The Use of Force is Not the Best Option to Liberate A People

February 27, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Posted in American politics, freedom, Iraq, Military, Peace, Thoughts, War | 109 Comments

I’ve liked Obsidian Wings. The writers there are usually quite clear, articulate, and realistic. Today, I just read Hilzoy’s post entitled “Liberating Iraq.” I find it to be one of the most thoughtful pieces on the use of force vs alternative options. She quotes Peter Beinart who admitted that his original backing of the war in Iraq was wrong. Peter Beinart states the following about why he came to the conclusion Iraq was wrong:

It begins with a painful realization about the United States: We can’t be the country those Iraqis wanted us to be. We lack the wisdom and the virtue to remake the world through preventive war. That’s why a liberal international order, like a liberal domestic one, restrains the use of force–because it assumes that no nation is governed by angels, including our own.

But Hilzoy adds that it really isn’t America, as she says:

It’s not just that we aren’t the country Beinart wanted to think we were; it’s that war is not the instrument he thought it was.

She then recounts the following experience she had in 1983:

Back in 1983, I sat in on a conference on women and social change. There were fascinating people from all over the world, women who had been doing extraordinary things in their own countries, and who had gathered together to talk it through; and I got to be a fly on the wall.

During this conference, there was a recurring disagreement about the role of violence in fighting deeply unjust regimes. On one side were the women from India, who argued against the use of violence, generally on Gandhian grounds. On the other were many of the women who lived under deeply unjust regimes; I recall, in particular, the South Africans arguing that however laudable nonviolence might be, their situation was sufficiently desperate that they could not afford the luxury of waiting for nonviolence to work.

It seemed to me that at the heart of this disagreement was this one fact: that the women from India were from a country that had already achieved independence, and were living with the problems that came afterwards, whereas the women from South Africa were trying to achieve that self-government in the first place. The South Africans seemed to think that the women from India had forgotten what it was like to be subjugated. We need to win our freedom as quickly as possible, they seemed to say. We realize that it would be preferable to win that freedom in the best possible way. If we could win it just as quickly through non-violent means, we would surely do so. But you would not ask us to wait if you really understood what it is like to live in slavery.

By contrast, many of the arguments made by the Indians turned on the effects that achieving self-government through violence had on one’s own people. Don’t do this, they seemed to be saying: once you win your freedom, you will find that you and your people have grown accustomed to settling disputes by force and to demonizing your opponents. Think now about how to use the struggle you are waging to teach yourselves how to become citizens and to practice self-government. Do not wait until you win your independence to discover that self-government requires not just political power, but political responsibility.

The Indians had seen for themselves that wars changed who they were. Hilzoy learned that “liberation is not just a matter of removing an oppressive government.” She concludes with the following:

This is why, when I read Beinart’s piece, I thought: the South African he quotes — the one who said that “if the United States were a different country, it would help the African National Congress liberate South Africa by force” — was wrong. Force is not just an alternate way of getting to liberation; it changes everything. And liberation is not just a matter of removing an oppressive regime; it is a matter of creating a country populated by citizens who are, by and large, willing to set aside the idea of resolving conflicts by force and to respect the laws, even when they are imperfectly applied.

For this reason, the problem with that South African’s vision is not just that “we lack the wisdom and the virtue to remake the world through preventive war.” That’s true, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem, namely: that preventive war is not a way of remaking the world in the ways the South African and Beinart imagine.

Liberation is a matter of creating a country populated by citizens who are, by and large, willing to set aside the idea of resolving conflicts by force and to respect the laws.

In the case of Iraq, the British had attempted to “liberate” the country earlier, and establish order. Of course that led to the rise of Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party. Too many Americans still rely on force as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, the ultimate sword of freedom. But the use of force changes everything.

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  1. But the use of force changes everything.

    As does subverting the principle of free agency. The Doctrine and Covenants warns us about the unrighteousness of using compulsion to obtain desirable results, but I guess eternal gospel principles don’t apply when it comes to international relations.

  2. You make some very good points.

    If only the world was perfect, and everyone understood that things turn out for the best if everyone works together. Unfortunatly, the world is far from perfect. There will always be evil that manages to gain power. They often will not yield that power through persuation.

    If a country is not willing to take up the sword, it will have very little, if any, influence in the world.

  3. knighthospitaller,

    so under your understanding, because the world is not perfect, no peaceful means will work and only the sword is the answer?

  4. Hi, and thanks. However: I’m not a he.

  5. Hilzoy,

    My deepest apologies. I couldn’t tell gender from your posts on Obsidian Wings, so I apologize. I have corrected it in the text.

  6. Alma 31:5 “And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”

    D&C 98:16 “Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace…”

    But maybe the authors of these scriptures were speaking to someone else, and don’t apply to us at all.

  7. Mark,

    That is an excellent scripture. Would that more Americans (and well more humans) learn that principle….

  8. I’m not saying peaceful will not work. I’m saying there are people in this world, (if you can call them people) who will not come to peaceful agreement. They only speak one language, violence.

    The worst part is, all it takes is for these “men” to get a hold of a weapon that is capable kill large numbers of people very quickly. Because they have no regard for human life, only power…

  9. knight,

    You are indeed saying peace won’t work. Just now you are questioning whether certain people are even human beings! You are just saying that the only language they speak is violence. As such, you do not think peace will ever work with them. The troubling aspect of this rationale is that you don’t specify just who is this “violent man”, and as such it allows you to label whoever you want as the “violent man” who knows only violence as a form of communication.

    Could I then say that you are one of those people, knight? Your rationale is that violence is the only form of communication that can work in this imperfect world with “evil men.” Do you not become one of them when you espouse only violence in return? What differentiates you from them?

  10. “It is troubling that I don’t specify who the violent man is”??!
    You just displayed to me how simplistic your veiw of the world really is. Things are not always so black and white my friend. It’s not like always like Star Wars, there isn’t always an evil emperor who wears black and shoots lightning through his hands!!!!

    During world war II, America allied itself with an evil man, Stalin…
    But at the time it was necicary to defeat another threat.

    I guess I’m just trying to understand your definition of “peace”. Because if all peace means to you is a temporary calm or lull, then of course, peace can be achived though non-violent means all the time. But countrys like Iran and North Korea, will play people like you for fools… They will use the diplomatic talks as breathing room while they plot and plan…

    All the time, creating the allusion that you were sucsessful, that you finally ended the hostilities. A great example is the period between WWI and WWII. But maybe you haven’t learned anything from history…

  11. knight,

    I’m trying to understand who you see are the people that don’t want peace. Who are they in your eyes? Just simply saying there are evil people in the world and because of that, let’s take up the sword is not a good answer. Just because there are evil men in the world does not justify violent action upon them.

    They will use the diplomatic talks as breathing room while they plot and plan…

    You do realize you just described the Bush administration. I get the impression that you see America as some kind of noble country, that all our actions are justified simply because, well, we’re America. But my goodness, dude, we’ve done some seriously evil things in the world. Can you comprehend that?

    You alude to the period of peace between World War I and World War II as an example of peace not working, and then claim that I haven’t learned anything from history. Unfortunately your point is not proven by this period in history. In fact, the reason peace failed here is because the “winners” of World War I congratulated themselves on a good fight, when in fact, they were as much to blame for the war. As such, and for the manner in which they treated Germany, well, a bad treaty has nasty consequences. The Treaty of Versailles ended up pushing Germany towards starting another war.

    I get the feeling though that you are far too gone into neo-conservative propaganda to be turned back to reasonable thinking. I hope I’m wrong, but I get the sense that nothing will change your point of view. Not even the utter failure of the neo-conservative philosophy and strategy regarding the Middle East. Heck, you’d love for America to start a war with Iran!

  12. You just don’t get it do you. You think I like it if the US started a war with Iran… I feel sorry for you. In their countries eyes, we are at war with them.

    Here is an update, war works both ways.

    Lets say you are leader of your own nation, and I, the leader of mine. You want peaceful relations between our countrys, but I want your head on a pike… (this is just hypathetical, I’m not implying anything). Anyway, you can strike all the deals with me you want, and do everything in your power to avoid conflict. But if I already consider myself at war with you, then my friend, you are at war with me… like it or not, this is how it is. Have you not heard, Iranian children chanting “death to America” in their schools!

    You love your country, this much I can tell, why else would you be so passionate? But I am telling you, if you give those people who, want nothing more, then to kill as many of us, men, women, and children, as possible, the room to divise a 9/11 style attack and see it through, you will be gravely mistaken.

    The people we face now, are very pacient, and very efficient. America is the COMPLETE opposite. If things don’t go our way, instantly, then we have failed. But Fundementalists, are pacient… This war has been going on since the crusades began. We’ve just recently realized that after 9/11.

    But I think you don’t understand my thoughts. I’m not the type who thinks bombing the hell out of a country solves anything. I don’t want war. War is horrible, but people who are willing to die, in order to take as much innocent life as possible should be taken seriously. Iraq, was a mistake. But we are there now. Iran, and Syria seem to realize Iraq’s importance more than we do. That will be our undoing.

    I don’t think America is perfect, in fact, it is far from it. But it is our home, our family, and I will do everything in my power to protect it.

  13. knight,

    In their countries eyes, we are at war with them.

    please show me your evidence.

  14. hmmmm,

    Have you not heard, Iranian children chanting “death to America” in their schools!

    And you are shouting “Death to Iran” right now at me.

  15. knight,

    I will do everything in my power to protect it.

    Do you realize how often you contradicted yourself? First you say you don’t want war, then you say our enemy knows no response but war, then you say you want peace, but then you say you will do everything in your power to protect your country. But don’t you realize that wars also weaken countries that fight them?

    Alas, I was right. You have been captured in the neo-conservative dogma and believe we’re in a fight that began with the crusades…..might I remind you, WE, the West, started the crusades…..

  16. I’m not saying peaceful will not work.

    Jesus taught that “an eye for an eye” is obsolete thinking. He taught that following his teachings would occasionally require the sacrifice of one’s life:

    D&C 103: 27-28
    “Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.
    “And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.”

    Or is this another one of those scriptures that is not meant to be taken literally?

    The record in the Book of Mormon with regard to what happened to the people named Anti-Nephi-Lehi, in Alma 24, might be instructive in light of D&C 103.

  17. Lets say you are leader of your own nation, and I, the leader of mine. You want peaceful relations between our countrys, but I want your head on a pike… (this is just hypathetical, I’m not implying anything).

    Unlike bad guys in the movies, real leaders of real countries have real motivations that drive their “wants”. Why would your hypothetical leader want my hypothetical leader’s head on a pike? What drives the hatred of your leader for mine?

    I assume that you do want to discuss actual people, and not cartoon character villains who are bad simply because the “good guy” requires a “bad guy” to triumph over as part of an entertaining story.

  18. What drives the leader’s hatered? Try asking Mahmuod Ahmadnijad why he wants Israel wiped off the face of the planet!!!

    You’re trying to reason with irrationality. Are you trying to tell me he wants to wipe them off the face of the Earth because he has “real motivations that drive his want”… You’re insane…

    You know who that sounds like? Arthur Neville Chamberlain.

    And you know who Ahmadnijad sounds like??? Hitler.

  19. And about the crusades comment!!!! The crusades were horrible, but I think less the 25% of the American population even understands why the crusades happened.

    Wahabism teaches young muslims the crusades, like they happened yesterday. And that this is just an extension. Yet many Americans don’t even know how many crusades there were!

    War is not the all or nothing, black and white, battle it was years ago. This war is different, but I don’t expect you to understand… You said war weakens a country??? What happened to the US after WWII???? We were weakened????????????

    This is a war of conversion. Right now we are losing because of people like you, people who see this as an American imperialist expansion. I hate to break it to you, but if the United States was simply interested in this “Neo-conservatism” and imperialism, we would be in Teran and Damascus, as well as Bagdad. And we would not be educating the Iraqi people and training their security forces. We would simply occupy and HOLD the cities. Which is completely out of the question.

    The hardest part about the conflict today, is the fact that the ones trying to destabilize lagitimate governments, hide and pay fanatics to do the dirty work for them…

    I DON’T advocate WAR in the sense you simpletons seem to think. I advocate covert intelligence gathering, figuring out the big picture, while keeping conflit on the table. As opposed to walking up to Mr. Ahmadnijad, and asking him politely to please cooperate fully.

  20. knight,

    You know who that sounds like? Arthur Neville Chamberlain.

    And you know who Ahmadnijad sounds like??? Hitler.

    You want to talk about irrational? Please, grow up. The usage of reductio ad hitlerum is old news here.

  21. The crusades were horrible, but I think less the 25% of the American population even understands why the crusades happened.

    Why did the Crusades happen? enlighten us please. :)

    War is not the all or nothing, black and white, battle it was years ago. This war is different, but I don’t expect you to understand…

    Why wouldn’t I understand? What makes this war different?

    You said war weakens a country??? What happened to the US after WWII???? We were weakened????????????

    You bet it does, and you bet it weakened America. Because of WWII, America lost half a million of some of its best men. I’m not saying the sacrifice wasn’t worth it, because it most certainly was, however, it was just that, a sacrifice, a loss.

    This is a war of conversion.

    Is it really? I thought we were fighting for peace….but apparently you want to convert Muslims. Indeed you are feeding their paranoia and further distancing them and us from peace.

    Right now we are losing because of people like you, people who see this as an American imperialist expansion.

    No, we are losing because of people like Bush who are so utterly inept that it would be so laughable if it weren’t so tragic. What a sad state of affairs we are facing right now in America.

    I hate to break it to you, but if the United States was simply interested in this “Neo-conservatism” and imperialism, we would be in Teran and Damascus, as well as Bagdad. And we would not be educating the Iraqi people and training their security forces. We would simply occupy and HOLD the cities. Which is completely out of the question.

    Why is it completely out of the question. You just said it yourself, this is a war of conversion. If that is the case, why are we holding back? It seems silly to hold back in such a war….

    I advocate covert intelligence gathering, figuring out the big picture, while keeping conflit on the table.

    Actually you just advocated war. You may emphasize other aspects of your mission, but you just stated it very clearly, “while keeping conflict on the table.” You do not seek peace, Mr. knight. You seek war. What makes you any different than our enemies?

  22. Mark,

    Do you believe LDS scripture advocates pacifism? You use the people of Ammon as proof, yet fail to mention the reasons they themselves gave for burying their weapons. You also fail to mention that God told them to go to the Nephites for protection, and the Nephites defended them at great personal cost.

    If we are to use scripture to describe peace and war, we may well use Alma as an example. When faced with Amlici, Alma battled his armies and killed Amlici himself.

    We might also bring to mind Captain Moroni, Teancum, and Helaman. All were involved in a great war found in the latter chapters of the book of Alma.

    It is obvious to anyone with a cursory knowlede of scripture that they do not advocate what you have thrust on to them. What may be discussed is under what circumstances was force used, and how might that apply to current events.

  23. The FIRST CRUSADE was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the dual goals of liberating the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslims, and freeing the Eastern Christians from Muslim rule. What started as an appeal to the French knightly class quickly turned into a wholesale migration and conquest of territory outside of Europe. Both knights and peasants from many nations of Western Europe, with little central leadership, travelled over land and by sea towards Jerusalem and captured the city in July 1099, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and other Crusader states. Although these gains lasted for less than two hundred years, the First Crusade was a major turning point in the expansion of Western power, and was the only crusade to capture Jerusalem.

    The SECOND CRUSADE was the second major crusade launched from Europe, called in 1145 in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year. Edessa was the first of the Crusader states to have been founded during the First Crusade (1095–1099), and was the first to fall. The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other important European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe and were somewhat hindered by Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus; after crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and, in 1148, participated in an ill-advised attack on Damascus. The crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately lead to the fall of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.

    The only success came outside of the Mediterranean, where Flemish, Frisian, Norman, English, Scottish, and some German crusaders, on the way by ship to the Holy Land, fortuitously stopped and helped capture Lisbon in 1147. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, the first of the Northern Crusades began with the intent of forcibly converting pagan tribes to Christianity, and these crusades would go on for centuries.

  24. “You may emphasize other aspects of your mission, but you just stated it very clearly, “while keeping conflict on the table.” You do not seek peace…”

    You would take the option off the table, thereby eleminating most of your diplomatic leverage. Also I have a great quote for you,

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war” -Plato

  25. Also by war of conversion, I ment the fastest growing religion, Islam… You seem to think that everytime I use the word war, I say it with an offensive meaning… Like I explained before, it works both ways. If I were a terrorist I would be routing for you though… Someone who undermines his own countries attempts to protect him….

  26. Do you believe LDS scripture advocates pacifism?

    The “people of Ammon” example may not be relevant in light of the simple, unconditional and more recent command “renounce war” as given to us in the Doctrine & Covenants.

    The “people of Ammon” example obviously occurred as a result of the desire of that people to repent of their past murders. I wonder if there are any murders on the hands of previous US administrations (to say nothing of the current one) that still are in need of being repented for.

  27. You’re trying to reason with irrationality.

    It certainly easier to justify violence by demonizing the citizens of other nations and accusing them of being irrational. Of course, if their leaders are irrational, it’s entirely possible (and wouldn’t surprise me in the least) that our leaders may be irrational as well.

  28. We might also bring to mind Captain Moroni, Teancum, and Helaman. All were involved in a great war found in the latter chapters of the book of Alma.

    In the words of everyone’s favorite Spencer W. Kimball lookalike, Master Yoda, “Wars make not one great.”

    I think the message of the Book of Mormon, in it’s totality, is that war is a futile waste of human life, regardless of how honorable or noble certain individual warriors might be. For all that Captain Moroni may have accomplished in his lifetime, he merely postponed the inevitable: the final result was that the Nephites were wiped out because they decided to go on the offensive by attempting to implement a “final solution” with regard to the Lamanites and would not repent. For some reason, the authors of the Book of Mormon felt that this message was extremely relevant to us today and that their example would be important for us to know about.

    The people of Ammon came to realize that for all of their self-justifications with regard to their participation in wars, in the end, it all boiled down to the simple fact that they had committed murder as a result of their participation in those wars. The motto “never again” was evidently not reserved to those of the 20th century.

    The command to us in these latter-days, and to latter-day saints in particular, is to “renounce war”, without exception.

    Do you go around bopping people on the nose just for the sheer fun of it? Or are you more likely to bop someone in the nose as a result of suffering what you perceive as an injustice? The citizens of the United States need to take a long, hard look at how others have perceived that our nation has treated them unjustly. They’re not crashing airliners into our skyscrapers because they hate us for our freedoms; they’re hitting us back for things that we have done to them, and the vast majority of us have no clue as to what those things are that have been done to others in our name.

  29. knight,

    You know you ought to reference something if you quote something, else you could be accused of plagiarism. Quoting from wikipedia without referencing wikipedia is plagiarizing and dishonest.

    Secondly, I want to hear in your own words how well you understand what the Crusades were all about. Anyone can google the Crusades and read the latest entry in wikipedia. But do you really know what you are talking about?

    You would take the option off the table, thereby eleminating most of your diplomatic leverage. Also I have a great quote for you,

    Dude, don’t mess with a librarian. I can out-quote you any day of the week. Anyways, that gets childish.

    Anyone (and I really mean anyone) who threatens another country with a possible strike by saying stupid things like, “We have all options on the table, including military strikes” does not know diplomacy, and will inevitably lead their country to ruin.

    Also by war of conversion, I ment the fastest growing religion, Islam

    What’s wrong with Islam being the fastest growing religion? Do you have something against that?

    Like I explained before, it works both ways. If I were a terrorist I would be routing for you though… Someone who undermines his own countries attempts to protect him….

    Actually if you were a terrorist, you’d love it more when your enemy comes to you, because your enemy therefore gives you more targets to attack (as is clearly evidenced in Iraq). It is much harder for a terrorist to attack American soil than to attack Americans abroad. But like I’ve said you’ve already bought into the neo-conservative propaganda that democracy at home “undermines” the war effort. It is ironic really, neo-conservatives, those cowardly lions, are the ones undermining democracy, the very thing we are supposed to be fighting for…..and yes, they are cowards. I don’t see Bill Kristol, Brit Hume, Fred Kagan donning their military outfits to go fight in Iraq for the cause they believe in. No, in fact, what I see them doing is deriding Americans for freely speaking their minds. How dare any American say what he really thinks about the world around him! Cowards, the whole lot of them.

  30. Mark,

    The message of the Book of Mormon regarding warfare is that if you go on the offense, you will lose. If you defend your home, wait for the enemy to come to you, and rely on God for your defense, you will win. Take 3 Nephi 3:20-21 for example:

    20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
    21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.

    Never have a righteous nation of God gone on the offensive, tried to take out other regimes, cause regime changes, etc, with one exception: The Israelites’ march into Canaan. That one exception is important, because God had ordered it. But there is no other reference anywhere else about God ordering any such action. In fact, as the 3 Nephi scripture shows, God’s prophet said that the best option is to wait for your enemy to come to you.

  31. semantics…

  32. Mark N,

    God ordains that the State—law enforcement and the military—may wield the sword (Rom. 13:1-7).

  33. Daniel,

    Earlier in this lively debate you stated:

    “might I remind you, WE, the West, started the crusades…..”
    (in post 15)

    You call youself a librarian, does your library contain no history books?
    The West started the Crusades?

    In 610 AD a man named Muhammad received his first “revelations” from God. 150 years later Muslims had conquered nearly all of the Middle East. Who ruled this land before them? The Byzantines. That’s right, Greek Orthodox Christians. Before Islam existed as a faith, Christians had been ruling a large portion of the Middle East. Now, how do you think this exchange of rulers took place? It was through offensive military campaigns on the part of the Muslims. In the 11th century the Byzantine emperor saw the Seljuk Turks(Muslims) overpowering what was left of his empire, so he begged the Pope to save his empire from the Muslim menace. The Pope responded by issuing the first Crusade to retake Jerusalem (as in it previously had been under Christian rule) from the Muslims. The Crusades were a RESPONSE to Muslim aggression. The Muslims initiated the conflict.

    Your knowledge of history seems to go no further back than the first Crusade. That would explain why you did not like the quote from Plato-“Only the dead have seen the end of war”.

  34. Daniel,

    In the middle of the debate you say:
    “Quoting from wikipedia without referencing wikipedia is plagiarizing and dishonest” (In post 29)

    Then I must ask you what it is to totally misapply the reductio ad hitlerum like you do in post 20? Because if it is wrong, as you point out, to get the facts right, but the source wrong, then what is it to get the facts wrong and the source right? You quote from wikipedia without knowing what wikipedia says. Permit me to explain.

    Knight Hospitaller makes a comparison that Hitler sounds like Ahmadnijad, while Chamberlain sounds like Mark N. (Post 18)

    Yet you call this reductio ad hitlerum. Reductio ad hitlerum, if you had actually read wikipedia, is the case when the argument is made that, “Adolf Hitler (or the Nazi party) supported X; therefore X must be evil”. Knights Hospitaller did not say that Adolf Hitler supported Ahmadnijad, therefore Ahmadnijad is bad. Next time when you quote wikipedia, make sure you read it first.

    And for another history lesson in Pre-Crusade history:
    “We make war so that we may live in peace.” -Aristotle

  35. 1 Kings 18

    Elijah goes on the offensive and slays the priests of Baal.

    1 Ne 4

    Nephi goes on the offensive and slays Laban.

    Alma 51

    Teancum goes on the offensive and slays Amalickiah in his sleep.

    Acts 5

    A couple don’t pay a full tithe and are struck dead by Peter

    Alma 51

    The kingmen refuse to join their Nephite brethren in defense of their country and are “compelled” to do so.

    Alma 46

    Moroni goes on the offensive and attacks Amalickiah with the intent of preventing him from joining the Lamanites and coming back later with more strength.

  36. Cameron,

    This is a bit disappointing, but not surprising. Too many Mormons have misunderstood the “war chapters” and have misused them to justify aggressive warfare. But let’s get a few things straight here.

    In Alma 43, when the war began, the Nephites under Moroni did not start fighting until the Lamanites struck first. Read it carefully and you will see this is true. As such, everything else that happened under this war cannot be used as justification for aggression, because they are already in the war.

    Nephi’s beheading of Laban was done at the command of the Lord, and as such does not relate to aggressive warfare, and as such cannot be used as justification for warfare.

    Now your use of Elijah and the priests of Baal is interesting. This is the first time I’ve seen someone use that example to justify aggressive warfare…..frankly I’m not sure what you are trying to justify using this scripture. That if you are a prophet trying to convince the people to follow God, you can at God’s instruction and inspiration prove false prophets wrong and then kill them? I don’t see how this relates to warfare.

    Finally, Peter striking dead those who did not keep God’s commandments. I again don’t see how this can justify aggressive warfare….

  37. knight,

    I’m actually right. The Crusades by definition were started by the West. But you are also right, they were in response to Muslims taking Jerusalem and threatening Christians in Europe. I don’t dispute that. But we did, indeed, start the Crusades.

    It seems you do not understand the application of reductio ad hitlerum. I’m not surprised.

    You say:

    You know who that sounds like? Arthur Neville Chamberlain.

    And you know who Ahmadnijad sounds like??? Hitler.

    Now, what does reductio ad hitlerum say?

    The reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy is of the form “Adolf Hitler (or the Nazi party) supported X; therefore X must be evil”. This fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant condemnation of anything to do with Hitler or the Nazis.

    It is important to understand that those policies advocated by Hitler and his party that are generally considered evil, are all condemned by themselves, not because Hitler supported them. In other words: genocide and Aryan white supremacism (for example) are not considered evil because Hitler advocated them, but rather Hitler is considered evil because he advocated them.

    The fallacious nature of Reductio ad Hitlerum is best illustrated by identifying X as something that Adolf Hitler or his supporters did promote but which is not considered evil — for example, X = “building expressways”, X = “painting watercolors”, X = “owning dogs”. It may also be refuted through counterexamples:

    * Dwight Eisenhower, who despised Hitler’s criminality, admired his Autobahnen and promoted the Interstate Highway System in the United States.
    * Hitler’s opponent Sir Winston Churchill also painted.
    * U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who asked Congress for a Declaration of War, and his successor Harry Truman, who continued to prosecute the war against Germany, also owned dogs.

    The argument being fallacious, however, does not prove X, or its supporters, not being evil (assuming that would be another fallacy, namely affirming the consequent). Moreover, recall that the argument is fallacious in itself, no matter whether X is actually good or evil. So, “Hitler killed human beings, therefore killing is wrong”, is nonetheless a fallacy, however truthful premise and conclusion may be, because there is no logical connection between the two of them. It would be akin to “I wear trousers, therefore tomorrow it will rain”. This sentence is logically faulty, even if the speaker does wear trousers, and the next day does turn out rainy.

    The application of this to your comments is as such. You say that our comments are like Neville Chamberlain. But the fallacy is that just because one’s comments are such does not make them Neville Chamberlain’s comments. The relation does not exist just because you see they are similar.

    Similarly, you state: “you know who Ahmadinejad sounds like? Hitler!”

    Ahmadinejad’s comments, as foolish and stupid as they are are not Hitler’s, and as such your comment is logically fallacious.

    Now for some good quotes:

    No more wars, no more bloodshed. Peace unto you. Shalom, salaam, forever.
    – Menachem Begin

    It hath been said that an unjust peace is to be preferred before a just war.
    – Samuel Butler

    and for your pre-Crusade days:

    I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war.
    – Cicero

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks.
    – Bob Dylan

    Nothing will end war unless the people refuse to go to war.
    – Albert Einstein

    I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility and its stupidity.
    – Dwight D. Eisenhower

    There was never a good war or a bad peace.
    – Benjamin Franklin

    “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind…War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
    –John F. Kennedy

    “The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.
    – Abraham Lincoln

    I think Lincoln is good to end with, however, I’ve got plenty more if needed.

  38. God ordains that the State—law enforcement and the military—may wield the sword (Rom. 13:1-7).

    Joseph Smith contends that Romans 13 isn’t about the state at all, but about the priesthood authorities in the Church:

    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power in the church but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.
    “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves punishment.
    “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same;
    “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil be afraid; for he beareth not the rod in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

    I suspect that Romans 13 was unscrupulously changed at some early point in time to say something that Paul never intended it to say at all.

  39. And for another history lesson in Pre-Crusade history:
    “We make war so that we may live in peace.” -Aristotle

    Somehow, I doubt that Aristotle has my eternal salvation in mind.

  40. I’ve got plenty more if needed

    There were a couple of Ike quotes in there I liked:

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    – Dwight D. Eisenhower

    When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.
    – Dwight D. Eisenhower

  41. “Let us learn our lessons. […] Never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events… incompetent or arrogant commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant fortune, ugly surprise, awful miscalculations.”

    -Winston Churchill

  42. Daniel,

    I did not think it would be so easy to lead you into a trap, but you seem to have taken the bait quite nicely. I called into question your historical knowledge, and so you respond by showing your “knowledge” and in the process admit to the original point that Knight Hospitaller made. He said,

    “This war has been going on since the crusades began.”

    To which you replied, that it was WE, the West that started the Crusades. You say this to accuse the west of being the aggressors. Then you admit in your reply to me that, “they were in response to Muslims taking Jerusalem and threatening Christians in Europe.” So thank you for changing your mind and agreeing with us. The Crusades began because of the Muslim aggression. To illustrate my point, how the heck would the Muslims have started the Crusades by your definition? It would be impossible because they are not the Christians, because the Crusades as you point out were Christian. It would be like saying that if I shoot you, and you shoot back, you started the fight. That would be ridiculous, and I am glad you understand the truth now. Once again, the original point made was that,

    “But if I already consider myself at war with you, then my friend, you are at war with me… like it or not, this is how it is.”

    The Muslims were at war with the Christians, whether the Christians wanted to be or not. You don’t seriously pretend that the Crusades were an unwarranted act of aggression, do you?

  43. knight,

    you didn’t lead me into any trap. I was incorrect about my history. It happens. I’m a librarian, and not a historian.

    However, your point that we are at war with Islam is not correct, no matter how much anyone ties it to the Crusades.

    And back to the point of this particular post, wars do not solve the problems some of us think they do.

    It’s interesting that you quote Churchill, especially that quote. He’s basically telling you that war will take away your freedom and that you become a slave to it. Is that what you want, knight?

  44. I used that quote on purpose. Do you know what Churchill did, and advocated in order to protect his country?

    It proves my point, that you don’t have to be a war monger to know that sometimes, war is necessary to solve problems…

  45. Yeah, he inspired his people to support him. He gave them hope where little was.

    It proves my point, that you don’t have to be a war monger to know that sometimes, war is necessary to solve problems…

    was that really your point? This is what you said in your first comment:

    If a country is not willing to take up the sword, it will have very little, if any, influence in the world.

    That is a far cry from saying wars are sometimes necessary to solve problems. Further, you cannot use Churchill as an example to justify aggressive warfare, because he never espoused aggressive warfare. He espoused to be prepared, and that you have to defend yourself, a far cry from what you’ve espoused.

  46. Daniel,

    This is your explanation of the application of reductio ad hitlerum:
    “You say that our comments are like Neville Chamberlain. But the fallacy is that just because one’s comments are such does not make them Neville Chamberlain’s comments.”

    Where the heck you get that argument from, I have no clue. You seem to be missing the point of the logical fallacy in reductio ad hitlerum. The fact that Hitler supported killing Jews is not what makes killing Jews bad. Killing Jews is what makes killing Jews bad regardless of whether Hitler or Ahmadnijad support it. Hospitaller is simply pointing out that they both support it. That is NOT a logical fallacy and it is definitely not reductio ad hitlerum. That is the same when he compares you to Neville Chamberlain. He is just saying that both of you support appeasement. The point of the comparison is that when history played out, Chamberlain was played the fool by Hitler. Hospitaller is saying that you are being played the fool by Ahmadnijad. You can disagree with that statement, but you cannot call it a logical fallacy.

    I appreciate your quotes; they are always fun to read. Do you realize that Abraham Lincoln invaded the South so that he could preserve the Union? He wasn’t even liberating anyone, he was conquering a peacefully liberated people (they seceded from the Union). Since the main subject of this debate is whether or not the use of force is the best option to liberate a people, maybe you could enlighten us as to why Lincoln used force to subjugate a peacefully liberated people, and do you agree with what he did?

  47. Daniel,

    I am not a “historian” either, but when you say, “you cannot use Churchill as an example to justify aggressive warfare, because he never espoused aggressive warfare.” You really better research before you make such a statement. It just so happens that I have read both of the books called The Last Lion. They are in depth biographies of Winston Churchill. He more than advocated aggresive warfare.

  48. Thanks Templar,

    Thus proving my point that it is not “peace or bust” there are always exceptions. And if you don’t leave the option of agression on the table, you limit yourself a bargining chip for peace…

  49. uh oh tag team duo!

    hospitaller,

    Thus proving my point that it is not “peace or bust” there are always exceptions.

    Show me where i imply “peace or bust,” please.

  50. Frankly I think Churchill was far more sensible about the use of warfare. He certainly was no idealist who thought he could change the world, as neo-cons see themselves. In fact, this is what he said about idealists:

    No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.
    - Winston Churchill

  51. Templar,

    He is just saying that both of you support appeasement.

    And in this he is, of course wrong. And this is where reductio ad hitlerum comes in. Appeasement is the easy word for conservatives to claim those against their warmongering policies are. Just throw out the name Chamberlain and appeasement, and that just about covers your political opponents. This is a logical fallacy, one known as reductio ad hitlerum.

  52. Hospitaller is saying that you are being played the fool by Ahmadnijad.

    No he is not. He is attempting to discredit my words by comparing me to Chamberlain and Ahmadinejad to Hitler. That is reductio ad hitlerum, always was, and always will be.

    and finally, do you really want to open the can of worms about the Civil War? Just let me know and I’ll start a new post about it.

  53. Daniel,

    I do not think you imply “peace or bust”. I also think that you agree that it is good to defend yourself from an attack (correct me if I am wrong). In Post 43 you explain that the main purpose of this post is that wars do not solve the problems some of us think they do. I ask you then, do you think the Civil War solved anything? Abraham Lincoln thought it could. “This is essentially a people’s war. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of man, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life…Our popular government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled, the successful establishing and the successful administering of it. One still remains-its successful maintenance against a formidable attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion, that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets, and that when ballots are fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace, teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take by war – teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.” (The Civil War by Shelby Foote, p68) Would you agree with Abraham, that war can solve some problems?

    Consider the can of worms opened.

  54. templar,

    I do not think you imply “peace or bust”. I also think that you agree that it is good to defend yourself from an attack (correct me if I am wrong).

    You are correct. Please don’t view all liberals as anti-war doves. You’ll find that the very large majority of liberals agreed to the war in Afghanistan, and still do. Those are the guys who attacked us. What are they doing regrouping!!!

    Okay, the can of worms is open.

    To begin, Lincoln did not start the war. He did not fire the first shots against the South. And no the rebellious Southern states did not “peacefully liberate themselves.” Their intent was devious and un-Constitutional. They went against the express wishes of George Washington who implored the South in his Farewell address not to break the union. (George Washington saw early on what troubles slavery would bring his country). With all that said, let’s put Lincoln’s words in perspective.

    “It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion, that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets, and that when ballots are fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves at succeeding elections. Such will be a great lesson of peace, teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take by war – teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.”

    The South attempted to have their will by force rather than through a vote. President Lincoln shows that a nation will show that the great lesson of peace is that what someone (the South) cannot take by an election (the right of slavery), neither can they take it through war (their secession). Further he adds a nice rebuke for those who begin wars: “teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.”

    As such, Lincoln was perfectly justified in suppressing this rebellion and keeping our nation united.

    The point of this post is that “The use of force is not the best option to liberate a people.” What that implies is that there are better options, but that those better options do not negate the use of force. Force just doesn’t happen to be the best option.

  55. I’ll let your own words reply to the last paragraph,

    “Actually you just advocated war. You may emphasize other aspects of your mission, but you just stated it very clearly, ‘while keeping conflict on the table.’”

    I see you finally understand what I’ve been saying all along…

  56. almost Hospitaller,

    You still implied right from the start that you are dealing with an “enemy” that knows no other form of communication besides violence. As such, your “keep conflict on the table” is your only choice of action; everything else is merely for show, because the end is inevitably going to be war.

    The difference is vast. I believe that all other options are better, and will have a more profound effect than violence will. Even Churchill and Lincoln think so. They understand (as do I) that there are situations where violence is necessary. However, people like you use their words wrongly to justify aggressive warfare, which is badly misusing and misrepresenting their words and their deeds.

  57. If you’re saying that you agree with Lincoln than you’re saying you agree with me…

    “people like you use their words wrongly to justify aggressive warfare…”

    Lincoln fought an agressive, offensive campaign against the South. Above, you even acknowleged that it was a just offensive…

    Now you are just spining in circles…

  58. Daniel,

    Sorry about me being a mule on this issue, but I firmly believe reductio ad hitlerum was mistakenly used to call Hospitaller irrational. You say:

    “He is attempting to discredit my words by comparing me to Chamberlain and Ahmadnijad to Hitler”

    BY DEFENITION, reductio ad hitlerum is the fallacy that because Hitler supported a cause, that cause is bad. How is this equivalent to comparing you to Chamberlain or Ahmadnijad to Hitler? You have not explained this. Your misinterpretation I believe stems from this part of wikipedia’s explanation: “This fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant condemnation of anything to do with Hitler or the Nazis.” This part of the explanation is WHY the reductio ad hitlerum tends to work. It is NOT the argument. If you have a bicycle, the bicycle rolls on wheels. The wheels are WHY it works. If I just had a pair of wheels, I don’t believe you would call that a bicycle, would you? Until you can show me that if I have two wheels this proves that I have a bike, I will not back off that you mistakenly used reductio ad hitlerum.

    Now if you had just come out and said you believe it is not fair to compare someone to Hitler because we instantly condemn Hitler, you have a valid concern (mind you one that can be debated).

    Sorry about the length on this topic, but calling someone irrational because you don’t understand a logical fallacy, cannot go unchecked.

  59. Daniel,

    Your definition of the South that they: “attempted to have their will by force rather than through a vote” would put Lincoln in the camp of “dealing with an “enemy” that knows no other form of communication besides violence.” Would you agree with this evaluation of President Licoln’s situation? If that is the case, run with me on a hypothetical for a moment. If Hospitaller could prove to you that the enemy we are fighting does only communicate with violence, like the South, Then would you agree that war is the only solution to the matter? Or did Lincoln have other better options?

    Secondly, you state “I believe that all other options are better, and will have a more profound effect than violence will. Even Churchill and Lincoln think so.” Tisk Tisk. If you believe it is not fair for Hospitaller to compare you to Chamberlain, please explain to me why it is fair for you to compare yourself to Churchill and Lincoln. A little bit of a double standard?

  60. In their countries eyes, we are at war with them.

    please show me your evidence. (13).

    My evidence is this, Iran doesn’t recognise Israel. The president of the country said himself that he wanted the country whiped off the face of the Earth.
    See that the United States and Israel are allies, and the US has pledged to defend her, that that comment was directed at us as well.

  61. You’ve explained that you have the views of a Copperhead (Peace-Democrat), yet you agree with what president Lincoln did?
    That is somewhat hypocritical…

  62. hospitaller,

    Lincoln fought an agressive, offensive campaign against the South. Above, you even acknowleged that it was a just offensive…

    No he did not. The South seceded and also struck first. They were the aggressors. And I did not acknowledge that it was just offensive.

    My evidence is this, Iran doesn’t recognise Israel. The president of the country said himself that he wanted the country whiped off the face of the Earth.

    Dude, lack of recognition does not equate war. For the longest time America did not recognize Mao Tze-Dung’s government, but that did not mean we were at war with them. Secondly rhetoric does not equate to war. If you think so, then heck we were at war with the French in 2003. But why didn’t we launch any missiles at them?

    You’re starting to get really ridiculous with your logic.

  63. You’ve explained that you have the views of a Copperhead (Peace-Democrat), yet you agree with what president Lincoln did?
    That is somewhat hypocritical…

    Only because you only see things from your perspective, and in your eyes, anyone who disagrees with how you see the world must be a Peace-Democrat. As such, your vision of the world is diminished, and you lose far more than you will gain when you look at the world through a larger perspective.

  64. templar,

    BY DEFENITION, reductio ad hitlerum is the fallacy that because Hitler supported a cause, that cause is bad.

    Perchance are you going to take any class in logical reasoning? Because do you see what you just wrote here? You say that the definition of reductio ad hitlerum is if Hitler supported something that cause is therefore bad, so if “A” supports that same thing, he’s like Hitler. What hospitaller said was that Ahmadinejad was like Hitler. Just why do you think he was saying this? What could be related between Ahmadinejad and Hitler? How about the destruction of Jews? If Hitler supports the destruction of Jews, then anyone who supports the destruction of Jews is like Hitler. Thus anyone who makes this deduction is using this logical fallacy. This is what hospitaller did, and I am most correct in calling him on it. You’ve got nothing here, templar. Best let it go.

    Your definition of the South that they: “attempted to have their will by force rather than through a vote” would put Lincoln in the camp of “dealing with an “enemy” that knows no other form of communication besides violence.” Would you agree with this evaluation of President Licoln’s situation?

    It came to that point, yes, because attempts to deal with things peacefully failed. However, this is no excuse to think that your “enemy” is intractable and any attempt at peaceful resolutions is in vain. This is at what point you and hospitaller are. Your justifying previous failed attempts at diplomacy for not attempting diplomacy now, because, in your eyes, your enemy now is intractable, and as such will only respond to force. This is a position of weakness. The moment your “enemy” sees that you don’t consider diplomacy to be effective, he knows immediately that your only course of action that you consider palatable is violence. As such, he prepares himself, and you will end up losing.

    In other words, your position is the exact opposite of the straw man you set up of Democrats. Your straw man is that Democrats want no war as an option on the table. Your position is that you want no actual diplomacy on the table. Sure you’ll do diplomacy for show, but already in your heart you believe it is in vain. Your enemy will read you so easily though, and he will play you like a saxophone.

  65. Daniel,

    I made the Hitler-Chamberlain reference, to explain to you how Ahmadinejad is playing you for a fool, just like Hitler played Chamberlain for a fool… You totally misread that one.

    “Your position is that you want no actual diplomacy on the table.”

    If you have the worlds most Sophisticated military in the world, do you,

    A. Eliminate it as leverage while negotiating peace?

    or

    B. Take advantage of the fact that it is one of your best resources, and “leave it on the table”?

    You seemed to agree with “B” in post 54, when you said,
    “What that implies is that there are better options, but that those better options do not negate the use of force. Force just doesn’t happen to be the best option.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself…

  66. “Your enemy will read you so easily though, and he will play you like a saxophone.”

    Kind of like what Hitler did to Chamberlain, because Chamberlain was an appeaser like you. He gave Hitler an inch, and Hitler took a mile. When that happened, Chamberlain had nothing diplomatically to fall back on.

    You see, when your “enemy” sees your lack of resolve he will, in your own words, “play you like a saxophone.”

  67. hospitaller,

    I made the Hitler-Chamberlain reference, to explain to you how Ahmadinejad is playing you for a fool, just like Hitler played Chamberlain for a fool… You totally misread that one.

    I read it perfectly. It is called reductio ad hitlerum. You have to resort to the use of Hitler and Chamberlain to make your point instead of answering my rebuttals straight out. It is a logical fallacy.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself…

    I know. Because you never said it yourself. ;)

  68. Kind of like what Hitler did to Chamberlain, because Chamberlain was an appeaser like you. He gave Hitler an inch, and Hitler took a mile. When that happened, Chamberlain had nothing diplomatically to fall back on.

    You see, when your “enemy” sees your lack of resolve he will, in your own words, “play you like a saxophone.”

    There you go again with the logical fallacies. If you can’t grow up and give better responses, I’m just going to stop responding and let you speak to the wind.

  69. You keep dancing around my point. Which is, There are times where force is necessary to solve a problem…

    Do you disagree?

  70. And, about the fallacy thing, are you saying any time you compare a person to another person, it is a fallacy???

  71. Another point, in 64 you said,

    “It came to that point, yes, because attempts to deal with things peacefully failed.”

    At which point do they fail? Here is a list of UN resolutions violated by Saddams regime:

    -UNSCR 678 – November 29, 1990
    -UNSCR 686 – March 2, 1991
    -UNSCR 687 – April 3, 1991
    -UNSCR 688 – April 5, 1991
    -UNSCR 707 – August 15, 1991
    -UNSCR 715 – October 11, 1991
    -UNSCR 949 – October 15, 1994
    -UNSCR 1051 – March 27, 1996
    -UNSCR 1060 – June 12, 1996
    -UNSCR 1115 – June 21, 1997
    -UNSCR 1134 – October 23, 1997
    -UNSCR 1137 – November 12, 1997
    -UNSCR 1154 – March 2, 1998
    -UNSCR 1194 – September 9, 1998
    -UNSCR 1205 – November 5, 1998
    -UNSCR 1284 – December 17, 1999

    On top of those resolutions, the United Nations, lead by the US, issued additional UN Security Council statements:

    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 28, 1991
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, February 5, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, February 19, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, February 28, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, March 6, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, March 11, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, March 12, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, April 10, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 17, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, July 6, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, September 2, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, November 23, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, November 24, 1992
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, January 8, 1993
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, January 11, 1993
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 18, 1993
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 28, 1993
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, November 23, 1993
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, October 8, 1994
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, March 19, 1996
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 14, 1996
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, August 23, 1996
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, December 30, 1996
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, June 13, 1997
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, October 29, 1997
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, November 13, 1997
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, December 3, 1997
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, December 22, 1997
    -UN Security Council Presidential Statement, January 14, 1998

    So, that would put Bush in the camp of “dealing with an “enemy” that knows no other form of communication besides violence.” Would you agree with this evaluation of President Bush’s situation?
    Or did Bush have other better options?

  72. This is “reductio ad hitlerum”:

    (Hitler was a vegetarian.
    Therefore, vegetarianism is wrong.)

    That is not the same as Hitler playing Chamberlain for a fool because he was an appeaser. Nice try though.

    “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
    -Winston Churchill

    “I never worry about action, but only about inaction.”
    -Winston Churchill

  73. hospitaller,

    (Hitler was a vegetarian.
    Therefore, vegetarianism is wrong.)

    That is not the same as Hitler playing Chamberlain for a fool because he was an appeaser. Nice try though.

    Nice try but that is false. This is reductio ad hitlerum:

    (Hitler was a vegetarian, therefore because Roosevelt was vegetarian, he’s like Hitler). It is not the object in question (vegetarian) that is used fallaciously, but the person who has the same trait or belief. This is the fallacy.

    Thusly, your logical fallacy is that because Chamberlain appeased Hitler, anyone who “appeases” is like Chamberlain. And because Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Jews, and because so did Hitler, thusly Ahmadinejad is like Hitler.

    This is the logical fallacy.

  74. At which point do they fail?

    At the point that your enemy resorts to war with you. Thus the world failed in diplomacy when the United States declared war on Iraq and started the war with them in 2003.

  75. You keep dancing around my point. Which is, There are times where force is necessary to solve a problem…

    Do you disagree?

    That was not your initial point. You’ve moved your goalposts to attempt to claim a “victory” here by claiming I’m on the same boat as you. Sorry, but I don’t play that game.

    Your original point was that the only answer our current enemies know is force, as such no other answer is viable. Your position is NOT that force should remain on the table along with all other options, including diplomacy (which you consider appeasement). Your position is that ONLY force is the viable option. Everything else is for show.

    Don’t pretend that you believe diplomacy works.

  76. Daniel,

    I do not mean to be rude, and if you want me to stop talking about reductio ad hitlerum, I will. This is your blog and I will respect your wishes. But please read this comment before you make a decision about that.

    Thank you for explaining why you believe it is a logical fallacy:
    “If Hitler supports the destruction of Jews, then anyone who supports the destruction of Jews is like Hitler. Thus anyone who makes this deduction is using this logical fallacy.” (post 64)

    I must admit that I did not initially read the entire article wikipedia posts on this topic. When I did, I found this example wikipedia uses that I think is causing the confusion:
    “Hitler had a government; you propose using the government; therefore, you are comparable to Hitler.”

    This example is “a simplified example” of a larger argument than just reductio ad hitlerum. The larger argument is not reductio ad hitlerum and cannot be, because nothing in it is explained as evil. The form is “Adolf Hitler (or the Nazi party) supported X; therefore X must be evil” In the example that you get your idea from, nothing is explained as evil, therefore the example by itself is NOT a reductio ad hitlerum.

    To make this clear, consider different words in the same argument:
    Lucy had blue eyes; Amy has blue eyes, therefore Amy is comparable to Lucy. Would you call this a fallacy? Amy is indeed comparable to Lucy because they both have blue eyes. Amadnijahd is comparable to Hitler because they both want the destruction of the Jews. The similarity might begin and end there, but it is a similarity that cannot be denied.

    “Thusly, your logical fallacy is that… because Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Jews, and because so did Hitler, thusly Ahmadinejad is like Hitler.” (post 73) Oh really…

    “I believe that all other options are better, and will have a more profound effect than violence will. Even Churchill and Lincoln think so.” (post 56)

    Because Churchill supported other options besides war, and because so did Daniel , thusly Daniel is like Churchill. Are you accusing yourself of reductio ad churchillum? You didn’t use a logical fallacy and neither did Hospitaller because a comparison is NOT a logical fallacy.

    On Monday, I will consult with my Logic teacher (yes I am in a logic class right now) to get a neutral party opinion on the matter. If you have any more arguments in favor of your position, then get them to me before Monday so that I can present them to my teacher. I am only trying to discover the truth about the application of this term, I admit I could be wrong.

  77. templar,

    let’s make this as simple as possible. Take wikipedia’s satirized example: “Hitler wore pants; you’re wearing pants; so you must be Hitler.”

    Now, hospitaller said about Chamberlain and Hitler the following:

    You know who that sounds like? Arthur Neville Chamberlain.

    And you know who Ahmadnijad sounds like??? Hitler.

    now, let’s plug what he said into that phrase:

    Chamberlain wore pants, I’m wearing pants, so I must be Chamberlain. Chamberlain “appeased” Hitler, I “appease” Ahmadinejad, so I must be Chamberlain.

    Hitler wore pants, Ahmadinejad wears pants, so Ahmadinejad must be Hitler. Hitler called for the destruction of the Jews, Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of the Jews, so Ahmadinejad must be Hitler.

    Do you see it now? Can I get any simpler for you?

  78. The title of this post is, “The Use of Force is Not the Best Option to Liberate A People.”

    What about the Revolutionary War? or the Civil War? or the D-Day invasion of Normandy? or The Greco-Persian War? ect…

    There were no better options, and I think that is what makes your argument wrong.
    That statement is very different from the true statement that,
    “The use of force is not ALWAYS the best option to liberate a people.”

    That said, I don’t pretend that diplomacy works, I know it works, but I also acknowlege that it fails from time to time. (Pray for peace, prepare for war.)

    An example of a great diplomatic triumph, is the Cuban Missile Crisis. That was handled beautifully! In that case, force was NOT the best option, but none the less it was always “on the table”!

  79. Here is a good quote for you Mark N.

    “the hand of God is striving with certain of the nations of the earth to preserve and protect human liberty, freedom to worship him according to the dictates of conscience, freedom and the inalienable right of men to organize national governments in the earth” (MFP 5:71).

  80. Also, Daniel,

    early in line 11, you said, “I get the impression that you see America as some kind of noble country…”

    That seems to be the book of Mormon’s opinion, not mine…

    Nephi 1:5-7: “Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord… That there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring… Unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.”

    Interesting………………………

  81. 15,

    I think I understand the fallacy now, let me try,

    “You have been captured in the neo-conservative dogma and believe we’re in a fight that began with the crusades…”

    -Neo-cons believe we’re in a fight that began with the crusades, I believe we’re in a fight that began with the crusades, so I must be
    a Neo-con.

    Ok you’re right, I guess it was a logical fallacy…

  82. Ok you’re right, I guess it was a logical fallacy…

    Good, you’re finally catching on.

    What is the MFP?

    and about the book of Mormon passage, you forgot to include that that blessing only goes for when the people are righteous……There is no nation on this earth that the Lord will bless continuously, whether righteous or wicked.

  83. Here is a good quote for you Mark N.

    The quote referenced can be found on this page, which is apparently taken from “Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4, War and Peace”, and which also contains the following:

    In 1939, the First Presidency asserted that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13) applies both to individuals and to political entities and condemned the notion of war as an instrument of state policy (MFP 6:88-93).

    Also to be found on that page is the following:

    Echoing the concerns of the Book of Mormon for just war, the First Presidency warned people not to convert a legitimate war of self-defense into a bloody search for vengeance or the killing of innocent civilians. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., held that “to be justified in going to war in self-defense, a nation must be foreclosed from all other alternatives”

    Given all the falsified intelligence that we were fed leading up to the conflict in Iraq, it can not be said that the war in Iraq is anything remotely resembling “a legitimate war of self-defense”.

    Does MFP stand for “Messages of the First Presidency”, or do you even know what it stands for? The page in question seems to assume that the abbreviation is well-known.

  84. Mark, way back in line 38, you said,

    “I suspect that Romans 13 was unscrupulously changed at some early point in time to say something that Paul never intended it to say at all.”

    If that is your reasoning, then what is to say that the other text is correct?

  85. Daniel,

    Just in case you were wondering, I didn’t get a chance to ask the professor today (life gets hectic sometimes). I will try on Wednesday which is my next day of class. I really think this has been an interesting debate, and would like to continue it as long as we can get past this logical fallacy stuff.

    The following is kind of random, but is interesting to think about.

    Perhaps no soldier in either army gave a better answer-one more readily understandable to his fellow soldiers at any rate-than a ragged Virginia private, pounced on by the Northerners in a retreat.
    “What are you fighting for anyhow?” his captors asked, looking at him. They were genuinely puzzled, for he obviously owned no slaves and seemingly could have no interest in States Rights or even Independance.

    “I’m fighting because you’re down here,” he said.
    (The Civil War, Shelby Foote, pg 65)

  86. templar,

    Yes, that comment is random, and as such not a useful addition to our debate about the Civil War. Say for example that we attack Canada, and because we attack them, they start invading America. If a Canadian then asks an American why that American is fighting Canada, you can expect the response will be the same, “I’m fighting because you’re down here.” That doesn’t explain to anyone that in fact America struck first.

    So it is with the Civil War. The secessionists were the aggressors. Read your history dude.

  87. what is to say that the other text is correct?

    Umm, prophets, seers and revelators?

  88. Daniel,

    That is funny. Are you saying that if someone attacks us, we have the right to conquer them? You say force is not the best option to liberate a people, but you completely justify it when it is used to conquer.

    In your original post you say, “The Indians had seen for themselves that wars changed who they were…Force is not just an alternate way of getting to liberation; it changes everything. And liberation is not just a matter of removing an oppressive regime; it is a matter of creating a country populated by citizens who are, by and large, willing to set aside the idea of resolving conflicts by force and to respect the laws, even when they are imperfectly applied… Too many Americans still rely on force as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, the ultimate sword of freedom. But the use of force changes everything.” I don’t know, force seemed to work for Abraham Lincoln.

  89. Where do I “completely justify it when it is used to conquer?” I set up an analogy to show how faulty it is to rely on a foot soldier claiming he is battling the North because the North is in the South. You used his words as evidence that the North was the aggressor, invading the poor innocent South. Heh, how far from the truth. I’m in the midst of writing a post about how the South began the Civil War.

    The funny thing is that Republicans today stand with the South in the Civil War, but it seems that they have forgotten their roots. The South seceded from the North because of the election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. My how time has changed!

  90. Daniel,

    “The northern objective, announced early in the war by the man who would be her leading general, was “unconditional surrender.” Against this stern demand, southern soldiers would fight in defense of their homes, with all the fervor and desperation accompanying such a position.
    The contrast, of course, would be as true on the home front as in the armies, together with the additional knowledge on both sides that the North could stop fighting at any time, with no loss of independance or personal liberty: whereas the South would lose not only her national existence, but would have to submit, in the course of peace, to any terms the victor might exact under a government that would interpret, and even rewrite the Constitution in whatever mannner seemed most to its advantage. Under such conditions, given the American pride and the American love of liberty and self-government, it seemed certain that the South would fight with all her strength. Whether the North, driven by no such necessities would exert herself to a similar extent in a war of conquest remained to be seen.” (The Civil War, Shelby Foote, p 62)

    This is your comment, “So it is with the Civil War. The secessionists were the aggressors. Read your history dude.”

    Your sense of history is as pale as your skin.

  91. Daniel,

    I look forward to reading your post about how the South started the war.

  92. Shelby Foote’s opus on the Civil War is definitely excellent, but you keep quoting the wrong things from his book. I still see nothing to indicate that the North was the aggressor. The only thing you are showing evidence for is that the North was more prepared for the fight, and also that the North had far stronger objectives. Secondly, even though the South was fighting for her survival as a new country, while the North, according to Mr. Shelby “could stop fighting at any time, with no loss of independence or personal liberty,” the North still won.

    try again dude.

    Your sense of history is as pale as your skin.

    is that a racist attack?

  93. Templar,

    Here is my take on the Civil War. Enjoy.

  94. Ok, ok, ok, let me get this straight. Because the South fired the very first “shot” to start the Civil War, they were the aggressors?

    I could then convince you that Iraq was a defensive war…

    Have you hear of the “No Fly Zone”..? Our aircraft that patroled that area were shot at many, many, times!!!! So that proves we were fighting a defensive war.

    The US implemented this from January 1st, 1997, until May 1st, 2003… While taking anti-aircraft fire from Iraqi forces almost daily….

  95. boy you sure jump around.

    Yes, the South began the Civil War. If they didn’t fire on Fort Sumter, we’ll never know what might have happened…

    As for the Iraq “No Fly Zones”….well, let’s review history, because again you have wrong information.

    Iraq No Fly Zones

    You state that they started on January 1, 1997, when in fact they really began back in 1992. The thing you are referring to is the Operation Northern Watch, which began in 1997. Now, as the No Fly Zone operations were not UN mandated, but rather run by the United States, Great Britain, and France (until 1998), they were aggressive actions taken by those countries, rather than defensive positions.

    The Iraqi no-fly zones (NFZs) were proclaimed by the United States, United Kingdom and France after the Gulf War of 1991 to protect humanitarian operations in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south. Iraqi aircraft were forbidden from flying inside the zones. The policy was enforced by US, UK and French aircraft patrols until France withdrew in 1998. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorising the operations, the resolution contains no such authorisation.

    Here is UNSC Resolution 688 which if you note, does not specify any NFZ over Iraq. Since Resolution 687, the resolution just prior to this one, officially ended the war, any action by any country over the airspace of Iraq is legally deemed hostile and aggressive. As such, any action by Iraq against coalition forces flying over her airspace is defensive in nature.

    Sucks, but there it is.

  96. If you’ll notice from my post in 71, UNSC Resolution 688, is just another in a long line of resolutions violated by Saddam’s regime…

  97. Are you saying that Resolution 688 required as a consequence of Iraq violating that resolution action by America, Britain and France? I don’t see that anywhere in the Resolution. Sorry, but violation of a UN resolution by Iraq does not justify American aggression over Iraqi airspace, no matter how bad or evil Saddam was. There is a reason why America, well, used to believe in the rule of law.

  98. Daniel,

    You explain to me, “The only thing you are showing evidence for is that the North was more prepared for the fight, and also that the North had far stronger objectives. Secondly, even though the South was fighting for her survival as a new country, while the North, according to Mr. Shelby “could stop fighting at any time, with no loss of independence or personal liberty,” the North still won.

    try again dude.”

    Yeah, the British got their butts kicked when they tried to conquer a country fighting for independance. The British had much stronger objectives than a few colonies could hope for. But they stopped and did not lose their own independance or freedom. Are you saying this was dumb of the British, that when you are fighting for stronger objectives violence is good? How can you say this when you don’t even think force is the best option to liberate a people?

    Oh, I hope you like to eat worms, because I see I have opened a very nice can for you.

  99. Templar,

    Yeah, the British got their butts kicked when they tried to conquer a country fighting for independance.

    Are you perchance taking a class on US history? Because if you aren’t I think you need to go back and review your Revolutionary War period.

    I’m not going to continue this until you get a better understanding of your American history. At this point, any attempt to discuss further is just going to be frustrating because of your lack of knowledge.

  100. Daniel,

    I have now talked with three professors. Two philosophy(logic) professors and one english professor who teaches logical fallacies. They all agree that it was not reductio ad absurdum. They all also commented that the case could be made that it was not a fair comparison. But they all said that calling it a logical fallacy was doing the same thing that you accuse Hospitaler of. Namely associating an argument with something evil. They suggest that it is best to avoid accusing people of logical fallacies and instead just stating what you believe is wrong with what was said. In other words state your reason for believing it was not fair to make the comparison between Amadnijahd and Hitler, but don’t call it a logical fallacy when it isn’t.

  101. Daniel,

    “Are you perchance taking a class on US history? ” No.

    When you were misinformed about the Crusades I explained to you why. You think I am misinformed about the Revolutionary War, and you do not explain to me why. If it is a matter of not having enough time, that is fine and understandable. I will make it easy for you then.

    13 colonies succesfuly gained their independance through force from one of the largest empires in the World. I would qualify that as taking a beating. Am I wrong? So I can know what to study, can you point me to exactly what it is I am so misinformed about?

  102. Templar,

    you stated:

    Yeah, the British got their butts kicked when they tried to conquer a country fighting for independance.

    No, the British did not get their butts kicked. In fact, they won more of the battles against Washington’s men than they lost. The British stopped fighting because they saw that it was in their best interest to stop. They felt that they could easily control the fledgling country very easily, steering it toward British interests. In fact, in the War of 1812, the second time we fought against the British, we got our butts kicked, badly. They burned Washington DC to the ground.

    (see the image for yourself)

    To state that the British got their butts kicked shows a real lack of understanding of the period. Now, I admitted my mistake about the Crusades (not my strong point anyways). Will you admit your mistake?

    Furthermore, with this example not working for you, I think my points stand, and as such, the use of force is not the best option to liberate a people. To this point, you’ve not offered up anything good to the contrary.

  103. Daniel,

    Yes, in light of what you explained, I will admit that it was a mistake to call the Revolutionary war what I did. Thanks for the correction. We actually are learning things in this debate :)

    A point of clarification, do you think the Revolutionary war is an example that force is not the best option to liberate a people?

  104. no, because the British were not attempting to free anyone, while the Americans were losing the overall war. If the British did not stop fighting, America would have been destroyed.

    There are numerous examples in history where people were “liberated” without any bloodshed, the greatest example being the revolutions of 1989, when Eastern Europe peacefully turned against the Soviet Union. The only country to have blood spilled during that revolution was my country, Romania. Was that blood worth it? You bet. Is it always worth it? No. As such, force is not the best option to liberate a people. It ends up making far more problems than not.

  105. to clarify further about why the Revolutionary War does not serve as a good example of force as an option to liberate a people, ponder on this. The fighting is not what liberated the Americans from British control. It was the political maneuvering which led the British to decide it was in their best interest to have a free America. They didn’t discover this because they were losing. No, they saw a determined people, most of whom were related to the British, and they didn’t see a need for massive bloodshed. So they worked out a political agreement. That’s what ended the war and gave America their freedom.

  106. About the violation of the UN resolutions,

    Saddam was warned many a time to wise up and follow the resolutions. He was also warned that if he did not, he would “pay the price.”

    It is just like telling someone not to speed, but refusing to pull him over and give him a ticket when he does. It severely reduces the effectiveness of a law if you don’t enforce it…

  107. hospitaller,

    It doesn’t matter how many times he was warned, from a legal standpoint, the United States has no right to enforce UN resolutions on its own, outside the realm of the UN. As such, the No-Fly-Zones were illegal and aggressive, thusly whenever Saddam attempted to shoot down any American plane, it was in self defense, no matter how evil he was.

    It is just like telling someone not to speed, but refusing to pull him over and give him a ticket when he does. It severely reduces the effectiveness of a law if you don’t enforce it…

    But your analogy is false, because if you apply it to what actually happened it would be like the local citizen seeing that you are continually speeding taking it upon himself to enforce the law, instead of going to the police and getting them to enforce the law. When you take it upon yourself to enforce the law, you become the aggressor, and as such you break the law.

  108. You have a legitimate argument Daniel. But what if the police are corrupt?
    I personally don’t think it is wise to put the safety of the country in the hands of someone as impotent and corrupt as the UN.

  109. hospitaller,

    if you feel the system is corrupt, then do what you can to fix it. however when you take it upon yourself to enforce laws for which you do not have the right to enforce, you become the aggressor and lawbreaker. That’s just how it is.


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