Senate Is there a moral basis for assassinations?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. DarthIktomi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Bin Laden: Moral because, well, he incites people to murder.
    Others? Not so much.
  2. wannasee Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2007
    star 4
    My limited understanding of game theory is as follows:

    Your best payoff is being armed with nuclear weapons when other countries are not. In that way, you are the preeminent military power on earth, which has its advantages.

    The second best payoff is that nobody is armed.

    The worst payoff is that you are not armed while other countries are.

    This is obviously simplified (left out all countries armed, and some countries armed, as well as other things) but just go with it.

    The same payoffs are true for other countries.

    The moment one country disarms it is in your best interest to arm, in order to receive your greatest payoff. Also, you can't risk disarming and then have someone take advantage of your choice and arm themselves. You don't want to leave yourself vulnerable.

    So that's why choosing to arm yourself is the right decision and total disarmament will not happen.

    Source: I read an article on game theory a few years ago.
  3. Ghost Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Well, now we have confirmation of who's behind the Iranian assassinations.



    Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel?s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran?s leaders.

    The group, the People?s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

    The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims? cars.

    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

    The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible ? Israel and the People?s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI.





    http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/08/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Fascinating stuff. Difficult to believe there's no U.S. involvement whatsoever in efforts to sabotage Iran's nuclear weapons program, even if it's only high-level approval of what Israel is doing. Or maybe the U.S. is providing other kinds of less invasive support to Israeli for its covert war in Iran.
  5. Rogue_Ten Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    everyday i live in maricopa county arizona without assassinating joe arpaio is a moral failing on my part
  6. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'd assume Stuxnet is us. Plus of course we know that the US flies reconnaissance aircraft over Iran.
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 6
    Oh, the People's Mujahedin!

    Would ya believe I financed them?
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 6
    Odd twist to the thread huh.

    They have a front organization that jumps unsuspecting shoppers with pictures of hung Iranians. The shoppers think they're giving money for lawyers...
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  11. MasterDillon Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 28, 2010
    star 2
    Well we are fighting an enemy that is willing to do whatever it takes to destory the United States, Israel, and everyone else that does not believe in their cause. Since these people are willing to kill us I think that it is legitimate to kill our enemies in assassinations. Also people like Asaad, and Mahmous Ahmadinejad have killed thousands of people so isn't it justice to execute them for crimes against humanity?

  12. Ghost Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Who do you think the enemy is? The entire world isn't black and white.

    Also, sidenote, when did Ahmadinejad kill thousands? 50-100 people died during the election protests in 2009, which is terrible, but that's not thousands, and I don't think Ahmadinejad has any real power.

    Iran and Syria aren't trying to destroy us. Iran does have a theocratic, oppressive government. Syria's government is currently killing thousands of its own people. But they aren't trying to destroy us.
  13. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Imo, I consider that the only allies we should have to be open and democratic countries. In that vein, Israel is not a country that we should consider to be an ally.

    And justice is in trials, not executions.
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    R2P is essentially useless and devoid of any meaning whatsoever. It certainly has no legal weight and doesn't establish a principle of international humanitarian intervention at all. Had the General Assembly adopted the language proposed by the ICISS, we might have a different discussion. Instead, the World Summit Outcome Document simply reiterated the existing situations: states have the responsibility not to do bad things on their own, other nations have the responsibility to use peaceful means towards this end, and collective action could be taken through Chapter VII.

    It was a worthless, watered-down waste of breath that reiterated the existing state of affairs. That the UN used Chapter VII for Libya is certainly interesting, but collective action through the UNSC is not revolutionary even if the notion of attacks on civilians constituting a threat to "international peace and security" could be.
  15. JasperMereel_ Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2006
    star 2
    Iran and Syria aren't trying to destory us. That's the liberl media talking there. Ever since the fall of the Persian empire and the end of the crusades, the East has had it out for the West. Being essentially the leader of the Western powers, Iran and Syria would love nothing better than to see America burn and the fall of western civilization. Trust me, my aunt works for the state department and an uncle works for CIA, so I have this on good note, not some darn journalist.
  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 6
    Argumentum ad verecundiam.
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    There's a dangling modifier too.
  18. Jabba-wocky Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Yes. Ever since the Persians were defeated by Arab Muslims, the entire "East" has held a bizarre but deep grudge on a people and culture from an entirely different continent that had nothing to do with it.
    DarthBoba likes this.
  19. Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    This is in reply to Lowbacca's post in "United States presidential election: 2012" on September 15, 2012.

    Well then I guess the issue is to determine how many civilian casualties are or are not acceptable. You'd have to determine how dangerous the target is and weigh it against how many bystanders are around. Clearly bombing a train to get the serial killer is not acceptable, since that's killing 200-300 people to get one guy. So what is acceptable? One or two bystanders to get a few militants? Maybe not. How about a high profile terrorist whose organizational skills aren't easily replaced? I wouldn't want to be the commander who makes the decision to kill that high-profile terrorist as well as innocent bystanders, but it's got to be a really sickening feeling to let the terrorist get away too. But then that's what drones are good for, you can watch the target for hours on end, even days, and wait for the moment when no one else is around before firing the missile. Anyway my point is, I don't think the people we have in the CIA are evil to the point where they're willing to slaughter civilians wholesale to get a bunch of low level militants.

    As for whether we're killing too many civilians, I don't have an answer to that. How many is too many? If we're being too liberal with drone attacks (are we?), then maybe the CIA's actions ought to be reviewed and changes made. I know that more drone strikes happened under Obama than under Bush, but is that because he's more loose with drones? Or maybe we have more intelligence and therefore more targets? Or maybe it's because we just have more drones now than we did then.

    How do we define victory in Afghanistan? There's a whole myriad of reasons why things there are going badly or just slow, from the Taliban's successful intimidation tactics against civilians to the fact that the Pashtuns just hate Karzai. Are we removing threats before they get here? I would certainly hope so, but I don't know for sure because I dont have access to classified information. Again, I don't think the CIA is that evil to be massacring civilians while using their top secret clearance as a shield. As for airport security, we basically know it's useless at stopping terrorists, but it's still around because it gives the feeling of safety, and no politician wants to look like they didn't do their utmost to stop terrorist attacks.

    My perspective is that the drone attacks are morally justified and could be good for our safety...as long as we don't overdo it. Where it could run into problems is with the letter of the law. I agree that we should be building stronger relationships with Muslim nations, and if innocent people are killed while we're going after terrorists, then we ought to sincerely apologize for it. I've heard some arguments that drone attacks aren't actually making Middle Easterners angry...I don't know if that's true, but if they are getting angry then we ought to scale down the attacks even if it means letting terrorists get away. But I don't want to jump to any conclusions on this.

    I am not of the view that the attack on our consulate was legitimate, because governments have a monopoly on the use of force. In extreme cases that monopoly evaporates, such as when Gadhafi tried to bomb his own people for protesting. But does America do that? We're killing terrorists because they're trying to kill us, and the reason they were trying to kill us in the first place is because of our support for Israel, and probably also the occupation of Iraq. But are either of those worth killing over? If you're a Middle Easterner and you dislike America's policies regarding Israel and Iraq, you can protest, you can burn American flags, you can throw shoes at our embassy or at pictures of our president...anything that doesn't involve killing or injuring people. That's called free speech, and America respects that right. So terrorists don't have a good cause for resorting to violence because they had other means.

    We are supporting Israel too much, that's true. But it's one thing when Jimmy Carter says that, it's something else entire when Osama bin Laden says it. What OBL would say is, "you are supporting Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians, therefore we were justified in killing 3000 people on September 11". Now, if what I said above about monopoly on force, free speech, and resorting to violence is right, then he certainly was not justified in killing those people. But it's not the job of a court to debate this stuff with a defendent; the judge would just tell him to shut up. But of course, hypothetical-OBL-in-court won't shut up, and simply by speaking he would erode the legitimacy of the court and the charges that are brought against him. Either we'd have to say to bin Laden: "shut up, we've done nothing wrong, you're the one on trial here" which isn't true because we have done wrong, or we'd have to say: "Yes, we have done wrong but that doesn't justify what you did". Can you really imagine passing sentence on OBL after saying the latter? Can we righteously say "you killed thousands of people, you're scum" right after admitting that we aren't righteous? And yet we can't let someone who killed 3,000 walk away free. And this is also nothing to say of the sheer uproar that this trial would cause...bin Laden's righteous defense of his own actions would enrage the average American, which would probably lead to political pressure to have bin Laden executed. How would that look to the world? We'd probably also see the White House and Senate go to the Republicans and get an even more hawkish and damaging foreign policy. OBL's righteous defense of his own actions would also animate Arabs in the Middle East who would think "hey he's right, I feel the same way about Israel" which would lead to more sympathy and recruits for terrorists. In the end we just couldn't put bin Laden on trial, it would've caused too much damage. We also had no doubt as what bin Laden did, so assassinating him raises fewer moral red flags. It wasn't due process, and we shouldn't pretend like it was, but because of the circumstances I'd say I'm willing to give a pass on this. I did bring up turning over OBL to the International Criminal Court (I said ICJ instead of ICC last time, my bad), the reason being that while America might not have the perceived legitimacy or righteousness to sentence bin Laden, the ICC does. However given our politics, that seems unrealistic to happen.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Sep 17, 2012
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan

    - from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children.

    -these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals

    -Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.

    -The strikes have certainly killed alleged combatants and disrupted armed actor networks. However, serious concerns about the efficacy and counter-productive nature of drone strikes have been raised. The number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.

    -evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks. (Libya?)

    -US targeted killings and drone strike practices undermine respect for the rule of law and international legal protections and may set dangerous precedents.

    -A significant rethinking of current US targeted killing and drone strike policies is long overdue. US policy-makers, and the American public, cannot continue to ignore evidence of the civilian harm and counterproductive impacts of US targeted killings and drone strikes in Pakistan.

    Progressive Americans need to make it clear to president Obama that, should he be re-elected, we expect a re-evaluation of this practice. There is an opportunity for Obama to come to terms with the promises of 2008 in the way we pursue our national interests abroad. In January 2013, he'll be free from the constraints of campaigning for his next election.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Sep 26, 2012
    Frank T. likes this.
  21. GenAntilles Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 5
    Is there a moral basis in assassinations? Yes, kill one man, prevent thousands from dying in war. One vs Many, that is the justification. Is it legal? Who cares. Governments must do what is necessary for the survival of their nation. Any government that does not does not deserve to be in power.

    A nuclear Iran is detrimental to US interests as well a Israeli, as such if a thousand Iranian scientists have to die to prevent it... so be it.
  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Don't you worry though that they're winging it? I can see that you don't worry about it, but still. The likely scenario is that no one is making very rigorous tradeoff calculations between the lives of Americans and the deaths of suspected terrorists and nearby civilians from drone strikes. Before 2008 we were talking about the ticking bomb torture scenario, which in all likelihood usually presented itself as "we can't know for sure there isn't a ticking bomb" until we actually torture scenario.

    Torture was Bush's baby. Drone assassinations in the sovereign territory of nations we're not at war with is Obama's baby. Let's be honest. Torture is kinder and gentler than the nearly indiscriminate bombing of schoolchildren.
  23. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    So, the view of some people in here is that the assassination of Chris Stevens was a valid action?

    And I think Israel is an absurd factor here. Israeli interests are not in the interests of America, and I don't see why we should sacrifice American lives and resources, or attacking science, because of them.
  24. GenAntilles Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 5
    If the order to assassinate Stevens was given by a legitimate government I would say it was a valid target. In war all military or civilian leadership are valid targets. However I don't count terrorist groups as legitimate governments. They should be killed or captured, interrogated, used as double agents or other intel purposes or executed immediately.
  25. Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Why does the legitimate government qualifier matter rather than just a distinct organization? I mean, haven't we been engaged in multiple wars against this enemy? How can we be involved in wars to get Al Qaeda, yet this doesn't fall under the "valid targets" bit of being at war?