North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › The 2-year-old with a bomb discussion, con't.

The 2-year-old with a bomb discussion, con't.

A former member
Post #: 44
Outside during the last Ranch-In, several of us were having a heated but friendly foreign policy debate. To counter my objection to the immoral killing of innocents during such recent events as the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, a lifeboat hypothetical was given: a 2-year-old, unaware of what is happening to him, is strapped with explosives and is heading your way. You have the opportunity to shoot him and take him out before he reaches you and puts your life in danger. To quote Keanu Reeves in Speed, "What do you do?"

Of the group, it's a pretty safe bet that I was the one who would hesitate the longest in pulling the trigger, if at all. As with most social occasions that turn unexpectedly into political debate, I was able to analyze the situation further later, and during an unrelated search on another topic on my hard drive, I came across an online debate that occurred earlier this century among libertarian scholars (most with Objectivist backgrounds) where a similar hypothetical was submitted. One author, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, puts it better than I can rephrase it, so I will quote from his original text:

"(It was submitted that) U.S. retaliation against Osama bin Laden is justified, even if it does result in some death and damage to innocents, because legitimate self-defense against life threatening attacks may impose risk on bystanders. This by the way is an argument used by Eric Mack (an Objectivist philosopher) to support just-war theory in the Reason Foundation's Cold War compilation, DEFENDING A FREE SOCIETY.

"The first thing to observe about these moral defenses of State warfare is that they are MERE analogies. They rely on cases of private violence where endangering innocents seems permissible. Such analogies almost never actually justify harm to bystanders in the private case. They simply appeal to our moral intuition that since such harm is unavoidable in the private case, it therefore must also be permissible when governments are involved.

"But these analogies are invariably faulty. Their power comes from hypothetical private uses of DEFENSIVE force. But they are then applied to governments wielding, at best, RETALIATORY force. Yet there is no reason to assume that the same moral principles apply to both, and in fact our intuitions strongly tell us otherwise. Most of us would find it hard to condemn killing a human shield to stop someone on the verge of murdering us. But very few would therefore condone slaughtering scores of innocents as the police attempted to apprehend a murderer who was fleeing the crime scene and was no longer an IMMEDIATE danger to anyone."

Back to me ... other problems with the vague hypothetical are:

1. Will the bomb be detonated and baby be blown up anyway in the very near future (as opposed to days, months and years down the line), regardless of your action? (If yes, shooting the baby is a moot point.)

2. Has one exhausted all other options of preserving one's life, such as jumping behind a barrier, bravely pulling out the detonator from the bomb, running away, etc.? (I would definitely seek to exhaust as many opportunities as possible.)

3. You get ready to kill the baby. His father or mother, who weren't responsible for wiring up the baby in the first place, comes by as you aim to shoot their child. They can shoot you before you do. Is their shooting you justifiable? (I would answer yes.)

In the bigger picture of the wielding of force in defensive and retaliatory reaction to an aggression, the last point reveals the problem of indiscriminate and sloppy use of such force. For it is an unfortunate fact of reality that we are only as free in our actions as the people around us allow us to be. "The sanction of the victim." Which is why ideology, not force, rules the world, and why philosophy is such an important tool of survival.

If we are prudent and careful in our use of such force to rebalance the scales of justice, others will view our actions as reasonable and just, and treat us accordingly. If we overreact and create more "crime" and victims in the process of defending and prosecuting crime, we will be correctly and rationally seen as a threat and open ourselves up to liability and retaliatory actions, creating the insecure world we live in today. To me, this in a nutshell explains "why they hate us."

So instead of cluster bombing, full military invasions and other indiscriminate means of rooting out those responsible for 9/11, I propose more precise, surgical means, such as those depicted in the Steven Spielberg movie Munich, based on the real-life anti-terrorist team that hunted down those responsible for the Black September actions at the 1972 Olympics. And of course limiting U.S. political power to (at least) U.S. borders. By taking the moral high ground, not only will we be setting an example to the world and win their admiration instead of their hatred, and reduce the ability of Bin Laden to attract new recruits to his cause, but become freer and more prosperous ourselves through the elimination of a cancerous military budget and civil liberty violations.
A former member
Post #: 41
I would shoot that child with no remorse. The death would be at the hands of the person that strapped the bomb on.

I think we are in WWW III. "Surgical Action" won't cut it. The US should be gathering up what allies we can and taking out the bad guys, namely IRAN, Syria, Hizbulla, Hamas, and any other facist extreamist that think they can rule our lives.

I think the US is way too Imperialistic and not nearly proactive enough. There should be windmills and solar panels and nuclear power plants all over the country so that when we spank the oil countries we are not the victim. That would be a way better use of the billions of dollars we wasted in Iraq. Let them have their civil war, why should I care. We should spend our energy ruining the economic clout of our enemies and no energy putting it back together again. Knock out there silly oil fields and never let them rebuild them. Conquer and leave. Repeat as necessary. Never occupy. What pain and suffering these actions cause is on the ruling facist with the agenda to destroy us. If they want us to stop terrorizing them they will have to stop terrorizing us.

The omish are right. We should not sell out our freedom to dependancy on technological toys. Either we establish our own energy sources or we live without it. Damn inconvienient but the facist can kiss my butt if they think I'll give them any ground.
Chad
prorescue
Norman, OK
Post #: 39
The idea that you can be at war with the government of a nation but not it's people doesn't make sense to me. We unfortunately do not have the technology to target just specific individuals when we defend ourselves as a nation. Parents of children are responsible for their safety until they can take care of themselves. If I allow my children to play in the freeway, I have directly contributed to their death when they get hit by a car. If I live in a country with state sponsored terrorism, and I decide to raise my children there, then I have directly contributed to their death when the Americans bomb my city. By choosing not to rise up against a totalitarian government, I have sanctioned the actions of that government. Yes it is true that rising up in such countries often results in the death of the person and his family. But I can fight and possibly die for freedom or sit around and wait to be bombed when my country attacks a free one. Not a great choice, but one course of action is certainly more rational than the other.
A former member
Post #: 47
Sorry for the delayed response, gentlemen. Been busy working. smile

Coincidentally, I also happen to live under a government with state-sponsored terrorism. wink I do my best to change it without substantial risk to my own well-being, but I sympathize with those in other countries who are also trying to overcome the enormous free-rider obstacles to obtaining a free society. (For an excellent analysis of liberty, political altruism, and the public goods problem, click here.)

And just as I hope those across the world won't blame me for the actions of the U.S. government, which steals my income and uses it for its own interests and against mine, endangering my safety, I aim not to harm those abroad in the same situation. Often Objectivists forget the second half of the maxim, "I swear - by my life and my love of it - that I will never live for the sake of another, nor ask another man to live for mine." In pursuit of justice, the lives of the innocent, no matter how inconveniently placed they may be, are not at my disposal. They are not, nor should they be, interested in sacrificing their lives because someone else has committed an act of aggression upon me.

I do applaud those in the military who take a stand, at great personal risk, and refuse to fight and thus contribute to an act of aggression and not what they are incorrectly told is justified retaliation. Perhaps you have seen some of these individuals in the news: U.S. soldiers refusing deployment to Iraq. The military is not voluntary enough; the right to lay down one's arms, or even turn them around, in the defense of liberty is one of the strongest cornerstones of a free society, and one that governments seek to squash as strongly as possible in its military policies.

There are many examples throughout history of people targeting governments and its agents, and not its people. Most of the American Revolution was fought this way, primarily by the militia against British troops and British government authorities. The French and Dutch resistance during WWII. The actions of political organizations, such as the National Rifle Association on one wing and the American Civil Liberties Union on the other, can be viewed as defensive actions against violations of liberties by a government (in this case, the U.S. government). In the case of 9/11, which started all this hysteria, the organization responsible is not even a state or government at all. One can imagine if Bin Laden's group were hiding somewhere in Kansas. Would bombing Kansas also be morally justified? Nor would bombing Afghanistan.

Governments get their power and sanction, and gobble up liberties, by operating as protection rackets against other governments, and thus mutually build up their power at the expense of their citizenry. If they cannot find a foreign enemy to protect you from, they will go out of their way to find or even manufacture one. Nothing illustrated this more clearly than the fall of the Soviet Union, the subsequent threat of reduced justification for military budgets and bases, and then the enthusiastic involvement of Bush the Elder in the Iraq/Kuwait dispute. Which brings us to the state of the world we are in today.

What's the best way to defend the U.S in the current crisis? First, let's examine an objective illustration of the current situation in Iran (which I'm borrowing off the net) which illustrates the above paragraph more clearly:

"It is, however, useful to ask how we would act if Iran had invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico and was arresting U.S. government representatives there on the grounds that they were resisting the Iranian occupation (called "liberation," of course). Imagine as well that Iran was deploying massive naval forces in the Caribbean and issuing credible threats to launch a wave of attacks against a vast range of sites - nuclear and otherwise - in the United States, if the U.S. government did not immediately terminate all its nuclear energy programs (and, naturally, dismantle all its nuclear weapons). Suppose that all of this happened after Iran had overthrown the government of the U.S. and installed a vicious tyrant (as the US did to Iran in 1953), then later supported a Russian invasion of the U.S. that killed millions of people (just as the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in 1980, killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians, a figure comparable to millions of Americans). Would we watch quietly?

It is easy to understand an observation by one of Israel's leading military historians, Martin van Creveld. After the U.S. invaded Iraq, knowing it to be defenseless, he noted, 'Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy.'"


The conservative journalist Peter Hitchens, who certainly approves of military action much more than I do, made the following observation on a recent trip to Iran, which further illustrates the importance of ideology:

"They all thought war was coming, all believed that the U.S. was not a truly free country and that Iranians and Muslims were persecuted and mistreated there. These opinions arose from state-sponsored ignorance and were fanned by our own militant hostility. The students were not in themselves hostile to the West - like almost all Iranians, they yearned to live there. They were personally friendly and open to me. But they warned that an attack on Iran would drive them closer to their government. And this was not just their view. I heard the same from many far more liberal-minded and skeptical. Before the Iraq War, many such people were all but wishing for an American invasion to free them from the ayatollahs. But having seen what American liberation has done for Iraq and Afghanistan, they have turned away from any such thoughts.

The Islamic leadership knows this and is glad of the threats and grumbling coming from Washington. Once it was able to use the great national trauma of the war with Iraq to unite the nation around its leadership, much as the Kremlin used the war against Hitler to give itself legitimacy."


Thus the best way to weaken the Iranian government in its current militarist drive, to reduce the sanction of its victims, to block its focus on the U.S., is to eliminate its ideological justification: the presence of U.S. troops in the Middle East, the covert actions by U.S intelligence agencies, and the massive military and financial aid to Israel. I'm not saying this will bring immediate peace to the Middle East, but it will remove the U.S. as a player and therefore potential target in the Persian Gulf power struggle, and let the inhabitants assume responsibility for their own fate. It would be a powerful ideological weapon against Middle Eastern governments.

If private citizens wish to raise funds voluntarily to help out their favorite populations, whether it be Israelites or Palestinians or Iraqis, that's fine. If they wish to form "Lincoln Brigades" and go over to join the struggle, go ahead. If oil companies wish to hire mercenaries to recover nationalized property (and assume their own risks of operation under a foreign government), give it a shot. But if they wish to steal my income to finance U.S. military misadventures, slaughter the innocent, make enemies, and thus make me a target for terrorists, no way.
A former member
Post #: 112
"Peace in our time" - Neville Chamberlain

"Blame America" - Any American Leftist

The American government does not sponsor terrorism.

Most American leftist and libertarian thinkers and activists would feel comfortably at home in Vichy France.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a dictatorship. The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to destroy America...by any means necessary. The Islamic Republic of Iran is currently fighting a proxy war with the United States of America in and around the area known as Iraq. The United States of America does not hang teenage girls, in public, from cranes like the barbarian mystics of Iran. These are facts.

The predominate Islamic culture of the Middle East is not a culture based on rational discourse. It is a culture based on force and fear, subjugation, destruction and an explicit rejection of reason. In it's current form this culture sees The United States of America and it's chief ally in the Levant, Israel, as "The Great Satan". These are facts!

Islamic Militants, on 9/11/2001, used passenger aircraft as guided missiles and extinguished over 3,000 AMERICAN lives! The culture that breeds this type of hatred, in Iran, in Saudi Arabia is in direct conflict with the values of individual freedom and liberty, capitialism, the pursuit of happiness. These are facts.

It cannot be denied America has made many mistakes. It cannot be denied America is not perfect. It cannot be denied that The United States of America is THE country of The Enlighenment. The US, today, finds itself with few friends throughout the world. Europe, once the continent of high culture, has deginirated into a sesspool of cowards afraid to even criticize the evil in their midst. The brave Italian journalist, Oriana Fallaci,(http://www.giselle.co...­) had to flee Europe because of her writing. Israel, hampered in part by our own efforts, finds itself beseiged on all sides. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, even considers implementing Sharia Law!

If this wasn't enough, America is beset by the enemy in our midst. Using the freedom defended by the US Military, these haters of America. These people who blame America for all the evil in the world, stab and poke and whittle away at our confidence. They seek to undermine our moral certitude by claiming the US engages in terrorism. They see nothing wrong with individuals sponsoring true terrorist states. These are the people that hate the good for being good.

If a foriegn government, such as The Islamic Republic of Iran, attacks the United States, which, in fact, it has done. Then that government, not the USA, has placed it's population in danger. Any innocents killed in the consequent struggle, have been killed by that government, not the USA. When they put a anti-aircraft battery in a hospital, or Mosque or graveyard, THEY made that choice, not the USA. This is a FACT. A FACT...that many people seem to easily forget. The enemy in our midst doesn't want us to remember that FACT! They want to restrict US military assets and confuse commanders by creating moral doubt. The ENEMY chose to strap bombs to children! The enemy chose to attack the US. The enemy chose to hand weapons to kids and hide in their supposedly "holy" sites.

Someone has suggested the best way to pacify the enemy "is to eliminate its ideological justification". This is a recipe for suicide. This is a formulation based on wishful thinking or down-right self-hatred. The enemy doesn't hate us because we have troops in the Middle East, or spies or help Israel. They hate us because of shopping malls, rock music, birthday cake, sex, movies, friends and family. They hate us for EXISTING! Because, as the poster correctly observed, the root cause is IDEOLOGICAL. As long as The United States of America exists, they have a target to hate.

The leftists want us to leave the Middle East. They want us to wait until Iran develops a nuclear bomb, the ICBM to carry it, and the destruction of American cities BEFORE we act. This, in my opinion, is criminal at best. And this, in my view, is why any positive values Ron Paul may have are overshadowed by his refusal to fight our enemies.

As for those in the military who refuse to fight, they should be dis-honorably discharged, at best. But..."incorrectly told is justified retaliation"? Over 3,000 souls, destroyed by the barbarians and some people don't consider the war justified retaliation, I simply won't, or can't respond to such a notion.

Either The United States must stand up for it's values or it must perish. History teaches us there are no other alternatives. Despite all the flaws of America, it's still the best thing going. For those living in the fantasy land of "they can't touch our shores" I refer you to 9/11/2001, because apparently they can. I refer you to Great Britian where more of the barbarians have been caught trying to launch a horrific plot of destruction. Our enemy is relentless and we must be relentless.
A former member
Post #: 115
I finally had a chance to catch up on some reading and there was a excellent article in TIA Daily from July 3 that has a direct bearing on this discussion.

James Robbins, in National Review Online wrote an article called "Club Bombers", allow me to excerpt a portion.

"It is important to understand the contempt for life at the root of the jihadists' ideology. Simply enjoying oneself is a capital offense. This was illustrated in the planned attacked of the al Qaeda-connected "Crevice" gang. Five cell members were sentenced to life this April for plotting mass mayhem in London, in particular targeting nightclubs with fertilizer bombs. Surveillance audio captured one conversation on February 22, 2004 in which cell members Omar Khyam and Jawad Akbar discuss potential targets and methods...

Their target was "those slags dancing around." This tells us that their objectives are not simply political, they go much deeper than that. The jihad is not about Britain's Iraq policy, not some form of revenge for lack of economic opportunity, but is rooted in a basic rejection of the human spirit as expressed in any life-affirming activity.

This war is not simply a contest of grievences, or a difference of opinions, but a defense of the human spirit, of the right of people to express that spirit, to sing, to dance, to live."

(Bold and italics added)

This all sounds oddly familiar. Personally I am gratified to see others view the contest in the same light as myself.

Pytheus
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 537
Despite all the flaws of America, it's still the best thing going.


It is scary how that simple truth is so often forgotten.

Regarding soldiers in the military refusing to fight. Why do they join in the first place? I have respect for the military-they certainly are not perfect, but it doesn't really make sense to me that anyone would bother joining unless they were willing to fight. Joining the military, 100% voluntary in this country, is a choice. A person chooses to put their life in the hands of those that direct military action. This is not the same situation as people that were drafted against their will in wars past.

I think there is a difference between some of the things going on - say, some situations such as at the "enemy combatant" facilities where soldiers chose to participate in some appalling activities. (I think responsibility is shared from top to bottom on that, but that is another thread...) than those that all of a sudden decide that invading Iraq is wrong, and then refusing to go - after they have already enlisted. I mean, come on? You would have to grow up in a cave to not know that the military does some not so fun stuff that isn't very nice.

I disagree that the US sponsors terrorism. Taking taxes from its citizens is not the same thing as flying a plane in a building, suicide bombing in market places, or the like. To compare the two doesn't make much sense to me.
A former member
Post #: 33
The "2-year old with a bomb" situation wasn't as much an exploratory hypothetical situation as much as it was an attempt to get you to say that you'd shoot a two-year old, or to admit that you'd commit murder (or infanticide as the case may be) to save your own life. From that point whoever came up with this farce can work his way backwards to find out what your limits are, like I'd only shoot him if he was going to die anyway or whatever.

I remember an instance a few years back of a Palestinian 6-year old boy who walked up to a security checkpoint with a bomb strapped to himself. Apparently the other boys at school were mean, and some zealot gave him a target for his frustration. Turns out the boy didn't feel angry enough to die that day, and the soldiers at the gate disarmed him with a robot. yay happy endings!
Santiago V.
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 197
Its time to avoid a long road trip and work! That means its time for some discussion on moral principles. First though, some mystery science theatre, NTOS edition:

Outside during the last Ranch-In, several of us were having a heated but friendly foreign policy debate. To counter my objection to the immoral killing of innocents during such recent events as the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, a lifeboat hypothetical was given: a 2-year-old, unaware of what is happening to him, is strapped with explosives and is heading your way. You have the opportunity to shoot him and take him out before he reaches you and puts your life in danger. To quote Keanu Reeves in Speed, "What do you do?"

I'm waiting for the moral dilemma here...

As with most social occasions that turn unexpectedly into political debate, I was able to analyze the situation further later, and during an unrelated search on another topic on my hard drive, I came across an online debate that occurred earlier this century among libertarian scholars (most with Objectivist backgrounds) where a similar hypothetical was submitted. One author, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, puts it better than I can rephrase it, so I will quote from his original text:

"(It was submitted that) U.S. retaliation against Osama bin Laden is justified, even if it does result in some death and damage to innocents, because legitimate self-defense against life threatening attacks may impose risk on bystanders. This by the way is an argument used by Eric Mack (an Objectivist philosopher) to support just-war theory in the Reason Foundation's Cold War compilation, DEFENDING A FREE SOCIETY.

"The first thing to observe about these moral defenses of State warfare is that they are MERE analogies. They rely on cases of private violence where endangering innocents seems permissible. Such analogies almost never actually justify harm to bystanders in the private case. They simply appeal to our moral intuition that since such harm is unavoidable in the private case, it therefore must also be permissible when governments are involved.

"But these analogies are invariably faulty. Their power comes from hypothetical private uses of DEFENSIVE force. But they are then applied to governments wielding, at best, RETALIATORY force.

Because using force in DEFENSE of yourself is never in RETALIATION to anything, right? Its a psychic projection into the future, Minority Report style, where I forsee that this man will do harm to me, and I waste him DEFENSIVELY.

Yet there is no reason to assume that the same moral principles apply to both

Both are moral actors, thus both might be looked at as playing by the same rules. But hey, if he says there's no reason, there's none.

...and in fact our intuitions strongly tell us otherwise.

1) Speak for yourself, brother!

2) Intuition! Can't be wrong, right guys?

Most of us would find it hard to condemn killing a human shield to stop someone on the verge of murdering us.

"Most people" also believe that a bearded man in the sky runs things. I am not sure how this is a very persuasive argument.

But very few would therefore condone slaughtering scores of innocents as the police attempted to apprehend a murderer who was fleeing the crime scene and was no longer an IMMEDIATE danger to anyone."

The police swear to "serve and protect" law abiding citizens, among other things. That is why we pay for them. That is hardly comparable to a foreign action against people who the military owes nothing to.

Back to me

Best idea yet!

...oh, you mean you. Nevermind.

... other problems with the vague hypothetical are:

1. Will the bomb be detonated and baby be blown up anyway in the very near future (as opposed to days, months and years down the line), regardless of your action? (If yes, shooting the baby is a moot point.)

2. Has one exhausted all other options of preserving one's life, such as jumping behind a barrier, bravely pulling out the detonator from the bomb, running away, etc.? (I would definitely seek to exhaust as many opportunities as possible.)

Despite increased risk to your own person?

I smell altruism...

3. You get ready to kill the baby. His father or mother, who weren't responsible for wiring up the baby in the first place, comes by as you aim to shoot their child. They can shoot you before you do. Is their shooting you justifiable? (I would answer yes.)

Thats another easy no.
Santiago V.
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 198
In the bigger picture of the wielding of force in defensive and retaliatory reaction to an aggression, the last point reveals the problem of indiscriminate and sloppy use of such force. For it is an unfortunate fact of reality that we are only as free in our actions as the people around us allow us to be. "The sanction of the victim." Which is why ideology, not force, rules the world, and why philosophy is such an important tool of survival.

If we are prudent and careful in our use of such force to rebalance the scales of justice, others will view our actions as reasonable and just, and treat us accordingly. If we overreact and create more "crime" and victims in the process of defending and prosecuting crime, we will be correctly and rationally seen as a threat and open ourselves up to liability and retaliatory actions, creating the insecure world we live in today. To me, this in a nutshell explains "why they hate us."

So instead of cluster bombing, full military invasions and other indiscriminate means of rooting out those responsible for 9/11, I propose more precise, surgical means, such as those depicted in the Steven Spielberg movie Munich, based on the real-life anti-terrorist team that hunted down those responsible for the Black September actions at the 1972 Olympics. And of course limiting U.S. political power to (at least) U.S. borders. By taking the moral high ground, not only will we be setting an example to the world and win their admiration instead of their hatred, and reduce the ability of Bin Laden to attract new recruits to his cause, but become freer and more prosperous ourselves through the elimination of a cancerous military budget and civil liberty violations.

Morality as a popularity contest, yay!

Snide comments over, serious post begins here:

How much would I hesitate to shoot the aforementioned baby? None at all. If it was the quickest and safest way to ensure my own personal safety, and the child has no personal value to me (such as one of the NTOS kids or something,) I would not have any moral qualms about shooting him or her.

Do the parents have a right to shoot me? Of course not. I have a right, as any human being does, to defend my own life from harm. They do not have the right to remove that from me; their actions are criminal and they would (and should) be punished as de facto accomplices of whoever strapped the bomb on the baby in the first place. And if they missed, they would join their kid soon after.

Do not mistakenly divorce value from the key phrase, to whom? Other human beings are valuable to you in a free society because they represent a tremendous potential value to you, in the form of business partners, customers, and so on and so forth. In the absence of specific information showing they are not of value to you (for example, having a bomb strapped to them and coming right for you,) this is plenty of reason to do no harm to another individual. Their purpose as far as it concerns you is best fulfilled when left alone to reach their own individual peak.

To the parents of the baby, it must be said that they need to keep in mind who actually put their child in danger; you are exercising a right any living creature has (to prevent yourself from being killed,) a right they respect in order to retain it themselves. And violate at their own peril.

In terms of foreign policy, this means that a military is organized in order to defend and protect the citizens of the country that they originate from. In a free society, this is obviously a moral thing to do. Looking from the perspective of a free man, an individual living in a separate free state, or even semi-free state, is of value to him in the form of trade, business partners, etc. And such states rarely (never, in the case of free states) have reason to go to war with each other.

Take, however, a brutal dictatorship or theocracy that supports organizations, such as a military, paramilitary or terrorist organization, who attacks or threatens to (along with being able to) the citizens of a free state. Individuals in these states are still a potential value to you, but now you have key information: they support, de facto, the organization which does you harm, either through their tax money, actual physical support (working at factories and such that produce munitions, weapons and such for them,) or morally (by their passive acceptance of the rule of the government.) They retain moral responsibility for this support, coerced as it may be.

Given that, two options should be given on the leadup to the invasion: rebel to be a free state or be completely disregarded as a person of value when the invasion commences. To the former, we should lend support; to the latter, we should not concern ourselves with in the least.

Before yet another police analogy is provided, police swear to defend the populace, hostages among them, and are paid for by the populace. They have certain obligations that they entered into that they must abide by. Since the military (nor anyone else here) has any obligations to any foreign citizens, an attempt to say "Police don't shoot hostages, why should the military kill 'innocent' civilians?" are invalid comparisons at best.

I would ask, Billster, that you examine why you attach value to human life, not just divorced from all important to you, but in flat out contradiction to it. That is what lies at the heart of this disagreement, and I'd like to get a handle on it before we go forwards.

Regards,
Santiago
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