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Casualities Of War


DavidD
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I flipped over to MSNBC last night in time to see Tucker Carlson announce that after the commercial he and his guest from Air America would discuss whether the US should apologize for killing people in Pakistan while trying to assassinate an Al-Qaeda leader. I wanted to see that. It seemed immoral to me when there were all these unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Iraqi leaders with “surgical strikes” that just kept killing civilians. What would a liberal from Air America say?

 

When they returned from the commercials, they said nothing about morality. Both said an apology would be good for pragmatic reasons, to help the president of Pakistan, not because anything was wrong with killing civilians. How innocent were they, after all? I was disappointed. Both sides thought pragmatism was sufficient. Doesn’t anyone fear divine judgment or even just the judgment of history?

 

Civilians have been killed in war for a long time. If the war is just, then I guess the civilian deaths are usually just. If the war is unjust, do civilian deaths add anything immoral to the unjust military deaths? It’s hard to cover every possibility of what’s moral and what’s not, but even the Mafia doesn’t assassinate someone by blowing up the entire restaurant. Should the Mafia be a model of restraint compared to the US government?

 

I don’t see it as my place to draw a sharp line between moral and immoral. If God does that, He will do that. Those who judge from the future will have the complete picture of how this all turned out to help that judgment. Still in the present there is all this dancing around the boundary of immorality, with some actions by the US that definitely cross the line, whether what crosses the line is called “torture” or “abuse”, “murder” or “faulty intelligence”. It does not sound as if morality is a high priority.

 

Defenders of the government say we have to be ruthless. No, we don’t. There are many possibilities. Just after the attacks on the World Trade Center I imagined many possible responses, from something genocidal to something that took a step back from the conflict and said, “We mourn for 3000 dead, but we have 300,000,000 more people. We can forego vengeance for the sake of peace.” Something between those extremes was predictable, but how is it that among those who are excited about having a “true Christian” in the White House, the talk is all about pragmatism, not what Jesus would do?

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I flipped over to MSNBC last night in time to see Tucker Carlson announce that after the commercial he and his guest from Air America would discuss whether the US should apologize for killing people in Pakistan while trying to assassinate an Al-Qaeda leader. I wanted to see that. It seemed immoral to me when there were all these unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Iraqi leaders with “surgical strikes” that just kept killing civilians. What would a liberal from Air America say?

 

Depends on if he is a "Colmes liberal" or a true liberal (I just finished reading the new Al Franken book) Do you remember who the person from air america was?

 

When they returned from the commercials, they said nothing about morality. Both said an apology would be good for pragmatic reasons, to help the president of Pakistan, not because anything was wrong with killing civilians. How innocent were they, after all?  I was disappointed. Both sides thought pragmatism was sufficient. Doesn’t anyone fear divine judgment or even just the judgment of history?

 

I'm sure they don't fear divine judgement because they think they are right. As far as History goes, I doubt they fear it. Afterall people often excuse this kind of behavior as being the product of their culture/situation. Although I do believe history will judge Bush and the American people of today very harshly (rightly so) for what they've done in the worldand in the United States.

 

Civilians have been killed in war for a long time.  If the war is just, then I guess the civilian deaths are usually just. If the war is unjust, do civilian deaths add anything immoral to the unjust military deaths? It’s hard to cover every possibility of what’s moral and what’s not, but even the Mafia doesn’t assassinate someone by blowing up the entire restaurant. Should the Mafia be a model of restraint compared to the US government? 

 

Probably not. But then again it does appear to be the model.

 

I don’t see it as my place to draw a sharp line between moral and immoral. If God does that, He will do that. Those who judge from the future will have the complete picture of how this all turned out to help that judgment. Still in the present there is all this dancing around the boundary of immorality, with some actions by the US that definitely cross the line, whether what crosses the line is called “torture” or “abuse”, “murder” or “faulty intelligence”. It does not sound as if morality is a high priority.

 

I agree. I think that power and money are the priority.

 

Defenders of the government say we have to be ruthless. No, we don’t. There are many possibilities. Just after the attacks on the World Trade Center I imagined many possible responses, from something genocidal to something that took a step back from the conflict and said, “We mourn for 3000 dead, but we have 300,000,000 more people. We can forego vengeance for the sake of peace.” Something between those extremes was predictable, but how is it that among those who are excited about having a “true Christian” in the White House, the talk is all about pragmatism, not what Jesus would do?

 

Well, I guess that tells us about how "true" that "Christian" is. Of course people who say he is a Christian because he supposedly prays and reads his bible every day. :rolleyes: I don't think that is the mark of a Christian. And I suspect he is lying anyhow.

Edited by October's Autumn
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Do you remember who the person from air america was?

 

 

It was Rachel something, a frequent guest of his. I don't mind people being pragmatic, but I wonder when there isn't something from a different sort of morality that asserts itself, too.

 

It reminds me of a Nixon tape where most people heard Nixon say that something wrong could be done. Nixon claimed that he had also said, "but it would be wrong" inaudibly. At least he recognized the need for some moral addition to the record. So many in the US believe might makes right on some issues and moralize on different issues, without the two ever coming together. It's puzzling.

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Here's the way I see this.

 

I believe it boils down to the fact the we all, over the past fifty years or so, have been de-sensitized through our almost continuous immersion in technology. More and more, human to human contact and communication is not necessary to interact in our activities. This message board is a positive example of what can be done to utilize technology for positive purposes.

 

However, having worked as a professional in the field of evaluating and commercializing new technologies, I can definitely state that ALL technologies can be used for good or ill, and not necessarily through intention.

 

Now, most people would say that computerized video games are in the main innocuous because parents are still able to supervise their use and can augment the gaming activities of their children with moral instruction regarding what is right and wrong, and what is real and artificial. But there have been studies done that demonstrate that the more games are played and interacted with, the more the gamer tends to see all the rest of life as some sort of gaming activity. The armed services recruiting commercials we see everyday on TV are nearly all digitally generated video these days.

 

These Pakistani civilians were killed by remote control. A pilotless drone was guided over the target and it fired a missle upon a human command that destroyed the target and the humans who were there. The remote control facility for these drones is in the Nevada desert west of Las Vegas, and is operated by the armed services, probably the Air Force, but probably intelligence agencies also. Chances are the buttons were pushed by an airman or airlady who had an extensive background in video gaming and simulated warfare scenarios training while in the service.

 

I doubt whether the person sitting at the console in Nevada who pushed the button that fired the missle that killed the Pakistanis had any emotional attachment to what was about to happen in this village in Pakistan. All he/she or his/her commanding officer who directed the action knew about the situation was that a poobah in the Al Quaeda movement was supposed to be there for dinner. Kind of like when the intelligence agencies told our leaders that there were WMD's in Iraq which started all the crap there.

 

The point is that technologies that simulate real things and are in turn used to create real effects in the real world are mostly operated by people who are conditioned over years and months of playing games to believe that it's all some sort of cartoon exercise and that none of it is really real. But of course it is and innocent people were killed in the process. But the media can get away with calling it all "pragmatic" because in most ways it isn't real to them either. They're only making big bucks commenting on it all for ussins. I'll bet the neighbors of those who were killed by the drone's missle in Pakistan would comment otherwise.

 

Moral perspective and judgement is clouded each day by our inability to really reach out and touch each other. And it sometimes takes instances such as these to educate us regarding the fact that that there are prices to pay for detaching our lives from reality through the employment of complex technologies

 

flow.... :o

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I was very struck, a few weeks ago, they interviewed GWB on how many noncombatant Iraqis have died and he gave a very off-hand answer "oh like about 30,000" (or something). It was very casually answered.

 

--des

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