Stephen Speicher

Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

374 posts in this topic

What is wrong with conquering? Is there any reason why conquering Iraq and turning it into the 51st state is a bad idea?

How about that they have almost nothing culturally in common with the other fifty states?

I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

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What is wrong with conquering? Is there any reason why conquering Iraq and turning it into the 51st state is a bad idea?

How about that they have almost nothing culturally in common with the other fifty states?

This is true. But neither did tribalistic, barbaric Iberia (Spain) when the Romans conquered it...yet soon thereafter came leaders, poets, and philosophers. The same is true with Britain, Gaul, Dacia, etc. Of course we are speaking idealistically, but say that the U.S. conquered Iraq, turned it into the 51st state, and imposed American values and culture into this area. Is this something wrong to do?

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I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

Yes, and even if you argued that the country would be better off under US rule, it's immoral to expect taxpayers and the men and women in the military to sacrifice their property and their lives for the sake of strangers. We're not going to fix an altruistic foreign policy with more altruism.

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I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

Yes, and even if you argued that the country would be better off under US rule, it's immoral to expect taxpayers and the men and women in the military to sacrifice their property and their lives for the sake of strangers. We're not going to fix an altruistic foreign policy with more altruism.

But BBorg, it is not for the sake of 'altruism', it is to make sure these Jihadists have one less country in which to attack Americans.

And also think of how great it would be if we had a base smack-dad in the middle of the middle east (no pun intended) to attack Iran. It would be far easier to win the war on Islam if we did not have a few thousand miles to clear.

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I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

There is a difference between agressive and defensive "imperialism". Let us use Israel.

In their war with Lebanon, let us suppose that, as opposed to fighting them (when attacked first by Lebanon)...again...and again...and again, they conquered them, impose Israeli law, and incorporate them into their country. Now, they do not have to fight them again. What is wrong with this?

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I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

There is a difference between agressive and defensive "imperialism". Let us use Israel.

In their war with Lebanon, let us suppose that, as opposed to fighting them (when attacked first by Lebanon)...again...and again...and again, they conquered them, impose Israeli law, and incorporate them into their country. Now, they do not have to fight them again. What is wrong with this?

Because that is not imperialism. Imperialism is when a country seeks to spread their ideas or power over other countries by force without provocation. The so called moral country would have just corrupted itself by forcing it's ideas on other people at the point of a gun, a bomb or a stick. Does that sound like what the founding fathers had in mind? Your right to your life does not give you the right to force your ideas on anyone else, no matter if they disagree with you or not.

Capitalism, free-trade and peace will bring a free person many more values than a war and they will last much longer. Very little wealth will ever be created during a war as most of it is spent on fueling the war. A moral country and it's people do not look to gain values through constant war but peace and free-trade, just look at most of 19th century America for an example of the wealth created from capitalism and freed-trade.

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I would also add that Americans are not imperialist. To conquer means to forcefully take over. We should not be going to war to take over countries. We declare war to defend ourselves against those that attempt to initiate force against us, not the opposite.

There is a difference between agressive and defensive "imperialism". Let us use Israel.

In their war with Lebanon, let us suppose that, as opposed to fighting them (when attacked first by Lebanon)...again...and again...and again, they conquered them, impose Israeli law, and incorporate them into their country. Now, they do not have to fight them again. What is wrong with this?

Because that is not imperialism. Imperialism is when a country seeks to spread their ideas or power over other countries by force without provocation. The so called moral country would have just corrupted itself by forcing it's ideas on other people at the point of a gun, a bomb or a stick. Does that sound like what the founding fathers had in mind? Your right to your life does not give you the right to force your ideas on anyone else, no matter if they disagree with you or not.

Capitalism, free-trade and peace will bring a free person many more values than a war and they will last much longer. Very little wealth will ever be created during a war as most of it is spent on fueling the war. A moral country and it's people do not look to gain values through constant war but peace and free-trade, just look at most of 19th century America for an example of the wealth created from capitalism and freed-trade.

RayK, that idea only works when two free countries conduct in free trade. When a tyranny conducts in trade, any wealth gained by that either go to the state or people supported by the state (like in the Mercantilist times.) If we were to conduct trade with a despotic country like Iran, all of the funds will go to the Islamo-tyrants, not the people. The people are not allowed to conduct in any trade with the anyone, much less the U.S., because of the laws that are imposed upon them.

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Jawaid's sincere and thoughtful post clearly explains the reasons for his conclusions, many of which I disagree with. My problem isn't with his reasoning, but with some of his assumptions that I do not think are factually true. Each one of those assumptions could be the subject of an entire post, but rather than write many posts, I will indicate which assumptions I question and invite Jawaid or those who disagree with them to make their case.
Every additional free man in the world is one more friend of America, one more ally in the fight against evil.

Is liberation enough? If we let every violent criminal out of jail would they become a law-abiding citizens?

Ignoring the threats in the world now from Islamic totalitarianism would be the same as ignoring the threat posed by Communist totalitarianism would be the same as ignoring the threat from Hitler's totalitarianism. It won't go away no matter how much you wish the US *didn't* have to continually get involved in other country's affairs.

When should we get involved in other countries' affairs and why? Doesn't the type of involvement matter since trade and military "involvement" are so different?

Well the fact is, we grew up, but most of the rest of the planet has not. We will be under constant threat until the entire world is free from dictatorships and fascism.

Some dictators and fascists are able to threaten us and some are not. What makes the difference?

We have never made war with another democratic nation.

This is generally true since we have not started most wars. Democratic England, however did start two wars with us.

When the US was founded, we were the ONLY democratic nation and in the 250 years since then, partly through war and partly through trade and partly through just being a good example, and greatly through strength - we have brought freedom to half the world.

Aren't war, trade, and being a good example different in kind, in what motivates us to do them, and in who does them (individuals vs. government)? Isn't the recognition of individual rights necessary for trade?

Nuke Iran today all you want - unless the root causes of war are eliminated, we will be fighting someone in 20 years who is just as ruthless and just as committed to our destruction.

How about Ayn Rand's thesis in her essay, "The Roots of War" in Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, that lack of respect for individual rights is the cause of all wars?

Our democratic institutions did not develop overnight, they did not come out of a history text ready-made. In fact, we had to figure it out as we went. And we succeeded, because we were free to succeed. We made mistakes, we stumbled, but ultimately we corrected those mistakes, because we have a system for doing so without resorting to violence.

This sounds like we did it by trial and error and happened to be lucky. Wasn't it true that the Founding Fathers drafted a well-thought out plan based on the inalienability of individual rights?

The alternatives are, therefore:

1) ignore the world, and fight a vicious dictatorship every 20 years at fantastic ongoing cost in blood and treasure.

2) pacify the world, and enjoy Pax Americana. It's a small world, and this task is eminently achievable.

What do you mean by "pacify the world?" Would making it clear, in action, that no regime could threaten U.S. citizens and survive, suffice?

People call it the Bush Doctrine, this exporting of democracy. But Bush didn't invent it - it was followed by Reagan, by FDR, by the other Roosevelt, by Lincoln, by Jefferson. America has acted upon these principles throughout its entire history.

Do we want to export democracy -- something the Founding Fathers rejected -- or do we want to export respect for individual rights ... especially the rights of U.S. citizens?

Betsy,

I'm a little surprised at you for issuing this long list of un-integrated and un-integratable questions.

It is epistemologically improper to confront someone with such a series of questions, as if he did not even consider any of them, when he actually has addressed each and every one of them already. Jawaid not only addressed each of these questions, but many of his answers to them were, in my estimation, correct.

In practical terms, your series of questions comes down to a claim that Jawaid's mind is invalid. They seem to say:

"Who are you, Jawaid, to say you know anything about foreign policy and military affairs?"

Why not pick the one or two salient issues over which you think Jawaid is mistaken and specifically question those?

I do not agree with what Jawaid seems to imply: that the U.S. has only moral and effective option in war -- to bring liberty to other peoples.

But it is one of America's options in war to find pro-liberty and semi-pro-liberty minority populations among the people in enemy countries and to empower their military capacity to resist their tyrants; to empower it by American invasion, if necessary. In many situations this our nation's cheapest and most effective option for national self-defense -- our wisest option. In several major wars in our nation's history this method of war has addressed the "root cause" of war -- aggressive anti-American tyranny. There is no victory as solid or permanent as victory in this kind of campaign.

-- Jack

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Joshua,

It is only free coutries that can conduct in free-trade. What you mention in your post is not free-trade as the traders are not left alone to make proper decisions/choices. And, that is why a free, moral country should not be trading or supporting an immoral country or dictatorship.

Diplomacy is supposed to happen before and after a war, war is for restoring peace after the initiation of force. And, as always the primary concern of war is to crush the enemy, nothing short will ever do.

There are times when a free, moral country should go and destroy a dictatorship but, imperialism should not be the reason. The protection of rights is the only moral justification for war and the rights of the citizens of the moral country should be of primary concern.

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Joshua,

It is only free coutries that can conduct in free-trade. What you mention in your post is not free-trade as the traders are not left alone to make proper decisions/choices. And, that is why a free, moral country should not be trading or supporting an immoral country or dictatorship.

Sorry, I thought when you mentioned "free trade," you were talking about Iraq/Iran.

Diplomacy is supposed to happen before and after a war, war is for restoring peace after the initiation of force. And, as always the primary concern of war is to crush the enemy, nothing short will ever do.

I would have to disagree with you on that respect. The thing about choosing the best policy is choosing the best of the available options. True, in a "perfect society" we would have no qualms with obliterating a good portion of the middle east. But we do not live in a perfect society, and I doubt we ever will. So in this case, we must choose what option would suit us best; and that would be fighting them, and proving to them that we will not back down nor surrender. These people do not understand diplomacy of any sort, all they understand is strength. THE ONLY way we could prevent any terrorist attacks in the future is to show them we mean business.

There are times when a free, moral country should go and destroy a dictatorship but, imperialism should not be the reason. The protection of rights is the only moral justification for war and the rights of the citizens of the moral country should be of primary concern.

OF course not, but at times, conquering them is a option that should be laid out on the table. Especially in a case like this, where we have no base in that part of land to attack them, if we conquer a nation, we could easily have ground to attack them and hold a more successful war.

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OF course not, but at times, conquering them is a option that should be laid out on the table. Especially in a case like this, where we have no base in that part of land to attack them, if we conquer a nation, we could easily have ground to attack them and hold a more successful war.

Have we conqured Iraq? How do you explain the fact that Iraq's government and constitution is based on the Koran. The example of how to properly fight a war and win and then what to do with that country after they have surrendered is to look at how we fought against and defeated the Japanese. We have plenty of bases in Saudi Arabia from which we can defeat the enemy. A billion dollars worth of Tomahawk missiles, as opposed to a billion dollars worth of humanitarian aid, would end the non-sense that is going on in the middle East tomorrow. The problem is that our government does not have the moral courage to use overwhelming force.

One more thing, concerning the proper way to establish and pay for military bases in foreign lands that were once our enemies, a close examination of the bases on Okinawa, Japan is the place to start, not Iraq or Afghanistan.

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More evidence that things are not going "Right".

Afghan Carnage continues

Afghan suicide bomber kills 35

The attack comes one day after Afghanistan’s deadliest bombing since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. More than 100 people were killed by a suicide bomber outside Kandahar city on Sunday.

Change in tactics?

The back-to-back bombings could indicate a change in tactics by militants. Though attacks occasionally have killed dozens, insurgents in Afghanistan have generally sought to avoid targeting civilians.

The country saw a record level of violence last year, and analysts and military leaders here have predicted that 2008 could turn even deadlier.

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We have other options besides war or nation-building. We can bring down evil regimes that support terrorism by supporting the regime's internal freedom-seekers. This could work in Iran. We can demand that government turn over or hunt down terrorists and not give them support and refuge -- or else. We could take a clear moral stand as Reagan did with the Soviet Union.

One of the reasons why we are in the Iraq Fiasco is because we did not support the Shiites in southern Iraq after the first Gulf War. We encouraged the uprising and did nothing when Saddam Hussein fought back. This is one of the reasons why Paul Wolfowitz wanted to invade Iraq and not focus on Iran or North Korea. The United States has a long history of saying they will support internal freedom-seekers and then not follow through. The Iran-Contra affair during Reagan's presidency is one example. Cuba is another example. With Kosovo declaring its independence recently, we will be able to see if the United States is willing to support those freedom-seekers. BTW, it was events in Yugoslavia that started World War I. The neo-cons may just get their wish and we may be seeing the beginnings of World War III. Let's hope we sucessfully shoot down that spy satellite because it may send a message to our enemies that we still have the means to destroy our enemy if not the courage.

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But BBorg, it is not for the sake of 'altruism', it is to make sure these Jihadists have one less country in which to attack Americans.

And also think of how great it would be if we had a base smack-dad in the middle of the middle east (no pun intended) to attack Iran. It would be far easier to win the war on Islam if we did not have a few thousand miles to clear.

We have the means to strike from a distance; they do not. Would making Iraq the 51st state not remove this advantage? We can use defeated countries as staging points without acquiring them as US territory.

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We have other options besides war or nation-building. We can bring down evil regimes that support terrorism by supporting the regime's internal freedom-seekers. This could work in Iran. We can demand that government turn over or hunt down terrorists and not give them support and refuge -- or else. We could take a clear moral stand as Reagan did with the Soviet Union.

In places like Iran, so volatile right now because of dissent and sedition, it indeed might be a better option to at first support these groups from the inside, promising money and support. If anyone complains, so what? Is the UN really going to say that we are bad because we gave money and aid to women's groups, gay groups, student groups, and the myriad of other groups fighting for freedom (I have a fear that I have answered my own question; nevertheless, the opinion of the UN is worthless)?

However, I have a question that might in and of itself be another topic (in which case I will start a topic on it). What is wrong with conquering? Is there any reason why conquering Iraq and turning it into the 51st state is a bad idea?

Just an observation, if you were kind enough to exterminate the so called government of Iran, you would be surprised at the popular support this might glean from Iranians (if not Berkeley lefties or the useless UN). They live in an 'Islamic paradise' and are thoroughly sick of it. Ditto those who live outside the country.

(Source: Every Iranian I have met living in the UK, maybe 30, every European based Iranian, maybe 20 and every last one that I met in Iran a couple of years ago).

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Because that is not imperialism. Imperialism is when a country seeks to spread their ideas or power over other countries by force without provocation. The so called moral country would have just corrupted itself by forcing it's ideas on other people at the point of a gun, a bomb or a stick. Does that sound like what the founding fathers had in mind? Your right to your life does not give you the right to force your ideas on anyone else, no matter if they disagree with you or not.

Capitalism, free-trade and peace will bring a free person many more values than a war and they will last much longer. Very little wealth will ever be created during a war as most of it is spent on fueling the war. A moral country and it's people do not look to gain values through constant war but peace and free-trade, just look at most of 19th century America for an example of the wealth created from capitalism and freed-trade.

I completely agree with this statement, and completely promote it. But I feel that it does not answer my question. During the 19th century, the United States encountered some very hostile Native American tribes (and some very peaceful, a la the Cherokee). When these tribes attacked the US, the US fought back, conquered the lands, and brought in American values and ideas. Consequentially, places that at one time were worthless (Florida?) are now highly productive and valuable areas of the US. I know that this is not imperialism. But I do see a trend now to "hold" the current borders and not to "conquer". What I am asking is-is there any reason why the US should not have conquered and spread out? Should Israel actually have conquered Palestine and held on to it? This is what I mean.

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We have the means to strike from a distance; they do not. Would making Iraq the 51st state not remove this advantage? We can use defeated countries as staging points without acquiring them as US territory.

I don't see the difference. We still do strike at a distance. At the same time, our troops still die trying to defend and tranquilize Iraq. What's the difference?

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Just an observation, if you were kind enough to exterminate the so called government of Iran, you would be surprised at the popular support this might glean from Iranians (if not Berkeley lefties or the useless UN). They live in an 'Islamic paradise' and are thoroughly sick of it. Ditto those who live outside the country.

(Source: Every Iranian I have met living in the UK, maybe 30, every European based Iranian, maybe 20 and every last one that I met in Iran a couple of years ago).

This is the interpretation that I had. I too have spoken to some good Muslims/Arabs who have moved here to become educated and work until their countries become free, in which case they plan to go back and "rebuild" it in a Western image.

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I don't see the difference. We still do strike at a distance. At the same time, our troops still die trying to defend and tranquilize Iraq. What's the difference?

The difference is that in making the Iraqis American citizens, we take the responsibility of defending their lives as well as our own. We bring our doorstep to the jihadists, making it easier for them to kill Americans.

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The difference is that in making the Iraqis American citizens, we take the responsibility of defending their lives as well as our own. We bring our doorstep to the jihadists, making it easier for them to kill Americans.

Oh sure. But let's remember that this is hypothetical. So, hypothetically speaking, we conquer Iraq. Iran sends agents to fight and kill our citizens. Hypothetically, then, we conquer Iran-until finally, with the rest of the Middle East seeing our power and might, the area calms down. In the mean time, we have added some very oil-rich provinces to our "empire". What is morally wrong with this?

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Oh sure. But let's remember that this is hypothetical. So, hypothetically speaking, we conquer Iraq. Iran sends agents to fight and kill our citizens. Hypothetically, then, we conquer Iran-until finally, with the rest of the Middle East seeing our power and might, the area calms down. In the mean time, we have added some very oil-rich provinces to our "empire". What is morally wrong with this?

Because as I argued before, it's unjust to use tax dollars and the lives of our troops in this way. The purpose of government, and the reason a rational person should want to give to their government or serve in the military, is to protect their rights. Period. It's immoral to take that money, and to take those lives, and give them away as alms to other countries. My practical answer was in response to the practical objection raised by Joshua, but it is not the first reason I am opposed to imperialism.

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Because as I argued before, it's unjust to use tax dollars and the lives of our troops in this way. The purpose of government, and the reason a rational person should want to give to their government or serve in the military, is to protect their rights. Period. It's immoral to take that money, and to take those lives, and give them away as alms to other countries. My practical answer was in response to the practical objection raised by Joshua, but it is not the first reason I am opposed to imperialism.

If this was the case, was it then immoral for the U.S. to expand outside of the original 13 colonies?

Is it immoral for Israel to take over Palestinian lands?

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If this was the case, was it then immoral for the U.S. to expand outside of the original 13 colonies?

Is it immoral for Israel to take over Palestinian lands?

Neither of these are examples of imperialism. The US expanded beyond the original 13 colonies to the benefit and security of its citizens, not in order to bring American culture to the natives. In fact, the plan as I understand it was to allow the peaceful tribes to live however they chose, using the purchased land for our own growth and agriculture.

Israel acquired and kept land previously governed by the Palestinians in order to increase their national security.

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Israel acquired and kept land previously governed by the Palestinians in order to increase their national security.

I should add that the acquiring of this land was in self-defense.

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Have we conqured Iraq? How do you explain the fact that Iraq's government and constitution is based on the Koran. The example of how to properly fight a war and win and then what to do with that country after they have surrendered is to look at how we fought against and defeated the Japanese. We have plenty of bases in Saudi Arabia from which we can defeat the enemy. A billion dollars worth of Tomahawk missiles, as opposed to a billion dollars worth of humanitarian aid, would end the non-sense that is going on in the middle East tomorrow. The problem is that our government does not have the moral courage to use overwhelming force.

The answer to the first question is no. I do not see what the second question has anything to do with the argument at hand. Like I said in my previous post, there is a proper way to fight a war, which we all agree upon, and there is deciding between the choices available to us.

One more thing, concerning the proper way to establish and pay for military bases in foreign lands that were once our enemies, a close examination of the bases on Okinawa, Japan is the place to start, not Iraq or Afghanistan.

How about you explain what exactly I should look for instead of throwing out some obscure reference.

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