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The Morality of Pre-emptive War


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#16    DarkHunter

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:18 AM

I don't have much time to post this so this is going to be really basic and I will probably have to explain this more in detail later, but I am suggesting the premise of the question is flawed to begin with.  Morality is a human construct to help justify an action and is relative to each person so trying to figure out if anything is moral or not is pointless because to each person they are morally correct.  To the person who starts the preemptive war to themselves they are morally correct and to the person on the receiving end of the preemptive war it is an immoral act.  Now if you are part of a vast majority view point or the victor who was able to silence the opposition it will appear as if morality is not relative but an absolute but it still doesn't change the fact that morality is still relative.

To me bringing morality into anything or trying to determine when an act is morally correct or incorrect is utterly pointless.  Personally for myself I never use morality in anything because of how relative it is.  

I am not sure if any of this will make sense, I been up most of the night working on varies assignments and I am a bit rushed so this may make no sense at all to anyone besides myself.


#17    White Crane Feather

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:24 AM

Yes. There is no such thing as preemptive war. War is war. "preemptive" is just a word used by politicians to justify a first attack. Iraq was actually incapable of truely waging war against the us. It had nothing to do with possible violence, it had to to with oil and stabilizing the region.

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#18    docyabut2

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:41 AM

View Postand then, on 16 March 2013 - 11:45 AM, said:

Listening to the input of many, many ideas on the M.E. forum I have concluded that the US is considered wrong and even evil for it's pre-emptive war in Iraq.  In fact many consider Afghanistan unjustified as well but those are the extreme anti American types and I give their opinions little regard.
My question is, in light of technology and weaponry in the 21st century is it immoral to strike first when it may be the only way to survive?  Iran vs Israel or even the USA vs North Korea come to mind.  If intelligence sources of a nation give evidence to it's leaders that weapons are being created that can be used to devastating effect with the deaths of thousands or even millions of citizens then is this a moral rationale for striking that country first?  If the US got evidence that NK was actively engaged in launching a strike against Seoul in hours then would it be justified to use nukes to eliminate the imminent threat to millions of the citizens of an ally?  If not, why not?  And if a nation has the capability to destroy it's enemy prior to that enemy inflicting horrendous casualties is it moral NOT to defend it's own citizens?

Edited to add:  This thread is not about the justification of the Iraq war.  It is a general question of using force to save one's citizens when they are threatened.


War has always been hell, where many people are killed , in my opinion the US was attacked and 3000 people were killed,  a country has the right to retaliate. However the attack did not come from a country and of their miltiary men to fight , but from groups of hidden terrorists.I do believe the retaliation was more of a war strategy to fight the terrorists in Afrganistan and set up a front base in Iraq to bring them out, at the same time finally end Hussan of his domination and wars against Kuwait and other counties.

I don`nt think the US would ever attacked a country with nukes frist,  if NK or Iran does send a nuke ,we have a pretty good missle defence system to shoot them down.But then looked out we would attacked that country with  a full  blown retaliation.Russia and the US knew if there ever was a big nuke war between us there would be no winners,  so hopefulley these small countries that are now creating nuclear bombs know better. Same with Isreal and Iran if the nukes do start flying there will be no winners.


#19    Frank Merton

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 11:47 AM

Morality is the only way to make important decisions, and it is not relative.  We may not be able to discern all the consequences, but generally we can do a good enough job to decide if the consequences are good or bad, moral or immoral.  I think saying we should not use morality is a huge cop-out, an attempt to escape moral responsibility.


#20    Merc14

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

View Postlightly, on 17 March 2013 - 12:31 AM, said:

Right... except for the anti American part.  I have concerns about our government's policies for love of country .

As for your question???   I don't know. ..  I do know that i don't see a whole hell of a lot of effort going into making peace. i guess there's just no money in it. :w00t:



   *'

How do you propose we make peace with North Korea?

You asked for Obamamerica, now you are going to get it.  Stand by for suck or as Pelosi says, "Embrace the suck".

#21    AsteroidX

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:35 PM

Quote

Quote

....One should best be sitting on the moral high ground before attempting such ventures.

....I assume this means that a nation like the US is disqualified from acting pre-emptively as it is immoral and there would be no justification.  Many do believe this and possibly they have a small validity to their credit but it begs the question, if a government is reasonably sure that huge numbers of it's citizens were in danger of death from an enemy who is just waiting for the appropriate time to attack, is it MORAL NOT to stop that enemy?

I do believe we currently fall under the disqualified to preemptively attack a sovereign nation category of nations, Iran, NK, China, and many others are not allowed to preemptively attack those they deem a threat so what makes us more or less special then any of the many nations that dont have that world right. Or are we appointed the worlds policeman ? If we behaved more responsibly in the world we wouldnt have wolves around every border waiting to get a bite at America. Our foreign policy has been a complete failure.

And if we were serious about threats to the USA wed be at war with a good part of South America/Mexico for sending "chemical" weapons by the ton to America and robbing us while were stoned. But I guess that form of terrorism was sanctioned by our Govmnt as well.

It matters not. What we cannot get away with anymore with our armed forces we just use drones and mercenaries to keep our policy of cronyism going.

BTW I believe there is very few countries that can actually reach out and attack America on American soil so the rest is just protecting overseas interests. You know all those cheap jobs we sent overseas. Lotsa rich people need to protect those investments at all cost. Its starting to feel like Baskin Robbins and the flavor of the month with the next ally we MUST protect from evil.


#22    and then

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:36 PM

View PostDarkHunter, on 18 March 2013 - 11:18 AM, said:

I don't have much time to post this so this is going to be really basic and I will probably have to explain this more in detail later, but I am suggesting the premise of the question is flawed to begin with.  Morality is a human construct to help justify an action and is relative to each person so trying to figure out if anything is moral or not is pointless because to each person they are morally correct.  To the person who starts the preemptive war to themselves they are morally correct and to the person on the receiving end of the preemptive war it is an immoral act.  Now if you are part of a vast majority view point or the victor who was able to silence the opposition it will appear as if morality is not relative but an absolute but it still doesn't change the fact that morality is still relative.

To me bringing morality into anything or trying to determine when an act is morally correct or incorrect is utterly pointless.  Personally for myself I never use morality in anything because of how relative it is.  

I am not sure if any of this will make sense, I been up most of the night working on varies assignments and I am a bit rushed so this may make no sense at all to anyone besides myself.

View PostDarkHunter, on 18 March 2013 - 11:18 AM, said:

I don't have much time to post this so this is going to be really basic and I will probably have to explain this more in detail later, but I am suggesting the premise of the question is flawed to begin with.  Morality is a human construct to help justify an action and is relative to each person so trying to figure out if anything is moral or not is pointless because to each person they are morally correct.  To the person who starts the preemptive war to themselves they are morally correct and to the person on the receiving end of the preemptive war it is an immoral act.  Now if you are part of a vast majority view point or the victor who was able to silence the opposition it will appear as if morality is not relative but an absolute but it still doesn't change the fact that morality is still relative.

To me bringing morality into anything or trying to determine when an act is morally correct or incorrect is utterly pointless.  Personally for myself I never use morality in anything because of how relative it is.  

I am not sure if any of this will make sense, I been up most of the night working on varies assignments and I am a bit rushed so this may make no sense at all to anyone besides myself.
Morality is the judgement of what is right and what is wrong as concerns human behavior.  It is NOT relative.  One can justify themselves based on their perceptions but that does not mean they truly are in the right on an issue.  If I gave an order to destroy Pyongyang with small, precision nukes before they could do the same to Seoul, I would be responsible at least partly for the deaths of tens of thousands at least.  But if I did NOT stop the north from acting I would also be responsible for the deaths of as many or more.  In such a situation it is imperative to trace it back to it's beginning.  Would ANY action have been necessary but for the acts of an aggressor?  Were their acts moral or not?

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
  for what could be, the darkest age...

#23    and then

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:41 PM

View PostAsteroidX, on 18 March 2013 - 01:35 PM, said:

I do believe we currently fall under the disqualified to preemptively attack a sovereign nation category of nations, Iran, NK, China, and many others are not allowed to preemptively attack those they deem a threat so what makes us more or less special then any of the many nations that dont have that world right. Or are we appointed the worlds policeman ? If we behaved more responsibly in the world we wouldnt have wolves around every border waiting to get a bite at America. Our foreign policy has been a complete failure.

And if we were serious about threats to the USA wed be at war with a good part of South America/Mexico for sending "chemical" weapons by the ton to America and robbing us while were stoned. But I guess that form of terrorism was sanctioned by our Govmnt as well.

It matters not. What we cannot get away with anymore with our armed forces we just use drones and mercenaries to keep our policy of cronyism going.

BTW I believe there is very few countries that can actually reach out and attack America on American soil so the rest is just protecting overseas interests. You know all those cheap jobs we sent overseas. Lotsa rich people need to protect those investments at all cost. Its starting to feel like Baskin Robbins and the flavor of the month with the next ally we MUST protect from evil.
I'll say this for you at least, AsteroidX, you have the strength of your convictions.  If our nation's leadership is really as corrupt as you believe then it should be overthrown.  Failing our desire to do this then we, as nation, will deserve whatever happens to us.  But if you are wrong and most Americans (as I believe) are honorable people who just need motivating to do the right thing, then we have a duty to defend ourselves from evil.  We also have a right to survive - just as our enemies feel they do.

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
  for what could be, the darkest age...

#24    AsteroidX

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 02:00 PM

Quote

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

I dont wish to derail this thread but I recite these words in my sleep thesedays. :tu:


#25    DarkHunter

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:23 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 18 March 2013 - 11:47 AM, said:

Morality is the only way to make important decisions, and it is not relative.  We may not be able to discern all the consequences, but generally we can do a good enough job to decide if the consequences are good or bad, moral or immoral.  I think saying we should not use morality is a huge cop-out, an attempt to escape moral responsibility.

I have to disagree with this entirely.  From everything I have experienced logic is by far the best way to make important decisions.  I view making decisions based on morality as on the same level as making decisions based on emotion.  I can not figure out how you can say morality is not relative, there are no absolutes in morality at all, what is moral for one is immoral for another, and what is moral in one situation is immoral in another situation.  Morality lacks any absolutes and varies from person to person and situation to situation.  Does it really matter if a situation is good or bad, what is good for one is bad for another so wouldn't it make far more sense not to worry if a consequence is considered good or bad and focus on how it benefits or hurts you or the group of whatever is making the decision.  I also don't agree on your view with not using morality being a cop-out but instead ___


View Postand then, on 18 March 2013 - 01:36 PM, said:

Morality is the judgement of what is right and what is wrong as concerns human behavior.  It is NOT relative.  One can justify themselves based on their perceptions but that does not mean they truly are in the right on an issue.  If I gave an order to destroy Pyongyang with small, precision nukes before they could do the same to Seoul, I would be responsible at least partly for the deaths of tens of thousands at least.  But if I did NOT stop the north from acting I would also be responsible for the deaths of as many or more.  In such a situation it is imperative to trace it back to it's beginning.  Would ANY action have been necessary but for the acts of an aggressor?  Were their acts moral or not?

Like what I said with Frank Merton how isn't morality relative, is just simply does not have any absolutes to it at all.  When dealing with humans perception is all that matters and nothing else.  The biggest problem with morality is that it is a solely human construct so it lacks any absolutes.  In medieval times it was morally acceptable to completely destroy a city and to kill everyone in it during a war and was expected, now it is completely immoral to do such an act.  Countless other examples of how morality has changed for the better or worse can be named but the fact is that morality is a human construct and thus dependent completely on the person so it is relative.  While it is true you are going to be at least partially responsible for the deaths no matter what happens in your scenario it doesn't matter what the beginning is since no matter how it ends you end up being responsible for thousands of deaths.  To the aggressor there acts where moral but to the attacked they where immoral, so you have one situation being viewed as both morally correct and morally incorrect depending on where you are at for the situation so the morality of the event is then based on perception of the event making it relative.  It is only in history after a victor has been determined are the events morality absolute, but even then they can be changed if the person writing the history changes so even in history morality is not absolute.

Once again I had to type this is a hurry and rather tired while doing this so I feel that I am still not describing my view as accurately or as clearly as I would like.


#26    Frank Merton

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:31 AM

Okay our views are not as far apart as you seem to think.  I think you view morality as something out of the Bible, or whatever, while I view it as the same as ethics -- and ethics are for the most part logically derived.

Most of us have a conscience, and it is generally a good guide, but not an infallible one, as it is mainly built from the norms of our culture that we learn as children (there is probably some biological instinct wired in there too).  A rational approach to what it tells us to do is needed, based on the principles of utilitarianism and Kantian reasoning if you are not religious, on the principle of love if one is Christian and on the principle of compassion if one is Buddhist.

Such a rational approach to morality is not certain: we can make mistakes, but we must do the best we can.


#27    Jinxdom

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:27 AM

Morality and Ethics in a nutshell :P

How it benefits = Good = Positive = Profit(for all you money haters out there :P )
How it hurts = Bad = Negative  =  Loss

The whole scales of judgement come in to play here along with the value of a fair trade where the proper ratio should be as close to 1 for 1(or an eye for an eye if you will though I don't suggest doing it with actual eyes but capital I's would work as well) as you can get. Morality, Ethics, Laws and Trade are all based on it. (When I saw Laws I mean Just laws not BS Laws we have currently in the US ). If the scales are balanced it is moral, if it does not it is immoral.

I <3 language

It's all the same thing basically(When you look at it objectively). The only time morality gets screwed up is people labeling actions without taking in to consideration everything that is involved with it.(Consent or lack there of can polarize the morality of any action there are a whole slew of things that play with the scales).


#28    and then

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:42 PM

I just cannot accept the idea that there are no absolutes.  Is there a country or even a culture that exists that accepts murder? Or stealing?  Or rape ?  Think about it a moment.  Any human being any where will rebel against such behavior being committed against themselves or someone they love.  THAT is the basis of morality.  The rest is just self justification for wrong doing.

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#29    Jinxdom

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:22 AM

Murder is just the act of killing without the consent of somebody else.
Stealing is the transfer or property without the consent of somebody else.
Rape is a sexual act with the consent of the somebody else.

Here's the thing though you can actually get people to consent(coercion) to things they wouldn't normally do. Which makes it all the more tricky. The actions are so similar that it is sometimes quite hard to tell the difference.

There are absolutes when it comes to morality, it is just difficult for some people to actually point it out and leads to a bunch of strange rules that people try to push on others. I was trying to make a formula so you can easily figure out moral(Yes, I have weird hobbies that most people would find eccentric) the only constant I could find that was in common with everything relating to morality is consent.

Which is why I asked the questions before about when we should intervene on other people's behalf, because what if they don't consent?


#30    Frank Merton

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:43 AM

I don't know if there are absolutes in any moral decision.  Take the most extreme evil and if one is clever enough one can always come up with some far-fetched scenario where it would be justified if not morally demanded.  Murder is an example -- would you murder Hitler if you had the chance?

People in the West seem wedded to this idea of right and wrong as being 100% affairs, when they never are.  We constantly must weigh the goods and harms that come from each act we contemplate.  Most of the time there is no real contest, but when there is we have to stop and think.





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