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This isn't the first pre-emptive war

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Underseer, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    This isn't the first pre-emptive war

    Although I'm against the Iraq invasion, there are certain arguments coming from the anti-war camp that cause me to scratch my head. One of them is the argument that this is the first time America has ever engaged in a pre-emptive war.

    Yes, pre-emptive war is currently against international law. Yes, pre-emptive war is immoral. But this is hardly the first time.

    It's creepy how relevant that statement is one and a half centuries later. Of course, according to conservative arguments, we now have to brand Lincoln as "unpatriotic" don't we? ;)
     
  2. Geeno

    Geeno IncGamers Member

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    Your argument isnt even an argument. Its just a half assed fact.
     
  3. Pierrot le Fou

    Pierrot le Fou IncGamers Member

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    But don't you see! Because he invaded Mexico we prevented a war...
     
  4. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    abe was not that great a president. He didn't fight the civil war to end slavery, that was introduced later into the war. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus to lock people up without trial. He did carry out elections during time of war though, which is a credit to him.
     
  5. Drosselmeier

    Drosselmeier IncGamers Member

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    Another quote that is frighteningly relevant still:

    "War is peace..."
    -Orwell

    Or in W words:

    "When we´re talking about war, we´re really talking about peace."
     
  6. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    While Lincoln certainly did all those things that you say (including arresting southern sympathizers in Maryland and holding them without charges), it was through his fortitude and will that the Union was preserved and became the America that we know today.

    I believe one of Lincoln's statements about slavery was (paraphrased): If I could preserve the Union by freeing the slaves, I would do that ... If I could preserve the Union by not freeing the slaves, I would do that also; and if I could preserve the Union by freeing some of the slaves, but not others, I would do that as well.

    Lincoln became a martyr due to his assassination. Andrew Johnson, who implemented Lincoln's reconstruction polices following the war, was impeached, in part, by people wanting revenge on the South.
     
  7. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    Bull pucky.

    Yes, the official pronouncement tying the war to slavery didn't come until the war was well under way, but in spite of all the protestations about "states' rights" no one of the time was under any illusion about what the war was really about.

    The war was caused by conflicts between abolitionists and slavery proponents. Conflicts that involved politicians punching each other and activists shooting each other long before the Civil War was formally declared. Even the "state's rights" argument was ultimately about slavery.

    The scary thing is, people seem to have understood that the slavery question would some day come to blows even back in the days of the founding fathers. Comments they made about why they avoided the issue of slavery in a supposedly "free" nation show that they had a pretty good idea about the ultimate result of the "slavery question."
     
  8. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    The secession of South Carolina and other states was primarily due to their fear that (with the election of Lincoln), the western territories would not be open to slavery. As such, they would lose their political clout in congress and abolition would eventually take place.

    Interestingly enough, before hostilities commenced at Ft Sumter, a constitutional amendment was being circulated amongst the states that would have guaranteed that slavery (in the existing states) would be legal forevermore.
     
  9. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    It was all part of our "Manifest Destiny", and went along quite well with our subjugation of the Native Americans. :rolleyes: It was to Lincoln's credit that he criticized Polk.
     
  10. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    Yeah, but that sounds so good. Let's not "Remember the Maine" or any of the little banana republic interventions over the years - making it sound like Shrub is a warmongering fool comes a lot easier if one starts from the false presumption of the U.S. as a totally pacifist nation.

    I disagree with your immorality statement. The idea of a pre-emptive strike being immoral would mean a quick punch to blunt the force of an enemy's coming attack was likewise immoral. Therefore, the Israelis should have just laid down and let Nasser's Egypt roll over their bodies.

    Why should it be more moral to allow one's casualties to be higher in a conflict? I bet Sun Tzu's got a better way to put it, but I have no idea where my books are packed...
     
  11. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    the Mexican-American War doesn't really strike me as preemptive war, it strikes me more as a manufactured war as would be the Spanish-American War 45 years later.

    better examples of preemptive war would be, oh I don't know, what does everyone know about... Pearl Harbor? then also the Russo-Japanese War and the Six Days War, oh I see jmervyn has mentioned this one, in each case there were pressing issues that made a preemptive assault necessary, as for Iraq, you can't really apply its example to prior wars.
     
  12. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    If an attack is imminent, then international law (and morality) more than allows a first strike. However the pre-emptive doctrine Bush is using doesn't involve justifying an imminent strike. It involves justifying invasions of nations that might attack us at some unspecified time in the misty future.

    Back before the Iraq invasion, it was more than evident to anyone other than extremist propaganda-swallowers that Iraq was not an imminent threat. Justifying war on a weak maybe--much less a maybe that has proved to be false--is immoral. There's no way to spin that.
     
  13. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    attacking in the face of imminent danger is preemptive, what you are saying Bush is doing is something else, perhaps that is the source of disagreement in this thread, that his war is not preemptive at all, but falsely labeled as such?
     
  14. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    I'm sure that's the issue that has so many twisted knickers across the world. People and nations that want to see the U.S. as an opportunistic agressor are having their fears substantiated by the Shrubster.

    I suppose I would fall into the opposite category, sometimes badly labeled "America First" - the problem with the jingoistic take-all-comers is fairly well worn and doesn't bear repeating here.

    But there is one situation which I find very convincing, and would be morally abhorrent to many forum members, doubtless including or led by Underseer:
    - Iraq definitely posed a real threat, but of uncertain effectiveness and questionable priority.
    - Iraq was one of many Amercian adversaries on the world stage, and was a substantially weakened one.
    - Iraq was big and prestigious enough to be considered one of the more important nations in the Mideast and OPEC.

    I think the (again badly labeled) "neocons" advising Shrub had the bright idea that by beating the snot out of the weakest bully in the international playground (and one that none of the others really liked), that a bunch of the others would lose heart. Maybe even make the swings safe again in the long run. And in that light, I think this little adventure has had exactly the effect they intended - though whether it pans out in the future is quite undecided.

    Debating the can of worms about a frightened enemy versus a confident one is worth another thread.

    EDIT - penalty for overuse of the word "doubtless" - there's far too many doubters around here :drool:
     
  15. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    Marked by the seizing of initiative is preemptive. Bush seized initiative, but was able to do so only by presenting to us weak arguments which also were false.
     
  16. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    Sorry, I got confused between pre-emptive and preventive. D'oh.

    Pre-emptive is what Bushies claim the war to be, and so that was what I'm used to hearing. That'll teach me to regurgitate conservative propaganda! *shake fist*

    I see from the quote that Lincoln got it right (he used the word "prevent") even if I got it wrong. :)

    Anyway, Bush's preventive doctrine is wrong, if I may get back to the topic at hand.
     
  17. Croup

    Croup IncGamers Member

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    I know that Underseer kind of responded to this already, but I figured that I'd sum up.

    Preemptive War is when a nation is under the threat of IMMINENT attack and attacks the aggressor first, before they themselves will be attacked. An example of this would be Israel and the Seven Day War. This is considered a moral action because the nation is in immediate danger and can best defend itself by responding to the aggressor before hostilities begin.

    Preventative War is when a country attacks another country because at some point in the future, the second country might be a threat to the first. An example might have been if the United States attacked China in the 70s because they were a communist power that was beginning strong economic reforms. This is considered an IMMORAL action because there is no imminent danger and several other methods could have been used before war was necessary.

    Although I personally believe that the Iraq war falls under the preventative category, I have to argue the reverse in a debate at the end of this month. It should prove interesting.
     

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