This is going to be very long, since I have been asked some very provicative questins which cannot be answered in short sound bites. Read it if you want.
Originally posted by Dwain Lee:
George, you obviously disagree. For the benefit of the group, would you please give us your underlying philosophy of
1. what a military force is for;
2. under what criteria or circumstances it should be utilized, if ever, in your opinion; and
3. how the current situation does not, in your opinion, meet said criteria.
Happy to respond with my opinions.
What is a military force for?
The military is primarily for the defense of a nation, it's sovereignty and its legitimate international interests. This need not always be done through the use of military force; it is often best done through the threat of using it. The Cold war is the best example of this.
There are other purposes, including humanitarian uses, international prestige, employment of a certain percentage oif the population, control of the civilian population within the nation, maintaining the political power of those in office, as well as political pork barrell to make consituents happy, all of which are reasons nations have and use a military force.
But for the purpose of this discussion, I'll stick with what I have defined as the primary role -- defense of a nation, its sovereignty and its legitimate national interest.
2. under what criteria or circumstances it should be utilized, if ever.
I assume you are asking when I think a military force should be used to go to war.
I adhere to the just war theory as espoused for centuries by the Catholic Church. These principals include:
Having just cause,
Being declared by a proper authority.
Possessing right intention
Having a reasonable chance of success.
The end being proportional to provocation.
To me, when all of these criteria are met is the only time the use of military force is justified.
Let me discuss each of these, if I may.
HAVING A JUST CAUSE
If what we are doing was simply to find the terrorists and bring them to justice and to provide for our self defense, I would have no trouble with what we are doing. However, that is not the case.
Bush2 has too often said that we are seeking revenge. If one listens to the American people, even those on this Board, the American people are supporting this out of anger, for revenge. Revenge is not a just cause. It is simply an angry reaction. Understandable, perhaps, but not a just cause for war.
From a starting point of rooting out Al Qaeda and bringing them to justice (justifying war) and revenge (not justifying war), Bush and Rumsfeld are now saying we are succeeding because we have changed the social environment in Afganistan; maybe a good thing but not justification for war.
To me, I know of only three wars in US History that I can justify -- the Revolutionary War because it was the only way we could create our own self government which is an inherent right os people, the war of 1812, because we were attacked with the purpose of eliminating us as a nation and WWII, in defense of innocent people against an abhorrent evil.
BEING DECLARED BY A PROPER AUTHORITY
Under our Consitution, the proper authority for declaring war is the Congress. The President asking for war powers, but no war declaration, and the Congress budgeting money is not the proper authority.
If the Congress is forced to debate and then make a declaration of war, all sides of the argument would be aired, the American people, through the representatives would be involved, and the full implications of going to war would be understood.
The fact Bush2 and the Congress did not have the guts to do this tells me they do not believe they could get the American people to go along with what they want to do to the extent they really want to do it.
How many middle class Americans do you really think would support a war if they thought their sons were going to be drafted and sent off to Afganistan, Somalia, Iraq, the Phillipines, Indonesia or such other places for this purpose? I doubt there would be enough support to allow the Proper Authority, the Congress, to declare war.
No proper authority, no just war.
POSSESSING RIGHT INTENTION
What is our real intention? Self defense? The Taliban did not threaten our country. Just what is our real intent in all of this? Lots of nice jargon from Bush2, but no real meat on the bones. Too much of what he says is our intent one day contradicts what he says is our intent on another day. Can anyone give me a quote from Bush2 that clearly defins our intent -- and one which was not added to with some other intent when he changed audiences?
HAVING A REASONABLE CHANCE OF SUCCESS
We have yet to be told what success is for this war. Already we have moved from capturing the leaders of Al Qaeda and bringing them to removing the Taliban from power. Now we are on to nation building. In Iraq we are talking about using war to enforce UN sanctions and to finish what Bush1 failed to do. Are we justified in killing mroe people to do this? In Somalia we are talking about establishing what is in essence a police force. In the Phillipines we are talking about putting down an insurrection against the government there.
Can anyone here tell me the official position of Bush2 on how to define success and how what we are doing will achieve it? It can't be done because the definition is a moving target -- changing as Bush2 decides it should change. Thus there is no way to measure whether what we are doing has a reasonable chance of success. Thus, no just war.
THE END BEING PROPORTIONAL TO THE PROVOCATION
From all reports, the attack on the WTC was caused by a wordwide network of terrorists called Al Qaeda. It was not caused by the Taliban government in Afganistan, it was not caused by the Afgan people. It was not caused by th Iraqi people, nor by the Somalians, the Filipino's or anyone else. And yet, we are using this "war" to attack all of these people -- and killing them.
The attack on WTC was a dispicable act, which killed 3000+ people and destroyed property. It did not, however, destabilize the United states. It did not threaten our sovereignty. It did not threaten to destroy our way of life.
For us to go to war against entire countries, or to forment war in countries throughout the world is not a proportional act.
Originally posted by Matt G:
Would you please be so kind as to define cultural integrity and then contrast that with a description of the role of isolationism in a global economy? Then, please enumerate these legitimate economic and political aspirations, since apparently nobody else can.
To me, cultural integrity is the wholeness of a people and how they express their beliefs, values and aspirations, and how they establish their society in order to achieve these.
I do not see a link between cultural integrity and isolationism. I am not an isloatinist. I simply see this war, the Bush2 war, as unjustifiable. The United States must be and should be involved around the world. Indeed, in all of my posts I have argued for the US to use its international political and economic power to change the world so that this type of terrorism does not occur again. I believe we can do this and I believe we have a moral and ethical responsibility to do so. Howver, we must change the root causes that bring it about, not just the actions which have grown from these causes.
I do not believe war is the means we should use -- and I see the Bush2 war as working directly against our long term national interest.
As far as the legitimate political and economic aspirations of the Islamic world, let me give you several examples that we are ignoring or playing a part in defeating.
The Palestinian people have a right to their own homeland. We pay this lip service, but we do not force it. And yet, we know we can. We are the only ones who can. Israel, through its actions, have yet to show they are willing to aloow this. To the Islamic world, these are their brothers and sisters, and they see us ignoring their legitimate right to a homeland -- a right, btw, we agree with.
The Palestinian people are overwhelmed by a much stronger country who uses American supplied military arms of the highest quality against people who throw rocks and use home made bombs. See my comment above about the reaction the the Islamic world.
Because of our sanctions against Iraq, estimates of up to 100,000 civilians, including children, are dying each year because of lack of medical supplies and food. We may want to go after Hussein, but we are attacking the people instead. The Islamic World sees the US as harming women and children and seethe in anger against us for it.
We have troops in Saudi Arabia, that are there primarily, frm our perspective, to protect the oil fields -- from whom? The people in whoise countries these fields exist? Apparently. The Saudi Governbment wants them there because the Suadi people would overhtrow the government if they could. The Islamic people see this as stationing troops from the Christian world near their sacred places. THey do not want us there and we have no moral right to be there. We should do as they ask and get out.
The Islamic World finds our values as a society offensive and contrary to their own values. We may disagree with theirr assessment of our values, but we have no right to impose values they do not want. The stationing of our troops throughout the Middle East simply imposes our values on these countries in ways they do not wish to be imposed upon.
Three weeks ago, the Gallup organization released a poll of the attitudes of the Islamic societies towards the US. None of them liked us very much; all of them wanted us out. The country which liked us least? Kuwait -- the one Bush1 supposedly went to war to protect. If we were really helping them, if they saw us as supporting them, this would not have been the result a short ten years after we went to war. What do they know about what is happening over there that the American people do not? Why, after we supposedly freed them, do they hate us so much? They must justify it some way.
The Islamic cultures simply want us to leave them alone. They want us to force a just settlement between the Palestinians and Israel because they know we are the only ones who can. They want our troops and our industries out of their countries. They want us to stop exporting our cultural values to their countries.
While we may or may not think this is the best thing for them, it is their decision, not ours.
There is a reason why groups like Al Qaeda have a reservoir of thousands of young Moslems from which to recruit terrorists against the United States. This is not a matter of just a few disgruntled people. In order to recruit so many, there are many times that many who feel this way but who do not take the extreme actions the terrorists take.
The anger of these people comes from some place. For decades we have heard the same entreaties from them -- legitimize statehood for the Palestinians (we are called to do that because we are the primary sponsors of Israel) and leave the region to the people themselves, remove our troops, get out of their oil fields. We have not listened. And now, the anger has grown so fierce, we are attacked on our own soil.
It is time we listen. It is time we recognize that it is possible for us to have peaceful relationships with the Islamic World -- but we have to respect them in the same way we expect them to respect us.
We would not be happy to have them supporting what we perceive was a hostile nation in North America, as they perceive us doing with Israel. We would not be happy to have Arab country businesses controlling our primary natural resources. We would not be happy to have Arab country troops staioned in the US -- particularly if their presence was used to prop up a government that was basically dictatorial and did not have popular support among the people.
Many of you seem to feel that I am somehow un-American because I do not support what Bush2 is doing. On the contrary, if I may. I believe that what he is doing internationally is short-sighted and will not give us what we seek. It will simply make the anger and hatred grow wider and deeper and not provide us security. I also believe there are agendas being met that we are not being told about. And yes, one of these I believe is the agenda of the international oil industry.
And I see the removal of freedoms within the US as playing into the hands of the very terrorists that attacked us, not providing us any more security. They wanted to change our society and thanks to Bush2 and Mr. Ashcroft, they have succeeded. Bush2 should have told us to fight any restriction on our freedome to counter the terrorists. Instead, he told us to go shopping and take an airline flight, while he and his men worked to strip away another layer of freedom.
I recognize many of you will disagree with me. And I am sure Larry will tell me this is all liberal claptrap which will destroy our country by handing it over to some world government. So be it. All I ask is that you think about whether or not you really believe that what Bush2 is doing will make from a more secure world 20 years from now and a freer American society.