Thursday, May 10, 2007

DU and & the Doomsday Hypothetical

(On Thursday, I tried an interesting experiment over at the Democrat Underground. I posited a hypothetical question regarding self-defense and preemptive attacks. I asked what would they do? Below is the hypothetical question, their answers, my answers, and the conclusions that can be drawn from them.)

The Hypothetical Question:

A poster said we should bomb other countries/go to war... "only when the United States or its allies are directly attacked. And those times should be few and far between."

Preemptive attacks are tricky; we can always get them wrong, act too soon, hit the wrong target. (And what if the USA and our allies are attacked multiple times and often?)

However, I'm not comfortable losing L.A., or Tel Aviv, or Atlanta, or Philadelphia, or Norfolk, or NYC, or London, or Manchester, Tokyo, Taiwan, Jerusalem etc. (And several of those cities could be hit simultaneously, so the loss wouldn't necessarily be confined to just ONE of them), BEFORE we lift a finger in self-defense/give help to our allies. That's not acceptable.

What's YOUR answer if another country built the nuke bomb, and said they were going to bomb us, and all available intelligence said that's exactly what they've done? What if the rogue country said we'd be bombed on Monday... what would you do/what do you think we ought to do?

DU's Answers:

--didn't the Christian Savior say 'turn the other cheek'? Diplomacy should be used vigorously before it ever gets to that point. Worked with the USSR who we were in talks with for decades. No one ever felt so threatened they actually pushed the red button. Your argument is false IMO.

--I don't think I'd go for it. My government would, but I couldn't pull the trigger on a 'what if'.

--Considering that this administration supposedly had the scenario that you describe when they launched the attack on Iraq, this makes pre-emptive strikes even more tricky. You would have to make sure that all diplomatic options had been exhausted and you would have to be certain that your intelligence was correct. I don't know how you would ascertain either of those conditions beyond reasonable doubt or if you could trust the administration that told you that was the case.

--"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Albert Einstein

--Preemptive war is a failure. Use intelligence. Consider covert action.

--There's a far better chance that BushCo (or some element thereof) will attack us . . . it's kinda like that forward pass to the nuts in The Longest Yard . . . "hey, if it worked once, it'll probably work again" . . .

“The West has packed the whole world on a runaway train. We are on the road to extincting ourselves as a species. That’s what I meant when I said that we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Joni Mitchell, February 2007.

--This Administration has made much political hay out of threatening; They see that we have enemies, so they take as belligerent a stance as possible. If one of these cities is to be the target of a nuke, I can almost guarantee you that a foreign government will not be the responsible party... No nation can launch enough nukes to completely destroy our capability to respond, and such an attack would be mass suicide. Now, a highly motivated terrorist, well, that's a different matter and one that cannot be solved by bombing the hell out of a country. If you are voicing thinly veiled concerns over Iran, I would say that Israel should probably be the point man for this... at least until we have more competent leadership in the White House.

--(Why would a rogue country bomb us first?) Why would they do that? If they were going to bomb us, why would they tell us first?

In dealing with other nations, there is a presumption of rationality. Presumably, a rational nation doesn't provoke an deadly, irresistible attack upon itself. If we have the ability to respond overwhelmingly against any attack they can launch, that should be sufficient to prevent an attack. As to non-state threats, presumably we can keep them from gaining the capacity to launch a debilitating attack against us. But your quesion points out an obvious problem.

Where nuclear weapons exist, the potential for disaster is always present, and may be unavoidable. I think the solution to this problem is to negotiate away all nuclear weapons - the world will be much safer without them.

--Gee, another 24 scenario goes bust... As soon as logic gets applied to these hare-brained scenarios, they just seem to fall apart. What nation is going to warn us in advance of a sneak attack? How do we know there's a ticking time bomb somewhere, and not know who this terrorist plotter's associates are?

--My solution is to conduct our national affairs in such a manner that people don't want to attack us. That would mean a more equitable sharing of resources, reducing our own consumption of those resources, treating other nations with fairness, guaranteeing the rights of workers at home and abroad with the same concern we currently show for capital, and respecting the environment. Talk about hare-brained!

--Who are the crazies? Considering the way our government supports the international rapaciousness of outfits like Freeport McMoRan or Halliburton or Big Oil, an argument could be made that we're being attacked by others in their own self defense. I don't think it was a coincidence that the targets of the 9/11 attacks were the major symbols of our financial and military systems.

And why do the "crazies" find so much support in other countries? On a trip to Chiapas in Mexico, I was in a delegation that talked to government officials, regular citizens, indigenous people, and representatives from civil society. Certainly the U.S. has better relations with Mexico than it does with a lot of countries, but even the poorest peasants in the campos had a clearer picture of how their lives were affected for the worse by our country's economic, foreign and military policies.

Blithely ignoring our own country's culpability while dismissing people with legitimate complaints against us as "crazies" overlooks many pertinent facts, and as we are seeing right now, hardly a solution.

--If you don't assume you're dealing with rational countries... then, we should attack every country has that nuclear weapons. Possession of nuclear weapons gives them the capacity to launch deadly attacks against us, and, since reason doesn't apply, we have to assume that they're about to launch such an attack. The reason to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons is to avoid getting into the scenario where you have to launch a deadly preventive attack immediately.

Presumably, today, we are not in the situation where we have to launch an immediate attack, so we have the time to try to negotiate circumstances where such dire alternatives don't become necessary. If we don't negotiate the end to nuclear weapons, be assured that we will wind up in the situation where their use - even if it means the ultimate destruction of the earth - will become necessary. Or, to put it another way, their use will be both necessary and pointless.

--Oh by all means lets just obliterate them all. Who is going to be foolish enough to announce that they are going to bomb us? Surely we cannot wait for that. So lets launch right now against the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Israelis, the French, the English. Anyone else you had in mind?

--Your hypothetical is absurd. That was my first point: nobody would do that. Suppose flying pigs armed with suitcase nukes were dispatched by Iranian agents operating factory pig farms/nuke development sites in North Carolina? What to do?

--We didn't attack the Soviet Union for 50 years and we were told repeatedly by our government that their main aim was to destroy the US. The reason we didn't attack them is because they could actually hurt us.

See the contradiction in the "preemptive" argument? If an "enemy" can be attacked and defeated preemptorily, so as to avoid any destruction to this country, then they are not a sufficient threat as to require preemption. If a country is really a threat to the US, we won't attack preemptorily, because we would suffer too much as a consequence. This is why "preemption" is a fraudulent policy.

"I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want and get it."

--My solution is that our government behave as though it were occupied by adults, with the country's best interests at heart. By your lights Japan was justified in attacking the US in 1941, for all the reasons you espouse. Preemption is just a cover for aggression against other countries that the aggressor believes it has an advantage over.Preemption is just dumb - look at how well it has worked for your one shining example - Bush... Also, if a nation is not a threat, then you don't have to "ignore" it. If a country is a threat, then you work to minimize the threat, through diplomacy, alliances, and demonstrations of the futility of aggression. Not by just going ahead and launching a war...

-- I would espouse "never making a preemptive move". 'Preemption' as a policy is a fraud and has been proven so, time and time again.

--So far the only city we've lost has been due to the current administration's lack of concern & competence. I certainly don't trust them or their 'intelligence' to save any other city.
"Slavery is the fiction that people are objects. Corporate personhood is the fiction that corporations are people."

--I have lived my whole life with the nuclear threat over my head. I was born in 1946 and Russia already had nuclear technology. We did not need to attack anyone then and we don't need to do it now. We need to be able to talk to each other and prevent the need for anyone to attack anyone else.

This shoot from the hip mentality will end the world because each country has allies and each country will retaliate. I assume you are a younger person than me and I assume you are more influenced by right wing talking points than I am. You must believe the rhetoric that the neocons are putting out there. You are falling for their con game. Have courage to use your own understanding.

--What if, what if, what if, what if, what if, what if, what if, what if... That can go on indefinitely. It's like a kid that keeps asking "why" no matter what the parent says.

I told you, diplomacy is the answer, get it? You have to lessen the tension in the world not heighten it. Someday we will all be enlightened enough to learn that this is the only planet we have and we all live on it and we all must share it. That day won't come about soon if we all thought like you! Have courage to use your own understanding.

-- Politics, war, diplomacy... it's all a tricky business in the 21st century. About the best first step we can take, in my view, is choosing leaders we can trust... and who trust us.That's the only way we'll be able to act rationally in the kind of scenario you've described. And I think any rational person, who feels he or she has been dealt with honestly, would recognize the need to act before disaster rains down upon us. But that doesn't translate instantly into the "nuke 'em before they nuke us" sort of sloganeering that gets tossed about so easily sometimes.

As others have pointed out, we might have conventional weapons that would be more effective (unless there's none left after the Bush-Cheney administration is finished bankrupting the military along with the rest of the country). Of course, if our intelligence was that strong, so that we knew the threat was legitimate, I'd think we'd have a chance to defuse it before things reached the "you'll be bombed on Monday" stage.

So, along with electing leaders we can trust, it seems we also need the respect and goodwill of our fellow travelers on this planet, so that our intelligence people can do their work effectively.Which brings me to one more pie-in-the-sky hypothetical: I think we'd earn a heck of a lot of goodwill (not to mention a thriving economy here at home) if we made prosperity our principle export for the decades ahead. If we made technical prowess, innovation, and a spirit of sharing opportunity the hallmarks of the American "brand" once again.

Trouble is, all of this dewey-eyed idealism requires work, by all of us as citizens. For many people, it's much easier just to take a sort of comfort in knowing we've gone more bombs than anyone else, 'cause responsible, informed, participatory citizenship is too dull a grind. Kind of how we got to where we are today, I suppose.

--Your scenario would be a war situation. An announcement by the perpetrator of intended hostilities would qualify as a declaration of war, and would allow appropriate counter-measures under Article 51. It's rather unlikely, though, that an adversary would signal such an intention so clearly in advance. And there's the problem: what if they don't say they're about to attack you?

What if your intelligence is wrong (again)? What if you take pre-emptive action against someone else's ally and it turns out not to have been supported by the facts on the ground? And why should such an umbrella be limited to the pre-emptor and its allies?

If countries are to claim such a right, why should that protection be confined to some countries and denied others who happen not to be close friends of the government with the resources to carry out the strike? It's just too dangerous, and there's no guarantee that it won't simply escalate tensions by encouraging provocative actions by allies and accelerated pursuit of deterrent capabilities by those who don't consider themselves covered by the guarantee. It could trigger a global rush for rival alliances: if I were a country that might be attacked on such grounds, I'd certainly want an ally with strategic capability.

The only way it might possibly be safer than the alternative is if any action were subject to international authorization. And it's difficult to see that working with perhaps minutes to act. It's better that no such right should exist, or be claimed. Pre-emptive action will doubtless be claimed one day as legitimate under Article 51, and the world community will have to judge it on that basis: it should be left at that.

--Can you imagine a country like Iran attacking us with nuclear weapons? What do you think they would gain? Would it be suicide mission? You know we could obliterate them and they know it too. That is what kept us from attacking Russia and vise versa. Have courage to use your own understanding.

-- I can't imagine them having any interest in doing so.

--So far no nation has volunteered for nuclear obliteration. Oh but this is such a tedious argument. Do you think we have not had the 'but what if mad doesn't work' argument before? Do you think you have come up with some new clever twist on 'reasons we should bomb Iran'?

--People seem to forget the term "mutual assured destruction"... Let's just put this into a realistic spin. Say that Iran builds a nuclear bomb that could reach the US mainland and then says that they will strike the US tomorrow. They would have to assume that their country would be vapor pretty soon after a strike. I personally don't think that anyone in charge would be that suicidal... I would imagine those around them would perform a coup d'etat or just take him/her out.

My Answers:

My answers were kept simple and short. For those dragging in the Bush administration, I told them that was deliberately NOT part of this hypothetical; I had not specified the administration ascendant at the time of this threat.

For those that said this could never happen, I said "So your solution is to be in denial that this could ever happen."

For those that said this threat couldn't possibly play out any differently that that of Russia and the Cold War, I said "So your solution is to assume this is a Russia redux and not to envision any other scenario but that of the Cold War."

For those who said they'd never trust a preemptive attack as justified, I said "So your solution is to accept the loss of one or more of our cities, or that of our allies--or many of each simultaneously."

For those that said America needs to do things differently, be nicer, give more 'prosperity' to the world etc. I said "So your solution is to say we deserved it."

For those who kept asking 'who would do that?', and 'who would tell us in advance?'and state 'I think we have to assume a certain degree of rationality on their part and ask if this would really happen in the real world' etc. I said "So your solution is to wonder who would do this 4 days from now, wonder who would tell us in advance, and hope that they would be rational enough not to."

For those who said that this would never happen and HAD not ever happened--even during the Cold War--I said "So your solution would be to assume the future would be identical to the past."

For those who became angry with me, called the question dumb, accused me of wanting to 'nuke' everyone, or who made fun of the question, I said "So your solution is to be angrier at the messenger than you are at the message." I also tried to continually bring the question back to the FACTS in the case as I had presented them.

I had to continually state I offered no solution, advocated no particular position, and that all I had allowed was that losing a major city of our own, or our allies, was unacceptable. Still, I was accused of being nuke crazy, 'hairbrained', unrealistic', a killer, and... a 'neocon' (gasp!). I'm surprised I was allowed to stay on the board as long as I was.

Obvious Conclusions:

I had, along with my own answers, 69 responses. Only ONE--out of them all--offered any sort of logical, linear solution. All others were reduced to the following:

1.) The Deniers--This was, far and away, the largest category. These folks thought they could stop it with their minds; if they didn't think it was true, then it would not be true. They couldn't wrap their minds' around such a thing happening. Even when I clearly pointed out that Ahmadinejad had said all but the date, they STILL denied it was a possibility.

Involved in their denial was various wonderings, repeatedly asking why this would happen, speculation on who would do this, and, absent any logical reason why, it was dismissed out of hand.

2.)The Anachronists--These were the folks who continually brought up the Cold War and the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) view of things. They joined their brothers in denial by assuming no one could ever think differently about nuclear issues than had legions of Cold War Russians, Chinese, Cuba.

They said that, naturally--because we could offer a nuclear response that could decimate an aggressor--no aggressor would dare use nukes on us first. When I invoked the mantra "But Allah will protect us.", and pointed out the appealing martyrdom of dying for him and the quest for 72 virgins that might well govern some peoples thinking, I got no answer back.

The shibboleths of the sixties held too much sway; they were sure no one would think differently than had those who had faced it before. They could not admit there would ever be a people who would sacrifice their own gladly, who did not care about death, and for whom killing was the only goal.

3.)The Appeasers--These are the folks who wanted America to play well with others. They were sure we were only in this fix because we had been big bad and mean and, as soon as we stopped being big bad and mean, the world would love us. They prescribed various nostrums: foreign aid, 'exporting properity', taking responsibility for the environment, having really, really good diplomacy (and setting it into place waaaaay before all this happened), America helping and educating 'everyone'.

This group clearly thought that America was at fault, that we deserved whatever befell us, and that, if we got to work now on making everyone happy, it would never happen. They made no allowance for the aggressive plans of any other leader. They ignored conquest, subjugating the world--or the dreams of madmen everywhere. No, to them, America was the lone offender--and the lone putter-to-rights.

4.)The Preemption-Shy--This group was so terrified of making a mistake, getting our response 'wrong', that they were willing to sacrifice an American city--or several, or those of our allies, rather than take a chance and defend themselves. I don't know if this was a subgroup under one of the other headings; perhaps they simply thought it would never happen, or that we could avoid it by having 'good' diplomacy, or that they believed no country would attack us because they would be too scared of retaliation, but whatever their thinking, these folks said we'd have to be attacked first before they'd do anything to defend themselves. Offense just wasn't an option.

5.)The Messenger Shooters--This was, perhaps, the most interesting goup. I don't know if these folks are simply the Perpetually Aggrieved (with which DU and the Left frequently seems infested) or what, but they were SO angry with me for even bringing up my little question! Instead of simply moving on to a post with a choir they could join to hear like-minded preaching, they stopped at my post and took pains to tell me how ridiculous it was.

Those that didn't accuse me of being a rightwinger from the start still enjoined me to 'think for myself' and 'not get caught up in neocon thinking'. Some just called me stupid and unrealistic. Others developed a studied ennui and yawned at the scenario ('you think you've found a brand-new question to ask?') The Magistrate (verybigdeal moderator over there) just penned a poem and proclaimed me 'silly'. (I replied, 'So your solution is to stay at home and write doggerel'... It was NOT appreciated.)

Most of the people invoked Iraq and the situation there. Few seemed to realize that Ahmadinejad has come much closer to realizing the scenario I offered in all but the date. Those that denied acted as if they'd never heard his words, never studied his threats and promises, never listened to his end game. Even as they denied his actions, I could easily go to some daily newspaper and find the truth in the example I penned. They are oblivious to Iran.

* * *

This is the nexus of the Democrat party. This is who they are. Do you think this group of deniers, anachronists, appeasers, preemption-shy, messenger-shooters will keep you safe? They don't know Iran exists. They don't believe the War On Terror. They won't even take the Zawahiris of the world ("America, always wanting to negotiate, talk, give us things. We do not want anything from you; we only want to kill you") and the Ahmadinejads (Death to Israel and Jews, death to America and all Americans.") at their word, their own words.

When it come times to vote--and you remember nothing else--remember this post. Remember those that would deny, consider it our fault, say we deserved it, sacrifice our people, our cities , our allies, our friends. These are people with so little common sense and self -preservation, that death is more acceptable to them then taking the chance for life and--perhaps--making a mistake. They would rather die. They would rather have us die.

THAT is unacceptable. We Republicans will always fight for life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

slow day today i guess.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Morris Less said...

got a link to this? I would love to see this over at DU

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Les Ismore said...

DU is the nexus of the Democratic party like Duderat review is the brains of the Republican party. I think it is only in your own mind that DU represents the Democratic Party.

9:41 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

ANON.--Not a slow day at all, this is a long post and it just went up. Have a little patience, Anon. Many of my readers don't read til they get home from work in the evening, and Morgan will be gone for a few days.

Morris Less--here:

9:49 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

LIM--Sorry, you're all wet today. DU sports over 100 thousand members--it's echoed by KOS and other Leftist blogs--and I got a big response.

(Oh, and for those that may wish to 'tell' DU what I've done, I regularly tell them--and get thrown out of DU 2-3 times a week ;-)

9:51 AM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

Jeez, Donal, this is a helluva lotta work - and it's a helluva an indictment. No, the demonrat party will NEVER keep us safe. I've never read a bigger collection of denial and nonsense.

Good job!

9:55 AM  
Anonymous prairieson said...

Well done, Donal. If the attitudes displayed in the responses had prevailed centuries ago, none of us would be here. War is nasty business, no one, not even "neocons", would say otherwise but few wars have been mutual affairs. Those who are not willing to defend, or even preempt, for their lives, the lives of their family and friends, or for their way of life deserve nothing. Denial will not bring peace.

What is sad is that if you look over the crop of Democrats in Congress now, you see that same attitude, or worse. Moonbattery has gone mainstream.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey everyone should go read this post. Really. Talk about cherry picking! And by a troll no less. You go on to your enemy's site, looking to incite something than cherry pick the results. Real classy.
Bbbwwwhhhaahhhhh!!! I am laughing so hard my sides hurt!!!!!!!!!
And your 'readers' buy into this?
Great site you have here!

1:33 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

ANON.--Hehehe, you're all wet, too. Anyone can see, if they go to the link offered in the 4th comment, that I have not 'cherry picked' this info at all. I have faithfully copied every response they gave me--not just the 'worse' ones.

Good try, though. When you at DU are confronted with your own idiocy, the FIRST thing you claim is that the info is 'cherry picked', knowing full well that there is not time or space to do a statistical analysis, or comparison/contrast on all the posts of the day to 'prove' otherwise.

Try not to wet yourself.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous cassie said...

Awesome work and awesome post Donal! You sure exposed THEM!

3:40 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

P.S. ANON.--You don't shit where you eat; the next time you call me a troll in my own house, your post will be removed, 'kay?

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Les Ismore said...

A troll is not the insult you may think. I think anon is referring to the definition of a troll in the blogosphere. That is someone who goes onto sites to incite wacky comments, pick fights, and cherry pick. It isnt necessarily an insult. You have trolls here. Ducky, some would call me a troll but I see me as the voice of wisdom and reason sent from above to enlighten you all. A troll might be someone here who gets you to say things like kill all liberals, then posts it back at DU. Classic definition of a trolls handiwork.

9:24 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

LIM--You said a trolls is 'someone who goes onto sites to incite wacky comments, pick fights, and cherry pick.'

I did not do any of those things, that is why I objected--and will not allow anymore posts (like the one you just posted) that does the same thing.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Les Ismore said...

Just curious, what is the problem with defining a troll?

3:14 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

LIM--Because you imply thats what I was.... sigh.

6:34 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

P.S. Rather than shooting the messenger, or saying the info was 'cherry-picked', the true refutation of what I posted would be for you Leftists to provide a thread that was chock-full of decent, well-thought out plans for the threat of attack, or a credible supposition of why we would never need such a plan (a ridiculous assumption in the world we have today).

I notice that none of you did that...

8:06 AM  
Anonymous teller said...

That's exactly right. None of the saps here that complained about this post bothered to refute any of your info. They just didn't 'like' what you had to say.

The truth hurts, I guess.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

First, excellent piece of investigative journalism.

Second, DU,, and DKos pull the strings of the Democrat party. Howard Dean is the head of the DNC, remember? The Dems tried to get Ned Lamont elected in Connecticut, remember? The Dems canceled the debate hosted by Fox, remember? All of these things are just the kind of bomb-throwing antics that the Moveon/DU/Dkos folks cheer. They run the show.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Russet Shadows said...

I find it hilarious that the argument against the piece is based upon an ad hominem. Can't you figure out how to make a logical comparison, Les? If I were to operate at your level, I would say, "You must be late for your anti-BDS medication. You're foaming at the mouth again."

5:53 PM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Thank you, Russet Shadows! That meant a lot to me. One thing Les and 'brave' Anon. don't realize is that, in order for me to stay on DU (I usually get tossed the minute I don't foam the party line) is that I have to remain very dispassionate and careful. They do not allow conservatives there, so I cannot betray that or I am gone.

Actually, it was a miracle I was there--and still am--as long as I have been. So, if my questions/answers seem a bit short, THAT'S why. Blame those doyennes of free speech and 'tolerance'--they can almost handle it, almost.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

I STILL don't see any decent refutation of your claims - not one - they can insult, but they can't meet you logically.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous day said...

Wow, Donal, this WAS great investigative journalism!

You posted the whole story - and it doesn't make them look grat. No wonder they have no answer for you except insults.

I see now they are avoiding the entire story.....

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These people are imbecilic children! I couldn't believe how irresponsible their "answers" were!


4:23 AM  
Anonymous Les Ismore said...

Just out of curiosity, what is your answer to your own question?

5:09 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Morgan didn't ask a question in his last post above yours...

9:07 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Morgan--That was all straight from the donkey's mouth!

11:10 AM  

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