Senate Is there a moral basis for assassinations?

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

  1. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Assassinations are evil, not just because it's murder but because it gives the killers this unacceptable power to decide at will who lives or dies. Given certain circumstances assassination may be justified (I would say the current threat of terrorism meets this criteria), but by no means does this mean we should go around saying that assassination is moral or good. The thing about necessary evils is that they are evil.

    Regarding legitimacy of a government, I would say that both Palestine and Taiwan are legitimate. Taiwan is a democratic government that represents the will of its people, and also it's been in de facto existence for over half a century so there's no reason to erase that. Palestine's government isn't quite democratic, but on the issue of independence from Israel, that seems to be something that most Palestinians will get behind. We argued that Kosovo should become independent due to its history of conflict with the rest of Serbia, well Palestine has at least as good a reason.

    About state terrorism, I would say that what Israel does borders on state terrorism. I say "borders" because some of what it does is partially justified. There's usually a little shred of necessity behind Israel's actions, though I find Israel's ruthless attitude and the extremes it goes to as being deplorable. As for Iran, there's little to no justification for the violence it employs.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Sep 27, 2012
  2. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Jack, how would you demonstrate that killing that one person would save thousands of lives?
  3. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    How are drone strikes "assassinations"?

    They are no different than manned bombers... there just isn't a man up in the plane, obviously.

    Also, the United States lists and condemns state sponsors of terrorism. Al Qaeda seemed so new in 2001 because it was a case of stateless terrorism.
  4. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Because you're killing someone outside of your borders. It's either assassination or an act of war or both. Pick one. It can't be neither.

    But are 'state sponsor of terrorism' and 'terrorist state' the same thing? I would say if the state engages in terrorist tactics itself (deliberate targeting of civilians to achieve political goals through intimidation, I believe is the definition of terrorism, but you may correct me if I'm wrong), then it is a terrorist state. This is different to sponsoring independent terrorist factions to carry out operations for you, although only in the logistics of it. Regardless, the US has engaged in sponsoring of terrorists as well, so it really makes no difference.


    The interesting thing here is that terrorism is significantly more effective against democracies than dictatorships. A dictator couldn't care less about the intimidation of his population. A democratic leader has to.
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    It's in cooperation with their governments. The governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen may publically talk about how they hate it, but they still agree to it. So it's not an act of war against those governments. And unless everytime an airplane has targeted a person on the ground is assassination, then it's not assassination. We are cooperating with the governments of the countries whose territories we're bombing, often acting on intelligence they give us.
  6. Aytee-Aytee Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2008
    star 5
    Sometimes assassinations can be justified.

    Take D.C. Stephenson for example. This country would have been a lot better off if someone had put a bullet through his head.
  7. TheShinyLightsaber Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 1
    The government never has a liberty to murder someone. Assassinate, is simply a term used to mean murder for a political purpose.
  8. GenAntilles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 4
    Really? The government doesn't have the power to kill? Better tell them that they no longer have the authority to use the military, police, rationing, healthcare, etc...

    A government that does not have the power of life and death, a government that does not have the power or ability to kill... is not a government. The government wields the sword and swings it so that the people do not. Either the government does the killing or the mob does, because there are some people that will always need killing.
  9. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    TheShinyLightsaber did not say that they don't have the power to kill. The government doesn't have the power to MURDER. You could argue assassination isn't murder, and theres a lot to debate there, but murder and kill are not the same things. It's why, for example, the cops have the ability to use lethal force to protect someone, but they can't shoot jaywalkers just because, why not. There are very distinct differences there.
  10. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well you don't shoot jaywalkers because they're not putting anyone's life in danger (except maybe their own).
  11. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Yeah... meh. I wouldn't put much stock into "cooperation". Most likely the choice is "we'll bomb you with your permission, or we bomb you without your permission. I recommend you give us permission so that at least you save some face".

    To put it simply; no American would feel sorry for the citizens of a country of backwards brown sand people. I'm articulating myself kind of crude, but really, that's how the average American views my part of the world, and those respective governments know this. So they cooperate, because "the lesser of two evils".
  12. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    Difficult, I know. What if they were a nuclear physicist assisting a rogue state in enriching uranium for military purposes? There's a moral argument there, I believe.
  13. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    There's no moral argument at all for assassinating scientists. Killing a scientist for simply helping his/her government (sometimes even coerced to do so) puts a target on the back of that profession. The world (especially the third world) needs more scientists, not less. Making it a dangerous profession is folly.
  14. GenAntilles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 4
    No moral argument? Though I support the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese would've been more than in the right in my eyes if they assassinated the scientists behind it. It would be folly with either Germany or Japan to have the opportunity and not take it.

    If killing scientists prevents cities from going up in nuclear fireballs so be it.

    A scientists option is either refusal and all that would entail, defecting and all that would entail, or risk assassination. Is it fair? No. But life isn't fair.
  15. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    And yet, your logic is that everything should be made LESS fair? You're basically saying that you support waging a war on science. To have prevented Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you're saying that it would have been moral to kill Oppenheimer, Einstein, Feynman, Bohr, Rutherford, Fermi, the Curies, Hahn, Meitner, Seaborg, Lawrence, Bethe, Gammow, and Heisenberg.

    Beyond that, similarly, you are also advocating a logic that says murdering scientists like Salk, Jenner, Pasteur, van Leeuwenhoek, and Snow to prevent germ warfare.

    You are advocating views that are a danger to humanity in your quest to destroy all scientific progress and put us back in the stone age by making any scientific progress that can be weaponized as turning those scientists into targets. It's a viewpoint that is disgusting, barbaric, and if it ever becomes prominent will be the destruction of our culture, our civilization, and our species. It is extremely ghoulish.
    Last edited by Lowbacca_1977, Sep 29, 2012
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  16. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Congratulations, GA. You manage to singlehandedly be the embodiment of why half the world hates America, and the other half merely dislikes it. Your mama must be proud. ;)
    Last edited by ViolentVioletMenace, Sep 30, 2012
  17. GenAntilles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 4
    Reasonable actions by the Germans or Japanese if they had. I would disagree with the outcome as I want them to be nuked, but I can see the attempt as a valid act.

    If a country is looking into a weapons program than killing scientists that can likely further that goal isn't out of the question.

    And again I'm not advocating as you seem to think killing every scientist in the world. If you are a nuclear scientist in Egpyt your perfectly fine, but if your in Iran you wouldn't be fine. I'm not waging a war against science, I'm talking of continuing a war against certain countries abilities to take advantage of it.

    Your views are the most dangerous to humanity. You would allow madmen to have weapons of unimaginable power. You would allow the world to burn to a cinder just to appease your own misguided idealism. Science is light but also fire, you do not let arsonists play with fire.

    Keeping the world stable and running smoothly is a thankless job truly. There will come a day when the USA steps down from this role and the new nation rises, and they will have a much harder hand than we. I look forward to the day I see people nostalgic for this time period, and begging for the USA to return. So yes, let the world hate us. And when were gone let them see if the UN, the EU, or China will do even 10% of what we've done to keep the world safe.
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    The scientists in Iran are NOT weapons designers, they're dealing with nuclear power. So you're arguing that it's a valid act to kill scientists working on things that can be misused. Ignoring that scientific developments can come from anywhere, and that when those developments happen, we ALL benefit. Civilized countries all agree to not shoot medical personnel, for example, as they represent non-combatants that, while they are technically helping the war effort, should be kept safe because it is in everyone's benefit to not destroy that much medical knowledge during a war. Scientific knowledge is much the same. And to say that killing scientists is valid is to support a war against science.

    And when the world is running smoothly and stably, let me know. Last I checked, we spent a large portion of the last several decades causing wars in other countries and fighting stable democracies.
  19. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the assassination of scientists; however, nuclear weapons embody all of the things I have highlighted in your post. The use of them could like you say destroy our culture, our civilization, and our species. Just a thought.
  20. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Nuclear weapons and nuclear science aren't the same thing, though.
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  21. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    I'm curious, do you actually believe this self-righteous crap or is it like a case of "repeat it often enough and it becomes true"?

    I can imagine every empire in world history, all the way up to the recent one where the sun never set, at some point used this talking point to legitimize their rule. In every one of those cases, I'd call bull****, and I see no reason why your case should be any different.
    Last edited by ViolentVioletMenace, Oct 1, 2012
  22. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Are you saying that all's fair in love and war? Or that Japan and Germany were on the same moral level as us during World War II and that we need to be more like them in order to survive?
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Oct 1, 2012
  23. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    What moral level is that exactly? The US knew about the camps in Poland, Germany, and elsewhere as early as 1941, yet did nothing about them. We did not even lodge a formal protest. How is the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in '31 fundamentally different than the Spanish-American war or the US invasion of Mexico? Both of these later examples are blatant land-grabs.

    All IS fair in war. We DID become as brutal as the Japanese in the Pacific Theatre. We fire-bombed every major Japanese city except for two, and then nuked those two. We didn't treat the Germans in this fashion, so why did we treat the Japanese this way? Because they started the war? Does that not make less about military necessity and more about abject humiliation?

    This thread really should be renamed to "Does the end justify the means?"
  24. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    The Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars were land grabs, I'll give you that. But does that mean that Americans two or three generations down the road should have stood by while Japan invaded Manchuria? And whatever moral shortcomings or crimes that the Allies were guilty of in that war, it still does not match what the Axis powers did. Just look at how we treated the post-war occupied nations compared to what the Germans and Japanese did to the Russians and Chinese in the areas they occupied.
  25. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    But that is kind of my point: we DID just stand by. If the Japanese had not bombed Pearl Harbor, I have doubts that we would have gone to war over China. Had the Germans not bombed England in 1940, I doubt that we would have gone to war in Europe. We probably would have been content to watch the Germans and Soviets beat the crap out of each other for four years.

    I am not apologizing for the way the Nazis treated the Ukranians, Poles, Czechs, or Russians, nor do I think the Japanese were right in their invasion of China. But to say that we went to war to free the Chinese or save the Jews is simply untrue.

    Back to the topic at hand: assassinating leaders has the unintended consequences of opening a Pandora's box. If we take out Putin, as an example, what is to stop the Russians from killing Obama? If they do, does the US retaliate by taking out the next guy? Where does it stop?
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