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Does being pro-war contrast w/ religion (e.g. Christianity)?





The Philosopher Princess
[T.P.P. MOD NOTE: I split out the war stuff from here to create this new topic. Smile]
~~~~~~~~~~
Soulfire wrote:
My priest once told me, a man has only two things: the Bible, and his faith.

That can be reduced down to: A man (such as Soulfire) has only one thing: faith.

It takes faith to believe the Bible, so specifying both is being redundant.
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Soulfire wrote:
Anyway, I don't see the reason for all this debate and clashing of religions, or lack of religion.

Entertainment -- both for those involved and others watching. By the way, entertainment does not mean it’s not serious.
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Soulfire wrote:
In my life, God and Jesus give me happiness and spiritual balance

Is that why you are such a strong supporter of war? You are so happy and in balance, but you don’t want that for others, so you support war that always causes suffering and disbalance?
Soulfire
Quote:
Is that why you are such a strong supporter of war? You are so happy and in balance, but you don’t want that for others, so you support war that always causes suffering and disbalance?

I think you're taking my stance of war the wrong way. I do not like way, nobody really "likes" war. I support the war in Iraq because it seemed like the best thing to do, aside from just standing there and watching. The intelligence did say:

1) Saddam was a threat
2) There were nuclear weapons

Regardless of whether it is correct, if your intelligence is presenting you that information, would you just sit back and wait? How easily we are to blame the president for every little thing that goes wrong. Am I saying the war is justified? No. Am I saying that it was good? No. I am saying that based on what he had to go by, invasion was the best choice. And at the time, the majority of the nation WANTED war, then they all just changed their minds.

My issue is with the people who say "War is wrong, so therefore Bush is wrong, and I hate him" and those who get caught up in the anti-Bush sentiment just "for the fun of it."

It's not that I don't want people to have the happiness and balance I've found, it's that I want it protected for the people who have it. War passes, and eventually peace and balance prevails.

I hope that clears up some of your apparent confusion on my "supporting war". I don't support war, but I support some (not all) of the actions of George Bush.

Besides, it's a given that the president will be hated at the end of the two terms. It happened to Clinton, it's happening to Bush, and it will continue to happen. A neverending perpetual cycle of hatred because things don't always go our way.
The Philosopher Princess
It’s not even close to cleared up. It’s only getting worse. Some things don’t jive with your philosophy. I don’t see how everything you say can be true simultaneously. [2nd source]

For example:
Soulfire wrote:
If you don't want it [“happiness and spiritual balance”], you don't have to have it.
and
Soulfire wrote:
I fully support the war...

I do not believe that a person can have an actual grasp on “happiness and spiritual balance” for themselves and/or for other people
and
they are fully pro-war for any war.

I do not believe that a person can really take a you-do-not-have-to approach (which is non-aggression)
and
a pro-war approach (which is aggression).

[EDITED-IN NOTE: Everything in olive can now be ignored, since the religious war discussion has been split from its previous thread.]

Soulfire, I’m always glad to get your feedback, but please do not give any more pro-Iraq-war statements here; they fit perfectly over on the many war discussion threads. Instead, when talking here, please stick strictly to the religious aspects of this. It’s going to be a challenge, but I know you can do it. Smile

It might be helpful to think hypothetically. For example, if God is Love, and Jesus Saves, and War is Hate, and War Destroys, then either God and Jesus do not support War, or God and Jesus are actually Hateful Destroyers.

@ nopaniers, Indi, HoboPelican, and mike1reynolds: I hope this side discussion does not hinder your continuing your good stuff!
HoboPelican
I won't even go into the evidence that the intelligence given to Bush was presented as "questionable" and that Bush choose on his own to interpret as an excuse to go to war. We;ve been over that ground already.

Soulfire wrote:
My issue is with the people who say "War is wrong, so therefore Bush is wrong, and I hate him" and those who get caught up in the anti-Bush sentiment just "for the fun of it."

Do you still stand by this after more thought? To me you are saying that anyone with strong pacifist convictions is wrong in your world view. I hope that is not what you were trying to say.

Also, I hope you don't think anyone around here is caught up in hating Bush just cause it's fun to bash the President. I think most of us have expressed ourselves well enough to explain why we have such issues with our current Pres. You need not agree with us, but I think to imply that we are just bashing for fun is beneath you.

I hope I just misinterpreted those lines.
i_am_mine
Soulfire wrote:
My issue is with the people who say "War is wrong, so therefore Bush is wrong, and I hate him" and those who get caught up in the anti-Bush sentiment just "for the fun of it."


With no intention of stretching this thread any longer, let me just tell everyone out there who thinks that people hate George Bush Jr just because its thin "in" thing or because of faulty intelligence that wasn't "his fault"....

1.George Bush Jr had enough intelligence and enough resources to know that there was not sufficient reason for the invasion.
However, for the satisfaction of certain egos, let us suppose that I am wrong on this first point.

2.George Bush has driven Billions of dollars of tax-payer money into the ground not just through the shoddily planned war ( despite having inherited from PREVIOUS administration the most technologically advanced armed forces ), but through a pathetic handling of local economy.

3.Sure Bush doesn't care about White Trash Trailer park America.Maybe you'd like to see what he's done there.Or maybe you'd like to ask some hard working putting-bread-on-the-table Americans yourself.

4.Bush has trashed almost every well-worth environment policy ever.Hope you can tell your kids their Earth isn't gonna all that green.

5.More later...

I gotta be going Smile
mike1reynolds
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
I do not believe that a person can really take a you-do-not-have-to approach (which is non-aggression)
and
a pro-war approach (which is aggression).


HoboPelican wrote:
To me you are saying that anyone with strong pacifist convictions is wrong in your world view.

While I certainly don’t agree with the Iraq war, the intelligence was extremely clear that there was no nuclear weapons program and that the invasion of Iraq was extremely likely to create a civil war, I also don’t agree with these points.

Are you two saying that WWII was wrong and we should have just let Hitler have his way?
bogger
mike1reynolds wrote:
Are you two saying that WWII was wrong and we should have just let Hitler have his way?


Sorry, but there is a big difference there, hitler invaded other countries and made a misery of their lives, while German's were happy, In Iraq, Hussein kept to himself and made his own people suffer, not because he was evil, but because he was paranoid, the starvation was, ironically enough, caused by U.N sanctions

Back on topic, however. I support
The Philosopher Princess
when she reminds us it's about ANY war. According to absolute religion, War is evil, and a sin.
But sometimes it's required to nip something at the bud, I don't think religion and war really fit together.

Using religion as an excuse for war is wrong, but sometimes the backing of the church is required to gain popular support for a war that is nescessary
mike1reynolds
bogger wrote:
mike1reynolds wrote:
Are you two saying that WWII was wrong and we should have just let Hitler have his way?


Sorry, but there is a big difference there, hitler invaded other countries and made a misery of their lives, while German's were happy, In Iraq, Hussein kept to himself and made his own people suffer, not because he was evil, but because he was paranoid, the starvation was, ironically enough, caused by U.N sanctions

I already said that I was opposed to the Iraq war, long before it started actually. The point was pacifism, opposition against all wars, regardless of context. Like Neville Chamberlain, the British PM who refused to fight back against Hitler.

bogger wrote:
Back on topic, however. I support
The Philosopher Princess
when she reminds us it's about ANY war. According to absolute religion, War is evil, and a sin.
But sometimes it's required to nip something at the bud, I don't think religion and war really fit together.

The old Testament is full of accounts of warfare. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna expresses a pacifistic attitude on the battlefield at the opening, and the book is entirely about Krishna’s arguments that the war is absolutely necessary. Indeed, all of the Avatars of the Indian religion were from the warrior cast, not the priestly cast.

bogger wrote:
Using religion as an excuse for war is wrong, but sometimes the backing of the church is required to gain popular support for a war that is nescessary

Political manipulation of religion is of course another matter which is usually extremely sinister.
Soulfire
Ah yes, I see people just get the biggest kicks out of trying to tear me down. Whatever, I stand by my position, I've said what I said. Nobody agrees on everything, so why not keep the discussion going instead of just flaming me? Now there's an idea!

What's the use of picking apart people's opinions? Will it really affect them at all? No. You can sit there and tell me I'm wrong, tell me I contradict myself, do ANYTHING you want to try and get to me, but you can't. I support the war in Iraq yes, but I didn't support going in the first place.

The fact is, we're there now, and moaning and groaning about it will not change it. You can't erase the past, so instead of sitting there with your arms crossed mad because we're in Iraq, try and move the discussion to getting our Iraq and building a new nation, the future of the (hopefully diminishing) war in Iraq.

That's it, I'm done talking on the war in Iraq for good. All it gets is negative feedback, people complaining, and I don't see why anyone brings it up... It's done, let's not live in the past.

As for the religious side of it, as a Christian, I am obligated to fight God's war. So to say that God does not support war isn't neccessarily true. I'm fighting in God's army to try and return at least a little moral value to the world, which has lost all signs of goodness. The world we live in is going to Hell, literally. I'll spare you the religion, since it will only provoke you all more, and make me feel worse than I already do about these forums. But know that I am NOT a passive Christian. I do NOT let people walk over me with their beliefs. I am VERY opininated and am NOT afraid to express those opinions, but apparently my opinions are wrong. Last I knew there were two types of things: fact and opinion. Fact you could be wrong, opinion you couldn't. At least, that's how I learned it. But I've been met with nothing but bitter disgust at these forums, over my OPINION which shouldn't be wrong. Just like YOUR opinions aren't wrong. I'm not all over your case about them, am I?

In a few short months I've gone from having an ejoyable time on these forums to dreading typing in the URL. If posting wasn't required for hosting, I'm not so sure I'd even be here.

Soulfire out.
bogger
Soulfire wrote:
The fact is, we're there now, and moaning and groaning about it will not change it. You can't erase the past, so instead of sitting there with your arms crossed mad because we're in Iraq, try and move the discussion to getting our Iraq and building a new nation, the future of the (hopefully diminishing) war in Iraq.


HEAR HEAR!

soulfire wrote:
As for the religious side of it, as a Christian, I am obligated to fight God's war. So to say that God does not support war isn't neccessarily true. I'm fighting in God's army to try and return at least a little moral value to the world, which has lost all signs of goodness. The world we live in is going to Hell, literally. I'll spare you the religion, since it will only provoke you all more, and make me feel worse than I already do about these forums. But know that I am NOT a passive Christian. I do NOT let people walk over me with their beliefs. I am VERY opininated and am NOT afraid to express those opinions, but apparently my opinions are wrong. Last I knew there were two types of things: fact and opinion. Fact you could be wrong, opinion you couldn't. At least, that's how I learned it. But I've been met with nothing but bitter disgust at these forums, over my OPINION which shouldn't be wrong. Just like YOUR opinions aren't wrong. I'm not all over your case about them, am I?


The fact of the matter is that most people online are well educated eastern americans or western europeans, where catholicism isn't something to look up to, this is a very a secular forum. You may want to consider not throwing your religion around all the time, and let other aspects of your character shine instead
However, i'm very insulted at your saying that this world is going to hell. I'm just gonna say that God's war does not involve starvation, or AIDS, which can EASILY be helped by diverting funds into aid instead of a shiny new fighter jet. You would be serving God better by lobbying your local MP into this than preaching on a closed eared forum

soulfire wrote:
In a few short months I've gone from having an ejoyable time on these forums to dreading typing in the URL. If posting wasn't required for hosting, I'm not so sure I'd even be here.

Soulfire out.


you post in the the philosophy forum. If being insulted hurts you so much, then you should post in an less serious board, like the contests, or the art galler section, this is for people who like to be extremist (IMHO)
Soulfire
You may be insulted that I say the world is going to Hell, but it is. Look at all the suffering around you, something I don't like, but I can't turn my face to it. If only I could do something to help, but I really can't.

I'm not preaching, tell me where I am. I am just stating my beliefs, and my beliefs happen to involve God, sorry for your luck. And while I have many "shining" character aspects, you may not have seen, but God is major in my life. Again, sorry if you feel it's wrong, but its what I believe.

It's also not that I'm hurt as much as I am appalled. Apparently my opinions are wrong. And that's not how I learned. I learned, and believe, that everyone has their own opinions, and you can't point fingers and say "You're wrong." Just because I don't agree with the majority should not mean that I am subject to the crap on this board.

Perhaps I will take a little vacation from the R&P board, because I'm frankly sick of the personal attacks on me here, for my beliefs.

This forum is a constant war, that's the war for you. Two opposing sides, bickering and fighting, trying to opress their beliefs on others (and I'm guilty of it to, trying to be less). Neither side appearing to succeed, just breaking apart what could be good debate.

Sorry if I'm no philosopher, and don't believe in "both" sides of everything. I pick my side, I have my beliefs, I have my opinions. I'm not a mediator, I'm not passive. Again, sorry if my opinions make people feel bad (thus bringing the onslaught of personal attacks on me). I just happen to be very vocal about what I believe in.

If I believe in God, I'm not going to hide that in the corner and put it away just because it might insult someone else.

And maybe you will see some of my other aspects "shine." But like I said earlier, God is a MAJOR aspect of me and my life.
mike1reynolds
Soulfire wrote:
Ah yes, I see people just get the biggest kicks out of trying to tear me down. Whatever, I stand by my position, I've said what I said. Nobody agrees on everything, so why not keep the discussion going instead of just flaming me? Now there's an idea!

Well that's not entirely fair, I just stood up for you here. I've also defended your point of view on Islam. I don't agree that critisizing a conservative take on Christianity is a personal attack on you, although I agree with you that it is getting entirely out of hand on this thread.
Soulfire
Thank your for the agreement. I know that people can attack conservative Christianity, just as we can attack liberal Christianity, but it was getting out of hand on this thread. I've regained my composure though.
The Philosopher Princess
(It would be a conflict of interest for me to officially judge controversial subjective rules violations in the same place where I am also debating at the subject content level. So, Soulfire, if you want to raise issues of flaming, please contact another Moderator, since I should not simultaneously play judge and prosecutor.)

But, no, you don’t get off the hook of your assertions just because you don’t like it when others find logical flaws in your claims.

Soulfire wrote:
The fact is, we're there now, and moaning and groaning about it will not change it.

Not true. If most of the people who currently support war, killing, intervention, occupation, etc. would start “moaning and groaning” against such destruction of human beings, things would definitely change. Politicians who support wars -- even those whose favorite philosopher is Jesus -- cannot help but change when enough people stop supporting them.
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Soulfire wrote:
It's done, let's not live in the past.

Are we done occupying Iraq? No.
Are we done sending new blood over to be put in harm’s way? No.
Are we done thinking about attacking Iran? No.
Are we done spending billions of dollars towards destruction? No.
Is the war only in our past? No.

Yes, what’s past is past, but the war is in the present. And it only continues because it is supported in the present.
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Soulfire wrote:
as a Christian, I am obligated to fight God's war.

Okay. But why do you think God likes fighters? Why does God like war? You think you know God so you do have an answer. That’s one thing I’ve been after. I’d like to know how and why someone can really believe God wants people to kill each other.

Of course you don’t have to answer this nor anything, but why even perpetuate words of “fight” and “God's war” then?

What happened to the God of love? Or do you admit that there never was such a thing?
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Soulfire wrote:
Last I knew there were two types of things: fact and opinion. Fact you could be wrong, opinion you couldn't. At least, that's how I learned it.

You learned it wrong, but I realize that most people, even most teachers, get this wrong also. The facts about facts and opinions are not as you say.

Anything stated as an assertion that is not nonsense is either right or wrong, true or false. For example, “It is my opinion that the dog is pregnant.” It’s either true or false that the dog in question is pregnant, and the inclusion of “It is my opinion” is irrelevant. In this case, the “It is my opinion” really means, “It is my belief”. And, all beliefs that are not nonsense are either true or false. There’s no in-between.

(Nonsense means basically that it is gibberish; it does not make sense so is not really saying anything at all. “I new trumpet seventy.” contains actual words but is nonsense. This kind of discussion about facts and opinions is epistemology, and of course there is much more that can be learned. Everyone needs to know at least some basic epistemology.)

For example, “It is my opinion that God wants us to continue fighting in Iraq.” If this is not nonsense -- for example, if “God” actually refers to a being, and if “us” refers to particular people -- then it is either true or it is false that “God wants us to continue fighting in Iraq.
The opinion part is irrelevant to the truthfulness or falsity. And so, the truthfulness and falsity can be logically challenged or logically defended.

For example, “I have spiritual balance.” If this is not nonsense, then it is either true or it is false.
~~~~~~~~~~
No, people who make assertions under the guise of “It’s my opinion...” do not get off the hook of being logically challenged for their assertions.
mike1reynolds
While I was totally opposed to going into Iraq, I think that to pull out now would create a civil war. Philosopher Princess, do you think that it would produce less suffering in Iraq to allow them to fall into civil war?
The Philosopher Princess
mike1reynolds wrote:
While I was totally opposed to going into Iraq, I think that to pull out now would create a civil war. Philosopher Princess, do you think that it would produce less suffering in Iraq to allow them to fall into civil war?

That’s a great question! That’s a HUGE question! Thanks for putting it on the table! And, thanks for asking me.

It’s a question that has so many variables, that answering it takes a lot of thought and consideration of various scenarios. And, it begs the even bigger question: If we “pull out now would” it “produce less suffering” worldwide?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{In Iraq}


Reality check. There already is a civil war. Toppling the government of Iraq created a situation in which multiple contending factions were certain to fight for supremacy. Whether the US (and its allies) continue muddling around in Iraq, or whether they pull out, will make no difference as to whether there is a civil war there.

** Would the Iraqi civil war harm more Iraqis if the US (and its allies) stopped interfering?

Certainly some that are “protected” by the coalition forces would be less secure (though their security now doesn’t seem all that good). There would likely be widespread famine and disease, as is generally the case when powerful factions fight civil wars.

On the other hand, there would be less military power in the area, fewer coalition raids on neighborhoods, and fewer “foreign invaders” to resist, along with less incentive to fight against foreign invaders.

It seems that the country would align according to its historic ethnic roots and the Shiites would control the south, Kurds would control the north, and the Sunnis would control the center. The one group that held sway under Saddam that would be out of power would be the Christians.

It would seem logical for them to simply divide Iraq into three countries, so that the majority rule could be in effect in each, and let people choose which they prefer. But, of course, logic is moot when politics (and oil) are in play on an international scale.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{Worldwide}


** Would more of the people of the world be better off if the US (and its allies) quit interfering?

Certainly the troopers currently being used to continue the occupation, and their families, would benefit from a cease-war. The taxpayers who are funding the war effort (theoretically) should suffer less (but government theft of its people would continue). The economies of practically every nation involved would benefit.

Moreover, the benefits to the people of America (and its allies) in terms of fewer people wanting to use terrorism for revenge would be enormous. After all:
** How many Vietnamese terrorists attacked us after we left Vietnam?
** Would 9/11 have even happened if we hadn’t have put troops in Saudi Arabia?
** Does anybody hate the US (and its allies) for things they do at home, or is it the foreign policies, provocations, meddling, and warmongering that brings down the ire of people who can’t expect to fight back in a conventional manner, so choose to use unconventional methods to hurt the powers they see as “aggressors” against them?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{More Worldwide}


On a worldwide scale, there are a lot of issues to consider. One is whether the world is made more secure by having a Super Power “keeping order”. That argument was made historically by Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, and now the USA. One point of note is that the ruling classes have always done well, and supported, such dominance. Another point of note is that the Super Power has always exhausted itself, worn out its people’s will to dominate, decimated its own economy, and finally collapsed from overextending itself, while making enemies all over the world that, when the empire starts collapsing, sweep in and decimate it.

Great Britain was the only one that escaped the big collapse by backing off and letting go of its colonies, forming them into an alliance (the commonwealth) and retaining a level of dignity while retiring as the world Super Power.

From the standpoint of most of the people and countries in the world, will they feel less threatened, or more threatened, by the continuation of the occupation of Iraq (and the subsequent invasions and occupations of Iran, Syria, and whoever else is included in this policy of “accuse and attack, no matter what the truth or consequences”?

While there are a lot of scenarios to explore and a lot of variables to consider, it seems that most of the people of the world are exposed to more danger, and that the results of this “accuse and attack” foreign policy is likely to lead to very bad consequences for many more people than it helps.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{Final Thought}


I believe it is a nincompoopish-of-an-excuse position various people take who say things like, “I didn’t agree with the invasion of Iraq, but we’re there now, so we have to stay.” I can hardly think of any justification more doltish.

People who learn life’s totally regular lessons about dealing with people and projects learn that there are times to cut one’s losses. Everyone can make mistakes and misjudgments. That’s life! But it is suicidal to purposefully continue something very destructive just because it was started.

I am not talking about people who have real reasons why they believe the current Iraq occupation and continuing force is a positive thing. I may disagree with their reasons but at least they’re trying to use their brain.

Only blockheads keep hitting their heads Brick wall when they’re making bloody gashes in their heads. Only blockheads support a war just because it was started.
mike1reynolds
The Vietnamese (mostly Buddhist) never had a proclivity for terrorism simply for it's own sake the way the Taliban did. I don't think that pulling out of Iraq will work the same, that would create a Taliban on steroids. While there is an extraordinary level of civil violence in Iraq, it is something quite distinct from the Iran Iraq war in which millions died in short order. While we are certainly on the brink of a civil war, and if or when it comes then there will indeed be very little point for our continued presence, I don't think that we are at that point yet. Thing could get far far worse than they are now, and we would inevitably suffer some serious blow back from letting this happen. That is in fact what happened in Afghanistan after the end of the soviet invasion. The US & USSR left all their weapons there and allowed them to fight it out.
systemicerror
I feel there is a time and season for all things. I'm sure the Lord is not pleased with war but then there are times when it may be necisary. So to participate in a war doesn't seem unChristian to me. To be a warmonger though does. To the pure in heart all things are pure. Just ask your self why are you involved in this war. And if the answer is honest and honorable then I see no problems.
livilou
Let me ask a question here.

Are you stating that just because I'm a Christian, if someone breaks into my house and attacks my family I should just let it happen? That's what it sounds like, at least to me.

When 9-11 first happened, you better believe that I was all for going over there and blowing that group off the face of the earth. (only the ones responsible for what happened) And while I feel it was justified, I also feel that it's gone off track from it's original purpose. I honestly think that we could have accomplished what we set out to do some time ago, but bad military decisions kept that from happening.

I also think that you're picking on Soulfire. I've seen others express opposite opinions just as strongly, yet no one attacks that belief, and it's not just in this thread. You may not agree with his beliefs, but you don't have to be rude when you point out that fact.
rwojick
Its funny, but I had this discussion with someone last night.

I was raised a Christian and I firmly believe that it is a non violent religion at its base. The commandment though shall not kill was thoroughly discussed when I went to Catholic School many years ago.

I believe in my heart that Islam is the same way. Non violent at its core, yet we can find references to violence in our bible and perhaps they can in thier Koran also.

In American we have a separation of Church and State, so Religion, under our code is supposedly not supposed to be a formal topic.

I do think when we went to War without any evidence for what the president was saying we violated our own Code. If we say the accused is guilty and he replies with not guilty then only EVIDENCE of what we say can tip the scales back toward guilty. WE HAD NONE. So, it is the doing of things exactly wrong and saying it is right that is causing all of the problems, be it Religion or Patriotism.

If, as Americans we do what we "say we do" then we will never ever have to throw the first punch in a War again. This goes with my Religious Code and with my Constitution, and if the followers of Islam are doing it right then I am certain in my heart that we are not violating their code either.
The Philosopher Princess
DEFENSE (even with force) is not the same thing as OFFENSE (with aggressive force). That’s one of the main errors that pro-war people make: mixing up defense and offense and/or treating them the same. But the mental mixing up of these 2 concepts (and not being able to recognize the differences) starts with easier, smaller cases.

Defending one’s home, one’s property, oneself, and one’s friends/relatives (only when they desire it) is defense.

Going onto others’ property uninvited, hurting others’ property, hurting other people who haven’t attacked you, getting mixed up in other people’s problems, and fighting on behalf of other people uninvited is offense.

Preparing for potential defense militarily in one’s own country and, if attacked, defending one’s own country in one’s own country is defense (per se).

Invading other countries, staying in other countries, getting mixed up in other countries’ problems is offense.

Something that starts out as defense, turns into offense as soon as innocent people are involved in the violence. If there ever was a case that the violence performed by the US and allies in Iraq was defense, that case turned into offense long ago.

Throwing someone into a pit can be called pulling someone out of a pit, but it doesn’t change the fact that throwing someone into a pit is still throwing someone into a pit.

Offense can be called defense, but it doesn’t change the fact that offense is still offense.

Defensive religions and defensive religious people do not support war in general and do not support this offensive war in Iraq. Offensive religions and offensive religious people often do support war in general and likely do support this offensive war in Iraq.
Indi
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Reality check. There already is a civil war. Toppling the government of Iraq created a situation in which multiple contending factions were certain to fight for supremacy. Whether the US (and its allies) continue muddling around in Iraq, or whether they pull out, will make no difference as to whether there is a civil war there.

** Would the Iraqi civil war harm more Iraqis if the US (and its allies) stopped interfering?

Certainly some that are “protected” by the coalition forces would be less secure (though their security now doesn’t seem all that good). There would likely be widespread famine and disease, as is generally the case when powerful factions fight civil wars.

I think the situation is a little bit more complex than that.

For the record, I never supported the war and do not believe there was ever any justification for it. In fact, I remember even as far back as when Powell made his presentation to the UN for support in the war that no one but a handful of countries took any of it seriously.

But the Americans are there now, and they've toppled the (relatively) stable government and created a royal mess. So the question is, would it be better for them to just pull out now?

Well... I'm not so sure. If the Americans and what's left of their "Coalition of the Willing" pull out, the last stable force in Iraq will be gone. Power hungry factions from all over the Middle East will swarm in like buzzards and try to seize control. Disenfranchised Taliban and other Muslim extremists would probably be the dominant group, and thus Iraq will turn into Afghanistan 2 and we'd be right back where we started from.

Basically what I'm saying is that for all of the chaos in Iraq right now, there is a single uber-faction - the US-supported provisional government - that is the dominant force in the area, and is now in the process not of establishing their power, but solidifying it. It's not stable yet, but it's on the track to get there eventually. It'll just take time.

Take away that uber-faction's source of power - the US military presence - and all of a sudden you have a wash of factions with no clear alpha. Then the real fighting will begin.

The most "correct" solution would probably be to pull out the US coalition forces and replace them with UN peace-keeping forces. On the surface it seems like replacing one set of invaders with another, but the US flag is a rallying cry for crazies. Removing it - even just symbolically - might remove a major incentive for hatred. But the US has been damned arrogant about the whole affair, first insulting the UN for not joining in the initial invasion, then refusing offers of help, then - finally - when the body count started rising, bemoaning the fact that the UN and their usual allies were not standing by them. Small wonder that the UN feels no motivation to join in - but even more damning is that the US don't seem particularly inclined to hand over the operation. They would rather have the UN move in under US control than the UN come in and take over. So that "correct" solution is unlikely to happen any time soon.

The Philosopher Princess wrote:
It seems that the country would align according to its historic ethnic roots and the Shiites would control the south, Kurds would control the north, and the Sunnis would control the center. The one group that held sway under Saddam that would be out of power would be the Christians.

It would seem logical for them to simply divide Iraq into three countries, so that the majority rule could be in effect in each, and let people choose which they prefer. But, of course, logic is moot when politics (and oil) are in play on an international scale.

History is not my strong suit, but I believe that was how Iraq was formed, roughly. Several disparate "nations" were cobbled together under one rule. The solution you suggest would actually be reverting back to the original state of affairs.

But is it the best solution? *shrug* Things are always so grey in the real world. The truth is that, historically, any nation made up of one and only one ethnic group (or at the very least dominated by an overwhelming majority ethnic group) has been problematic for its neighbours eventually. The ideal situation is a nation that allows for the existence of varying disparate ethnicities, where everyone has a chance. Segregating ethnicities - putting one group of people at one end of the bus and the other at the other - seems a step backwards, not forwards.

Take the Kurds for example. On the one hand, out of the three big players in Iraq - Sunni, Shiite and Kurd - the Kurds seem to have made the best of it (even while being viciously persecuted by Saddam). They have their own stable government for their own people. It would seem they would do alright as an independent nation.

But would they? If the Kurds got their own nation in the north of Iraq, you can almost guarantee there will be skirmishes of one sort or another with Turkey, which has its own (persecuted) Kurd population, and has adamantly opposed the creation of a Kurd state. You won't be ending strife, just moving it around.

However, it is far from clear whether that state of affairs would be worse than the current. So what's really best? *shrug* The world is painted in greys.

Certainly the US was in the wrong to start the whole mess, and frankly, it is my opinion that they should bear the brunt of the costs to clean the mess up. That's the status quo, pretty much, but the situation is far from perfect. Ancilliary damage from the mess is destabilizing the whole world, so we can't just leave things be. But the exit strategy has to be very, very carefully thought out, because just yanking the plug on the occupation could actually do far more damage than the occupation. The "correct" solution I offered would require the US to show some humility, apologize to the UN and the nations they have so brazenly insulted (and perhaps offer economic incentives to further smooth over the wounded egos), and surrender the situation to them completely.

Likelihood of that happening seems infinitessimal at this point - at least unless the US gets another massive slap in the face like 9/11 to shake up the entrenched mindset; but even then, would that change the mindset or only entrench it further?

The Philosopher Princess wrote:
On a worldwide scale, there are a lot of issues to consider. One is whether the world is made more secure by having a Super Power “keeping order”. That argument was made historically by Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, and now the USA. One point of note is that the ruling classes have always done well, and supported, such dominance. Another point of note is that the Super Power has always exhausted itself, worn out its people’s will to dominate, decimated its own economy, and finally collapsed from overextending itself, while making enemies all over the world that, when the empire starts collapsing, sweep in and decimate it.

Great Britain was the only one that escaped the big collapse by backing off and letting go of its colonies, forming them into an alliance (the commonwealth) and retaining a level of dignity while retiring as the world Super Power.

An excellent summary. And a valid question. Do we need a super-power?

The Philosopher Princess wrote:
I believe it is a nincompoopish-of-an-excuse position various people take who say things like, “I didn’t agree with the invasion of Iraq, but we’re there now, so we have to stay.” I can hardly think of any justification more doltish.

Heh. ^_^ Oops. >_<

On another topic, I don't entirely agree that Christian thought, or even Judaistic thought in general, requires complete pacifism. Most of the directives such as "turn the other cheek" are meant for personal moral standards, which are entirely separate from the standards of a nation. A nation must protect the lives and well-being of its people. Even personal moral standards are guidelines that you use to respond to everyday situations, not life-or-death ones - it is hardly intended for you to "turn the other cheek" while you are about to be murdered or raped.

(Of course, there is also vast ambiguitiy in the bible's moral codes. One page it's "turn the other cheek", the next it's "an eye for an eye". So you can always pick and choose.)

For a personal ethic (within a community or nation), pre-emption is problematic. You can't very well go around killing everyone that may kill you, because you'll end up killing practically everyone and weakening the strength of your community, nation and/or people.

But for a nation, it makes sense. Ensuring that you have no enemies that can destroy your nation makes your nation stronger. (Assuming that you have the resources to assert that kind of superiority without destroying your nation in the process, of course.)

Thus personal morality and international morality are two different beasts. The same standards cannot be applied to both.
The Philosopher Princess
Thanks for your write-up. Very thoughtful!

Indi wrote:
On another topic, I don't entirely agree that Christian thought, or even Judaistic thought in general, requires complete pacifism.

Who has put that forth? I haven’t. Has someone else? Or, if you are just speaking in general, there’s no need to reply.
~~~~~~~~~~
Offense is initiating force against others.
Defense is using force to defend against others who have initiated force against you.
Pacifism is never using force.

Pacifism means one doesn’t use defense even when offense has come at them. I do not promote pacifism per se. But I also do not have a philosophical problem with people who are pacifists; that is their business. I do have a problem with offense, because those people are involved in other people’s business.

What I promote is non-offense.
lib
In my opinion, Soulfire (and from personal experience and opinion), I can safely say that I don't like being told by anybody that they are superior to me in any way. Note also that I do not assume that I am superior to anyone else. I am not against your fighting God's war, I am against your fighting it in such as way as to make it absolutely clear that you are right, that your religion is superior, that Jesus is the only way to reach God and Heaven, and that everyone else is wrong, inferior and Hell-bound.

Quote:
I also think that you're picking on Soulfire. I've seen others express opposite opinions just as strongly, yet no one attacks that belief, and it's not just in this thread. You may not agree with his beliefs, but you don't have to be rude when you point out that fact.

The problem is that Soulfire expresses his opinions just a little too strongly and arrogantly. It seems to be that the other threads which you have mentioned generally are replies to his posts in the same vein. Although, I do note that sometimes, some posts are over the edge, and these must be condemned. I admit sometimes that I sound very much the opposite of the pacifist that I truly am, but that's because I have a short temper and some posts flare me up pretty quickly.

And someone wrote about how this world was deteriorating into an immoral place and only God and religion can make it right? I don't think that's right. As long as we're humane, we should know what's right and what's wrong... we should know the basics of what is acceptable and what is not.
Indi
The Philosopher Princess wrote:
Indi wrote:
On another topic, I don't entirely agree that Christian thought, or even Judaistic thought in general, requires complete pacifism.

Who has put that forth? I haven’t. Has someone else? Or, if you are just speaking in general, there’s no need to reply.

Actually it was a general response to the thread topic. But you're right, pacifism is a little too restrictive. Non-offensive behaviour is enough for this discussion.

But still, what I said about the difference between personal morality and the morality of a nation still applies. In order to claim that any religion is pro- or anti-war, you first have to determine what that religion says about war. Generalizing from personal moral codes to moral codes for a nation doesn't work (which I'll show in a minute), so you can't take a religion's personal moral statutes and apply them to a state run by people of that religion. Just because the religion tells people to be non-aggressive towards other people, that doesn't necessarily imply that you are also under instruction to run your organizations to be non-aggressive towards other organizations.

For the moment, assume moral codes are based on logic, with the welfare of the larger group taking precedence - that is, personal moral codes are based on the welfare of the community or the world. A personal moral ethic to be non-aggressive towards other people serves two purposes. First, it also protects you from aggression by others, assuming the moral code is universal. But more importantly (to this discussion), it protects the community. If I were to go around killing any and everyone that offended me, I would be shrinkning, and thus weakening, the community. A hostile community could thus take it over, once it was sufficiently weakened, and destroy it. So for the sake of the community, aggression amongst community members should be frowned on. (Interestingly, the old testament takes exactly that stance - that Jews/Isrealites (there was no distinction made between the two) deserve better treatment than gentiles/non-Isrealites.)

Now, extend the moral code to people of other communities. Now you are not only under orders to be non-aggressive to your own people, but all people. The effect of this is that you spread the impression of goodwill and peace to other communities. Assuming your community doesn't have a noticeable track record of aggression to other communities, the goodwill spread by the people of the community should go a long way towards making your community seem harmless - not a threat. Thus, non-aggression towards everyone - not just your own people - also protects your community, by making it less likely to be a target.

Now, if your community is not capable of overwhelming its peers, that state of affairs will continue to maintain the strength of the community, and make it unlikely to be perceived as a threat. But, if your community has the capability of overwhelming its peers (without destroying itself in the process), then the logical thing to do - assuming the welfare of the community is paramount - is to attack. Pre-emption, assuming it can be done successfully, is the most effective way to protect something from potential attack. And since the community is the prime thing to protect, pre-emptive strikes - that is, active aggression - is the best way to keep the community strong.

Thus, personal moral ethics and the ethics of the community are two entirely different things.

Now, admittedly, religious moral statutes aren't necessarily based on logic, but since it can be shown that personal and community morality are most effective when they are not the same, it now becomes necessary to make sure which religious morals are intended for the personal ethic, the organizational ethic, or both. While it's fairly clear that things like the beatitudes are intended for personal moral codes, it's not clear that they are meant as directives for policy-makers.
Vrythramax
IMHO, yes I believe that a "Pro-War" or an "Agressive Stance" would be against any religious principles. I say this because, and I can only speak for my religion, it is supposed to teach the practice of love of your fellow man, peace, and tolerence.

(in what may be a futile attempt to get back on topic)
The Philosopher Princess
Well, well, well! The president of Iran has some of the same questions, skepticisms, and requests for examination of actions that I do.

Here’s the source of the whole article.

New York Times wrote:
Iranian Letter: Using Religion to Lecture Bush

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
Published: May 10, 2006

CAIRO, May 9 — With the tone of a teacher and the certainty of a believer, the president of Iran wrote to President Bush that Western democracy had failed and that the invasion of Iraq, American treatment of prisoners and support for Israel could not be reconciled with Christian values.
New York Times wrote:
While the letter laid out a litany of policy disputes with the United States, it was also personal, urging President Bush, who is candid about his religious conviction, to examine his actions in the light of Christian values.
New York Times wrote:
"My basic question is this: Is there no better way to interact with the rest of the world? Today there are hundreds of millions of Christians, hundreds of millions of Muslims, and millions of people who follow the teachings of Moses. All divine religions share and respect one word, and that is monotheism, or belief in a single God and no other in the world."
New York Times wrote:
He seemed to try to shame President Bush when he asked: "Are you pleased with the current condition of the world? Do you think present policies can continue?"
New York Times wrote:
The letter focused repeatedly on the notion that America is a sinner.
Vrythramax
Quote:
"His letter was addressed more to young people in the Islamic world than to the American president," said Wahid Abdel Maguid, deputy director of the government-financed Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt. "He wants to play the hero, mobilizing and inciting the enthusiasm of the young people. This is not a kind of letter that a head of state sends to another."


as interesting as that letter was, I don't believe it will make one bit of difference in the policies of our government. Bush is a conumate politician and as such will pander to the votes and kiss big businesses butts.

I could wax philosophical about this for some time, but the points would be moot, as they would have no bearing or effect on anything....except to raise my blood pressure.
Mizzro
You see... There is a strong argument about this...

Many religions (such as those in the middle east) support war if it is a just cause for their religion. An example of this is 9/11... Which for many of us was a very rough time, but for others it was a religious victory.

One of the reasons they did this attack was because their fellow muslims were not following their religion's rules, etc, etc... That is ONE of the reasons. (There was a very large potion of muslims inside the twins towers, and for them it was the perfect target)

Look at many other religiouse wars.. SUch as the renaissance...
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