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Tags Iran incidents , Qasem Soleimani , Trump controversies , US-Iran relations

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Old 13th January 2020, 08:45 PM   #1561
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Originally Posted by trustbutverify View Post
Hyper-pacifistic would probably extend to the use of violence to defend oneself. Do you subscribe to that? Not judging.
Only if it is necessary to protect life, and only as much as is necessary to end the threat.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:45 PM   #1562
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I don't know the circumstances of that event. But given that I think that all killing is immoral I'm going to say yes. Depending on the circumstances, it may have been necessary, but it cannot have been moral.
Cmon, this one's begging for an exception.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:46 PM   #1563
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Only if it is necessary to protect life, and only as much as is necessary to end the threat.
K. I'd call that standard pacifism.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:47 PM   #1564
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I don't know the circumstances of that event. But given that I think that all killing is immoral I'm going to say yes. Depending on the circumstances, it may have been necessary, but it cannot have been moral.
Let's say that you had the chance to avert the mass killing of six million people by killing one person planning to kill six million people. Would it then be immoral to do so?
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:51 PM   #1565
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Originally Posted by trustbutverify View Post
Cmon, this one's begging for an exception.
It may well be. Like I said I'm not familiar with the case.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:54 PM   #1566
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Originally Posted by Allen773 View Post
Since when did your ilk care about international law?
I don't care about international law as such.

However -

- in this case, international law happens to agree more or less with my own view of the topic, and

- other people seem to care about it very much, so it seems like a good opportunity to start at a point where we still pretty much agree.

Instead, it turns out to be an opportunity for you to insult me.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:54 PM   #1567
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Let's say that you had the chance to avert the mass killing of six million people by killing one person planning to kill six million people. Would it then be immoral to do so?
Yes.

But if it were absolutely established that this one act will do that, which you cannot do, and it is absolutely established that nothing else will, which you also cannot do, then it may be necessary.

But we're pushing deep into hypothetical territory here.
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Old 13th January 2020, 08:55 PM   #1568
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It may well be. Like I said I'm not familiar with the case.
Quote:
Operation Anthropoid was the code name for the assassination during World War II of Schutzstaffel (SS)-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Main Security Office, RSHA), the combined security services of Nazi Germany, and acting Reichsprotektor of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[1]

Heydrich was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and an important figure in the rise of Adolf Hitler; he was given overall charge of the "Final Solution to the Jewish question" (the Holocaust) in Europe.[2] The Czechoslovaks undertook the operation to help confer legitimacy on Edvard Beneš's government-in-exile in London, as well as for retribution for Heydrich's brutal rule.[3]

The operation was carried out by soldiers of the Czechoslovak army-in-exile, in Prague, on 27 May 1942, after preparation and training by the British Special Operations Executive and with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. Wounded in the attack, Heydrich died of his injuries on 4 June 1942. This was the only government-sponsored assassination of a senior Nazi leader during the Second World War. His death led to a wave of reprisals by SS troops, including the destruction of villages and the mass killing of civilians.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Heydrich
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:00 PM   #1569
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
No, they are not the moral equivalent. As I said, I acknowledge that sometimes war is forced upon us, and when that happens it can be necessary to do deeply immoral things. Waging war aggressively - attacking your neighbours for lebensraum, for example - is immoral, but defending yourself against someone who is doing that to you can be necessary. Killing may be immoral but necessary in circumstances like that. It is never moral to deliberately end the life of a human being without their consent, but it may be necessary, and being necessary does not make it moral. And it does not make it a valid tool for international relations.

I hope the above sheds a little light on the nuance of my position.

I didn't say that they were identical. I said that they were both immoral.
Again, I apologize. I had forgotten that your position was that killing is immoral but sometimes necessary. It's no more coherent to me now than it was originally. I don't have anything new to say about it, and no real interest in debating it. I apologize for wasting your time.

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I understand, thank you for the answer. Under what circumstances do you believe that assassination is a valid tool in international relations?
I'm not going to bother answering this. I already know that there are no circumstances under which you believe it is a valid tool. There's really nothing left for us to discuss on the subject.

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It just so happened that the dictionary agreed with my definition, which was my definition because it was my definition and not because the dictionary agreed with it.
Why even bring the dictionary into it, then? Did you think it would have some rhetorical value, that simply saying "this is what I mean by it" wouldn't have?
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:07 PM   #1570
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Again, I apologize. I had forgotten that your position was that killing is immoral but sometimes necessary. It's no more coherent to me now than it was originally. I don't have anything new to say about it, and no real interest in debating it. I apologize for wasting your time.
I mean okay, I'm more than willing to talk about it if you want, but if you'd like to move on that's fine too.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm not going to bother answering this. I already know that there are no circumstances under which you believe it is a valid tool. There's really nothing left for us to discuss on the subject.
On the contrary, there's plenty to discuss. For example, I'd like to know what your position is and some of the reasoning behind that position.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Why even bring the dictionary into it, then? Did you think it would have some rhetorical value, that simply saying "this is what I mean by it" wouldn't have?
Yes. I brought the dictionary into it for clarity, and because if I had just spouted some definition without providing some backing for it someone would have accused me of making up the definition. Usually I avoid arguing by dictionary, but in this case what the dictionary provided was a brief and pithy definition that I felt would be extremely clear.
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:07 PM   #1571
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yes.

But if it were absolutely established that this one act will do that, which you cannot do, and it is absolutely established that nothing else will, which you also cannot do, then it may be necessary.

But we're pushing deep into hypothetical territory here.
I'd like to be that non-violent. But this guy needs to go.
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:12 PM   #1572
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I mean okay, I'm more than willing to talk about it if you want, but if you'd like to move on that's fine too.
Good.

Quote:
On the contrary, there's plenty to discuss. For example, I'd like to know what your position is and some of the reasoning behind that position.
Feel free to search the thread for my posts, and reply to any reasoning I present on the topic that piques your interest. I might be interested in a counter-argument, if you were to actually make one instead of asking yes or no questions.

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Yes. I brought the dictionary into it for clarity, and because if I had just spouted some definition without providing some backing for it someone would have accused me of making up the definition.
So? I don't care where you get your definition. I only care what your definition is. Make up a definition, fine with me.
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:16 PM   #1573
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Feel free to search the thread for my posts, and reply to any reasoning I present on the topic that piques your interest. I might be interested in a counter-argument, if you were to actually make one instead of asking yes or no questions.
Well, I have been reading the thread, and that's kind of exactly what I did, and I still have questions. Like, for example, what circumstances might make assassination a valid tool for international relations, and the reasoning behind your position.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So? I don't care where you get your definition. I only care what your definition is. Make up a definition, fine with me.
This, on the other hand, is the part of the discussion that doesn't really need to be prolonged.
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Old 13th January 2020, 09:50 PM   #1574
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
it can be necessary to do deeply immoral things
Your definition of "moral" doesn't even make sense, if something can be necessary but immoral. Necessity makes it moral, if in fact it is truly necessary.
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Old 13th January 2020, 10:03 PM   #1575
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Your definition of "moral" doesn't even make sense, if something can be necessary but immoral. Necessity makes it moral, if in fact it is truly necessary.
I disagree. Necessity and morality are unlinked.

If it makes you feel better, killing human beings without their consent is about the only thing that I think can be necessary but immoral, and only under certain very constrained circumstances. Otherwise I'm perfectly normal.
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Old 13th January 2020, 10:05 PM   #1576
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Note that Trump recently sent in commandos after another high-value terrorist leader, rather than bombs. So it's not like he doesn't do the Obama thing when he has the chance.
oof

I overlooked that completely.
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Old 13th January 2020, 10:14 PM   #1577
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I disagree. Necessity and morality are unlinked.
I don't consider that to be true at all. I think that necessity brings a lot of exculpatory weight to it.

Wars of choice are usually considered worse than wars of necessity. That's one of the reasons why certain ethical conceptions of Just War invoke necessity.

In other circumstances such as stealing bread to feed your hungry children, surely you would accept that the claimed necessity is more exculpatory than say a rich man who steals bread from a poor family to feed the bread to some ducks at the nearby pond.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 13th January 2020, 11:03 PM   #1578
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I disagree. Necessity and morality are unlinked.
That's a bad way to define morality.
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Old 13th January 2020, 11:08 PM   #1579
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I don't consider that to be true at all. I think that necessity brings a lot of exculpatory weight to it.

Wars of choice are usually considered worse than wars of necessity. That's one of the reasons why certain ethical conceptions of Just War invoke necessity.

In other circumstances such as stealing bread to feed your hungry children, surely you would accept that the claimed necessity is more exculpatory than say a rich man who steals bread from a poor family to feed the bread to some ducks at the nearby pond.
Yes, I would accept that. But I think taking life is different from that. I don't think there's any such thing as a "just war" except one that you fight to defend yourself against someone else's aggression.

Again, this is not a mainstream opinion, and I accept that most people will not agree with it.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
That's a bad way to define morality.
It's not a way to define morality at all. It's a statement that I do not think that morality is linked to necessity. I'm not attempting to define morality - that would be a can of worms that I do not intend to open here.
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Old 13th January 2020, 11:17 PM   #1580
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
That's a bad way to define morality.
How so?
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:01 AM   #1581
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
How so?
A definition of morality in which the best possible course of action available is immoral is a bad definition of morality. What does it matter if something is immoral, if the best thing you can do is immoral? The whole point of defining morality is to distinguish between what you should do and what you shouldn't do, otherwise what's the point?
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:13 AM   #1582
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Oh, never mind...

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Old 14th January 2020, 12:22 AM   #1583
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
A definition of morality in which the best possible course of action available is immoral is a bad definition of morality. What does it matter if something is immoral, if the best thing you can do is immoral? The whole point of defining morality is to distinguish between what you should do and what you shouldn't do, otherwise what's the point?
Only the most simplistic types of morality deal in in absolutes.
Just because some action is the least immoral action doesn't automatically make it moral.
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Old 14th January 2020, 01:21 AM   #1584
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Only the most simplistic types of morality deal in in absolutes.
Well, no. The most simplistic morality deals only in absolutes. But the inability to deal with an absolute isn't a feature, it's a bug. And it's only an absolute in the sense that it's the best action available, not in the sense that every aspect of it is positive.

Quote:
Just because some action is the least immoral action doesn't automatically make it moral.
If it's the least immoral action that you can possibly do, then yeah, that does make it moral. What do you think morality even is?
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Old 14th January 2020, 02:17 AM   #1585
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Well, it didn't achieve a great deal in the grand scheme of things.
The holocaust wasn't prevented, and 100s of Czechs (2 villages worth) were killed in reprisal.
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Old 14th January 2020, 02:36 AM   #1586
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Only if it is necessary to protect life, and only as much as is necessary to end the threat.
So you're cool if someone takes you a slave and you won't resist his violence, so long as he promises to keep you alive?

Interesting if true.

Also, doubtful.

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Old 14th January 2020, 02:45 AM   #1587
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post

If it's the least immoral action that you can possibly do, then yeah, that does make it moral. What do you think morality even is?
The most moral action might require resources currently not available. So choosing the least immoral action possible now still brings the burden of being better prepared next time.
If you could have done better, given planning, then your best moral action is still immoral to some degree.
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Old 14th January 2020, 03:08 AM   #1588
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“Iran Must Begin Acting Like A Normal Nation,” Says Totally Normal Nation

Originally Posted by Caitlin Johnstone
The government which runs a globe-spanning empire led by a reality TV host keeps talking about the lack of normality in the nation of Iran.

“What we want all countries to join in,” said State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus in a recent Fox News interview, “is to help us not only to de-escalate any tensions with Iran, but to help us bring Iran to a place where they are ready to stop their terrorist and malign behavior, and where they are ready to discuss with the United States, with Europe, with everyone, about how they can change their behavior to act like a normal nation.” [...]

So what can Iran do to become a “normal nation”? Well, since it’s the United States making this demand, we can safely assume that it’s the model Iran should look to.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to expand its interests from the region and begin toppling noncompliant governments and invading nations all around the world.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to circle the planet with hundreds of Iranian military bases.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to obtain thousands of nuclear weapons, and actually use a couple of them.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the most dominant military, economic and cultural force in the world, and then use that dominance to destroy any government, political party, ideology, faction, movement or person who stands in its way.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to arm violent extremist factions all around the world with the goal of eliminating all governments that refuse to bow to its interests.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the dominant producer of films, music and TV shows and use this influence to propagandize its power structure’s ideology to every possible cultural sphere.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to begin meddling in scores of democratic elections all around the world and then crying for years at the possibility of any nation returning the favor. [...]
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Old 14th January 2020, 03:09 AM   #1589
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Originally Posted by Allen773 View Post
State Department security officials weren't notified of 'imminent' threats to US embassies

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/13/polit...ded/index.html

New details about Soleimani killing further undercut Trump’s lies

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...t-trumps-lies/

Senior administration officials struggle to explain intelligence behind killing of Soleimani

https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...754_story.html
Interesting. I can't read the WP articles, but from what I can see, it appears the decision to assassinate General Soleimani was made 6 months ago after the downing of the UAV. It was contingent upon there being a death of a US citizen, and the final decision signed off by POTUS (apparently on 28/12/19).

I think there was an assumption that because of the proximity in time between the death of the US citizen and the assassination that meant there was a strong relationship between some action of Soleimani and the attack on the Iraqi army bases that resulted in the death. It now appears that Soleimani was a hostage for Iran's good behaviour, regardless of his personal involvement in this death. FWIW five other sites were attacked in response to this death and 25 other people killed (presumably with additional injuries), before Soleimani and others were assassinated. Two of the sites attacked were in Syria so arguably would be of little direct threat to US military.
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Old 14th January 2020, 03:21 AM   #1590
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Well, no. The most simplistic morality deals only in absolutes. But the inability to deal with an absolute isn't a feature, it's a bug. And it's only an absolute in the sense that it's the best action available, not in the sense that every aspect of it is positive.



If it's the least immoral action that you can possibly do, then yeah, that does make it moral. What do you think morality even is?
The problem is we cannot foresee the consequences of our actions. Arguably the consequence of assassinating Soleimani was the deaths of 170 people on board of the airliner that was accidentally shot down. I think many people would agree if there had not been the assassination followed by the heightened rhetoric with threats of imminent direct US air attacks on Iran the airliner would not have been shot down. So we take a 'least' immoral action which we think will potentially save dozens of lives, but actually costs 170+. So does an action that had the consequence of causing 170 innocent deaths now become more immoral? If you follow a Utilitarian rule then it is. As has been pointed out shooting down civilian airliners at a time of heightened tension is not unknown, and the US military should know this better than most, so this was an unlikely, but not unknown or unpredictable outcome.
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Old 14th January 2020, 04:36 AM   #1591
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
The problem is we cannot foresee the consequences of our actions.
Sure. Which can make it hard to know if an action is necessary or not. But the hypothetical already presumed the action in question was necessary, so it's not an unknown for this hypothetical, even if in general it is.
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Old 14th January 2020, 05:39 AM   #1592
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Can the freshman philosophy derails be split to a separate thread in Religion and Philosophy?
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Old 14th January 2020, 05:52 AM   #1593
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
You're missing the significance. Regardless of whether or not they have a problem with the US or Israel, in the past people would walk over those flags, because that's what the regime wants, and you generally don't defy the regime when you live in a dictatorship. They are doing so now. Again, I don't claim that they do so out of respect to the US or Israel. But it is an act of open defiance against the regime.
I think you are misguided in this belief. The dictatorship does not care about making people align with their views, because they are a dictatorship. If they want to have a video of people trampling over a flag, they will just go ahead and make a video of people trampling over a flag. The reality is that they are perfectly content with letting the average Iranian live their lives how they wish as long as they are not causing any 'trouble'. Most Iranians live out their lives without ever coming into contact with the police/religious police. The alternative is too taxing from a logistical and management perspective.

The people of Iran are and have always been overwhelmingly pro-US and pro-Europe (albeit unitedly anti-trump). They reflect the government's mood when the Iranian government said 'We are for the US people but against Trump'. If it was a picture of Trump on the floor you would see people willingly walk all over it.

But not walking over a US flag does not reflect a new zeitgeist.
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Old 14th January 2020, 05:57 AM   #1594
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Can the freshman philosophy derails be split to a separate thread in Religion and Philosophy?
I sympathise, but if we are discussing whether the assassination was justified morally because it saved lives, I think we can diverge a little into the consequences. I think the evidence was this was primarily a politically expedient act for home (US) consumption. It was not legally justifiable as preventing an immediate threat. It probably gained little diplomatic benefit, and I suspect little military benefit.
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Old 14th January 2020, 07:41 AM   #1595
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I don't know the circumstances of that event. But given that I think that all killing is immoral I'm going to say yes. Depending on the circumstances, it may have been necessary, but it cannot have been moral.
I think you make a good point that may be missed.

Sometimes your best decision is to do something that is wrong.

Don't compound that wrong by trying to find some way to justify it, accept that it is wrong.

You can decide to assassinate someone one knowing it is wrong to assassinate someone because it is the only/best/one of a limited choices you have.

I really have problems when people try to justify wrongs.
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Old 14th January 2020, 07:55 AM   #1596
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Let's say that you had the chance to avert the mass killing of six million people by killing one person planning to kill six million people. Would it then be immoral to do so?
This sounds like the torture hypotheticals. This really isn't the gotcha some people like to think it is.

Now I'm not a pacifist - I know I'm simply not brave and tough enough- so I'm not one to say we should never use violence against someone.

With that in mind, within your unrealistic hypothetical yes it would remain immoral to kill the person.


And yes I would kill him.
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Old 14th January 2020, 10:52 AM   #1597
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https://twitter.com/ryanstruyk/statu...56919614332928

Quote:
BARR: "This concept of imminence is something of a red herring. [When] there is a campaign that involves repeated attacks on American targets, I don't think there's a requirement, frankly, for, you know, knowing the exact time and place of the next attack."
https://twitter.com/JVSylvester/stat...60327733878790

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"Imminent" is a red herring? That is the precisr word used in the War Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. §1542, to allow emergency action when there's no time to notify Congress. Trump et al. planned this hit for weeks. They simply deny that Congress has any role despite the law & Art. I.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:38 AM   #1598
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Originally Posted by Dipayan View Post
I think you are misguided in this belief. The dictatorship does not care about making people align with their views, because they are a dictatorship.
You have that exactly wrong. Dictatorships require that you publicly align your views with them. You can keep private views separate, but publicly you have to support, or claim to support, the regime.

Quote:
If they want to have a video of people trampling over a flag, they will just go ahead and make a video of people trampling over a flag.
They don't want video of people trampling over a flag. They want people to actually do it. Why do you think they painted the flag to cover an entire stairway?

Quote:
If it was a picture of Trump on the floor you would see people willingly walk all over it.
Perhaps.

Quote:
But not walking over a US flag does not reflect a new zeitgeist.
No, you're wrong. It is something new.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:48 AM   #1599
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Are you quite sure you got that word right?
Dang, I did have it right at one point. I blame my tablet.
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Old 14th January 2020, 11:56 AM   #1600
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
No, you're wrong. It is something new.

It's not new. Given the locations of the two examples you've cited it's not even remarkable. You've cited two examples of this both at places where you'd expect to find people who are opposed to the regime and not opposed to the US.
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