[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: [OT] the poetry of donald rumsfeld

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: [OT] the poetry of donald rumsfeld
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 12:07:46 -0800 (PST)

    > From: Stefan Monnier <address@hidden>

    > > It's not just a media construction.  The "proactive" doctrine makes
    > > logical sense but it fails the test of international law and it fails
    > > the test of traditional USian politics.   

    > Please let's not add `logic' to things it does not apply to.
    > Especially in this case since one of the most famous proponent (and even
    > allegedly the inventor of the concept of "preemptive strike") was the 
    > austrian guy with the mustache.

Cool, a Godwin's instance.

What I meant by "logical sense" is:

   a) The state-of-technical-knowledge of human kind is such that
      global-scale havoc can be unleashed by relatively modest means.

   b) Relative transparency of a society sharply decreases the chances
      that preparations to unleash such havoc can go undetected.
      Relative opaqueness sharply increases those chances.

   c) Moral axioms, political conditions, economic conditions,
      and military conditions determine an actor's rational incentive
      to unleash such global-scale havoc.

   d) Moral axioms, political conditions, economic conditions,
      and military conditions determine an actors rational incentive
      to create a more transparent or enforce a more opaque society.

   e) The variables (axioms and conditions) in (c) and (d) are not
      independent variables.   As a simple example, a leader who is
      inclined towards carrying out pogroms against portions of his
      population is likely to find that his international political
      and economic conditions do not give him any positive incenctive
      to create a relatively transparent society.

   f) Therefore, some us find outselves in a bind when we discover
      despotic leaders in even mildly industrially-capable parts of
      the world.  We can appease them and tollerate their despotism in
      order to obtain transparency in their society -- essentially
      decide that their pogroms and other forms of oppression are
      tolerable just so long as they keep it within their own
      boarders.  Or we can choose not to appease them with sanctions
      and the like -- but in doing so increase _both_ their incentive
      to maintain an opaque society _and_ to prepare to unleash global

So, yes, your comparison to Hitler is very apt but your conclusion is
wrong.  Yes, those bad guys are Bad guys and have bugs.  But we have a
bug too.  Naive persuit of our values and post-WWII
nationalist-oriented agreements just gives those Bad guys incentive to
get worse and worse, more dangerous and more dangerous.

We had a comperable bug with Hitler -- a naive application of our
values led us to look for a least-chaotic resolution of expansionist
aspirations and, ultimately, we discovered that we had no choice but
ot buck-up and put him down, by which time he had a lot more

So, in the abstract at least, we have to take that lesson from history
and we have to interpret it in a world where the threats aren't
limited to a steady-stream of tanks, seacraft, planes, and
conventional-mortar rockets --- but include plenty 'o plausible
scenarios that compress all of that destruction and more into a few
week's irreversable work.

The United Nations, NATO, and the Warsaw pact grew out of efforts to
definatively patch up our old value-system bugs by constructing
systems of state integrity and mutual defense.  But those patches
don't address the current threats because, with today's technology, by
the time the aggression comes -- it's too late.

So we're at a point in history where the mere _possibility_ of
_certain_forms_ of agression is an intolerable risk.  If Bush's entire
career is a complete fuckup and he goes down in history as, more or
less, a war criminal --- the one good thing he's done is to give voice
to the preemptive doctrine.  Tragic though it may be, it's the right

Was the doctrine correctly applied in the case of Iraq?  That's an
entirely different question.

There is much to suggest that it was not but I like to give a little
bit of the benefit of the doubt here but in an indrect way --- I don't
think Iraq was conceived of as the threat but rather, I hope it was
correctly conceived of as the serendipitous opportunity to address a
whole bunch of other threats while deposing a nasty dictatorship.

My optimisitic interpretation isn't my only view -- I'm not _strongly_
committed to it.  Personally, I have grave doubts about the ability
of the collective strategic mind of the USian military industrial
complex to "wage aggressive peace".  I think we have, to put it
mildly, an itchy trigger finger and a bad attitude and overlook
opportunities for radically more positive solutions.

But I guess we'll see where things wind up in a few years.

Oh, and does the preemptive doctrine explain/justify the political and
military state of the US?  Does it excuse Guantanamo?  The Patriot
Act?  A thousand other things?  I've seen no evidence whatsoever that
it does.  Those things are examples of why this administration and its
party scare the begeezus out of me and why I'd really like to see them


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]