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A former member
Post #: 59
Since it comes up in a lot of discussions, I'm starting this thread so we can discuss what our soldiers are doing in the world and why. Of concern isn't so much how they got to where they are (like should they have gone to Iraq), although it is an issue, but what they'll be doing in the future (like should they go to Iran). The War on Terror should be the focus, but there are other wars to be considered.

For instance: Our State Department included its "List of Terrorists and Groups Identified Under Executive Order 13224" the Forces Armed for Revolution in Columbia (FARC). The Columbian government uses American aid and equipment to fight Communist insurgents funded in part by cocaine sold in America. It's the War on Terror, the the Cold War (thought it was over?), and the War on Drugs all rolled in to one.

It has been suggested that if America de-criminalized narcotics then FARC wouldn't be able to carry on and the violence in Columbia and other parts of Latin America would soon end. The drug trade as it is results in the heads of journalists and policemen on pikes in Mexico. It is results in the murder of entire families right here at home. If that's not Terror, what is? Assuming legalization would have such an affect in the Wars on Drugs and Terror, would it be rational to sanction the recreational use of drugs? Maybe that's yet another thread.

The point is that it isn't as simple as "blood for oil" or "Us vs. Them". Try to define who "we" and "they" are. Is "Us" Americans, westerners, christians? Is "Them" Iranians, commies, muslims?

And what limits should be set for ourselves? If we give in to demands to abandon the Mid-East, cut funding for Israel, and convert to Islam, how would it affect our lives? If we occupy foreign lands indefinitely, broaden executive powers, and adopt a policy of pre-emptive nuclear attack, how would that affect our lives?

And while we're busy with Iraq and Afghanistan, moving against Tehran and North Korea, should we worry about Russia and China? And speaking of priorities, should we be worried about the fact that more Americans killed by each other than by terrorists?
Dallas, TX
Post #: 24
Hey Nathan,

I have some quotes for you that I think are interesting:

1. "The right of "the self-determination of nations" applies only to free societies or to societies seeking to establish freedom; it does not apply to dictatorships. Just as an individual's right of free action does not include the "right" to commit crimes (that is, to violate the rights of others), so the right of a nation to determine its own form of government does not include the right to establish a slave society (that is, to violate the rights of others). There is no such thing as "the right to enslave." A nation can do it, just as a man can become a criminal - but neither can do it by right."

2. "dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a mater of its own self-interest, not of respect for the nonexistent "rights" of gang rulers. It is not a free nation's duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses. "

Ayn Rand - The virtue of Selfishness p.121-122.

In principle our defense policy should be the security of our individual rights, our freedoms and our nation. Governments such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran do not recognize individual rights, enslave their own people, and pose threats to our country. Thus, they are all open to our invasion at any time.
Chris J.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 84
Donovan makes a valid point, but this essay goes on to say that "we" would only be acting justly if we imposed a government which respects individual rights after eliminating the dictatorship. What I have learned of the Iraqi government is that its constitution relies heavily on Islamic law-so I'm not sure that we have done the right thing in that regard.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 25
Hey Chris,

Primarily, I would consider the United States as, far from what we would call an ideal form of Government. And, I agree that the U.S. is open to much criticism. Secondarily, do you see many freer countries out there? That, A. Need to defend themselves through military involvement in the Middle East? And, B. Have the capability to do so effectively? Third. The issue of what form of government replaces the toppled regime is actually a side issue, since the primary purpose of engagement is to protect our country, security, and rights. To go even deeper I'd like to point out that passivism invites violence and does not lead to peace.

Consider this: Take my money - no response, take my possessions - no response, take the lives of my loved ones - no response. Destroy a building - no response, invade my country - no response, destroy my country - no response.

Appeasement and passivism declares, take me, I'm yours to do with as you please!

Peace ultimately is achieved when it is blatantly known that there will be a response to evil, that it will be overwhelming, just, and virulent.
A former member
Post #: 154

Well said.

The level of our action should be directly proportional to the lesson we wish to teach.


A former member
Post #: 61
That's good 'n all, except for the use of the word "evil"

Imagine a country infiltrated by foreign agents that engage in acts of terrorism to further a political agenda and take control. They use car-bombs to kill popular leaders and sow dissent by disguising themselves as police and shooting into crowds of protesters. It sounds like Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but I'm actually referring to the CIA in Iran. Operation AJAX.

British oil-men spent a lot of money exploring Persian oil fields. When those fields were nationalized by the Iranian government, British and American agents staged a coup with a Pro-Capitalist front-man. Under this "shah" the Iranian people lived in a police-state. The secret police, called SAVAK, were trained by our own CIA.

The Iranians, like many other peoples of the world, didn't understand capitalism well enough to know why nationalizing the oil fields was a bad thing. Or maybe they ignored it the same way many Americans ignore the story I'm telling now. One thing's for sure - they were living under a brutal dictator whose money came from foreign governments. "When in the course of human events..."

The Islamic Revolution wasn't an attempt to oppress or enslave anyone, but to free themselves from foreign rule. The revolution was the Iranian people's response to "take the lives of my loved ones". Think about the phrase "societies seeking to establish freedom" and ask yourself whether other countries ought to be punished for not keeping up with us.

Women in Iran are working for they're freedom. Given enough time, they'll have it. The Persian Women's Movement is making progress within the Republic. That progress was slowed by eight years of war with Iraq, which was given funds and armament by the United States.

The problem with Donovan's use of the word "evil" is that it doesn't apply to the United States. First the United States used terrorism to destroy an unfriendly government. This is an evil thing for the Iranians. When the United States gave Saddam Hussein help in committing genocide and starting war, that was an evil thing for the Iranians. Now the United States isolates Iran from the world, and some even go so far as threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon in the the nation's capital and most populated city.

Can anyone explain how threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon in a concentrated urban center is not terrorism? Even so, did I miss what Iran has done to deserve the extermination of 15 million of it's citizens?

Narrow minded and ignorant as the typical Iranian is, when they take to the streets to denounce the US as evil and Bush as a terrorist, they are expressing conclusions drawn from rational observation of the world as it presents itself to them.

Others in the world noticed when Ahmejindad said he looks forward to a day when Jewish theocracy no longer reigns in Israel and the Israelis can live in peace with Palestians, and we took it to mean he wants to kill the Jews because someone mistranslated an idiom. They notice when Iran cooperates with the IAEA to prove their nuclear energy program is peaceful but we call them all liars and conclude that they must want the nukes to kill Jews.

They notice that we didn't notice when Ahmejinedad met with Jewish leaders in New York city without cursing them to hell. They noticed that when he made an attempt to show solidarity and find some common ground with us he was shrugged off with contempt. A US-led invasion of Iran would not be seen as good responding to evil. It will therefore not bring peace, but more war.
A former member
Post #: 157

Holy moly. I'm going to need time on this one. There are so many logical errors, qualifications, and misunderstandings in that post it will some time to untangle the mess. I'd first like you to review the meaning of truth in context.

Threatening to detonate a nuclear device in an urban center, interesting, in WWII we and the British fire bombed Dresden without any problem at all. Because it saved AMERICAN and BRITISH lives. WE did not cause the war, anymore more than we are causing a war with Iran. (in fact, they are already at war with us!!!!!!!) The Nazi's caused the war just as Iran is causing a war now. THEY put their people at risk, not us. We are simply telling them we will use any force necessary, which in my view is both proper and consistent. Dictatorships cannot be trusted. Theocracy's cannot be trusted. History teaches us this over and over and over and over. Now, if I'm reading you correctly, and correct me if I'm not, you seem to be saying THIS dictatorship CAN be trusted. What evidence to you have that points to a rational conclusion that suddenly, out of the entire scope of human history, we now find ourselves with a dictatorship that is "free"?

Dictatorships and Theocracy's can be counted on to act consistently. In accordance with principles that any lie or repression if acceptable.

Women free in Iran. Interesting, would you mind telling that to he 16 year old girl thay accused of having sex with her boyfriend in 2003? Oh sorry, you can't, they hung her in public, from the hook of a crane. It's well known the mullahs force women into prostitution, then force them into their private sex and drug hareems.

Now I agree American foriegn policy has problems, but I can recall us hanging young girls from cranes.

So, if you plan to convince ME that the Iranian regime is anything more than a corrupt, disgusting, immoral country that should be wiped clean from the face of the earth you're going to have to come up with something better than the Persian Women's Movement.

And this:

"The Islamic Revolution wasn't an attempt to oppress or enslave anyone, but to free themselves from foreign rule. The revolution was the Iranian people's response to "take the lives of my loved ones". Think about the phrase "societies seeking to establish freedom" and ask yourself whether other countries ought to be punished for not keeping up with us."

I'm sorry, but this really made my blood boil. I'm not suggesting we "punish" other countries for not keeping up with us. Would you like to check the number of people killed under the Shah compared to the number SLAUGHTERED under the Islamic Revolution? Also check the same stats for the number killed under the Csar compared with Russian Communism. Do the same thing for those killed under the Kaiser compared to Hitler. Then, please tell me the Islamic Revolution wasn't an attempt to oppress or enslave. Are you suggesting the United States butchered those people?
The United States does not exist to "teach" anyone anything. It is not the place of the US to teach other countries how to keep up with us. The purpose of the goverment is to secure individual rights. This includes providing physical security. Both Iraq and Iran pose a definite threat to the physical security of the United States. In order to protect AMERICAN citizens, if we have to drop a nuclear device in Tehran, then please explain to me what the problem is.

If the child killing mullahs put their own people in harms way, that's not my problem.

And what others in the world look...the French? Sorry, but what has France done for me lately? Other than the Polish, the British, and the Australians, what world opinion shouild I care about...Hugo Chavez?

I remeber that A. Hilter met with Nevill Chamberlain and didn't curse him to hell either. But Der Furher didn't have any problem launching V2 rockets at London. All of eatern Europe fell. 6 million jews were buthered...BUTCHERED... and I beleive the Iranian President doesn't think the Holocaust happened...isn't that correct? Didn't Iran host a Holocaust deniers conference a year or so ago? In my opinion, listening to ANYTHING the Iranians say other than "We surrender" is a waste of my time and an insult to my intelligence. Anything and everything the mullahs or their lapdog mutter should be treated with utter comptempt as nothing but lies. Also, for the record, I'd like to see the persons at Columbia University who invited that scum to speak publicly whipped. That he could find refuge on the scared soil of America is disgusting and is a direct reflection of the low state of higher education.

Always a pleasure,

Dallas, TX
Post #: 26
Hey Nathan,

I'm addressing principles. Not convoluted, who did what, or who should have done what scenarios. I think I was also clear that I do not consider many of the actions that the U.S. has taken to be admirable. I want to reemphasis my points:

This was my statement:

"Peace ultimately is achieved when it is blatantly known that there will be a response to evil, that it will be overwhelming, just, and virulent."

First: Evil is that which is anti-life, anti-individual rights, anti-rational.

My point here is that I appose passivism, because passivism does not lead to peace. Why?


The necessary consequence of man's right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.

If some "pacifist" society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.

"The Nature of Government," The Virtue of Selfishness, 108

"The Islamic Revolution wasn't an attempt to oppress or enslave anyone, but to free themselves from foreign rule."

I would reevaluate this statement. I am very skeptical that anything including the word "Islamic" doesn't logically imply enslavement to some degree. Do you think that participants of this revolution upheld the proper standards of individualism?

"The revolution was the Iranian people's response to "take the lives of my loved ones". Think about the phrase "societies seeking to establish freedom" and ask yourself whether other countries ought to be punished for not keeping up with us."

My answer to this is, yes! They should be punished, if and when they initiate the use of force against our country. Just as I would defend my rights and my life against an ignorant primitive brute on a social level, a free society has the right to defend itself from another nation that's actions and ideas are consistent with the most archaic religious tyrants.
A former member
Post #: 62

Pacifism would be letting them have Iraq, letting them have Hezbollah, or letting them have nukes. I'm against all of that.

Yes, countries that attack us should be punished, but the question was whether we should attack them first because their society is less free than ours. The argument that a country deserves to be invaded because it isn't free enough is invalid unless you define how free is free enough. For example, it is not morally acceptable to invade Canada because they have higher taxes and more welfare spending.

No, I don't think the participants in the Islamic Revolution uphold the proper standards of individualism. Every Muslim explicitly submits his individual will to the will of God. Your point about evil is well taken. My counterpoint is that Iran does not represent anti-values, but less-than-appropriate-values. It isn't evil, it's just not as good as we'd like it to be. My argument is that Iran is a freedom-seeking society and therefore deserves it's sovereignty.

By freedom-seeking I mean that they have very little freedom, and seek more. The Soviets and Nazis were freedom destroying, they sought to decrease freedom. Iran is centuries behind us in their value of freedom and they're misguided about what individual freedom is. Through internal dialogue they will come to more proper conclusions.

They'll never catch up to us if we keep knocking them down. We toppled their government and replaced it with a police-state and a dictator. When they stood up for themselves we enabled another dictator to wage war against them. We're on their doorstep, threatening to invade their country, kill their citizens: we're the ones starting a war. We're the ones initiating the use of force against them. By our own principles, they are morally obligated to defend themselves by any means.

Dallas, TX
Post #: 29

I do not wish to engage in what the history of Iran is or should have been. Ayn Rand was very clear when she stated we have the freedom to invade a country that does not recognize individual rights, is a dictatorship and has demonstrated that they are even at most a potential threat to our freedom. We are not obligated to strike first, we are not obligated to stand up for women who are being abused or raped, we are not obligated to defend the innocent that are being chained by nazis, communists, or religious dictators in their own country. We do however, have the right to strike in Iran if we choose. If another nation was more powerful, more free, more in harmony with our values and could liberate us I would wish and hope for them to come!! The few Objectivists, if there are any in Iran, hope for the U.S. to come to their rescue.

- Edited for clarity.
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