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Right after 9/11 I stated to friends that we should nuke Iran. Several of them were appalled and told me "that would be committing a war crime". Why is retaliation against an aggressor considered a war crime?

asked Jan 27 '11 at 10:33

Prometheus1's gravatar image

Prometheus1 ♦
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edited Jan 27 '11 at 18:08

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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It is not a war crime. And I don't think very many people have any problem with retaliation against countries who initiate force against us. Those who think that ending the Iranian regime would be a war crime - and here there are many, perhaps the majority of Americans think this way - do not grant that it would qualify as retaliation. The common objection is that "Iran did not attack us", a handful of individuals did.

So if you want to make any headway with your friends, I think you have to have a discussion about who we are at war with (totalitarian Islam), and how Iran is responsible (as a country ruled by a totalitarian islamic regime) for breeding the hatred and terrorists who are attacking us.

Elan Journo and John David Lewis have excellent books on this topic.

answered Jan 28 '11 at 00:58

la_phil's gravatar image

la_phil ♦
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Ok honestly, Saudi Arabia is several fold more responsible than Iran for that.

(Jan 29 '11 at 14:02) capitalistswine ♦ capitalistswine's gravatar image

I don't think that any terrorist perps have been directly from Iran or even clearly connected to Iran. It puzzles me how folks in/around the ARI seem to be sanguine about all-out war on Iran. I understand that Iran is a bloodthirsty dictatorship that breeds hatred against the USA but it foments mostly local disruption (i.e. de-stabilizing Saudi Arabia and attacking Israel). I can understand a guy from Tel Aviv really fearing Iran directly but I don't "get" a Wisconsinite having the same level of anxiety. The ARI seems to argue that Israel = USA. Based on that logic Germany = USA as well.

(Sep 04 '11 at 17:03) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

Our invasion and subjugation of Iraq was pretty much based on it 'support" of al Queda. That did not work out so well and, it turns out that there was very little connection between the two until after our invasion. Maybe there is a better solution than war?

(Sep 06 '11 at 20:08) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein say: " The civilian population of an aggressor nation is not some separate entity unrelated to its government. An act of war is the act of a nation—an interconnected political, cultural, economic, and geographical unity. Whenever a nation initiates aggression against us, including by supporting anti-American terrorist groups and militant causes, it has forfeited its right to exist, and we have a right to do whatever is necessary to end the threat it poses". I guess this can justify a nuclear attack on civilians because of terrorist acts by some in the country.

(Sep 06 '11 at 22:15) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image
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Danneskjold_repo, the response Brook and Epstein are talking about is against national acts of war, not against a nation's citizens' isolated criminal actions. As they explained, a national act of war depends on its civilian population to happen in the first place -- but it doesn't go the other way: civilian crimes against outsiders aren't necessarily a part of an act of war by their nation.

(Sep 13 '11 at 19:16) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Thanks for your comment. Given the enthusiasm for a nuclear show of force towards Iran by the writers leads me to wonder: where is the civilian support for the despots? Do most Iranian civilians (many of whom _ violently despise_ the regime) deserve the kind of "Sherman/Churchill" treatment that seems to be discussed blithely? I would submit that Islamic extremism is like Communism: rotten to the core and will fall of its own dead weight. The gusto for attacking Iran is unfortunately reminiscent of the march to Baghdad: the need to hit someone, anyone, when we cannot find real perps.

(Sep 13 '11 at 22:07) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

As Brook and Epstein explain, Iran is a real perp -- indeed, they are the central perp. The support they write about is not merely assent and encouragement, but also the existential support that the nation's citizens cannot avoid giving -- including citizens that violently oppose the regime. Unfortunately, this makes those in opposition the tragic equivalent of human shields, as they are forced to be an inseparable part of a deadly threat to others. A moral defender would of course not senselessly target them -- and they should likewise not blame the innocents for defending themselves.

(Sep 13 '11 at 22:29) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Proposing tactical nuclear strikes on the part of the authors doesn't seem to be showing much faculty of discernment vis a via civilians. I also disagree with the authors on Iran being "central". From an Israeli pov, I can understand Israelis feeling that Iran is their biggest "central" menace but this is clearly not the case for the USA. The 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and Arab men. I'd align them more with Egyptian Moslem Brotherhood types than with Iran. Even if you were to make a case for retaliatory mass destruction, I assume you'd visit it on Cairo and Riyadh not Teheran.

(Sep 14 '11 at 00:28) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image
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Asked: Jan 27 '11 at 10:33

Seen: 1,515 times

Last updated: Sep 14 '11 at 00:28