called human rights. the dignity of all men under God.

    I think we should treat all as we would treat our brothers. maybe THAT is the standard I am struggling to express? If my brother were a terrorist or enemy combatant, I would do whatever was necessary to uphold my oath as a soldier or politico, but I would do it with dignity, reluctantly, with some sadness perhaps. and i would treat that person as a human being. i would NOT torture him.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    the laws we have. due process, habeus corpus, etc are laws that were reasoned over a great deal of time and are based on a certain morality and set of ideals , what are now called human rights. the dignity of all men under God.

    I think we should treat all as we would treat our brothers. maybe THAT is the standard I am struggling to express? If my brother were a terrorist or enemy combatant, I would do whatever was necessary to uphold my oath as a soldier or politico, but I would do it with dignity, reluctantly, with some sadness perhaps. and i would treat that person as a human being. i would NOT torture him.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    interesting comments kerner. as usual. I think, if i understand history correctly, that the republican congress along with alot of democrats, were not in favor of war. sounds like they were actually standing on principle. do you any more on that kerner? that would hardly seem possible today. the president would be able to do alot more than roosevelt did probably…

    ww1 looked alot the same didnt it. the germans warned us not to be on ships sailing to england, and that they would sink those ships… about the only reason I can see that we entered ww1 on the side of the english was that we shared a common language. both sides seemed equally wrong in that war….

    where are you at on all this. should we be more isolationistic? I am leaning that way maybe. not sure yet….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    interesting comments kerner. as usual. I think, if i understand history correctly, that the republican congress along with alot of democrats, were not in favor of war. sounds like they were actually standing on principle. do you any more on that kerner? that would hardly seem possible today. the president would be able to do alot more than roosevelt did probably…

    ww1 looked alot the same didnt it. the germans warned us not to be on ships sailing to england, and that they would sink those ships… about the only reason I can see that we entered ww1 on the side of the english was that we shared a common language. both sides seemed equally wrong in that war….

    where are you at on all this. should we be more isolationistic? I am leaning that way maybe. not sure yet….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    unjust peace. I am not sure what that would look like, and how i would know it was unjust and when i would know that it would be good to start a war.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    unjust peace. I am not sure what that would look like, and how i would know it was unjust and when i would know that it would be good to start a war.

  • kerner

    Right you are about WWI, Frank. It was simply a struggle between Europeans trying to maintain or expand their respective levels of imperial power. If there was ever a war we should have stayed out of, it was that one.

    As an aside, here in Milwaukee, when Lutheran churches collected clothing and supplies "for the troops" until about 1915 or so, they meant the German troops.

  • kerner

    Right you are about WWI, Frank. It was simply a struggle between Europeans trying to maintain or expand their respective levels of imperial power. If there was ever a war we should have stayed out of, it was that one.

    As an aside, here in Milwaukee, when Lutheran churches collected clothing and supplies "for the troops" until about 1915 or so, they meant the German troops.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    here in brasil, any treaty formally ratified by the government I am told has the force of law equal to constitutional law. This seems exactly right to me.

    if a country choses to enter into a treaty does not that then become a law that rules over the relationship between it and the country it enters into the treaty with? a law that stands "over" the country as you put it? why not? is there ANY moral reason why we need to think that there are NO laws outside of a country that a country is morally bound to abide by? and LEGALLY bound by as well?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    here in brasil, any treaty formally ratified by the government I am told has the force of law equal to constitutional law. This seems exactly right to me.

    if a country choses to enter into a treaty does not that then become a law that rules over the relationship between it and the country it enters into the treaty with? a law that stands "over" the country as you put it? why not? is there ANY moral reason why we need to think that there are NO laws outside of a country that a country is morally bound to abide by? and LEGALLY bound by as well?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    in short is the idea that there is such a thing as "international law" a liberal wrong turn? and that in fact there really are NO international laws, but that our domestic laws should be the ultimate and supreme and only authority for our government .

    (penny for your thoughts Kerner!)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    in short is the idea that there is such a thing as "international law" a liberal wrong turn? and that in fact there really are NO international laws, but that our domestic laws should be the ultimate and supreme and only authority for our government .

    (penny for your thoughts Kerner!)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i am sensing an issue behind all this kerner. IS there such a thing as international law? a law that is should be obeyed by all countries and stands over them? what about treaty law? is the idea of international law just some bogus pansy liberal ideal?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i am sensing an issue behind all this kerner. IS there such a thing as international law? a law that is should be obeyed by all countries and stands over them? what about treaty law? is the idea of international law just some bogus pansy liberal ideal?

  • Matt C.

    It's not over for exactly the reasons you give. It has the force of law equal to constitutional law. Constatutional law is national, not international. It's the country's own laws that bind it to a treaty.

    Over that, of course, the natural law (for example, the moral obligation to keep promises.) Nevertheless, that is not the only moral obligation a nation has. Other obligations sometimes require military intervention in other countries. Sometimes withdrawing from a treaty is a moral obligation as well.

  • Matt C.

    It's not over for exactly the reasons you give. It has the force of law equal to constitutional law. Constatutional law is national, not international. It's the country's own laws that bind it to a treaty.

    Over that, of course, the natural law (for example, the moral obligation to keep promises.) Nevertheless, that is not the only moral obligation a nation has. Other obligations sometimes require military intervention in other countries. Sometimes withdrawing from a treaty is a moral obligation as well.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DonS DonS

    I'm late to the party, but I will summarize. "War on Terror" connotes purpose. "Overseas Contingency Operation" connotes —– nothing. What in the heck does it mean? But, that's the point, I suspect. It will be a lot easier to disengage from an "Overseas Contingency Operation" than from a "War on Terror". It seems like even most on this comment thread have forgotten how we got into the "War on Terror" in the first place, and how much fear there was in this country in the wake of the dastardly and unprovoked acts on 9/11/01.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DonS DonS

    I'm late to the party, but I will summarize. "War on Terror" connotes purpose. "Overseas Contingency Operation" connotes —– nothing. What in the heck does it mean? But, that's the point, I suspect. It will be a lot easier to disengage from an "Overseas Contingency Operation" than from a "War on Terror". It seems like even most on this comment thread have forgotten how we got into the "War on Terror" in the first place, and how much fear there was in this country in the wake of the dastardly and unprovoked acts on 9/11/01.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DonS DonS

    As for Frank's comments that we are all bad, and there are no good guys, of course that is true. We are all sinners in God's sight. But, in no way should that prevent us from asserting the rule of law, even against international actors, and taking necessary action to prevent evil deeds. Hopefully, that action will take place on a concerted basis, by world powers, but when world powers refuse to do what is right, than sometimes we here in the U.S. have to take action on our own. We have the right to protect our interests. The comment that "preemptive" war or strikes are always wrong is, well, ………wrong. Firstly, much of the war waged by the Israelites in the O.T. was preemptive in nature. Secondly, as has been commented above, all war is preemptive in some way, even it it is initiated after an attack. Thirdly, the Iraq War was initiated responsive to many, many provocations on the part of Saddam Hussein. He could easily have averted our attack on Iraq if he had ensured compliance with U.N. mandates.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DonS DonS

    As for Frank's comments that we are all bad, and there are no good guys, of course that is true. We are all sinners in God's sight. But, in no way should that prevent us from asserting the rule of law, even against international actors, and taking necessary action to prevent evil deeds. Hopefully, that action will take place on a concerted basis, by world powers, but when world powers refuse to do what is right, than sometimes we here in the U.S. have to take action on our own. We have the right to protect our interests. The comment that "preemptive" war or strikes are always wrong is, well, ………wrong. Firstly, much of the war waged by the Israelites in the O.T. was preemptive in nature. Secondly, as has been commented above, all war is preemptive in some way, even it it is initiated after an attack. Thirdly, the Iraq War was initiated responsive to many, many provocations on the part of Saddam Hussein. He could easily have averted our attack on Iraq if he had ensured compliance with U.N. mandates.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    E-Raj, you have this exactly right. Many Americans have lost the nerve and cojones to fight for their interests. In response to the liberal and secular ethos, we have evolved a set of absurd rules of engagement that have cost the lives of not a few of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. In my view all of this is the logical outcome of modernity and a basic theological view of a kind God with a skirt as opposed to an almighty God of both hard justice and forgiving mercy for those few who truly repent.

    We often forget that Christ, though brimming with love and mercy, was a hard fighter against evil. Billy Sunday got this right with his famous remark that Jesus Christ was no lick spittle proposition. Jesus was the greatest scrapper that ever Lived.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    E-Raj, you have this exactly right. Many Americans have lost the nerve and cojones to fight for their interests. In response to the liberal and secular ethos, we have evolved a set of absurd rules of engagement that have cost the lives of not a few of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. In my view all of this is the logical outcome of modernity and a basic theological view of a kind God with a skirt as opposed to an almighty God of both hard justice and forgiving mercy for those few who truly repent.

    We often forget that Christ, though brimming with love and mercy, was a hard fighter against evil. Billy Sunday got this right with his famous remark that Jesus Christ was no lick spittle proposition. Jesus was the greatest scrapper that ever Lived.

  • E-Raj

    I'm not saying we should film a few soldiers standing behind a captured terrorist while cutting off his head with a knife. That would be "becoming them". I'm saying we should put a captured terrorist through a very unpleasant time until he tells us what we need to know. Hardly the same thing. If we are going to have individuals crying out to stop things like water-boarding, then they need to have an equally effective alternative, otherwise they leave us weaker than before. Trust me, nothing we have been doing during interrogations over the past seven years comes remotely close to making us "become them." If we could talk to Daniel Pearl right now, I think he would agree.

  • E-Raj

    I'm not saying we should film a few soldiers standing behind a captured terrorist while cutting off his head with a knife. That would be "becoming them". I'm saying we should put a captured terrorist through a very unpleasant time until he tells us what we need to know. Hardly the same thing. If we are going to have individuals crying out to stop things like water-boarding, then they need to have an equally effective alternative, otherwise they leave us weaker than before. Trust me, nothing we have been doing during interrogations over the past seven years comes remotely close to making us "become them." If we could talk to Daniel Pearl right now, I think he would agree.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Not really, the aggressive interrogation techniques that the CIA used were carefully deliberated within the Bush administration and kept within international legal bounds for dealing with civilian enemy combatants. The toughest of them, water-boarding is used by most intelligence agencies in the world. This may offend the tender minded liberals, though when it comes to legitimate national security, nations have every right to engage in tough ways of getting at the truth. Obama will probably be no different than Bush, though he'll come up with some Orwellian language to cover it.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/PeterLeavitt PeterLeavitt

    Not really, the aggressive interrogation techniques that the CIA used were carefully deliberated within the Bush administration and kept within international legal bounds for dealing with civilian enemy combatants. The toughest of them, water-boarding is used by most intelligence agencies in the world. This may offend the tender minded liberals, though when it comes to legitimate national security, nations have every right to engage in tough ways of getting at the truth. Obama will probably be no different than Bush, though he'll come up with some Orwellian language to cover it.

  • Matt C.

    As a fictional example to get the creative juices flowing, consider Northistan and Southistan. A river with it's source in the north flows through both countries. It is the principle source of water in Southistan. A company in Northistan builds a factory on the river near the border which dumps toxic chemicals into the river, sickening the people of Southistan and killing their crops.

    This would be one possible example of an unjust peace (among many many others). Depending on specifics, there could be a wide variety of ways to solve it (one of which would be violent intervention). On the other hand, there could only be several ways of solving it (one of which would be violent intervention). If other options fail, then it would be negligent of the Southistanian government to ignore the plight of the people under its care and refuse violent intervention simply because Northistan hasn't been violent yet.

    Your other two questions are good ones, but require longer answers than a blog is appropriate for. Suffice to say, those are subjective judgements–but the fact that they are subjective does not mean there is no difference between good judgements and bad judgements.

  • Matt C.

    As a fictional example to get the creative juices flowing, consider Northistan and Southistan. A river with it's source in the north flows through both countries. It is the principle source of water in Southistan. A company in Northistan builds a factory on the river near the border which dumps toxic chemicals into the river, sickening the people of Southistan and killing their crops.

    This would be one possible example of an unjust peace (among many many others). Depending on specifics, there could be a wide variety of ways to solve it (one of which would be violent intervention). On the other hand, there could only be several ways of solving it (one of which would be violent intervention). If other options fail, then it would be negligent of the Southistanian government to ignore the plight of the people under its care and refuse violent intervention simply because Northistan hasn't been violent yet.

    Your other two questions are good ones, but require longer answers than a blog is appropriate for. Suffice to say, those are subjective judgements–but the fact that they are subjective does not mean there is no difference between good judgements and bad judgements.

  • Nemo

    Frank,

    You just sidestepped the question, so let me try again. Let’s presume, for the purpose of the argument, that a certain individual was in the plot on 9/11, but never left Afghanistan. We catch him. What law did he violate, and what can he be charged with? There is a legal problem to your argument, in that our domestic courts do not have jurisdiction over acts committed by foreign nationals overseas.

  • Nemo

    Frank,

    You just sidestepped the question, so let me try again. Let’s presume, for the purpose of the argument, that a certain individual was in the plot on 9/11, but never left Afghanistan. We catch him. What law did he violate, and what can he be charged with? There is a legal problem to your argument, in that our domestic courts do not have jurisdiction over acts committed by foreign nationals overseas.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    ok. the man committed a terrorist act, and conspiracy to commit murder and probably alot of other crimes.

    you state as point of legal fact that persons who commit crimes off of our soil cannot be prosecuted. that does not seem to be true from what I know.there are laws of extradition which would seem to contradict your assertion of point of law. are you an attorney nemo? can any attorneys here comment on this?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    ok. the man committed a terrorist act, and conspiracy to commit murder and probably alot of other crimes.

    you state as point of legal fact that persons who commit crimes off of our soil cannot be prosecuted. that does not seem to be true from what I know.there are laws of extradition which would seem to contradict your assertion of point of law. are you an attorney nemo? can any attorneys here comment on this?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    for some reason this comment did not appear….

    Matt C. replied to your comment on No more war, just "overseas contingency operation" / Cranach: The Blog of Veith:

    As a fictional example to get the creative juices flowing, consider Northistan and Southistan. A river with it's source in the north flows through both countries. It is the principle source of water in Southistan. A company in Northistan builds a factory on the river near the border which dumps toxic chemicals into the river, sickening the people of Southistan and killing their crops.

    This would be one possible example of an unjust peace (among many many others). Depending on specifics, there could be a wide variety of ways to solve it (one of which would be violent intervention). On the other hand, there could only be several ways of solving it (one of which would be violent intervention). If other options fail, then it would be negligent of the Southistanian government to ignore the plight of the people under its care and refuse violent intervention simply because Northistan hasn't been violent yet.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    for some reason this comment did not appear….

    Matt C. replied to your comment on No more war, just "overseas contingency operation" / Cranach: The Blog of Veith:

    As a fictional example to get the creative juices flowing, consider Northistan and Southistan. A river with it's source in the north flows through both countries. It is the principle source of water in Southistan. A company in Northistan builds a factory on the river near the border which dumps toxic chemicals into the river, sickening the people of Southistan and killing their crops.

    This would be one possible example of an unjust peace (among many many others). Depending on specifics, there could be a wide variety of ways to solve it (one of which would be violent intervention). On the other hand, there could only be several ways of solving it (one of which would be violent intervention). If other options fail, then it would be negligent of the Southistanian government to ignore the plight of the people under its care and refuse violent intervention simply because Northistan hasn't been violent yet.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    Your other two questions are good ones, but require longer answers than a blog is appropriate for. Suffice to say, those are subjective judgements–but the fact that they are subjective does not mean there is no difference between good judgements and bad judgements.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    Your other two questions are good ones, but require longer answers than a blog is appropriate for. Suffice to say, those are subjective judgements–but the fact that they are subjective does not mean there is no difference between good judgements and bad judgements.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I am starting to form a theory that the morality that governs nations is exactly the same morality that governs individuals and societies.

    people and governments have a right and sometimes a duty to defend themselves and those God has made them responsible for. it is always better to first attempt peaceful means. negotiation is an art and usually is about knowing how to create a "win-win" situation. or more likely a situation that is lose-lose but everyone loses equally. which usually is what justice looks like….cut the baby in half….. humans tend not to like real justice eh? we say we like things to be "fair" but…..

    sometimes people simply covet what is not theirs, or simply dont care about what is right, which seems to be the case you put out as a hipothetical. so this is an unjust peace. what to do is always situational and a challenge in this case.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I am starting to form a theory that the morality that governs nations is exactly the same morality that governs individuals and societies.

    people and governments have a right and sometimes a duty to defend themselves and those God has made them responsible for. it is always better to first attempt peaceful means. negotiation is an art and usually is about knowing how to create a "win-win" situation. or more likely a situation that is lose-lose but everyone loses equally. which usually is what justice looks like….cut the baby in half….. humans tend not to like real justice eh? we say we like things to be "fair" but…..

    sometimes people simply covet what is not theirs, or simply dont care about what is right, which seems to be the case you put out as a hipothetical. so this is an unjust peace. what to do is always situational and a challenge in this case.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    In that case one would have the right or duty to avoid or minimize harm. this should NOT be done on the basis that the other party is less human or more bad than we are. and it should be always purely defensive and minimalist. anything that looks like retribution or that has retribution as a motive should be avoided. we should avoid thinking that that other side is any more greedy or evil or unhuman than we are. it should be purely about damage control. and it should be reluctantly acted upon. there is no victory really is there in war. only sadness. real victory looks like what Jesus did on the cross.

    I would suggest that in human relations, at a personal or national or international level, things should be kept as much as possible as being about practical considerations. "do no harm". this is a negative thing. only morality can go beyond this to the positive "do not neglect to do good".

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    In that case one would have the right or duty to avoid or minimize harm. this should NOT be done on the basis that the other party is less human or more bad than we are. and it should be always purely defensive and minimalist. anything that looks like retribution or that has retribution as a motive should be avoided. we should avoid thinking that that other side is any more greedy or evil or unhuman than we are. it should be purely about damage control. and it should be reluctantly acted upon. there is no victory really is there in war. only sadness. real victory looks like what Jesus did on the cross.

    I would suggest that in human relations, at a personal or national or international level, things should be kept as much as possible as being about practical considerations. "do no harm". this is a negative thing. only morality can go beyond this to the positive "do not neglect to do good".

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I am not sure honestly where international aid fits here. if we should even be doing it. but then the marshall plan was brilliant and good I think. maybe the isolationists are right and we are better to mind our own business and avoid foreign entanglements and not meddle. just the very advice we should follow as individuals apart from any public office we have that demands our involvement in the affairs of others.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I am not sure honestly where international aid fits here. if we should even be doing it. but then the marshall plan was brilliant and good I think. maybe the isolationists are right and we are better to mind our own business and avoid foreign entanglements and not meddle. just the very advice we should follow as individuals apart from any public office we have that demands our involvement in the affairs of others.

  • kerner

    I decided tosleep on this before replying. I don't think the concept of international law is totally bogus, but I do think it is a lot less substantial than United States law, for at least two reasons. First, 80-90% of the countries in the world do not respect the rule of law nearly as much as we do. As you said, Frank, in places like Brasil, law does not rule much at all. The second reason is that there is no universally accpted enforcement authority. Who decides what internaational law is, or what happens if it is not obeyed? Is there anyone trustworthy to make such decisions? Not that I know of.

    Nor do I think that invocation and exageration of the importance of international law is limited to "liberal pansies". Butch conservatives invoke international law when it suits them and ignore international law when it doesn't. I think liberal pansies do the same.

  • kerner

    I decided tosleep on this before replying. I don't think the concept of international law is totally bogus, but I do think it is a lot less substantial than United States law, for at least two reasons. First, 80-90% of the countries in the world do not respect the rule of law nearly as much as we do. As you said, Frank, in places like Brasil, law does not rule much at all. The second reason is that there is no universally accpted enforcement authority. Who decides what internaational law is, or what happens if it is not obeyed? Is there anyone trustworthy to make such decisions? Not that I know of.

    Nor do I think that invocation and exageration of the importance of international law is limited to "liberal pansies". Butch conservatives invoke international law when it suits them and ignore international law when it doesn't. I think liberal pansies do the same.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    your response did not appear here kerner. it sounds about right. i am thinking that thje rules of human relations look alot the same at the interpersonal level as they do at the national and international level. what do you think about that theory… things like don´t meddle in the affairs of others.. etc. the rules seem pretty much identical.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    your response did not appear here kerner. it sounds about right. i am thinking that thje rules of human relations look alot the same at the interpersonal level as they do at the national and international level. what do you think about that theory… things like don´t meddle in the affairs of others.. etc. the rules seem pretty much identical.

  • Nemo

    I could be wrong, but since I’m being somewhat lazy at the moment, I’m not taking the time to look it up. Since you’re the one proposing the alternate method, I’m expecting you to fulfill your burden of proof. Are you really insisting that our troops, while rounding up “alleged terrorists” should file a petition with the Afghanistan government, fulfilling burdens such as reasonable suspicion or probable cause or whatever it is for international extradition for each one, before they can actually arrest and detain them?

  • Nemo

    I could be wrong, but since I’m being somewhat lazy at the moment, I’m not taking the time to look it up. Since you’re the one proposing the alternate method, I’m expecting you to fulfill your burden of proof. Are you really insisting that our troops, while rounding up “alleged terrorists” should file a petition with the Afghanistan government, fulfilling burdens such as reasonable suspicion or probable cause or whatever it is for international extradition for each one, before they can actually arrest and detain them?

  • Nemo

    No, I am not an attorney yet. I do, however, have a bit of experience in the legal field. See this link for the opinion of practicing attorneys:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/03/023
    "It is not a "crime" to fight with the Taliban against American soldiers. These detainees are not criminal defendants whom someone forgot to charge, they are enemy combatants."

  • Nemo

    No, I am not an attorney yet. I do, however, have a bit of experience in the legal field. See this link for the opinion of practicing attorneys:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/03/023
    "It is not a "crime" to fight with the Taliban against American soldiers. These detainees are not criminal defendants whom someone forgot to charge, they are enemy combatants."

  • Nemo

    I looks like you're walking yourself into a soft version of realpolitick. A realist approach that tries to make the best of a bad situtation.

    After all, international affairs is the one place we actually see something akin to a state of nature.

  • Nemo

    I looks like you're walking yourself into a soft version of realpolitick. A realist approach that tries to make the best of a bad situtation.

    After all, international affairs is the one place we actually see something akin to a state of nature.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    well nemo. we don´t really know what they are do we actually? terrorists? enemy combatants. we don´t know what they have done to be detained without charges for up to 8 years. doesn´t that alone seem a little problematic. and the government says simply "trust us". so why do you feel the burden here is on me again?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    well nemo. we don´t really know what they are do we actually? terrorists? enemy combatants. we don´t know what they have done to be detained without charges for up to 8 years. doesn´t that alone seem a little problematic. and the government says simply "trust us". so why do you feel the burden here is on me again?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I think as a christian, it is very natural for me to assume that there are priciples that apply to all our relations with our neighbor. the principles are not relative. but the application of those principles is of couse situational. it is a high art to apply them correctly.

    the basic principle seems to be do unto others. the golden rule. do no harm and don´t fail to do good where you can and should. torture violates these rules at every level I can think of for example.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    I think as a christian, it is very natural for me to assume that there are priciples that apply to all our relations with our neighbor. the principles are not relative. but the application of those principles is of couse situational. it is a high art to apply them correctly.

    the basic principle seems to be do unto others. the golden rule. do no harm and don´t fail to do good where you can and should. torture violates these rules at every level I can think of for example.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    nemo I think only a Lutheran with an understanding of the doctrine of the "two kingdoms" would understand where I am going with my comments actually.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    nemo I think only a Lutheran with an understanding of the doctrine of the "two kingdoms" would understand where I am going with my comments actually.

  • Nemo

    Restating the initial problem doesn't meake your solution any more workable.

  • Nemo

    Restating the initial problem doesn't meake your solution any more workable.

  • Nemo

    Then I shall bow to the intelligentsia.

    By all means, keep going and enlighten the rest of us who…aren’t Lutheran.

  • Nemo

    Then I shall bow to the intelligentsia.

    By all means, keep going and enlighten the rest of us who…aren’t Lutheran.

  • kerner

    I don't know, Frank. The United States is a country founded on a set of ideals. As far as I know this has never happened before, and maybe not since. At times the United States has acted to extend its power in the world, or acted to extend those ideals into other countries. Is that a good thing? You could argue that the world is a better place because Human rights, democracy, and the rule of law (all U.S. ideals) are more accepted throughout the world, and that this would not be so if the USA was weak or isolated or disunited. You can argue that Iraq is certainly better off than it was 10 years ago…if things continue to improve, this may be even more clear. You can certainly argue that the Phillipines are better off after we basically built that country into what it is today. You could even argue that about Japan. But we had to butt into other nations' affairs to get those things done. Is it possible that we are a force for good in the world, insofar as it is possible for fallen men to be?

  • kerner

    I don't know, Frank. The United States is a country founded on a set of ideals. As far as I know this has never happened before, and maybe not since. At times the United States has acted to extend its power in the world, or acted to extend those ideals into other countries. Is that a good thing? You could argue that the world is a better place because Human rights, democracy, and the rule of law (all U.S. ideals) are more accepted throughout the world, and that this would not be so if the USA was weak or isolated or disunited. You can argue that Iraq is certainly better off than it was 10 years ago…if things continue to improve, this may be even more clear. You can certainly argue that the Phillipines are better off after we basically built that country into what it is today. You could even argue that about Japan. But we had to butt into other nations' affairs to get those things done. Is it possible that we are a force for good in the world, insofar as it is possible for fallen men to be?

  • kerner

    Somewhere in this thread you asked where this leaves us. I'm not sure myself, but I am sure that it leaves us beyond simplistic wrangling. As you say, people should mind their own business when they can, and usually nations should too. But sometimes what goes on in an individual country is bad enough for it to be the right thing for other countries to intervene. Unfortunately, I know of no clear way to measure when circumstances get bad enough to justify intervention. Which I concede is not a good position to be in.

    I also admit that when the USA intervenes in the affairs of other nations in the name of doing good for others, we usually do very well for ourselves as well. But I don't think the benefit to us negates the good we have done for others. Do you think we should only do good for others when it can't possibly benefit us?

  • kerner

    Somewhere in this thread you asked where this leaves us. I'm not sure myself, but I am sure that it leaves us beyond simplistic wrangling. As you say, people should mind their own business when they can, and usually nations should too. But sometimes what goes on in an individual country is bad enough for it to be the right thing for other countries to intervene. Unfortunately, I know of no clear way to measure when circumstances get bad enough to justify intervention. Which I concede is not a good position to be in.

    I also admit that when the USA intervenes in the affairs of other nations in the name of doing good for others, we usually do very well for ourselves as well. But I don't think the benefit to us negates the good we have done for others. Do you think we should only do good for others when it can't possibly benefit us?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i am thinking that the rules that apply to personal relations maybe are identical to the ones that apply between nations. in that case all relationships should probably be identified as selfinterested.honesty is always good.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    i am thinking that the rules that apply to personal relations maybe are identical to the ones that apply between nations. in that case all relationships should probably be identified as selfinterested.honesty is always good.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    the idea of the two kingdoms is that God rules the world indirectly with pure logic and reason and the law written in man´s hearts. this is the kingdom of power, force and the sword.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    the idea of the two kingdoms is that God rules the world indirectly with pure logic and reason and the law written in man´s hearts. this is the kingdom of power, force and the sword.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    God rules his church by grace. word and sacrament. humbly. here christ is our lord. why? because he bought and paid for us . not with gold and silver but by his blood. in THIS kingdom, we are told to serve and be the least. authority is derived and given not earned or bought or fought for or a right. here the organizational pyramid is turned upside down and the greatest are the least. the judases are entrusted with the treasury even knowing they steal, organizational efficiency isn´t usually a good thing. it looks like it is dying. much like Jesus on the cross.expensive buildings are built to eat bread and wine once a week and pray. the majority does not rule but treats those in a minority winsomely. it exists to forgive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    God rules his church by grace. word and sacrament. humbly. here christ is our lord. why? because he bought and paid for us . not with gold and silver but by his blood. in THIS kingdom, we are told to serve and be the least. authority is derived and given not earned or bought or fought for or a right. here the organizational pyramid is turned upside down and the greatest are the least. the judases are entrusted with the treasury even knowing they steal, organizational efficiency isn´t usually a good thing. it looks like it is dying. much like Jesus on the cross.expensive buildings are built to eat bread and wine once a week and pray. the majority does not rule but treats those in a minority winsomely. it exists to forgive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    our Lord describes the part of individual christians in all this as salt and as yeast in the parables. something invisible yet that has a tangible effect.

    this means that christians look exactly like their heathen counterparts. vocations look identical. yet a christian will be "in on the joke" so to speak. a christian will see where his vocation, identical to that of his coworker, is a HOLY vocation. He will be ruled in that vocation by pure reason and logic when it comes to his vocatioin as worker and citizen. he will be an executioner for example if that is what his vocation is. as a christian he will forgive, but his outward actions will look identical to a moral pagan citizen.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/fws fws

    our Lord describes the part of individual christians in all this as salt and as yeast in the parables. something invisible yet that has a tangible effect.

    this means that christians look exactly like their heathen counterparts. vocations look identical. yet a christian will be "in on the joke" so to speak. a christian will see where his vocation, identical to that of his coworker, is a HOLY vocation. He will be ruled in that vocation by pure reason and logic when it comes to his vocatioin as worker and citizen. he will be an executioner for example if that is what his vocation is. as a christian he will forgive, but his outward actions will look identical to a moral pagan citizen.

  • Pingback: “Terrorism” to be called “man-caused disasters” — Cranach: The Blog of Veith

  • Pingback: “Terrorism” to be called “man-caused disasters” — Cranach: The Blog of Veith


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