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Is there any longer the possibility of a just war -
Posted: 06 August 2006 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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[color=darkblue:8a8f030af4]It’s my question.

But here are some things to consider.

What year was it when the HRCC made the just war pronouncement?
since that time how have weapons developed -
Has the explosive power of guided bombs been reduced. What about depleted uranium, and are there bomblets still around from the first gulf war?

Is the concept of nation useful any longer.

Can the middle east be sorted out without killing?

There’s more but as I said its my question so now its time to discuss your answers.

Jim[/color:8a8f030af4]

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Jimmie Keyes
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Posted: 12 August 2006 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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War In The Middle East

I will answer your questions in the order that you give them.

The concept of “just war” was devised by “saint” Thomas Aquinas, proving again that christianity is not necessarily a religion of peace. There were two conditions for a “just war,” self-defense and pre-emption when an attack appears imminent. Under neither of these conditions is the war on Iraq a just war. The policy of “pre-emptive” war was picked up by the American neoconservatives (i.e. fascists) in a document called the National Security Strategy of 2002. The text was derived from an open letter sent to President Clinton in 1998 and signed by Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle, among others, all major players in the current war and its “plans.” However, I am not sure whether the House Republicans every formally accepted the doctrine.

The explosive power of bombs increases, always. Use of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and so on is immoral and unjustified in all cases, not just when used against civilians. There is no reason for these weapons other than maximum damage and killing ability.

Of course there are unexploded bombs of various kinds left over from the first gulf war, though probably not many.

The concept of nation is useful for purposes of categorization, but makes little logical or ethical sense. There are no “pure” nations in the old sense of group of genetically and socially linked people. Take any nation and within its borders you will find too much diversity to say that they are all “american” or “iraqi” or “dutch.” Furthermore, it is clear that nationalism is one of the accelerants of warfare. It is not a cause, but it does feed the fires of warfare making it happen quicker. Only religion is a more effective accelerant. And the concept of nation propels the usual us vs. them thinking that maintains economic inequality on both the large and small scales. “Nation” is a bad idea, best done away with for the health of humanity and the planet.

The middle east cannot be “sorted out,” let alone sorted out without violence. This area of the world has been a firestorm of war and treachery for 5000+ years. The countries that exist now are patchwork and hodge-podge concoctions created by western nations with no concept of the history and cultures of the area. If it will be sorted out, it will be in centuries, not soon.

I hope youy find these answers stimulating.

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Posted: 12 August 2006 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree with the Doctor point by point…  I wonder how, if at all, we’ll ever be able to transition away from traditional nation-states?  Is the alternative the “global community,” with a truly global set of laws and economy?  Seems like that’s a long way away, and it also seems unrealistic given the human tendency toward clanishness.  Minor disagreements within the global community would quickly lead to faction movements, and then back to nations it seems…

But I did want to give kudos to the point about the Middle Eastern states being hodge-podge concoctions of western superpowers completely oblivious to the best interests of the native people.  Indeed.

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Posted: 13 August 2006 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I - of course - agree with all of The doctor’s points, there are some others that deserve airing - the word “fascism” describes a form of government (?) or a social system (?) or just what? Is it a description of both an economic system and a social system as in Nazism or just an economic system that can operate in a democracy as well as under a dictatorship.

What exactly is it?

I took the test at Political Compass and reading the approach they use was instructive. BTW I scored Economic -8.50 and Social -6.10.

I tend to agree with their approach while Barry Seidman has reservations and likes the short test at The World’s Smallest Political Quiz

And that leads inevitably to a discussion of process which I dislike. So lets stay on topic, the question is what exactly is fascism? Can a war fought to defend “country” be just?

Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
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http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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Posted: 13 August 2006 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Fascism

Since the term “fascist” was coined by Mussolini, derived from a Latin term, I will go with that definition. The “fascisti” was named after a tied bundle of wheat, the term suggesting that while one stalk is fragile, many together are unbreakable. Fascism was the idea of a completely united people, joined by national identity (which in Italy’s case also included religion, though in the German National Socialist form religion was not distinctly important). The “tie” binding all the people was a single strong leader, so it is noteworthy that both the terms Il Duce and Der F?hrer mean “leader.” All means of social production were to be turned to the glorification of the state and strengthening its “bond.” Thus, industry, while still privately owned, was turned over to producing things necessary to the strengthening of the state. That is why in Germany it was called National Socialism. Strengthening the state involved two things - increasing military power in all areas, and eliminating the “enemy” within. Increased military power in the fascist system is useful only if it is used. After all, if one’s nation is the “best,” then what is the best way to prove it? Conquest is an inevitable consequence of fascist militarization. The “enemies” within are defined as those who for one reason or another lack a distinguishing characteristic of the national identity that the fascists describe. Jews become obvious targets for obvious reasons, but homosexuals, gypsies, political “deviants,” and atheists, among others, are also likely targets because they lack some key distinguishment of ideal national identity. For further insight into fascism in all its disgusting splendor, I recommend Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins Of Totalitarianism.”


It seems to me clear that the American neoconservatives are “fascist.” Their thoughts and actions correspond exactly to every distinguishment of the definition. We can note them: 1. super-patriotism, 2. belief in military domination, 3. belief that “America” is superior to all other nations, 4. military conquest to prove that America’s might makes it right, 5. identification of internal “enemies” for removal - namely muslims and atheists, with some also going for “liberals” in general, 6. using the law to unite government and industry, 7. turning large amounts of the industrial and economic sectors over to military production, 8. belief in “executive power” that trumps all other government systems.

I think this demonstrates that my use of the term “fascist” to describe the political minority currently in charge of the federal government is justified.

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Posted: 13 August 2006 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Good analysis, Doctor. Very clearly put, and I agree with much of it. I would add, however, that to be fascist in the classic sense the government must be totalitarian; where freedoms (of the press, assembly, dissent) are not allowed, where elections are transparently rigged, and so on.

While I do believe that there are elements on the right of the Republican party that would be pleased with this sort of totalitarian rule, I would not say we are quite there yet. And there are certainly many Republicans who believe (sincerely) that their trumpeting of strong military, america-first-ism, is all in the service of freedom. To the extent that this remains true, again, I would not say we are living under the control of a clearly fascist party.

Yes, we can all point to governmental harassment of news sources like the NYTimes; we can all point to questionable elections like those of 2000 and 2004. But in a truly totalitarian society the NYTimes would not exist; its publishers would be in jail. (Nor would the CFI exist!) Presidential elections would not be won or lost by 1% with ‘hanging chads’ in the balance. They would be won by 99% vote, assuming there was any voting at all.

And when it comes to stolen elections we must also remember that there were serious questions about the 1960 election of JFK re. voter fraud in Illinois and Texas ...

But as I say, agreed with the rest of your post. It is very troubling, and one reason why institutions like CFI are so necessary.

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Posted: 16 August 2006 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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dougsmith says:

While I do believe that there are elements on the right of the Republican party that would be pleased with this sort of totalitarian rule, I would not say we are quite there yet.

Yes, you are absolutely right. The US government is not now fascist, though it is leaning that way more than at any other time in its history. I guess I should make it clear to distinguish between a fascist government and those within the government who believe in, practice, or advocate fascist ideas. The government is not fascist, but there are fascists in the government. They include: Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Richard Perle, Alberto Gonzalez, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, about 1/2 of House Republicans, about 1/3 of Senate Republicans. There are also fascist politcal pundits: Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Irving Kristol, Dinesh DeSouza, Brit Hume.  These should be held in mind as separate from those who are merely conservative: Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Wolf Blitzer, Chris Mathews.

Very Socratic of you, dougsmith, to make me clarify my argument.

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